Need some help!

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by justloco, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. justlocoNew MemberMember

    I have 6 betas all males.I have them in what I believe to be a 2.5 gallon tank they're divided into 3 slots, so 3 in each tank. Now I just got a air pump with 6 tube dividers with air stone and also purchased a small filter that hangs over the side of the tank. I have them running very low thanks to some posts I've read so i don't stress them out.

    Now more of my concerns are the other fish I have with them. Each slot has a albino Corey catfish, 2 neon's, and a guppies I thought it'll be a good idea to have some friends for them as they looked bored,but now 2 guppies have died but all the other fish seem fine.They didn't seem as if they were attacked maybe they wasn't transferred correctly or they we're sick?so more or less my question is if they we're sick how can i prevent them from getting my beautiful Betta's sick. Is there a solution for me to put in the water?

    Also i see almost everyone say don't change the water fully as i might lose important good bacteria. Is it okay for me to do it once as i guess the water just started to cycle? I have the pump no more than 3 days and the new fish. The betas have been in the same water for about a week now.

    Sorry almost forgot to mention that 3 of my bettas had a white film on them. They we're like this when I purchased them about 2 weeks ago. I went to the store and they gave me a solution to help them out. They seem fine now and I am about to change the water tonight, because they said tochange the water completely after the medicine is done. I was told by the guy at the pet store it is okay to add these fish, hence why I did it.

    I didn't know about these things before I got the bettas. I really didn't know they're so hard to take care of being that I always seen them in a fish bowl or a cup in a pet store. I want to do right by them because I became very fond of them. So I went out and brought the 2.5 gallon tanks, Which now I find out is to small for bettas to have it divided. May I ask why they sell them for bettas if they're not the right housing for them?

    What I have now is the ph balance solution and the tester for the ph levels, which it reads at 7.0. My wife went to the store and got the heater, the testing kits, and something to help cycle the water. I would like to know If I can change the water completely tonight.

    I wish my budget can afford to get them a 2.5 gallon tank each but at this time I don't have it to spend it. If I would have known this I would of waited a little before getting the my bettas.

    okay quick edit.

    So after reading some of the forums posts I asked my wife to get the things mentioned.

    I am looking into getting a bigger tank now. So suggested is that I get at least a 10 - 20 gallon tank for 3 bettas, correct?

    Thank you for all your time and this great website!
  2. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    welcome to fishlore.
    Ideally, each betta would have 5 gallons to himself with no other tankmates.
    Read the link about the nitrogen cycle in my signature while you wait - I think you're likely to get fairly thorough responses in a few minutes...(i would advise you further, but busy for a few minutes)
  3. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Unfortunately it's not as simple as determining if your fish were sick at the store or anything like that, because fish become prone to illness when they are stressed. They get stressed when they're moved (from store to home, say, or tank to tank), when they're being bullied, when there are external toxins in the water, etc.

    I'm sorry to say that you are way overcrowded, and it's not surprising that your guppies died. I think I know the 2.5g tank divided 3 ways that you're talking about, and I believe that the dividers are glass rather than some kind of mesh. I have no idea how much water flows between the three compartments, but my impression is almost none. You *may* even be better off putting the bettas in 1-2 gallons of water in temporary INDIVIDUAL homes like vases and doing 100% water changes until you can sort this out. I know you realize your tanks are overcrowded, but just to be clear, you should have at most one betta in each of those 2.5g tanks, and none of the other fish (guppies, cories) belong in anything that size either, alone or with the betta.

    You definitely need to rehome almost all the fish you have. You will *need* larger tanks for the non-bettas, and more tanks (same or larger size) for the bettas. If you stick with glass tank, they don't get that much more expensive as you move on up. In fact my local store sells a 10g kit for cheaper than the 5g, so you may not spend as much money as you think. Check out the glass options, as they're always cheaper than plastic. One thing to note about the new tanks you're getting: if you keep your 2.5 tanks, they will likely on be good for keeping a single betta in them, or as a hospital or quarantine tank.

    To start at the beginning, you should read about the nitrogen cycle. Here's the Fishlore article on it It's really important to know what's going on in your tanks biologically and chemically.

