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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had already started a thread on the Betta pics page but thought it would be best to start with a new one over here since I seem to have a 101 questions! lol

Anyways.... I have just gotten my first Betta-I have had them as a kid but always just a tiny glass bowl with rocks on the bottom, only feeding the poor thing a few times a week with min water changes. I am mainly worried about the ammonia level and type food I have gotten. So far, I have feed him omega one pellets and tetra dried blood worms. Are these ok?
I have also been testing the water ammonia levels. First time it read .25 with nothing but sand and a temp gauge. I added a moss ball and java fern and it was down to 0. I figured then it would be best to get him out of his tiny cup and added the fish. Tonight, not even 24 hours later, it is .5! I don't want to kill my poor little boy! What do I need to do in order to keep him healthy?
Sorry that I can't add photo of the set up. If anyone is interested though I did add a pic of the tank to my profile. If you see something awfully wrong please let me know.
Any and all help is more than apperciated!!! :)


-As a side note, when I was at my pet store I saw a beautiful black HM. I have another tank I could set up for him and really considering on going back for him. How common are black bettas? This is the first I believe I have seen...
 

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what water conditioner did you use? and what kind of testing equipment? Maybe I missed it... but what size is your tank?
Oh, and weight ur java fern down, but dont bury it into the substrate :) they dont like that...
 

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One thing I've learned in this hobby is the more you worry, the more something may become a bigger deal than it is. The best way to avoid worrying is to do water changes. In small tanks, a 50% every few days is great! In large tanks I clean about 75% every few days. I don't use filters and I have a python siphon so it's easier for me. Just make sure you're doing water changes at least once a week in smaller tanks. The more, the better!
 

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So far, I have feed him omega one pellets and tetra dried blood worms.
Easy on the FD bloodworms. Few and seldom (once a week for treats seems to be the consensus around here). Most keepers prefer frozen BWs. Omega One is very good.

I have also been testing the water ammonia levels.
With a liquid test kit, I hope. Strips are not as accurate.

First time it read .25 with nothing but sand and a temp gauge.
Check your source water.

I added a moss ball and java fern and it was down to 0.
Hmmm...shouldn't make that much difference. Perhaps your test was inaccurate.

... not even 24 hours later, it is .5!
That can happen, especially with an active fish. Change at least half the water whenever ammonia gets to .25ppm. (I used to change my 1gallons almost every day). What are you using for water conditioner? Many here recommend Prime.

If you see something awfully wrong please let me know.
I don't see a heater. This is a VERY important item. For recommendations, look around here for a heater thread. Many small tank keepers use a Hagen Elite 25watt, the smallest adjustable heater I know of.

I saw a beautiful black HM.
Get yourself set up with this fish and get some experience. There'll be other gorgeous fish out there.
 

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Many water plants add ammonia to disinfect water, which may be why you had readings right away. :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First, thanks to everyone for your help :)

Sorry I didn't add more detail. The water conditioner I have been using is splendid betta. I know it probably isn't the best but the store was sold out of everyother so I thought it would be ok for now.
I used API drop ammonia kit. I heard how bad strip tests can be.
The tank I have is only a 1.5 gallon. I know isn't not the best size but I am planning on moving hum soon. I also changed the java fern. I just listened to the lady at the store who told me it would be best to bury it. I should have learned by now to never listen to them lol
And as far as a heater goes, I did buy one however the water has stayed at 78 without it and Im scared of it being to warm.. what is the perfect temp for him???
Thanks again for all the help! :)
Hopefully I didn't miss anything this time....
 

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78F is just fine.
Actually if you have ammonia in your tap water, I believe Prime neutralizes some ammonia, so you should look into that.
 

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If Olypmia is right about the local plant, definitely get your hands on some Prime. It will detoxify that ammonia. :)

Is your tank still 78 at night? Remember that temperatures drop at night...I would get a heater anyway to make sure that is stays the same even in the coldest hours. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will definitely be ordering a bottle of Prime! Thanks for the advice :)
I thought that it would change during the night to but I checked it at midnight and 2am, it was still right on 78. I do keep my house uncommonly warm though for my bird so maybe that's why it hasn't changed...
 

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Wow...I couldn't live in a house that warm. :p If your temperature is that consistent, then I wouldn't say you need a heater. It might be handy to have one on hand in case the house heating goes out but you still have electricity, or something like that, but no need to put it in his tank. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some times I wonder how I live in it too... lol but the bird, husband and now fish love it so I silk deal :p I will keep the heater but not put it in.
I finally got Prime and have been doing 50% water changes everyday and the ammonia levels are finally low and stable :)

Also, this isn't a very important question but every time I walk to his tank he starts wiggling his body. I never seen any of my other bettas to this and just wondering what it could be. I'm sure its harmless and so cute! :D
Thanks for everyone's help! :)
 

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One thing I've learned in this hobby is the more you worry, the more something may become a bigger deal than it is. The best way to avoid worrying is to do water changes. In small tanks, a 50% every few days is great! In large tanks I clean about 75% every few days. I don't use filters and I have a python siphon so it's easier for me. Just make sure you're doing water changes at least once a week in smaller tanks. The more, the better!

you should really do only 30% weekly to conserve the nitrogen cycle, the only time you should do more i a betta in a less than 3 gallon tank.

Aquarium Pharmeseuticals (API) makes something called quick start that you can use when doing larger changes, it contains nitrifying bacteria.
 

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you should really do only 30% weekly to conserve the nitrogen cycle, the only time you should do more i a betta in a less than 3 gallon tank.

Aquarium Pharmeseuticals (API) makes something called quick start that you can use when doing larger changes, it contains nitrifying bacteria.

Does that actually work? I've heard differing opinions on that.

The only thing I'd add for OP's consideration is that 78 is a perfect temperature. Some like it warmer. I set mine to 82 after noticing that my betta spent a lot of time around her heater.
 

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I don't think that those bacteria in a bottle things really work - how the heck do the bacteria stay alive in a bottle with nothing to feed on? If I was going to trust one, it would be Stability, by Seachem, but I'm dubious about even that.
You certainly don't need to add it: in under a 5 gallon, you don't really have a cycle anyway. In over a 5 gallon, you should have a stable enough cycle to live through something like a water change.
 

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I think the varying success with bacteria in a bottle depends on how long it's been on the shelf.. if it was packaged not too long ago there'd still be some alive when you got it. Probably the only reason it works sometimes.
 

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hmmm :/ any other ways to conserve bacteria during a large water change? I just like to feel peace of mind that I haven't dusrupted the cycle. A sponge? lol getting one algae anyway.
 

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Well, it depends on the size of your tank. Anything under 5 gallons won't hold a cycle anyways, so big water changes won't really matter.
 

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Since I read in your thread, Pog, that you frequently change your filter media, that is destroying your cycle every time far more efficiently than a large water change. As long as you keep your filter media in some nice dirty water, a 100% change won't disrupt your cycle. Changing the filter media = instant cycle murder.
 
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