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Old 01-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #1 
opus2000
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Can someone help correct a newbie's mistakes?

Hi, everyone. This is my first post here. My children and I are new owners (as of almost 2 weeks ago) of 3 female bettas. I thought I had done the proper research to prepare for bringing our new little friends home, but unfortunately that research consisted solely of talking to friends and visiting pet stores.

We have our 3 female bettas in a 4-gallon Baby Biorb tank. It has a filter, and I added a heater (after many days of searching to find an appropriate heater for this particular tank, and after all of the pet stores told me I didn't need a heater). I can't say that purchasing the Biorb was a decision made after lots of research. I chose it because it was pretty and the right size. I am now learning through research (and discovering the difficulty of finding accessories for it) that it may not have been the best choice of a tank. But the fish are in it, and I would like to make it work. As of now, our fish are active, and seem healthy and happy.

I have been reading lots about the importance of "cycling" the tank, something we did NOT do because I had never heard of it, nor had anyone instructed us to do it. We simply set up the Biorb according to the instructions, added water with the Betta water conditioner/dechlorinator the pet shop told us to use, and added the fish 24 hours later as instructed by the pamphlet that came with the tank.

How much trouble are we in for since we did not cycle the tank? Are our fish doomed? Is there something we should do now to correct the mistake, or will it cycle naturally over time?

I changed 25% of the water yesterday. The pet store told me to do this every 2 weeks. Should I do it more often? Less often?

I have been very surprised by the conflicting information I have found on caring for betta fish. We would like to care for them properly, as we purchased them for pets, not strictly for decoration! Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:22 PM   #2 
Creat
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Lucky news is your not doomed I am not a fan of Bio-orbs sense its impossible to really customize them to your liking. First thing though is your going to need to get a test kit to test ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to monitor the levels before they get to toxic. If you get a test kit you will notice the ammonia spiking the nitrite and then the nitrate levels. I usually raise water changes to 20% everyother day when cycling a tank to keep the levels not so toxic. You also have quite a large bio-load for cycling a tank. Personally I would remove one or two of the females to lessen the load then cycle it with one or two fish and give the other one in a separate container 100% water changes everyday while the tank cycles. You can leave them all in but I would be worried about the bio-load also cut back on feeding.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:28 PM   #3 
ChicagoPete
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Welcome to the world of Betta!
Things don't sound so bad as you may think and your first right choice was joining this site to learn more about these little guys and girls.
BiOrb seems to have alot of mixed reviews with what I have discoverd about their tanks. The way you have it set up now is what Im more intrested in. Do you have eny pics? To my knowlege about having a sorrority of female betta the minimum number of girls to have is 5 or so in atleast a 10 gallon tank that is also heavley planted for places the less dominant females can run and hide from the more domminant ones. With only 3 girls in only 4 gallons I don't quite see them being friends for to long of a time if they haven't already started picking on eachother already. Now about cycling theres alot of mixed reviews about how to do it but since you already have fish in the tank you have the fish in cycle method already in place. There are many products that are sold to help speed up and balance the process of the cycle I am going to get is called SeaChem Stability. Another thing about water changes they need to be done atleast 50% a week in that tank but for the first week a daily 25% change to keep chemicles in the tank from spiking. Also with every water change you need to add a Declorinator. I use Prime By SeaChem. Hope This helps ya and others will be filling in blanks I left out or mistaken.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:53 PM   #4 
PewPewPew
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You also dont *have to cycle the tank. If you dont, however, you will need to do more water changes, considerably more frequent than if you didnt.
I agree with ChicagoPete, too, that your girls might not be on good terms in such a small tank with that few of numbers. If youre going to keep them all there, get tons of places to hide (though that might be hard, considering its a biorb x.x)
Good luck!
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:20 PM   #5 
Malvolti
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I'm more or less going to agree with the others, and with the things you've already said.

