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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I need to clean my bettas tank ASAP however I don’t want to remove him from the tank because it stresses him out. Can someone please write a step by step guide on how to clean a fish tank without removing him. How do I put in water conditioner without hurting him, and cleaning decor items and rocks. Thanks!



Housing:
How many gallons is your tank?
- 2 Gallons
Does it have a filter?
- Yes
Does it have a heater?
- Yes
What temperature is your tank?
- 75-80 Degrees F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
- No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?
- None

Food:
What food brand do you use?
  • Aqueon
  • Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes
  • Beta dial treat wheel (Treats only)
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
- Both
Freeze-dried?:
- No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much?:
- Every other day 4 pellets or a pinch of flakes

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?:
-Once a month
What percentage of water did you change?:
-30%
What is the source of your water?
- Fridge filtered water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?:
- Dump out rocks and plants and run them under hot water
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner?
- TopFin Betta Water conditioner


WATER
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm (still darker than would like)
pH: 7.6+
Hardness (GH): I don't the have testers
Alkalinity (KH): I don't have the testers

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
- 2 months ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
-Choppy fins
- Dark line on body
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
- Bruce used to always be swimming around the tank, now he just lays in certain areas
Is your Betta still eating?
-Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
-No
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
- Since this no
How long have you owned your Betta?
- 7 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?
-No
 

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You need to do water changes a lot more often then once a month. On a cycled tank you need to be doing a 25% water changes once week, vacuuming the substrate as you siphon the water from the tank, you can use an airline hose as a siphon, shove it under the gravel let if suck up the gunk in that area then move it to another section and repeat shoving it under the gravel. and if they are looking dirty you can take the ornaments out when you do the water change and scrub them in clean water, do not use soap. If you need something to clean them with white vinegar can be used, make sure to rinse the ornament till you can no longer smell the vinegar on it. You can leave him in the tank when doing that kind of a water change.

On a 2 gal, uncycled tank you should be doing 25 to 50% water changes 2x a week, and use Prime water conditioner to treat the water. The reason I'm suggesting Prime is that it binds to the ammonia and nitrite making them safe for your fish for 24 to 48 hours. After that the bind breaks and it's once again toxic to your betta so do not skip water changes.

Is there a reason you are using the filtered water from the fridge? If your tap water is safe to drink it would be better to use that and simply adjust the hot and cold water till it's within a degree or two of your tanks temperature. Use the water conditioner to treat the water then slowly add it to the tank. If you need to use the filtered water form the fridge then your going to need to let it at least get room temperature before adding it to the tank.

Many things can cause their fins to look choppy, and I'd at least need to see a picture before trying to figure out what it could be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You need to do water changes a lot more often then once a month. On a cycled tank you need to be doing a 25% water changes once week, vacuuming the substrate as you siphon the water from the tank, you can use an airline hose as a siphon, shove it under the gravel let if suck up the gunk in that area then move it to another section and repeat shoving it under the gravel. and if they are looking dirty you can take the ornaments out when you do the water change and scrub them in clean water, do not use soap. If you need something to clean them with white vinegar can be used, make sure to rinse the ornament till you can no longer smell the vinegar on it. You can leave him in the tank when doing that kind of a water change.

On a 2 gal, uncycled tank you should be doing 25 to 50% water changes 2x a week, and use Prime water conditioner to treat the water. The reason I'm suggesting Prime is that it binds to the ammonia and nitrite making them safe for your fish for 24 to 48 hours. After that the bind breaks and it's once again toxic to your betta so do not skip water changes.

Is there a reason you are using the filtered water from the fridge? If your tap water is safe to drink it would be better to use that and simply adjust the hot and cold water till it's within a degree or two of your tanks temperature. Use the water conditioner to treat the water then slowly add it to the tank. If you need to use the filtered water form the fridge then your going to need to let it at least get room temperature before adding it to the tank.

Many things can cause their fins to look choppy, and I'd at least need to see a picture before trying to figure out what it could be.

Thanks for your response! So just a quick recap so I understand

1. An 'Uncycled tank' means it has no filter correct?

2. If I do have a tank that has a filter I still should be vacuuming and doing 25 to 50% water changes weekly. Depending on how dirty the water is, is how I chose whether to take out 25 or 50%, correct?

3. Using the tap water from my sink then add Prime water conditioner to the water. When I'm about to add the new water how slowly do I add the water.

