Need advice. - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice.

So, about 4 months ago, my 18 yo son and his GF bought a Betta fish with a small 1 gallon round tank. No filter. Just the fish. He is really pretty but his tank gets nasty in just 2 days of changing water.

So, today I purchased a new 3 gallon tank with a filter, and have been researching how to keep the tank clean. I read suggestions of getting ghost shrimp or a Zebra snail to go in there with the Betta to clean the bottom of the tank. Having difficulty finding these w/o driving all over God's green earth and online they want more for the cost of overnight shipping than they do for the snails/shrimp. Oh, think I also read maybe little African frogs are good for Bettas. Is this true?

So, I have a few questions.

I read not to change all the water, but it is so gross, how do you not change all the water? When this new tank comes (later today) I will put new water in it with these drops to make tap water safe. How often and how much water do I take out to keep it looking clean?

Can I put anything in this 3 gallon tank with the betta to help with cleaning? If so, what, and how many?

I am doing this because my son has seemed to lose interest in this fish and he had his tank so dirty, and didn't feed him for like 2 weeks, so I kind of took over. I don't know how he survived. The water was so dirty I don't think the fish could see out of his tank.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Last edited by KayJaMikel; 10-11-2017 at 09:31 AM.
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post #2 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 09:44 AM
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Rapidly changing water conditions are really stressful on a fish's body, even if the conditions are going from bad to good. Do a partial water change of about 50% one day, then another 50% the next and so on and so forth. Once the water's cleaned up, you're going to need to cycle the filter, which means building up beneficial bacteria that will consume ammonia in the water as well as convert nitrite into nitrate. The standard way to cycle a tank is to let bacteria build up in the water by introducing some kind of waste, like fish food, but to cycle the filter quickly, you can buy a bottle of Quick Start from the pet store which contains the bacteria you need. Be aware that ammonia spikes before the tank is cycle can injure or even kill your fish, so don't neglect the cycling process.

From there, you can change about 50% of the water every week. Remember to never neglect water changes in a tank that small. Small water volume means dangerous water conditions arise quickly.

Snails can't be housed in a tank that small. Snails produce a lot of waste, which will quickly overpower the the tank. African dwarf frogs can't be housed in anything less than 10 gallons, and they have to be kept in schools to thrive; they can also be aggressive towards fish. Shrimp might be possible, but the tank needs to be heavily planted with either real or silk plants for shrimp to thrive in such a confined space with a predator (the betta).

To keep waste out of the tank, use a gravel vacuum to suck excess debris out. Water changes + filtration + gravel vacuuming with keep the water clear.

Your tank will also need a heater. Bettas are tropical fish that have to be kept at temperatures of 78 to 81F. A small adjustable 25 watt heater will work. I use a Marina 25-watt in my 3 gallon tank. You will also need a thermometer.
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post #3 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Rapidly changing water conditions are really stressful on a fish's body, even if the conditions are going from bad to good. Do a partial water change of about 50% one day, then another 50% the next and so on and so forth. Once the water's cleaned up, you're going to need to cycle the filter, which means building up beneficial bacteria that will consume ammonia in the water as well as convert nitrite into nitrate. The standard way to cycle a tank is to let bacteria build up in the water by introducing some kind of waste, like fish food, but to cycle the filter quickly, you can buy a bottle of Quick Start from the pet store which contains the bacteria you need. Be aware that ammonia spikes before the tank is cycle can injure or even kill your fish, so don't neglect the cycling process.

From there, you can change about 50% of the water every week. Remember to never neglect water changes in a tank that small. Small water volume means dangerous water conditions arise quickly.

Snails can't be housed in a tank that small. Snails produce a lot of waste, which will quickly overpower the the tank. African dwarf frogs can't be housed in anything less than 10 gallons, and they have to be kept in schools to thrive; they can also be aggressive towards fish. Shrimp might be possible, but the tank needs to be heavily planted with either real or silk plants for shrimp to thrive in such a confined space with a predator (the betta).

To keep waste out of the tank, use a gravel vacuum to suck excess debris out. Water changes + filtration + gravel vacuuming with keep the water clear.

Your tank will also need a heater. Bettas are tropical fish that have to be kept at temperatures of 78 to 81F. A small adjustable 25 watt heater will work. I use a Marina 25-watt in my 3 gallon tank. You will also need a thermometer.
Is Tetra BettaSafe not the same as Quick Start?

Heater huh? So 2 plugs to plug in, filter and heater. Why don't the Walmart's tell you this when you buy their Betta's that are sitting in cups?

Oh, I don't know. A bit over my head and I am an animal lover. Have 4 cats, a dog (Basset hound) a Senegal parrot, a lizard, and they seem to thrive. I just feel horrible for this fish and am trying to make him more comfortable.

When you say heavily planted, what does that mean exactly? Like does the whole bottom of the cage need to be covered in green plants? They (the son and his GF) have 2 fake plastic things in there now. Any plant name suggestions and where I might get them from online? I was going to get the little moss balls for shrimp and just get one shrimp.

