Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Betta Systems: Maintenance 

Related Articles: Betta Systems, Improved (Better?) Products for Bettas! Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishBetta Diseases, Improved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,

Related FAQs:  Betta Systems 1, Betta Systems 2, Betta Systems 3, Betta Systems 4, Betta Systems 5, Betta Systems 6, & Betta System: Bowls/Tanks, Heating, Lighting, Filtration, & Water Quality, (See also: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), & Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Feedings, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

Regular (daily possibly if in a small bowl, weekly otherwise) water changes are absolutely necessary. Along with careful feeding of nutritious foods

Betta Tank has a White Film – 05/13/12
I have 3 male Betta (all in separate tanks) General-a dragonscale, Admiral- veiltail and Halo a halfmoon. I have had Admiral for over a year happy as a clam in his tank. However, General has developed something in his tank and it's spread to my 3rd tank(Halo) due to accidental cross contamination :( I have since been a lot more careful in avoiding that. All three of them get their tanks cleaned once a week and I had the water tested when this problem first occurred and the guys (from a tropical fish store) said the water was fine and that the issue was “rotting uneaten food.” However I very much doubt this because I feed only what they will eat – interactive eat this bite and then you can have another – I feed them 3 Betta bites and sometimes blood worms. The dragonscale tank developed a white translucent film over the entire surface of his tank. I can make it go away by carefully pulling all or rather most of it off the top. I've scrubbed his tank and rocks thoroughly many times using extremely hot water. Originally his rocks were also developing a film the first few weeks and I thought that was what was causing it but after a while they are no longer slippery now and the film still develops after each cleaning. All three of them are in glass tanks and only when I got the dragonscale did this start occurring. Never had this problem before, it's not in my 15 gal tanks and wasn't in my *original * Betta tank. It shouldn't be something in the water because I use the same tap water for all my tanks and both my 15 gal and Admiral are completely free of contamination. I've noticed that the film if I'm not paying attention will cover the entire tank and this morning it was actually trapping air bubbles below its surface I took pictures of all 3 tanks and then cleaned it up best I could. What do you guys think this is? And what should I do about it? I've included pictures of both tanks that are affected- the picture that looks mostly clear is after you start cleaning up the gunk it sticks together, it was easiest to show in the badly affected tank. Their tanks do sit at room temperature without heaters or filters and are each a little bigger than half a gallon. However, other than the fact that it's there it doesn't seem to be bothering the fish himself, he's just as active and isn't in stress colors.
Excuse the mess at the bottom of the
tanks I need to clean them today.
Thanks so much for your time!
<Hello Brittanie. The while film is a combination of organic wastes, bacteria, and stuff that's in the water or fallen out of the air. Normally the agitation of the surface layer of water stops this forming, but if you have a tank with too little water movement, then you'll see this slime form. You can see the exact same thing on stagnant ponds. As a short-term, you can remove by draping kitchen paper on the water and pulling it away, but you really do need to find out what your aquarium is so dirty (and it is, and that's why this film is forming). Too much food (or at least too much oily or protein-rich food) will be part of the problem, and insufficient filtration, water movement, and water changes will be the other part of the problem. Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.> 

Moving My Fish 06/18/11
Dear Crew,
I am moving away from my home next weekend and I plan on taking my Betta with me. All my other aquariums I plan to sell. So any ways, my question is: How should I transport my fish? I am only moving three hours away from my original home and am getting there by car. I am not sure if I should clean the tank and take him in a smaller container (then I'd have to cycle the tank again) or take the tank all together with it inside. What is your idea?
<Drain the tank, just leaving enough water to keep the substrate/gravel moist, put the Betta in a plastic bag with air trapped at the top (for respiration) and place this bag in a thermally insulated container. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Dante G.
Re: Moving My Fish, Betta and sys.     6/18/11

Now should I put the aquarium in a thermally insulated container as well?
(I'm guessing this is the case)
<Mmm, no... just some place, with something soft around it to prevent breakage. B>

Betta System Questions: Water Quality and Maintenance 6/30/2009
<Hi Lisa.>
I have to keep changing the water in my Betta fish tank about every 4 or 5 days.
<Not uncommon with a Betta system, particularly the typical Betta tanks that are really too small for them.>
It gets a scum or film on the top of the water starting the first day after I change it.
<Hmm... what else is in the tank? (Gravel, etc) and what and how often are you feeding?>
This just recently started and am not sure what to do.
<Do keep up with the regular water changes. You can also read here as well as the linked files on the top of the page.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/betta_splendens.htm >
Any suggestions?
<My pleasure.>

Male Betta, in a bowl... no filter, no heater... no referral    7/14/07 <<Hi, Stephanie. Tom with you.>> I have a male Betta about 7 months old or so. I have him in a gallon bowl with clear plastic rocks at the bottom and feed him twice a day. I changed the water three days ago and this afternoon his water was so cloudy I could hardly see him. When I changed the water, it smelled strongly of sulfur. I do not have well water and have never had this problem before. Is he sick or was it just a weird Friday the 13th thing? <<The bowl has a bacterial bloom going on, Stephanie. For a one-gallon bowl, the water should be changed every other day, at least, particularly if youre feeding twice a day. (What goes in must come out.) The bacteria that were lurking/munching in the rocks were stirred up by the water change and are now giving the water its cloudy, foul-smelling appearance. (Stable, balanced aquarium water shouldnt have much, if any, odor to it at all.) Keep changing the water at least once, or twice, a day until things clear up and consider larger, filtered, heated quarters for your pet. Since youve taken the time to write, I assume you want whats best for your pet and a one-gallon bowl is far from whats best for him. A five-gallon tank with a dark (not light) substrate would seem like Heaven for your Betta and would allow for filtration (badly needed) and a small heater (also badly needed).>> Thanks Stephanie M. <<Happy to help, Stephanie. Best regards. Tom>>

