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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm new to keeping fish but in the short amount of time that I've had my Betta, (Noem) I've grown quite attached and only want to make him happy, so a few questions: When I got him he was in a glass block that was far too small and unheated. He's now in a 2.5 Mini Bow tank with charcoal filter (that comes with tank) and it's heated to 80 degrees. Once a week I do a 25% water change and the following week I do a 50% change. Is this enough? Unfortunately, I think Noem is biting his tail fin. (I keep him in my office so he's alone on weekend's) and I notice that the most damage is done over the weekend. I don't believe it is fin rot as I do not see any black or color loss on his fins. Would you agree? Any ideas on how to get him to stop? And lastly, as previously mentioned I'm using the filter that came with the tank - does this need to be baffled? I see Noem hovering in front of the out put as if he enjoys it but other threads state that most Bettas do not like the flow. I've also read that the males make bubble nests and while Noem blows bubbles he hasn't really built a nest. Is this normal? Thanks!!
 

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it does sound like fin biting, he might be stress out from not seeing you or other people, if its possible to take him home on the weekends you might want to consider it, if not adding som decore to your tank to distract him might help, bettas do get bored. (it sounds like under stimulation). If he doesn't get tossed around by the filter i wouldn't bother baffling it as it sounds like he enjoys it. Give him time on the bubble nests, he'll do it when he's ready and depending on how old he is he might not even have the need to blow them yet. And aquarium salt (pre-dissolved before adding to the tank) should help with his torn fins and curbing his bordom like i said before should make him stop biting. I would suggest throwing a 100% water change in there some where (maybe doing 50% every other week and 100% the following week). these are just my sujustions and im in no means a fish expert
 

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You'll probably want to do twice weekly water changes. What you're doing now is decent, but not enough to keep the ammonia from eventually building up. Maybe a 25% change on Tuesdays, 50% change on Fridays, and at least once a month 100% changes.

Unfortunately some bettas do get bored without something going on outside their home. What sort of decorations/plants do you have in the tank now? You could try rearranging them before the weekend so that he can explore "new territory", or I know someone has had success with letting their betta watch TV on their iPad! Probably not a good use of electricity to let a computer run Youtube over the weekend, but it's an idea.

If Noem doesn't seem bothered by the filter, you shouldn't need to baffle it. If you notice he seems tired, you might do it to prevent him from always expending so much energy. Might weaken his immune system or stress him after long enough. But some bettas enjoy playing in the current!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! Transporting him back and forth on the subway I think would do more harm than good. Unfortunately, his tank is pretty bare; river rock gravel and 3-4 silk plants, as I've been afraid to add a cave/decor for fear of paint peeling, chemical smells etc. etc. etc. Any suggestions for safe decor?
Briz, would it be sufficient to do a 50% change weekly for 3 weeks and a 100% change for the 4th week?
 

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most fish stores have fish safe decor, and i understand if taking him back and forth is a struggle. Silk plants are safe for them and i would suggest if its possible get him a betta log to explore
 

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I'm just going off Old Fish Lady's water changing suggestions and my own experience. My first tank was a 1.5 gallon that I did twice weekly water changes and eventually I did start to see early signs of fin rot.

I wouldn't get any decorations from Walmart, but most of Petsmart or Petco's are safe for water. You could always silicone some rocks together to make a cave, or you can use a new terracotta pot!
 

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I personally have the filters baffled in my mini Bows because the flow was too strong for them. But if you betta doesn't mind it then I think its fine.
 

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I agree with Briz. For 2.5 gallons, less than 2 water changes a week is probably too little. The only way you can know for sure is to get the testing kit(s). At least get the one for Ammonia, which is the first toxin to rise in the tank and the one that most often causes illness of fish in small tanks. (My tap water contains enough ammonia to make fish sick. It's important to know how much your fish is being exposed to.) The liquid kits are best; test strips are inaccurate and not worth the money. Ideally you want to see 0 ammonia. If you see it rise to 0.5ppm (many will say 0.25ppm) you know to change at least 50% of the water. You don't need to do 100% water changes in a filtered tank as long as you are keeping the ammonia down, but I think that is more a matter of personal preference. If you want your tank to complete the nitrogen cycle (which will keep ammonia and nitrites at zero) then don't do 100% cleanings and don't change the pad in the filter. If your filter slows down, just swish the pad in old tank water after a water change, then put it back. For more information, read the sickies on cycling - and ask tons of questions. The best water conditioner is Prime by Seachem. It detoxifies ammonia for 24-48 hours. Condition your refill water with 2 drops per gallon, and add one drop per gallon directly to the tank on the days that you don't do a water change.

Mater kit has a test for everything you need:
http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI

Just the ammonia kit:
http://www.amazon.com/API-LR8600-Ammonia-Test-Kit/dp/B0002566TC/ref=pd_sbs_petsupplies_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0JZVKKE0SXJV6WG11F9V

I had the minibow, and the filter never bothered my betta. That seems to be individual to each fish. If yours can handle it, then leave it alone. The exercise will be good for him. You might not see bubble nests because the filter moves the water too much. It's not a big deal. As for decor, I recommend some small anubias plants. They do well in low to medium light, and even I haven't managed to kill them yet. If you let them float in the tank they take ammonia from the water as their food. I tied two of them to some small silk plants so they wouldn't move around, to the length where the leaves floated just below the surface. My fish took to them immediately and used them as his favorite lounge spot. Perhaps this would help your boy stop biting.

