Happy Helio?

Annora

HI y'all. I did a lot of research before getting my Betta fish. Here is Helio's story... We had an unusually cold winter here in southern Alabama. Shipments had stopped on live fish due to freezing weather... So I saw this beautiful orange Betta that was bigger than the other 4 Walmart had at the time... And I just had to have him. His has purple where his fins connect to his body... I moved him from his cup to a 1 gallon tank... It had room for one plant and a little koosh plant he liked to squeeze and snuggle against the tank to sleep. He was in shock for about 24 hours, but became much more lively... It had an air stone in it... After about 3 weeks, I upgraded (so last weekend) to a 5 gallon tank with 3 plants.... His koosh plant... Some hiding barrels and a castle to hide in. He has a heater, a filter, a thermometer, and a pH guage in there as well. He spends most of the day swimming around like a champ.... And is always excited when I get home from work. It does also have a lid... I was unable to get a larger tank cuz I just don't have the room. I was considering getting one of those live moss ball things for him to play with tho. He seems happy... And the pH is currently 7.4. My question is about water changes..... He's pretty dosile when I catch him but I don't have one of those vacuum things... I do let water rest for 24 hours (treated) before I do a water change... Is there anything else I can do to keep him happy and in good condition?
 

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Beranga

Beautiful fish. I think you are doing fine.
 

Annora

Beautiful fish. I think you are doing fine.
Thank you.... I do have a tendency to over feed him cuz he seems to be always hungry!!! Lol I have been pretty good about scooping out excess food after a few minutes though... I read a few articles this morning and may skip feeding on Sundays when I do water changes... But how do I maintain the fish waste without a vacuum sucky thing? I'm in my mid 30's and that is the first fish I've had as an adult... Had a few bettas growing up... Usually in a gallon bowl. I was thinking of doing a 20% water change 1x a week. (Sunday evenings). That's like taking a gallon out and adding a gallon back. When he was in the little tank, I did a complete water change weekly. Is once a month sufficient to do a total tank water change and let it settle treated for 24 hours before adding him back since I don't have a gravel sucky thing to clean waste? I just got this 5 gallon a week ago and am recovering from wrist surgery so it has all been a challenge for me. I just want to do right by him!
 

Beranga

A weekly 50% water change should do the trick. One Betta won't produce much waste. Do watch out for overfeeding, they need much less food than one thinks. I feed mine 3 or 4 Tetra Betta pellets a day (very small pellets).
 

Annora

I currently feed Tetra Betta Flake Medley. I like the fact that it has color booster in it. But now you have me considering switching to the pellets so I can monitor his food intake a bit closer... As I said... I have a tendency to over feed... But I read this morning that it is best to underfeed than over feed.... So we maybe skipping some meals! Thank you so much for all your help! I'm excited to watch him enjoy his new tank!
 

Beranga

Have fun!!!

And keep us posted.
 

Annora

And keep us posted.
Absolutely... It's so frustrating reading a post and getting invested... And then they never update how the fish is doing! I saw one of those last night... drives me crazy... Thanks again for all your help. Here is a close up of Helio when I first got him. His colors are so much more vibrant now!
 

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shutterbug13

Helio is beautiful!
A twenty percent water change once a week is good but more would be fine. You don't have to do a complete water change once a month, a drastic change in water parameters can cause issues.
Is his tank cycled?
 

Beranga

His colors are so much more vibrant now!

That tells your that he is happy!
 

Annora

Helio is beautiful!
A twenty percent water change once a week is good but more would be fine. You don't have to do a complete water change once a month, a drastic change in water parameters can cause issues.
Is his tank cycled?
Yes! He has a whisper filter set on the low flow setting that came with the 5 gallon tank.. tho I just was looking at the filter instructions to see if it gave a gph rating (it did not) and realized that I had it mispositioned for the past week.... I didn't realize the water level had to be below the lip of the filter.... So... Before I wrote this reply to ya, I quickly fixed it. Lol. Actually makes more sense now... But I'm glad I caught it!

