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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New Betta fish owner: Male Beta is just floating at top of his 1.5 gallon fish bowl, hardly any movement (listless) not eating. Eyes look half open. Yesterday washed 1.5 gallon bowl and gave thorough cleaning using water and paper towels only. Only replaced 1/3 of water. Tried to be sure same temperatures (use a Betta water heater). Even though everything is now clean-the water is cloudy which it wasn't before the cleaning. The readings for PH and ammonia read fine. From reading online we may have disturbed the nitrogen cycle in an attempt to keep the bowl clean and bacteria free. Next time we will wash the gravel with the tank water and not tap water. (There are water clarifyers --not water conditioner-- for sale, but it seems it would only hide the problem?) Saw a white mucus-y film floating in water seems would have come from the fish. is this good? Have seen others mention this but no answer as to what it is and whether is good to leave in the bowl. I also read it could be cloudy if water conditioner is beyond expiration and ours has no exp date. Should we remove some water and add drops from a new water clarifying bottle? Would double conditioning hurt? How long do you need to let the water sit after the drops go in?
We just got the fish and are trying everything, but he seems like the bowl clean/ 1/3 water change/cloudy water is doing him in! :(( Everything I read on line contradicts!
How often should we clean the betta 1.5 gallon bowl? If they are stressed out by the cleaning is 2ce a month sufficient? HELP!
There is NOT extra food or dirt, we have not overfed. Not in direct sunlight. THANK you for your help, experienced Betta fish owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello Mike,
It's called Nutrafin Betta Plus. It came in a Marina Betta Aquarium Kit, but we bought a larger fish bowl to have a bigger space and more water. There isn't an exp date. We bought a new liquid API Betta Water Conditioner, still sealed. You are correct that we don't have a filter. We do have the heater & thermometer. TY:))
 

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I take it are you removing the fish with each water change. Are you acclimating him when you put him back in the tank?

Are you using tap water? How often are you changing water? I would recommend switching your water conditioner to Seachem Prime in a un-filtered bowl. 3 drops of Prime daily in your 1.5 gallon bowl will detoxify harmful ammonia for 24 hours. Prime works instantly, no need to let the water sit.

With a 1.5 gallon bowl without a filter you really should be changing some water everyday. There is really no need for water clarifiers, you should do fine with tap water & Prime. The white gunk in the bowl sounds like bio-film, you can just wipe it away.
 

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New Betta fish owner: Male Beta is just floating at top of his 1.5 gallon fish bowl, hardly any movement (listless) not eating. Eyes look half open. Yesterday washed 1.5 gallon bowl and gave thorough cleaning using water and paper towels only. Only replaced 1/3 of water. Tried to be sure same temperatures (use a Betta water heater). Even though everything is now clean-the water is cloudy which it wasn't before the cleaning.
When you say cloudy, do you mean milky white cloudy? Or just a brownish dirty cloudy?


The readings for PH and ammonia read fine.
We can better assist you if we have actual numerical values for all four; ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and pH.


From reading online we may have disturbed the nitrogen cycle in an attempt to keep the bowl clean and bacteria free.
That's highly unlikely unless it's an established planted tank. Otherwise, without a filter you have no way to sustain any type of nitrogen cycle. Nitrifying bacteria require porous material to live on, and it must have water pushed through that material to provide oxygen to the nitrifying bacteria. It cannot reproduce without oxygen. This is what a filter provides for a healthy nitrogen cycle so that the good bacteria can reproduce and thrive. (Plus it filters detritus from the water and provides chemical filtration.)

Next time we will wash the gravel with the tank water and not tap water.
Never remove the gravel to clean it. Use a gravel vac. I generally use one had with the gravel vac and my other hand to keep Mal's attention so he doesn't get sucked up in the tube. Keeping their attention with food or other treats works well, too.

Saw a white mucus-y film floating in water seems would have come from the fish. is this good? Have seen others mention this but no answer as to what it is and whether is good to leave in the bowl.
That's more than likely bio-film caused by the fish mucus when they make bubble nests. Also a lack of proper filtration in the tank and/or overfeeding will cause bio-film. It can be dangerous because it prevents co2 from getting released from the water. You can help prevent this by adding a good filter.


I also read it could be cloudy if water conditioner is beyond expiration and ours has no exp date. Should we remove some water and add drops from a new water clarifying bottle? Would double conditioning hurt? How long do you need to let the water sit after the drops go in?
You don't have to let the water sit. Most municipalities have switched from chlorine to chloramine, and it does not ever dissipate from the water. Dechlorinators work on contact. Prime is 2 drops per gallon, and there is no reason to use a higher dosage unless the water chemistry is at toxic levels.

