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Hello! I purchased a Betta five days ago (Feb. 20th) from my local PetSmart. Tonight I noticed a split in his Dorsal fin and his Anal fin, and I'm worried it might be due to his current decor. I feel like I might have gone a little overboard trying to give him exciting things to explore. Here's a link to the setup: https://imgur.com/gallery/n2YEH34

I'm also worried about fin rot because the water has been cloudy (not green) since we put water in the tank. He's very dark in coloration and his other fins look okay. I plan on testing the water tomorrow after class.

That said, he has also been flaring at his reflection a lot, so maybe it could be blow out? If so, I'm not entirely sure how to stop that. I know it can take some time for them to adjust and relax, but it almost seems like the tank is full of mirrors!

Here are the specs of the tank:

Top Fin Essentials SK 10 Gallon Desk Aquarium
Top Fin Silentstream 10 Power Filter with cartridge
50 Watt Heater

The water temperature is sitting at ~80 degrees according to the thermometer that came with the kit. The water was distilled and purchased from walmart and we also used a water conditioner. This was done ~48 hours before we purchased the fish.

Any help would be super appreciated!
 

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Welcome to the Forum! :wave:

Some cannot easily follow links and get back so we encourage putting photos directly into a post. You can add photos by clicking on "Go Advanced" and then on the paperclip in the toolbar or "Manage Attachments."

Cloudy water in normal in a new setup. It is called "New Tank Syndrome" and is harmless.

Distilled and purified water are not good because they do not contain the necessary minerals, etc., that fish need. Spring water is better. Is your source water really bad? If not, you can use it.

Here is the Forum's tutorial on cycling your tank:
https://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fish-care/507585-cycling-two-sentence-tutorial.html

Can't wait to see your new Betta!
 

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Ah, yes, I didn't sign up for an account prior to posting, so the option to attach wasn't available--regardless, I've attached some photos of the tank and one picture of Teusotuthis this weekend, before the fin splits occurred.

I will start replacing the distilled water asap--would it be best to do a full change or in increments (25%)?

I really don't know if the water here is viable for fish; I know it has a super chemically smell before it goes through our purifier.

I plan on grabbing some SafeStart and whatever else I need tomorrow when I run to the store for water testers.

Thank you for the speedy response!
 

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Hi! How are things now? Are you doing increments of water changes?
I haven't started anything considering I am not entirely sure how to proceed in regards to changing the water type. That said, I am still not sure what would be causing his fin splits.

As I said above, I won't be able to start doing anything until after I get done classes for the day. Wednesday is my long day, so I won't be able to purchase anything or update on anything until late this evening. In the meantime, my fiance is doing some research on low-light live plants, so at least that's something.
 

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when you have a chance, take a look at russelthe****zu's post above. The link for cycling will help you.
Also, with your hardscape decor, if your girlfriend has some old pantyhose, run that over them. If it tears, your Bettas fins will also. In addition, feel the insides with your fingers. Any sharp edges or protrusions should be filed off.

There are betta safe fake plants, I found some that work but again, look for any protruding plastic "stems" if the plant is of that style and keep an eye out if a leaf falls off during cleaning, and use sharp scissors to remove them so that it's all smooth to the touch 🙂.
 

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Forgot all about the pantyhose test. That could be what is damaging his fins.

Also, when you can, get SeaChem Prime as your water conditioner. It is added two drops per gallon. If you are worried about the chemical smell in your tap water you can switch to Spring water. You can use it as the replacement water when you do water changes.
 

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I use distilled mixed with my own tap. Most tap water, even well water such as mine, has 300-700 PPM as it's base which when mixed with distilled at a 50/50 ratio brings the water down to an acceptable level for total dissolved solids or PPM (parts per million). It won't be the lack of minerals in DIS water that will kill your fish, even if you use 100% DIS water. The lack of minerals is something that will affect them over some time... When buying ANY water DIS.. Purified or Spring you have to take into consideration that this water was not bottled with pets or fish in mind. They bottle the water with humans in mind and that means that since humans are alkaline (blanket statement) our fluids should be also. Your most expensive and best quality spring water has a PH of at least 9. I have tested every brand of water sold by the gallon or more that most grocery and retail stores carry and I have only found two of them with a neutral PH. Hinckley Springs DIS water is the one I use most often, but I have my own well so I am able to do a 50/50 mix.

