My Betta Tank

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Dch48, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    I have a Topfin 3.5 gallon tank with a Halfmoon Betta in it. It has been set up for 9 days now and he's doing fine. He went in the tank about 3 hours after it was filled and the temperature stabilized. I conditioned the water with a Tetra Complete Water Care Kit and also added some TopFin bacteria supplement. The water clouded a bit on the second day but cleared up on it's own. I have done a one gallon water change twice so far and everything seems fine. I do not have any testing kits though.

    He has 2 tankmates. A Mystery Snail that is very active and a small Nerite that moves around very slowly. I fed the Mystery snail a crushed pea and he finished the whole thing. The Betta is kind of picky. He will not eat any kind of pellet food, he spits it out. He will only eat flake food that is crumbled into very small pieces with some crumbled freeze dried bloodworm added. He also eats frozen brine shrimp. I turn the filter off at feeding time and he cleans up practically everything with only a few small pieces falling to the bottom which I'm sure the snail cleans up. The Betta will also go down and pick at the gravel and follows the snail around. I only put a few pellets in every so often so the snail will get more food. I also put in a Marimo moss ball.

    I'm wondering if I should do another water change (it's been 3 days) or if I can now do one once a week. A full third of the water gets changed out.

    Here's a pic of the 2 friends foraging at the bottom.
  2. Iverg1Well Known MemberMember

    Buetiful betta you should be fine to change 1 gallon 1 or twice a week

  3. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Bought the tank and fish at PetSmart. The snail came from Walmart as did the artificial plants. The striped rock I just found here by the river a few years ago and kept. The Marimo came from eBay .

  4. SmalltownfishfriendWell Known MemberMember

    That's a very pretty fish!!!:) I would advise you to get a water testing kit... Snails can be rather messy, and you would not want your beautiful fish to get fin rot or anything fun like that because of poor water quality!! I recommend the API freshwater master kit.. it is what I use and I really like it!!!

  5. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Since the tank is still cycling, I'd be doing water changes every day or every other day. Once you tank is fully cycled, you can move back to weekly.

    Do you know about the nitrogen cycle? Do you have a testing kit?
  6. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    I got the master testing kit yesterday at PetSmart. Nitrite and Nitrate both tested at 0. Ammonia was showing about 0.4 so I did a gallon water change. The reading is the same today.

    Now, I have a question. My tap water contains chloramine. I read that when it gets neutralized, the ammonia is converted to NH4 which is non toxic but still gets picked up by most testing kits. Could this be why I get an ammonia reading but the other 2 are perfect?
  7. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    You should have nitrates in a cycled tank, so not quite perfect :) You have ammonia and no nitrites or nitrates because your tank isn't cycled yet, and it needs to cycle to handle the ammonia and convert it to nitrites and then nitrates.
  8. AegnisValued MemberMember

    As mentioned above, ammonia is just the start of the cycle! It's perfectly normal to see ammonia, but no nitrites or nitrate at the beginning of the cycle. Once good bacteria establishes, it will change the ammonia into nitrites, which are harmful to fish, but less harmful than ammonia, and then it will turn the nitrites to nitrates, which are only harmful in larger doses (which is why we do water changes, partially).

    You'll know your tank is cycled when you get minimal ammonia and nitrite readings and a higher nitrate reading. You can find lots more details on the whole process through a bit of research. It'll take anywhere from 5-8 weeks to cycle the tank, so you might see your betta a bit stressed out during that time. Just keep an eye on him and look for signs of illness -- a stressed fish is more prone to getting sick!

    As for the chloramine in your tap water, this is normal, but you should make sure you're using a good dechlorinator to make it safe for your fish. I would recommend SeaChem Prime if you don't have something already!

    In the future, you can definitely cycle your tank ahead of time to save you and your fish some stress!
  9. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I think nitrites are more harmful to fish than ammonia, not less.

    In a cycled tank, you should have zero ammonia and nitrites, not just minimal readings.
  10. AegnisValued MemberMember

    I actually didn't know that! Learned something new today.

    And agreed. You should have 0 for ammonia and nitrites once fully cycled if everything is working properly.
  11. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Fish is a pig. He eats everything. He even steals algae wafers from the snail and eats part of it. He gets a varied diet. Live wingless fruit flies (only a couple twice a week), freeze dried bloodworms (again only a few), crumbled flake food almost every day, 2 0r 3 frozen brine shrimp once a week , and as I said, some of the algae wafers. He pigged out yesterday so today he's fasting. He already knows me and heads for the top of the tank under the feeding hatch as soon as he sees me by the tank. He picks at the gravel and sometimes finds food that has sunken down there. He's pretty active during the day and goes behind the filter in the corner at night. He's like 2 inches long so I think he's pretty young.

