View Full Version : ? re: inheriting two bettas who probably haven't been treated all that well

06-14-2010, 05:53 PM
Hi everyone - I'm a complete beginner and want to do this right. I've read the e-book (which is awesome!!!), but I had a specific question about the two bettas I'm taking in who may not have been properly cared for and aren't thriving?

They're currently class pets. They're in bare clear plastic "critter keepers" right now (no plants or substrate), unheated, unfiltered, etc. I haven't done a water test as we don't bring them home until tomorrow, but I've heard from the classroom teacher that they may be "sick" (their words.)

I'm ordered them each tanks with filters and heaters and substrate that's supposed to have some bacteria to help with cycling. I also ordered a bacterial additive with the good kind of bacteria. But since this happened sort of quickly, none of those have not arrived yet.

Sooo... my question: Once the fish and the equipment are all here, should I do a fishless cycle while they wait in their critter keepers? (I'd add plants at least, and anything else you tell me I should do.) Or should I move them into the heated, filtered tanks right away even though they would not be cycled? Which will help the fish the most?

I've read about acclimating so I do at least know enough not to net them in the critter keepers and plop them into their new tanks, lol!

Thank you so much in advance!! It's really nice that it's okay to ask beginner's questions here. For those of us that are intimidated by how much we don't know and need to learn, the lack of snobbery is VERY helpful. Y'all are great!!!!

06-14-2010, 05:56 PM
bettas are extremely hardy. i would cycle it with the fish in the tank because they will be better off in your tank than that plastic critter keeper. just do water changes here and there and you should be ok.imo

06-14-2010, 05:58 PM
Thank you so much, Amazon! That is exactly what I wanted to know!! thumbs2:

06-14-2010, 07:45 PM
I'd say it is up to you. I don't reccomend cycling with a fish even if they are hardy. It's just not very nice. If you are willing to change the water in the critter keepers every other day then I would keep them in those until the tank is ready. If the fish is already "sick" it would only stress it out more by having it run through a cycle, but it's up to you.

06-14-2010, 07:56 PM
Considering your situation cycling with fish is not so bad.
Lots of water changes is the key to successfully cycling with fish.The ammonia levels rise fast and must be kept very low,That is what kills fish fast. The bacteria supplement will help but its not an instant cycle.
The fish may be suffering from ammonia poisoning right now if the they are kept in those small tanks.The water should be changed daily.
Do not forget dechlorinator.
Here is a link with betta info.There are more links at the bottom of the page.

06-14-2010, 08:56 PM
Yeah, I'd go with the fish-in cycle personally in this situation. Unless the bettas are on their last leg, so to speak, a heated and filtered tank would probably perk them right up. Just acclimate them to the new tanks properly and you should hopefully see them get better with more stable conditions. Keeping an eye on the ammonia/nitrites is definitely key in the beginning stages and it can get rather tedious doing water changes every day, but it's necessary to keep the fish healthy. It's funny how excited you can get when you test your water after weeks of changing it out and both ammonia and nitrites show up as 0 :19: . The bacteria you're adding should definitely help the process along. Anyway, good luck to you and your new fish. If you're afraid something is really wrong with them, post up some pictures in a new thread and someone here can probably diagnose any problems they may be having :22: .

06-14-2010, 11:28 PM
Oh you guys, you amaze me!!! Thank you so much. We're getting them tomorrow so I'll post pictures if there's anything visibly wrong. My memory is that they were regular betta colors (so, not pale), but their fins looked ragged and droopy and they were sluggish.

My water test kit and new tanks aren't here yet. I ordered them from Foster and Smith because the 16 gallon tank was on super super sale... way less than the same item my pet store, even with shipping. But now I'm bummed it's not here waiting for them to move into.

I was thinking I should test the water in the critter keepers first thing. Maybe I'll take it to the pet store. Pet stores won't sell you cycled aquarium water, will they?

06-15-2010, 01:43 AM
Cycled aquarium water is just dirty water. Fresh water with dechlorinator is all you need.You want the stuff that is in the filters!lol
Some aquarium gravel from a cycled tank wouldn't hurt.You just put that in a bag below your filter intake.That will help.
The cycle itself won't take too long.
Aqua plus is very good dechlorinator.
Prime is excellent too and it is more concentrated so it it will cost less in the long run.

06-15-2010, 02:46 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you all! Can I impose on your patience a bit longer?

I just got the fish and they are in... oh, it's awful... like an inch and a half of water and it's dirty dirty dirty.

But my tanks and other supplies, which I'd hoped would arrive today, have not arrived.

What should I do? How do I change the water without a spare tank or bowl to put them in? How do I acclimate them when there's barely enough water for them even to be upright?

Water temp. in old tanks is 73.5. I don't have my water test kit yet.

Sorry... I'm such a noob here, I realize I'm asking sub-101 level questions, but I feel sorry for these fishies and don't want to make their situation worse!! But I don't really feel like I know what I'm doing.

06-15-2010, 02:51 PM
I should condition some tap water and then add it bit by bit (like what, 1/4 c. every 15 minutes or so) to their current bowls just to get them in more than 1.5" of water and then proceed from there, yes?

Tap water temp. is 75.5, so two degrees warmer than the water in their bowls.

06-15-2010, 02:51 PM
If you have some dechlorinator add some fresh water to what is there(match the temps).Let it be for the day and do a water change later.
Another tomorrow.Do the fish have ich?
Get those tanks soon!lol

06-15-2010, 03:21 PM
Thank you Northernguy!!! Thank you so much!!!:19: I do have some dechlorinator, so I've made a half gallon of conditioned water and am adding it 1/4 cup by 1/4 cup making sure not to raise the temperature noticeably. I only have a digital meat thermometer, unfortunately

I would NOT have known to wait a day on the water change, so THANK YOU!!! That's so good to know.

I think one of the fish may have ick. Does ick look like rusty spots? Before I noticed it I'm afraid I cross-contaminated the water by sharing the thermometer. Ack!! Stupid mistake! *headdesk* *headdesk*

Well, at least they are both swimming around a lot better now that they have water taller than they are.

06-15-2010, 04:21 PM
Bah. Sorry, "ich," not "ick." my bad. Ich bin ein beginner. lol.

06-15-2010, 11:13 PM
Ich will look like tiny white spots on a few places or all over your fish depending on how bad it is. Do a quick google image search to see plenty of examples. The "rusty" spot may just be part of the coloration of the fish; hard to tell without actually seeing it.