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#2021 01/09/03 12:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
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slach Offline OP
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Hello! I'm new here and I'm happy to find this forum to post my question. I have had a lovely "gold" Betta whom I named "Gordon" for about 6 weeks now. According to petshop instructions, I have been carefully cleaning 1/10th of his water from his 1 gallon bowl every day and replacing it with aged water. I use a turkey baster reserved for fish only to remove wastes from the bottom of the bowl. There is no gravel, only some plastic beads and a plastic plant held down by some glass marbles. His PH is around 6.6 to 6.8. He is fed some tiny bits of a pea in the morning and some frozen blood worms in the evening and all left-overs are suctioned out 10 minutes after feeding. I was shocked yesterday to do a nitrite test and find it over .8! I did a 20% water change and another 20% water change today but it remains around .8 He seems happy, eager to eat and flares at the mirror when I put it up. He's active and alert. I have an established 10-gal. aquarium inhabited by goldfish and used their water to replace the water I removed from Gordon's bowl today, hoping the bacteria in that water would help lower the nitrite level in the bowl. Can you tell me what I can do to improve his water condition and should I be doing something quickly?

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#2022 01/11/03 01:22 PM
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Hi Lizzy... welcome, and thanks for answering my cat post, I checked that too!

Aren't gold bettas beautiful? I have 2 myself, a gold female & male breeding pair (I also breed some other colors, but I think golds are my favorite).

It's obvious that you know a little basic knowledge about the nitrogen cycle, so that's very good to see (also, the fact that you are concerned over small things that can affect your fish, and take the time out to try and correct them before they get out of hand). What I will tell you is the same as I told the others in the other betta posts... though bettas can be successfully kept in bowls with a number of IF's (if you keep the water from getting too cold, if you are religious about doing regular water changes & not overfeeding)... you will never get the full benefits of an-all-out nitrogen cycle as you would in a small tank with some kind of filtration. This is because the nitrogen cycle is pushed forward by bacteria that are primarily aerobic--such as species of Nitrosomas, which require some circulation to really grow at appreciable rates. In a bowl, you will eventually get small numbers of these living in the gravel as the small setup ages, but they will be low numbers, and so denitrify only at a very, very slow rate compared to that seen in a running filter. As a result, if you do decide to stick with a bowl, feeding becomes a very major issue. The way the manager at the pet store I work for sometimes puts it is "if you are a beginner and taking care of a betta, take how much food you think the betta needs, and feed it 1/4 of that". They will always look somewhat hungry because they are greedy, but overfeeding does a lot more harm than underfeeding in a mini-system that just can't handle the waste that is produced and not decomposed fast enough. This goes especially true for your case, where you are feeding bits of peas and bloodworms (both great foods in themselves, but they are frozen and so tend to dissipate into nutrient compounds in the water, decomposing quickly). So, for your case, I'd say:

1) Try feeding half as much
2) Your water changes sound great (really nice that you are willing to do small ones daily, that shows your devotion)
3) The nitrite spike sounds very temporary. In small bowls, it is extremely hard to acheive any kind of long-term balance, so you'll unfortunately have to deal with these from time to time if you decide to keep a bowl (I see nothing wrong with what you've done so far, and bettas are somewhat hardy fish that can deal with these ON OCCASION, if they are given a stable home otherwise, and if the flux goes back to normal within a short period of time, as yours sounds like it has already). However, for the long term, you might find it easier to manage a small 5 gallon setup which has a means of filtration and heat for the above reasons mentioned. If you should ever decide to change over, make sure you use all your old water, as this will help the tank cycle faster (your bacteria will pass over). Also, make any temperature adjustments slowly. Good luck whatever you decide...


Dear Baby,
Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.
Signed,
Homer Simpson
#2023 01/15/03 12:36 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 36
slach Offline OP
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Thank you so much Pandora, for your advice and your kind comments! For the time being, I'll keep him in the bowl. The nitrite level has come down to .3 so I'm not feeling so panicky but I'll continue to monitor his water regularly and seriously consider a small filtered and heated aquarium. It's a little issue of space at the moment - I have another 10-gal. aquarium already and then in the kitchen there is one large birdcage and one smaller one taking up space, and then Gordon sitting on the counter. Hubby is getting a little frustrated with me and my pets! LOL! Thanks again for your response, and "you're welcome" regarding my cat comments. Hope Kitty is doing well!

#2024 01/15/03 07:41 PM
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Yes, he's doing well... as usual, his favorite pasttime is sleeping on my dry-clean only clothes, LOL. But fortunately, not vomitting on them lately...hehe.


Dear Baby,
Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.
Signed,
Homer Simpson

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