We just got the fish and are trying everything, but he seems like the bowl clean/ 1/3 water change/cloudy water is doing him in! :(( Everything I read on line contradicts!
Relax and don't stress. :) We'll help you get things on track so you can enjoy your aqua baby.

How often should we clean the betta 1.5 gallon bowl? If they are stressed out by the cleaning is 2ce a month sufficient? HELP!
The smaller the tank, the more quickly things can go from bad to extremely horribad. You have no filter and no nitrogen cycle, so at this point you need to be doing 2 50% water changes every day. There is no other way to keep the toxic levels down in that bowl.

There is NOT extra food or dirt, we have not overfed. Not in direct sunlight. THANK you for your help, experienced Betta fish owners.
I would definitely recommend a larger tank. While it is true that in the wild they live in very shallow water, it is also true that rice paddies strech over several acres of land. Provide at least a 5 gallon tank to give him more room. This will also provide you with the ability to get a semi decent filter without it taking up all of the room in a 1 gallon tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Wow! I am moved and overwhelmed by everyone's kind responses to help us:)) I am using SeaChem 6mo to 1 yr sensors. Ammonia is yellow=safe, PH is 7.4. I would describe the water as looking as when you get water out of a faucet that has air in it. Just not crystal clear--and cloudier than before we cleaned and changed the water!
Re: Gravel in the small 1.5-2gallon bowl--we were told algae, bad bacteria etc can form from food and waste particles not removed. A turkey baster could get what we see with the naked eye--but it wouldn't get things in the rocks beneath.
He was so happy until we did him the favor of cleaning his home:(
It's interesting the comment about adding the 3 drops of conditioner a day. I thought you only added the conditioner to the NEW water you add. If it should be added daily, I'll try that. Do others concur? Can you keep the fish in the water when adding the drops?
We did use tap water which we treated (the new water) with the Nutrafin Betta Plus.
The fish was just given to us 8 days ago. If we knew we would have a fish--we would have read up about it ahead of time.
We got him into his new bowl from the little cup he came in, and he was just getting acclimated to that and being happy, when we said--well it's been a week let's clean the bowl and change 25-30% of the water. Rinsed the gravel--ran the tank water through a strainer and replaced the rest back into the bowl. Tried to get the temperature to the same degree before putting the fish back in.
Thank you for the info about Bio-film and clarifiers.
We can certainly change 20% of the water again daily--but it seems it is the change that sends him into this state. He seems stressed:(
 

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It's interesting the comment about adding the 3 drops of conditioner a day. I thought you only added the conditioner to the NEW water you add. If it should be added daily, I'll try that. Do others concur? Can you keep the fish in the water when adding the drops?
Yep, it's pretty much standard boilerplate around here. It's a preventive for people who have un-cycled tanks or no filter. 2 drops of Seachem Prime per gallon daily. So that will be 3 drops in your 1.5 gallon. You can do it with the fish in the tank, it won't hurt him. Prime doesn't come with a dropper so pick one up if you need one. And don't forget to condition the water you put in the tank with 2 drops per gallon. Don't worry, you can safely dose Prime 5X the normal amount with no ill effects.

Leave the fish in for partial water changes, it's less stressful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mike, I really appreciate your instructive and specific comments. If the water additive was old (no way to tell) perhaps that's just what it needs. I'll order the SeaChem, but for now I'll break into the new bottle of Api Betta Water Conditioner, and try adding the drops. Tomorrow I'll change the water 20% and leave the fish in the bowl. What do you feel about the gravel on the bottom, and how to maintain a healthy balance between the the beneficial (bacteria?) with the muck? Also, do you have any ideas to calm a stressed fish?
 

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I'm not certain if the API conditioner will work the same way as Prime does, so I would follow API's instructions until the Prime arrives or if someone who uses API can advise.

The best way to clean gravel is with a gravel vacuum. If you vacuum with every water change there will be no accumulation of muck.

You could easily do a daily 50% water change in your bowl and I think it would be better. Just try to match the water temperature as close as possible.

That's why if you can upgrade to a bigger tank it would be better for you and your fish. You would only need to change 50% one a week in a cycled 5 gallon tank.