Feeling helpless about my Betta  - 06/11/06 Hi there, <Hi Katherine, this is Jorie.> I am at my wits end about my Betta, Napoleon. I spend a lot of time browsing WWM in my free time and I've tried very hard to make Napoleon's environment as close to ideal as possible. And yet he keeps getting fin rot. He had it about a month ago, but then I started medicating him with Furan-2 at the suggestion of a WWM crew member. It seemed completely cleared up by a week or so ago, so I stopped medicating him and it started to look like his fins were growing back with very thin pieces in between the old splits. However, yesterday I noticed that these thin growth was shredding and splitting like his fins did earlier. He clearly has fin rot again, but I was wondering why he keeps getting it. I noted on WWM that it said that these illnesses rarely just "pop up" without environmental factors, but I can't figure out what these factors are in my case. I keep Napoleon in a cycled, Eclipse System 3 tank with Ammonia and Nitrite at 0, Nitrate below 20, and PH of 7.4. It is heated to just above 80 degrees. He has a few fake silk plants in his tank, in which I change 1/2 of the water about once a month now that it is cycled. I feed him 6 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets daily and the occasional pea, he won't eat frozen bloodworms despite my best efforts to convince him. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to take excellent care of my Betta, and he's sick anyway. Is there anything I can change to make him healthier? <Katherine, I keep two Bettas in identical setups (i.e., 3 gal. Eclipse tanks) and the only difference between our two systems is that I do 50% water changes 1x per week, instead of your 1x per month.  I'd suggest upping the amount of H20 changes you do and see if that improves the situation.  I'll be willing to bet your nitrate level will drop further and the situation will resolve itself.  Also, when was the last time you changed the carbon filter in that tank? I change mine about once every 4-6 weeks.  Everything else you describe sounds good...I think more water changes is your best bet here.  Good luck!> Thank you, Katherine <You're welcome. Jorie>

Vacuuming gravel, Sm., FW, Betta  10/03/06 How, exactly, does one go about vacuuming the gravel in a 2 gallon tank?  I have my tank all ready for a new Betta, with heater and filter and water conditioner, etc, but I am trying to picture in my head how the actual process of vacuuming such a small area goes.  I have never seen any tiny vacuums and besides, by the time the suction got going, wouldn't more than half the water be gone?  I vacuum my 10 gallon tank weekly, so am not new to the process itself, just the execution in such a small tank.  Help! <Hi Kathy - let me share with you how I do water changes in my 3 gal. Betta tanks w/ gravel bottoms: I use a siphon to remove about 1/2 the water each week, and I hold the suction end close to the gravel to carefully suck up any large particles.  I've found that if you don't overfeed the Betta (I feed mine 4 pellets each day), there really isn't much waste to necessitate actual gravel vacuuming in such a small tank with one fish.  Probably about once every 6-8 mos. I completely empty out the Betta tanks and replace the gravel, thoroughly clean the decorations, etc.  Hope this helps - enjoy your new Betta! Jorie>

Ten Gallon Cycling and Maintenance... A sterling endorsement for good Betta Care    1/25/06 Hi, I am back again with more questions, and I do appreciate all of your great, fast responses.  I did have a 3 gallon Eclipse tank w/BioWheel that was set up for almost 2 years housing 1 very large finned OHM male Betta.  He was constantly rooting around in the plant roots snagging his fins, so it seemed logical to me that more space was in order.  I set up a 10 gallon tank 6 days ago, the water was treated with Aqua Nova and 1/2 Tbsp. of salt (just in case I ran into nitrite problems) it ran without the fish for 2 days.  Four days ago, I placed the old BioWheel in a filter bag and hung it on the filter around the outflow, <Good move> I moved a large pile of the old gravel, five 3 inch rocks, and 8 plants (7 java plants, 1 java moss) from the old tank, <Even better> I added 1 new tall piece of driftwood attached to slate base and a thin layer of new gravel which is the small variety rather than the larger I had in my old tank.  I added a couple of teaspoons of BioSpira to the tank and 1/8 tsp to the filter media (Biomax, carbon, sponge) and my Betta (after 45 minutes of acclimation).  My Betta, believe it or not, in 4 days, has shown fin improvement...amazing. <Yay!>   Not to mention attitude improvement.  Let me just add that when people believe they can keep Bettas in small environments, yes, they probably can but the specimen must be hardy or the people are very lucky because even with 3 gallons of water I experienced total mayhem with bacteria, fungus, fighting potential Finrot from snags, etc. <Couldn't agree with you more!> and was constantly performing water changes to improve water quality for 1 fish.  I cannot imagine a Betta in a bowl or in anything less than 10 gallons now, based solely on how happy my Betta appears to be not to mention the actual physical improvement. <Ultra Yay!> I have tested the water 2 times per day, morning and evening.  I have seen no ammonia or nitrite spikes or readings (both remain at 0) but have watched the nitrate rise to 5.0 maybe 7.0 as the test is a bit on the orangey side now.  Nitrate seems to be the only thing rising in the tank. The PH is between 7.0 and 7.2 depending when I take the test (morning or evening) I have an Aquaclear HOB filter and Stealth heater set at a consistent 78 degrees.  My question here is, if I am building nitrates daily and I am getting zero ammonia and nitrite readings will I experience those spikes down the road? <Highly unlikely... given your care in establishing/moving cycling procedures, the dilution of the large/r volume...> I cannot believe that this tank is cycled although I did bring in the old media and added BioSpira (was doing both improper?). <No, both proper>   I am trying to determine when I should consider the tank cycled and when to begin a maintenance schedule (as in vacuuming the gravel and/or changing water). <I'd wait a few weeks more for these> How often should regular water changes be performed in a 10 gallon tank in order to maintain optimum water quality to avoid fin problems and maintain health? <Weekly... about 25% of water volume> I would also like to know when will it be "safe" to remove the old media that I brought in? <A few weeks...> Sorry for the long explanation and multiple questions but I am unclear/unsure if my method was proper and how I should monitor it from here.  Thank you again, I don't know what I would do without you guys!  Sue <Thank you for sharing. You have saved, extended and improved many Bettas lives. Bob Fenner>

