new from Georgia - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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new from Georgia

Hello all glad I found a "Betta Forum" only. I've never had a betta just goldfish many yrs. ago Last Fall we got our first one. I had "fish sat" for a friends betta & my husband & I were smitten w/ their little Mack. So did all my research on getting one & bought Flash (half moon/red and silver). We put him in a 10g Aqueon filtered/live planted/heated tank with 3 snails. 4 months later he passed away in a terrible way and we were devastated. He was so pretty & so friendly we just loved him. He ended up w/swim bladder escalating to pine coning & then passing away. So having one horse and 2 cats I felt that was enough to take care of & quit the betta idea. Every time I went into a LPS however I yearned for another betta. So I did a thorough cleaning of my tank, replaced everything & got Lil Blue. He lives w/my very large Mystery snail Finn & seems healthy & happy, but I worry constantly that I'll do something wrong & make him sick like I did my first one & then loose him also. I've baffled my very strong filter output & feed him very little once a day. He does get a wide variety of foods though that I alternate. I do pwc's weekly. I test his water parameters every 3-4 days. I'm just terrified he's going to get sick somehow & die. Any suggestions on how to just take good care of & ENJOY him would be SO appreciated.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 05:15 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. First there are few things that can be done with swim bladder infection. The pine coning would be Dropsy another infection that is very hard to bring them back from. In order to help protect your new charge follow all the rules of fish keeping to the letter. First make sure the tank is cycled (you can do that with fish in the tank). You must test every day not just a couple of times a week. Water quality is so very important to the health of the tank. Water changes while cycling of 25% every other day depending on the test results. Toxic ammonia and nitrites build up quickly and in order to reduce them to a level where they are not as toxic water changes must be done. Some times a 50% water change is necessary. (while cycling a new tank I do 25% every other day and 50% once a week.) With a planted tank your plants are a barometer for tank health. if your plants are not doing well and loosing that lush green color it's because of your water quality, lack of food, and no aeration.

Betta must have pristine water (no matter what you might have read.) The water parameters you will look for at the end of cycle are Ammonia 0 PPM, Nitrites 0 PPM, and nitrate between 5 and 20 PPM (in a planted tank.) A PH level between 6 and 7.8 is allowable, however the PH of 7.0 is neutral and the best you can give. In a planted tank the PH may never raise any more than 6.8 and this is not a bad thing. It must remain constant. The PH can fluctuate but very little at one time.

When you test for ammonia remember your test kit reads both NH3 and NH4. NH3 is the toxic ammonia and this will kill fish and plants quickly. NH4 is ammonium, a broken down or Locked ammonia which is feeding the Beneficial bacteria in your filter. The bacteria break the locked ammonia down even further into nitrite and nitrate. They will break down the nitrite into nitrate which will be used by your plants as a food source. However when testing you will find a very high ammonia reading because the test reads both forms of ammonia and combines the readings. (The best way to make sure your toxic ammonia levels are separated in the readings is to have an Ammonia Alert in the tank.) You can buy a two pack of the ammonia alert and PH alert at Petco, Petsmart, or on line. It is by SeaChem, I recommend this to every keeper for their own peace of mind and also for the health of the fish.

With a 10 gallon tank you will probably have tank mates for your betta. Every one needs to be fed. it would be a good idea to have a small shoal of bottom feeders, (shrimp, Cory, ) to keep the bottom clean which even though they produce ammonia and contribute to the Bio load. So adding any tank mates or other fish all at one time could crash the cycle and the bacteria can not handle the load all at once. So add your tank mates slowly over several weeks and let the filter maintain the cycle.

be careful of how much you feed. if only once a day it is said to feed as much as they can eat in a few min. (however I tend to feed mine 4 times a day with flake food and only a few flakes at a time.They feed until their belly's are nicely rounded. NOT STUFFED but rounded. then feed no more per day). For new keepers people here recommend feeding pellets that you can count how many to feed at one time. (it's a very good idea.) You can feed pellets, flakes, or live foods but just enough per day that there is very little wast on the bottom of the tank. (if you have bottom feeders they are the clean up crew. if not you need to do the bottom cleanup ) I tend to stay away from feeding Freeze Dried foods on a constant basis. Some say it causes bloat. I tend to say it's like giving your kids nothing but candy for meals. It should be given in small amounts once a week and served after it has soaked a little in tank water. (dip a plastic cup into the tank remove a little water and put the freeze dried foods in it for a few min. and then feed.)

