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Discussion Starter #1
Please help! I have a 2.5 gallon tank with no filter and a heater that keeps the temp around 76. I change his water 100% once a week. The tank has three live plants and black sand. I rinse the plants in cool water every change and rinse out the sand, then refill the tank with tap water, treat it with water conditioner and then let it sit until the temp is the same as the water my fish is being held in. When the temp is the same, I put my fish back in his tank( few hours). The problem is that EVERY TIME I gonthrough this process, and put him back in his tank, he acts like he is dying for two days, then like clockwork is acting normal again on the third day after being in his fresh water. He continues acting healthy until the next water change a few days later. I don't know what is wrong! I love this fish and want to do everything right for him, please help me with your experiences and suggestions! I didn't think I had to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank if I changed the water at least once a week. Is that true? Also, I have not let the water age before putting it in the tank, it comes straight from the tap into the tank, BUT then it sits in the tank for usually half the day before I put my betta in. Is it wrong the way I am doing it? Please be kind, I am doing my best, this is my first fish and I am learning. By the way, when I say he is acting like he is dying, what I mean is that he lays at the bottom of the tank on his side or hangs out at the top of the tank vertically with his fins clamped. Then after two days, swims around with a bunch of energy again and unclamps his gorgeous fins.
 

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Is your heater working properly? 76 is a bit low... 78 to 80 is best.. Do you acclimatize him before putting him back in? What plants do you have?
 

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You rinse live plants? I dont think that's very good for them. Maybe you could cycle it and do two 50% water changes a week. It sounds like stress, and cold.
 

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First, Welcome to the forum.....

What kind of plants and are they doing well...

When doing 100% water changes you need to acclimate him to both the temp and chemistry of the water by adding small amounts of the new tank water in his holding cup over 10-15min-then release in his tank...provided that he tolerated the acclimation process.....

Depending on the type of plants-you may not need to make any 100% water changes-especially if they are rooted in the substrate-If the plants are true aquatic and actively growing....50% 1-2 times a week is all you would need to make to maintain water quality.......

Not all plants are created equal...some are better than other at keeping the water fish safe....

Can you post a pic.....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the responses. I just took a pic about 5 minutes ago. He is swimming around acting normal again. I was not acclimating him by putting new water in the holding bowl. Maybe that, like you said was the problem. It seems like he goes into shock after the water changes and then snaps out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He is in my kitchen here so I could keep a better eye on him while he was acting strange. I will upload a pic of where I normally keep him. Please let me know if that seems too bright for him. I keep him there usually though so the plants can get some light during the day
 

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Hmmm... the plant on the right is not a water plant at all... I would remove it. Could you get a better picture of the one in the middle?

What is your substrate, just black gravel? What brand is your heater, is it a pad or an adjustable submersible?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DSC_0923.jpg Thank you for your help. The attatched pic is normally where I keep him. Is it too bright for Narcissus? I keep him there so that his plants get some light during the day. Are these plants okay to use? The one on the left has since been removed and replaced by the plant you see that I just posted on the water change post.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The heater is Hydor mini 7.5 watt sub pad. It is under the black sand. I bought all the plants at Petco as they were advertised as aquatic plants? The middle one has turned from green to more purplish, but is still alive. The bushy plant on the left has had leaves start to die over time so I removed it and replaced it with what you see in the first pic. The stalky plants have done the best it seems, and have been in there since the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The temp in my bedroom is around 70 and that heater only brings it up to 76 no matter where the tank seem to go in the house. Should I get a different kind? Also, I would like to add a tiny bit of aquarium salt after every water change, but have heard this kills the plants. Is that true?
 

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Welcome to the forum btw :)

It could be he is reacting to some of the chemicals in the water.

Do you use a tap water dechlorinator such as Top Fin, Prime etc. when you do water changes?

If you have city water:
During the winter they usually add chlorine. This evaporates out of the water if it is ages for 24 hours or so, with high surface area in most cases.

Spring and summer they add chlorimine- which does not evaporate out like chlorine does.

Good dechlorinators remove/neutralize chlorine, chlorimine, and heavy metals in the water and make the water safe almost instantly for fish.