Betta- SMELLS--AGAIN!   2/13/06 I know I and my 1 beta in a 2gal. tank are probably "small fish" to some of these guys and I really appreciate any help here.   Simple-- I have 1 beta in a 2 gal. bowl--  the water smells like a combo of urine and sulfur?!!!!  I have had this beta now MONTHS --no problems-ever--  I have changed the rocks out, the tank decoration thinking maybe it was the paint on the decoration (although of course says tank safe)  am now down to just a beta friendly safe plant and new rocks-  after water change- smell goes away for about 1 to 2 days and then back-- is this my FISH smelling like this??  Please help- its actually my 5 year olds fish-- 2nd beta- THANKS SOO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP AND TIME!!!  Your site is great!! T. Unrein <From living in wastes, stagnant, putrid water. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Smelly Betta Bowl   2/14/06 Wow- you guys are fast! I read your reply/link-  I'm sorry but I'm still stumped-  this fish lived in a 1 gal bowl for months without ever  a smell and weekly water changes-  then came the smell-- then... I moved him to a 2 gal. for more room plus to see if it would help the smell- and am still doing the weekly water changes-- but STILL ....this smell.... I am now thinking its the fish itself-- could there be some kind of beta disease in which HE actually is producing the smell??????   Could simply the temp itself if fluctuating too much cause this smell???  I'll go today to fish store to see about a thermometer at least? THANKS AGAIN!!! < Excess food and fish waste are being produced but the bacteria that normally break this waste down have either been killed off by medication or cleaned out by water changes. Feed you Betta once a day . Remove any uneaten food after two minutes with a siphon. Fish food quickly fouls a tank so it is important to get it out of there if the fish will not eat it. Add some poly filter. This looks like a little white sponge. Cut it up into little one inch cubes. Hide one cube in the bowl, like in an ornament. As it absorbs waste it will turn dark brown and then black. When it starts to get dark replace it with a new cube. This should help.-Chuck> Persistent High Nitrite Level FW  1/31/06 I have read other messages on your site and other articles on other sites about high nitrite levels, but I still don't quite get it. I have a 10 gallon tank with 10 fish: 2 balloon belly mollies 2 ghost catfish 5 orange von Rio tetras 1 algae eater There are many, many small snails that were acquired accidentally with an aquatic plant that died some time ago. . . The snails, however, live on and reproduce at a staggering rate. <Mmm, you might want to collect and remove a bunch of these periodically... easy to draw to a small glass tray with a sinking bit of algae based food or blanched vegetable... as bait> Until today, I had a philodendron sticking out the top of the tank with its roots submerged. I took it out thinking that this was perhaps contributing to the problem. <Oh! Yes> About a week ago one of my mollies (there were three) started to act strangely as if she couldn't submerge. She would still eat when given food, but couldn't swim down to eat off the bottom like she always had. She had also lost a lot of weight. Eventually, she became very lethargic and got to the point where she was upside down and couldn't turn over. I took her and another sample of tank water to the local pet store. They said it didn't look like she had any disease and offered no explanation as to her condition. I assumed it was just old age and I only include this description in case it is symptomatic of some other problem. Anyway, when the girl at the store tested the water (something I had never done--shame on me), she said that the pH level was low and that I should increase it with a pH increaser. I bought the pH increaser and a test kit that tests for NO3, NO2, GH, KH, and pH. When I got home, I did a 30% water change and added 1 tsp of salt, which is my normal routine. (I keep around 3 tsp of salt in the water at all times.) I did not add any pH increaser. I tested the water immediately afterward and it looked OK except the water was hard, so I added a teaspoon of salt. The next day, however, the levels were as follows: NO3 = 40 <I'd keep this under 20 ppm> NO2 = 1.0 <Dangerous... should be zip, nada, zilch> GH = 300 KH = 0 pH = 6.8 I added another teaspoon of salt and changed the filter which was very dirty (because I had made the water very silty the last time I changed it--explanation below). The next day, the nitrite level was at 3.0. <Yeeikes!> I did another 30% change and waited an hour before testing. The nitrite had gone down to 1.0. One day later, it was back up to 3.0. The next day, 3.0 again. The following day, 5.0. Today, it was still 5.0 so I did another 30% water change. One hour later, the levels are as follows: NO3 = 40 NO2 = 3.0 GH = 150 KH = 40 pH = 7.2 There is currently about 8 teaspoons of salt in the water. <Mmm, you might want to mix some of this salt up in tapwater and test it for nitrite...> The strange thing (to me) is that the fish seem to be happy and healthy. From everything I have read in the past few days, a 5.0 nitrite level should have them dropping like flies! <Let's see... luckily your pH is low... if it were a little higher, the nitrite would be MUCH more toxic> I have checked for brown coloring of the gills and see none. They are not gasping for air at the top of the tank either. I can only surmise from what I have read that the salt is keeping the nitrite from being as toxic as it otherwise could be. <Oh, yes... this also> I have noticed the mollies scraping themselves occasionally on a structure in the tank. I read today that this was one sign of nitrite poisoning. I have had this tank for 8 months now and only three fish have died in that time (except for the batch I introduced right at the beginning before the tank had cycled!). About a month ago, I did a very thorough cleaning of the tank. I really stirred up the waste on the bottom, trying to get as much out as possible. I took out all the structures and washed them with hot (not soapy) water. I changed the filter as well. I also started feeding them much more around that time. Basically, I unwittingly did everything I could to raise the nitrite level! My questions are this: 1. Why isn't the level decreasing? <I suspect the houseplant> 2. Why are the fish still alive and acting normal? <They're tough, adapted to it, and the salt> 3. I have read on some sites of a biological filter or a biofilter: Is this (a) just another name for the normal filter, <Mmm, of a sort... all filters are ultimately biological to degrees> (b) a different kind of filter that I should have, or (c) just a term that refers to the nitrogen cycle that occurs within the tank? <Mostly the latter> 4. Could the snails be causing problems? <Yes... carry disease... and can influence water quality in high numbers> 5. I have read that most of the bacteria live on the filter. Wouldn't changing the filter then lead to these levels getting all out of whack every time? <Yes... a common problem/occurrence. In established systems not such an issue> Thank you for any help you can provide. - Bryan <I would read over WWM re FW filtration, add more filtration, remove the houseplant, reduce the number of snails, test the salt... Bob Fenner> Re: Persistent High Nitrite Level... Betta systems and snail removal technique  2/3/06 Thank you. After removing the philodendron, the nitrite levels immediately dropped and are now < 0.5 ppm. Other levels are beginning to even out as well. <Ah, good> I thought you also might like to know that I have rigged up a plastic fork on some fishing line as a snail remover. I stick a piece of vegetable on the tines of the fork, and when a few snails crawl on, I hoist it up and scrape them off. It's not pretty, but it's been fairly effective! <Neat! Bob Fenner>