    The basics of the nitrogen cycle: your fish, even when not majorly overcrowded, produce ammonia as a wasteproduct (like pee). Ammonia is toxic to all fish and they could suffer temporary to permanent damage from it. In ideal circumstances, there is ZERO ammonia in the tank. Thankfully, there are bacteria in the water that eat the ammonia, but new tanks don't have enough of that bacteria to get rid of ALL the bacteria. The bacteria that eat ammonia in turn expel nitrite, with an I. Nitrite is also toxic to fish and should also be ZERO in the tank. There are also bacteria which eat nitrite and in turn expel nitrate, with an A. When you have a "cycled" tank, you will have enough of the above bacteria to take care of ALL the ammonia that your fish expel and ALL of the nitrite that the bacteria produce. Nitrate with an A is less toxic to your fish and need not be zero. When you test your water and you read 20-30ppm nitrate, you should probably do a partial water change -- around 20%. It may take anywhere between 3 weeks and 2 months to fully cycle a tank from scratch, and it's recommended to do "fishless" cycling so that you aren't subjecting live fish to toxins as you're doing this. It takes less time if you have "seeding" material from an established tank.

    The problem with your uncycled tanks now is that there's nowhere near enough bacteria to take care of all the fish in your tanks. They're being burned in ammonia and nitrite. You can alleviate the situation with large water changes everyday (50-60%).

    You mentioned that you hesitated to do large water changes so as not to lose the bacteria -- the beneficial bacteria live in the substrate (if you have any) and your filter for the most part, as well as on decor. They aren't just free-floating in the water, so don't hesitate to do large water changes (50-75%) for that reason.

    The pet store employee you spoke to who recommended those fish was woefully wrong, ignorant, or both.

    To take your fish by species:

    Again, these are the only fish you have appropriate for the 2.5g tanks that you already have. They should have a filter and heater (set to 76-80 degrees). Bubblers are optional. They are best kept alone and *never* with other bettas.

    Cories are an active schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least 3, ideally 6 or more. If and when you can move them out of where they are, you should probably put them all together in their new tank. You'll need a *minimum* of 10g for them, ideally 20g and higher. What cories can handle and prefer vary by the species, but most prefer temps above 68 and below 78.

    These also need 10g, probably more. They are livebearers and prolific breeders, assuming you are keeping both males and females. You'll need a plan of action for the many babies they'll have if you are keeping both sexes. Guppies aren't schooling fish really but you should probably keep them all together, unless you want to separate males and females. They adapt to a wide range of temps.

    These are a schooling fish so you should put the ones you have together when you rehome them. They should be in a 10g or larger. These guys prefer water roughly the same temp as your cories will (high 60s to high 70s).

    I'm sure I left out points and I'm sure others will have more input here, but I hope that's a good starting point.
  4. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!!
    I'm sorry you lost some fish. :(
    Good to see you're doing some reading and trying to correct the situation.
    If you can get the 20 gallon long tank and divide it into 4 compartments, that would give each betta 5g. The 5th betta can have the 2.5g to himself, still small, but with proper maintenance he should be ok.
    Heres a link that will show you how to divide the tank:

    The guppies, neons and cory would do better in a tank without the bettas.
    Most bettas don't make good community fish. Someone could get at the very least stressed, which can lead to illness and disease or the worst, hurt or killed.

    Depending on how many guppies, they should also have a 20g.
    Cories do better in groups of at least 3. One by it's self can get pretty stressed.
    Neons are schooling fish, and usually do better with at least 6.

    Do you have a test kit that test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH? If not, you'll need one. Avoid the strips, they can be inaccurate. The liquid test kits are good and are less costly in the long run.
    Read the link about the nitrogen cycle in meenu's thread.
    It can be confusing but it's very important to understand what's going on with the chemistry of the tank.

    Here's a basic explanation of the nitrogen cycle:
    First your ammonia (from fish waste and left over food) will rise.
    In a few weeks bacteria will start to develop and you'll see the nitrite levels rise and the ammonia levels start to drop.
    After a few more weeks a different kind of bacteria begins to develop and you'll see the nitrate levels rise and the nitrite levels drop.
    Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to your fish.
    So until your cycle is complete, you need to keep the levels down with 50% daily water changes.
    If your pH differs greatly from tap to tank 2 25% changes a day would be safer.
    Using Prime as your water conditioner will detox the ammonia for 24 hrs between water changes.
    When you having readings of 0 on both ammonia and nitrites with some nitrates showing, your cycle is done.

    It's usually best to leave the pH alone. Most fish can adapt to your pH. It's best to keep it stable rather than adding chemicals to change it.

    What product did you get to help cycle the tank? Be very wary of anything that claims to have beneficial bacteria. Most contain the wrong kind of bacteria, it dies off quickly and you'll have to keep adding it.

    I'm sorry for the super long post. I hope it wasn't too confusing. :p I can be confusing sometimes. lol

    Oh and IMO, the reason stores sell bettas in cups is because they can't be kept with the other fish or with each other. Having bettas in individual tanks is not cost effective for them. Money being the bottom line.

    Best of luck and again, I'm sorry for the information over load. :)

    Edit: lol :;tmnt midthought
  5. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    :;nin2 :giggle:

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