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Betta Water Parameters


sdlTBfanUK

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I am considering getting a betta, either for the existing fish tank, or I have a 15L which I could set up. Could someone please let me have preferred water parameters, ie GH, KH, PH, TDS ranges. I have been looking on the internet (other than this site) and getting well p*ssed off with reading loads of 'waffle' only to find it doesn't even give these basic details, so please, just the asked info, no explanations necessary at this early point! 

I plan to put the fish in my long term tank, which uses (dechlorinated) tapwater, or an old 15L which is in the cupboard, but that will probably have the same water parameters as I will run it the same. Actually, sitting here looking at the 'Fish tank', probably too much water movement in there (I have never had a Betta in that tank).

I have tried Betta in the past (years ago) but not had much luck and they rarely lived more than 6 months, devastating as they have more character than most other fish, and as they are supposed to be easy to keep, I really don't know why this is? Anyway, start with what the parameters should be, that may stop me going any further?????

Regards

Simon

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On 10/14/2018 at 8:50 PM, sdlTBfanUK said:

Could someone please let me have preferred water parameters, ie GH, KH, PH, TDS ranges.

The water parameters for Betta are not specified because they can tolerate a very wide range. Hence people keeping them in jars with nothing but dechlorinated tap water.

However if you are looking for ideal parameters, I would keep them in soft water.

That is

pH: 6.5 - 6.8

Temp: 25degC or 78degF.

KH: 3-5

GH: 6-8

TDS: doesn't really matter. These guys can live in crap water (not that you should aim for crap water). But I would aim for under 350 like for all my other softwater fish.

Most important thing is to give them a tank that is well cycled and has low flow. They do not prefer a strong filter and flow. Some floating plants will also help them build bubble nests if you have females (note the plural. 1 female is not enough and will get harassed). If you are putting the betta in a 15L, then I would avoid females in the same tank until you see him building a nest.

Apart from that, they are considered very easy fish to keep.

 

 

Edited by jayc
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Thanks JayC for the reply and finally what I wanted to know. I don't use internet much, but if I do I soon remember why I don't - not this site though which is why it is the only one I have joined!

The Kh and Gh are a bit low on my tap water fish tank which would run the same but I could get some Gh/Kh+ to increase that (maybe that was why I did.t have much luck with them in the past) each needing +2 so that should be fairly easy fix with salty shrimp or dennerle GH/KH+ drops. TDS is 225 so adding +2GH would take that to about 260-280(ish) so looks like that also would be ok. The Ph with the drops shows as 7, though that obviously means it is more than 6.5 but less than 7.5 as the drop kits only goes per .5 differences, but I would add catappa leaves as I have those and betta are supposed to like them and it may reduce the PH slightly anyway, so that looks near enough for thumbs up as well. 

I am not interested in breeding so would just get the one male. That tank has a ridiculously slow filter/flow system (well it did last time I used it) so that also would be perfect I think.

If I use water/plants/lava rock etc from the Fishtank, how long do you think I should run the tank before I consider getting the fish if you say 'well cycled'? I need to check if I have everything like heater/filter sponge/timer/extension cable etc before I can go any further yet (I will try and do that later), but otherwise from your reply I think it should be do-able. I guess using a tiny bit of Bacter AE as well at the start will help with the cycling, or will it be a good idea to use it all the time (I have it for the shrimp tank anyway so could do both tanks at the same time) I only dose that twice a week a lot less than recommended?

THE OTHER QUESTION I NEED TO CONSIDER OF COARSE IS ONE WE HAVE ALL HAD, PROBABLY ON MULTIPLE OCCASSIONS, DO I REALLY WANT ANOTHER TANK TO RUN AND MAINTAIN???????????????

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14 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

easy fix with salty shrimp or dennerle GH/KH+ drops

 

14 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

I would add catappa leaves

You seem to have right strategies to bring the parameters into line. GH/KH is flexible if you can't reach those numbers exactly. 

pH and TDS however, should be the priorities.

 

14 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

If I use water/plants/lava rock etc from the Fishtank, how long do you think I should run the tank before I consider getting the fish if you say 'well cycled'?