Betta Could Be Feelin Betta 01/11/2005 Hi!  I just got a Betta for Christmas that came in a vase with a peace lily plant.  I read on the internet that this is not necessarily a good arrangement and put the Betta in 1 gallon bowl instead.   <Though the peace lily arrangement can be done successfully, it takes a little more care than is usually discussed, and, hes probably much better off in the larger space.> Because he came with instructions to change the water only every 6 weeks or so, he was swimming in water that had several dead roots, a few fertilizer pellets, and a few pieces of dirt before I read online that I actually need to change the water every week.   <Sounds delicious.  Im glad youre stepping up your water change schedule!> I recently noticed he has a little fin rot and put him in a 1 gallon bowl with some aquarium salt and fungus eliminator.   <For just fin rot, I wouldnt necessarily start medicating right away often, improved water conditions alone will bring about a cure.> Around that time, I noticed that the skin/scales under on chin was turning slightly grey.  Its been 5 days, and now he is grey around the mouth, a little around the eyes, and has a few spots of grey on the top of his head.  The grey doesnt look fuzzy or like grains of salt; it just looks like his gills are turning grey.  I would have that if it was a fungus, the first fungus treatment would have healed it or at least kept it from spreading.  Do you have any idea what might be causing the grey or what to do about it?   <It is possible that this is natural coloration but it could be a number of things.  It could be reaction to too strong a dose of medicine, or could be a parasitic protozoan infection.  Does this area look slimy or filmy?  Is it very plainly the scales that are colored, or does it look as though there is a haze on top of the scales?> Thanks so much for your help! <I certainly hope to be of more assistance than this.  Please do respond, and well be glad to help you through this.  If at all possible, please let us know your readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (if you dont have test kits, you can bring a sample of water to the fish store have them show you the results, and jot the figures down on a piece of paper to let us know).  Also, what is the primary coloration of the Betta?  Many steel blue Bettas will have a lot of grayish cast to them.  Also, I urge you to go to any local fish store to look at the Bettas for sale notice especially how the heads of the Bettas almost invariably are of a different, darker color than the rest of the Betta what you are seeing on your fish may very well be just normal coloration.  Please get back to us.  Wishing you and your Betta well,  -Sabrina>

