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Old 06-09-2011, 10:40 PM   #1 
BettaFins
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Advice on gently moving recovering fish to larger tank

We have a betta in a 1 gal bowl. Everything was good until the water got fouled over a long weekend away. His color faded, fins looked clamped, and he spent a lot of time just laying on the bottom. Since then (2 weeks ago) we've done many 50% water changes and some antibiotic treatment. He seems to be doing better, swimming around more, and eats pretty well.

We would like to transfer him to a larger 2.5 gallon tank. I also think it would be good to try some aquarium salt in the water. Of course, I'm worried about stressing him more by transferring him directly into completely fresh water- and then there's the issue of getting him used to the salt.

Can anyone suggest the best and most gentle way for making this transition? Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:07 PM   #2 
Sakura8
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

One way to avoid shocking your betta with too much fresh or different water is drip acclimation. The idea behind this is to slowly acclimate your fish to any differences there may be in the water of his current home and the water in his new home. Temperature, chemistry etc, those kind of differences. First, fill up his new tank with conditioned water and get it running the way you want. Next, empty his 1g bowl about halfway. Now, there are two ways to do this.

One is to take a length of thin airline hose. Put one end in the new tank and suck on the other end to get a siphon going. Once the water is flowing, try tying a knot or clamping the hose so that the water flow is reduced to a few drips. Put the dripping end in his bowl with him. At this point, all you can do is wait. When the volume of water in his bowl has doubled or so, you can net him and deposit him in his new tank. I personally never could get a knot tight enough to slow the water enough but it could have just been my airline hose.

The other way is to scoop up water from his new tank into a pitcher or bowl. Every ten-fifteen minutes or so dribble just a bit of this water into his bowl with him. Repeat until the volume of water has doubled and you can net him and deposit him in his new tank. For future reference, use drip acclimation any time you bring home a new fish. It reduces the stress on the fish and means it has a greater chance of surviving the move.

Now, to be honest, I would continue the aquarium salt treatment in the 1g bowl. With a salt treatment, you'll have to change the water every day and redo the salt and it's just easier to do in a small bowl. But that's just me. If you don't mind changing a little more water every day, then you can transfer him to his new home and let him get used to it for about a day. Then you can add the salt. It's 1 teaspoon per gallon.

Oh, another thing. Does your new tank have a filter with it? Then you'll want to do the salt treatment in the 1g bowl because the salt could delay the biological cycling of the filter. In a 2.5g tank with a filter, I'd suggest changing 50% of the water once a week and 100% with a gravel vacuum once a week.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:44 PM   #3 
BettaFins
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Thanks and thanks for the information on the acclimation techniques. That part makes much more sense now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
Now, to be honest, I would continue the aquarium salt treatment in the 1g bowl.
...
If you don't mind changing a little more water every day, then you can transfer him to his new home and let him get used to it for about a day. Then you can add the salt. It's 1 teaspoon per gallon.
...
Oh, another thing. Does your new tank have a filter with it? Then you'll want to do the salt treatment in the 1g bowl because the salt could delay the biological cycling of the filter. In a 2.5g tank with a filter, I'd suggest changing 50% of the water once a week and 100% with a gravel vacuum once a week.
We actually haven't used any salt yet. I just learned about it and think it sounds like it could help. I do kind of like the idea of getting him used to the new tank before exposing him to the salt additive, though... but some of that is just caution because I don't think he's 100% recovered and I'm nervous about stressing him more.

Also, the new tank isn't bought yet- so I don't know what all the final details will be filter-wise. Do you have any recommendations for a small tank filter?
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:18 PM   #4 
Sakura8
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The Marineland Duetto is supposed to be a good small-tank filter and the replacement filter parts aren't too expensive. I know my Petco in CA carries it in-store and it can also be purchased online from Foster and Smith Aquatics, as well as other online pet places. I've also heard the Fluval Nano advertised but I don't know as much about it. Fluval is a good brand but sometimes pricy. Some people have had good success with the Tetra Whisper Internal Filter as well. This is often sold with tank kits from the Tetra brand.

The main purpose of an aquarium salt treatment is usually to help heal fins and scales that have been damaged from ammonia or injury. For your guy, if he doesn't have ammonia burns or signs of fin rot, a salt treatment isn't necessary but it won't hurt him either. In his case, it will add electrolytes to the water that will help stimulate his slime coat, which aids in fighting off infections. So it could definitely be beneficial in that sense. If you decide not to do salt, then you can always use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress Coat. Both will detoxify the water and add nutrients like aloe vera that will help his slime coat. Kind of a two-birds-with-one-stone thing.
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