4. Will there be a negative effect if the old water has a different conditioner and now im adding a completely new conditioner
 

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Cycled refers to the nitrogen cycle. This is the short version of what that is. Fish waste, left over food, decaying plant matter, all produce ammonia in the water and it's toxic to fish. A type of beneficial bacteria start to colonize the tank and eats the ammonia but those bacteria produce nitrites which are also toxic to fish. A second type of bacteria then start to colonize the tank and eat the nitrites. That bacteria produces nitrates which are only toxic to fish at high levels. Plants will utilize the nitrates if you have them in the tank. When the tank is cycled your ammonia and nitrite levels will be at 0 because the beneficial bacteria are eating them all, and the nitrate level will be somewhere between 5 and 20. Once that happens your tank is said to be cycled.

The beneficial bacteria mainly live in your filter medium (cartidge or filter sponge), which is why you don't want to change out all of that at once because you throw all the BB away. It's possible to have a filter but your tank be uncycled. Here's the forums sticky thread on doing a fish in cycle CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

Even after you cycle your tank you should be doing 25 to 50% water changes every week, that's to keep your water clean, add minerals back into the water, and to clean up all the nasty stuff at the bottom of the tank that's a breeding ground for bad bacteria.

How much water I remove from my tank when doing a water change depends on how dirty it is, and how small the tank is. I tend to do larger water changes usually 30 to 50% on my 2.5 and 3 gal tanks because that's how much water I remove when vacuuming the substrate. On my larger tanks I generally only do 25% water changes.

Add the water in as slowly as you need to to keep from stirring up the substrate. I aim for the side wall of my tank to keep from creating too much of a current. If you use Prime the dose is 2 drops per gallon.

No, switching to a new conditioner will not hurt.

It looks like either the webbing on his fins is reducing, or he might be biting them. The good news is that it does not look like he has fin rot.

I'm not sure what might have caused the discoloration on his body. Is there anything in his tank that he could have gotten stuck in, or scraped against?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cycled refers to the nitrogen cycle. This is the short version of what that is. Fish waste, left over food, decaying plant matter, all produce ammonia in the water and it's toxic to fish. A type of beneficial bacteria start to colonize the tank and eats the ammonia but those bacteria produce nitrites which are also toxic to fish. A second type of bacteria then start to colonize the tank and eat the nitrites. That bacteria produces nitrates which are only toxic to fish at high levels. Plants will utilize the nitrates if you have them in the tank. When the tank is cycled your ammonia and nitrite levels will be at 0 because the beneficial bacteria are eating them all, and the nitrate level will be somewhere between 5 and 20. Once that happens your tank is said to be cycled.

The beneficial bacteria mainly live in your filter medium (cartidge or filter sponge), which is why you don't want to change out all of that at once because you throw all the BB away. It's possible to have a filter but your tank be uncycled. Here's the forums sticky thread on doing a fish in cycle CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

Even after you cycle your tank you should be doing 25 to 50% water changes every week, that's to keep your water clean, add minerals back into the water, and to clean up all the nasty stuff at the bottom of the tank that's a breeding ground for bad bacteria.

How much water I remove from my tank when doing a water change depends on how dirty it is, and how small the tank is. I tend to do larger water changes usually 30 to 50% on my 2.5 and 3 gal tanks because that's how much water I remove when vacuuming the substrate. On my larger tanks I generally only do 25% water changes.

Add the water in as slowly as you need to to keep from stirring up the substrate. I aim for the side wall of my tank to keep from creating too much of a current. If you use Prime the dose is 2 drops per gallon.

No, switching to a new conditioner will not hurt.

It looks like either the webbing on his fins is reducing, or he might be biting them. The good news is that it does not look like he has fin rot.

I'm not sure what might have caused the discoloration on his body. Is there anything in his tank that he could have gotten stuck in, or scraped against?
How do I stop the fin biting is my biggest question!

He has two rocks that he absolutely loves. Can you also explain why my fish has such an attitude problem, hes not very active as he used to be.

Do you recommend Almond leaves to lower pH
 

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How do I stop the fin biting is my biggest question!

He has two rocks that he absolutely loves. Can you also explain why my fish has such an attitude problem, hes not very active as he used to be.

Do you recommend Almond leaves to lower pH
If he was not fin biting when he had his plants the first thing you should try is giving him some more plants.

I can tell you he's not acting the way he is because he's mad at you or anything. He's likely stressed, or scared, about something, or he is not feeling good. Betta like a lot of plants, it helps them feel safe and that in turn lowers stress and we get to see their true personality. So in your boys case the first thing I'd do is give him some plants and see if that helps. If it doesn't help,

The other thing it might be is the filter, some betta LOVE a lot of current and will play in the filter output, others don't like it and will hide, most are somewhere in the middle. If you suspect the filter try baffling it and see if it helps, if you have a hang on back filter. If it's a sponge filter try turning down the bubbles.

To give you an idea of how many plants a betta likes here's a picture of my smallest tank, it's a 2.5 gal. Corky, king of the tank, is not the bravest of betta, he's been known to decide that the finger that I use to feed him is out to get him and he'd better go hide, but the plants help him feel secure and he's more outgoing because of them.
1017089
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If he was not fin biting when he had his plants the first thing you should try is giving him some more plants.