Sorry for being long winded here but I hope all that is said helps in the success of your tank and the enjoyment of your fish.

Last edited by Old Dog 59; 07-14-2019 at 05:18 AM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Dear Old Dog 59 -- not long winded at all I really appreciate ALL your help & good advice. I will definitely get a pH & Ammonia alert. Sometimes I ACTUALLY do test my water parameters daily, but I've been told by the reputable Aquatic Stores (3) around my area that my tank is definitely "cycled" when they have done water checks. As of yesterday these were my readings:
Ph = 7.0-7.2
Ammonia= 0
Nitrate= 10-20ppm
Nitrite= 0
so are weekly pwc's ok? I do 30-50% each Monday. My water almost always looks pristine even when it's time to do pwc's. I am REALLY AGAINST adding any other tank mates besides the Mystery Snail Finn that's been with him since the beginning. I felt that was another mistake I made w/ my first betta I had gotten him numerous tank mates which stressed him out & had to re-home them. At the risk of sounding very ignorant - I don't understand about aeration. Not sure if I have any or enough at present. How do I improve this issue?
I feed Lil Blue (alternating): Fluval Bug Bites
Hikari Micro pellets
Frozen Variety Pak= blood worms & spirulina brine shrimp, freshwater frenzy, & emerald
I feed the frozen cubes just as a treat & there is SO much waste due to the tiny amt. of each cube I actually feed him. I end up wasting 7/8ths of the cube. I NEVER feed flakes or freeze dried due to the possible "bloating" issue -- that's what started ALL of my previous betta's problems.
I've decided to tear down the Fluval Spec V tank COMPLETELY & start over. New substrate, new filter, new heater, new bio-media, new plants. I'm thinking of just using silk plants this time since I'm only going to have Mystery/Apple snails in it. Any suggestions on aquascaping the Fluval for the snails will also be appreciated.
Thanks again

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 06:49 PM
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I'm glad to here al the parameters are sound. and that the tank is cycled. As far as feeding the frozen cube food just knock off a very very small edge or brake it up into very tiny tiny pieces. You don't need that much waste in the tank unless you have a lot of bottom feeders that can clean up. But since you don't ( I have taken a hammer to a cube and smashed it put every thing back into a plastic bag and put it all back in the freezer. Then each time I fed it I could get just the amount I needed. put that in a small dish with tank water, when it melted I dumped it in to feed. I had a lot less waste that way.

Speaking Aquascaping and not using live plants but silk you can rally do anything under the sun. Your imagination has no limits. I just finished a tank i was going to put a new baby boy into but he hasn't gotten here yet I used rocks as my accent and I think it turned out very nice. You can see it in the post Another Tank??? under planted betta tanks. I'm also starting a new setup and have found a Rock Shop close to the house. I bought Two nice pieces of petrified wood abd Three different colors of agate. When I finish it this coming week i'll post some more pictures. I look for things that are betta safe.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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So it's been one week & normally I do pwc at this time. Of course my tank looks pristine, but here are my water parameters:
pH : 6.6-6.8
Ammonia : 0.25
Nitrate : 0
nitrate : 5.0
Should I go ahead & do a pwc?
I'm always so confused about this.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:37 PM
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Hello! Welcome in. Yes, please do a water change. 50% would be perfect. Also, are you using Seachem Prime as a water conditioner? We would want ammonia at zero.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:48 PM
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Ammonia is starting to build at .25 PPM The nitrate at 5.0 PPM is a good sign. And I hope you meant that the nitrite is 0 PPM so the parameters are not that bad at this time. However Let me ask you this Do you have a test kit? From the post above you said that a pet store tested the water for you and said the tank was cycled. How long has the tank been up and running? I don't doubt that it may be cycled but your parameters have changed. to PH of 7.0 - 7.2 down to 6.6 - 6.8. How did you test for the results? This is a planted tank and being such the PH could have dropped to lower levels because of the plants (they do tend to soften the water to their liking) Is your nitrite 0 PPM? or is the nitrate 0 PPM? this would make a difference as to doing a water change right away or waiting a couple of days and testing each day before a regular water change.