I believe that most here use Prime as a water conditioner, I use Stress Coat myself because of the danger of using Prime in water of 80 degrees and higher causing a reaction in your tank that can kill your fish. I would have to guess that for "most" people in the hobby this problem is moot since the chemical reaction should not take place prior to 88 degrees and that up until that you are safe to use double the amount you normally would. I am not most people in the hobby, if I turned my discus tanks or my grow out angel tanks down to 84-86 I wouldn't have to worry about what conditioner to use. I do keep Prime on hand without a doubt, but I have used Stress Coat for the last 25 years in all tanks on all fish so if it isn't broken I tend not to try to fix it.
If your water is REALLY terribad and you run at normal temperatures for a fish tank 78-82 ish then I would use the Prime. To some degree it is a personal preference but Prime will deal with heavy metals, chlorine, and ammonia just to name the basics...

If you must buy water, use RO or reverse osmosis water... BUT only if the person or pet shop you are buying it from has a clue how to control the outcome.
 

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As far as the fins being suddenly split up... You most likely have already answered your own question.

I keep drawing paper between each of my male bettas. I also only let the males see females when I am wanting to breed them soon and even at that I only remove the divider paper for an hour or two a day. I have had many a male betta with perfect or near perfect fins that I have allowed to spend more time than I should have with a female that wasn't quite in the mood to breed yet, that has torn their dorsal or anal fin or has ended up flaring so much that their caudal fin starts to split.
Chances are that if he has been spending a lot of time flaring at himself lately that he has caused his own fins to split...

I would have to see a picture of the fish with all of his fins showing clearly to tell you if it is bacterial or fungal tail rot, or if it is the fins starting to tear from poor water conditions.
 

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Distilled Water Association says distilled water alone is *not* good for fish.

"You will hear regularly that the distilled process removes all the minerals from water because it’s pure water, like nature intended. While this isn’t a problem at all for humans because Humans get almost all of their minerals from food (and humans get many benefits from distilled water), it is a problem for fish. Fish need these minerals; it is the only way they get them sometimes. However, Distilled water in combination with addition of mineral supplements in the water will create an almost perfect condition for most fish, this is because distilled water is free from impurities, and by adding minerals to distilled water, all you’re left with is pure water and minerals, which is as good as it can possibly get for Fish."....Distilled Water Association.

Brian Imekus: It won't be the lack of minerals in DIS water that will kill your fish, even if you use 100% DIS water.
Please source the information about dangers of Prime above 80. Thank you.
 

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Okay, so--

I tested the water in the aquarium using the API master test kit before I did anything; here are the results:

Ammonia was .25ppm
pH was ~6.8-7.0
Nitrate was a flat 0ppm
Nitrite was a flat 0ppm

Afterwards, I siphoned out around 3 gallons of water (the 10 gallon really only holds 7.5 gallons without being too full.) I removed the cherry tree hide and threw in some silk plants along the sides in an effort to minimize the reflection problem. He already seems a little less "flare-y,' so fingers crossed. Fiance ordered some betta-safe/low light live plants, they are set to arrive around this time next week.

Anyway, I then filled up the tank again with spring water. I added the Prime (sorry, I didn't see the post about the Stress Coat) and the SafeStart bacteria. For some reason I thought I had read that my filter cartridge would seed the bacteria but looking back I can't find it so maybe I dreamt it. The temperature dipped around 4-5 degrees but is nearly back to normal now, about 45 minutes later.

I also felt around the other solid decor and didn't feel anything that would be too protruding, but I'll have to pick up some 'hose in order to nip that theory in the bud.

I will try to test my tap water tomorrow morning, both filtered and non. Probably a stupid question, but are there any metals/minerals that absolutely would negate the use of tap water, or will the API kit test for anything potentially deadly? If it were well water I wouldn't be as nervous about using it, but I really have no idea what the water quality is like here and we do live near some potential hazards to the environment (nuclear power plant, etc.)

We threw up some regular white printer paper against the sides of the aquarium this afternoon, but it really didn't look like it made much of a difference. Would some sort of clear sticker that would distort the image (i.e., blur it) work? I'm thinking something along the lines of wax paper.

Regardless, I'll try and nab a picture of him with his fins tomorrow. It's too dark over where we have him to capture anything discernible currently.

Hope this all makes sense; I tried to answer everyone in order!
 

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I have found that *most* Betta stop glass surfing and/or excessive flaring at themselves after a week or so. I have two 20 long tanks divided x 3 with clear acrylic. After a few days they only flare occasionally.

