Vac 10 gallon with betta? Help 

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chexsea

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Hello, I just joined and have spent days reading this site and getting super jealous of your beautiful tanks.

I have a blue betta in a vase currently (dont worry, its two gallons and doesn't have a lily on top) but am planning on moving him to a 10 gallon because the dorm I'm moving to in August states fish must be kept in real tanks- not vases.

I have purchased a tank, filter, gravel, a decorative "cave" rock and a couple live plants so far and am letting it "cycle" My parents think I'm crazy for doing this because when they were kids they just put the fish in and work its own magic.... anyways.

I want to know if I really need a gravel vacuum for just one fish? I was planning on doing weekly water changes by scooping with a bucket and stirring, but this site sure does make a girl feel bad about doing it the easy way. :-\
 

Kunsthure

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

I would recommend gravel vacs, even for just one fish, because they all miss food and all poop. That mess settles in between the gravel and can cause problems with ammonia and nitrite spikes. You can go with sand on the bottom and then you won't have to work as hard to keep it clean since all the mess rests on the top of the sand and can be scooped up. But in a 10 gallon, the most efficient way to do a water change is with a little gravel vac/siphon anyway.

-Lisa
 

used2bN2horsesLOL

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Need...no, you can scoop it out in a net and rinse it with your discarded tank water (straight tap water will kill your good bacteria b/c of the chlorine) or swoosh really good and pour out the bulk of the nasty with the water from the bucket.

But... speaking from experience... the ten bucks on the gravel vac is totally worth it. It freaks the fish out less and it's not a hail of rocks when returning the gravel to the tank that's like a bad meteor shower of death lol
Tip * Putting your thumb over the exit end of the hose stops the flow and will allow your clean gravel to settle still in the tube before going to the next spot, so you can clean more gravel while removing less water.

*When you said scoop it out with a bucket, I thought you were talking about the gravel as well as the water. The above poster is correct, regular substrate cleaning is important for the above reasons and you don't want to let pockets of nitrogen gas develop from the break down of the fish waste. If they build up and release it's really really bad for the fish.
 

Elodea

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Welcom to Fishlore! If you could update your "Aquarium Info" a bit more it will be very helpful to all of us.

Do you know about the nitrogen cycle yet? Please click the underlined words or the link in my signature. It's a bit boring, but absolutely essential information you need to know for the well-being of your fish.

How are you cycling your tank? Could you please give us details on your cycling method? Tanks don't just cycle by themselves, the nitrifying bacteria requires an ammonia source for its population to flourish and grow.

It will be a good idea, if not a mandatory one, to buy a reliable aquarium test kit. The API Master Liquid Test Kit is an excellent buy. Don't get strips. They are both unreliable and more expensive per test.

What type of plants do you have? Some are not suitable for a 10 gallon tank, and may rot and die, making the tank rather dirty, as well as promote an algae bloom. Otherwise, you may have to upgrade lighting to accomodate the lighting needs of the plants. Some even require CO2 injection or fertilizers.

Bettas come from the tropics, so they require a heater. Heaters both keep the tank warm, and stabilize the temperature so temp swings won't end up killing the fish. A 50 watt stealth heater will be a good idea. Try to get the fully submersible type, as they are relatively safer and can be placed horizontally underwater, making for some more thorough heating.

Watch out for the "cave" a bit. Put it in the water, and run a pantyhose over it. If the pantyhose snags and tears, then then the ornament may be hard on the betta's delicate fins. In that case, you'll either have to get a smoother ornament or use sandpaper to soften the edges. Ripped fins can cause dangerous infections that are hazardous to the health of fish.

Also, a gravel vacuum is generally a good idea, even if it's only one fish. All the dead plant matter, uneaten food, and fish waste falls into the gravel and rots, making a pretty big mess. It's one of the 10 most genius inventions of mankind: the gravel vacuum allows you to siphon up water and clean the gravel at the same time.

I'm sorry about all these questions, but it will greatly assist us in helping you cycle the tank and determine whether a gravel vacuum is necessary or not (though it normally is).

Lisa, I believe that sand isn't the best option for a betta tank. Bettas have a tendency to pick for food in the substrate, and very commonly swallow the substrate with them, so a very coarse gravel is better.


EDIT: Oops. Epically ninja'd. Should've written a bit less.
 