Keeping stress down? Turn off the lights and add plenty of hiding spots. You can also add some Indian almond leaves but they are not readily available. Rooibos tea is a great substitute. I use Twinning's Red Rooibos tea. It's all natural and caffeine free with no added flavors. Just plop a bag in your tank for 1/2 hour. It is said to have a calming effect. You can find it at your local supermarket.
 

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Wow! I am moved and overwhelmed by everyone's kind responses to help us:)) I am using SeaChem 6mo to 1 yr sensors. Ammonia is yellow=safe, PH is 7.4. I would describe the water as looking as when you get water out of a faucet that has air in it. Just not crystal clear--and cloudier than before we cleaned and changed the water!
Can you take a photo with your cell phone? Id like to see the cloudiness so I can determine if it's a bacterial bloom or not.

Re: Gravel in the small 1.5-2gallon bowl--we were told algae, bad bacteria etc can form from food and waste particles not removed. A turkey baster could get what we see with the naked eye--but it wouldn't get things in the rocks beneath.
A tiny gravel vac will suck up what's stuck between the rocks while leaving the rocks on the bottom. Look on YouTube for gravel vacs so you can get an idea of things. You could even make one yourself if you wanted (drink safe vinyl tubing from Home Depot, and a gas syphon squeeze bulb from an auto parts store. I made one for my Cichlid tank and they work wonders!)

It's interesting the comment about adding the 3 drops of conditioner a day. I thought you only added the conditioner to the NEW water you add. If it should be added daily, I'll try that. Do others concur? Can you keep the fish in the water when adding the drops?
We did use tap water which we treated (the new water) with the Nutrafin Betta Plus.
You don't need to add conditioner unless you change the water. The conditioner makes the water safe for the fish. Yes, you can add the conditioner right to the tank after a water change, or you can just treat the water going into the tank. Either way will work. For my smaller tanks I use buckets for water changes, which I treat the water in the bucket. But my 30 gallon tank I use a Python Water Changer, which is hooked directly to the faucet in the bathroom (30 foot hose). I treat the tank after I add the water.

Continue using the Nutrifin Betta Plus. It will detoxify the water of chlorine, chloramines, other heavy metals, protects scales and fins, plus it has the added benefit of almond leaf extract which is good for a betta. Prime is a great product, and you are certainly free to get a small bottle to keep as a backup for emergency water detoxing, but in IMHO you're doing great with the Nutrifin product.
 

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Continue using the Nutrifin Betta Plus. It will detoxify the water of chlorine, chloramines, other heavy metals, protects scales and fins, plus it has the added benefit of almond leaf extract which is good for a betta. Prime is a great product, and you are certainly free to get a small bottle to keep as a backup for emergency water detoxing, but in IMHO you're doing great with the Nutrifin product.
I disagree and I'm sure the majority of the people in the forum would too.

Prime does all this and has the added benefit of detoxifying harmful ammonia & nitrates for 24-48 hours. This is critical in an un-cycled tank. Prime is hands down a superior product to Nutrifin and tailor made for just the situation that HarryFish is in. The 2 drops per gallon safety net of Prime daily has saved many fish on this forum and has been helpful to people attaining a fish-in cycle safely with practically no risk to the fish.
 

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tailor made for just the situation that HarryFish is in
I'm guessing I missed something other than a bacterial bloom in an uncycled tank? Is there something wrong with the water that a water change will not fix? Or did you mean there is heavy ammonia and nitrates coming from the tap?
 

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Water changes are always a good thing. What I was recommending was routine maintenance for someone who has an un-cycled tank without a filter. It's pretty much the standard recommendation for someone in the OP's situation in our community and has been for some time.

I see. I apologize if there was a misunderstanding somewhere. I never meant to insinuate that doing a water change in an uncycled tank was not necessary. I looked back at my posts and am not sure where you got that from. :oops:

I think we were talking about two different things. I was saying that under normal circumstances (no toxic chemistry, just every day water changes) that the Nutrifin will remove ammonia, chlorine, chloramines, and other metals from the tap water the same as Prime.

The only difference between the two products is that Prime can, in an emergency and dosed at 5 times the normal ammount can temporarily bind nitrates to an inert state until the aquarist can fix the situation (most times when it cannot be fixed right away is because the water from the tap has high amounts of chloramines or nitrates). Harry doesn't appear to be in that situation, so using up what he already purchased (Nutrafin Beta +Plus dechlorinator) will be fine to use for daily water changes. In other words, he is not in any situation where the Nutrifin dechlorinator will not work to detox his tap water.... no reason to waste the product.
 
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