Need some help with a betta tank (Pretty Much Fixed, thanks :)
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
Silmarwen
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Need some help with a betta tank (Pretty Much Fixed, thanks :)


UPDATE: After a complete tank change (rinsed the gravel out and everything), and rescaping his tank with a couple more plants, Pearlicus is much, much happier, and even blew me a bubble next this morning! He hasn't done that in a few weeks now, so he's on the up-and-up. Thanks for everyone's advice

My baby, the jewel of my collection, is a pink and blue halfmoon betta named Pearlicus Moon McFinnyfin.

Unfortunately, Pearlicus hasn't been happy lately. I had noticed about a month and a half ago that his tail was looking ragged. I assumed it was because he had been snagging it on the plastic plant that was in his tank, and that is what spurred me in the direction of live plants in fishtanks. I took the artificial decor out, and gave him some Argentine Swords (Not the best choice, I admit...).

And for a while, he improved. There was new growth on his fins, and he seemed to be swimming around more actively than he was for a while.

But then, lately, he's gotten lethargic again, and my roommate noticed his fins were ragged again. Sure enough, I had him flare for me so I could check, and most of what had grown back, has been nipped off again.

He's in a 2-gallon no-tech with basic 'aquarium gravel' substrate. The Swords are doing fine, honestly, it's just Pearlicus who seems to be unhappy. The temperature is fine, but I've noticed there's more ammonia than there should be, I suppose. I don't keep as close of an eye on the parameters as I should, I'll admit.

Therefore, with my next paycheck, I'd really like to upgrade him to a bigger tank, get some more plants, and maybe add some sort of bottom feeder to mop up any food that I miss him spitting back out--whatever he might get along with, that could help keep his tank in top shape. I already do 50%WC weekly, so I've upped that starting this week to twice a week, but I'm afraid for him in the meantime, I don't want anything to happen before I can get a 2.5 or a 5 gallon for him

So. Does anyone else keep bettas, who might be able to help me out? Looking through my budget, I'm going to have around $45-$50 for the tank and whatever else I'll need for him. I had my eye on a $15 glass 2.5g that I noticed at my LFS, which would give me more money to spend on a light, heater, plants, whatever else it takes to keep my baby happy. On the other hand, a 5 gallon ($23ish, iirc) would give him a little more room to stretch his fins, and hopefully be happy?

I know there are several schools of betta-keeping thought, so I hope everyone will be willing to weigh in and we'll see what sounds like it will fit my situation? I need to keep it as low-tech as possible, since I'm running out of outlets around my room (My roommate blames my 10g for the spike in our electric bill already!), so thoughts on setup are more than welcome as well.
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"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
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10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'

Last edited by Silmarwen; 10-18-2012 at 09:28 PM.. Reason: Update at the top :)
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
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If the water is warm and stagnant, its probably not a good thing. Best if you can get air pump with airstone to help with water movement or get a small HOB filter to clean the water. BTW, what is the water temp?
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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Sounds like poor water quality is your main culprit--start doing 50% daily water changes until you've got things under control; clean water is key to preventing further fin loss and promoting healing. As for "more ammonia than there should be", it should be zero.

If you can swing the 5g, go for it. If you want to add filtration, there are some decent small in-tank or hob filters, but you can just as easily keep it unfiltered if you up the plant mass, watch to make sure you aren't over-feeding, and make sure you stay on top of needed water changes.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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It sounds like you may have a tail biter on your hands. If upgrading his tank doesn't help you can try changing up his decor on a regular basis, changing up the decor on the outside of the tank, giving him something to "play" with (like a ping-pong ball). There are a couple theories as to why a betta may bite his tail; bordom, stress, or just general aggrevation of the tails length. Our last betta, a crowntail, was a tail biter. His trigger was simply it got too long. Good luck!

