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Old 06-02-2004, 09:59 PM   #1
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New fish, new tank...second try.

It seems my first choices regarding fish were bad ones, so I'll try again.

I returned the Barbs and the Angel fish and added a couple more of the Neon Tetras and a decent looking Beta. I'm going to rely on everyone on this forum to help set me straight, as you are the ones who raise the fish. It seems the folks at the store don't quite know whats what. They told me there that it was a bad idea to put the Beta in a tank with ANY other fish. That just seems absurd to me, but I got it anyway on the advice of a fellow AA member. This will make a total of 8 Tiny Neon tetras and 1 male Beta. Still might be pushing it with the 1" rule, but so far, the tetras only take up about a 5 cubic inch of space at any one time. They really are a tightly knit bunch. There are plenty of places for them to hide and my Bio-wheel filter is a bit oversized for the tank so it should be able to keep up with things. I also test the water regularly and have the temperature regulated. If all else fails, I have another small tank that I can seperate the Beta to if he gets a little nippy with the tetras.
Does anyone think it might be safe to add a few small ghost shrimp later on, or maybe something like a dwarf frog or even a tiny freshwater puffer? I dont want to cause undue stress and harm to the fish, but the kids really are the ones that find it all quite fascinating and they love to see the weird looking inverts and creatures roaming a tank.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:48 PM   #2
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It depends on the betta's personality and how it handles tank mates. Bettas do not like other fish that look like themselves or fish that come up to the surface for air. I think this tank is off to a good start. Keep monitoring the water parameters (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate). Since all the fish were added to an establishing tank, expect to see the water parameters change and be prepared for water changes--of course ask questions as needed
As for the shrimp or frog--again, it will depend on the betta's personality. Some bettas eat these types of tank mates and some bettas get along fabulously with these tank mates. I encourage you not to add any more bioload to the tank as it cycles. Also, the addition of shrimp or a frog will increase the bioload for the tank and you should be diligent on your weekly 25% water changes.
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:45 AM   #3
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Well that sounds a little more positive than the last group I had. I'll be sure check before purchasing fish at the store again.

So far, the Beta seems to keep to himself. He likes to hide under a large rock/cave in one corner of the tank and occasionally swims around the upper half of the tank when he does come out. The neons stick together at the bottom of the tank and dont seem to be a bit phased if the Beta does come around. With the Barbs I had previously, the neons stayed WELL clear of them. For good reason, I suppose.

About cycling the tank, I suppose that is a process that takes about a month or so? The Pleco was in for a week by himself and the tank ran for a week before he was added. I can already see that the nitrite level has increased since I added the first batch of fish, but it is still tolerable. I did a small water change before adding the new fish to the tank; I was concerned due to the large number of larger fish I had in overnight. They had already made an impact on junk in the water just in the short time they were in the tank.

Will filtration reduce the bio-load on tank? Also, should the return water from the filter fall into the tank from above the surface or is it ok if the surface water is at the same level as the filter return (it doesnt really create a lot of water movement now)? I do have a bubble wall, which I keep down VERY low, and I also have another airstone near the heater that runs at a moderate level. I noticed at the store that all of the tanks were only filled to within about 3 inches of the top and the return water from the filters made quite a stir as it entered the tank. They were also using filters rated at 60 Gallons in 25 gallon tanks. Their tanks seemed extremely over-crowded to me, but they looked pretty clean, and I know they test the water regularly. Hopefully the fish arent too stressed out. What can I look for in them to make sure they are healthy? I have a hard time believing that the Beta could actually be very healthy living in a small cup of water on a shelf with 50 other cups of Betas all stacked up. I notice that in my tank, the Betas fins are fanned out a LOT more than they were when I bought it. Hope thats a good thing.
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Old 06-03-2004, 01:51 AM   #4
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Yikes...I didnt even realize there were so many categories here to post in. I should be asking these questions in another area. Sorry!
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Old 06-03-2004, 02:33 AM   #5
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I agree with Menagerie that you should not be adding anything else to your tank at present. It also sounds like your LFS employees are morons, IMO.

You may want to think about getting some java ferns and java moss for the tank, as these are low-light plants that will both aid your fish and look pleasing aesthetically. Think about some larger silk plants too, with leaves of a size that the betta can rest upon. If you have to make a choice between moss and fern, I would go with the fern, as it is the one I have found hardest to kill (and I have very little luck with plants).

Running the tank by itself does nothing. The bacteria that break down fish waste have to be introduced through an organic source such as new fish, plants, gravel/media from an established tank, or other means. They then have to be maintained by the introduction of their "food," which is foremost the Ammonia secreted as part of fish doodoo. One set of bacteria consumes the Ammonia and converts it to Nitrite, the next set of bacteria takes it from Nitrite to Nitrate. Live plants are helpful here because they will also consume these waste particles. (I apologize if this is retreading information you already know.)

Your filter comes into this neat little circle by providing both mechanical filtration (i.e. actually removing bits of organic and other detritus from the water via the filter pad) and biological filtration-- it provides a home for the bacteria, which grow on surfaces in the aquarium rather than in the water. This is why "bio-wheels" are very popular on freshwater filters, because their continuous rotation oxygenates the bacterial colonies and also helps prevent mini-cycles whenever you change out your filter pad. In effect your filter does not reduce your bioload- it is merely how we deal with it outside of frequent partial water changes. Also depending on what your filter media consists of it can provide chemical filtration as well (ex. removing medications and tannins from driftwood).

The return water from the filter doesn't matter either way. It's just important to keep the majority of your water surface disturbed and moving the whole time, but at least in one area not so hard that it makes it difficult for your betta to get to the surface and breathe.

LFS tanks are always going to be overcrowded because the fish are only going to be there a short time.

Using filters of higher rating than seems necessary is common both in the hobby and at the store- many people believe that you can never have too much filtration. =)

Bettas live in rice paddies and other shallow, wide bodies of water. You are correct in believing that a cup is a very poor home for one. The cup system relies on the myth that bettas live in ditches or hoofprints filled with water and the fact that many pet store managers believe what yours told you- that bettas will attack any other fish they come across. I visited a pet store last week and saw a betta that had escaped its clip-on "house" and was swimming around peacefully in a community of corydoras. An employee walked by, saw it, and immediately freaked out before chasing it around the tank with a net and putting it into a cup. She explained to me that it was only a matter of time before the "vicious fish" attacked the cats below.

Picking out healthy fish is a skill that is best gained through experience, but in general: 1) Don't select fish that have redness around the gills, visible parasites such as ich, emanciated guts, or that are floating or swimming strangely. 2) Ask for a feeding demonstration and examine how much vigor the fish you are looking at exhibits when trying to get food. Keep in mind that some fish may vary on this point depending on their habits (such as some of the nocturnal catfish), but tetras, livebearers, cichlids, and most other "open swimmers" should react. 3) A lack of vivid coloration can be a sign of illness, but it can also simply be stress or due to the fish's age or sex. Avoid fish that have an obvious pallid or white surface, but also do not leap for the brightest fish in a flock simply because it is more colorful than the others. Some fish can also become darker when they get sick.

HTH. Sounds like you are on the right track.
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:11 AM   #6
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Oh thats excellent information...thanks!!

The tank plants and decorations I have in the ten gallon came from an established tank, so maybe that helped me get lucky with my short cycle and new fish.
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