That's not for me to say. I would just be taking a guess. A guess at how fast the beneficial bacteria multiply. Only way to determine if a tank is cycled is to test ammonia levels with a test kit. However, it will certainly be a lot quicker if you re-use stuff from an existing mature tank. Fastest way is to re-use the filter media from an existing tank, the dirtier the better. I wash my filters in new tanks - yes, it makes a visual mess in the new tank. But once the debris settles, the tank is well on its way to being cycled. Give the tank a warm 26-28 degreesC and the tank will be cycled in a week by washing your old filter in the new tank. As good as Bacter AE is, it cannot compete with re-using old media.

(Don't forget to reduce the temps to the right level before adding any livestock)

 

14 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

THE OTHER QUESTION I NEED TO CONSIDER OF COARSE IS ONE WE HAVE ALL HAD, PROBABLY ON MULTIPLE OCCASSIONS, DO I REALLY WANT ANOTHER TANK TO RUN AND MAINTAIN

I cannot help you there. I am in denial about suffering the same illness myself. 

I have cut down by 2 tanks this year. And I'm already thinking ..."I have more space now, and 2 empty tanks. I wonder what I can put in them?".

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Thanks again for all the great advice JayC.

I did the weekly maintenance of the FISH tank today and have kept the old water (sponges were rinsed in it so nice and dirty) while I mull everything over.

I checked the cupboards and have everything except an electrical adaptor - cheap and easy enough to get! Main thing now is whether I can re-arrange stuff to make room for the 15L tank near the new shrimp tank (probably wait until friends come round for that), as when I used it before it was on the dining table and that wasn't a  good idea at all - always in the way etc, but it was only a TRIAL shrimp tank at that time?

I feel more confident it should be possible thanks to all your helpful advice! Thanks for taking the time to do this JayC.

 

Simon

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  • 5 months later...

I have this tank now set up and I am sure the 'cycling' has finished. I have put some cull shrimp and assassin snails in the tank for the moment and am expecting to maybe get a fish this time next week if all goes to plan.

I have used JBL aquarium soil in the tank and there are lots of plants etc in the 25L new tank (actually has 20L water).

My main concern is what do I do with the KH as clearly the soil is stripping it, so do I just stop adding KH+ elixir and therefore it will probably run at KH0 for a long time (until the soil is exhausted) , or do I keep adding Kh+ elixir thereby it will keep going up and down constantly whilst I fight the soil trying to get it to JayC figures above? The KH figure was 3 yesterday so I added some more Kh+ elixir hoping to get it to 4, and then when I checked it this morning it had dropped to 2 so I have added some more elixir but need to know where to go from here!

I can't see that it seems to be affecting GH, but it may be at a slower/lesser extent I guess?

I will be using tap water so there will naturally be some KH added each week which I will drip into the tank and do about 20% water change each week.

Simon

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If you plan to use tap, then keep adding the KH to the tank until the substrate exhausts itself. This way, you wont have unstable water parameters. The more KH you use, the faster the substrate will exhaust itself.

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12 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

My main concern is what do I do with the KH

If this tank is for a Betta, don't get too stressed out by the KH being a bit off.

The Betta will handle it just fine. 

As the JBL substrate matures it will start to loose it's ability to drop KH anyway.

 

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Thank you both for your advice and I think I have managed to sort out what I will do which will be a bit of both!

This week I will keep adding KH+ as much as I can to help exhaust the soil, it probably won't make much difference in 5 days but will set it on it's way. I will then leave it a couple of days to stabilize (probably it will go back to KH0) before I get the fish on sunday.

Then I will do my usual weekly water changes with the tap water which will have some KH. I will do 20% and drip the new water in and hope that the fish can cope with the albeit small (1KH at most, probably less when dispersed in the tank) increase at that point over many hours, and then I guess the soil will absorb it back to KH0 within a day, until the soil is exhausted then it will very slowly start to go up but will be gradual.

Thanks again to both of you and well spotted to JayC for picking up I was getting a bit stressed with it................. I really appreciate the help.

DEFINITELY NO MORE TANKS AFTER THIS THOUGH - bet you've heard that a few times????

