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Old 10-07-2010, 05:40 PM   #1 
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New Fish Mom

Hi everyone,

I'm the new caretaker of a little lavender bodied, red finned fish named Alvin. He resides in my 5 year old's room, and for reasons that should be obvious, I really want the little guy to live.

He's in a 2.5 gallon aquarium with a little heater, filter, decorations to hide in, overall pretty good set up.

I cycled the tank, and it was nice and stable, but now that we've brought Alvin home, the ammonia and nitrate have risen again. I figured it was because we've now entered a fish in the equation.

I took Alvin out, put him in a little bowl and have been changing the water in the bowl frequently and just letting the tank adjust and balance again. I did a partial water change, but I'm not putting Alvin back in until the nitrates come back down.

He seems to be doing fine in the little bowl, active, perky, and eating.

So, here are my questions.

A: How much should I feed the little guy, because I don't want to unbalance the system with overfeeding.

And B: I know it's a small tank, but at the time I thought it was more than enough space for a single little betta. For those with small tanks, like 2.5 gallons, any advice on keeping the bio-filter stable and alive?


And it's good to be here. I'm already awfully fond of little Alvin.

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Old 10-07-2010, 06:49 PM   #2 
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For feeding, assuming you're feeding him pellets, I give mine 2-3 per day, and once or twice a week they get frozen blood worms or brine shrimp instead.

2.5 gallons is the minimum most people consider safe for bettas.. he'll be just fine in there. Not sure on what you need for water changes in there, however, mine are 5 gallons and up.. I'm sure someone will pop in to let you know. (:
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:46 PM   #3 
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Sorry for being a total newbie,

But we have well water. Is there anything I should be concerned about with the well? Is pH a serious factor for bettas? Our water is pretty high alkaline and high pH. Is that something that needs to be fixed?

Oh, and I put up a picture of Alvin. :)
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:57 AM   #4 
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Hello & welcome!

I have hard water with a high PH & all my "kids" are doing fine. The fish will adjust to your water as long as it is stable. Messing with the ph CAN and HAS been disastrous!

Even though you are on well water, I would still use a high quality conditioner in case there are heavy metals in there. I, and many others here, use Prime - an EXCELLENT product that is economical since you only use 2 drops per gallon.

As far as feeding - I only feed mine once a day, but many feed twice a day. Just a tiny amount - remember, their stomach is only about as big as their eye. Also, I (and, again, many others) fast them one day a week. Gives them a chance to "clear" out their system. :)

Hope that helps and again - WELCOME!!!
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:23 AM   #5 
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Well, the bio-filter seems to be active. The ammonia is back down to zero, but the Nitrite is up. So poor little Alvin is still in his quarantine bowl. He's still healthy and active in there though, so that's good. I'm hoping the nitrites will start coming back down. The little guy belongs back in his tank, I just want to make sure the bacteria are sufficient to take care of the levels of ammonia and nitrite that are going to be the norm with Alvin in the tank.

I was feeding him way too much though, cutting that back should help.

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Old 10-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #6 
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Welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping...its an awesome hobby......

As posted-your Betta should adjust to your well water pH and hardness and I agree that changing with chemicals can be deadly.

I have well water too that is really hard with a high pH and all fish do just fine, I don't use any chemical products with my well water, however, heavy metals can sometimes be a problem with well water-Prime is a great product for that if needed, your fish will usually tell you if the metals in the water are a problem by their behavior-itching, darting, trying to jump out of the tank without presents of parasites as a cause- are a few symptoms of heavy metals in the water.

What kind of testing products are you using?
I would also test your well water and make sure it doesn't contain any ammonia, nitrite, nitrate...often well water will have one or all of these due to ferts used for farming.

Once the nitrogen cycle is completed in the filtered 2.5g tank- your water prams should read-ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm and nitrAte 5-10ppm-you want to try and keep the nitrate under 20ppm as high nitrate can affect the immune response

In 2.5g filtered cycled tanks-IMO/E need twice weekly 50% water changes to maintain water quality-provided that the Betta is not overfed and uneaten food is removed-with one of the twice weekly water changes the substrate needs to be cleaned/vacuumed
The filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off
Make sure the water temp is within a couple of degrees from new and old water with water changes to prevent water temp related problems-water temp need to be stable at 76-80F.

Look forward to seeing some pic of your new set-up and Betta

I re-read your post and I have a question-what are you using as the ammonia source to cycle the 2.5g tank?

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 10-08-2010 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:02 PM   #7 
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I tried cycling the tank before we got Alvin. My little one was very patient waiting for the bacteria to grow. I "fed" the tank, since that was the easiest way for me to do it with what I had. I just kept putting little bits of food in there until the ammonia spiked. Then we waited. I kept checking the ammonia every day, eventually it dropped back down to zero.

Then I got a test for Nitrite/Nitrate, and that looked good, so we went out and got Alvin. We put him in, and I realize now in those first couple of days I overfed him.

The ammonia edged back up to levels that would really stress the little guy, so I took him out and put him in the bowl where I knew he'd be safe until everything sorted itself out. I did a 50% water change, cleaning the pebbles at the bottom with the hose. The ammonia was still present, so I decided to wait it out.

Now the ammonia is gone, the nitrites are up about 3.0, and the nitrates are starting to rise. I take that as a good sign that the nitrite eating bacteria is doing its job now.

Tomorrow I was going to do another 50% change. (Thanks for the tip about swishing out the filter pad in the old water. I'll do that too.) And if everything looked back to normal, I was going to try to put Alvin back in and get him on a much less abundant diet. Then keep a daily tab on the ammonia levels for signs of trouble as everything adjusts.

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Old 10-10-2010, 04:47 AM   #8 
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I know this is off topic but you have a beautiful fish =)
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:06 AM   #9 
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Thanks, my little one picked him out. I'm more partial to ones that are blue. I do like the lavender on his body, but when the overhead light is on in the aquarium, it backlights him in a way that you can't see it as well. When the sunlight is shining in from the window, he's at his prettiest.

Here are a couple of pictures of him back in the tank. He seems happy and healthy, so I'm pleased.
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:13 PM   #10 
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I would have kept him in the tank and just done a large water change. Mini cycles happen often when you add fish to a tank. The bacteria need to grow numerous enough to be able to handle the waste from the betta, they can't do that unless he's either in there, or you're adding enough waste equivalent to what he would be producing. Overall, he is better in that tank than in a bowl, if the ammonia is spiking with him in the tank, imagine what it must be doing in the bowl! Beautiful fish xD
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