So I got my first ever fishy yesterday, a beautiful bright orange betta that I named Oscar. He's very lively he loves to swim around and his colors are very solid and vibrant.
I bought a 1 gallon tank with a "bubbling LED kit" and a filter, some white aquarium gravel, a bottle of betta food, a submersible heater, some decorations, and a water conditioning kit (which came with tablets and a food sample =P )
So I put a half an inch of gravel on the bottom of his tank, added his decorations and his bubbly light, and poured spring water on top. I installed his heater and his filter, then i dropped in a fizzy water conditioning tablet. I waited about an hour for the water to get to the right temp and the conditioner to settle in or whatever and I put oscar in. He seemed quite happy but he wouldn't eat which I read is normal when they're in a new home.
When I woke up, his water was very very cloudy and he was laying at the bottom and looking very lazy and lethargic. I immediately scooped him out and once he was in the little cup he came in he seemed to jump right back to normal. I figured the gravel was making dust in the water and thats what made it cloudy so I dumped out the water, boiled the gravel then rinsed it until the water ran as clear as could be.
I did the entire set up again except this time I used 1/8 teaspoon of PH neutralizer and 1/8 teaspoon of stress coat instead of the fizzy thing. I decided to leave him in the cup to see if the water got cloudy instead of risk putting him in their and getting more sick. 8 hours later, the water is super cloudy and the filter isn't helping at all. So I dumped all the water and gravel out, treated a gallon of tap water with a fizzy tab and I've got him in the tank now with just the water and nothing else.
What can I do? Does he need to have gravel? I'm not sure how to handle this at all.
First of all, I'm not sure it's the gravel making things cloudy. Does your filter have a carbon cartridge in it? If so, did you rinse it first? Sometimes if you don't rinse the carbon quite a bit before putting it in, the loose carbon can cloud the water. Also I would definitely ditch the fizzy tab thing and stick with Stress Coat. Also, you probably don't need to mess with the pH stuff, either. Bettas will adjust to most water chemistry setups, including high or low pH.
Oscar doesn't need the gravel and to be honest, it will make it easier to clean things. You can just use a turkey baster to suck up waste. I have three of my six bettas in barebottom tanks. It's unattractive but they don't seem to mind. The only downside is keeping the fake plants from floating around. ^_^ If you want gravel, I'd suggest you get a kind of gravel that is round and smooth and epoxy coated. It doesn't come in white, though, only in natural stone colors. But because it's coated in epoxy, there's little dust.
If you continue having the cloudy water issue, post again. It may actually be your water. It's hard to say. I hope, however, either removing the gravel or rinsing the carbon in the filter helps.
Tomorrow I'm going to take the tank and the gravel back to walmart and get a bigger tank and the better gravel you suggested. I'm pretty sure it was the gravel because I took it out and put new water in and it seems to be staying clear.
Oscar is looking lively right now which is good :)
Do the fizzy tabs work? I used on in tap water and that's what he is in now. Is this safe until I can get the stress coat (probably tomorrow)? (I borrowed from my boyfriend originally)
If i buy Spring water do I need to treat it with stress coat?
Also, my heater says it's for 2-5 gallon tanks, but mine is 1 gallon. Does this mean it won't work effectively?
You said you found your betta lethargic when you woke up... Have you considered the possibility that your betta was just sleeping/resting in his tank before becoming active when you roused him from his slumber by scooping him out into a cup?
I know you're pretty excited about owning your first fish and it's great that you want to do things right the first time. But for a beginner, I'd recommend laying off the chemicals designed to treat water - especially when dealing with a one gallon tank! You have very little room for error due to the smaller volume involved, and if you add a compound in excess you risk doing far greater harm to your fish than what the trace amounts of chlorine in your tapwater would do. Your tapwater is probably fine, remember that chlorine is toxic to everything at high enough concentrations, but the levels in your tap were set to be toxic to microbial life, not multicellular vertebrates like fish and humans.
