Adding A Betta

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Amber Fuschetto

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I have had my last straw with keeping freshwater fish.. unfortunately I've had bad such bad experiences and with the fish I've kept and decided it's not fair to me or the fish. Basically, I have a 20 gallon tank fully cycled and when the time is right I think I'm going to try and just keep one betta cause I don't want to get rid of the tank (don't worry I plan on taking flawless care of the new fishy I add. That being said I want to make sure it's done properly. Do Bettas require the same things as freshwater tanks?
I'd appreciate it if you listed everything I need to know about them and their needs (water changes, chemicals, etc)
(This will be the only fish in the tank)
 

KelceyMaeraei

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Betta care IS freshwater care. If your tank is fully cycled now but you don't plan to add the betta promptly, you need to keep the beneficial bacteria alive by feeding it. This means adding pure ammonia, a fish (or multiple fish), or fish food (which is not an exact science).
I'd recommend getting the betta asap, having Prime on hand as a dechlorinator (since it detoxifies up to 1ppm of ammonia and nitrite), and having the appropriate type of food. Each betta is different so having a variety of foods on hand is a good idea. I feed my boy omega one pellets as his staple and frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp as a treat twice a week.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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So if I didn't add a fish until say this Monday, all the bacteria could be gone?? Saw an ad on craigslist for a 3 year old betta that was kept in a class bowl.. felt awful when I heard that so that might be an option. However since it's been in that cold water for such a long time could he go into shock or when added to the warm water? Also how do I go about water changes? Thanks so much!
 

Lorekeeper

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Yes, all of your BB could be gone by this Monday. Or at least most of it.

He wouldn't go into shock if you acclimated the fish correctly. And just do the once weekly WC. It's probably not even needed, but it'll keep the tank healthy.
 

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Here is a list of products I keep for my betta:

Filter
Heater
API stress coat
Hikari betta bio gold
Aqueon freeze dried bloodworms
Net
Light
Digital aquarium thermometer

I may be forgetting something but those should be the basics.

Their preferred temperature is 78 to 82 degrees F. I feed mine twice a day, 2-3 pellets each time.

If your tank has been running without fish for more than two days, your bacteria are most likely gone. You can use tetra safestart to help speed up a cycle and it is good to have on hand.
 

AllieSten

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The only way to know if your bacteria are gone is to test your tank. I personally would rescue the fish and do an in fish cycle, even if the tank has lost its cycle. It should recover pretty quickly with a fish in there. It may just need a jump start with an ammonia source.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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So you would add the fish?! Do you think this could cause any potential harm??

Lorekeeper said:
Yes, all of your BB could be gone by this Monday. Or at least most of it.

He wouldn't go into shock if you acclimated the fish correctly. And just do the once weekly WC. It's probably not even needed, but it'll keep the tank healthy.
OK.. I plan on receiving this poor guy tomorrow: he looks healthy. I plan on acclimating him for a good hour which may seem crazy but I want to play it safe. My question is, water changes aren't necessary???! What would you recommended water change be weekly?
 

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The betta should be fine, but I would add him ASAP. Float him in the new water in a plastic bag and add a little tank water to the bag every 5 minutes. Do this for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you have the following:

Betta food
Aquarium heater
Dechlorinator, such as Prime

A betta would be very happy in his own 20 gallon. You -could- even divide it and have 2 bettas, each in their own 10 gallon compartment.

edit: do 50% water changes once a week.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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-Mak- said:
Here is a list of products I keep for my betta:

Filter
Heater
API stress coat
Hikari betta bio gold
Aqueon freeze dried bloodworms
Net
Light
Digital aquarium thermometer

I may be forgetting something but those should be the basics.

Their preferred temperature is 78 to 82 degrees F. I feed mine twice a day, 2-3 pellets each time.

If your tank has been running without fish for more than two days, your bacteria are most likely gone. You can use tetra safestart to help speed up a cycle and it is good to have on hand.
Okay thanks so much for the advice!!

Fahn said:
The betta should be fine, but I would add him ASAP. Float him in the new water in a plastic bag and add a little tank water to the bag every 5 minutes. Do this for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you have the following:

Betta food
Aquarium heater
Dechlorinator, such as Prime

A betta would be very happy in his own 20 gallon. You -could- even divide it and have 2 bettas, each in their own 10 gallon compartment.

edit: do 50% water changes once a week.
Thanks for the advice! So even though this little guy has been in a 1 gallon bowl without heat and having 100% of the water(distilled) changed weekly,
he should be okay when acclimated to warm
water????
 