Close up... Oh, and yes, he does have a tank light!
 

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CanadianFishFan

He looks happy and healthy
 

Annora

Helio is beautiful!
A twenty percent water change once a week is good but more would be fine. You don't have to do a complete water change once a month, a drastic change in water parameters can cause issues.
Is his tank cycled?
I was re-reading on cycled tanks... And I have no idea... I put smart start in it before adding him... But it is just him... And the same water he has been in since day one... I just got the pH reader.... I have not tested for nitrates or amonia... But he seems to be doing alright, so I just assume leave it be.... It's been really difficult for me to do anything lately as I just had wrist surgery and am trying to get use back in my hand....
 

Annora

stella1979 I have no idea how to do an fish in cycle and the test kits are out of my budget....I want to get a Marino moss ball tho. will that help?
 

stella1979

HI Annora

So, a few things.... A turkey baster from a dollar store is a very handy tool in fishkeeping, as is a toothbrush. Both are very handy for cleaning up. Also, don't be tricked by pet store prices. If you want a vacuum, you can get it for less on Amazon.


This one's even cheaper, but is an add-on, meaning that you have to include it in a $25 order


I really do understand a tight budget, but a vac will make water changes quick and simple, so throw it on a wishlist for someday.

Without being able to test, you won't know what stage you're at in the cycling process. (Just an FYI - My Petco sells the master kit for about $38... Amazon sells it for $21) Here's what I would do in your situation...

Feed lightly and carefully so the tank doesn't have extra nutrients building up. You can control feedings with flakes by crushing them slightly, (if they're big), and dropping just 2-3 small flakes at a time, and do that only 2-3 times per feeding. Overfeeding/extra nutrients will just lead to more ammonia that the new filter has to process, potentially stressing Helio and making your cycle take longer.

I know you're working a lot and your wrist is still very sore. Do you have any help? The reason I ask is because I would recommend 2 water changes per week while the tank cycles. The new filter needs to build a beneficial bacteria colony that will convert ammonia produced by Helio and any uneaten food. The process goes from ammonia>nitrites>nitrates. Ammonia and nitrites are quite toxic at any level above zero, and nitrates are dangerous only if they get very high. I don't want to scare you, but.... Dealing with ammonia or nitrite spike is stressful on a fish, and stress leads to lowered immune resistance. If Helio gets sick, you'll want to help him, which means you'll want to spend more hard earned money.

Since you won't know your levels, it would be best to do extra water changes during this time, as this will guarantee that ammonia and nitrites aren't getting crazy high. It takes time for the bacteria colony to build, but you won't have to do extra water changes forever. If the Safe Start helped, (it depends, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, hoping for the best for you), then you may be cycled in as little as two weeks. Otherwise, it might be a month or two.

Luckily, bettas have a pretty low bioload, so 2 water changes per week should keep things okay for Helio. Don't try this with a goldfish though, lol. I've put my own goldie through a couple cycles, (unintentionally), and he needed daily water changes for a couple months each times.

The moss ball won't help with the cycle much, if at all, but Helio will like it.

Sorry to say it Annora, but there is very little in this hobby that is cheap. Bettas are hardy, small fish though, they don't need to eat a lot, and are very personal to boot. You made a wise choice for your first fish. Keep us posted!
 

Annora

HI Annora

So, a few things.... A turkey baster from a dollar store is a very handy tool in fishkeeping, as is a toothbrush. Both are very handy for cleaning up. Also, don't be tricked by pet store prices. If you want a vacuum, you can get it for less on Amazon.


This one's even cheaper, but is an add-on, meaning that you have to include it in a $25 order


I really do understand a tight budget, but a vac will make water changes quick and simple, so throw it on a wishlist for someday.

Without being able to test, you won't know what stage you're at in the cycling process. (Just an FYI - My Petco sells the master kit for about $38... Amazon sells it for $21) Here's what I would do in your situation...

