Question Setting Up Betta Tank

Mermish

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I got a new Topfin 5.5 gallon starter kit and a 2 Seachem alert combos for Christmas yesterday! I had some gravel that was still damp in ziplock backs from an aquarium that I replaced the corner of with sand so I used that and some scoops of gravel from another one of my aquariums as the substrate. I poured some water from a cycled aquarium over the filter media and added a piece of hornwort and some leafs from an Anubis plant my goldfish tore apart. I'm doing a fishless cycle with fish food. My questions are:

1. What betta food is best? I used to use NLS with bloodworms once a week and a fast once a week, is that good or do I need more variety?

2. How often do I need to do waterchanges? I usually do 50% a week on my other aquariums but they're heavily stocked.

3. I have a pack of Indian almond leaves and I'd like to try it out but it sounds like the care is complex. Since I have pH alert in the aquarium would I be okay just to test pH once a week or would I have to check it more often at first and do I need a KH and GH test kit? How would water changes work with pH fluctuations? What's the easiest way to do blackwater leaves?

4. How does the filtration work in a blackwater aquarium? I have a Topfin Silentstream PF10 power filter and the filter cartridge that goes with that, but won't the cartridge keep the water from getting dark?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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rhyan

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My answer might differ to other keepers but in my experience it goes:
1. They say avoid any feeds that contain meal on their ingredients also live foods are fed only as a treat not as staple. Varied diet is a must if you can try different food to avoid your betta to be bored eating one kind of food also to supply some different nutrients.
2. I do 25 to 30% WC every week no more than that since bettas are not that messy fish you can also test the water if your numbers are high enough that you really need to change ASAP.
3. I only have the API master kit so in regards with the KH and GH maybe it's up to you if you also wants to have since conditioned tap water/well water already have the needed minerals in them. Tannins from IAL just drop the PH level I think not lower than 7. If you want to turn your water black boil the IAL first or leave it a hot water until the water changes color after that you can use the water to pour in your tank just let it cool first.
4. I think heavy filtration affects the blackness of your tank as per experience my sponge filter filters the tank color in just several hours that the water stays a bit yellowish and not stays dark brown but I think the tannins benefits will still stay in the tank even if the filter clears out the color.
 
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Mermish

Mermish

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Thanks I think I'll get NLS and maybe bug bites or Omega one to switch out with. How do I prevent pH fluctuations with water changes if I do the almond leaves? I don't think I mind the water being clear from my filter I just thought it'd be cool to try the leaves and get the beneficial properties. Should I do like half a leaf just rinsed in warm water? I tested my water parameters today and it was ammonia 0 ppm nitrite 0ppm nitrate 5-10 ppm is there a chance that everything I used to seed the tank already cycled it, or do you think it's just not dirty enough to have any ammonia yet? if I add Indian only leaves before it's fully cycled will the antibacterial properties also hurt my beneficial bacteria?

I saw this betta at a petland today and it was kind of lethargic and I really would like to rescue it but would my cycle hold?

I just tested my pH and it's at 6.7 but my other aquariums are 7.2, is the water to acidic to do leaves? I'm not experienced with them so I might just wait if I rescue this betta, I hope it'll be okay do you think I should get the betta today?
 

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Mermish

I’d just put the leaves in, any fluctuation caused by them should be relatively minimal.

Your cycle should be okay to add the betta; in fact, the addition of something that produces ammonia will be needed to hold your cycle. If anything, you may have a minI cycle, but keeping an eye on your parameters and doing necessary water changes would make that handleable. Keep in mind that purchasing from a place that treats bettas poorly encourages the store to get in more. If the fish has a noticeable disease as you still really want that individual, see if you can get it marked down.

Personally, I feed bug bites, omega one, new life spectrum, and frozen. Frozen is typically a snack meal. If I had live, a variety of that could also be a staple. Water changes are 25% once a week, with 40% once a month (but I also have higher stocking than you).

I don’t know much about black water in particular. You may be better off starting a topic on that in the Freshwater Forum.
 
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The_fishy said:
Mermish

I’d just put the leaves in, any fluctuation caused by them should be relatively minimal.

Your cycle should be okay to add the betta; in fact, the addition of something that produces ammonia will be needed to hold your cycle. If anything, you may have a minI cycle, but keeping an eye on your parameters and doing necessary water changes would make that handleable. Keep in mind that purchasing from a place that treats bettas poorly encourages the store to get in more. If the fish has a noticeable disease as you still really want that individual, see if you can get it marked down.