I can tell you he's not acting the way he is because he's mad at you or anything. He's likely stressed, or scared, about something, or he is not feeling good. Betta like a lot of plants, it helps them feel safe and that in turn lowers stress and we get to see their true personality. So in your boys case the first thing I'd do is give him some plants and see if that helps. If it doesn't help,

The other thing it might be is the filter, some betta LOVE a lot of current and will play in the filter output, others don't like it and will hide, most are somewhere in the middle. If you suspect the filter try baffling it and see if it helps, if you have a hang on back filter. If it's a sponge filter try turning down the bubbles.

To give you an idea of how many plants a betta likes here's a picture of my smallest tank, it's a 2.5 gal. Corky, king of the tank, is not the bravest of betta, he's been known to decide that the finger that I use to feed him is out to get him and he'd better go hide, but the plants help him feel secure and he's more outgoing because of them.
View attachment 1017089
THATS ADORABLE!!!

may i ask what type of vacuum you use, I’ve been looking everywhere for a 2gallon tank.

He’s been hiding a lot lately, I feel so bad. I use a topfin tank and The filter is non adjustable with the bubble settings. I just change out the filter.

I will definitely be buying more plants, prime conditioner

Do you recommend almond leaves ?
 

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Thanks!

I use an airline hose for a vacuum. In the tank that I still have gravel in I just shove it down into the gravel, let it suck up all the gunk that builds up, then move it to another section of gravel and do the same thing. I also vacuum off the plants. In my tanks with sand I just hover the hose right over the sand and vacuum up the fish waste and left over food. The nice thing is that it doesn't empty my small tanks too fast.

His problem may be the filter, both with his fins, and causing him to hide if the flow is strong. I've had more then one of my betta shred or rip their fins on the intake tube of filters. The solution is to baffle it. I've used filter sponge, craft mesh, and the mesh from a fish net, to baffle mine. The baffle keeps the filter from sucking in the betta's fins. I'm not sure how you could baffle the flow on that filter because I've never owned it. I think that using filter sponge to baffle the intake tube may slow the outflow down. Another trick is to use a plastic water bottle to redistribute the water to either side of the tank.

Be careful changing out the filter cartridges, every time you change them you throw out a lot of the beneficial bacteria and your tank most likely goes through a mini cycle. I tend not to use cartridges and just fill my filter with sponge and bio medium. I clean those in old tank water, and reuse them till they start falling apart years down the road. It also saves money.

He would likely love Indian Almond Leaves, and they should help him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
THATS ADORABLE!!!

may i ask what type of vacuum you use, I’ve been looking everywhere for a 2gallon tank.

He’s been hiding a lot lately, I feel so bad. I use a topfin tank and The filter is non adjustable with the bubble settings. I just change out the filter.

I will definitely be buying more plants, prime conditioner

Do you recommend almond leaves ?
Thanks!

I use an airline hose for a vacuum. In the tank that I still have gravel in I just shove it down into the gravel, let it suck up all the gunk that builds up, then move it to another section of gravel and do the same thing. I also vacuum off the plants. In my tanks with sand I just hover the hose right over the sand and vacuum up the fish waste and left over food. The nice thing is that it doesn't empty my small tanks too fast.

His problem may be the filter, both with his fins, and causing him to hide if the flow is strong. I've had more then one of my betta shred or rip their fins on the intake tube of filters. The solution is to baffle it. I've used filter sponge, craft mesh, and the mesh from a fish net, to baffle mine. The baffle keeps the filter from sucking in the betta's fins. I'm not sure how you could baffle the flow on that filter because I've never owned it. I think that using filter sponge to baffle the intake tube may slow the outflow down. Another trick is to use a plastic water bottle to redistribute the water to either side of the tank.

Be careful changing out the filter cartridges, every time you change them you throw out a lot of the beneficial bacteria and your tank most likely goes through a mini cycle. I tend not to use cartridges and just fill my filter with sponge and bio medium. I clean those in old tank water, and reuse them till they start falling apart years down the road. It also saves money.

He would likely love Indian Almond Leaves, and they should help him.
Ok be honest should I just purchase a new tank with a similar filter my knowledge on fliters is garbage so
 

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Hi! I see you haven't gotten a step by step process, as soon as I get a chance I'll type up my method for you :). The nice thing about this is that there is more than one right answer, so that helps.
 

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Thank you for your patience :)

Have a place in the house where you can store your buckets, dipping pitcher/cup and any other equipment and tools, because you'll want to try and have those specifically for the fish and not used for anything else.