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chexsea

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I updated my info, and added my filter type: Aqueon Quietflow 10.
I do know about the nitrogen cycle, I bought one of those tetra bottles for a quickie cycle
My plants are two small Java fern and one medium Amazon Sword, which I know will work just fine.
The "cave" is very smooth cause its fake. haha

I don't mind the questions if they help me out

EDIT: I forgot to add, I bought a heater but it was broken so I'm going to return it and get a new one tomorrow
 

used2bN2horsesLOL

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Elodea said:
Lisa, I believe that sand isn't the best option for a betta tank. Bettas have a tendency to pick for food in the substrate, and very commonly swallow the substrate with them, so a very coarse gravel is better.
I agree. My betta bottom feeds like a cory cat. And YAY! on the heater chexsea. You will see what a difference warm clean water makes in your betta. Color will deepen probably also. And way to go on the dorms requiring aquariums for fish that makes betta lovers here very happy!
Now if we could just get pet stores to follow suit.
 

claudicles

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If you bought TSS then you need to do the cycle with your Betta in the tank. Just letting the tank run doesn't do anything to get it ready for fish unfortunately. There are quite a few threads on TSS and how it works, sometimes doesn't work. You might benefit from reading up a bit so you are prepared for the possible pitfalls.
 

Elodea

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Ah, ok. A test kit is still a good idea, though, although I believe you're not supposed to test the water with Tetra Safestart. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Java ferns are good but I'm afraid you may have to return the Amazon Sword. It can literally fill up the 10 gallon and keep growing (generally, 55 gallons is the minimum, this plant grows HUGE). Also, it needs high amounts of light, so it may not be suitable.

Glad to know that someone's doing their research.
 

Amano

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For me I never gravel vac as such, but have sand and high filtration so it dose not matter. But I do clean up the dead plants and non eaten food in all tanks from time to time.

But in my 66g tank which has gravel, I have never ever gravel vaced and it has a lot of rubbish on the bottom under the gravel, and ever day I tested it for 3 years and never once did it spike. And still now all is just as good as it was before. And for that fact I one of my best friend has had 9 tanks set up with gravel and never ever has it been gravel vac for as long as he can remember and the tank has been up and running about 50 years. Just the heaters and filters and lights changed. And he has never had a issue with it and has always tested it when he first got the test kits, and has never had a issue at all.

RE the sand my Bettas when I kept them were all in sand bottom tanks and never once did mine seem to have issues with the sand at all.

IME if the sand is not made of glass smoothed. Or the average fake sand from the shops it is way better than gravel, in the fact rubbish from the fish plants and food can't get to the bottom as easy, lessoning the spikes if they ever happen and IME the fish find it much better.

RE the Bettas eating the sand. I have kept them the whole time of fish keeping and never once did I see them eat sand as in purposefully swallow. They would grab a mouth full then spit it out and grab what ever they were after out of it. Anyway I don't see it as a issue since in their native waters they have mud and gravel as well as sand, so who cares.

With regards to the cave IME if it is once of those shop terra-cotta or ceramic ones that are pretty lumpy and harsh to the human hand I would not bother. Small rocks stocked up to makes caves and drift wood work a tone better. IME even though shop ones are suppose to be smooth I am yet to see one which is smooth, an not rip Betta fins.

IME the better planted the tank is the more happy the Bettas become. So I would look at getting some sort of fert substrate to keep the plants happy and the Betta.
With Swords IME yes they can grow very fast, depending on the tank. Not all the time are they going to grow fast. I have to keep ripping my one apart in my 66g all the time with no fert substrate. Yes some of my other tank I can only grow Chain sword none of the simple ones. But if you get into the smaller swords like chain sword they are fine. And the runners are easy to fix up. And IME most shops will take the off cuts if they are large enough!

mac
 
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jdhef

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chexsea said:
My parents think I'm crazy for doing this because when they were kids they just put the fish in and work its own magic....
Yes, and back in the 1700's if you got an infection in your leg, the doctor got you drunk and sawed your leg off...things change as we learn more.
 

