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Old 08-31-2010, 06:58 PM   #1 
jaimiemay
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Cloudy Betta Water

Hello everyone, I just joined the forum...My question is related to my Betta whom I've had for approx 1year, he lives in a very large vase (yes, I am aware that bettas thrive in a filtered/heated home but that is not my question and I am not looking to be lectured). I have never had a problem with him until now. 2 days go I awoke to find his tank filled with white stuff floating in the water. I performed a 50% water change because I figured that there was a lot of waste in there (I was doing regular water changes but didn't realize how much gravel/waste there actually was). I took out a great deal of the gravel as well. Immediately the white stuff went away but the tank is now extremely cloudy.
Is this an ammonia spike from me taking out too much water/adding fresh water? too much of a water change?
should i wait a few days and perform a 15-20% water change?
Thanks in advance :)
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:53 PM   #2 
Adastra
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It's perfectly acceptable to keep a betta without a filter, however, a heater is not optional since they are a tropical species and they are cold-blooded. The metabolism of a cold-blooded animal is dependent on temperature, so over time without a heater your fish will encounter digestive and circulatory problems and have a weakened immune system. I highly recommend this heater: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...m?pcatid=11368

As for the question at hand, the cloudiness is caused by bacteria feeding on the waste in the tank. When a tank is not filtered or cleaned frequently, it is prone to bacteria blooms because of the ammonia building up in the water. Fish constantly excrete ammonia, kind of like their form of urine. Without live plants or a colony of beneficial bacteria that would live in a filter, this ammonia has nowhere to go and is extremely toxic to your fish. The only way to get rid of all of this ammonia is by doing regular 100% water changes. In a two gallon container, you should be doing 100% water changes every three days, and during the change, you should rinse out everything in the tank with hot water, including the tank itself, gravel, and decor items. This will not only eliminate bacteria blooms, but the water will be made safe for your fish as well.

This is a lot of work, unfortunately, and bettas can live anywhere from 3-7 years if cared for properly. Many people have larger, filtered tanks because they are vastly easier to maintain, and are only a small expense compared to the time and effort they save you every week. There are many cheap containers that are easier to manage than a vase--if you'd like I can recommend some more products to you.

Last edited by Adastra; 08-31-2010 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:29 PM   #3 
jaimiemay
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Thanks for the reply....100% water change....I thought that doing those weren't really great for the fish.
And once cycled doing it once a week would be alright, I admit I had let a lot of waste buid up due to the excess amount of gravel I had.
I have a heater but putting that in the vase would be a no no I suppose, even though its for a tiny space.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:50 PM   #4 
Adastra
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That is a misconception--since the only acceptable level of ammonia is 0, you really have to take all the water out and clean the tank to control it. As long as the fish is slowly acclimated to the new water every time, the stress should be minimal.

I don't really understand what you mean by once cycled--it would be impossible to cycle an unfiltered, unaerated vase. If you upgrade to a small tank kit, though, you can cycle the tank and maintenance will be a breeze. You can read this article: http://aqadvisor.com/articles/Cycling.php to learn more about the Nitrogen Cycle.

I use the Marineland Eclipse tank kits, they're well designed and the filters are weak but efficient and the hoods make them very quiet. The 3 gallon and five gallon sizes take up very little space for their volume and the acrylic makes them extremely light and durable. They also come with a good fluorescent light that is adequate for growing live plants that contribute to the water quality and won't tear your betta's fins. Ordering online is a great way to save money--http://www.bigalsonline.com/ ships to Canada if I recall correctly.
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:24 PM   #5 
jaimiemay
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Hey...things got really bad in the tank, I guess everything was poison in there, within a few hours my betta's tail begin shredding. I immediately took your advice and did a 100% water change, his tail is still shredded but looks MUCH better. When I awoke today I noticed that the betta made a giant bubblenest....I assume he's much happier. I'm still concerned about it though...I should keep doing 100% water changes.....today too? Iunno I only ask again because people keep telling me otherwise. I'm going to look into getting him a new home too but until then I wanna be able to keep him healthy.
Was considering purchasing bettafix, would that be a good investment too?
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #6 
Adastra
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Bettafix has an ingredient in it called melaleuca which is an antiseptic and a healing agent. Recent studies have suggested that this ingredient releases fumes that are destructive to the labyrinth organ in anabantoid fish. This is the organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface. Melaleuca based antiseptics are great for goldfish, but not for bettas. Clean, warm water and a good high protein diet will be most helpful. You can add a dose of aquarium salt (it's basically non-iodized salt, just like kosher salt) for a few days until the fins start to heal.