You might need to worry about chlorine if you have a cycled tank with an established population of nitrosifying/nitrifying bacteria, but anything below a 5 gallon is apparently very difficult to cycle, so stick with tapwater or you can mix tap with distilled water to fractionate dosages of any harmful compounds, if present. Water conditioner has other neat things like chelation agents but those aren't really needed unless you live in China or in a house from the 50s that has lead-based paint. Remember to focus not on recreating specific water chemistry, but rather stable water chemistry!
Also, did you say those tablets were 'fizzing' in spring water? I don't think water conditioner is supposed to react vigorously with water... But perhaps the cloudiness you see in your tank is due to excess metal (from tablet) hydroxide complexes precipitating out of solvent?
superzoe, I would still strongly recommend Stress Coat as a water conditioner because of the added ingredients for aiding a fish's slime coat. Whether or not one lives in China or a lead-filled house, it's best to always use a water conditioner and err on the side of caution. How is Oscar today? Is he better without the gravel?
He seems a lot better without the gravel though the water was a tinge cloudy when I woke up, but I didn't have the filter in his tank last night so it might be from his poop? I'm still going to get him a bigger tank today, I'd like to try for 2.5 or bigger if I can afford it. I might get the smooth marbley rocks instead of the gravel for the bottom of his tank though. He's being a real trooper and hopefully once it's set up today he'll be set up for a good long while and I can stop changing his environment around.
Is a sideways coffee mug an okay decoration for inside his tank? I can't really afford those fancy caves right now but I know he'd like somewhere to cuddle up at night.
I was also wondering about lighting? If i get him a tank with a light when should it be on and when should it be off.
Will having the tv on in the room bother him at night when he wants to sleep?
Yeah, a coffee mug is a great cave. Just make sure it's clean and he'll love it.
A tank with a light is good so you can actually see your fish. ^_^ I had a few of my girls in unlit tanks and not only did I have a hard time seeing them but their colors were different. In light, the betta will be brighter and more colorful. You basically turn the light on when you get up and turn it off when you go to sleep. Easier to take pictures of them, as well.
He won't be bothered by the TV at all. Mine is on all the time and one of my fish is next to the telephone (not that it rings late at night) and it doesn't bother my fish at all. When they want to sleep, they just drift off and most people can't even tell when their betta is asleep at first. There are funny stories about people startling them awake.
Ceramics are great decorations, but if you're using an old coffee mug be sure to immerse it in dilute (1/20) bleach solution to remove any residue, followed by a thorough rinse in hot tap water to wash off the bleach. At night, external lighting may cause reflections on the side of your tank, especially if it's acrylic, causing your betta to constantly flare at himself. This will wear him out over prolonged periods of time, so be sure to check on him once in a while to make sure everything is OK.
Stresscoat should be fine, but like I said in my post - it would be a lot more prudent to avoid adding other 'hard' conditioners directly into small tanks. However, OP, if you have an empty water container capable of holding, say 5 or even 2.5 gallons like those big Sparkletts jugs, you can add conditioner to water there and set aside the excess water for water changes - this way it's easier to add the correct amount of conditioner without misjudging volume due to factors in the tank i.e. displacement of water by gravel and decorations and so on.
Unless you live in a rural area that gets its water from, say, an underground aquifer, your tapwater should be fine if you dilute it with distilled water. If you choose to use a conditioner, at least make sure that it's in liquid form - it solvates better and would be easier for you to measure out the proper dosage. Ditch the fizz tablets, and avoid pH modification products like the plague unless you're absolutely certain of why you need a pH change - and for that knowledge you would need a test kit or pH meter measure the initial pH of the water you want to modify.
Actually pens, a lot of people here say distilled water isn't good and most will advise using a water conditioner. But if you have had luck with that arrangment, that's great, everyone has a different method that works for them.
Stress Coat won't harm the fish if the amount is a little over. In fact, for fish with fin injuries, it's advised to add in extra. The aloe vera in it promotes healing and stimulates the production of their slime coat, which keeps them healthy and helsp them fight off disease.
But sorry, with all respect, I disagree about the bleach. It's too dangerous to use bleach because if you don't get it all out, it can kill your fish very quickly. Most people use hot water and vinegar to sterilize things and then sun dry; it's much safer.
Sorry, superzoe, we may just be confusing you here. ^_^