Bioload wise 3 females in 4 gallons isn't terrible but females are know to try and kill each other on occasion. Even though they are happy now they can have mood swings. However they do divide their agression among everyone in the tank so there is a chance they won't go as far as killing each other.

What I would recommend is seperating them. You can get critter keepers from a pet store. You can get a 2 gallon for I think $15 at Petco/Petsmart so 2 should only be about $30. Really the expensive part if you go this route are the heaters.

I know you want to make the Biorb work, and I don't blame you considering the investment in it. I wish pet stores would stop mis-informing customers since it really only frustrates them. Anyways, just be warned that you MIGHT need to split the girls up.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:27 PM   #6 
opus2000
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Thanks for all of the replies so far. Looks like I have a few things to consider right now.

So...do I understand correctly that the most important things I need to do right now to get the tank to "cycle" correctly (assuming I keep them in this tank) are to get a test kit to monitor water levels, and do more frequent water changes? Do the kits instruct as to the frequency and amount of water changes necessary based on the results of the test? I just want to make sure I know what to do with the test results.

Regarding females cohabitating: I understood that the females will often fight or "pick" at each other for the first week or so, then settle down after they establish a sort of pecking order. But is sounds like that is not necessarily true? Is it common for females to become aggressive with each other after peacefully coexisting for a couple of weeks (they were all added to this tank at the same time)? I will certainly be watching them carefully for any signs of aggression.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:37 PM   #7 
Creat
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I have 4 girls in a 5.5 gal and they get along fine also considering its planted and I raised a few of the girls together and they all have relatively calm personalities. I also put them in all together.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:47 PM   #8 
wallywestisthebest333
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Even better if you live near Petco there's a Dollar per gallon sale for anything ranging from 10-55 gallons! =]

I'd get a 10 gallon for $10 or a 20 gallon for $20 then get an aquatech filter from walmart, a submersible heater from Petco (marineland stealth or hydor theo are great), and set up your new sorority in that! =]

It'd be much less stressful for you and the fish. =]

If you got the 20 gallon fish-in cycling would be less stressful as you'd have more water for your girls waste and the ammonia would be diluted. =]

The space would definitely help with any aggression you might currently be experiencing. =]

You could also get a few more girls and possibly some other tank mates like corries if you got the 20 gallon. =]

That's just me though. =]

If you sell your bio-orb (I hear those are EXPENSIVE! D:) then you'd probably have enough and then some to start up your new tank. =]

Good luck with your girls! =] I also recommend searching for other threads about sororities using the search tool and reading up on those. =]
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:02 AM   #9 
Sherleelee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallywestisthebest333 View Post
Even better if you live near Petco there's a Dollar per gallon sale for anything ranging from 10-55 gallons! =]

I'd get a 10 gallon for $10 or a 20 gallon for $20 then get an aquatech filter from walmart, a submersible heater from Petco (marineland stealth or hydor theo are great), and set up your new sorority in that! =]

It'd be much less stressful for you and the fish. =]

If you got the 20 gallon fish-in cycling would be less stressful as you'd have more water for your girls waste and the ammonia would be diluted. =]

The space would definitely help with any aggression you might currently be experiencing. =]

You could also get a few more girls and possibly some other tank mates like corries if you got the 20 gallon. =]

That's just me though. =]

If you sell your bio-orb (I hear those are EXPENSIVE! D:) then you'd probably have enough and then some to start up your new tank. =]

Good luck with your girls! =] I also recommend searching for other threads about sororities using the search tool and reading up on those. =]
1$ per gallon sale.. OMG america sucks sometimes! i really wish they had deals like that in australia, if so my fish keeping would be soo much more fun! where as i am paying 50 bucks for a 5 gallon tank here, sooo unfair!!! :(

Last edited by dramaqueen; 01-23-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:31 AM   #10 
vaygirl
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With females it's unpredictable. They could be fine. Then you may find one dead. If they have more space and more hiding places then there's more of a chance for the picked on fish to get away. Honestly? It's a gamble. You can stack the odds in your favor and still have a problem down the road.
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