The idea that partial changes are adequate in uncycled containers is a misconception--think about it logically. If you do a 50% change today and a 50% change tomorrow, that doesn't mean you've changed 100% of the water. Inevitably, there is still some of the original water left over plus whatever waste the fish has contributed between those changes. Over time the concentration of ammonia in the water that's left behind becomes greater, and you end up having problems.

As long as you carefully acclimate the fish with every water change, the stress to the fish will be minimal, and is of a much lower concern than having the fish exposed to ammonia for long periods of time.
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:42 PM   #7 
jaimiemay
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Thanks for the reply.
I'm gunna put him in another fresh batch of water and purchase some aquarium salt.
I have a 5gallon tank with a heater, I am gunna set it up for him.
What is easiest way to slowly accumulate the fish...put him inna cup while i change the water then put him back in?
his fins are growing back already :) thanks for all your help
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:55 PM   #8 
Adastra
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Sounds great. You can put your fish into his cup, and float him in the tank. If the temperature, water source, and water additives are all the same as the water you took him out of, slowly pour out some of the water in his cup and add some of the new over the course of about 15-20 minutes. If the temperature, source, or additives have changed, you should acclimate over the course of about 30-45 minutes.

It's great that you decided to upgrade the tank. A five gallon container that is not cycled will need a 100% change and cleaning once a week. If you decide to get a filter and cycle the tank, I highly recommend doing a fishless cycle because it takes the least amount of effort and will not put your fish at risk of poisoning. You should research the nitrogen cycle and how to conduct a fishless cycle since it will cut down on tank maintenance immensely.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:15 PM   #9 
jaimiemay
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The water he's in now already appears to be getting cloudy, I have the other vase completely cleaned out and am gunna put him in the fresh water in a bit just letting it get to room temperature. I just set up the 5 gallon and put the heater in, I do have a 20 gallon tank that is cycled and has fish in it, would putting some of the gravel from there in the new tank help speed things up? When I set up my 20 gallon over a year ago I did cycle it with fish. My friend has a product that apparently helps speed up the cycle process although I heard mixed things about using it...so just adding a tiny bit of fish food would suffice? thanks for all your help
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:31 PM   #10 
Adastra
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Oh, in that case, the best thing to do would be to take a piece of the filter cartridge that's in the 20G and putting it in the filter for the 5G. This directly transfers a large amount of bacteria directly into the filter. The filter is where the bacteria live. If you use a gravel vacuum, you'll notice that when you vacuum your tank, there's dark bits of mulm coming out of the gravel. This mulm carries a lot of bacteria. Next time you vacuum your gravel, pour the mulmy water into the filter in the 5G and that will help as well.

Chemical additives that speed up the cycle are very hit or miss, some of them will even crash your cycle. The only brands I would think about using are Tetra SafeStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, and Seachem Stability. A lot of the others are garbage--the worst of them being Nutrafin Cycle which uses land-based bacteria. The land-based bacteria crowds out the aquatic bacteria in the tank, causing it to die off, and then the land-based bacteria dies off because it can't live very long in water. It's basically a terrible product, lol.

I would kickstart the cycle with the filter pad from the 20G and the mulm from the gravel in the 20G, then continue the cycle fishlessly by adding ammonia and testing the tank. I use pure ammonia from the hardware store--if you have an ACE hardware near you, they make an ACE brand pure ammonia product that's perfect for cycling tanks. If you seed the tank correctly from the 20G, the cycle should be done in about a week.
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