If you follow the Forum's tutorial (linked on Page 1) you'll be good to go. The SafeStart gives you a jump on the bacteria but does not, in and of itself, cycle the tank.

Thank you so much for the photos!
 

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About tap water contaminants, I live in Denver. There is an increased amount of illegal marijuana grows in the mountains that use lots of pesticides, plus in general people are dumping their medications down their drains, etc. It's not Flint Michigan here necessarily, but on the other hand I don't know if the water treatment plant is really able to handle this.
For my cat (and us by extension lol) I put a faucet-end filter on the kitchen sink faucet since he insists on drinking from the tap, because his kidneys are a little compromised and I want to ease the workload on his system.


With all that said, I'm not using the extra-filtered water for the fish tank. I'm only using Prime and straight tap water at the same temperature as the tank. The various water testing products don't drill down to anything beyond chlorine, water hardness, ph et al. My boys appear to be doing well.
 

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Distilled Water Association says distilled water alone is not good for fish.

"You will hear regularly that the distilled process removes all the minerals from water because it’s pure water, like nature intended. While this isn’t a problem at all for humans because Humans get almost all of their minerals from food (and humans get many benefits from distilled water), it is a problem for fish. Fish need these minerals; it is the only way they get them sometimes. However, Distilled water in combination with addition of mineral supplements in the water will create an almost perfect condition for most fish, this is because distilled water is free from impurities, and by adding minerals to distilled water, all you’re left with is pure water and minerals, which is as good as it can possibly get for Fish."....Distilled Water Association.



Please source the information about dangers of Prime above 80. Thank you.
Sorry guys and gurls I ended up coming in contact with this coronavirus right about this time.. I still have all kinds of eeeuwky stuff coming up from my lungs... I had to get off of the medication after the 3rd refill because I discovered it was an opioid. SO yeah this is the first time I have read my email in 3 weeks.

Please do not take me as I seem right now. My shih tzu girl who has been my warning sign and my rock during my 12 yr fight with this disease I am blessed with for now... she got suddenly sick tues. afternoon...throwing up and such... and about 15 hours ago she died... So I am fighting to find myself right now.

As for the water post.. It looks to me as tho the DWA said pretty much exactly what I do... I mean they leave off the part where the ph in almost every DIS, or Spring water sits at the very least at 8.5 with the average I have gotten from testing some 50 different water types (which oddly enough, once you read and contact one of the companies you discover that there are no where near that many varying sources and that most companies share the same source with several others) range in a ph of 9-9.5 as the average and if you buy the "extreme" water that is fufu good for you they normallly have a ph between 10 and 11. So I still stand on the PH will kill our fish long before any lack of minerals will. Frankly, I will only use Hinkley Springs DIS water. It is a ph of 6.7-7.2 most commonly at 6.9.. and it reads 100 and less PPM... It is fairly useless on its own as I said, but when mixed with natural spring fed well water that is 7.3 and 340-400 ppm it makes a lovely bubble boy betta happy. Of course I use a AA grade indian almond leaf in my breeding tanks and live plants... I guess you could call me lazy for letting nature take care of most of my work, I prefer to think that I have gotten in tune with my water side and in doing so I take the path of least resistance.

As for the Prime... My source would be PRIME. It was around 5 years ago when they had the warning placed on the bottle propper... I don't think the temp was 80 though... The bottle used to warn users to only use half doses of Prime in tanks that were >/= 84 degrees (I am still not certain the temp but it was definitely mid 80's because I NEVER read labels beyond the first sentence. I used 1.5 the normal dose on one of my Discus groups and I killed the two smallest females.. They were basically my canaries but I was working and not paying attention) I had quite the long phone conversation with one of the support team at Prime.. and for two more jumps up the food chain there until I got someone who understood my point. LEAD WITH THE WARING AND PUT IT IN CAPS... The of course didn't listen to some crazy guy on the phone that was too arrogant to read a bloody label and was mad at himself for killing his own fish... HOWEVER, since that time they no longer phrase it as a warning. In fact if you read the label atm.. if my memory serves me (though of all the things I have lost I do so miss my mind the most) it comes across as having more to do with the chloromine or chlorine being under a certain level than it does about the temp. . AND the temperature today is def 86... The best thing I can say is that if you doubt me you have three options.. go crank up one of your tanks to 88 degrees and pop the fish with a double dose (Which that was what the intented reply or subject was in reference to... Not single dose.. and at temps of 80 and under you can go 3-5 x the normal dose if you must.. but there are better ways to deal with NH3 than that) and start your timer.. If I am wrong then you will still have a fish in 30-45 minutes. I do have to wonder if anabantoids as a whole might not even fall prey to whatever reaction takes place with Prime once you pass say 85 degrees.. The reaction that takes place has to be one that causes three to become 4 and in turn go air-borne. With anabantoids not having to process air via their gills under water and able to use their labyrinth as we do our lungs... I dunno.. I am just rambling at this point cause I haven't slept in two days and it isn't gonna happen tonight it seems either. By the looks of my novelette response to a single sentence question I think I can safely diagnose myself as FINE.. freaked out.. insecure.. neurotic and emotional.. very heavy on that last one....

