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Old 03-05-2012, 11:13 PM   #1 
willm
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Exclamation Four questions!

Hi all, I'm hoping the community can help me with these four questions:
  • How likely are plastic plants to harm my betta's fins? I just added two fake plants to my tank to complement my two live ones.
  • I also just added two Otocinclus Catfish to my tank to keep my betta company. After doing some research I found that these make suitable tankmates for bettas. However, my betta has been chasing them a bit, and flaring at them. They're far too fast for him to cause them any harm, it seems, but I'm worried that all fish concerned might be stressed out by this show of aggression. My question is: how do I judge whether my betta is of the right disposition to share the tank with the two Otos? Is some chasing normal, or is it only safe if he completely ignores them?
  • When a betta becomes bloated from overfeeding, is it advisable to feed them a pea immediately, or to wait two days before trying the pea trick? I dropped an algae wafer to the bottom of the tank for the otos to eat, but my betta ate the whole thing instead. I left right after dropping it in there, assuming he wouldn't be interested, but came back to find the whole wafer gone and my betta visibly bloated.
  • Lastly, I'm wondering about filtered water vs. tap water. Every day or so I need to add some water to my tank to compensate for evaporation (it's a Fluval Chi), and I've been filtering the water I add with a brita filter so that the hardness of my tank water doesn't build up over time. Is this ok?

I know that's a lot. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:21 PM   #2 
Rosso1011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willm View Post
Hi all, I'm hoping the community can help me with these four questions:
  • How likely are plastic plants to harm my betta's fins? I just added two fake plants to my tank to complement my two live ones.
  • I also just added two Otocinclus Catfish to my tank to keep my betta company. After doing some research I found that these make suitable tankmates for bettas. However, my betta has been chasing them a bit, and flaring at them. They're far too fast for him to cause them any harm, it seems, but I'm worried that all fish concerned might be stressed out by this show of aggression. My question is: how do I judge whether my betta is of the right disposition to share the tank with the two Otos? Is some chasing normal, or is it only safe if he completely ignores them?
  • When a betta becomes bloated from overfeeding, is it advisable to feed them a pea immediately, or to wait two days before trying the pea trick? I dropped an algae wafer to the bottom of the tank for the otos to eat, but my betta ate the whole thing instead. I left right after dropping it in there, assuming he wouldn't be interested, but came back to find the whole wafer gone and my betta visibly bloated.
  • Lastly, I'm wondering about filtered water vs. tap water. Every day or so I need to add some water to my tank to compensate for evaporation (it's a Fluval Chi), and I've been filtering the water I add with a brita filter so that the hardness of my tank water doesn't build up over time. Is this ok?

I know that's a lot. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
1.) Plastic plants should be silk or have no sharp edges. If you are not sure, get some pantyhose and run them over the plant. If the hose tears, it's no good.

2.) I would give it some time and see if the tension calms, if the aggression keeps up for a long time or there are signs of an attack, remove them. Your betta may just be trying to stake his territory.

3.) I wouldn't use the pea trick. I would try and fast your betta for a day or two if possible. I think there are other solutions for bloating, but I've never had to use them yet.

4.) You need to be using a water conditioner. Tap water should be fine but you really need to be adding some conditioner to the water to make sure it's safe. Prime is a really good one that can be found at pet stores.

Having a high pH is also not bad for your betta. I have hard water at my place and the pH is probably near 8. My boys do just fine. Bettas are pretty hardy.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:34 PM   #3 
willm
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Thanks! About number 4...

Thanks! That's super helpful.

About my fourth question: should have mentioned it, but of course I am using water conditioner in all the water I add to the tank.

I use (conditioned) tap water when I do partial water changes every week, but I also need to replace daily the water that evaporates from the tank.

For this I've been using water that's been filtered with a brita filter (and then conditioned). My concern with the filtered water is that I've heard that distilled water is no good, and I was wondering if the same applies to filtered water.

I don't think I should use tap water except during water changes, because water leaves behind any dissolved minerals when it evaporates, and thus every time I add unfiltered tap water to the tank without taking any out, I'm increasing the mineral concentration. I think that if the hardness increased indefinitely like that, it would probably reach a point that's unhealthy for my fish eventually.

