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  1. Default Betta fish care draft


    0 Not allowed!
    My professor asked me for some advice for Betta fish, since he wants to get one for his young kids. I decided to write him a few pointers and it ended up getting too long. I thought I'd post it here for whoever needs it. Ignore the area-specific details. Also, please let me know if I should change/add anything!

    Thanks for your input in advance.


    Intro to Betta Fish Care

    Before you set up the tank, you should know…
    Nitrogen Cycle: For a fish to live comfortably in a tank, the tank needs to be “cycled.” It’s basically a process of converting ammonia to nitrite and, finally, to nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are both highly toxic to fish and are converted by beneficial bacteria. Nitrate is relatively less harmful and is removed from the water by a weekly 25% water change. Once the cycle is “established” (the establishing of beneficial bacteria colony, mainly in your substrate and filter media), there should be no detectable amount of ammonia and nitrite in your water at any given time, since they should be converted by beneficial bacteria right away. Since you are likely to have only one fish in your tank, the colony should stabilize in 1-2 weeks. In the first 2 weeks, 2 weekly 25% water change should be done to remove possible excessive ammonia and nitrite that are not converted. A lot of fish supply companies make “bacteria-boosting” products and claim that those products help the cycling process. The extent of those product is questionable and the claim too good to be true. However, if you’d like to use it to make the process possibly more “tolerable” for the fish, I have some for you. Just ask! PS: More obsessive people like myself would buy an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit, and do a water change when an unsafe level of each components is reached. However, it’s really unnecessary for you to get a test kit, unless you’d like to use it as a mini science project for your kids. Betta fish is hardy!

    Filtration: Beneficial bacteria nitrify ammonia and nitrite. They need sufficient dissolved oxygen in water to survive. Therefore, even though Betta fish does not require dissolved oxygen in water, filtration system is still important for your Betta fish to thrive. A good filtration system has three stages:1. Biological: this is the filter media sponge that houses bacteria colony.2. Mechanical: this catches debris and fish waste.3. Chemical: this contains “activated carbon”, which removes odor and discoloration.

    Ammonia spike: Overfeeding and leaving fish food unconsumed may lead to a spike in ammonia level. White cloudy water can sometimes be accompanied which indicates a situation called “bacteria bloom.” It’s likely resulting from excessive nutrient in the water and the bacteria are feasting! DO NOT OVERFEED. DO NOT OVERFEED. The Hakari fish pellets that I feed to our lab fish are ideal, because 1) they do not sink, 2) it is easy to control the amount of food fed, and 3) you don’t need to directly touch the food to dispense. Betta fish like to make really cute movements and beg for food. It’s definitely hard to resist the temptation to feed!

    They are just like us! When they are stressed, their immune system decreases and they are more susceptible to diseases, such as parasite and bacteria infection. Temperature fluctuation, bad water quality and glass-tapping will stress them out! Also, DO NOT PLACE YOUR TANK IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT. It can kill the fish in hours.


    Suggested to-buy list:

    1. The Mini-Bow 2.5 Little Lagoon Starter Kits, $38.24
    a) It’s pricier than other similar looking one because it comes with a Tetra Whisper Internal Filter. It’s actually an excellent Betta fish filter, since it dose not create too much water current. The filter has one obvious down side…it takes up space inside the tank. However, fish likes to swim around the back of the filter, so it is compensated. There is also another downside, but it’s so negligible. Ask me if you really want to know!
    b) The tank has a 2.5 gallon capacity, which in my opinion, is the minimum space requirement for a Betta fish to live happily.
    c) In the kit, you also get a trial size package of Tetra AquaSafe water conditioner (15ml). It’s a reputable product and should last you for a while, since you will only be using 1ml for every 2 gallon of water. I store the package in a blue conical tube from lab for easy retrieval. It’s very important to treat your water before adding it to your fish tank, since our tap water contains additives such as chlorine and chloramines, which are very toxic to fish.
    d) Light hood. Believe it or not, but Betta fish can jump very high and far! (Don’t ask me how I know this. I learned it the hardest way possible). Very important! Betta fish needs about 6-8 hours of light a day. Prolonged exposure to light can also stress them out. However, sufficient light is important for them to maintain health and also important for beneficial bacteria.

    2. Heater: Marineland Stealth 25 Visi-Therm Submersible Aquarium Heater 25 Watts, $22.99: Great heater!! You can easily set the temperature and the temperature will never fluctuate! I wasn’t going to get one for our lab fish because temperature in our lab office seems to be fairly constant, but I couldn’t resist making him happier. I have four of those heaters now, one for each of my tanks, and I could not be happier with them. It’s a great investment! The optimal temperature for Betta fish would be 78˚F. After all, they are tropical!

