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Old 08-17-2011, 10:06 AM   #1 
willabean
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Confused! Too much info?

Hi all!
Thanks to the great help I recieved here, my little Fish Perry is doing well ( recovering from fin rot ). Nice new growth on his tail and his color is now a pretty, bright red!
My new question is regarding his tank. Every time I get a new tank set-up, thinking I'm doing the best for F.P., I read something that claims I'm treating him badly! DOES he need a minimum 10 gallon tank to be healthy and happy? Currently, he is in a 5 gallon, filtered and heated tank. I'm still struggling with the cycling thing.
The trouble is that so much info is out there and much of it is conradictory! IE :
1.) Change your carbon filter monthly vs Rarely if ever change it, just rinse ( to save good bacteria
2.) Bettas can be healthy in a large bowl vs Anything under 10 gallons is cruel
3.) 5 gallon tank needs 50% water change + 100% water change weekly vs
NEVER 100% water change ( kills good bacteria )
4.) All tanks need some aquarium salt vs NO salt ( kills good bacteria )

Should I move him to a 10 gallon tank?
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:14 AM   #2 
Littlebittyfish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willabean View Post
Hi all!
Thanks to the great help I recieved here, my little Fish Perry is doing well ( recovering from fin rot ). Nice new growth on his tail and his color is now a pretty, bright red!
My new question is regarding his tank. Every time I get a new tank set-up, thinking I'm doing the best for F.P., I read something that claims I'm treating him badly! DOES he need a minimum 10 gallon tank to be healthy and happy? Currently, he is in a 5 gallon, filtered and heated tank. I'm still struggling with the cycling thing.
The trouble is that so much info is out there and much of it is conradictory! IE :
1.) Change your carbon filter monthly vs Rarely if ever change it, just rinse ( to save good bacteria
2.) Bettas can be healthy in a large bowl vs Anything under 10 gallons is cruel
3.) 5 gallon tank needs 50% water change + 100% water change weekly vs
NEVER 100% water change ( kills good bacteria )
4.) All tanks need some aquarium salt vs NO salt ( kills good bacteria )

Should I move him to a 10 gallon tank?
Bettas can be happy in smaller tanks, the smallest I would go is 2 gallons though. Anything smaller can be hard to heat..and bettas prefer water that is between 77-80 degrees.5 gallons is perfect for a single betta.
Filtered tanks 5-10 gallons usually only need 1 50% water change weekly with gravel vacuming once the tank is cycled. Usually while the tank is cycling I do 2 50% water changes weekly..
If your tank is not filtered you will need to do 1 50% and then a 100%.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #3 
tf1265
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Hi Willa!

You are right, there is a ton of conflicting informationg floating around - and you never find it until you've already done something wrong! A lot of it is conflicting because so much depends on specific setups.


1) Bacteria won't really live in a carbon filter. You need a biological filter or sponge filter to have a lot of bacteria living in the filter. Changing a carbon filter won't have any effect on good bacteria levels, the activated carbon filters filter out chemicals. They do need to be changed. If you have a filter with several different methods (chemical, biological, mechanical), you only want to change 1 method at a time, every few months. Sponge filters can be rinsed out and reused for a long time.

2)Tank size - bettas DO like to swim and need space to do it. It is cruel to keep them in a tiny bowl (imagine a puppy kept in a crate all the time, or tied to a tree in the back yard constantly. You'd feel terrible for it, right?) A 5 gallon tank for a single betta is absolutely fine. Yes, in the wild they have endless amounts of swimming space, but 5 gallons of space is sufficient. Just make sure he has plenty of plants and hiding spaces, they stress if there is too much open space. You can get bowls that are large enough for a betta to thrive, but you don't want to go much smaller than 2.5 gallons whether it's a bowl or a tank.