Personally, I feed bug bites, omega one, new life spectrum, and frozen. Frozen is typically a snack meal. If I had live, a variety of that could also be a staple. Water changes are 25% once a week, with 40% once a month (but I also have higher stocking than you).

I don’t know much about black water in particular. You may be better off starting a topic on that in the Freshwater Forum.
Thanks, I'll try to get it marked down, I don't think that there's really any places that treat bettas that nice around me since even my lfs uses cups. I'll keep everyone updated on how he does if I get him. I guess I'll just start with half a leaf and rinse it in hot water.
 
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Mermish

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I got the betta. He didn't eat bloodworms this morning, but maybe he'll eat pellets when I try.
that. I still need to get betta pellets would he be okay on repashy igapo explorer or the NLS pellets I give my community tank for now? I think he has ammonia poisoning since his gills look like their working hard and he's lethargic
Do I just do nothing since he's in clean water now? He does awI'm some to get to new places to rest but that's all I've seen him do so far.
IMG_20191228_080021.jpg
 

The_fishy

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I’d test your water to make sure you aren’t having a minI cycle. How warm is it? Any buoyancy issues? If the foods are protein-based, they would be fine. I wouldn’t be too concerned about him not eating right away since he is still adjusting.

Have you added any more plants or decor since the last picture of your tank?
 
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The_fishy said:
I’d test your water to make sure you aren’t having a minI cycle. How warm is it? Any buoyancy issues? If the foods are protein-based, they would be fine. I wouldn’t be too concerned about him not eating right away since he is still adjusting.

Have you added any more plants or decor since the last picture of your tank?
I'm not home right now so I can't test the water parameters and temperature but I think it's 78f. I added extra prime last night so if it minI cycles it should be safe for now. I think be has some buoyancy issues but I haven't seen him swim a ton, so it could just be that he's weak from not swimming sonse his cup was really small. I added an Anubis and some more hornwart last night. I think the main ingredient in the NLS is krill and the repashy black soldier fly larva. But they're both omnivore formulas.
 

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I got home and he doesn't look that great any suggestions? Should I do a waterchange?
IMG_20191228_203404.jpg
IMG_20191228_203356.jpg
IMG_20191228_203340.jpg
 

The_fishy

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Mermish said:
I got home and he doesn't look that great any suggestions? Should I do a waterchange?
IMG_20191228_203404.jpg
IMG_20191228_203356.jpg
IMG_20191228_203340.jpg
Try a water change, but I’m not really sure what more can be done. Is he still swimming some? Do you notice any pineconing?
 
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Since he looks like he has laboured breathing should I add an airstone? The pump I have is for a ten gallon and the stone is like a foot long.
 

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Mermish said:
Since he looks like he has laboured breathing should I add an airstone? The pump I have is for a ten gallon and the stone is like a foot long.
I’d hesitate to add something that will agitate the water a lot just because it may further stress him out.
 
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The_fishy said:
Try a water change, but I’m not really sure what more can be done. Is he still swimming some? Do you notice any pineconing?
I haven't seen any pineconing but his breathing slowed down. He's swam one spot to another but I think it's always just to readjust his resting spots. I haven't seen him rest in the plants just the the gravel do you think he's comfortable? Should I lower the water level since he's struggling and is a labernth fish?

The_fishy said:
I’d hesitate to add something that will agitate the water a lot just because it may further stress him out.
That makes since thanks. What percent chance should I do and how often
 

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Mermish said:
I haven't seen any pineconing but his breathing slowed down. He's swam one spot to another but I think it's always just to readjust his resting spots. I haven't seen him rest in the plants just the the gravel do you think he's comfortable? Should I lower the water level since he's struggling and is a labernth fish?
I just got a Betta with obvious ammonia poisoning signs on his gills. Added a bit of aquarium salt and rooibos tea (no caffeine) in a hospital tank, 50% water changes every other day, incredible change in him so far.

Unfortunately sometimes it's too late for the poor fish at some of these stores.
 

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Id say at this point you should just let nature take its course. I know it sounds horrible, but it seems the only thing you can do to not stress him out further is to let him be. Hopefully he has enough fight left in him and he will get through this, but it's really up to him. Poor little guy was probably in that tiny cup for months.
 
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Addictedtobettas said:
I just got a Betta with obvious ammonia poisoning signs on his gills. Added a bit of aquarium salt and rooibos tea (no caffeine) in a hospital tank, 50% water changes every other day, incredible change in him so far.

