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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!
I've had bettas before, but with the betta that I just brought home, I wanted to make sure that everything is done exactly right and wanted to try out live plants! I got him a 2.5 gallon Top Fin aquarium with a live dwarf cardinal plant (and Leaf Zone by API). All this was done on Friday, 1/24. The internal filter that the tank came with created a huge current, so I went out and bought the Tetra 3i filter, that has 20 GPH. For the first two days, the water was crystal clear. However, today, I noticed that the water was kind of cloudy, to the point where I'm concerned if it's algae in the water or if it will get worse. Is this just New Tank Syndrome? What do I need to do to clear the water up (I've already used Stress Coat and Stress Zyme)?

Also, I was looking for a bottom feeder for the tank. I thought about the cherry shrimp (just one, so they won't reproduce), but they don't sell them at any local stores. Will a decent sized ghost shrimp work (or a few, do they reproduce a lot?)? Will snails eat the live plant?

One last thing, the temperature is sitting at 67 degrees while I wait to get a heater (going out this week, what size wattage should I get?). I say this because the betta will eat his food (Omega One), but spit it back out and try again. I am able to get the uneaten pellets out of the water, but I don't know why he isn't eating his food. I've gotten him to eat one pellet so far.

I'm so sorry for the long post! Thank you so much in advance!
 

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The cloudiness is normal for a new tank and will clear up on its own soon. Do you have a test kit so you can keep an eye on ammonia levels?
I believe the small heaters they sell for betta tanks are 7.5 watts, which has been fine in my experience.
Have you tried soaking the betta pellets for a minute? My bettas can't eat their pellets unless I soak them first. That's why I mostly feed them flakes.
 

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My first guy did that with the granules I got him, I ended up with bits of food in the gravel that I couldn't get to and an ammonia spike. I got him some new pellets and he never spits them out (I also tried freeze dried blood worms and frozen brine shrimp and both were spat out). Some are just fussy I guess... maybe try a different food and see if he likes it better. My other little guy will eat anything I give him.
 

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You'll need a lot more of the right kind of plants if you want them to help your water quality. See the Planted Betta Tank section.

See if you can baffle the current from your larger filter. The Tetra 3i is poorly designed and ineffective as a filter. The water flows only over the top 10% of the filter pad. It should flow through the entire pad. Take it back; tell them it doesn't work right... because it doesn't. If you can't baffle your current filter, see about getting a sponge filter or an Azoo Palm HOB. Current shouldn't be a problem with these.

Is StressCoat your water conditioner? That's fine. StressZyne does nothing for your tank that you're interested in.

You needa siphon to suck leftover food and waste out of the tank. Get the smallest, cheapest one you can find.

Most important, you need a heater. While you may get lucky and find a low-Watt preset that works for you, you're better off with a 25W adjustable heater by Hagen, Hydor, Eheim, TruAqua, Aqueon or other reputable manufacturer. They sell in the $20 range on Amazon (the Hagen Mini 25W is $15). Heaters are too important. Don't skimp.

In order to keep healthy shrimp you really need a cycled tank. Snails are fine. Nerites are pretty and clean algae.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Ok. I'll get the heater tomorrow. As far as the filter goes, are there any that they'll sell at like Petco or Petsmart that will be adequate? What GPH should I look for in a filter? The Tetra 3i has good ratings and doesn't produce much current. The only downside to not having current is that the top of the water kinda stagnates. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Also, how long will it take before the cloudy water subsides? Should I get a water clarifier to take care of it or will that be bad to use in a new tank?

Thanks!
 

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Petco sells Aqueon heaters. I'm not sure you can get a 25W, but it's OK to use a 50W even in a small tank. Petco brand heaters work, but are not the best. Aqueon has a lifetime guarantee. Get a cheap floating thermometer.

Where is the Tetra 3i highly-rated? I need to go over there and set them straight.