    3. Thermometer: ATI Aquarium Thermometer 4" Length – Horizontal, $2.99: This sticker thermometer is truly unbreakable and easy to read! Most other ones I’ve used broke very easily when I try to remove to relocate.

    4. Fish net, 3”, $1.49

    5. Substrate, ~$5: A 5lb bag of substrate is more than enough for your tank. Do not use large pieces of rock and marble, because I’ve heard of stories about Betta fish’s fin getting stuck and ripped trying to swim away. It can cause serious infection!

    6. Decoration, ~$15: It’s better to use silk plant decorations over plastic ones, since silk plant is less likely to harm your fish’s beautiful fin. Also make sure that you have at least one plant that’s tall enough to reach water surface. Your fish can rest/sleep on those without exerting too much effort to swim to top to breath. Do not pick any wood or rock or ornaments that feel rough on your skin.


    Set-up
    1. Rinse the gravel (substrate), décor, tank, and heater in warm water. Also rinse the filter media in warm water before inserting to the filter.
    2. Follow the instruction that came with the starter kit to set up the tank. Water level should be slightly lower than the opening of the filter.
    3. IMPORTANT: Keep the heater in the water unplugged for at least 30 minutes before plugging in, in order to let it adjust itself.
    4. Let the tank run for half a day before adding your fish. Check if the temperature rises to the desired level and stays there.

    Pick your fish
    1. There are various types of Betta fish. Look them up the internet for pictures if you like!a) Veiltail Betta: the most common type of Betta fish. Every fish store carries them.b) Crowntail Betta. La Cumbre Petco has a fairly large selection of them.c) Halfmoon Betta. Milpas Petco has a fairly large selection of them.d) King Betta. Milpas Petco has a fairly large selection of them.e) Assorted female Betta. They do not have long fins like their male counterparts. However, still full of personality!
    2. Get the fish to flare. Look at the fins and make sure that there is no obvious holes/ragged ends. Veiltail Betta’s fin should be smooth, consistent edge when flaring. Darken/whiten ends are possible indicatives of fin rot.
    3. If the water the fish is in is colored, it most likely means that the fish is being treated for something. Try to avoid them.
    4. Swollen tummy and bulging eyes are not good!
    5. The size of the fish generally indicates the age of the fish. I would not go for an older one.
    6. After you buy the fish, ask the people there to pack your fish in double bag instead of taking it home in a plastic container. It’s easier for adding the fish to the tank later.

    Put your fish in your tank
    1. It’s best done at night. Keep the light off to reduce stress.
    2. Discard the outer bag. Let the inner bag (containing the fish, of course) float on top of the water for at least 10 minutes.
    3. Add a little water from the tank to the bag, and wait for another 10 minutes.
    4. Add a little more water from the tank to the bag, and wait for another 10 minutes. (it’s kind of like staining tissue!)
    5. Gently net the fish out of the bag and release it into the tank. (I wouldn’t pour the water in the bag into your new tank. It’s to prevent contamination.)

    PS:
    1. It’s natural if your Betta fish to refuse to eat for a day or so. Net out the food if it’s not consumed within a couple of minutes.
    2. It’s also natural if your Betta flares to his reflection. If he is flaring excessively, you should try adding a light color background to your tank.
    3. All of the equipments I’ve mentioned above plus the cost of fish should not cost you over $100.
    Last edited by William; 05-31-2009 at 01:19 AM.


  2. #3

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Yes. Great work. Give yourself an A+.
    When in doubt, do a water change.

    "This ain't rocket science!"

  3. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Very nice!

    A few questions and comments. Keep in mind I don't even have a betta yet, so my comments may be more applicable to other fish...

    - you may want to emphasize that the beneficial bacteria are more in the filter than the substrate. However, given the low flow filters for bettas, I'm not sure if this is true!

    - is the term "de-nitrify" correct? Isn't it more like oxidize? NH3 -> NO2- -> NO3-

    - do bettas need the aquarium light on? I asked here, for other fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=43307 - the answer was no. The reason I ask is that some aquarium lights can really heat up the water.

    Great post, I hope it gets stickied! I'll keep it handy when I finally get a betta!

  4. #5

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Well done!
    Ray Your Freindly Neighborhood,Fully Mod-ified, Self-appointed Pic Hound!! Need pics!!!
    Have you filled out your profile yet ?????????????
    The Fabulous AC ebook Please read>http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/ebook.html

  5. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Oh I am so sad. I just typed out a long long long response and I accidentally closed my browser...