Fahn

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Amber Fuschetto said:
Thanks for the advice! So even though this little guy has been in a 1 gallon bowl without heat and having 100% of the water(distilled) changed weekly,
he should be okay when acclimated to warm
water????
He'll be much happier and healthier in warm water.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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Amber Fuschetto said:
Thanks for the advice! So even though this little guy has been in a 1 gallon bowl without heat and having 100% of the water(distilled) changed weekly,
he should be okay when acclimated to warm
water????
Another question is.. whenever I did a water change that big somehow the fish ended up getting hurt or dying.. I did make sure the water temp was the same as their tank, and even put my hand over the water to have a waterfall affect rather than just have all the water splatter throughout the tank. So would anything less be okay? Or does it have to be 50% for the little guy to thrive
 

Fahn

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Amber Fuschetto said:
Another question is.. whenever I did a water change that big somehow the fish ended up getting hurt or dying.. I did make sure the water temp was the same as their tank, and even put my hand over the water to have a waterfall affect rather than just have all the water splatter throughout the tank. So would anything less be okay? Or does it have to be 50% for the little guy to thrive
Were you using a dechlorinator with your tap water? You may have been putting chlorine in the tank without realizing it.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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Never ever used a dechlorinator.
Since I just did the 75% water change without a dechlorinator could this be harmful when adding the betta?
I plan on going to Petco/Petsmart tonight and getting my water tested so I could by the dechlorinator
 

Fahn

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Amber Fuschetto said:
Never ever used a dechlorinator.
Since I just did the 75% water change without a dechlorinator could this be harmful when adding the betta?
I plan on going to Petco/Petsmart tonight and getting my water tested so I could by the dechlorinator
Without a dechlorinator you are poisoning your fish with chlorine every time you do a water change. And yes, if your tap contains chlorine, it is harmful to your fish. You also are killing the bacteria in your cycle each time you add chlorinated water.

Get a dechlorinator ASAP, your fish is at risk.
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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I don't have any fish right now they all passed away. When I buy the dechlorinator would I add it to the water that's already in the tank?
Or should I remove all of the water that currently in the tank and add the dechlorinator before putting the water into the tank?
 

Fahn

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Here is Seachem's official page about Prime. It explains everything about the product, including how to use it. You can just add the dechlorinator to the water prior to adding the betta.

Seachem - Prime
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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Thanks so much for the help!
 

jmarks

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Amber Fuschetto said:
I have had my last straw with keeping freshwater fish.. unfortunately I've had bad such bad experiences and with the fish I've kept and decided it's not fair to me or the fish. Basically, I have a 20 gallon tank fully cycled and when the time is right I think I'm going to try and just keep one betta cause I don't want to get rid of the tank (don't worry I plan on taking flawless care of the new fishy I add. That being said I want to make sure it's done properly. Do Bettas require the same things as freshwater tanks?
I'd appreciate it if you listed everything I need to know about them and their needs (water changes, chemicals, etc)
(This will be the only fish in the tank)
After reading this I got the hunch that you didnt actually know what you were doing (hence "such bad experiences" & "i have a fully cycled tank") and then I continued reading the comments to follow and confirmed my hunch. It is totally cool to be new and searching for answers. Welcome to Fishlore! There is a lot of awesome information on here.

You need to read the "stickies" located in the Freshwater Beginners section.

Cycling an aquarium is more than just what the pamphlet that comes with your tank illustrates. Usually, "bad experiences" are associated with people who did not cycle properly and do not fully understand the needs of aquarium keeping.

As already pointed out, tap water is not safe for tanks. Tap water must be treated with a water conditioner. Seachem Prime is a popular one or any of the other big store products that "remove chlorines" or say they "make tap water safe for fish." You can dose it 2 ways, during a water change you put tap water in a bucket and dose conditioner according to the bucket's volume (recommended for beginners) or you can dose the entire tank to its volume and put tap water straight into the tank (people who connect hoses from their sinks to their tanks use this method).

Once you have safe water, the next big hump is to establish your filter by properly cycling it. There is plenty to read about this, but in short:
1. Fish produce poo (poo=ammonia)
2. Ammonia is highly toxic and must be turned into Nitrite
3. Nature is amazing and will automatically develop beneficial bacertia (BB) that will convert ammonia to nitrite for you.
4. However, Nitrite is highly toxic and must be turned into nitrate.
5. Nature, being amazing again, will automatically develop another type BB to convert nitrite to nitrate.
6. Nitrate is only toxic at high concentrations (weekly water changes remove nitrate)
7. Think of BB as living organisms that need food, oxygen, and space to live. Fish poo is their food! Oxyen levels and space are highest in your filter media.
8. That is the basics of the nitrogen cycle. Ammonia turns into nitrite, which turns into nitrate. Nitrate is removed by water changes.
9. This entire process can take up to 5 or 6 weeks to fully establish healthy amounts of both types of BB.

Once you understand these basics, I bet you wont have as many "bad experiences." Please continue to research and don't be afraid to ask questions on Fishlore!
 
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Amber Fuschetto

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Wow.. I never knew any of these things.. thank you for all that information. All I know is before getting the fish I had the tank setting up with the filter running for about a month. I took the water to a fish store every few weeks and they'd check the water levels and the told me when it was safe to add the fish in. I guess not. My question is, would it be okay to add a betta? Or is it best to wait it out?? Thankyou so much for all this useful information. I'm going to get dechlorinator tonight as well as my water levels tested
 

Fahn

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It is safe to add the betta, just use dechlorinator before putting him in the tank.

Yeah, just letting the tank run doesn't cycle it. You need a source of ammonia for the bacteria to feed off of.

If you need any more advice just ask!
 
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