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Old 05-16-2011, 08:59 AM   #1 
inkrealm
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
okay, so my tank levels are good today, do I still need to waterchange?[cycling]

so I'm doing an in-tank cycling. I don't know if he just hasn't done anything after the last change or what, but all the levels came out as fine? my ammonia's still just at 0, (the really light yellow color ) and nitrite and nitrate didn't come up on the strip. so should I not do a water change today?
also it's a five gallon; what heater watt should I use? I have a 50, but according to the thermo it's low seventies? 0-o it doesn't feel that cold and he seems to be okay and someone said you should do 5 watts per gallon, so maybe the thermometer is just off? but idk >< it's just a cheap one from wal-mart so I guess that could be it... it's not digital.
thanks ^-^
the hood also has a light that warms the surface some.


edit: also he has a ripped fin, so I don't want cold water promoting finrot D:
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:55 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Need some more information.....what size tank (5gal), type of filtration, any live plants, bioload, type of additives, water temp, how many days cycling, exact numbers on the water test, last water changes and what is the regular water change schedule
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:25 AM   #3 
inkrealm
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ahh, okay :D

size: glass 5 gallon w/hood and in-hood light that does generate some heat, it's a typical rectangle that's longer than it is tall.

filter: I don't think I have the name, it goes on the side of the tank hanging over it with a cut out hole in the hood so it can fit over it, with a carbon filter it runs through first and then it goes through another white plain filter before going back out, it's also baffled with some silk leaves that had too much plastic to put in tank. they're taped on.
I THINK it's aquatech power filter 5-15 gallon, that's what my refills are for. ( speaking of, I don't replace the filter after all, right? I just take both filters out and swish them in the old water set aside in a bucket, and put them back in, every month or two? )

days cycling: it could only have been cycling a few days, I got him Thursday, ( 12 May ) which is the first day the tank was running ( no-one had told me what cycled actually meant and it had just been the basic pet store thing of, yeah just run the filter for 24 hours. >.<; )
and then THANK GOD someone told me that day or early next what it really meant, before he could get seriously hurt D:
so I put him in Friday, and either tried to change it first then or Saturday, Saturday I think because I remember he'd spent one night in the tank before he cut his fin, then I had to take one plant out and add some more live, and after that I tried to do a partial change but didn't get very far because he had a stress streak and I didn't want to risk it so soon after he got out of that terrible cup.
after he got a good night's sleep I tried again the next morning ( Sunday ) and did the whole 50 and he took it great.
so this would be the second 50 nchange, and maybe the fourth day of running I guess. I did his water change early morning yesterday, so it's been 24 hours now.

Schedule: I plan to do it every early morning before I feed him, and I usually feed him at 10:00am, so around 9 let;s say.

Plants: I have three live plants, Anubias, Oriental Swords, and Money Wort.

Things Added In: there's a little aquarium salt in there right now, because of the fin, but not a ton,

Heater/Temp: let's see.... Tetra Pre-Set Heater ---> here, it tells details below the picture
my thermo is non-digital, says around mid seventies, but I think it must be off because it was less than $5 (US) from wal-mart and it said earlier it was low seventies but he was active and it didn't feel that cold when I held my cleaned ( no soap no worries ) hand in for a bit. if it's too cold I know they're supposed to sit on the bottom of the tank ><; and someone said 5 watts per gallon, so for a 5 gall 50 should be okay? >.<;
like I said it's pre-set and has a sensor that's supposed to cut on when it gets below 78,

Levels: the test has been sitting out now so it's changed readings but I can test again if needed and give the numbers.
the nitrate and nitrite didn't change colors ( I have seen them change before so I'm sure they work ) and the ammonia was light yellow which is 0.
even if it went from the yellow to the next reading yellow-green which says caution, that's 0.2, so if it was between the two it would be less than 0.2
that's the reading I got yesterday before the change, and after I got a little paler version of that,
but today after things had had time to settle it wasn't even that. it just looked yellow P:
if you need the other numbers, hardness etc. I can take them again.
the pellets also didn't float today like they usually do, if that means anything ><
I watched him to make sure he caught both and ate both and he did.
PH has been between 5 and 6 and it hadn't changed, and hardness was a little less than preferred I think, but not 0 or near it.


Water/Treatment: my first water combo was treated spring, treated tap ( which was probably more or less very similar to the spring since we live in the mountains >< ), a good chunk of betta water ( which won't be regular ), and a LITTLE distilled to even out the treatment for the water in case I used a little too much. the water treatment is BetaSafe by Tetra. now it's all treated tap. maybe a touch of distilled or spring or betta water left over but mainly treated tap, which will be the usual balance with just a tiny bit distilled each time to even out the treatment.

Notes: the plants came from pet store aquariums. the money wort came from the one I bought him at and was not washed because I didn't think about parasites, but it came from the same water he'd been given. the other two came from a pet store with an owner who actually takes care of his fish and keeps each species/animal as a pet before selling it in his pet store so that he actually knows how to take care of them. I rinsed the first one with hot tap water and a little filtered to wash off chlorine, but on the second I just used the filtered because I thought it might be good to have a few bacteria, which the chlorine would kill.
I'm using gravel which I haven't moved around yet. thin layer barely covering onmost of it with several inches around the plants in the very edge of the right end of the tank, because I didn't want him hurting himself again on the sharp bits of the pots and it also holds them down well.
the bacteria builds in the gravel too, right? so I should leave it be for a bit and once it's cycled I should just jostle it enough to stir up any waste and suck it up when it floats out?
thankyou ^-^ if I missed anything please let me know, sorry >.<;

Last edited by inkrealm; 05-16-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:09 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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You can safely establish the nitrogen cycle with the Betta provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes.....