While you're getting your heater, get some coarse AQ filter foam (Fluval or other). You can put some on the intake and strap some on the outflow of you filter. That may be enough baffling to make your Betta comfortable.

The cloudiness it probably a bacteria bloom. It will clear up once you start running your filter all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Petco sells Aqueon heaters. I'm not sure you can get a 25W, but it's OK to use a 50W even in a small tank. Petco brand heaters work, but are not the best. Aqueon has a lifetime guarantee. Get a cheap floating thermometer.

Where is the Tetra 3i highly-rated? I need to go over there and set them straight.

While you're getting your heater, get some coarse AQ filter foam (Fluval or other). You can put some on the intake and strap some on the outflow of you filter. That may be enough baffling to make your Betta comfortable.

The cloudiness it probably a bacteria bloom. It will clear up once you start running your filter all the time.
I think Aqueon was the brand I was looking at! For the filter, do I need to worry about burning out the motor of the filter? I have the Top Fin Internal Filter that came with the tank. Would I get an extra filter cartridge (it's a foam cartridge) and just shove two in the frame? Or should I grab just a regular piece of filter foam and cover up the inside of the intake hole with it?

Thanks!
 

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A little foam up the intake would work. Actually Fluval makes a small round pre-filter that fits most intakes. And you can rubber-band a square of foam over your outlet. Some splash is good for gas exchange and for breaking up surface scum. You won't burn out your motor. That's not how they work

The cloudiness will go away. Don't use clarifier or any chemicals besides conditioner.

He's new, so he has to learn to eat what for him is new food. A turkey baster will get leftover food out of the tank. A Nerite snail would help that.

You'll want to seriously consider cycling your tank, especially if you want shrimp. Read the cycling stickies at the top of the Bowls and Habitats section. You'll be doing a fish-in cycle. Start a new thread when you're ready. In the mean time, ask any questions here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the help! I got pre-filter pads that I shoved in the bottom of the filter, and I think I was able to get the current down by half, maybe a quarter. I have the current "wand" sticking straight up to help buffer some of the current as well. Do the pictures look like they will be fine? I also go the heater for him, but I had to get one that wasn't adjustable, as I couldn't find any small enough.

Thanks again!
 

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As long as he's not hiding from it, a little current is good for exercise.

If your heater keeps the water consistently between 77* and 81* that should be fine. What kind did you get? Keep an eye on it until you know you can trust it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I got the Tetra brand because it was the only one that was small enough. I might get a 5 gallon tank over the summer so I can get a real size heater and give the betta more room (I'll have an apartment next semester, so room won't be an isssue).

I don't think the current is too strong. He's definitely not avoiding the back! He can swim at the back of the tank without getting pushed around (the plants directly under the output aren't even moving, like before). The only thing is that he has to move his pectoral fins a little more than normal, but he's still able to maintain control. Does that seem okay?

I woke up this morning and he was trying to fight himself in the glass! He didn't do that before I got the heater. Hopefully he learns that he's looking at himself.

Thanks!
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Sorry about the post above, it won't let me delete or edit either of them. Anyways, now I put a bigger sponge in the bottom of the filter. I think it drastically reduced the current. There are still some spots where there's current, but not nearly as much.

Now, I played with the wand, and experimented with it two different ways. The first is with the wand pointing up, which creates a small current throughout the tank, with the benefit that the current right under the wand being weaker than without the wand. The second uses no wand, which creates very little current throughout the entire tank, but does have the downside of creating a stronger current in the corner. That way, the glass and thermometer would hopefully absorb some of the current from the waves. The current's not too bad, but it still exists.

Which would you prefer in your tank?

Thank you! I REALLY appreciate the help that you're providing! :-D
 

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Some current is fine.Lat with it and see for yourself.

He'll always flair at his reflection more or less. That's why the call them fighting fish. Several minutes flaring every day is good for him. You should provide a large mirror for the purpose of exercise.
 
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