As mentioned above, every few days change the recommended amount of water. (If/when you do a full container cleaning, your boy would need to be removed to a temporary container).

Turn off the filter (if you are able to do so)
Begin filling a bucket/container with clean water and the appropriate amount of Seachem Prime
Test the temperature so that it is the same as the tank water.
Dip out the tank water
A clean previously unused toothbrush and running tap water is a good way to clean decorations, inside and out. Make sure they don't dry out before you put them back in the tank.
Fill with the fresh water
Use a small colander/pasta strainer to pour the clean water through - this disperses the water into his tank more gently
Use a turkey baster to remove any food or poop that was missed previously
Check the filter if it needs rinsed, changed or cleaned
Turn the filter back on

A few things, if I may; You would want to consider obtaining a different tank/filter if you aren't able to baffle the filter you have now in some way as mentioned above. In addition to the concern with the raggedy fins where a possible cause might be the filter, my bettas are ones that don't like a strong water current and I had to baffle the outflow so that it is slower in order to make them more comfortable.

You may want to try and have the tank water temperature more consistently at about 78 degrees F.

Also, I personally think that you should feed Bruce more, daily at least. My boys get fed twice a day, the quantity they want within 60-90 seconds, plus treats. If you decide to increase his food, do so gradually.

There are three possible causes of Bruce's fins looking choppy - the webbing is decreasing, the filter is causing him issues or he's biting them. I would suggest that you first give him more frequent cleanings and more frequent feedings and see if the webbing grows back.

One other note, if you aren't already, turn off the tank cover lights at night.

Thank you for being a caring fishkeeper and coming here on Bruce's behalf :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for your patience :)

Have a place in the house where you can store your buckets, dipping pitcher/cup and any other equipment and tools, because you'll want to try and have those specifically for the fish and not used for anything else.

As mentioned above, every few days change the recommended amount of water. (If/when you do a full container cleaning, your boy would need to be removed to a temporary container).

Turn off the filter (if you are able to do so)
Begin filling a bucket/container with clean water and the appropriate amount of Seachem Prime
Test the temperature so that it is the same as the tank water.
Dip out the tank water
A clean previously unused toothbrush and running tap water is a good way to clean decorations, inside and out. Make sure they don't dry out before you put them back in the tank.
Fill with the fresh water
Use a small colander/pasta strainer to pour the clean water through - this disperses the water into his tank more gently
Use a turkey baster to remove any food or poop that was missed previously
Check the filter if it needs rinsed, changed or cleaned
Turn the filter back on

A few things, if I may; You would want to consider obtaining a different tank/filter if you aren't able to baffle the filter you have now in some way as mentioned above. In addition to the concern with the raggedy fins where a possible cause might be the filter, my bettas are ones that don't like a strong water current and I had to baffle the outflow so that it is slower in order to make them more comfortable.

You may want to try and have the tank water temperature more consistently at about 78 degrees F.

Also, I personally think that you should feed Bruce more, daily at least. My boys get fed twice a day, the quantity they want within 60-90 seconds, plus treats. If you decide to increase his food, do so gradually.

There are three possible causes of Bruce's fins looking choppy - the webbing is decreasing, the filter is causing him issues or he's biting them. I would suggest that you first give him more frequent cleanings and more frequent feedings and see if the webbing grows back.

One other note, if you aren't already, turn off the tank cover lights at night.

Thank you for being a caring fishkeeper and coming here on Bruce's behalf :)

So if my temperature ranges between 76-80 degrees should I be fine? Or should I just order a new heater (Ordering has been difficult due to the recent pandemic) so I’m wondering if it truly is dier

also do you know any ways I can muffle the filter. I didn’t think it was that strong however I’m willing to give anything a shot. If not do you know any good filters for a TOPFIN tank?

Before putting in the conditioned water in the tank. The water can be room temperature correct?

thanks!
 

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Your heater temperature is ok - it's a bit of a wide range but not horrible, although a steady/stable 78 degrees F is optimum. The water you add to the tank should be as close as possible to the temperature of the water that is already in the tank, within a couple of degrees.
Rainbo's post #10 above mentions several methods - I used heavy-weight craft mesh cut to approximate size in two layers, and cable ties threaded through the layers and around the filter can.
 

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Personally I'd just go with a sponge filter, I use this one in my 2.5 gal Amazon.com : Aquatop Aquatic Supplies Classic Aqua Flow Sponge Aquarium Filter Up To 10 Gal CAF-10 : Pet Supplies You'll also need an air pump, airline hose, and an air flow control valve, if you get one. If your air pump is not placed higher then your tank then you should also get a check valve to keep the water from back flowing into the air pump if the electricity goes out. If you look at the picture I posted of my tank you can see the sponge filter in the background behind the driftwood.
 
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