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What about water quality?

zlher - If anyone in this club is interested in having water with pH of 5.0 to 6.0 (in hard water) can use a Brita UltraMax filter to lower your regular tapwater's pH. The brita filter is an excellent unit for removing calcium and magnesium deposits from your tap water. It also removes some bacteria that may/may not cause problems with young fry. I find the Brita filter an indispensable tool for lowering water pH. With softer water, most pH correction supplements (pH Up/pH Down or Proper pH) works very well. Below is the method I use and the water is kept at a steady pH of 7.0 for about 2 weeks or more.

1. Filter required # of gallons thru the Brita filter.
2. Condidtion and treat filter water with Am Quel and Perfect pH 7.0.
3. Let water stand 24 hours with heater set at 82 degree before usage.
- Nov 25, 2000

Leng Lim - Clean Water and Regular Feedings : Change water on a regular basis with water of the same temperature. The number of water changes per week depends on the number of time you feed your fish each day and the size of the container the fish are kept in. The larger the container the longer you can go in between water changes. Decide on how many times you would like to feed your bettas each day and stick to it. Consistency with water and food are important in maintaining healthy fish. I feed my adult bettas about 12 brine shrimps per day and I change water twice a week. Make sure the frozen brine shrimps are fully thawed before feeding them to your fish. My bettas are kept in 1 liter ("quart jars") and 2 liter jars. Two liter jars are preferred over 1 liter jars. - Oct 29, 2000 link
bettasvancouver - Ok so you did get me thinking all afternoon here is my synopsis for all it is worth. If we took our bette and introduced them back into the wild they would not last 5 mins, due to their brilliant colors and finnage. So Man has created this species of betta we are breeding today. So where is its natural habitat in a tank or cup. Yes I agree for breeding ideal conditions would be perfect in our man made ecosystem. It is a subject I have tried to bring up on many occasions and have never really got from anyone what his or her water conditions are and their success or failure rate is. I know it must be very difficult for most breeders to have this sort of record in individual tanks. But even if they took one or 2 tanks and took the time to measure and watch the water condition, would be very interesting. Here are my water conditions and they are very constant: PH 7.2, Ammonia 0 PPM, Nitrite 0, KH 53.7, GH 89.5 Temperature in spawning tanks 80f in grow out tanks ranges from 72 – 78. I have 80 –90% survival rate in spawn and generally 50/50 male female. My pairs spawn generally within 24 hours, put them in the spawning tank in the morning release the female that evening and by the next morning they are spawning. Now on the odd occasion when the weather suddenly cools and I for get to check temp I have had pairs that wont spawn and it stumps me every time and it usually take a day or 2 for me to remember temperature and in goes a heater and spawning goes on as normal. This has happened to me in the last 2 weeks lost almost all out of 3 spawns took the heater out as soon as they were born and the temp went down to 72F. Also had 3 spawns male ate the eggs also temp. Took me 2 weeks of wondering why until I woke up to the fact the water for the young to cold. I have spawned those 3 males again and have had no problems. Water changes I do 25% every 2 days. The only additives I add to my tanks are water conditioners, which I am doing away with if I remember to full the water drum in time and salt. I had an out break of ick a few months back so also added coppersafe which I still do periodically if I see anything weird going on in the tanks. - Nov 25, 2000
B_Splendens - I rarely clean the sides of my betta jars because the surface area of the jar hosts nitrosomonas and nitrobacter -- which metabolize the toxic ammonia into less toxic substances -- eventually Nitrate. I change the water daily (or so) because it's what's dissolved in the water that offends the fish even though it's what we see on the sides of the container or accumulating on the bottom that offends us. Probably one of the hardest concepts for my students to accept is that you can't analyze the health or quality of an aquatic system with your eyes. Low pH, high NH3, high NO2, or heavy metals can't be detected by eyesight without a test kit or meter. Your nose is probably the best sense to detect water quality -- but there is no substiture for water test kits -- and frequent water changes. If you scrub the walls of the betta container thoroughly you are causing the new tank syndrome in your jar. Daily water changes keep this from being a problem. The problems are the worst when the betta keeper neglects water changes for week at a time, and then (perhaps feleing guilty) cleans the jar thorougly only to neglect the water changes for another week.

Therefore it's a balance between cleaning jars and water change. You need to examine you situation and change the water as often as you can and clean (scrub) the jar as infrequently as you can tollerate it. If you want to look at your betta frequently change the water often and don't worry about scrubbing the flora form the sides of the jar. If you have a couple hundred Bettas that you're growing out then don't clean the flora from the sides -- because the flora metabolize the waste products. But DO change the water as often as you can to remove waste proteins, nitrate, and other metabolites. - Nov 19, 2000

B_Splendens - Plants will have a very dynamic effect on the pH of the water -- and it's a diurnal rhythm. Let's start in mid day -- when the light is the brightest -- at this time the plants are removing CO2 from the water via photosynthesis. CO2 dissolved in water makes carbonic acid. So at mid-day when the light is the brightest the pH will be the highest as well. At night the plants no longer consume the CO2 and in fact are adding CO2 to the water. This causes the pH to drop from the increase in carbonic acids in the water. If an artificial lights stay on 24/7 the pH would be higher and not show the change due to CO2 -- assuming sunlight doesn't significantly increase the lumens during the day.

Next: Water has a capacity to resist a change in the pH. This resistance to pH change is called the buffering capacity. Hard water has a higher buffering capacity than soft water. What "hard water" really means is a presence of Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) compounds in the water. It's these compounds (for the most part) that give the water it's bufferieng capacity. If the water is run through a water softener then the Ca and Mg ions are swapped with Sodium (Na) ions using an ion exchange resin. The Sodium ions and their compounds are not (significant) buffers so softer water is prone to more dramatic shifts in pH. The pH can shift on a daily cycle from CO2 concentration as I mentioned above, but also it tends to gradually drop with the accumulation of Nitrate (NO3) -- the end product of the nitrogen cycle. The Nitrogen cycle to review for those interested is the process when a filter such as a sponge filter enlists the assistance of bacteria to convert the waste ammonia (very toxic) to nitrite(toxic) and then to nitate (not very toxic). When nitrate accumulates the pH drops because of an increase in nitric acid in the aquarium. Rotting vegitation can also increase in carboxilic (I think?) acids such as acetic acid. This gradual decrease in pH is slowed by well buffered water, but is generally inevitable unless the light is sufficiently bright and the plants flourishing so that they remove these compounds from the water via metabolism. - Nov 19, 2000

Leng Lim - Consistent Water Temperature : Keep your bettas in rooms with constant temperature. This mean that you should not place any jars next to a window or on top of a TV. Quick changes in water temperature causes stress on bettas and stress will definitely lead to diseases such as ick or velvet. - Oct 23, 2000 link

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