In a 5gal filtered tank with one Betta and a few plants during the cycling process...I would make twice weekly water changes...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate vacuum in all areas that can be reached without moving anything (like the decorations) or disruption of the plant roots.

Filter media-this is best left alone until the nitrogen cycle has established (4-8weeks) unless the water flow has slowed...then all you need to do is give the filter media a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water only change a couple of times a month to get the big pieces of gunk off...you want the filter media to look dirty...this is good bacteria.....

You don't need to change the sponge part of the filter media until it is falling apart....1-2 times a year.......

If you plan to use carbon (not needed) change this per package directions...carbon use is more of a personal choice...water changes do the same thing carbon does on the most part...but it good to have fresh un-used carbon on hand at all times....never know when you will need it for an emergency......

Once the nitrogen cycle has established-weekly 50% with vacuum should maintain water quality....

Its best to treat in a small QT container that can be floated in the heated tank....you really don't want to keep salt in the display tank especially with live plants since they can be sensitive to it

I would make a couple of back to back 50% to get the salt out and if you feel he needs treatment...QT to treat......

Its also important to use correct amount of salt when treating-by using too little you can cause resistant pathogen/parasites.....often for just minor fin damage...clean water is all that is needed anyway....

With any treatment-it should be used for the right reason, dosage and duration...otherwise you can do more harm than good......

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 05-16-2011 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:27 PM   #5 
inkrealm
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Thanks, should I keep testing case of spikes or should the two counter it... and does this schedule sound good?
Monday- no eating day,
since this is the day he'll digest things well he may produce more waste than usual, so Tuesday water change
then Saturday second water change+poke through gravel, and go around again.
or should I do the gravel one on Tuesday after digestion day?
for the gravel change is it okay to use a turkey bastor and poke around in the gravel and suck up what's jostled loose? or should I release it under water to cause a bubble effect that knocks things lose ( which make knock the bacteria loose as wlel though >.< ), or use a gentle siphon?
once the cycle is done I think I'll do the weekly change on Tuesday after digestion day if that sounds good? or should I do the Saturday one and let the waste stay a bit?
thankyou so much for the help :D
and I'll go ahead and do the water changes for the salt. ^-^
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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The beneficial bacteria for the nitrogen cycle are sticky and adhere to everything inside the tank...like the walls, decorations, plants both fake and real, in the top layer of the substrate (that get oxygen) and in the filter media...very little are in the water column itself....so water only changes will not stall or hurt the cycling process...but over cleaning will.....you don't want to vacuum more than every 7 days during the cycling process or over clean the filter media....but you do need to vacuum the gravel in all areas that can be reached without moving anything or disruption of plant roots at least weekly to get the mulm/debris out and get the gravel turned over a little bit so that oxygen can get to the beneficial bacteria, you can also safely clean the viewing walls of the tank weekly without problems......if the water flow slows give the filter media a rinse in old tank water...but it is best to wait until the nitrogen cycle has established some...but water flow is really important too to keep the beneficial bacteria thriving since it require oxygen......

With a test kit-I would make a weekly 50% with vacuum and a 50% water only with ammonia/nitrite 0.25ppm or greater

Generally-when the tank is first setup and the fish added- by day 3 is when the first water change is needed and then schedule the next water change from that point...more or less......
I wouldn't base water changes on feeding since you also have ammonia that is excreted via gills....you also have other things that build up in the aquarium...DOC's or dissolved organic compounds that we don't test for that can also be problematic for the fish
Since you have live plants this can also help with water quality...but with just a few plants I wouldn't depend on them and they need to be actively growing too...active growth they will use the ammonia for plant food
Remember-active growing plants can use ammonia before it convert and sometime you may not see nitrate reading-the sign of near completion of the nitrogen cycle....however, even with the plants using some of the food source for the beneficial bacteria the nitrogen cycle is still happening.......

Some dechlorinators can also cause skewed water test readings since some of these products change ammonia to ammonium a safer forum that can still be used by both plants and the beneficial bacteria but are harmless to the fish...

Watch the Betta-often he will tell you if you have a problem by his behavior....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 05-16-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:14 PM   #7 
inkrealm
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I think the water flow should be safe, I've used a similar filter before and gone a month without touching it and it never stalled flowing ^-^ I do have it baffled but I'm guessing you mean the actual cycling of water rather than the current. if it does get clogged all very carefully pick off ONLY the big chunks and not touch the rest.

do I need to get the scum off or will it just suck up easy with a gentle suction force?

I have one plant that's definitely actively growing right now x3 I can't tell with one and the other hasn't planted its darn roots yet, but if these don't start growing I'll remove them and put in some more that do.

I'll also continue checking the levels daily just to be safe,
he mostly just darts a lot, but it's not only at the top or anything, so I think he's just really active. the rest of what he had seems to be going away,and he had all that when he came from the cup.
thanks again :D
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