Happy fish but high water alkanity, time to change it?
My fish is happy and active in his three gallon heated tank. I have not done a full water change since I set it up a month ago, but do a water feast every 4-7 days. I have done partial changes.
He is super active and happy right now, and has a fancy bubble nest. He is eating well for the first time since I got him (eating well for a week now).
Today the water test said
Safe. No3 nitrate
Caution No2 nitrate
High total alkanity
Borderline between ok and high Ph
I am assuming it is time for a complete water change???
Seems wrong when he is so happy! Maybe he likes high alk.?
I want to have him healthy and alive, though.
please be kind with the advice, I am trying to do itr right this time ( after about eight Betta casualities in a small unheated tank - I came here to learn).
I don't recommend trying to change the pH or hardness of the water-especially when the Betta is fine
Its great that you are testing the water and I like to use the test strips myself for quick checks-but use liquid reagent testing products to get more accurate readings-especially if I am having problems or need to altar the pH and/or hardness for whatever reason....that said.....
In the 3gal heated tank-do you have a filter, any live plants, type of additives used, water temp...this information will help us give you a good water change schedule to help maintain water quality and Betta health....
NO3 is Nitrate (with an A)
NO2 is Nitrite (with an I)
Any reading of Nitrite is unacceptable, of the three chemicals we test for it is the most toxic. I'm assuming by the results you posted that you use those stick on wheel things? They are notoriously inaccurate.
What size aquarium? And as already mentioned, do you have a filter?
Weekly water changes are required, no mater what size aquarium you have. 100% changes are required on anything smaller than 5 gallons.
What are you meaning by Alkalinity? KH or a pH above 7? They are different things, but related. There is nothing you can easily do about KH, or pH, they are what they are and are determined by your tap water. Using chemicals to try and adjust them is a disaster in the making and the end results are rarely positive.
No filter, it had a bottom plastic sieve but he swam under it and got stuck, so I removed it.
Three gallon tank, 78-79 degrees. No live plants, just a plastic one he loves.
Nitrate is good, Nitrite is caution.
I am using paper test dip strips, 5 in 1 type.
I use tap water with Betta Safe additive and sometimes predissolved aquarium salt (was told to by the store).
Is there a way to test ammonia? I now know that may get high, after a month, but hate to stress him with a water change when he is finally happy!
Bigfin is red, three inches long, and had been at Walmart in a tiny bowl for close to a year, they said. Poor baby. It took two weeks for him to fan out his fins and uncurl his tail, as he had never had the ability to before!
In a 3 gallon you really need to do a 100% water change weekly and a 50% in the middle of the week. Tanks under 5 gallons can not hold a cycle. A cycle is the process of bacteria turning ammonia into nitrite, and nitrite into nitrate which is the least toxic of the three. This cycle takes 4-8 weeks to form.
Ammonia or Nitrite above 0 ppm is toxic and unsafe for all fish. Nitrates should be kept under 20 ppm if possible, but 40 ppm can be manageable (but far from ideal). With a 3 gallon though, you won't likely get much Nitrite or Nitrate.
If you haven't changed much water in a month, I'm willing to bet your ammonia is extremely high. The best test kit available is the API Master Test Kit, it is $25 off Amazon or $32-35 in retail stores. It has tests for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH. These are a liquid test and are far more accurate than test strips which become inaccurate over time due to absorbing water through the air. In the short term you can take a water sample to a pet store (not walmart) and they'll test it for free.
While being 'cupped' and going through a water change is stressful for fish, it is less stressful than living in toxic ammonia/nitrite levels. In larger aquariums with filters, the water changes are less severe as they can form the beneficial bacteria that I mentioned above. That is one of the big reasons I always recommend to people to use a 5 gallon or larger aquarium if possible.
In a 3gal unfiltered tank without live plants....water changes of twice weekly....1-50% and 1-100% to maintain water quality...
You can leave him in the tank for the 50% water change
On the 100% he needs to be cupped-the small temporary cup he came in works great for this-be sure and use the lid too so he doesn't jump out
Once you have the tank cleaned, re-filled with like temp dechlorinated water....you will need to re-acclimate him to the chemistry by dumping half the water out of the holding cup and adding small amounts of the new tank water over 10-15min-you may need to repeat this once-depending on how he is tolerating the new water....
Once acclimated-net and add him to the tank-you may need to top off the tank-so its a good idea to have some extra dechlorinated water left in the bucket used to refill the tank.
Aquarium salt is not recommended or needed long term....it is a great product to use short term for the right reason, dosage and duration and it is best to QT in a small container for treatment and premix the treatment water-this give you more control, ease in observation and to make the needed water changes....
Water temp is best if kept somewhat stable in the 76-80F range
You need a thermometer to monitor the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes-it is best to try and keep replacement water within a few degrees of tank water so not to temp shock him.
You need to add proper amount of dechlorinator to any water added/used with the Betta-double check the label for proper dosage if you have both chlorine and chloramine in the source water-some products require double dose if you have both...
Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals....
Most important....Enjoy and have fun...this is an awesome hobby.....
Thank you for all the helpful tips. There's alot more to keeping a healthy Betta than I ever imagined. I just purchased one male Bi-Color Veil Tail from Petsmart. I should have read up on all this information, before purchasing him. So far (he's been in our tank almost 72 hours) he seems very happy to be in his 2 gallon aquarium and out of that cup, he eats really well and swims and flares beautifully. I thought I'd wait to find the perfect plants and ornaments and after reading the posts thus far, I'm glad I waited. I'll try to find the Bubble Rock everyone seems to recommend highly. The setup has an under gravel filter and airstone. I will change the water twice a week, 50% and 100%.
Would it be a good idea to prep (condition) the new replacement water 24-48 hours ahead of changing the water, to allow the conditioner to work and let the water stabilize at room temperature?
Our tap water is very high in alkalinity, it sounds as if I should get a good test kit and see if it's better to buy bottled/filtered water.
Again, thank you for all the helpful tips and valuable info!
Water conditioner works instantly, there is no need to wait any amount of time.
As for temperature, you should make your tap water as close to his temperature as possible. However, I'm a bit concerned when you said "reach room temperature" as that would suggest your tank is not heated. Bettas are a tropical fish, and as such require a heater to keep there water warm enough for them, 78-79 is a good temperature for Bettas. For your size bowl you will want a 25W heater. Be sure you unplug it before changing the water.
What is your pH? That is more important than KH (Alkalinity). Bettas like soft acidic water, if your pH is high and your water is hard, it might not be a bad idea to mix RO/DI water with your tap water. Just be aware that any changes to water parameters must be done slowly, sudden changes are extremely stressful to them. It is a bad idea to use 100% RO/DI water as it will have no buffering capacity.
Thank you Geomancer. I will be getting a heater, you're right in that I haven't gotten one yet. However, we live in the low Desert and our Home is 74 Degs F minimum at it's coldest right now. During the summer, our house is rarely if ever below 80 Degs F. In fact, the Cold Tap Water will be too hot in the summer months, so I'll have to let it set for several hours to let it cool down a bit. Good to know the Conditioner works immediately, Thank you! As far as Alkaline levels, I'll have to have it tested to know the exact levels and will do so very soon. I know it's extremely hard water, by the alkaline deposits around the house and well as our swimming pool. Which testers do you recommend that will work yet be relatively inexpensive?