Non-urgent Newbie Questions

newbettagus

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1. Does anybody use one of the old-fashioned fill-it-with-layers-of-materials-yourself filters that are apparently called "box filters"? They're safer for beautiful betta fins and tails, right? I've set up a sponge filter in the new tank I'm waiting to get "ripe" and it reminded me.

2. I fed my betta a gnat that had the bad judgment to land on me, and 2 days later he seems fine (the fish, not the gnat.) Has anybody fed tiny ants? Any cautions about any of this kind of local fresh fish food, except to not feed very many?

3. The new (5.5 G) tank that's going to be my fish's eventual home has some ammonia but nothing extreme, and nothing else bad in it. The old smaller (3.5 G) tank that he's in now has little or no ammonia, but high nitrite that 20% daily water changes don't seem to be helping much. {He's been home and in that tank for 12 days now and the new tank has been cooking for about 6 days, with some of his gravel and some of the water I siphoned out of the old tank during changes}. He seems to be feeling as well as ever, but I keep getting the urge to go ahead and put him in the new tank, at least for a few days while conditions get a chance to improve in the old one. Then I could move him back to the old, and in a few weeks back to the new (and larger.) Do you think that would be too much moving? It might be stressful, but the daily water changes are some stress anyway and who knows how hard all that nitrite is on him. (The tanks are in the same room, so the temperature should be the same... gotta check the ph though right before I do that, in both tanks--IF I do it.)

Someone else said it, and now I believe it-- *don't trust test strips* ! Not the cheap ones anyway. They said the nitrite levels were a little high, but I got one of the big water test kits you use to drop chemicals into test tubes and YOW! It was almost off the chart on the high end! My poor fish! It's not a kit malfunction because it read almost no nitrite in the new tank and none in the tap water, and I've repeated the test several times over several days.
 

LDan

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I can help you with 1 I've used box filters, they pick up a surprising amount of yuck! They run on an air pump so they're perfect for a betta! Get an adjustable valve so you can turn down the flow if it's too much. I've stuffed them with sponge, biorings, pea gravel, polyfill, whatever floats your boat!
 

LDan

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Here's a pic of my bettas tank with a box filter. I just put in a bunch of new plants so I have polyfill in it to catch the fine particles. You can see it's already getting dirty.
20190813_104505.jpg
 
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newbettagus

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Thanks! I'm using the smallest Tetra Whisper air pump with the sponge filter, and I got a set of fittings with the air tubing that includes a flow reducing valve. (Those Whispers are pretty quiet if you can find the right surface to set them on.)

Your picture shows exactly the kind of filter I was talking about. We had them when I was young, way back in a previous century. I'm not so sure about sponge filters since I've never even seen one in use. I have the water test kit now, though, which should show me whether to trust them. If not, I'll set up a box filter--which I'll buy now if I can find one. Maybe have to go to Amazon.

Filter getting dirty=It's working.
 

LDan

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Sponges are great also! Squeeze it out after 2 weeks, you'll see! It's hard to tell cause they're black but they pick up a lot. Whichever you prefer tho, either is fine for a betta and it sounds like your all set with equipment
 

mattgirl

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Since neither tank is cycled I would move him to the bigger tank and just complete the cycle in it instead of cycling both of them.

You can get 2 different size "box filters" I have bought a lot of different things from this seller including one of each size box filter. The have the best prices I have found any where and always ship fast.
 

Mongo75

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The biggest advantage of the box filter is you can stuff it with mechanical, biological, and chemical media, as needed. The sponge filters (usually) lack that feature.
 

ShimmeryLuna

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For number two - I would be very cautious about feeding animals that are from your local ecosystem, as they may carry hidden parasites/disease that get your Betta very sick, possibly killing him. And, even if the the parasite/disease is non-deadly to most fish, Betta fish being over bred means they have a pretty awful immune system, and are more susceptible to disease/parasitic invasions. If you want to feed live animals (read: insects) to a Betta, you should get ones from a pet store that are raised in sterile environments and are safe from nasty hitchhikers.
 
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newbettagus

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Thanks, everybody.

I have a new question, about NITRITE or nitrites, whatever is correct.

Background: Gus is still in the old tank. It's hard to get excited about moving him when he's looking so good, and I don't want to put him through high ammonia again.

BUT I was thinking, if the old tank has little or no ammonia and lots of nitrite, that means that the old tank has lots of ammonia-eating bacteria--right? So if I moved a lot of the gravel from there to the new tank, I'd be moving in those bacteria. There doesn't seem to be nitrite in the tap water so doesn't it have to come from the bacteria? The only other things in the tank are a soft fake plant (silk?) and a real plant in pretty good health, although it did have a dying leaf for a while.

If I do that, move the gravel and Augustus Fish, do you think it would help to also move the plants and even the filter cartridge from the old tank? The filter is an undergravel setup that came with the tank (maybe that's part of the problem with reducing the nitrite? Or that and the relatively small tank size.)

Since I talk about him so much--Gus is a deep blue veiltail.
 

LDan

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Most of the good bacteria is in the filter media. So you can move that over, that would speed things up, but then Augustus would have to move also. I don't think there's much bacteria in the gravel or decor but some people feel there is so maybe someone can pitch in their experience.

OR you could squeeze and swish the old cartridge in the new tank which would get things moving also. Some people swear by bottled bacteria like Stability. I've used it but I'm not sure how well it works lol. You could try it, it can't hurt.
 
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newbettagus

newbettagus

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I'm going to do it, in a few minutes. Gus is going into the new, larger, currently empty uncycled tank.