    Test readings are still the same after 2 weeks. I'm not so sure the bacteria supplement works all that well. I've done 6 water changes of a gallon so far. Maybe the Mystery Snail is causing the cycle to be slower?

    It's really something because when I was a pre-teen and teen back in the 1960's, We never bothered about (or even knew about) a nitrogen cycle. We just filled the tank with dechlorinated water, turned the filter on and added fish all in the same day in a 10 gallon tank and never had any problems. We did start off with only like 4 fish at first and then added more after a while. No testing kits were ever used and I never even had a heater.

    Now the saltwater tank I had in the 80's absolutely had to be cycled first which I did with a few bait shrimp as the sacrificial offering.
  12. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    The mystery snail shouldn't slow the cycle at all, but it does seem likely that the bacterial supplement isn't helping (TopFin isn't known for having a working bacterial supplement - try Seachem Stability). Keep doing water changes whenever you see ammonia or nitrites. It'll get there eventually.
  13. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    I dumped the TopFin supplement and got a bottle of Tetra Safe Start which has good reviews. I added 1/4 of the bottle with half of it going directly into the filter. We'll see if that works better.

    When the tank is cycled, do you think I could add one more thing to it? I was thinking of a purple glow Tetra or a blue glow Danio. I also considered a dwarf frog but it looks like feeding them can be a problem. I never had much luck with Cory Cats so that's out. Would you add anything or just keep it as it is with the Betta, Nerite, and Mystery snail? Of course there may be a territorial issue with the Betta but he has never bothered the snails and they were added after he was in for a few days.
  14. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Did you get TSS+ or just TSS? TSS+ is great for cycling, but you have to add the entire bottle.

    There's no room to keep anything else in the tank with the betta, besides maybe a small nerite. Danios, skirt tetra, and cories should be in larger groups of their own species (singles and small groups are very stressful to them), and in a 20 gal tank minimum. ADFs need a bigger tank, and they may nip the betta.
  15. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Really? I have read that ADF's only need a gallon of water. I did read that compatibilty with Bettas can be hit or miss. I'll probably stay with what I have. Its just that sometimes, when the Betta is resting behind the filter, the tank looks empty.

    I got TSS which says it's good for cycling too. It said the whole bottle can treat 20 gallons so I put in 1/4. From what I see, TSS+ is just more concentrated. I read somewhere that it also does something the regular doesn't but I can't remember what it was
  16. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Well, a test 12 hours after adding the Safe Start showed a decrease in ammonia from 1.0 to about 0.65, Nitrites at 0, and finally a Nitrate reading of 5. This is very encouraging to me. The fish and snails seem more active too. This is without any water change as well.
  17. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Today I made what is probably the last change to the tank. I have 3 artificial plants and a moss ball and today I added a small Anubias Nana plant. I buried just the roots in the gravel to anchor it down and the rhizome is fully exposed. The leaves are gradually turning towards the light source so at least I know the plant is alive and responding well. It has 7 leaves right now and once they all adjust to the light, I think it's gong to look very nice. I hope it survives and grows.
  18. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Really. A lot of places give bad info. Imagine being forced to live in a closet your life. Sure, you'd survive, but it wouldn't be a good life.

    That's kinda what you sign up for with a small tank and/or a betta.

    Next time, add the whole bottle, and get TSS+. I don't remember why (there's an old thread on here about it), but TSS+ is better than TSS, and you're supposed to add the whole bottle of TSS+, as the bacteria aren't distributed evenly throughout the bottle.

    Good! Keep an eye on it though. Ammonia and nitrites could still go up.

    Sounds nice!
  19. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Well after 3 1/2 weeks I got my first 0 Ammonia reading. There is a slight Nitrite reading of about .25 and Nitrates are at 5. It's finally cycling.

    The Anubias plant also has a small shoot growing out of it on the side of the rhizome. I can't tell if it's a root or a leaf stalk but either way, it shows it's doing well.
  20. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Today, at exactly the 4 week mark, my ammonia is 0, Nitrites are 0, and Nitrates are about 10. The cycle is complete. The plan is to now only do water changes when the Nitrates go too high. Is 20 as high as I should let it go or is more better for the plants?

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