Cycling Aquarium Water – Keeping Betta Diseases at Bay By Elizabeth Christopher

April 10, 2010

Cycling Aquarium Water – Keeping Betta Diseases at Bay
By Elizabeth Christopher

Cycling aquarium water is the easiest and most effective way to keep betta diseases at bay. Often called the nitrification process, the tank set-up process, or water change process, cycling aquarium water refers to the process of building up good bacteria in your tank water, substrate and filter. This good bacteria then turns harmful ammonia into beneficial nitrates for your fish.

The vast majority of ammonia in your tank comes from the waste of your fish. If the right types of bacteria are not established when cycling aquarium water, these higher levels of waste and ammonia deteriorate the water quality, causing bad bacteria to weaken your fish, leaving them susceptible to many betta diseases.

Cycling aquarium water is a process that takes two to eight weeks, and should be attempted BEFORE you add your fish. It involves some simple steps, and a few necessary items.

1 – Test, Test, Test!

You need an aquarium test kit that checks for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH. Test the water at the same time of day for several days and write down your readings. The test kit will have instructions as to how to use it. Betta diseases are very easy to avoid, and testing your fish’s water condition is a major first step when cycling aquarium water.

2 – Add Nitrogen – Really!

Nitrogen is bad for your fish at high levels, but is necessary to cycle your tank. Add fish food to your fishless tank twice a day just as you would if you had fish. You can alternately drop a piece of fish one inch by two inches in instead. A commercial way to do this is to purchase liquid ammonia and add 5 drops per ten gallons of water. Add three drops per ten gallons of water daily after.

3 – Continue Testing – Where are the Nitrites?

After you notice ammonia present in your water, you will begin to get nitrite readings. This is just what you need to wipe out any betta diseases caused by bad bacteria. Soon after the intial nitrite readings, you will get nitrates showing up. At this stage, you need to do a 30% water change in your tank, and you are ready to add your fish.

Cycling aquarium water properly is a must if you are going to raise healthy, long-lasting bettas. By eradicating betta diseases before they get a foothold in your tank, you can extend your betta’s lifespan to three to five years. Always consult a comprehensive betta care guide when cycling your tank.

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Elizabeth here.

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Betta Water – Proper Betta Tank Setup For Healthy Fish

March 30, 2010

Betta Water – Proper Betta Tank Setup For Healthy Fish
By Elizabeth Christopher

Getting betta water just right is the single most important step to increasing your betta lifespan from the industry average of six moths to a whopping three to five years. This will insure proper betta temperature and water quality. This generally covers heating, water set-up, filtration and substrate (tank flooring) before introducing your fish. Get a comprehensive Betta Care Guide to cover all the deatils.

Betta water in the wild is generally clear to brackish, with little or no water flow. However, betta water in captivity is a whole different situation. A betta tank must be cycled to lower ammonia levels, kept at a constant temperature range, and have constant water changes to ensure a happy, healthy fish.

An ideal betta tank is a five or ten gallon low, rectangular shape. Bettas do not live in deep waters in the wild, so purchasing a deep betta tank is a waste of resources, and your betta will not fully use or enjoy his surroundings. Get a glass or acrylic betta tank, because these do not scratch or fade like plastic, and provide maximum visual enjoyment.

Purchase a water treatment kit at your pet store, follow the directions and get your betta water ready. It is important to let the water sit for 24 to 48 hours to allow the chemicals to affect the water properly. This will get the nitrates started that are needed in your betta tank to offer the best environment for healthy fish.

Substrate is an important part of betta tank setup, since it plays host to good bacteria that form in the tank floor and eat harmful bacteria and ammonia that comes from the fish’s waste. A medium size gravel is fine. I have found that sand, while beautiful in appearance, is much harder to clean, and can grow algae much more rapidly than gravel will.

Purchase a heater that has 3 – 5 watts per gallon size of betta tank. This will keep the betta water at the proper temperature, 78 to 82 degrees. Also get a temperature gauge to double check the heater’s readout.

When purchasing a filtration system, get one that contains some type of sponge filter. This is a great place for good bacteria to live, and help your fish ward off disease by keeping the betta water at a healthy level. Just as the bacteria in your substrate cleans the water, this bacteria polices the nitrite and nitrate levels in your betta tank, keeping them at an acceptable level.

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