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Lots of different ways to successfully keep this species-

Based on the experiments I have conducted over the years-I have found that water quality can be maintained by these water change schedules. This is based on feeding quality foods and not overfeeding-since most water quality problems are due to poor quality foods and overfeeding more than byproducts produced by the Betta.

You don't want to base water change needs on water test ALONE-The test result can be helpful too, however, we don't test for the DOC's (dissolved organic compounds) that also build up that can be problematic.

All tanks need at least weekly-to-twice weekly water changes and water changes based on water prams of-Ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater and Nitrate of 40ppm or greater-It is best to keep nitrate under 20ppm.

If using plants fert-make water change-then add the ferts so you will remove any unused ferts so the algae can't to help prevent algae problems. With that said, some species of algae can be good and a sign of a healthy system, however, the aquarium is still a closed system and manual removal will still be needed on occasion.

Remember-some products/additives used in the tank can cause skewed test results. Have a base line with your source water with and without these products so you don't make unneeded water changes based on skewed results.

Tanks:
1-4gal without a filter or live plants
Twice weekly-1-50% water only and 1-100%

1-4gal with a filter
Twice weekly-1-50% water only and 1-50% with substrate cleaning by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.

1-4gal with/without filter and with live plants-
This can vary based on number, specie and growth state of the plants. Generally with live plants even without a filter you don't want to make 100% water changes.

5-9gal without a filter
Once weekly 50% with vacuum-with 90-100% monthly

5-9gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.

5-9gal with/without filter and with live plants
This can vary based on number, specie and growth state of the plants. Generally with live plants even without a filter you don't want to make 100% water changes.

10+gal without a filter
Once weekly 50% with vacuum and 90-100% as needed based on stocking

10+gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.


10+gal with/without filter and with live plants
This can vary based on number, specie and growth state of the plants. Generally with live plants even without a filter you don't want to make 100% water changes.

You want to vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots. It is best not to move decorations around-but if you need to or you want to change things around-Be sure and vacuum well under items-you may or may not need to make 2 back to back water changes in order to get the excess mulm/debris buildup under items.
If you do-don't clean the filter media or clean the non-viewing walls-especially in cycled tanks to prevent min-cycle/spikes.

When you vacuum-Unplug both the filter and heater-Then plunge the vacuum deep into the substrate and as the mulm/debris clear in a second or two-move and repeat.
You will not get all the mulm/debris and this is okay-Once you refill with like temp dechlorinated water and turn the filter back on the water should clear within the hour-even without a filter the water should clear. If not, you either missed a water change, over feeding or overstocked.

It is best to leave the Betta in the tank with partial water changes.
When making 100% water changes and you cup the Betta-be sure and properly acclimate back to the new chemistry like you do with a new Betta-By adding small amounts of the new tank water to the holding container over 10-15min or to tolerance-Net and add to the tank without adding the holding containers water.
Be sure and have some extra dechlorinated water on hand to use for top offs if needed.

Too clean can sometimes be as bad as too dirty-We all know what too dirty can do-but too clean and too many water changes especially 100% water changes can be stressful, disrupt the balance of the good and bad bacteria/pathogens and antibody development. Its hard for life to be maintained in too clean and sterile conditions.

I am not saying to not make water changes-what I am saying is that this species doesn't produce the amount of byproduct that you think and removal of all the organics in the tank too often can disrupt the balance and by removing all the bad you are removing the good that helps to keep the bad controlled.....Balance.....

Remember-to always wash hand well before and after working on your tank/Betta. And to unplug both the heater and filter...Safety for both you and your wet-pet.....​
 

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Niec job! :)
 

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Thank you so much! You are my hero!
 

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Thank you for posting this, OFL!
 

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That's a great thread. Glad to know I was already doing the right thing but this will help a lot of people that are new to betta keeping! :)
 

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Thanks as always OFL!
 

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very good sticky OFL. it seems like i do water changes a bit more frequently than that in your post. is my water too clean? i do 1 50%wc weekly gravel vac on the 5g cycled. the 3.4gkks and 2.5 get 100wc every 6-7 days and 4-5 days respectively. the sub 5g tanks are IAL water and ive never had much luck keeping IAL water ph levels the same with 50WCs. after the 7 or 5 days the waste is noticalble when the water is removed.
 

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Thanks OFL! As always, tons of great info! I have learned so much from you.

I was wondering... I've learned that in a cycled tank, one type of good bacteria will "eat" the ammonia and release nitrites, and a second type of good bacteria will "eat" the nitrites and release nitrates. I also know that if these are not available the good bacteria can starve and you will lose your cycle. If this is correct, my question is, how do I know if my tank is producing enough ammonia / nitrites to keep the good bacteria strong? I have live plants which I know will use up some of the ammonia and only one betta, 2 ghost shrimp and some MTS. If I test for ammonia and it's 0 as it should be, how does the bacteria "feed" to produce nitites and then nitrates?

Also I'm still a little confused about using Prime, which I use for my wc's. I know Prime does not really "remove" ammonia but changes it to a non toxic form called ammonium, however this ammonium may still show up on my API Master test kit as ammonia. The water straight from my tap shows .25 ammonia. So when using Prime, how do I know if the ammonia registering on the test after a water change is ammonia or ammonium? Do I need another type of test kit to know if there really is ammonia in the tank?

Also, if Prime only neutralizes the ammonia for 24-48 hours, does that mean that 2 days after my partial water change the ammonium changes back to ammonia? And if so, do I then need to test again and possibly use prime again? And if so, if I keep changing the ammonia to ammonium using the prime, where will the ammonia the good bacteria need to survive come from? Or does the good bacteria also eat ammonium? It seems like such a vicious cycle and I seem to keep confusing myself! Lol

I hope this is OK to ask these questions on this thread, if not, would a moderator please move it to the correct place? Thanks so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Both the BB and plants will/can use the ammonium-the prime neutralizes the ammonia to make it safe for the livestock.

Our testing products only test at a ppm level and you will always have some ammonia and other byproducts in the tank to support the BB.

Generally, what we look for to tell us cycling stage/completeness is the nitrate reading, however, with some species, numbers and growth state of live plants-it can take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we generally look for-The cycle is still happening-its silent...

Once you have an established nitrogen cycle/bio-filter any ammonia/ammonium should be taken care of fairly quickly by the bio-filter and since you have live plants-they are taking care of things too.

One of the best water testers IMO/E...Is the fish along with the power of observation-By understanding normal behaviors-we will be able to spot abnormal behaviors quickly so to intervene-Regardless of water test results-when you have abnormal behaviors-the treatment will be the same....Water change.......and by waiting on test results- it might be too late...Test the water-but make the water change while waiting on the results-that is what you will do anyway when you have skewed results....
 

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so if I have a 2 gallon, unfiltered with ONE plant (roots only in water, leaves above surface) and I do a 100% water change every monday is that ok???
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
so if I have a 2 gallon, unfiltered with ONE plant (roots only in water, leaves above surface) and I do a 100% water change every monday is that ok???
Is this a bamboo plant...if so, yes, however, I would add a 50% water only mid week along with the 90-100% you are doing-unless the plant is growing really good-Then a 1-2 time weekly 50% would be all that is needed....but it need to be growing really good and you see new growth on the plant at least weekly.

Bamboo, peace lily, ivy and what I like to use-cuttings from my weeping willow tree to root out-can help maintain water quality and use excessive nutrients in the water column to help prevent algae problems-But the key word being..active growth-otherwise they can become part of the water quality problem.
 
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