3) Water changes are important no matter what. If your tank is cycled and has a good filtration system you can do less water changes. Most of the good bacteria will live in the gravel, so if you have a cycled tank you don't want to do 100% water changes as that will kill off a lot of the bacteria. If you DON'T have a cycled tank, you will want to do 100% water changes every few weeks. With 1 betta in a 5 gallon tank, the bio load isn't very heavy. I would do a 20% water change every other day (that's 1 gallon, which is very easy to keep in an old milk jug and age it between changes) to keep ammonia levels at or close to 0, and then a 100% water change once a month. If it's cycled, a 20-50% water change weekly should suffice, with a gravel vaccuum once a month.

4) I've never used aquarium salt in my tanks unless I'm trying to cure a disease. I don't think it's necessary at all, and since it's hard to monitor the levels in your tank it seems too risky to me.

I hope that clears up some questions for you. Again, a lot of it depends on the set up which is one reason there is so much conflict. Another reason is that fish, like people, have different reactions to things. Some bettas would live happily in a .5gallon bowl for years, while others would sulk and eventually die. I also have had bettas who seem much happier in small bowls than larger tanks. Bettas are tough, so you'll probably be ok. Just pay attention to his behavior and coloring. Bettas get very pale when they are stressed out.

One more thing- cycling is completely dependent on being able to test your water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Without a test kit, cycling is impossible to know for sure when the cycle is complete. If you don't have a test kit, get one! It's also the single most important thing to figure out what's going wrong if something (like fin rot) happens to your fish.

Good luck! I hope that helped a bit and didn't just confuse you more!
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #4 
fishcurl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willabean View Post
Hi all!
Thanks to the great help I recieved here, my little Fish Perry is doing well ( recovering from fin rot ). Nice new growth on his tail and his color is now a pretty, bright red!
My new question is regarding his tank. Every time I get a new tank set-up, thinking I'm doing the best for F.P., I read something that claims I'm treating him badly! DOES he need a minimum 10 gallon tank to be healthy and happy? Currently, he is in a 5 gallon, filtered and heated tank.
5 gallons is fine, in fact it's great :)


I'm still struggling with the cycling thing.
The trouble is that so much info is out there and much of it is conradictory! IE :
1.) Change your carbon filter monthly vs Rarely if ever change it, just rinse ( to save good bacteria
While your tank is still new, don't rinse your filter and don't change it. After that, I'm not sure because I'm still getting to that point myself.

2.) Bettas can be healthy in a large bowl vs Anything under 10 gallons is cruel
The minimum tank size is one of those debates where everyone has an opinion. Under 10 gallons certainly isn't cruel for a betta. Personally I'd go for a minimum of 2.5 gallons if possible :)

3.) 5 gallon tank needs 50% water change + 100% water change weekly vs
NEVER 100% water change ( kills good bacteria )
Oldfishlady, the patron saint of all things betta and fishy says that for a 5 gallon tank that is being cycled 50% water changes twice weekly with only one substrate vacuuming during a change is needed. 100% changes in a 5 gallon would be counterproductive in getting the cycle going. After the cycle is establish, 50% water change with substrate vacuuming once a week.

That said, invest in a Master Test kit by API. Test your water daily to monitor the levels for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. When either parameter exceeds safety levels, do a 50% change.

4.) All tanks need some aquarium salt vs NO salt ( kills good bacteria )
My understanding of aq salt is that it's only needed to treat a betta for diseases and other medical conditions.

Should I move him to a 10 gallon tank?
I don't think so. 5 gallons is plenty :)
My answers in bold above :)

EDIT: Fixed a few typos and clarified other things.

Last edited by fishcurl; 08-17-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:48 AM   #5 
Kytkattin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willabean View Post
Hi all!
Thanks to the great help I recieved here, my little Fish Perry is doing well ( recovering from fin rot ). Nice new growth on his tail and his color is now a pretty, bright red!
My new question is regarding his tank. Every time I get a new tank set-up, thinking I'm doing the best for F.P., I read something that claims I'm treating him badly! DOES he need a minimum 10 gallon tank to be healthy and happy? Currently, he is in a 5 gallon, filtered and heated tank. I'm still struggling with the cycling thing.
The trouble is that so much info is out there and much of it is conradictory! IE :
1.) Change your carbon filter monthly vs Rarely if ever change it, just rinse ( to save good bacteria
2.) Bettas can be healthy in a large bowl vs Anything under 10 gallons is cruel
3.) 5 gallon tank needs 50% water change + 100% water change weekly vs
NEVER 100% water change ( kills good bacteria )
4.) All tanks need some aquarium salt vs NO salt ( kills good bacteria )

Should I move him to a 10 gallon tank?
1. Generally if you do use carbon you have to change it. But you do not have to use carbon at all. It is a personal choice. I find it to be too much trouble, so I just replace it with ceramic instead. Ceramic (sold for filters) is much better for growing the good bacteria than inactive/old carbon.
2. Bettas can, I believe the general consensus says, be healthy in anything as small as a a 1 gallon long term. However, this can be hard to heat. 5 gallons is perfect.
3. If you are cycling, yes, never do a 100%. Just do 50%s as often as needed to keep the parameters in check until is cycles. Then I think you would do at least one 50% a week.
4. On this particular site I have found that most people do not think it is good to have any salt in the tank as it makes it less effective when you do really need it. So I would say skip it unless your betta is already sick.

No, don't feel you need to move him in to a 10 gallon tank. If you want a 10 gallon, feel free, of course, but don't do it because you think he doesn't have enough room. He has plenty.
And do keep in mind that what I posted above will be yet another opinion, based on what I think are facts, but I am sure others would disagree. You just have to find what works for you.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #6 
willabean
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Thanks yall!
So I'm keeping him in the 5 gallon! He seems very happy in it and it fits perfectly by my desk so he gets much attention. My husband says " that poor fish must be creeped out by you staring at him all the time! " LOL!
One thing is becoming CRYSTAL clear, I need a testing kit! I MUST get this thing cycled!
On my way to PetsMart now,were they think I'm crazy!!! He is FINE in a bowl they say! Whatever! Only the best for my little fishy!!
Thanks again!
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:22 PM   #7 
flowerslegacy
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Hi willabean, Welcome to the forum!

All info you've received already is great. My only addition would be the ammonia and nitrite levels while it's cycling. Ammonia and nitrite at any level is lethal for fish. They should always register at 0. However, during the cycle the ammonia *will* spike and the nitrites *will* spike too. So, your best investment (next to the Test Kit) is a water conditioner that converts ammonia and nitrites to a non-toxic form. A very popular conditioner is Prime by Seachem. Prime is effective for approx. 24 to 48 hours. After that, if the ammonia and nitrites have not been consumed by the beneficial bacteria, they will be released back to their natural form - which is toxic. (NOTE: While using Prime, the ammonia and nitrites will still register on your test kit. They have simply been converted to a non-toxic form, but are still available to be used by the beneficial bacteria and complete your cycling process). So for example: Do a 50% water change using the Prime. 24 hours later check your water parameters. If they're still indicating ammonia and nitrites, do another 50% change. (Technically you can wait up to 48 hours, but personally that scares me so I just do it every 24 hours). You'll have to continue this process until the beneficial bacteria is established and your readings are 0. Once your readings are 0, you can start with the regular maintenance schedule that everyone indicated above. I think this was already mentioned, but during your initial water changes, do not vaccum the rocks or clean the decorations or rinse your filter. All of your beneficial bacteria lives on those items and you don't want to wash them away. Also, once you begin your regular maintenance water changes, you'll want to rinse your filter in the old, dirty water that you remove from the tank. Never use unconditioned tap water as the chlorine will kill everything. And I mean everything! I've recently re-cycled one tank, fully cycled another and I'm just at the end of cycling my last one. I think I could scream from all the water changes! But my betta's are healthy and happy and blowing bubble nests during the process - so it's worth it. Good luck and keep us posted!
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