OH yeah two other options left.. we cant leave those out right.. Option two is to cut to the chase and do what I did... Find the phone number for the company and call them rascals... Third option.. my personal favorite... shake your head and say "there is somethin what jus ain't right bout that thar boy. I recon that he musta been dropped a time or two from the top of the still hed first into to the corn mesh"

On a side note... My well water has just gone full out nuts with all of this water fall we have had... I did my betta water changes while I was pretty sick with a side of 101 fever, so at first I thought I maybe dreamed doing them when I saw several of them just hanging at the surface with clamped up fins. I asked the mother monster if I had imagined changing water or if I had. I track everything I do on an excel sheet, but at first it starts out in a notebook that my mom writes out as I do things. Mind you, I was pretty dang sick, so it took me a couple of runs at these goings-on to maybe give my tap water a test. I haven't tested it in 3 days since two of those days rate pretty high on my Good Day to Die list... but my freaking well was coming out a 1ppm NH3 off the tap. THAT means that I have swapped out to using Prime as my base conditioner.

Take care fam.. I wouldn't really depend on me reading email again for a while... I am pretty far over the edge losing Precious so suddenly. AND THE PRICE OF THE Shih tzu has now reached the "ARE YOU OUT YOUR BLOODY MIND" level.. for sale 3000.00 shipping included.. 4000.00 shipping included.. Brother for 4g's there needs to be a year of dog food included. I am trying to find a male and female for my mom.. Obviously I plan to see of either of them have that whole health companion skill thing working for them.. I was told by a very kind lady today that they are UBER sensitive to the person or family they are bonded with. So I am desperately seeking Susan. .wait no... well unless they happen to AKC register a very cute female Susan. lol
 

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FAQ: Is it possible to overdose Prime?

Prime is very safe and quite difficult to overdose to the point of harming tank inhabitants, but a large enough overdose can start to deplete the system of oxygen. This effect is temporary, typically lasting an hour at most, but in case of extreme overdose can be significant enough to harm fish. The standard dose of 5 mL per 50 gallons of water is recommended for standard tank setups, and an overdose of up to 5x this amount can be done to detoxify ammonia and nitrite in the water. However, there are a few situations under which a larger dose of Prime may not be safe for your system.


Your tank is already low in oxygen



A tank with an exceptionally high bio-load, high temperature, or poor circulation is likely quite low in oxygen, so reducing the oxygen any further may be dangerous to tank inhabitants. In this case, using a half dose of Prime or increasing the oxygen content of the tank is recommended.


You are using another product that also reduces oxygen


Most conditioners that clear away chlorine and chloramine, products that detoxify ammonia and nitrite, as well as some medications will reduce oxygen levels in the tank. Like Prime, the effect of these products on the oxygen level of the tank usually dissipates within an hour, meaning it is typically safe to use them on the same system as long as an hour or so is left between the doses. For further information on which
 

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Take care fam.. I wouldn't really depend on me reading email again for a while... I am pretty far over the edge losing Precious so suddenly. AND THE PRICE OF THE Shih tzu has now reached the "ARE YOU OUT YOUR BLOODY MIND" level.. for sale 3000.00 shipping included.. 4000.00 shipping included.. Brother for 4g's there needs to be a year of dog food included. I am trying to find a male and female for my mom.. Obviously I plan to see of either of them have that whole health companion skill thing working for them.. I was told by a very kind lady today that they are UBER sensitive to the person or family they are bonded with. So I am desperately seeking Susan. .wait no... well unless they happen to AKC register a very cute female Susan. lol
Hope you read this. Send me a PM and I can set you up with health-checked Shih Tzu anywhere in the country. I used to show dogs so have a lot of contacts. We lost our boy, Russell, last April to thoracic cancer. Still waiting to get over it. We do have Edward and Fiona, though, and love them just as much.
 
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