New Betta, cloudy water Hi.  Our old Betta lasted 3 years and we loved him dearly. <This is a good long life for this species> After his demise, we bought a new Betta.  This Betta is in a new but same size 5 gal. aquarium.  He is fed Bio-gold Betta pellets, and any food not eaten in 10min. are removed.  The water is always treated and dechlorinated.  My question is about the water quality.  Our old Betta's water would stay clean for weeks or even months (with changes of 10% every 2 weeks).  The new Betta water gets cloudy, foamy, smelly in about 2 weeks and the whole set up has to be changed and cleaned.  What are we doing wrong with our new fish?  Thanks <Likely your tank is just "breaking in" with the addition of the new fish, or some bit of uneaten food has eluded you... I would cut back on feeding, maybe check for ammonia if you have a test kit, but otherwise all should be fine in a few weeks. Bob Fenner> Betta with Ammonia Build-up Hi and thank you for all your wonderful advice so far.  I recently wrote in about a new Betta that we keep in a 2 ½ gallon tank with box filter and heater that we have been able to steadily maintain a temp. of about 78 degrees. There is gravel on the bottom and a few silk plants with smooth edges. The fish seems very happy and swims around often, eagerly comes to eat (3 or 4 pellet in the A.M. and either the same at night or some freeze dried blood worms). His favorite resting spot is on the suction cup of the heater! My question is about the water quality. The ammonia is at 4.0 and the pH at 7.4 (down from 8.4 two days ago when I added in some pH stabilizer), nitrite at .25 and Nitrate at 6.0 to 7.0. I am really new to all this and trying to make sense out of these readings. Ive vacuumed the gravel twice this past week and with each time had to replace about 25% of the water. I keep treated tap water on hand that has a ½ tsp. per gallon of aquarium salt. The ammonia level hasnt changed, so today I did a 20% water change. Still no change. Are these levels okay? Am I obsessing over nothing? Can I be doing water changes too much or still not enough? I think I waited too long to clean the gravel because we got him on Christmas and I first cleaned the gravel three days ago. Any advice on what I should be looking for would be great. Other than that it should eventually be 0 ammonia and nitrite, what can I expect along the way to that with hurting this fish? I understand about cycling, I just want to do the best I can with minimal stress to the fish. I know it is harder to maintain water conditions in such a small tank. Also, we ordered a sponge filter and will switch to that once it arrives. Can I just turn off the box filter and replace with the sponge? Thanks so much for your help. Kim <Hi Kim, That ammonia reading is of great concern. Start doing a 50% water changes at once. Wait a few hours and do another. Then at least daily until at zero. Cut the feeding to once a day for now. The sponge will need a month or more to grow the two bacteria needed to control the water quality. Until then you need to keep doing enough water changes to keep ammonia, and in a little while nitrite, near zero. That will be a task since you have already changed the tank's pH. All water changes of the size I am recommending must be done with matching pHs. Don>

Betta and algae I just noticed some brown spots on the inside of my Betta's tank.  I'm assuming it's a kind of algae. <Likely so>   He will hopefully be moving to a new tank soon (5 gallons).  When I move him, is it advisable to put something in the tank to help prevent algae? <Yes... most appropriately a bit of live aquatic plant life to compete for nutrients, light...> Do all tanks get algae? <Yes! A very good question, point... all aquatic biological systems do... very adventitious organisms... that have been on the planet a very long time> Could I put in some sort of fish or snail or crab perhaps in this situation? <Yes... not a crab, but there are other erstwhile algae eaters for such size, type systems. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and the linked files... in blue, above.>   My son would love to add something else.  My son would love a crab.  I know there are crabs for salt water but how about ones that are compatible with a Betta's environment? <Mmm, am very hesitant here... Unfortunately, almost all crabs offered as freshwater are not, nor are they "safe" with such slow moving, docile fish as Bettas... I would NOT mix these two together>   Also, would a Betta bother another inhabitant? <There are other compatible fishes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm>   I could add them at the same time if that would be better, because the Betta is not in the new tank yet since it isn't cycled yet. <Ahh, do move some of the Betta's "old" water into the new tank... this will speed things up> If this is a good idea, what should I add and what if there is no algae yet? <No, wait till there is>   Will whatever I add survive?  What other ways are there to prevent algae?  Would my tank be fine with nothing added? Thanks so much for all your advice. Kim <Please read where you lead yourself via the links above. Bob Fenner>

Smelly Tank Hi. I have a 10 gallon fish tank with 3 small zebras and a Betta fish. The other day after doing a 20% water change, and treating the water with Tetra AquaSafe water conditioner (the recommended amount), I noticed that the top of my tank was covered in air bubbles. Along with these air bubbles came a really bad smell. I tested my water and the only thing that came back high was my PH level. Any help you can give me on this would be greatly appreciated. Stephanie <The smell and bubbles usually mean you have some extra organics in the tank. Make sure you always use a gravel vac when you remove water from the tank. Move any rocks, driftwood, bubbling treasure chests, etc., and clean under them. Up the water changes to around 50% and do them daily for a few days. Another possibility is that you see and smell the chlorine being released from the water. If it was that organic, "dirty fish tank" smell do the water changes. If a more chemical, "swimming pool" smell, treat in a bucket before adding the replacement water. Don>

Film on Water (a pet fish in the sky) Hi again...once again, I need to thank you over and over for your quick responses and wonderful website. It's just great to know that you can get help/advice when you need it from the best! My cycled 3 gallon Eclipse tank w/BioWheel has some sort of problem that I just can't seem to fix. The tank houses 1 male Betta and several plants: Java ferns, 1 Red Ludwigia, & 2 tufts of some long grass. The gravel is not the little stuff but bigger natural colored pebbles. My water readings are Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: Between 5.0 and 10, PH is: Between 7.0 and 7.2.  Having plants, I leave the light on 7-10 hours a day. The Betta is in excellent health, eats, blows bubble nests regularly every day, has no torn or frayed fins.  The problem is, every 3 days I develop a film (like floating patches) on the top of the tank. If I view the top of the water with a flashlight they look worse. I do a 10-20 percent water change each week just to get rid of this stuff. Also 1 time per week I vacuum a selected section of the tank and I also have washed my carbon cartridge filter (but not at the same time) because it seems to get a lot of plant debris, etc., which does seem to help more than the water change. I have tried to wick this away with paper towels...it seems to just break up and float around.  Can someone tell me what this is and if there is a better way to get rid of it? Could my plants be causing any of this film? I am afraid that it could harm my Betta eventually. I am also concerned about the continual water changes and filter washing affecting my cycled tank eventually, so far it has not but if this keeps up I am afraid that it will. Thank you again, Sue <Hi Sue. The film is most likely from the Betta's food. It will not cause a problem. In fact if it's causing you to do an extra water change once a week then I would call it a good thing. As long as you do not clean the bio wheel you should not have a problem. The main concern would be a thick layer preventing gas exchange at the surface. Doesn't sound like you're close to that. It dose sound like you have a happy Betta there. Good job. Don>