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Old 10-15-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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I got a five gallon kit from walmart which included hood light and filter for around $30, then added a 25 watt heater for another $15 for my betta. I just looked and the filter and light has changed but it's still around $30. You could at least grow some java moss and maybe anubius nana for betta to rest on.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
If the water is warm and stagnant, its probably not a good thing. Best if you can get air pump with airstone to help with water movement or get a small HOB filter to clean the water. BTW, what is the water temp?
It was my understanding that bettas preferred water 74-82 degrees Fahrenheit, with little water movement because it makes it hard to swim with their long fins--and Pearlicus has very long fins. The water is steady around 76 degrees--actually on the cooler side of what I've heard they prefer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotyoureality View Post
Sounds like poor water quality is your main culprit--start doing 50% daily water changes until you've got things under control; clean water is key to preventing further fin loss and promoting healing. As for "more ammonia than there should be", it should be zero.

If you can swing the 5g, go for it. If you want to add filtration, there are some decent small in-tank or hob filters, but you can just as easily keep it unfiltered if you up the plant mass, watch to make sure you aren't over-feeding, and make sure you stay on top of needed water changes.
When I say "more ammonia than there should be," when I do the test, It's not BRIGHT yellow, but it's hard to tell if it's actually green. I've seen tests done where the water is YELLOW as yellow can be, so there's obviously some, but its not quite hit the first level of the green on the card, I think. I need some sort of digital-readout test, really. I'm not an artist; my eyes aren't tuned for that stuff. Nitrates and Nitrites seem to be at 0, so...? Maybe I fail at chemistry, one way or another.

The more I'm thinking, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the 5g. If all else fails, I can hint strongly that Pearlicus needs it to my dad, I'm sure he'll indulge me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sourgrl View Post
It sounds like you may have a tail biter on your hands. If upgrading his tank doesn't help you can try changing up his decor on a regular basis, changing up the decor on the outside of the tank, giving him something to "play" with (like a ping-pong ball). There are a couple theories as to why a betta may bite his tail; bordom, stress, or just general aggrevation of the tails length. Our last betta, a crowntail, was a tail biter. His trigger was simply it got too long. Good luck!

~tammy
I might try changing his decor; maybe boredom IS it, and last time he got better because things were different for a while. At the very least, it's worth a shot. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesawguy View Post
I got a five gallon kit from walmart which included hood light and filter for around $30, then added a 25 watt heater for another $15 for my betta. I just looked and the filter and light has changed but it's still around $30. You could at least grow some java moss and maybe anubius nana for betta to rest on.
I'll look into it, thanks! I'm kind of hoping to find a relatively inexpensive tank without a filter, but a filter might be ideal for a while until I cang et it planted enough to sustain itself.
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"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'

Last edited by Silmarwen; 10-15-2012 at 08:34 PM.. Reason: Added response I missed the first time around
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:06 PM   #7
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I would get a 5 gallon if you can. I've had a good experience with keeping a lone betta in a 5 gallon. The maintenance is easier to keep up on. The pricing for a 2.5 and 5 gallon standard rimmed tank will likely be roughly equivalent, and the tank accessories like light, filter, etc. will likely be the same regardless of whether or not you get a 2.5 or a 5.

You want to determine if the betta is biting his tail or whether he has mild fin rot. With mild fin rot, the fins progressively get shorter evenly and there may be a tinge of redness at the end of the fin. If so, consider lots of water changes and perhaps a salt treatment. If the fin becomes suddenly shorter and raggedy, probably got it caught somewhere or bit a chunk off. One of mine tended to bite his tail when 1. the flow was strong and 2. he turned a tight corner in the tank. He liked to get into tight spots and I had an ornament in the tank near a corner. He seemed to always catch a glimpse of his tail when he rounded that corner and started going for it. He may have other triggers.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #8
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There should be zero ammonia. Dirty water causes fin rot in bettas. Without a filter, you should be doing partial water changes every couple of days if you want to maintain a healthy betta.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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get a little filter and get a companion for him- like a snail, shrimp, maybe a small school if you get a bigger tank.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:20 PM   #10
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Don't feel bad, my betta lives in a planted 6.6 gallon with a filter at 78+ degrees all summer, weekly water changes, and he STILL got fin rot so bad it took 60% of his fins. Long finned bettas are just really high maintenance animals.

I'd suggest going with the 5 gallon and a small HOB filter. My favorite is the Azoo Palm, I have 4 of them on my small tanks and I've never had issues with them. The current can be turned down so low that it's barely a trickle, but it's still a backup biological filter for your tank even if it's not causing much current.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?pcatid=9821

If your betta still keeps getting fin rot, you might have to put him into a hospital tank and treat with salt/medication and daily water changes for a couple weeks. Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:57 PM   #11
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That looks like a nice little filter! I didn't know they came in "reasonably priced"...