Feed lightly and carefully so the tank doesn't have extra nutrients building up. You can control feedings with flakes by crushing them slightly, (if they're big), and dropping just 2-3 small flakes at a time, and do that only 2-3 times per feeding. Overfeeding/extra nutrients will just lead to more ammonia that the new filter has to process, potentially stressing Helio and making your cycle take longer.

I know you're working a lot and your wrist is still very sore. Do you have any help? The reason I ask is because I would recommend 2 water changes per week while the tank cycles. The new filter needs to build a beneficial bacteria colony that will convert ammonia produced by Helio and any uneaten food. The process goes from ammonia>nitrites>nitrates. Ammonia and nitrites are quite toxic at any level above zero, and nitrates are dangerous only if they get very high. I don't want to scare you, but.... Dealing with ammonia or nitrite spike is stressful on a fish, and stress leads to lowered immune resistance. If Helio gets sick, you'll want to help him, which means you'll want to spend more hard earned money.

Since you won't know your levels, it would be best to do extra water changes during this time, as this will guarantee that ammonia and nitrites aren't getting crazy high. It takes time for the bacteria colony to build, but you won't have to do extra water changes forever. If the Safe Start helped, (it depends, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, hoping for the best for you), then you may be cycled in as little as two weeks. Otherwise, it might be a month or two.

Luckily, bettas have a pretty low bioload, so 2 water changes per week should keep things okay for Helio. Don't try this with a goldfish though, lol. I've put my own goldie through a couple cycles, (unintentionally), and he needed daily water changes for a couple months each times.

The moss ball won't help with the cycle much, if at all, but Helio will like it.

Sorry to say it Annora, but there is very little in this hobby that is cheap. Bettas are hardy, small fish though, they don't need to eat a lot, and are very personal to boot. You made a wise choice for your first fish. Keep us posted!
Thanks stella1979 and no, I have no help. Did do a 50% water change today... After letting water sit for 24 hours... Then added the "Start Right" he is very active... I've definitely reduced his feedings and quantity... But I have also tried to net out what he doesn't eat after a few minutes. I did pick up a turkey baster tonight, as I got off work 4 hours early!!! I will use that to suck up settled food! My nears LFS is 96 miles, but we have a PetSmart on the other side of the mountain... And I have to go up there for a follow up with the surgeon next Wednesday. I'm going to price out the Master Kit and Seachum Prime while I'm up there... And possibly pick up a Marimo or two for Helio. I may also eventually add a ghost shrimp or two since I have lots of hiding spaces... And a 1 gallon tank to move them to if he decides they are...um.... Tasty.... May wait on the ghost shrimp for a while tho! I will definitely keep you posted! Thanks for all your help!!!
 

stella1979

Thanks stella1979 My nears LFS is 96 miles, but we have a PetSmart on the other side of the mountain...
Happy to help! I don't know what to think about the mountain comment... I'm originally from Miami, FL, and currently live only about 45 minutes from the big, busy city, (omg, I HATE the traffic.) For about 6 years in my twenties though, I lived in the mountains near Pisgah Forest, NC. In fact, I lived very near the peak of Toxaway Mountain, which made the trip to the grocery store about an hour one way. So yeah... I get it. The city is convenient, but you can't beat the mountains. If work hadn't brought us back to SoFlo, I would be there still.
 

Annora

Happy to help! I don't know what to think about the mountain comment... I'm originally from Miami, FL, and currently live only about 45 minutes from the big, busy city, (omg, I HATE the traffic.) For about 6 years in my twenties though, I lived in the mountains near Pisgah Forest, NC. In fact, I lived very near the peak of Toxaway Mountain, which made the trip to the grocery store about an hour one way. So yeah... I get it. The city is convenient, but you can't beat the mountains. If work hadn't brought us back to SoFlo, I would be there still.
stella1979 we are in a small town... We have a grocery, next town over has a Walmart... We even have a single bar! The other side of the mountain is a much larger town... With all the fixings... That's where my surgeon is... It's about a 45 minute drive....
 