I can't help you much with plants and such, but java moss is a great plant to keep with your betta if you can find some. You can find some nice info on it if you google java moss.

If the plants you have now are not true aquatic plants but terrarium plants which they sell a lot of at petco and petsmart sadly, they will live in your aquarium for a while before dying. Different plants will live different lengths of time. As the leaves die remove the dead leaves, and they should be ok. Just don't plan on them being there long term, helping the water, and reproducing nicely, like true aquatic plans do. (I'm not a plant expert though i'm pretty new to aquarium plants myself. That's just what I have gathered since starting with fish.)

OldFishLady is really good, she has all natural planted tanks (NPT) and should be able to help you a lot.

Edited to add: I just saw you use water conditioner in your first post. I have a hard time reading these days at times. What kind of conditioner do you use?
 

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My fish does the exact same thing! I have had him for over 9 months and EVERY TIME I change the water (and I do a 100% change too) he just sits
at the surface without moving for around 12-18 hours (I change his water in the evening and he's always normal again in the morning). Yesterday was worse. I really thought he was dead! He was leaning over at the bottom (just like yours). But when I got up this morning, he was just fine. Poor thing! I would like to avoid this trauma but don't know how.
 

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Mine do the same thing.
 

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If you are acclimatizing, and making sure the water temp is good... The only thing wrong I could think of is that you are not using dechlorinator. What brand are you using?
 

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I'm assuming that everyone is using a water conditioner that neutralizes chlorine/chloromines and ammonia. OK?

Two reasons it is recommended to acclimate your fish before putting him back after a major water change (>50%) are:

1) Getting the temperatures to match. That's just common sense. You can do it without waiting all day for the water to warm. Just set you tap for the right temperature. Some fish are more sensitive to temperature differences than others. Using your finger to judge may not get it close enough, within a couple of degrees. Many keepers use a thermometer.

2) Getting the fish used to a different pH value. As water sits in a tank, the pH may drift...sometimes going up (as CO2 outgasses), sometimes down (as rotting plants and poops and waste food accumulate). This can only be determined by testing. Even if you can't afford a full API master test kit ($17 from Amazon) having the pH test bottle is a plus.

One 100% change per week is not enough to ensure consistent/good water quality. Better is two 50% changes. With smaller changes, you won't have to keep removing your fish. Some don't mind much, some get so stressed they look like they're dying. My personal policy is to remove them as little as possible.

If you find your sourcewater (tap) pH is very different from the tank pH, it may be better to do your water changes in stages. Two 30% changes 15 minutes apart equals close to 50% and gives your fish time to acclimate.

@NarcissusBetta---That test kit Amazon.com: Elite Submersible Preset Heater Mini, 25-Watt: Pet Supplies"]404 Looking for Something?
qualifies for free shipping from Amazon. It's nice to keep track of you ammonia and, if you ever cycle your tank, you'll need it.
 

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I use a water thermometer in my betta fish bowl. When doing the water changes, I test the water that he's temporarily going to be in with the thermometer. Read somewhere that it's good for the temperature in his temporary place to be 3 degrees +- from the water they are currently in. 5 degrees +- will cause them stress. Testing the temperature by touch is really difficult to tell without a thermometer.
Heard the best temperature for them is 78-82 degrees. :)
 

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Petco and petsmart are notorious for selling non aquatic plants as aquatic ones - especially of thy are the ones that come in the tube. I think the one on the left is called a ribbon plant and it is not aquatic. Alot of them are actually - i dont know the scientific name but they live in bogs/swamps anyplace where the ground is water logged but their leaves are out of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you for all the helpful information. I have been using Betta Safe water conditioner with every water change. I would like to get ome Prime, but every time I go to Petco, they are out. Narcissus is fine now, although I am already dreading the next water change. This time I will be sure to acclimate him by adding some of the new water into his holding cup several times before releasing him back into his tank. That, or I will start doing two 50% water changes a week instead of one 100%, that way I don't have to remove him. Honestly, I think being caught with the net or cup stresses him out too.
 
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