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betta bowl problem...

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Post Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:07 pm
queenbee User avatar
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Location: white bear lake,minnesota

i have 2 betta's in seperate bowls i do weekly water changes.now before i was taking the betta's out of their bowl's i would then take a sponge a wipe out their bowl fill it up with tap water and add stress coat and 3 grains of a.salt.now lately i have been doing everything the same except the water,i have been using water out of my 55g tank(which has been running for almost 2 yrs).okay so on the 55 the water test perfect,see my one betta was acting not so healthy so i tested the water in the bowl and there are nitrites.what can i do?am i doing everything ok?thanks in advance

Post Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:24 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
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Change betta bowl water more frequently.

Purchase a nitrogen sponge like poly filter.
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Post Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:38 pm
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Bettas in smaller bowls, or Beanie Baby display cases like mine, need frequent water changes. Under a gallon, and water changes should be done every 2-3 days. Your old way of doing it was probably better. Always fresh clean de-chloranized water, at the same temp. I will usually fill up 3 milk jugs of water, and add de-chlor the day before. Water changes in my 5 little tanks use a tad over 2 1/2 gallons. By leaving the water overnight, it will be the same temp as the water they were in, thus less stress.
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Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:23 am
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Location: white bear lake,minnesota

thanks for the advice peeps.well i now know what to do.more water changes will help with the nitrites?i guese i don't know much about the cycle but i thought nitrites are because there is no benefical bacteria in the water?

Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:46 am
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You don't need to worry about cycling small betta tanks under 1 gallon. Just do 100% water changes every 2-3 days so the amonia and nitrites don't build up.
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Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:48 am
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yeah, it's very difficult to establish a nitrogen cycle in a bowl, the things are always spiking. It's easier and safer just to change out all the water frequently.
Small volumes of water are more prone to rapid shifts, whether it be temp, ph or even a minor increase in waste, which can cause a spike.

Post Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:27 am
paisleydals Level 9 Member
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You've been given good advice here. Best to use your water fresh or aged just for the Bettas, although I met a guy at the last auction who says he does just as you did and it works just fine for him. I keep 30 - 40 Bettas in 1/2 gallon jars (down from a max of 80 - too much work) and change the water twice a week. I've tried smaller containers - Beanie Baby boxes are popular - but they really need to be changed every two to three days for optimum health. Pet shop Bettas are easier to maintain, so if yours are VTs (veiltails) you can probably get by on twice a week if the fish are in at least 1/3 of a gallon.

Testing water in Betta boxes will drive you crazy. Bettas seem to manage reasonable amounts of ammonia as well as pH swings, although using Amquel+ lessens the risk with ammonia/nitrite. IF you let the containers go way too long though, do not do a complete water change as the shock may be too much. Change half the water one day, then do a complete change a day or two later.

If you feed live food, the water quality holds up a bit longer. Also, most Bettas live only a maximum of two years - although some have lived as long as seven years (when kept in larger tanks).

Also, you can keep Bettas together in larger tanks. My 20T grow out tank always has a dozen or more fullsize Bettas. It's a cycled tank with a sponge filter, and wood, and a number of young plecos. The fish will have some fin nips, but actually manage very well and it's one heck of a lot easier. Many Bettas breeders jar their males and keep the females together.


Sue
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:58 am
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My set up is like what Sue said since I got all the information from her :-) Mine are in the living room during the summer w/o heat. In the winter, some will sit on top of the 55 gallon light which help keep them warm. The only difference on mine is that I put a small amount of java moss in each of the 1/2 gallon jar which will help the water stay fresh longer but a water change twice a week is good. Some I put in a small piece of almond leaf and that I change 50% the first 3 days and a full water change 4 days after. So far, I think the java moss does help a bit.

Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:47 am
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I've tried Java Moss in the Beanie Baby containers too. Result: torqued off Bettas because they have even less room to swim around. And I didn't see any noticable different in the water quality either. I like the idea of putting Betta tanks on top of lights to keep them warm. I usually keep the house between 76-78 all year round. Has anyone ever tried some kind of heating pad set on low under some styrofoam, or any other methods to keep them warm? I would imagine a bunch of Betta tanks in a larger flat tank filled with water and a small heater would also work.
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:07 am
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I know this is a stupid question... are bettas happy in such small bowls?
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:17 am
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umnchuck wrote:
I know this is a stupid question... are bettas happy in such small bowls?


Would you be? The simple answer is probably not. However, Bettas are non-social, not meaning they're mean, they just perfer to be alone. Males do at least. Females are typically housed together in a single larger tank to save space. But since male bettas (and some females) will kill each other, they must be separated. Hence their common name: Siamese Fighting Fish. It's a common practice to have them in small containers since they are fairly docile when alonel. Now, what's the best size tank for a male betta to be happy? I would venture to guess a 2 gallon tank. Enough swimming room, and a few things in the tank to look at. Tanks can be smaller, but it's better to at least provide them with a little swimming room, perhaps the size of a shoe box or medium sized Kritter Keeper. Most bettas are fine in Beanie Baby containers and glass jars, but may be happier in slightly bigger quarters.
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:33 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
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In Nature, Bettas may live in a small mud hole about 3-4" in diameter and not much deeper. When it rains or floods, Bettas will live in a larger water body.

A small bowl is not unlike a mud hole in size. The glass would not offer the security of mud walls and likely stresses a Betta.

There is no factual based evidence that fish have emotions. Most aquarists believe if fish is eating, swimming with fins extending, attempting to bred, the fish is happy.