Annora

stella1979 so I have not been able to get "prime" yet... And they don't have Master kits here... But I did pick up an Amonia, nitrate, nitrite test strip kit today and here is the result

I also picked up some blood worms and pelleted feed as well as a gravel vacuum for his tank... He's a happy fishy! stella1979

stella1979 the 5 in 1 kit shows
NITRATE: 0
NITRITE: 0
HARDNESS: HARD
ALKALINITY: 40
pH: 6.8 (this looks darker in the photo, but I took test 3 minutes ago and colors have changed.
How does it look otherwise?

I have also not done a water change since Easter Sunday. But he seems content
stella1979
 

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emmysjj

Hi, what is the ammonia level? Your baby is gorgeous! The test strips can be pretty inacurrate. When doing a fish in cycle try to do small water changes more often.

Also, can I say that I wouldn't do ghosts. They can be pretty aggresive if you get the wrong species. Instead, I'd do other shrimp (or snails. I have a few and my betta doesn't bother them.). Red Cherry Shrimp are really cool. They are pretty bright though, so your betta might attack them. Another option is amano shrimp. They are dull colored and more peaceful. I don't know if they can be in a 5 gallon, but I think they can.

Let me know if you need anymore help
 

Annora

Hi, what is the ammonia level? Your baby is gorgeous! The test strips can be pretty inacurrate. When doing a fish in cycle try to do small water changes more often.


Hey emmysjjboth test strips said ammonia level was good. The first test was strictly an ammonia test... I'm careful to not over feed in his new tank...and scoop up what he doesn't eat. Gave him a couple bloodworms today. I've decided against tank mates in a 5 gallon. I'm going to get him a moss ball instead. And thank you. He sure is pretty!
 

stella1979

Great. I'm glad you got some stuff to make life a little easier for you both. How's your wrist feeling?

Thanks for keeping me posted. Just an fyi, one tag will do the trick. It's a little strange that it's 9 days after a water change, and there are no ammonia/nitrites/nitrates on a filterless tank, but hey, it's a good thing and the water looks pretty clean according to the strips. Like mentioned above, they can be inaccurate, but shouldn't be too far off as long as they've been stored properly.
 

Annora

stella1979 hey! I got an "awesome sticker" at therapy today for range of motion! Still no where near 100% tho. Go back to surgeon Wednesday.
As far as the tags, I wrote like 6 posts and a mod combined them into one... Water change was 8 days ago,and there IS a filter in the tank.... A large whisper filter on low flow setting.... I did notice the ALKALINITY was a bit low.... How do I raise that? Fizz tabs? The tank has been set up for 15 days so far.... last Sunday I did one 50% water change. Got bloodworms and pellets today. Picking up marimo noss balls at PetSmart wedWednes when I go to surgeon
 

stella1979

Ooops! My mistake!! I'd forgotten, and didn't see a filter sticking up from the top in the last pics. Should have paid closer attention... sorry. Hmm, still can't explain zero across the board for your cycle parameters after 8 days, but again, from what I can tell things look pretty great. Helio is doing well, and is getting a varied diet, so everything sounds great!.... Except for the alkalinity, or KH. It's tough to tell, but it looks like it might be 20ppm? I prefer to think of alkalinity in dkH rather than ppm, but it's easy enough to convert. Just take the ppm and multiply by 0.056... so, 20 x 0.056 = 1.2, a pretty low value indeed. I've never experienced this, but it's said that having a KH below 5 can make pH swing, and that can be dangerous. You can raise the KH by putting some crushed coral in your filter, though I couldn't advise you on how much or how often it would need to be replaced. Again, unsure here, but I'd think a small bag could last you several months. Eventually though, it would exhaust it's calcium depletion and you'd have to replace the old stuff with new. Keeping an eye on the alkalinity would tell you when you need to add fresh crushed coral. I haven't heard of fizz tabs for alkalinity, and would say it sounds a little less stable than some easier ways.