OH thank you so much for reading and answering me.
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post #4 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:34 AM
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By heavily planted, I mean the tank needs to be pretty much a jungle. Not only is that necessary for shrimp, but it's great for the betta too. Trust me when I tell you that your fish wil come alive when he has a ton of foliage to play in. Here's a video of one of my tanks, showing what I mean. There's around 10 or 11 fake plants in this tank:


Quick Start is cycling bacteria that you can just put in the tank to start up your nitrogen cycle (the nitrogen cycle, as I mentioned, removes ammonia and nitrite from the water through a process called biological filtration). The nitrogen cycle will start on its own eventually, but that takes weeks, and you don't want your fish swimming in ammonia until then. One thing that can help you naturally cycle faster is putting the dirty, unrinsed gravel into the new tank with clean water. Gravel also accumulates cycling bacteria, so that's useful to transfer over. The water conditioner you're using is designed to remove chlorine (which is also deadly to fish), but it doesn't cycle the tank.

And yeah, a heater is a necessity. Bettas can't thrive at lower temperatures, and being housed at the wrong temp shortens their lifespans and makes them lethargic, less colorful and more susceptible to disease. When your tank is heated, you'll see so much personality you didn't before.

Walmart doesn't tell you this stuff because by and large, the staff just doesn't know. There's a lot of myths floating around about bettas that are just 100% not true. Further, most Walmarts don't have anyone managing the fish at all and the staff are completely apathetic to them. A lot of my bettas came from Walmart (I have 7 bettas!), and the deplorable conditions they're kept in there sicken me straight to my core. I wish I could take them all. I hate supporting the Walmart fish trade... but on the other hand I'm glad to have taken the beautiful fish I have away from that hell.

I can also recommend some useful cheap stuff to help you (plants, heater, etc) if you want.
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post #5 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:37 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!

The first thing I would do is to work on cycling. Here is this sites tutorial on fish-in cycling.

https://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fi...-tutorial.html

I would not add any other critters in a three gallon. To keep the tank clean get a piece of airline tubing and vacuum the substrate when you do water changes. Easy peasy.

After the tank has been cycled and stable for at least two months you could add shrimp. The problem is shrimp are extremely delicate and the slightest amount of Ammonia can kill them. "Heavily planted" means you cannot easily see your Betta if you glance at the tank. This offers protection for the shrimp. Stress of living with a predator in insufficient cover/protection also kills shrimp. People make adding shrimp sound so easy but it isn't.

African Dwarf Frogs are fine with Betta; however, you need at least a 5.5 to house three and a 10 to house six and so on. I've had them for years in tanks 5.5-20 with no issues in the preceding numbers. Some sites say a minimum of a 10 gallon but the breeders I know say that's not true; however, you do not want them in anything less than a 5.5. You do need at least three as they are very social.

You do need a heater as fluctuations in temperature can compromise a Tropical fish's immune system and lead to illness.

If you want silk plants I would recommend www.drsfostersmith.com. They also have a Hydor 25 watt adjustable heater.

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post #6 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, so today, so far I bought the below and am working on picking out a heater I can get here today or at least tomorrow.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Bub...m-Kit/16940357

Bought extra filters for it too.

Trying to find the Quick Start to get here today or tomorrow. Hard to do you know.

Bought these to add to what is already in the tank https://www.walmart.com/ip/Penn-Plax...-Pdq/401161588

Bought 2 of these: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Aquarium-...Cave/277320356

A stone decoration thingy.

I want live plants but I know nothing about them.

Was gonna buy these

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...7MHPCPON&psc=1

I can add this onto my already pending order for pickup today but it says 5-10 gallons and I do not want to fry him.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Sub...5-Gal/10291808

The Quick Start is harder to come by today.

Thanks so much.
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post #7 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:47 AM
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Seachem Stability is my choice for helping cycle aquariums. I've used it to successfully cycle tanks from 2.5 gallons and up in around 14 days. Don't know if Wal-Mart carries it. You don't really need anything; but the additives help cycle tanks faster.

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post #8 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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I will wait on any added critters till the water is right.

I also have a ferret forgot to mention before.

May go up in size if tank eventually as I figure this critter out and how to properly care for him.
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post #9 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:51 AM
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That heater is a preset (it's not adjustable) and is too high wattage for a tank that small. You would need a 25 watt preset for that small of water volume, though a 50 watt adjustable heater would work fine. Walmart carries the Marina 25 watt adjustable I think, that's what I use in my small tank.


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hagen-Mar...lons/128600594


You will need a thermometer to use this as it doesn't have temperature labels, so be sure to pick one up. Walmart sells them for like $2.

Last edited by DZIM; 10-11-2017 at 10:53 AM.
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post #10 of 106 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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By heavily planted, I mean the tank needs to be pretty much a jungle. Not only is that necessary for shrimp, but it's great for the betta too. Trust me when I tell you that your fish wil come alive when he has a ton of foliage to play in. Here's a video of one of my tanks, showing what I mean. There's around 10 or 11 fake plants in this tank:

Cirrus 2 - YouTube


sniped for space
That tank is gorgeous!!! Fishy looks very happy in there.
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