My only problem with getting a filter for him is that I'm running out of outlets. My computer fills all but two slots on a six-slot adapter on the only outlet on one wall, and the other two are only open because I don't have my second monitor or my router hooked up. The only other outlets are under the AC (where I wouldn't put anything except easily-dust-able glass ornaments), in the corner where I have my 10g, and beside my bed. I haven't convinced my roommate to allow tanks in the living room yet... That will open up options, but when I start talking fish, her eyes glaze over and she gives me this look like "Are you effin kidding me?"
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"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
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Old 10-16-2012, 01:29 AM   #12
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If you already have an established tank then I would definately get a filter for your new betta tank and seed it with filter material from your established tank. A cycled tank is so much less maintenance than having to do large water changes. Speaking of which, it sounds like you're currently not doing enough of them. You should not have an ammonia reading - if you do it's harming your fish. He probably has fin rot from less than perfect water quality.

I'd go with a 5g tank. I keep my boys in 5g minibows - they are awesome tanks but a bit on the expensive side. But any 5g with a lid or hood will work. I use the Hagan Elite Mini Filter in all my betta tanks - they are great little filters and altho they are rated for a 3g tank they will work fine in a 5g with a single betta. The outflow is adjustable so you don't have to worry about the current being too strong. Here is a link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009YD7D4/..._df_B0009YD7D4

Any low watt heater will work - try to keep the temp at about 78 degrees. Adjustable heaters are better if the temp in the room fluctuates.

I wouldn't get any other fish for the tank, especially if you aren't going to add a cycled filter to it. Any benefit you would get as far as cleaning up excess food would be offset by the waste another fish would produce, plus another fish may stress out the betta. Maybe get one or two freshwater nerite snails - they'll eat any leftover food and keep the tank free of algae, and they won't produce babies in fresh water. They are great snails for small tanks and really earn their keep.

For live plants I like to use java fern and anubias nana glued to decor - rocks, driftwood or store bought decor. This allows you to put plants anywhere, at any level, of the tanks for visual interest. They are also good in low light. I also like duckweed as it softens the glare of the light. Not everyone likes duckweed tho as it's invasive.

For now you should be doing lots of water changes to keep that ammonia down to nothing. If the rot gets worse you can try adding a bit of salt. If it gets real bad then you'll need to treat with an antibiotic. Aggressive rot can quickly move thru the fins and into the body and that is very dangerous.

A nice, planted, natural looking betta tank can be an awesome addition to the living room. I have mine setting on top of my TV cabinet and it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door. And when my husband is watching football I pretend I'm watching, but I'm actually watching the tank instead

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:02 AM   #13
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I prefer java moss, but if you can't get that, a stem plant that is good for keeping the water clean is hornwort. It grows well as a floating plant.
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silmarwen View Post
That looks like a nice little filter! I didn't know they came in "reasonably priced"...

My only problem with getting a filter for him is that I'm running out of outlets. "
Get another outlet extender! You always need more power outlets! I realize they are a bit expensive though...

+1 to FriendsNotFood's comment on the Azoo Palm Filter. I have seriously thought about getting one. ~$10, nothing but good reviews!
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:53 PM   #15
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Thanks for everyone's input! I talked to my mom this morning, and she hinted strongly that she and dad will gift me with the 5g that I want So that's good. In the meantime, water changes galore. I have a couple gallons already treated and set aside for the next few days, so I'm ready to keep up on it. I threw my marimo ball in with him for a change of pace, and I'm working on getting something like a ping-pong ball for him to play with. I can't say that I've seen a change yet, but I will certainly keep you posted.
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"Aquariums are like science, art, and hypno-therapy, all rolled into one," I insisted.
"You're not putting a hundred gallon tank in the living room," my roommate replied.


10g "Community" of nothing but Danios - 2g (barely) planted Betta - 2.5g Betta - 1g Pond Snail Repository

My aquascape style tends towards 'tall in the back, short in the front, lots and lots of green and stuff. And maybe a rock somewhere...'
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