Welcome to the wonderful world of fishies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much for the info, Jessie and Briz. I never realized how much work went into these fishies! I will definitely look into the Anubias plants, are they all okay? A preliminary online search came up with a few different ones ie; hastifolia vs. barteri.

As for the Prime conditioner, I'm currently using API stress coat +, should I switch to the prime if I don't have a cycled tank? (After reading up on cycling I was even more confused and thought i would just stick to changing his water as previously mentioned rather than mess it up, but of course (cycling) does sound more beneficial for him. Though the water temperature thing is daunting. (What amount of degree fluctuation is okay?) I've been trying to read up on Bettas but there is a lot of information out there and one site says one thing while the next says another.
 

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+1 on the API Master Kit. You can continue using the StressCoat but maybe switch to Prime when you run out. Or if you use Stability get Prime (see below).

Bettas are so individual; some like the flow from the filter and some don't. Go by what Noem likes. I have AquaTop IF201 internal filters with spray bars and two of mine play in the spray (I point the spray bar to the back wall which acts as a baffle).

I cycled my 2.5 Mini Bow using Seachem Stability and changed 25% once a week once cycled. If using Stability, you'd have to take him home as Stability requires seven or eight straight days.

Anubias are wonderful plants for Bettas. You can tie them to rocks or drift or Cholla wood. Just check to see how tall they get as some get quite tall and others stay short and broad. Dwarf Water Lilies and Tiger Lotus are colorful plants, too. You can cut off the leaves at the base when they reach the height you prefer and eventually they won't grow any taller. Or, you can let them reach the top of the tank. Get a small bottle of Seachem Flourish and dose twice a week or after a water change.

This is my favorite site for all things aquatic plant. Hope the link is acceptable.

Aquatic Plant Library - Everything Aquatic

For now, you could add a small terra cotta pot or small coffee/demitasse cup as decor.

Welcome to the Forum and Welcome to Bettas.

PS: A majority opinion on this site is warm, clean water for torn fins; no salt.
 

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Temperature fluctuation can be very stressful and weaken the immune system. My betta has been okay (short term) as long as the fluctuations were within the safe range of the thermometer, 76 - 82 F. The more steady, the better. Adjustable heaters do the best job of keeping a stable temp. The 25 watt Hydor Theo is an adjustable heater that fits nicely inside the Minibow. It's not very expensive, either.
http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-25W-Submersible-Aquarium-Heater/dp/B0006JLPG8

Stress Coat + is a great conditioner. It's what I use to condition refill water. Like Prime, it also detoxifies ammonia. The reason Prime is recommended here is because it is very concentrated. In an uncycled tank you can add 1 drop per gallon (half strength) directly into the tank to keep the fish safe in between water changes. The full dosage for Stress Coat is a half-milliliter per gallon, which equates to 5 drops per gallon. So I guess to dose the tank between water changes you could add 2-3 drops per gallon of Stress Coat to the tank. (8 drops for your Minibow, I'm guesstimating. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.)

I don't have experience with Stability. I did try to cycle my Minibow using Tetra Safe Start (TSS). It contains the correct bacteria for cycling, and many have had success with it. It's easy to find at the big pet stores and very inexpensive at around $4 for the smallest bottle. IF the bottle on the store shelf is fresh, it is a good product. You add the entire bottle to your tank at once, then monitor your ammonia level and keep it safe for your fish. It didn't work for me, and I ended up buying Dr. Tim's One and Only online. It costs more, but the manufacturer bottles a fresh batch and ships it directly to you in a well-insulated package. I have been very pleased with the results from that.

My first anubias came from an aquarium in a local fish store. I don't know what species is was. All that really matters is the size, I think. Later I looked at the tubed plants in PetSmart. They had about three different types of anubias. I wanted variety, so I bought a few different ones that looked to be in good condition. All of my anubias are doing very well. I'm thinking of adding some more of them, now that I have a bigger tank.

I agree with you that there seems to be a lot to learn at first. There is tons of conflicting information and misinformation out there. I trust the members here who have the most experience, especially the ones with the title "reference team." Even they can disagree with each other on some topics; a lot comes down to personal preference and style. It's good to know there is a lot of room for individuality, as long as you are meeting your fish's basic needs. Here's the kicker: most pet store employees will tell you misinformation that can harm your fish. Ignore them, or take them with a grain of salt. Even the products on the store shelves send out the wrong message about how to care for a betta, like those Betta Bow tanks with the dividers (Way too small for 2 fish unless you want to change the water every day). The best information I learned from the stickies here and by asking questions. It gets easier! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Noem is definitely biting his tail fin. I noticed this morning that he had some growth in his tail fin and it was evened out, then this afternoon I noticed he had nipped it nearly into a <. I cannot seem to wrap my brain around why he would do this. He never did this when he was in the glass cube, could he perhaps prefer the (much) smaller living space? How short can he bite this fin and will it affect his swimming abilities? :-(
 
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