Siamese Fighting Fish feeding 8/31/05 Hi, I recently purchased a Siamese Fighting Fish named Dragon and have made a home for it by itself in a double Penn-Plax Betta Bow Front Tank (no, this is not an advertisement for Penn-Plax). I have just noticed that Dragon has not consumed any of the Penn-Plax Pro Balance Betta Food Pellets I have fed it over the past week. Every time I place a pellet in the tank he swims around it extremely disinterested. I am worried and do not know what to do. Please advise. <Hi Prudence, Jorie here.  Some Bettas are extremely picky with what they eat.  I am not familiar with the pellets you describe, but I'd try offering your fish either frozen, then thawed bloodworms or Mysid shrimp.  To thaw, you can add some garlic extract to the water (just a drop!) Garlic is an appetite stimulant and most fish can't resist food soaked in it! You could try soaking a pellet in the garlic extract as well (for a different feeding, of course) and see if that makes him interested.  If not, try switching brands of dry food.  I personally like Hikari's Betta food - good quality stuff.> Thanks ;) P.S. Re cleaning the tank (bowl), I know that I should half empty the tank each week and add treated water, however is it best to take the fish out and clean the whole tank i.e. stones and all?. <No, you don't want to remove the fish each time you do a water change, as this will needlessly stress him out.  Leaving the stones in place will allow the tank to cycle, as the beneficial bacteria will establish colonies underneath.  If things get really grungy, in time, it's OK to clean everything and temporarily re-house your Betta, but you shouldn't need to do that more than once a year or so...assuming the tank you are describing has filtration (Sorry, not familiar with the brand).  Just be careful not to overfeed and the tank will stay cleaner!  Good luck, Jorie>

Cloudy water  8/31/05 I have my Betta in a 3.5 gal aquarium that was cycled for a month before buying the fish.  Temp is 80 and steady.  I treated for fin rot as he got a hole in his tail and the next day it expanded to missing a large chunk so Maracyn 2 was added for 5 days.  That was last week and I did my water change on Saturday, by Sunday I had a white cloudy water problem. <The Minocycline (the M II) has forestalled your cycling...> I understand from web info that this is probably a bacteria problem. <Yes... a "population explosion"> I've checked for ammonia and so far so good.  Do you recommend I leave it alone, add a water treatment to clear it, do some water changes? <The last...> My little guy is not quite acting his usual self so am wondering if he is stressed? <Yes, likely so> Spends more time swimming and resting on or near bottom of tank.  I don't usually have the air pump on but have started running it in case water needs oxygenating.  Any suggestions are appreciated. New owner <Bettas don't need air in their water... are aerial respirators, but you do want to move the water through your filter... Bob Fenner>

Cleaning gravel in Betta tank Hi there -- First, thank you so much for all the information on this site! I've been poking around the 'net looking for clues to help my Betta -- suddenly listing a bit and exhibiting a lot of gill activity. I think I found those clues here, but I also want to completely clean his tank -- there's usually green algae, but recently the algae on the gravel is looking darker, nearly black, and grows back really fast after a tank cleaning. I saw on another site a mention of using alcohol to clean the tank and the gravel; and a mention on your site of using chlorine bleach to clean decorations; and another about using vinegar for deposits. Before I do something that's going to hurt our Betta, can you chime in on what you consider the best way to clean his environment? < Pour everything into a 5 gallon plastic bucket. Take the tank out side and give it a good rinse with a high pressure garden hose. Wipe the algae down with your hand or a mildly abrasive cloth. Try it our in an area that is not easily seen. Plastic can scratch and you don't want that. Rinse off the ornaments too. Take the gravel in the bottom of the bucket and agitate it with the garden hose until the gravel is clean. Put everything back in the tank with fresh treated warm water. Now watch the food. Feed him only enough food so that everything will be eaten in two minutes! The live plant will help filter the fishes waste.-Chuck> He's in a plastic Betta tank with a small light for heat; the bottom is lined with the gravel that came with the tank; we added a clump of live grass, which he loves; and there's one decorative glass fish suspended by a plastic bubble. Thanks for your help, Terri

Converting from bottled to tap water Dear Crew: My Betta Stewie (the Scooter) is doing fine. He is in a Hex 5 aquarium with aquarium salt and stress coat as the only additives. All chemical tests are on the mark. The Ph is between 7.2 and 7.6. My conditioned tap water with aquarium salt and bowl buddies (easier to treat one gallon size jugs) has a Ph of 6.8 to 7.0. How can I convert him gradually to the tap water? Thank you, Sue Kennedy < Every time you do a water change use the tap water. Start out doing small ones say 10 to 15 % and gradually increase it to 30% as part of your normal maintenance.-Chuck>

