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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have two half moon bettas (one actually may be a feather tail but we aren't quite sure). One we've had for a little over a month and the other we have had for about 2 weeks. We have a 5.5 gal divided for the two of them, one snail and one ghost shrimp also. We have a heater, and filter (with a baffle), a few plants for each side and one decoration with a hole to hide in on each side also.

We have had many problems within the span of getting a new 5.5 gallon tank which we have had for about 3 weeks. We have had ammonia problems, nitrite problems and now we are having PH/hardness problems. I thought the tank is just cycling because the ammonia and nitrite problems are no longer a problem, but I am new at having bettas in a large tank (as a kid we kept them in bowls/vases) so I don't completely understand what is going on. What causes the ph/hardness to go askew when a week ago it was just fine?

Another problem is the fact that both of my bettas tails are becoming very very ragged. I don't have any current photos because the bettas live at my boyfriends house, I can post pictures tomorrow if need be. I think we have fin rot and sharp plants/decorations ruled out as to be the cause of their fins becoming ragged. I thought our first bettas (Chomps) tail only looked ragged because he possibly is a feather tail but now my boyfriend says his tail just looks even worse terrible. Our second betta is Romeo, who had a beautiful and clean tail when we bought him from the store, is now starting to have a ragged tail. I do not think Romeo is a tail biter, Chomps may be though, but Romeo had kept his tail just fine for the past 2 weeks, he is also recovering from a pretty bad case of SBD. He still isn't completely able to swim correctly.

They are also "beating up", so to say, our snail. We had her in Romeo's side and my boyfriend said whenever she would start to come out he would go and bite at her soft tissue, so he put her in Chomp's side, and he did exactly the same.

Could this all be due to the PH/hardess? We have a stress coat and aquarium salt in the tank, and we haven't made any extreme changes lately, so I am just completely confused on what is going on.

We have already lost many tank mates, and I am afraid something is wrong with the water and is going to cause our bettas to die.

Can anyone give me any advice on what to do? I am getting really upset over the fact we are having so many problems...

Housing
What size is your tank? 5.5 split for two bettas
What temperature is your tank? 73-75
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? filter
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? half with a betta, and a snail and ghost shrimp

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? omega one
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice weekly

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? only had this tank for 2 weeks, have done 1 50% change and one 100% change (because we thought one of our fish had fin rot)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? prime and aquarium salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: normal
Nitrite:normal
Nitrate:normal
pH: slightly high
Hardness: slightly high also
Alkalinity: normal

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? both bettas tails are becoming more ragged looking
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? biting at the snail
When did you start noticing the symptoms? tonight
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? two hospital tanks floating in their sides
Does your fish have any history of being ill? romeo is still recovering from SBD and chomps has none
How old is your fish (approximately)? unsure.
 

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Hi WildKat, sorry you are having trouble with your bettas. Pictures of the fish would be extremely helpful, so we can figure out if it is fin biting or something else. Telling us that your water parameters are "normal" doesn't help, we need to know the ppm numbers from your test kit, or if your local pet store is testing it for you, you need to get the actual numbers. If both fish are attacking your snail, you need to return or rehome it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi WildKat, sorry you are having trouble with your bettas. Pictures of the fish would be extremely helpful, so we can figure out if it is fin biting or something else. Telling us that your water parameters are "normal" doesn't help, we need to know the ppm numbers from your test kit, or if your local pet store is testing it for you, you need to get the actual numbers. If both fish are attacking your snail, you need to return or rehome it.
I don't have pictures right now, but I will have them tomorrow, and I don't remember exactly what the ppm numbers were, we did a test yesterday and I forgot to write them down. I just remember the which ones were high and which ones were fine according to the chart. I can get you actual numbers but it won't be until tomorrow...

We have had this snail since we got chomps, and both have been fine with her until tonight, why would it be all of a sudden they decide to attack her?
 

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Bettas are like a small child when they get stressed out, in that they like to spread it around. Possibly your water issues are causing them to lash out at someone weaker than them.

You sound like you are trying to establish a nitrogen cycle, how far along are you approximately? Did you seed your filter or are you letting it establish on its own?

Water hardness is a tricky one, it comes down to where you get your water from. Sometimes in rough weather/droughts/etc the water companies need to source water from other sources and this leads to fluctuations in hardness levels. Try testing your tap water and see what the reading is before putting it in the tank, if it is unnaceptable then you can add half tap and half bottled spring water (not distilled) to better even out the quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bettas are like a small child when they get stressed out, in that they like to spread it around. Possibly your water issues are causing them to lash out at someone weaker than them.

You sound like you are trying to establish a nitrogen cycle, how far along are you approximately? Did you seed your filter or are you letting it establish on its own?

Water hardness is a tricky one, it comes down to where you get your water from. Sometimes in rough weather/droughts/etc the water companies need to source water from other sources and this leads to fluctuations in hardness levels. Try testing your tap water and see what the reading is before putting it in the tank, if it is unnaceptable then you can add half tap and half bottled spring water (not distilled) to better even out the quality.
We didn't know anything about cycling our tank when we got it, so I think it may just be the cycle also, but we have had this tank for roughly 3 weeks. So I know if it is the cycle, it's almost complete correct?

Thanks for the tip to test water before putting it in the tank. I will do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok here Is the current water test results.

Nitrate is between 0-20
Nitrite is 0
Hardness is 300
Chlorine is 0
Alkalinity is 80-120
Ph is 7.8-8.4
Ammonia is 0
I've done some research on my own about hardness and ph and I am going to be getting some bottled spring wAter water to replace 50% of the water in the tank with... Will this help with the hardness and ultimately the ph because they are related?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok, quick update.. we got spring water, and almost immediately our hardness and ph leveled out. they aren't quite exactly where they should be but I'm hopeful that within the next few days they will be good.

Chomps tail is doing better, I think that maybe the decoration in the tank is too rough for him. The more I have learned about bettas the more I think his tail looks like it's torn not bitten. So we will be doing the pantyhose test soon on the decoration.

As for Romeo.. his tail looks slightly frayed. possibly bitten. he is swimming a lot more around, although he still has some slight problems getting his back side down, he is so much better then he was when we first got him.

thank you all for your awesome advice :)
 
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