BTW, would anyone like to see a MAS presentation on fighting Bettas? How to raise, train and pair them for fighting?
Gene Lucas, a betta geneticist gave MAS a talk a few years back. He mentioned that while in Asia. He was shown a pair fighting. Gene was lead to believe that when one Betta gives up the fight, the match is over. Bettas are not fought to death.
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:26 am
paisleydals Level 9 Member
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pbdragon wrote:
I've tried Java Moss in the Beanie Baby containers too. Result: torqued off Bettas because they have even less room to swim around. And I didn't see any noticable different in the water quality either. I like the idea of putting Betta tanks on top of lights to keep them warm. I usually keep the house between 76-78 all year round. Has anyone ever tried some kind of heating pad set on low under some styrofoam, or any other methods to keep them warm? I would imagine a bunch of Betta tanks in a larger flat tank filled with water and a small heater would also work.


I used to have a plant in each tank, but agree that it affects swimming room and the jars took longer to clean.

When I first got my Bettas, I had a terrible time with temperature because I kept them in an upstairs bedroom which was chilly in the winter. A couple of things that work -

:idea: Keep their jars in large flat sweater boxes with a heater
:idea: Keep their jars in aquariums with heater - I built racks to fit in 20L tanks.
:idea: Keep them in large soda bottles with holes in them, hanging in heated tanks or buckets.
:idea: Use the heated seedling mats - they heat about 10 degrees above the ambient room temperature.
:idea: Use the heated mats intended for keeping reptile tanks warm
:idea: Use a water bed heater the same way

And in fact, have I got a deal for you! If anyone wants to buy my seedling mats, I would be glad to sell them.

Sue
Last edited by paisleydals on Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:44 am
paisleydals Level 9 Member
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umnchuck wrote:
I know this is a stupid question... are bettas happy in such small bowls?


Doug can relate stories of the Bettas in Viet Nam who lived in rice paddies and other areas of shallow water. I doubt if they come from "puddles" but they do come from areas of shallow water that are probably reduced in size when it is dry. Because they come from shallow water which is often quite stagnant, being able to go to the surface and breathe AIR allows them to survive under such conditions.

Because of this trait, and because you can't keep males together without some damage, we tend to keep them in smaller containers - Betta bowls, plant vases, and quart jars. Millions of Bettas have lived their lives in quart jars with weekly water changes, although modern show fish require much better conditions.

Mine do well in 1/2 gallon jars, but when I was new to Bettas I had 1 - 2 gallon tanks for everyone. The secret is really water changes, not size of containers. The fish I keep at work in 1 gallon tanks with weekly water changes live at least two years.

One interesting study had Bettas kept in individual 5 gallon tanks and "exercised" every day by students prodding them into swimming by using a small stick - basically made them exercise. :wink: Those fish lived about 7 years as opposed to the fish kept in smaller containers who generally live about two years.

Who knows if they are happy or not in their small containers. Jarred fish released into larger tanks often just "sit there" as if they have forgotten how to swim or explore.

It's been interesting to see that in my 20T tank I can keep multiple males and lots of girls. The males get some nips, as do some of the females, but they do not kill or seriously injure one another. I've got chunks of bogwood where they can hide if necessary, and they are very fun to watch as they follow the plecs, try to play with snails, play chase games and live more normal lives. The females kept this way are ALWAYS full of eggs, and the males try to build bubble nests which don't last because of all the activity. They don't manage to raise fry in the tanks though, because when they spawn the eggs often drop and have to be retrieved from the bottom - we use shallow water in spawning tanks - but in the deep tank by the time the parents get down to the bottom, the plecs have eaten the eggs.


Sue
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Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:11 am
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Bob, I would not like to attend a talk on fighting bettas. I am deeply opposed to fighting animals of any kind.
Since I love you I've decided not to picket your house for thinking about it. :wink:

I think we all know that fish don't have mammallian emotions but it's easier to refer to what they do have in terms like, "angry,happy,sad" and such.

I think that's very, very interesting that you're keeping them together Sue, gives me the urge to try it. :)

I think Betta's are happier in larger spaces with things to do and look at. I think they like company of sorts also. One of my bettas had a 12 gallon tank and a few small fish companions for about a year. He was happy and active. Then one day I noticed he had grown "depressed". He stayed in his hidey place and only came out when I came to the tank and interacted with him. I tried everything, changing his decor and such to perk him up.
Finally I divided the tank and got another betta for the other side.

That was the trick, he's been a busy, active betta ever since! He's a Petco betta by the way and I've had him for 2years and 4 months.

I have a betta from Sue that I got at the show. I'm not sure how old he is or how long he had been jarred but when I got him he went into a 2.5g with a little filter. At first he was pretty put off with the whole situation. Like he just didn't know what to do with himself. He also swam a bit weakly when it came to dealing with the current.
He eventully got used to it though and just recently moved into a 10g with a few other small fish and apple snails. He appears to be perfectly delighted and handles the current quite well now. The only problem I had was the background. I had a glossy deep blue background on the tank when he went in and he could see his reflection, he spent the first two days trying to kick his own butt. :) He was so intent about it I couldn't even distract him. I finally took the background off for fear he was going to exhaust himself. Besides...I wanted him to pay attention to me! :D
Now I mirror him every day so he gets to flare and show off but it's in moderation,lol!

I don't think they are necessarily unhappy in small containers. If they don't know the difference what's to be unhappy about? As long as they can move a little and are well cared for it's okay. It's necessary if you're breeding and keeping a whole lot of them. Sue had mentioned to me though that she makes sure they each have a companion they can see next to them to keep them entertained.

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