Unfortunately sometimes it's too late for the poor fish at some of these stores.
What ammout of salt did you do? I was afraid to do to many changes for him and wasn't sure if salt would just stress him more since it irritates them, that's great that yours is doing better! Do you know how the salt works to help them? I have part of an Indian almond leaf in there do you think I should take it out and get the tea?

Rits said:
Id say at this point you should just let nature take its course. I know it sounds horrible, but it seems the only thing you can do to not stress him out further is to let him be. Hopefully he has enough fight left in him and he will get through this, but it's really up to him. Poor little guy was probably in that tiny cup for months.
Yeah the cup is almost 3"in wide and 3"in deep. Would you still do frequent water changes or just once a week?
 

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Mermish said:
Yeah the cup is almost 3"in wide and 3"in deep. Would you still do frequent water changes or just once a week?
Id personally do it every other day in case of a minI cycle, but 1 week should be fine if you test water parameters daily.
 

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I personally would do maybe twice a week just to make sure the water is as clean as possible. If he's staying close to the bottom you may want to lower the water level so he doesn't have to go as far to reach the surface. if you can't lower the water you could perhaps put him into a breeder net/box if you have one.

Rooibos tea will do basically the same thing as the almond leaves. You can use both if you have them but you don't have to remove one or anything.

As for salt there should be dosing instructions on the container it would come in. I personally suggest that if you're going to be adding it to the tank to first dissolve it in another container and adding it slowly.
Also make sure if you redose the tank with it to only add as much as you remove with a water change- like remove 50% of the water so only add 50% of the dose. This is because salt can only be removed through water changes and won't just evaporate out. If you just keep adding salt it can be harmful and stress out the lil guy.

I personally only use salt to help really make sure everything is clean when I'm treating things like finrot or other basic infections. It's reported to help with slime coat, heal wounds, ease stress, etc but whether or not those benefits last long term is somewhat up for debate.
 
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Salem said:
I personally would do maybe twice a week just to make sure the water is as clean as possible. If he's staying close to the bottom you may want to lower the water level so he doesn't have to go as far to reach the surface. if you can't lower the water you could perhaps put him into a breeder net/box if you have one.

Rooibos tea will do basically the same thing as the almond leaves. You can use both if you have them but you don't have to remove one or anything.

As for salt there should be dosing instructions on the container it would come in. I personally suggest that if you're going to be adding it to the tank to first dissolve it in another container and adding it slowly.
Also make sure if you redose the tank with it to only add as much as you remove with a water change- like remove 50% of the water so only add 50% of the dose. This is because salt can only be removed through water changes and won't just evaporate out. If you just keep adding salt it can be harmful and stress out the lil guy.

I personally only use salt to help really make sure everything is clean when I'm treating things like finrot or other basic infections. It's reported to help with slime coat, heal wounds, ease stress, etc but whether or not those benefits last long term is somewhat up for debate.
I don't have the tea but I could buy it if it would be more beneficial than just the leaves. I have a HOB filter so since it's a new cycle is it safe to lower the water level? Do you think it'd be wrong of me to hold off on salt? I want to do everything I can but I'm a bit weary of salt and bettas since I watched a friend's betta that started to pincone and I think the salt made it more uncomfortable before it died. My betta was stuck to the filter twice that I know of and I unplugged it both times but I'm not sure if it was stuck or resting there so now I have it covered in pantyhose does it look safe?
 

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Mermish said:
What ammout of salt did you do? I was afraid to do to many changes for him and wasn't sure if salt would just stress him more since it irritates them, that's great that yours is doing better! Do you know how the salt works to help them? I have part of an Indian almond leaf in there do you think I should take it out and get the tea?
If you use salt, make sure you're using Aquarium salt.

Well I have a 5 gallon 'hospital' tank, set up with silk plants. Since Bettas have scales they can tolerate the salt that many freshwater fish can't. The live plants in my main tank would not tolerate it either.


The proper salt can bring in beneficial balance and support for the new, stressed out fish. (Not everyone will agree but many do use it, especially with new fish with health issues)

I started with a bit less than 1 tablespoon and just let it dissolve in the water with the first 5 gallons of water. I added the salt because he also had signs of fin rot. I've added about 1 teaspoon to the 50% water changes since, but I'll probably stop now - it's been 6 days since he joined the crew.

I wouldn't remove the indian almond leaf, but I don't think the tea would clash. Just steep 1 cup, let it cool, and put in maybe... 1/4 cup? It has antiseptic qualities that seem to help without harming.

I also tried Melafix for one round of water changes. To be honest, I don't know that the fish was a fan, so I didn't add more with the next water change.
 

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