If you are testing with an API fresh water test kit, be aware the ammonia test is reading total ammonia not just toxic ammonia. (this is why I recommend the Seachem ammonia and PH alerts. they give the most accurate readings. The ammonia alert only tests for changes in toxic ammonia. If you are confused as to what best to do then do a water change for your personal reassurance. It is always a good thing, and it can't hurt.

It makes me ask what has changed in the last few days in the tank to go from 0 ammonia 0 Nitrite and 10-20 Nitrate, To me if those were the readings daily for a week I would say the tank cycled if there was no change in the amount of fish and plants. Now that you have a higher reading in ammonia and no changes to the tank I can only wonder if the tank really did cycle and if these readings are a spike.(which happens in a cycling tank before it finally does cycle.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Are you sure Mack had SBD and not constipation? They look pretty much the same. Sometimes SBD happens in Betta for no real reason.


Keeping Betta is really pretty simple: Good food, clean and warm water.

Cycling and testing: Always test water *before* a water change. Water can look immaculate and still not be acceptable parameter-wise. If you are seeing .25 Ammonia your tank is not cycled. Here is this Forum's cycling tutorial. I hope you find it useful.

Feeding: Frozen foods will store in the refrigerator for a week without spoiling. Pour a small amount in a net and rinse. Use enough to feed your boy and Finn and store the rest. Frozen can be fed daily and not just as treats. I feed only frozen with the occasional Fluval Bug Bites and NorthFin Betta Bits thrown in. My preference is to feed 2x per day until the belly is gently rounded. I do not count but some find it easier if they do.

Water changes: For a 10-gallon, cycled tank, one 25% water change per week (with vacuum) is good. I test daily until my tanks are cycled, once per week for a month after to make sure they are stable. If everyone is active and eating I then test every three to six months. But, how often we test after a tank is cycled is personal preference and opinion. For those new to aquatics I would suggest once a month or six weeks until they are more confident in and comfortable with fishkeeping. And if you even *think* something is off, even if inhabitants are eating and active, test.

Betta-based communities: Having had Betta-based community tanks for 40 years, I have come to realize that many people have trouble with swimming tank mates and Betta because the tank is not properly planted and cycled. There are, of course, those Betta which do best living alone and should be left that way. That is why I always suggest one have a back-up plan.

By properly planted, I mean with enough plants that the Betta cannot be seen at a single glance. This gives the tank mates and the Betta areas of retreat. In addition, Betta are shade-loving fish; they do not do as well when lights are bright. Not to be confused with length of time lights are left on.

I do not separately feed my tanks but feed enough for everyone. But, remember, I feed a variety of foods and not just one or two. And the only herbivores I keep are Otocinclus.

I do occasionally clip a piece of a seaweed sheet to the tank for herbivores (Oto) if algae and plant detritus is sparse. As omnivores, bottom feeders such as Corydoras do not really need algae wafers, etc., if enough variety is offered. I found if I fed the same thing to everyone I didn't have trouble with the Betta pigging out on, say, algae wafers.

***Almost forgot: I use SeaChem Stability to both cycle my tanks and to maintain a stable tank when new residents add to the bioload.

Anyhow, just my thoughts. Hope you enjoy the Forum. We do our best.
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Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 07-15-2019 at 09:15 PM.
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