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Old 08-21-2006, 10:21 PM   #1
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Cycling with bettas?

Not sure if this is a common subject or what...but i dont hear much about cycling with a betta. Given you would want to keep the fish in the tank...wouldnt the hardiness of the betta make it the perfect fish to cycle with? Or does the fact that you can only have one per tank hinder that?

I'm setting up a comminity tank and was considering using one for that as i was planning on having one in the tank anyways.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:26 PM   #2
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when i set up my female betta tank i cycled it with 3 of them, and they're just fine.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:29 PM   #3
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Personally I don't think that any fish should be used to cycle a tank - regardless of how hardy they are, and how they may be able to live through the ammonia and nitrite levels experienced during cycling, they are still subjected to them and will suffer some level of burns to their gills.
Much better to do a fishless cycle in any tank.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:36 PM   #4
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But they do fine in the fish bowls...?
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:50 AM   #5
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I don't think fish should be used to start a cycle either. It's easy to start a fishless cycle with pure ammonia or raw shrimp. It's easier on you too - no frantic water changes to lower the ammonia for fish already in the tank.

Cycling with a betta will most likely make the betta stressed and ill. Even with the labyrinth organ, bettas can get ammonia burns on their gills. The amount of ammonia is high to the betta, but low in terms of cycling the tank - in other words, a betta produces enough ammonia to make himself sick but not enough to rapidly cycle the tank, leading to long-term stress.

I believe a betta should be in a tank of at least 5 gallons; however, regarding your question of doing "fine" in a bowl - Bowls don't often cycle completely, due to factors such as inadequate filter media or water movement to oxygenate the "good" bacteria. If a betta seems to be doing fine in a bowl, it's because the owner is very consciencious about doing every-other-day or daily water changes.
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An t-iasg
If a betta seems to be doing fine in a bowl, it's because the owner is very consciencious about doing every-other-day or daily water changes.
I agree with the 5g minimum.

But i work at a shop that sells bettas and they do fine for weeks before selling in those tiny cups and they sometimes they get no water change in that time period.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:06 AM   #7
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why would you take a chance on harming your fish when there is a more humane way to do it ? i am no expert but alot of the regular people on here are. they are giving good advice based on many years of experience. [/quote]
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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The interesting thing about this question is that people cycle tanks with Bettas all the time without realizing it. Even an unfiltered bowl will got through the cycling process. The beneficial bacteria will slowly build up on the bowl, gravel, and other decor. Just because you don't monitor the cycle doesn't mean that it doesn't occur.

Obviously it's better to cylce a tank fishless, silently (low bioload lots of plants), or instantly (seeding the filter). In the second two options it's perfectly alright to use fish since you're never going to submit them to high Ammonia and Nitrite levels. Obiously you would still want to start with hardier fish just in case something goes wrong, since the more delicate fish will do better in a tank which has been established for awhile and as a result will have more stable parameters.
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:54 PM   #9
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The interesting thing about this question is that people cycle tanks with Bettas all the time without realizing it. Even an unfiltered bowl will got through the cycling process. The beneficial bacteria will slowly build up on the bowl, gravel, and other decor. Just because you don't monitor the cycle doesn't mean that it doesn't occur.
True, which is why I did water changes every other day never getting the ammonia or nitrites above .25ppm. Now I can go up to a week, but I usually do 2 water changes a week anyway - he's a cutie and he's worth the effort.
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mark shirah
why would you take a chance on harming your fish when there is a more humane way to do it ? i am no expert but alot of the regular people on here are. they are giving good advice based on many years of experience.
I'm not trying to ruffle feathers...its a discussion on whether or not bettas would be good to cycle a tank with due to their given characteristics.
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:27 AM   #11
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The simple answer is yes, bettas are excellent fish to cycle a tank. They have the ability to breath air due to their unique organ, and can live in habitats that most other fish would easily succumb to. That being said, I am one of the biggest proponents of fishless cycling on this forum, for one very important reason.

It is the easiest, least amount of work, and fastest way to setup a full tank. There is no faster way to get a tank cycled with a full load of fish, and for someone wishing to get into the hobby, should be the only way to go. It's the lack of patience that normally causes people to start with fish, and that's somewhat understandable.

If you can tolerate a couple weeks of fishless cycling, where you really don't even need to monitor the tank conditions for the first week or two (talk about EASY!), both your betta and your arms will thank you for it.

If I worked in a fish store and KNEW that the customer would be neglectful during the cycling process (and I can't refuse to sell or I get fired), I would definately recommend a betta over any other fish, as long as their future stocking plans take into consideration betta compatibility issues (ie no tiger barbs for this tank).
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:14 AM   #12
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Bettas do not make good cycling fish. They are frequently called "hardy beginner fish" but really, they are pretty sensitive to poor water quality. Their fragile finnage, as beautiful as it is, can be quickly devastated when exposed to ammonia levels as low as .25 ppm over a very short time. I don't know if it's because they have been so selectively bred, but they succumb to stress induced illness far too easily to be considered good for cycling. The damage caused by the cycling process is often irreversible. Burned gills are not believed to heal completely and exposure to ammonia can cause life long problems because of it. Also, anyone who has dealt with Betta fin rot can tell you it is one of the most difficult illnesses to beat. Fragile new fin tissue takes weeks or even months to fully heal and these bettas often have severe relapses. Some bettas will have permanent fin loss but even those who regrow their fins will never display the same perfect finnage they once did. Bettas fins that have been exposed to toxins will often experience "curling" a permanent result of ammonia exposure.

I don't support cycling with any fish but there are many other more suitable options. Another important thing to consider is that your cycle is only as good as the fish you put in it. If you cycle with a betta your bioload will handle that betta. Once you add additional fish your tank's bacteria will have to readjust their numbers to support the new bioload. Just another reason why aquarists are moving away from fish cycling.

Hope you find this helpful.
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