  6. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Drive North, First igloo on right
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    Awards Showcase

    Thanks and your first gift!! - The Red Severum Eggs woo hoo!!! - Gayle My new buddy.  LOL - Lady Hobbs because you're always there to help! - gourami*girl A beer for my fellow canuck! - NickFish 
    For being a pic hound!!! - Alfcea thankyou for all your help - sueshewoman A round of gifts for my friends at ac! - Wild Turkey to a very good buddy,happy thanksgiving - angelcakes Congrats on MOTM - Lady Hobbs 
    For being on the ball and having the forum at heart. - Brookfish Thanks for the gift! Now heres one for you ! - CephalopodLover congrats on MOTM - angelcakes same to you - mrs fishpatrick thanks for the help - LORENZO 
    merry christmas - cocoa_pleco sorry for your loss - lovleeko Seasons Greetings! - Brookfish Joyeux Noel!  :) - KrytterKrys Happy Christmas 2008 - fins_n_fur 
    Arthritis - Child Abuse - Colon Cancer - Colorectal Cancer - Dystonia - Education - Free Speech - Interstitial Cystitis - ME/CFIDS - Reye's Syndrome - Save the Music - Teens Against Smoking - Victim's Rights - Water Quality - Northernguy 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    If there was something you wanted to add,contact William and he may let you edit it.
    Ray Your Freindly Neighborhood,Fully Mod-ified, Self-appointed Pic Hound!! Need pics!!!
    Have you filled out your profile yet ?????????????
    The Fabulous AC ebook Please read>http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/ebook.html

  7. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraoch
    Very nice!

    A few questions and comments. Keep in mind I don't even have a betta yet, so my comments may be more applicable to other fish...

    - you may want to emphasize that the beneficial bacteria are more in the filter than the substrate. However, given the low flow filters for bettas, I'm not sure if this is true!

    - is the term "de-nitrify" correct? Isn't it more like oxidize? NH3 -> NO2- -> NO3-

    - do bettas need the aquarium light on? I asked here, for other fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=43307 - the answer was no. The reason I ask is that some aquarium lights can really heat up the water.

    Great post, I hope it gets stickied! I'll keep it handy when I finally get a betta!


    Thanks guys!

    I did not emphasize much on the nitrogen cycle in general, because I did not want it to be overwhelming! Also, it is tricky with the Whisper Internal Filter, because it comes in only one 3-in-1 filter media bag. Which means every time the filter media is replaced, the bacteria colony is removed from the filter. I believe that with the bacteria present in the gravel and betta fish's generally small bio-load, maintaining water condition is more forgiving. However, I do keep an closer eye on my water parameter after changing the media, and I definitely do not want to do too many things that disturb the bacteria colony at once! I hate to abuse Betta fish's "hardy" nature...

    You are right. It is supposed to be "nitrify". It's a typo that I overlooked multiple times when I proof-read myself. Thanks for pointing it out! Oxidation is also correct. Here is a Wikipedia definition of nitrification. Nitrification is the biological oxidation of ammonia with oxygen into nitrite followed by the oxidation of these nitrites into nitrates.

    It's only natural to me that Betta fish should have lighting in their tanks. It's important to develop a Circadian rhythm for any animal, and providing your fish would a fix amount of light everyday can help just that. I think lighting makes the aquarium closer to the fish's natural habitat. Also, I remember that beneficial bacteria likes the lighting as well? I never really have to worry about temperature, since, as I've mentioned, the Marineland heater does a good job at keeping the temperature constant. I've never seen my temperature fluctuate, light on or not. Do you live in a very hot area?
    Last edited by angc84; 05-30-2009 at 09:06 PM.

  8. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Heh. Is there something I should add? NG is the wise man!

  9. #10

    Join Date
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    Awards Showcase

    Thanks and your first gift!! - The Red Severum Eggs woo hoo!!! - Gayle My new buddy.  LOL - Lady Hobbs because you're always there to help! - gourami*girl A beer for my fellow canuck! - NickFish 
    For being a pic hound!!! - Alfcea thankyou for all your help - sueshewoman A round of gifts for my friends at ac! - Wild Turkey to a very good buddy,happy thanksgiving - angelcakes Congrats on MOTM - Lady Hobbs 
    For being on the ball and having the forum at heart. - Brookfish Thanks for the gift! Now heres one for you ! - CephalopodLover congrats on MOTM - angelcakes same to you - mrs fishpatrick thanks for the help - LORENZO 
    merry christmas - cocoa_pleco sorry for your loss - lovleeko Seasons Greetings! - Brookfish Joyeux Noel!  :) - KrytterKrys Happy Christmas 2008 - fins_n_fur 
    Arthritis - Child Abuse - Colon Cancer - Colorectal Cancer - Dystonia - Education - Free Speech - Interstitial Cystitis - ME/CFIDS - Reye's Syndrome - Save the Music - Teens Against Smoking - Victim's Rights - Water Quality - Northernguy 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    More of a wise a.... .but I like the way its done.Your the author.I think its great.
    Ray Your Freindly Neighborhood,Fully Mod-ified, Self-appointed Pic Hound!! Need pics!!!
    Have you filled out your profile yet ?????????????
    The Fabulous AC ebook Please read>http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/ebook.html

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