Elodea

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Amano said:
But in my 66g tank which has gravel, I have never ever gravel vaced and it has a lot of rubbish on the bottom under the gravel, and ever day I tested it for 3 years and never once did it spike. And still now all is just as good as it was before. And for that fact I one of my best friend has had 9 tanks set up with gravel and never ever has it been gravel vac for as long as he can remember and the tank has been up and running about 50 years. Just the heaters and filters and lights changed. And he has never had a issue with it and has always tested it when he first got the test kits, and has never had a issue at all.
It may work for some people, but I wouldn't risk it. Gravel vacuums aren't just to clean out the mulm in the tank, they are a type of water change that remove potentially dangerous nitrates from the tank. When nitrate builds up to over 40 ppm, it becomes just as deadly as ammonia or nitrite. This is called the Old Tank Syndrome, and can be very dangerous, especially since any large water change to neutralize the nitrates become a deadly shock to the fish.

Amano said:
RE the sand my Bettas when I kept them were all in sand bottom tanks and never once did mine seem to have issues with the sand at all.

IME if the sand is not made of glass smoothed. Or the average fake sand from the shops it is way better than gravel, in the fact rubbish from the fish plants and food can't get to the bottom as easy, lessoning the spikes if they ever happen and IME the fish find it much better.

RE the Bettas eating the sand. I have kept them the whole time of fish keeping and never once did I see them eat sand as in purposefully swallow. They would grab a mouth full then spit it out and grab what ever they were after out of it. Anyway I don't see it as a issue since in their native waters they have mud and gravel as well as sand, so who cares.
Bettas don't purposely eat sand. They pick for food at the bottom and accidentally swallow it. Plus, bettas come from rice paddies which are filled with less-risk mud, unlike sand in modern tanks. Although it is easier to clean, sand makes a risky option. I'm sure there are tons of betta keepers way more experienced than me that can clarify this.

Amano said:
With regards to the cave IME if it is once of those shop terra-cotta or ceramic ones that are pretty lumpy and harsh to the human hand I would not bother. Small rocks stocked up to makes caves and drift wood work a tone better. IME even though shop ones are suppose to be smooth I am yet to see one which is smooth, an not rip Betta fins.
I find that smoothing the ornaments out with sandpaper comes to great effect.
 

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Elodea said:
It may work for some people, but I wouldn't risk it. Gravel vacuums aren't just to clean out the mulm in the tank, they are a type of water change that remove potentially dangerous nitrates from the tank. When nitrate builds up to over 40 ppm, it becomes just as deadly as ammonia or nitrite. This is called the Old Tank Syndrome, and can be very dangerous, especially since any large water change to neutralize the nitrates become a deadly shock to the fish.
There must be a language gap, or I am not explained my thoughts enough. I am not a fan of gravel vac. But of water changes yes these I do ever week.
Never said I not for water changes. Or did I?

As for the Nitrates if weekly water changes are used this won't become a problem.

Bettas don't purposely eat sand. They pick for food at the bottom and accidentally swallow it. Plus, bettas come from rice paddies which are filled with less-risk mud, unlike sand in modern tanks.
RE less risk mud? You mean silt and just normal mud? The mud out of a rice pady can be just a good as from a river depending on the soils that it is in.

Re Bettas
Half right. They come from a mix of rice pads, stream, small tarns [NZ word for small dam lake natural dam small steam fed dam.] They come from rice pads after being introduced and from just swimming into them.

Although it is easier to clean, sand makes a risky option. I'm sure there are tons of betta keepers way more experienced than me that can clarify this.
Can't see how it is risky. Are you saying the Betta has no brain to tell what to eat and not what to eat. Fish and animals also use small stones and to help with cleaning the bowls ect anyway. So what would it matter if they ate a small amount.

Really the sand that is used in most tanks which may be of different grade and types but all up become the same as what is found in a lot of rivers and streams and lakes ponds and tarns.

I find that smoothing the ornaments out with sandpaper comes to great effect.
True, but the time cost and effort to do it. Just as simple to get some rocks or drift wood.
 
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Lucy

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Let's get back on topic. A new thread can be started for various debates.

The question is:
chexsea said:
I want to know if I really need a gravel vacuum for just one fish?
Welcome to FishLore chexsea it sounds like you've taken very good care of your betta. He'll enjoy his bigger home

I find a gravel vac helps with water changes, fish waste (even for one fish) dust and any debris that might make it's way into the tank.

A simple turkey baster would work to pick up fish waste.



On second thought, I'm closing this thread. The OP asked a simple question.
I believe that question has been answered.
 
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