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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2021

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    Exclamation Help with temporary betta housing

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi, I recently had all my fish apart from my betta (3 zebra danios, 1 pleco, 2 nerite snails) die mysteriously, and my betta is currently in a bucket.
    I just bought one of those plastic fish containers meant for transportation to put him in because I have to completely restart my tank. (10 gallons)
    The container is .75 gallons (my parents wouldn't let me get anything but the container and a place for him to hide) and I do not have a way to filter or heat the water.
    I'm also leaving the bottom bare because I don't want any complications with the plastic breaking. Any tips on how to ensure I meet standard care requirements while I restart my main tank?

    If any background info helps, this is my first time keeping fish, my tank is 10 gallons with a heater and filter, I perform water changes/maintenance once weekly, I have had my fish for about 4 months, they were healthy and happy; two days ago they were fine, but they just turned up dead, no signs of disease or aggression. I use Indian almond leaves to produce tannins in the water, use live plants (I have 2 Amazon swords and one lucky bamboo) and have a skull ornament for them to hide in. I always file the sharp edges on the ornaments and rinse everything off before putting things in my tank. I feed 2 crushed up flakes and 2 betta pellets twice daily (I am only feeding 2 pellets once a day right now) and would put half of an algae wafer in once a week for my pleco and snails. They were all still young fish, my pleco was about 3 inches. I also use water conditioner and stress coat! Any tips would be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Southeast Texas

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    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC.

    Why would you restart the entire tank? Have you read about the nitrogen cycle in fish tanks, and was the tank cycled? Do you have a test kit to check your water parameters?
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    NW IL

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    1 Not allowed!
    I agree, don't restart the tank...get a liquid test kit and see what the ammonia and nitrite levels are. If you have both, then test for nitrate as well. For the first two anything over 0.25 is deadly for fish-within aday you can do enough damage to their gills to kill them, or stress them so much something else will kill them like ich. For the third you have a bit more room, anything over 40-60 ppm and that is over a couple days will stress them enough that they become susceptible to death of other secondary infections that will ultimately cause death.

    If you haven't pre-cycled your tank without fish, you were probably in the middle of a fish-in cycle. From your feeding description it seems you may have been overfeeding the tank and this led to a build up of the ammonia and nitrites that caused the fish death. The fish you have/had really only need to be fed once a day and you can even go every other day if the fish were adults. There are some fish that should be fed multiple times a day but not betta, zebra danios or plecos.

    What type of filtration is on the tank, does this filtration tell you to throw a cartridge away when cleaning it? FYI don't throw this away-all the good bacteria that breaks down the waste is living in there. Also how often do you do maintenance...i.e clean the substrate to suck up uneaten food/poop, water changes (and how much), clean the filter out?

    I am assuming you want to have more than just a betta in the 10 gallon tank, correct? If so you will want to build up a certain level of beneficial bacteria in the 10 gallon filter media so that when your tank is cycled it will be ready for all the fish you want to add. Just be mindful as to the fish you put in; their adult sizes, activity levels and behavior. Danios seem like small fish, however they are active swimmers and need a group at least 8 and a tank 36" long A better fish for a 10 gallon would be something like this if you can find it near you, or a group of neon tetras. If you didn't have the betta you could add some male guppies or endlers- but the betta will nip their fins and vice versa.

    Right now you have 2 options:

    If you want to restock the tank with more than the betta then you should do a fishless cycle, read the articles ( and and if you have any questions ask.

    1. Get the water tested and based on the results you can choose to keep the tank empty of fish and do a fishless cycle to get the tanks ready for the betta. Don't keep the betta in the 0.75 container, it will be too easy for the waste levels to get to stress levels and its too small for him. Go to a hardware store like Menards, Lowes, Home Depot or Ace Hardware and get a 5 gallon bucket and a lid. They hold potable water which means it is safe for the betta and only a couple bucks. You can easily set up a small heater and sponge filter in there for him if you want to, bettas jump so you should lightly cover the bucket to keep him in. You should add some holes to the lid for air exchange, or you can use something else easier to poke holes in like plastic wrap or cardboard. Just know that a fish can and will jump through the smallest space. I have lost many fish by thinking they could never manage to jump through that small crack-they do and I kick myself for being complacent. You will have to make sure the water parameters stay safe for him as you cycle the 10 gallon.

    The best way to get a cycle is to go to the Ace Hardware closest to you and get Ammonia. It is hard to find plain ammonia without other chemicals like surfactants added in other stores. If you are unsure just shake the bottle and if it foams its no good.

    If you are just going to keep the betta in the 10 gallon long term then you can follow the instructions for fish in cycling. Just know that if you add any fish after the tank is cycled for the betta, the amount of bacteria in the tank will need time to grow to accommodate the new additions. What does that mean? It means you will need to watch/test water parameters daily and do water changes as needed to get the ammonia and nitrite levels under control. So...

    2. Get the water tested and based on the levels of ammonia/nitrite do a water change and clean the substrate so that the levels are safe for the betta. If you test the water levels and it says you have 0.25 ppm ammonia you will have to replace enough water to get that under the stress level of 0.25. Emptying half of the tank's water should get you to 0.125ppm. To be sure do another water test after conditioning the water.

    On another note:
    To be perfectly honest a pleco is too messy of a fish for a 10 gallon (and unless it is a hypancistrus or other very small variety which I still don't recommend in a 10 gallon-needs at least a 20 with strong filtration) will outgrow the tank.

    So sorry about all the info, I know its alot to take in...also sorry if I wasn't 100% clear in some areas, or if it seems like I made some info very basic. Not sure what your experience level is at with fishkeeping and I just want to cover the bases. Good luck
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