Glad to hear that your healing up!
 

Annora

stella1979 he loved the pellets and bloodworms... I'm going to prep some water tonight and do a 2 gallon water change tomorrow... I will test the water again tomorrow night. That way I can see what I need to get at petPetSm Wednesday when I buy his moss balls!
 

Annora

I just took about 40 pics... This is the best one I could get off Helio!
 

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Annora

Here are a couple more
 

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Annora

stella1979 emmysjj
Ok... So I got a Master test kit today.... My pH seems on the high side (I used the low pH liquid), but my ammonia level seems just right. Those are the only two tests I had time to do, but here is a picture. What do u think?
 

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stella1979

Looks great! When you have time, test for nitrites and nitrates, and be sure to follow the instructions precisely on the nitrate test. There are two bottles for nitrates, just like ammonia, but there is an ingredient in the 2nd nitrate bottle that crystallizes at it sits. It's important that the #2 bottle is shaken very well, (I even bang it on the counter a few times), then after adding those drops to the tube, shake the tube very well too.
 

Annora

Looks great! When you have time, test for nitrites and nitrates, and be sure to follow the instructions precisely on the nitrate test. There are two bottles for nitrates, just like ammonia, but there is an ingredient in the 2nd nitrate bottle that crystallizes at it sits. It's important that the #2 bottle is shaken very well, (I even bang it on the counter a few times), then after adding those drops to the tube, shake the tube very well too.
I will try to do those this weekend... My week is stupid crazy... He doesn't seem too interested in his moss ball currently though..... What is the recommended pH for a betta fish?
 

stella1979

Bettas are a soft water fish in nature, and live in neutral to slightly acidic waters, meaning a pH of 7 or less. However, the bettas we find in stores have likely never lived in a lower pH. They are quite hardy fish and adapt well to a higher pH. The most important thing is to keep pH stable, yet there are products available that will change it Using these products will cause pH to fluctuate, and that's when things get dangerous. In short, I wouldn't do anything to change the pH, and Helio will be fine, as long as pH is stable. My own betta tank has a pH of 8.
 

Annora

stella1979 wow. Thank you for that! There is this guy at work in my department that sold his first home bred bred exotic fish to pet stores at 10 years old... He has a huge tank at home.... He also has been extremely helpful in this process. I showed him the pictures of the test and he thought that looked great..... I did notice earlier this week that the neighbor had a big 50 gallon tank sitting empty on their picnic table.... Might go ask what they want for it....
 

Annora

stella1979 here is my Helio. He is super spoiled with tons of stuff in his tank... And I moved him into the bedroom so I could watch him more... He's turned into a fire breathing dragon guarding his castle!
PicsArt_08-23-02.53.48.jpg
 

stella1979

He's BEAUTIFUL!!!
 

Annora

He's BEAUTIFUL!!!
He's definitely not spoiled or anything... It's only a 5 gallons tank, but geez... It takes 4 days to clean everything in it... I had him under the window unit and his tank kept going green every two to three weeks... It's been hot and humid here so having the AC unit right above him probably didn't help... At least I'm healed enough to clean it now! That's why I moved him to the bedroom... Besides... I spend a lot of time in bed since I got laid off..... And had sciatic nerve pain... But I've started a new job and am doing well. It's nice to lay and bed and see how excited he gets when he knows I'm awake or when I walk in the room. He definitely prefers one side of the tank over the other... Spends a lot of time around the heater and castle, but does venture to the other side where the moss ball and barrels are... He has 3 silk plants (2 large and one medium)... A large and a small koosh ball... A minI Moby dick whale... Some barrels to hide in... His Castle... One tiny plastic plant... And tons of smooth round stones amongst the gravel... Especially in his hiding caves so he has a smooth place to rest... And all of that is in a 5 gallons tank with lights, a heater, and a filter....
 

Annora


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