Simon

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31 minutes ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

DEFINITELY NO MORE TANKS AFTER THIS THOUGH - bet you've heard that a few times????

?

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One more quick thing as I keep forgetting so have to do it whilst it occurs to me.

Should I use the 'Humin Fluid vital' for the betta as I  have it for the shrimps anyway? I have been meaning to ask for so long I can't even remember what made me think it may be a good idea????????? 

Simon

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2 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Should I use the 'Humin Fluid vital' for the betta

Yes you can. 

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All is now up and running so will have to see how it all goes (water parameters are nowhere near the ideal of JayC so not getting too excited yet), there are brown cull shrimps and a few assassin snails also in the tank. I have noticed there are hydra also in the tank so will be treating for that but that is on another post!

99619620_IMG_20190407_182438-Edited.thumb.jpg.a320e8d9740bc57b6b3122ac7a332d5a.jpg1617632833_IMG_20190407_161544-Edited.thumb.jpg.653d44396ae02e68ae73e389baf3ec24.jpg

Simon

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Thanks JayC, and I mean that, I almost certainly wouldn't have had the courage to try again without your input. Early days I know, but day 2 and he is still alive and very active! I am still at the 'take a breath each morning before I get near the tank to see if  it is still alive!

Friends came over on sunday and took me out to get the fish, in honesty the shop didn't have anything I would describe as 'WOW, I really want that one' but after the effort of getting out I had to get one and I like the one I got and anyway I told my friends I'm not spending a fortune on a fish as this is still at the trial stage.............

I have done so much research, and doing so much differently this time that I feel like it should work. I like the tank setup as well (shame about the hydra but that SHOULD be an easy fix, in theory) but that aquarium glue made setting up the tank a whole lot easier, just glue plant to rock etc.

I sent my friends down to the lake here to see if there was any daphnia and they came back with a bucket full, I was stunned as it is cold here so thought they would still be dormant. They took most of the daphnia for themselves, and both of us will see if we can 'culture' our own (mine is already set up, feeding it a little yeast) but I don't need many for 1 fish anyway, but Bertie enjoyed half a dozen yesterday. I am also trying worms but no success there yet.

Anyway, basically doing so much different this time that hopefully it will work? Bigger tank, reduced flow filter, live food and bug bites, upping GH, KH, adding Humin fluid, Indian almond leaves, alder cones etc etc.

Thanks again for your helpful advise and support.

Simon

ps Friends were amazed at the Taiwan bee shrimps, I think I can relax with that and feel like I have mastered that!

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You're welcome. 

Glad I have been of some help. 

 

20 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Bertie

I know of at least 2 other people that have named their Betta, Bertie. :5565bf0371061_D:

 

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I 'suspect' my Betta may have Popeye, he is quite small so difficult to see but he seems active and chasing food etc!

Is there an easy treatment that I can use in case?

I am guessing using Epsom salts will affect the shrimps and plants?

I also read (partly on here,but elsewhere as well) that Melafix doesn't work and can actually injure the fishes air breathing organ???

I do have an old 15L tank that I MAY be able to setup/use in the kitchen with no substrate etc, so can do multiple water changes (if needed), but it won't be 'cycled' or have filter running but I do have a spare heater and light (I think).

Please bear in mind my physical abilities are extremely limited. Also any medication etc will have to be through the post so that will cause some delay?

Anyway all advice will be gratefully received?

Simon

Update 17/4/19 - I have decided to try 50% dosage of melafix for 3 days (then review to maybe doing a further 4 days) at next water change/maintenance on friday! This is based on a whole day reading on internet and 3 days is recommended as 'preventative' dosage, but most seem to think full strength is too much for Betta? He seems spunky enough and active?

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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A picture of the Betta tank and a couple of the shrimps. The Betta watches them sometimes but never bothers them but they are so well camouflaged I doubt he sees them much. I only got to see them as I put a pea in the tank.

1530991228_DSC00485a-Edited.thumb.jpg.661abc85f916ddc5ae3855a4518f8df7.jpgDSC00522a.thumb.jpg.08d015d4b5bd3a672b25175f6961ff8a.jpgDSC00513a.thumb.jpg.6e26545ee11d9720f656bdc40d93d957.jpg

Simon

 

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  • 1 month later...