A sick Betta environment Hi.  I hope you can help us.  We just got home from a 3 day trip and noticed our Betta (Zeta) was not acting normally.  He was laying on the bottom of his tank, quite unresponsive and lethargic.  Then he suddenly started darting around with his back sort of arched.  Almost as if he was having some sort of convulsions.  He keeps doing this in turn with just laying around...and sometimes laying sideways.  He also seems as if he is gasping for air.  Our house/pet sitter said he would not eat anything the past 2 days.  We immediately took him out of his tank and put him in one of his older tanks with de-chlorinated water.  This hasn't improved his behavior yet.  We've had him since last December so he's not very old.  I've looked at some sites on Betta illnesses, but none really have his same symptoms.  There is no fungus in the tank, no spots on him. in fact, he looks totally healthy except for the symptoms I've told you about.  Please help us to determine what is wrong with him and what we can do to help him. He is usually a very active, social fish and we don't want him to have any sort of pain or discomfort. Thank you, Pam < Chances are that the food that he wasn't eating was decomposing and causing an ammonia spike that has chemically burned his gills and has caused him some discomfort. It will take awhile for the gills to fully recuperate.  So be patient and keep the water clean. Feed only enough food so it will be all gone in a couple of minutes. I never have any body feed my fish unless I am gone longer than a week. Untrained help usually causes more problems than they solve.-Chuck>

Betta & 10 gal home Hi Chuck How's this tank scenario for my 1 male Betta? 10 gallon - all to himself (maybe a couple of ghost shrimps down the road) < When the ghost shrimp shed their exoskeleton as they grow they will be very soft and vulnerable to being eaten by the Betta. Be sure that they have a place to hide after they have shed.> I think I'll go with gravel rather than sand - as I'm interested in attractive easy main plant life What do you know of pea gravel? < I find pea gravel (Gravel the size if individual peas) is too coarse and food is often trapped in the wide pore spaces between the gravel grains making it unavailable to fish. It will decompose and cause problems.> Would it be beneficial to mix-in Fluorite red (thoroughly rinsed) for my seemingly low maint. plants such as: Anubias, Java fern, Java Moss or (hornwort- it require cooler waters?) and would my plants benefit with something additional in its gravel? < Only add the Fluorite if you were to add plants that were rooted. Hornwort is very adaptive and worth a try.> I did hear that any salt will start to dissolve the java ferns/moss. At the rate I'm using salt .5 teaspoon per gallon-will this start to harm the plants in any way and would my tank be considered as "brackish" < Anytime salt is added it is brackish. There are no salinity parameters for that term.> I've been using salt since: My Betta at one time had holes in his dorsal & the salt healed them in 1 day & a half. < Bettas do not come from areas normally associated with salt. AS the waters they occupy in the wild begin to evaporate , some salts and minerals may be concentrated with them but the concentration would still be very low.> What do you think of the Liberty 100GPH -which my pet shop has-includes 1 carbon cartridge and biological sponge. And lever to control water flow-for my Betta. From what I understand the sponge will prevent the tank from recycling when I change carbon cartridge. < Too much water flow. Get something smaller. Why get a filter that pumps so much water just to crank in down ? Eheim is a quality brand but I think it is still too much filter for what you need.> My pet shop has treated bogwood, which sinks readily-they say I don't need to soak it. Does this affect ph for my Betta. Is driftwood preferable? And do you know anything about "Swahala" driftwood. < If the wood is already water logged then it will have less of an impact that wood that is not. As wood decomposes it releases tannins like in tea that will slightly acidify the water but this is usually not a problem. Never heard of Swahala wood.> I came across a site that promotes "fishless" cycling...do you think its the way to go , if I follow directions carefully?. < With just one Betta I would place him in the tank and just monitor it. Change water when needed and don't feed too much and I think you will be fine.> The pet shop guy is recommending white clouds to cycle & he said I could return them to the shop after I'm through Should I put the plants in before I cycle? I still would like to keep with the .5 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gal & still maintain healthy plant growth if possible Eagerly awaiting your response Thanks again... < I would add the plants and when the water is warmed up I would add the Betta. Let the Betta cycle the tank. The plants will help. You could cycle the tank by adding an ammonia solution to the tank to feed the bacteria. I don't think it is needed.-Chuck> Diane

A Siamese fighter- stress I've recently bought a Siamese fighter (male).. about 2 weeks ago I think. Up until now he has been perfect, no signs of stress, eating as much as I give him (about 2-3 blood worms per day, recommended by the pet shop people).. <A good treat food. Your Betta would be better off with a more varied diet. A lot of good Betta food on the market> I have done the mirror trick about 3 times in total to see what kind of temperament the little guy had, and also to show him to friends, etc. I realize that putting a mirror where he can see his reflection would cause stress, but am sure that this is not the cause of the problem, as this problem has started at least a week after the last time I did the mirror thing. The problem is that he seems to get really scared every time I put my hand or anything else near the bowl.. I'm pretty sure this started when I put a camera close to him to take his picture.. it is the first time I've observed this type of reaction. Note that it was not after I took the picture (with flash) that he got scared.. simply showing him the camera did this. I find this *extremely* odd..<I think it pretty normal for a fish to fear an object much larger than themselves suddenly shoved up to the tank> I'm pretty sure he's displaying fear because he begins thrashing about in the water when I put objects close to him. I have changed his water and used the correct amount of water conditioner <Only once in two weeks on a blood worm diet?>.. he's in a small tank on his own, not sure of the temperature, <Warm water fish. You need a small heater to keep the tank in the mid to upper 70's.> He's not in direct sunlight.. not sitting next to any loud speakers or anything.. I've got no idea what's going on. <First you need to start doing more water changes. Next improve his diet and add a heater. A very low flow filter would help a lot. But you want very little current in a small Betta tank. I think all those rich blood worms are fouling the water in a day or so. His thrashing could be the result.>   If you could get back to me with some questions or suggestions that would be great. Thanks a lot. Regards, Sam <Don>