In fact, I'm not even sure if brita filters take out those minerals in the first place, so maybe I haven't even solved the hardness problem. Maybe I need to use actual distilled water when I top up the tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosso1011 View Post
1.) Plastic plants should be silk or have no sharp edges. If you are not sure, get some pantyhose and run them over the plant. If the hose tears, it's no good.

2.) I would give it some time and see if the tension calms, if the aggression keeps up for a long time or there are signs of an attack, remove them. Your betta may just be trying to stake his territory.

3.) I wouldn't use the pea trick. I would try and fast your betta for a day or two if possible. I think there are other solutions for bloating, but I've never had to use them yet.

4.) You need to be using a water conditioner. Tap water should be fine but you really need to be adding some conditioner to the water to make sure it's safe. Prime is a really good one that can be found at pet stores.

Having a high pH is also not bad for your betta. I have hard water at my place and the pH is probably near 8. My boys do just fine. Bettas are pretty hardy.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:03 AM   #4 
kfryman
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Just saying a 5 gallon is not suitble for a betta to have tank mates. Bettas need a territory and space. I would take them back, also the waste is not at all healthy for the fish, the ammonia will be high and risks killing the fish.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:11 AM   #5 
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In regards with the oto cat being chased around, if this continues, I advise it to be separated from your betta. Every betta has different personalities so keep an eye to make sure this aggression does not turn to pure violence :)
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:29 AM   #6 
bahamut285
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I do not recommend using Brita water to top off your tank. Use regular tap water. The Brita filter actually strips out a lot of necessary minerals. I also agree with kfryman on the size and tankmates. In a 5 gallon, most people keep either shrimp or snails.

Another thing you can try is removing your betta for a few hours and letting your Otos scout out the place first, maybe add loads of hiding places. However more hiding places = less volume for water, so be aware of bioload problems as well.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:05 AM   #7 
willm
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Ok, thanks for the helpful advice!

About the filtered water-- I'm still not convinced the build-up of minerals isn't a problem though. I'm aware that tap water contains essential minerals, but I'm sure there's an ideal concentration of them; wouldn't an ever increasing amount cause problems eventually?

To reiterate, I do use mineral rich tap water when I do a water change as opposed to replacing evaporated water.

About the size of the tank-- I read about the "roughly 1 inch of fish per gallon" rule of thumb. I have about 3 inches of fish and 5 gallons, so I thought I'd be OK. Does this rule not apply to bettas?

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Originally Posted by bahamut285 View Post
I do not recommend using Brita water to top off your tank. Use regular tap water. The Brita filter actually strips out a lot of necessary minerals. I also agree with kfryman on the size and tankmates. In a 5 gallon, most people keep either shrimp or snails.

Another thing you can try is removing your betta for a few hours and letting your Otos scout out the place first, maybe add loads of hiding places. However more hiding places = less volume for water, so be aware of bioload problems as well.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:07 AM   #8 
styggian
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The "1 inch of fish" rule is really outdated. Plus you need to take into account the full grown size of the fish, not their current size.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:51 AM   #9 
bahamut285
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Originally Posted by willm View Post
Ok, thanks for the helpful advice!

About the filtered water-- I'm still not convinced the build-up of minerals isn't a problem though. I'm aware that tap water contains essential minerals, but I'm sure there's an ideal concentration of them; wouldn't an ever increasing amount cause problems eventually?

To reiterate, I do use mineral rich tap water when I do a water change as opposed to replacing evaporated water.
While there is an ideal range of minerals (I threw my bottle away, but I think it is around 120ppm or 6.7dkh) there is only issue of making water softer. Hard water is purely a human inconvenience, not really for your fish. Some people claim that harder water makes crowntails'(CTs) crowns curl but I have two CTs and neither of them have curled crowns...my water is fairly hard as well.

They need the nutrients and metals from the water because unlike humans with our wide variety of food, they need to get certain ions elsewhere :)

Also the ever increasing amount will eventually continually harden your water if you just top it off instead of doing a waterchange, yes. Which is why you do water changes, haha.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:22 AM   #10 
Zero186
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The whole process of doing water changes is to remove built up amounts of harmful items in your tank. Tough I am not sure of minerals causing problems keeping up with water changes will never allow them to become high concentrated.
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