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Discussion Starter #1
Am I stressing out my betta every time I do a water change? I have a 5g tank with a filter and live plants and I do two 50% water changes every week. My betta is so bright and blue before the change but poor thing turns a pale brown a few hours after doing the change. I have had him for 2 weeks and have done 4 water changes so far.

I make sure the temperature is the same and acclimate him. I add water conditioner. I use Tetraaqua Bettasafe water conditioner. Should I switch to prime? Is it safe to switch? Please help! I don't want to keep stressing him out every few days. Btw, I tested my water and th pH is super high(8.2). Maybe that's it? But I always use tap water so it's not like that parameter changes on a water change.
 

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Im not too sure, but 50% water change twice a week seems a lot considering you have a filter in there too. Even if your tank is cycled, 50% seems alot.

I had that problem with my betta before too. He just gets stressed when I do a water change, try and not affect him as much as you can and reduce the amount of water change and im sure he'll be fine. Does he return to his original colour after some time?

Any water conditioner is fine as long as it gets rid of the chlorine, but if you prefer prime, then go for it. Another alternative would be to add aged water instead of fresh water from the tap.

If your ph level is too high, your local pet shop should sell some products to lower your ph.
 

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I have Mystic a blue betta and when I first got him every water change he would lose his color and stress stripes. Eventually they get used to the maintenance cycle and the stuff that goes along with it.
 

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My boy gets REALLY stressed every time I cup him to do a full change in my 2.5gal. He gets stripes, and last time his black face turned practically white. He's usually changed back to normal within 10minutes of putting him back in. I kinda wanna upgrade him so I don't have to cup him anymore. It is stressful, so just try to do the change as fast as you can.
For your changes, if the new water is the same temperature, or even room temperature, I wouldn't take him out. I'd just condition the new water and just add it in slowly bit by bit, and pour it slowly to not make a huge current so it doesn't disturb him as much.
 

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Since you are saying it happens hours after a water change I am going to say it's due to such a large change.

In a 5 gallon, with a filter and live plants you are actually wanting to do small changes.. depending upon how many live plants you have will determine how small of a change. If you have more then 3 I would say 20-25% once a week, if it is less then 3, then 25-30% once a week is sufficient. Siphon the substrate 1-2 times a month, as the plant will use waste and excess food as fertilizer.. but you still want to clean up the waste that is not used.

The only thing about your water conditioner is that I don't see where it neutralizes ammonia. It takes care of the chlorine/chloramines and heavy metals.. even helps with the slime coating.. but nothing on ammonia. I wouldn't worry too much about that since live plants should take care of it, but again, depends on how many you have and of what type of plant. Tetra AquaSafe or Prime is good- if you decide you don't want to have just your plants take care of the ammonia.. switching conditioners should have no ill effects to the fish.

pH is high, but a betta will adjust to it on their own.. DO NOT use pH uppers/downers, as they can become deadly to a betta (among other fish that don't require a specific pH).. the up and down of it can cause them to go into shock- the chemicals you use to try to bring it down won't keep it down, and in turn fluctuates the pH which is deadly. Just safer for the betta to adjust to a high pH then to try to mess with it on your own.

I would try the smaller water change at once a week as recommended and see how he fairs afterwards. If it continues then you may have to do a slow chemistry acclimation with him.

How long has the tank been up and running, and did you cycle it prior to adding him in? That can make a difference, adding to two large water changes a week.. can make the chemistry go bonkers hours after a change, which may be why you are seeing what you are seeing with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Im not too sure, but 50% water change twice a week seems a lot considering you have a filter in there too. Even if your tank is cycled, 50% seems alot.
My tank is not cycled. I was planning to do 2 50% changes a week till it is cycled. But I can reduce that next time to see how it goes.

Does he return to his original colour after some time?
Yes he does. He was back to normal this morning.

For your changes, if the new water is the same temperature, or even room temperature, I wouldn't take him out. I'd just condition the new water and just add it in slowly bit by bit, and pour it slowly to not make a huge current so it doesn't disturb him as much.
I do that. He freaked out like a serial killer fish was following him when I put him in a cup for his first water change. I've been leaving him in a tank since then.

I would try the smaller water change at once a week as recommended and see how he fairs afterwards. If it continues then you may have to do a slow chemistry acclimation with him.

How long has the tank been up and running, and did you cycle it prior to adding him in? That can make a difference, adding to two large water changes a week.. can make the chemistry go bonkers hours after a change, which may be why you are seeing what you are seeing with him.
I am going to try the smaller changes, thanks. What is a chemistry acclimation? I leave him in the tank and pour the new water in little by little. The tank has been up and running for two weeks and unfortunately, I didn't know anything about fish before I got him so, no, not cycled.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also, any idea what it means if the ammonia levels in my tap water are tested HIGHER than that in my tank water? I wonder if that has something to do with it.
 

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2 weeks is not very long. Some fish take a little longer to adjust to the new surroundings. I purchased of what would be the last cup sitting on the shelf at petco of a crowntail female, she was very nervous in her cup darting about banging hard against the plastic, most likely why other buyers stayed away from her.

When I placed her in the 15 she acted the same way, very nervous, anything set her off. Darting about banging on the glass and gravel, frankly did not think she was going to survive. Fast forward today, has become the alpha of my 7 sorority setup and doing very well.
 

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2 weeks is not very long. Some fish take a little longer to adjust to the new surroundings.

When I placed her in the 15 she acted the same way, very nervous, anything set her off. Darting about banging on the glass and gravel, frankly did not think she was going to survive. Fast forward today, has become the alpha of my 7 sorority setup and doing very well.
How long did it take her to be more normal(for lack of a better word)?
 
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