Food and cycling a tank for betta

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19Steve61

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Aug 19, 2017
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Stephen
Hello Everyone,

My dear platy Hendrix died on Sunday. The poor little guy. I had him for over 2 years, so for a platy he lived a long life.

I bought a pretty betta I named St. Vincent. I haven't had a one in a bit. What is the best food for a betta? I was sold very small pellets called Fluval Bug Bites..Insect Larvae & Salmon Fish Food... for her. Has anyone used them? Also, I have frozen blood worms in my freezer. Is it safe to give them to a betta once in awhile?

How long should I cycle my 5 gallon tank? In the past I have only done it for 24 hours, but I was recently told I should let it run for a few days to be safe. I have the strips for testing the water.

Thanks so much everyone!

Stephen
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Well, no tank can be "cycled" in in such a very short time. You need to be doing large daily water changes & testing. It can take 4-8 weeks to truly cycle a tank. I'm sorry you were misinformed.

Do you have live plants? They can help, but only a little bit.

What size is you tank? 2 years is not a very long lifespan for even the overbred platy...
 

19Steve61

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Stephen
Thanks so much for your information. I had no idea it could take this long. I don't have live plants in the tank.

The tank the platy was in was a 5 gallon one. I noticed in the last 2 months of his life he wasn't that active. He slept quite a bit, and only looked for food late in the evening. I changed and tested his water as much as ever.
 

19Steve61

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I always use the test strips. One strip tested nitrate, nitrite, hardness, chlorine, alkalinity and pH. The other tested ammonia. The readings typically required no action.

The betta will eventually be in a new tank I just purchased (5 g).
 

fishorama

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What exactly is "requires no action" in terms of ppm for all parameters? Any ammonia or nitrite is harmful to fish in the short or long term...

Many here hate test strips, they're not as accurate as liquid tests like API Master test kit. I don't hate them, but they're just a "ball park" estimate of your tank's water.

Again, I question your cycling method & testing...How often did you change water? How much each time? How do you dechlorinate new water?

Really, I'm trying to help you & your fish. But for some things there aren't short cuts even for just 1 betta or platy.
 
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19Steve61

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Stephen
You are a big help! Thank you! I don't mind questions. I may be 58, but I am fairly new to the world of fishkeeping. I was always a cat man. Not anymore...

The safe water parameters measured in ppm that I was given are as follows:

Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Chlorine 0
pH 6.5 - 8.2
Hardness 100 - 250
Alkalinity 120 - 250

I change the water every 7 - 10 days, using a gravel vacuum. 15 % each time, adding Prime. I wipe down the sides of the tank, and remove the ornaments and filter and run them under water I change my filter cartridge every month.
 

fishorama

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So the 5g doesn't have a fish in it yet? Without adding anything to feed the beneficial bacteria, it won't grow by just running the filter & changing water.

You can "fishless" cycle the tank using clear ammonia if your fish isn't in there. There is a sticky at the top of the AC newbie forum that explains how. I think it's called "before you get fish".

Is the filter on the betta's tank/bowl? You don't really want or need to change the filter media unless it's falling apart. The correct (& cheap!) way is to rinse it (squeeze/swish) in used tank water or dechlorinated water. (ok, some of us oldtimers with very well established tanks & plants use tap water but newbies should not.) I know you want to keep everything clean but the beneficial bacteria lives on all tank surfaces (glass, décor) not just in the filter. If your getting algae try reducing the time your lights are on to 4-6 hours. A betta without live plants doesn't really need lights unless your room is so dark she can't see the food. You can just turn it on, say, in the evening when you're home. Try just wiping the front glass so you can see her. Water changes are good, but save super cleaning for an occasional chore or only do a little each time. Less work & better tank health!

Have you given any thought to a live plant or 2? Some bettas like to lounge on the leaves or pick at "micro goodies" that can be on the surfaces. They can help a bit with water quality & just look better than fake (I belong to a plant club, lol). 2 easy types are java fern & anubias, no fertilizers or much light is needed. They grow slowly. Both come in several varieties & are not planted, but attached to wood, rocks or other décor with sewing thread or gel super glue. Just a thought...

As for foods, I've heard bug bites are good but haven't tried them yet. I like to offer a variety of foods but it's hard to justify too many for just 1 fish. In general bettas do better with higher protein foods (read the label), but maybe a small jar of flake or small slow sinking pellets would be good too. Some bettas tend to over eat, be careful not to feed every time you get a happy dance greeting. You don't want a fussy feeder or obese fish. It's ok to skip a day or 2 sometimes too, like if you go away for a weekend.

Be careful believing all that shops tell you. We here at AC can help you without any profit motives, although we sometimes disagree on the "best" ways. Just ask!
 
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19Steve61

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Stephen
Wow Fishorama, thank you so much for writing to me for the past few days! I think I have learned more about the hobby from you than I have from others in the previous 6 years! I really appreciate the time you have spent answering my posts. Again, thanks so much! I may have a couple questions that I will include at the end of this post.

No, the betta isn't in the tank as yet. I checked the parameters today (with the strips), and ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and chlorine are all 0. Hardness 100. Alkalinity 120. pH 6.8. I forgot to mention earlier that I also added 5 ml of bacteria supplement to the tank when I started the cycling.

The filter is on the tank. I had no idea I should rinse the filter cartridge in the used tank water, and can reuse it until it falls apart. I always rinsed the filter under the tap after each change, and replaced it monthly. I never thought twice about it, I just assumed I was doing the right thing. I was never told how to properly rinse it, but was told to replace it monthly. Thanks for mentioning this to me. It will make for a healthier filter, as well as save me money.

I have not had any trouble at all with algae on the 5 gallon tanks I've had. The only time I had algae trouble was when I had a 10 gallon tank a little while back. It was horrible. I would clean the tank, and the algae would be back in an hour. The 10 gallon was really too large for my apartment anyway, so I was pleased when a friend took it off my hands. I typically turn the tank lights on in the morning, and turn them off in the evening. As much as I enjoy my apt., it is very dark. I won't worry about cleaning the whole tank each time I change the water. Just the front glass.

Thanks for mentioning the live plants. I'll think about it. I agree, they do look nicer than artificial ones. I've only used live plants once, 2 years ago. They didn't last long, unfortunately. but I know it was my fault. As well as not getting any sunlight, I was away for a bit and forgot to turn the lights on for them. Anyway, I just cleaned them up and put in artificial ones.

The betta is certainly enjoying her bug bites. The first 2 fish I had were also bettas. They ate larger pellets, which Petsmart don't seem to carry any longer. One betta also loved frozen blood worms which I gave her as a treat. I do have flakes here too that she may enjoy. I'll make sure she has a high protein diet.

How often should I remove and clean the ornaments in her tank? Just when I scrub the side and back glass? Should I rinse the ornaments and fake plants in used tank water?

Re. filters. When it is time to change it, should I run the new one under regular tap water to remove dust, etc? Then perhaps rinse it in used tank water? I know now (thanks to you) that I won't have to change the filter that often.

Thanks again!
 

FreshyFresh

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I'm probably missing something here, but why not put the new beta in the already established 5gal that the platy was in? I'd just do a big water change on it and add the new fish.
 
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