Bertie is doing well and seems feisty enough, especially when food is involved, even his weekly Pea gets ferociously attacked.The water parameters aren't what JayC recommended but that is almost certainly due to the shrimp substrate I used, so until that stops doing it's thing I assume it will stay as it is at the moment. Ph7, Gh4, Kh2-3, TDS 223. Plants are growing ridiculously fast, especially the floating which roots are growing about 8 inches each and every week so a weekly trim is required.

The cull shrimps must have been breeding as there are some small ones in the tank, quite a nice orangey colour  in fact, even these brightly coloured ones the betta isn't interested in? I can't feed the shrimps as the greedy betta eats anything I put in the tank.

I used half strength melafix for his eye but I am unsure whether that helped, but it does look a bit better, I may use it again just because I have plenty left and it didn't have any negatives to using it.

I have also used SL-Aqua Z1 as I got some hydra (it can be used for Planaria) with the plants. This worked well and had no negatives, even the shrimps and snails weren't affected with this (or the melafix) treatment.

Simon

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8 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Ph7, Gh4, Kh2-3, TDS 223.

Eh, it's not too bad. pH will drop naturally as the tank matures and the driftwood keep releasing humic acid. 

Drop in a few more IAL/Cattapa leaves. The tannins released will give the tank a natural Betta biotope look, as well as being antibacterial for any injuries.

 

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Thanks for the reminder about the IAL, I will add a couple as the old ones have degraded away. I have been adding the shrimp king Humin fluid when I do weekly maintenance.

In all honesty I don't know with any accuracy what the PH is as the tests change colour every .5. It goes the colour of 7 but there must be a .5 range between changes if that is how the test works?

Simon

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The two most used tools I use in this hobby is the TDS meter and the pH meter.

If you don't already have a pH meter, i highly suggest getting one. I have done away with the vials and reagents. Now it's as easy as dipping the pH meter into the tank for an accurate pH reading.

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I did used to have one of those 'pens' and it was quite easy to use once set up (calibrated etc) as you say, and they do give more of a reading than the drops with the .5 changes! I should think about getting another one. They aren't as easy to get here, most come from abroad. Unfortunately I dropped it in the tank and it wasn't keen on having a bath, d'oh, my fault entirely!

I have just done the shrimp tank and removed the dying Java fern. The shrimp tank is right next to the Betta and he sits there watching, a little help would be nice? I have his tank to do tomorrow but he keeps getting in the way when I do that one as he is so curious, bless him! With all things I have done differently this time (thanks to your advice) he is more active and curious than ones I had tried before?

I think I found that heater safety device you mentioned (it is meant for reptiles??) so that is on the shopping list. I have ordered 2 thermometer strips today as well. The new heater in the shrimp tank does at least show what the temperature is (roughly anyway) so hopefully I would notice it if it happened again that the heater was stuck on!

Simon 

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21 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

(it is meant for reptiles??)

That's just one of the use cases.

 

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  • 3 months later...

Just thought I would do a six months update.

All the tank inhabitants are doing well and seem as happy as I would hope for!

The water parameters are

Ph7.5 (tapwater is that) TDS 220, Gh 6 drops, Kh 3 drops, temp 26 and have been sitting about that for a while so I think that is where it will stay  and I will AIM to keep it.

I wish it still looked like the photo above but the plants must be on steroids or something, I am going to have to get on top of that now the shrimp  tank is all but done! One tank at a time...................

I am hoping to have another go at keeping daphnia indoors again now that summer is over, it just never worked in the summer? Anyway got friends coming at the weekend so they can go down to the lake and grab me some and I will try it again - they take a bucketful for themselves anyway usually. The betta won't touch the dried daphnia, fussy bloody fish, but he does like the tetra bloodworm in a tube (in gel) and the bug bites by Fluval. He even seems to enjoy his weekly cooked pea - oh well ,at least one of us eats green stuff???

All in all a big success, thanks to JayC guidance!

Simon

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