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Old 12-14-2011, 03:45 AM   #1 
goldentryst
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Help please, betta experts ! :(

Hello, all. I've long since been browsing these forums, though I hadn't made an account up until now. Whenever I googled something betta fish-related I usually found my way here to this website, and it's great to see that most of you really do care about your betta fish.

Anyway... so a problem came up a few days ago. For the past 5 months that I've had my betta fish, he's been in a 1.5 gallon 'tank'. He is a happy and active betta with a voracious appetite, though the past 1-2 months or so he had developed a deep reddishness on his lower long fin and top upper fin. (I'll get into detail on that later.)

About 5 days ago I decided to purchase a ten-gallon tank for my buddy. I had been planning to buy it more near Christmas, but hell, I was excited to do something great for my fishy friend sooner than later. Couldn't hold myself back.

Here's everything I got and put in it, just to be accurate:

- 10 gallon tank with Whisper Internal Power Filter 10i
- a 2-in-1 package of API's STRESS COAT (conditioner) & API's STRESS ZYME (biological filtration booster)
- aqua gravel
- an imitation/ornamental driftwood
- ornamental seashells
- 50W submersible heater
- 12'' fake silk plant
- marimo moss ball

Okay so, I did everything I was supposed to. I decholorinated the water, I rinsed everything before putting inside the new tank, and etc. etc.

Next day I acclimated my betta to the tank for about 1-2 hours before gently letting him in it. For the first day he was perfectly happy and super curious, exploring here and there. I made sure to create a mild blockage for the filter with a piece of sponge. I noticed my betta grew especially partial to the driftwood at the bottom, once he faced his fears of the dark and ventured inside it. (That one got my parents and I smiling.)

Everything seemed beyond perfect.

Next day I check up on him, I notice he's not swimming around the tank. I look inside the driftwood from the tank's side and notice he's sitting in there. Strange, I think. He's hardly ever sat still for more than 2 seconds even in his 1.5 gallon (unless it was nearing his bedtime). I notice he's pale, and when I check from the other side of the tank and see him from behind I see that his gills are going in and out, at a rapid pace. Something is definitely wrong.

At that point I was unsure of what to do and I had no time left for me before I had to go to work. I knew I had to put him back in his old 1.5 gall, at least for now, but I didn't even have any ready-tap/aged water to fill that up with. (I had naively disposed all of that assuming that the 10 gall would be without problems.)

So I got water ready and scooped my betta out of the tank in his 'betta cup'.

He was frozen stiff, pale, and his 'stress line' was so apparent on his normally blue body. :/

That night when I came home luckily he was still alive and I quickly went to work in gently easing him back into his old home. I used the conditioner I had before, the one specifically suited for Betta Fish by Tetra. That's the one I had been using for 5months.

Few hours later he perks up, although he seems a bit weak.

Next day, he's getting stronger, and such.

Today, he's completely back to his old chipper self. He's moving actively within his tank, boasting a healthy appetite, and responsive to whoever goes near his tank. I can't even start to explain how relieved my family and I was. He really is a part of our family, with the way we treat him and how he makes his way into our light jokes.

Anyways. It was definitely something with the water in the 10gall, I'm sure. I'm not sure if it was just shock from being in a massive, new tank.

My thoughts:

- the added live bacteria (stress zyme) perhaps caused an 'influx' of unnecessary bacteria which the fish wasn't used to? This was what the girl at Petsmart suggested.

- for the 10 gall tank I used a dechlorinator (stress coat) that the betta fish was not used to. for 5months his water has always been treated with Tetra's Betta fish-suited conditioner. The other woman who I spoke with today at Petsmart said this might be the problem, because he wasn't 'used to' the new conditioner, but I somewhat doubt it because she seemed to be severely lacking in knowledge on betta fish and spouting nonsensical facts... such as, "they don't even NEED a heater!" Not to mention she was slamming her hands down on the betta fish cups at the display sect... but nevermind my ranting.

I also took the chance to get my free water test today for both the 1.5gall and the 10gall.

Everything was clear in both except TWO factors which didn't add up.

the 1.5 gallon tank has a pH of 6.6. Okay.
the 10gallon tank has a high alkalinity and a pH of 8.4. WHAT!?

How can that be possible when my tap water comes from the same source? Is it the live bacteria that was added to the 10gall or what is it, I don't understand. The 10 gall has been up and running for 5 days or less now.




Also...

I have a marimo moss ball in the 10gall at the moment but I'm not sure if it's able to get food source without fish in there atm? I know it consumes algae, but I don't exactly know how algae is produced... -sheepish-



I know this is so much to read and digest, but I would truly truly appreciate any responses. I am aware that you guys really care for your betta fish and if anything, this forum is a much better resource to turn to than the cluster of folks working at Petsmart. Not all of them seem so reliable, save for one knowledgeable lady there who's soon to become petcare manager...

-Rachel :)
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:26 AM   #2 
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Hopefully I didn't miss something but its 7 am and I'm on my phone so bear with me :)

Take out the sea shells. I'd be willing to bet if you take them out, do a HUGE change on your tank and then re-test your pH will come down.

You see sea shells will make the water hard and unless I'm mistaken it will raise your pH as well.

I doubt changing the dechlor would do anything as most of them are all the same. It sounds like to me the sudden huge swing in pH was the issue.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:24 AM   #3 
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Welcome to the forum.. I'm glad to hear in the end he is doing better!

I have to agree, it sounds as if the pH jump was too much for him- even though bettas tend to fair well and adjust to the pH, being sudden may have been too much.
When you acclimated him to the 10 gallon, did that include acclimation to the water chemistry? Such as taking a bit of water out of the cup and replace it with tank water? If so.. then it may still have been the pH, but I would of imagined he had gotten used to it after a long time of acclimation. If not, then that may of been what had happened. I don't recommend trying to lower the pH yourself (the driftwood will help some) with chemicals- bettas tend to adjust to whatever pH you have. You can take out some of the shells and see if that helps lowering it, or all of the shells. Just do so slowly as to not have an immediate decrease as that can create the same problem as the sudden increase.

What was the ammonia? Newly established tanks can have a spike in ammonia which can cause them problems similar to that.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #4 
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Hello, 1fish2fish and Myates!

Wow! Seriously? O.o The problem could be something so innocuous as the seashells I bought? (Well now that I think about it, they must be the real ones from the ocean as the package said on the back that they may 'dissolve'.)

Though... I do have several seashells in with my betta in my 1.5gall. Significantly more in my 10gall tank with an addition of conch shells in the 10gall.

Okay! I'll take those seashells out of the 10gall, all of them.

Do you guys think the pH level of the 10gall will go down by tomorrow morning? That's when I'm going back to Petsmart to speak with a reliable worker who's been helping me and I plan on getting another free water test.

Thank you
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:26 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myates View Post
Welcome to the forum.. I'm glad to hear in the end he is doing better!

I have to agree, it sounds as if the pH jump was too much for him- even though bettas tend to fair well and adjust to the pH, being sudden may have been too much.
When you acclimated him to the 10 gallon, did that include acclimation to the water chemistry? Such as taking a bit of water out of the cup and replace it with tank water? If so.. then it may still have been the pH, but I would of imagined he had gotten used to it after a long time of acclimation. If not, then that may of been what had happened. I don't recommend trying to lower the pH yourself (the driftwood will help some) with chemicals- bettas tend to adjust to whatever pH you have. You can take out some of the shells and see if that helps lowering it, or all of the shells. Just do so slowly as to not have an immediate decrease as that can create the same problem as the sudden increase.

What was the ammonia? Newly established tanks can have a spike in ammonia which can cause them problems similar to that.
When I acclimated him, I may have done perhaps not too good of a job... I floated him in his little betta cup, took out some water with a Nyquil Medicine Cup (you know those thingies that measure mL my the 5's) and replaced it with the tank water. Yeah, I think I did do kind of a crappy job at it now that I think about it. x.x;; I remember reading something about doing the acclimation carefully, with 20% water changed every so-and-so minutes?

And also the ammonia for both tanks was 0.

Some guy working in the fish dept at petsmart told me I wouldn't need to cycle my 10gall for my betta fish if he's just gonna be in there alone, as he wouldn't be producing enough waste to get it filled up with ammonia real fast anyway. Sorta skeptical on that... but do you know if that is false?
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:38 PM   #6 
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Okay, just took out all the seashells/conch shells from both the 1.5gall and the 10gall.

Question though, due to me taking out the 5-6 seashells from my Betta fish's currently inhabited 1.5gall, that won't cause a sudden leap down in the pH scale will it? ...


EDIT:

Just to be sure, plopped back 4 seashells in my betta fish's tank. Don't wanna risk anything with himm. x.x

Last edited by goldentryst; 12-14-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:35 PM   #7 
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The pH won't change unless you do a water change. Test the pH of your tap water first to have a baseline of what you're starting with. Since you removed the shells do a large (as much as you can) water change on the tank, and then re-test the pH to see if that corrected the problem.

Fake driftwood isn't going to do anything to your pH.. you'd need actual wood for that to happen.

I don't think the stress zyme would have caused the change to your pH either or stressed your fish.

The gravel you bought. Was it just plain gravel or did it have additives in it? Some gravels will have additives that change pH, etc.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:30 AM   #8 
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Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
The pH won't change unless you do a water change. Test the pH of your tap water first to have a baseline of what you're starting with. Since you removed the shells do a large (as much as you can) water change on the tank, and then re-test the pH to see if that corrected the problem.

Fake driftwood isn't going to do anything to your pH.. you'd need actual wood for that to happen.

I don't think the stress zyme would have caused the change to your pH either or stressed your fish.

The gravel you bought. Was it just plain gravel or did it have additives in it? Some gravels will have additives that change pH, etc.

Oh okay, I did almost a 50% whole water change on the tank.
And I'll have to wait until I get to Petsmart tomorrow to get the test. Thinking about buying my own test kit--just that I've spent quite a lot these past 2 weeks on the aquarium supplies already. x.x It's about $7-10, right? ;;

I don't think the stress zyme would have done anything that drastic either

The gravel was plainn decorative gravel.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:12 AM   #9 
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The strips are cheap but I highly recommend saving up and buying the API liquid master test kit. Its WELL worth the cost. If you look around you can find it cheaper online but you'll have to factor in the shipping cost.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:40 PM   #10 
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Acclimate him slower; what I did for my Aquabid fish was put them into a large container, then use a TEASPOON every 5 minutes, then when the container gets full, I empty out a little into another container (which will go into the sink). I use the other container just so you don't accidentally pour your fish down the sink x_X. Then I start teaspooning water in again until it fills up a second time then I released him. It took me a good 2-3 hours.

But hey, water in Thailand is probably very different from here, didn't want to risk it :P
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