Last night, following LDan's great suggestion, I squeezed the old-tank filter into the new tank, near the new sponge filter, and swished it in the water a few times. I also crushed a small amount of Betta food and dumped it there.

Today, the old tank nitrite reading is still extremely high--I can't tell exactly what it is, but it's from 2 to 5 ppm (looks pretty much the same to me anyway.)

However, there's an encouraging change in the new tank. Both ammonia and nitrite readings are up a little. Ammonia is a definite .25, whereas before it looked only slightly more than 0 if at all. And nitrite is also a definite .25. So I'm almost sure that the tank is going to be a lot better for him. There seems to be a good chance that the ammonia won't get too intense. (Edit: previously I had been putting a little dirty water from the old tank into the new from time to time, and also a little old tank gravel, hoping to get things started.)

The pH of the old tank is about 7.6 and the new tank 7.4, which I'm guessing isn't enough to make a big difference. Could even be because of slightly different amounts of water in the test tube, or one drop of solution being a little bigger.

I have some childhood memories of fish in new tanks dying quickly. But this is probably different since I've checked all these things and I don't remember my parents getting into all this technical stuff. I'm going to make myself do it. That bright magenta nitrite level in the old tank can't be good.
 

LDan

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Ok just be careful. Vacuum out the food you dropped in there because Gus is going to create enough ammonia to keep the filter going. You don't want a spike that the old food would create.

Any problems, do a water change! Watch the fish closely, and good luck!
 
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newbettagus

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Been finalizing setting up the tank the way it's going to stay... still undeciided about the check valve for the airline esp. since it looks like I should set up a bleed valve instead of just using the air-restricting device, but then that apparently affects where to put the check valve. Durn. Seems like it would be safer to have the check valve first coming out of the tank. I'll do that then turn it on and see if it seems to work. But I don't have a bleed valve set up yet. So compllicated....
 

Mongo75

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newbettagus said:
Been finalizing setting up the tank the way it's going to stay... still undeciided about the check valve for the airline esp. since it looks like I should set up a bleed valve instead of just using the air-restricting device, but then that apparently affects where to put the check valve. Durn. Seems like it would be safer to have the check valve first coming out of the tank. I'll do that then turn it on and see if it seems to work. But I don't have a bleed valve set up yet. So compllicated....
Put the check valve on the tank side of the bleed valve. Put the bleed valve between the check and the pump. Use a short piece of air tube and an air stone to help reduce the hiss from the bleed valve. Not complicated! Don't over-think it. Works for me
 
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newbettagus

newbettagus

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If you're still around... I might not do a bleed valve. I might just use the screw valve because I don't want to turn down the pressure much--this is running a sponge filter which is, for now, the only filter. Is it still okay to put the check valve last on the line coming from the pump? I see this as being the first thing coming OUT of the tank, which is where I'd want to stop the water flow in the event.

I just set it up that way and everything works.

I could test it by turning off the pump electricity and seeing what ensues... before anybody is living in the tank.
 

Mongo75

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newbettagus said:
If you're still around... I might not do a bleed valve. I might just use the screw valve because I don't want to turn down the pressure much--this is running a sponge filter which is, for now, the only filter. Is it still okay to put the check valve last on the line coming from the pump? I see this as being the first thing coming OUT of the tank, which is where I'd want to stop the water flow in the event.

I just set it up that way and everything works.

I could test it by turning off the pump electricity and seeing what ensues... before anybody is living in the tank.
Ideally, you want to avoid using a flow control valve to control the amount of air coming out of the pump. This causes back pressure on the pump diaphragm and will shorten the life of your air pump.

You want air to flow from the pump to a "T" connector. From the "T" connector, you want one connection going to your check valve and the tank.

From the other connector on the "T", you want a flow control valve and optionally, an air stone, to help diffuse the hiss from the air being diverted from whatever you have set up in your tank. The flow control valve is simply a needle valve that will bleed air off from the main flow without creating back pressure. It should look something like this...
20190816_143432.jpg

Any syphon from the tank will be stopped by the check valve before getting to your air pump and your air-flow control.
 
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newbettagus

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He's in! Thanks for all the kind help! I'm exhausted! You wouldn't believe how long I stood in front of the old tank holding a cup partially submerged waiting for him to swim into it!
 

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northernlady

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LDan said:
I can help you with 1 I've used box filters, they pick up a surprising amount of yuck! They run on an air pump so they're perfect for a betta! Get an adjustable valve so you can turn down the flow if it's too much. I've stuffed them with sponge, biorings, pea gravel, polyfill, whatever floats your boat!
 

northernlady

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concerning question 2 , feed him ants? I wouldnt . ants have formic acid in their bites, might not be a good idea, the gnat was good though.I wouldnt rely on gnats and such though, they are seasonal , if your fish prefers live dinner he might be disappointed when you can't catch him any.
 
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newbettagus

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northernlady, he might give me a bad review on yelp.

Gus continues to do well. He seems to like his new fake anemone (and who wouldn't?) Next up: a background.

I'm going to stop adding to this thread since it's reached its natural end, but if anyone wonders how Gus is doing just send me a message.
20190817_155033.jpg
 

LDan

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Hey, there's a tank build thread around here somewhere, you could make a post there and keep adding to it if you want to document your journey with Gus. I did one for my 40 gallon tank and it's cory cat crew
 

LDan

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Oh btw, Petsmart sells flightless fruit flies, you could try those if Gus likes live food. I tried it but Killer wanted nothing to do with them, the jerk
 

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