Betta in Paradise All my chemical tests are good. <Great, but would like to see the numbers> I feed my Betta Hikari <Great brand> freeze-dried brine shrimp, Tubifex worms and daphnia in sort of a dry blend. <Great mix of foods! Maybe add a high quality Betta flake or pellet.> He eats small amounts twice a day, three times on weekends. <A little too much, IMO. Once, twice a day is fine. Skipping all feeding one day a week is not a bad thing.> The pH is being lowered gradually from 7.6 to 7.0 by switching from bottled to tap water. <Not too bad an adjustment. You should get this done in two, three days. Then you can go nuts with water changes.> Temp is a constant 80 and he resides in a Hex 5 filtered aquarium. <You are a Betta Goddess!> Problem? Last Thursday I gave him his mirror for his usual two minute session-it ended up being a half hour because I got totally sidetracked. <No need for this at all! But it is cool to watch.> Since then he still has his appetite but tends to rest more on his plants.  He is not as active. He doesn't appear to have any signs of disease. I always use aquarium salt and Bowl Buddies for a water conditioner- I did use Stress Coat <Glad that you stopped. I don't like this product at all.> but I age his water by the gallon and Bowl Buddies is a more exact measure. <I use only a dechlorinator. Nothing else. Works for me> Help! <Why, you're doing fine!> Is something wrong or is this just a phase. I think he might be a year old-he was kept terribly and I rescued him. <Many thanks!> Thank you Sue <Hi Sue, Don here. Have you done a water change since you totally PO'ed him last week? That may help. If you do not see any signs of illness then I think he's OK. Do a water change and keep an eye out for bloating, ragged fins, white spots etc..>    

Betta in a bowl <Hi Bob,> Jorie here... <I'm pretty new at this fish stuff, so sorry for my ignorance.> You don't have to apologize - you are doing the right thing by asking questions...that's how we all learn! <I have a Betta in a bowl,> How many gallons of water in the bowl? Hopefully it is at least 1 gal., as that is the very minimum size I would personally consider keeping a Betta in.  I keep two in separate 3 gal. Eclipse tanks, and I find this to be a perfect size. <...but about 3 days ago I noticed that his right eye is bulging out.> This is likely a disease called "Popeye" , which is caused almost exclusively by poor water conditions.  I would suggest changing around 75% of the water ASAP, making sure to match the temperature (Bettas like warm, tropical water around 80-82 degrees...get a little floating thermometer from the pet store to monitor the temp. if you don't already have one) as closely as possible. <I put a live plant in the bowl about 2-3 days before this and I have some fake floating fish in the bowl.> Curious as to why the live plant...this certainly isn't necessary.  I'm glad you are feeding the Betta (some BAD pet store owners tend to mis-inform their customers that Bettas will eat the roots of the live plant...this just isn't true, so I'm glad you aren't doing this!) Also, do be careful on how much you are feeing your little friend...his stomach is about the same size as his eye.  Most importantly, all food should be consumed within 2-3 minutes of being introduced into the bowl...don't let food sit around and rot, as that will just pollute the water, cause build up of toxins, and lead to poor water conditions and finally diseases such as "Popeye".  When you do your next water change, be sure to remove as much excess food as possible, if any has accumulated. <He just sits on the side of the bowl and today was the 1 st time he has eaten. I took the plant out, but I would think that both of his eyes would be bulging if this was some sort of reaction to the plant and I also removed the fake fishies. I bought a bottle of MelaFix today and added 1/2 teaspoon to the bowl, should I continue this treatment or go the Epsom salt route or nothing at all???> Again, you should do a large water change, and continue to change the water in his bowl frequently.  Without knowing how large the container is, I can't tell you exactly how frequently.  Personally, I do 50% water changes 1x per week on my Bettas' 3 gal. tanks.  If you don't have a test kit already, consider purchasing one to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate so that you can check these important parameters (all should ideally be at zero).  Also, I'd suggest you do a Google search on "nitrogen cycle" and "aquarium" to learn about these words that may be foreign to you. <Oh' he has these light colored stripes on his side too!?! I don't do any water testing, I just use Bowl Buddies when changing the water.> I'm not sure what Bowl Buddies are - is it a dechlorinator? If you are using just straight tap water for your Betta, you do indeed need to dechlorinate...I used to use a product called ChlorOut, but my suspicion is that Bowl Buddies may be the same.  Whatever product you buy, look for the word "dechlorinator". <HELP PLEASE!!! I don't want Alpha to die!!> Hopefully we've caught this in time...again, do a large water change ASAP, read up on basic Betta care (in fact, check out the message boards here on WWM, as there are many Betta fanatics who can gladly walk you through Betta care, step by step).  Chances are your Betta's health will improve just as soon as you clean up his environment. Do be sure to maintain this clean water, as well. Good luck. <Thank You, Brandi> You're welcome.  Jorie

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: