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Old 03-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #1 
Kpabs
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So many questions about water changing/tank cleaning!

Hi everyone,
I've been lurking around the forums for a few weeks now, in my early stages of Betta keeping, looking for questions and information that pertain to my situation, but everything seems to be a little different (as is the information and advice that's given!), so I thought I'd post my own question.

I have a filtered, 2.5gal tank with one lovely little Betta, Biebs. I've had him for about 3 weeks now and he seems to be doing pretty well. There's gravel and a few fake plants in the tank. I've read that cycling a tank this size is difficult, so I took a chance and put him in there a few days into my owning him, and I test the water every few days to make sure all the levels are alright. The pH is a little high, but my tap water is also high.

So, water changes and cleaning questions. How frequently/how much should I change when I do water changes? I've been doing 50% once a week, but should I up that to twice a week? Is there any reason to do 100% ever if I have the filter? I've read that it's not good to get rid of all the good stuff growing in the tank... I'm also going to purchase a turkey baster to clean the gravel a bit, but should I also do a major tank cleaning ever?

Thanks in advance for all the help! As soon as I find my camera, I'll take a picture of Biebs.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:01 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of Betta keeping....

On a 2.5gal filtered tank-I would make twice weekly 50% water changes....1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuuming or stir and dip method to maintain water quality

Give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month and when the water flow slow to maintain good water flow

In small filtered tanks you can establish the nitrogen cycle, however, due to the volume-not enough surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize to keep the water fish safe for much longer than a week....twice weekly water change are needed to maintain water quality and fin health....

Look forward to pics.....
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:57 PM   #3 
Kpabs
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Thanks, OFL! I did a 50% water change and did the stir and dip method (and also used a baster). I checked all my levels with a liquid tester kit and nitrates were 0ppm, and my ammonia was up to .5ppm! I freaked, and then did lots of readings. I think (from what I can tell) I'll do 20%-30% water changes each day this week and cut back on feeding (I've been feeding him a small amount twice a day). Should I skip feeding him at all tomorrow? Is there something else I can do? I'm worried because I have to go out of town next weekend- I have a friend coming in a few times during the week to feed him- but if the levels are all over the place, I don't know what to do!

Please help me so I don't hurt my poor fish!
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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How many days has the tank been running, what kind of dechlorinator are you using, have you checked your source water for ammonia, what is the pH too....how does he react to the 0.5ppm ammonia level..

How many days are you going to be gone......
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:07 AM   #5 
Kpabs
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The tank has been up for 16 days. I'm using the "Betta Basics" dechlorinator... checked the source water for ammonia and there wasn't any. Did a water change again yesterday and just checked the ammonia this morning and it's still 0.5ppm. The pH in the tank is 7.6... which I know seems high, but that's what it was when I tested it last week, too. I tested my source water and the pH is 7.2-7.4. He seems to be alright, not acting differently, but I'm worried it's hurting him and I just can't tell! I didn't feed him yesterday, but just did a small amount this morning. It even looks like he's built a bubble nest in the corner of the tank (I could be wrong...).

I'm going to be away for 5 nights, then back for two, then gone for another 7. What am I doing wrong? Is there anything else I could be doing? Thanks for all your help!
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:46 AM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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I suspect that your ammonia is ammonium (fish safe) and the testing product can't tell the difference- due to the betta basic conditioner....this is the one by Seachem correct......Since he is overall acting and eating okay.....

Your pH is fine and by the looks of the numbers something in the tank is causing the pH to increase since tank water pH is higher than source water pH...and the Betta basic affect the pH too by the Seachem web-site.......

As for you going away-I wouldn't have anyone feed the Betta while you are gone unless they are also going to make the water changes too...he will be fine for 5 and 7 days......be sure to make your 50% water change and feed well before you leave and come back for the 2 days......

Have a safe trip....
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:41 PM   #7 
Kpabs
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Thank you so much, OFL! So, the ammonium that is showing up in the tests isn't going to hurt my poor fish? Should I continue to do the 20%-30% water changes each day before I leave, and then 50% with gravel cleaning the morning I go?

I was wondering about the feeding while I was gone... Should I just feed him the morning I leave and then not worry about the time I'm away? I have a friend who COULD come in 3 out of the first 5 days I'm gone. But I don't want to make her change water.

So I could feed him normally, do the 50% water change, leave him for the 5 days, then when I'm back, feed him for the 2 days, do ANOTHER 50% water change the day before I leave for the second week, then leave him for another 7? I'm so scared to leave him, but I honestly don't know what to do!

Thanks for all of your help!
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:18 AM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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That is what I would do....
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:14 AM   #9 
Kpabs
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Thank you so much for all your help with my questions about leaving my Betta while I'm on vacation, OFL. I did 20-30% water changes the week before I left, then the morning I left, I did a 50% change, fed the fish, and left.

I was supposed to be back today so I could do two water changes (20-30% then 50%) and feed him for two days, but my first trip has been extended a day. This means I'll only have one day in between trips. This means that he'll go 5 days, one day of feeding (or two, because I could feed him at like, 4 in the morning before I leave for trip #2), one 50% water change, and then another 7 days of no feeding or water changes.

I have no idea how he is right now, obviously, but I worry that there's just a short period of feeding and so little water changes in between my trips. Should I get someone to come in once or twice during the next (7 day) trip? This would be just to feed him... I don't think she'd be up for doing the water change... would it be worth it for her to come in and feed him mid-week, or is it better just to leave him for the 7 days, even though I could only do one 50% water change and one (or maybe two) feedings in between trips?

Thanks for all of your help! I'm worried about the health of my fish, but it's nice to have people on here who can help reassure me!
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