gravel in betta tank

Ezzy1986(NSW Aust)August 16, 2005

I'd like to add some gravel (as decoration and to secure some plants i'd also like to get) for my bettas tank. Is this ok for my fishies (two, in separate tanks)? What type of maintenance is required if i do get some?

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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

If you are cycling, gravel or sand is essential. Otherwise, gravel will only trap detritus and contribute to rising ammonia levels in your tanks.

I have five tanks, 5 gallons and under, and all of them are barebottomed. I have scattered marbles in some, but not enough to cover the bottom, they're just for decoration. my fish are just fine, and it's really easy to see poop and get rid of it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 11:23AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

If I remeber correctly you have a 2.5 gal. , Normally in a larger tank you would use a gravel vacuum. Since you are going with live plants(assumeing you are useing type that require substrate/gravel) gravel vacuum isnt necessary every week or 2 like a non-live planted tank. Only every 4-6 months a thorough gravel vacuum is needed. In a smaller tank just uproot the plant and remove the betta to a "fishbucket". Do a good(only 1/2 the tank) vacuum or remove the gravel and rinse well in fresh water This is easier in a small tank, larger tanks this would be more work). Return the fish and plant.The next week do the other 1/2 the same way. Weekly water changes just use a syphon type gravel vacuum to remove water and hover over the substrate to remove any poop and debris. They make gravel vacuums for small tanks. They are a bit tricky at first but like anything you will get the hang of it. First couple of attempts may cause a little water on the floor so prepare.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 1:59PM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

But Ezzy isn't cycling the tank, so there would be no need to do continuous 50% changes.

I avoid doing the gravel vacuuming first by having no gravel, and second by using a turkey baster to suck up poop every day.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 8:49AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

That is an option, but if Ezzy wants live plants and gravel for looks. This was a suggestion. I never mentioned continuous 50% water changes, only every 4-6 months do a thorough cleaning of 1/2 the gravel then the other 1/2 the next week. I didn't know that Ezzy had allready desided to go with no filtrtion or cycleing.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 1:01PM
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Ezzy1986(NSW Aust)

I'm still very confused... I think ultimately I'll be going with the filtration and cycling... I just need to find some sort of check list that tells me all the stuff I need before I start out

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 8:25AM
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Minaku(z6 Pittsburgh)

Okay, here goes:

Filter (preferably a low-powered one as bettas don't like water moving around a whole lot)
BioSpira or some filter media from an established tank
Master test kit (tests for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates)
Preferably no fish in the fishtank

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 8:55AM
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Ezzy1986...Please clarify what size of tank you have? I am confused reading the different threads here.

Gravel is not essential for cycling or anything else in the aquarium hobby. Gravel is for pleasing the eye only. It can hold down plants but then so can a larger rock....depends what you want to look at. If you add gravel to your will have to be stirred and cleaned weekly. If you don't keep it clean it will cause poor water quality.

For cleaning gravel I have two is a hand siphon with a bulb on the end to get it started.....on this one.....I attached a dowel with elastics....the dowel comes down a bit past the end of the siphon tube....I stir the gravel gently with this and the siphon takes out the loosened debris. The other tool I use is called a Phython water changer....this one hooks up to the tap and all you do is push the end into the gravel and it stirs it up and removes the debris as you move along the tank.

To start a new will need, tank,lid, filter, heater. After about a month of just adding fish food flakes once in a a 25% water change and add a fish closely....if he shows signs of stress do a 25 to 50% water change......Or you can purchase test kits and do water changes as necessary according to the readings.

If you have an established tank already...take some water and the filter media out and use it in this new tank...this will speed things up and you won't get a ammonia peak.

May I suggest you go to the library and see what books or videos they have for setting up aquariums and such.

Your local store may also have some basic books that will help you with this stuff. There are also magazines such as Aquarium Fish and Fresh Water and Marine Aquarium Magazine that might be of interest to you.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 3:33PM
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Ezzy1986(NSW Aust)

Sierra, the tank is 12 litres... which is about 3 gallons and is hexagonal. I already have the fish and no spare tank so do not think I can set up the cycle yet if it is going to take a month to settle down. I guess my fishies will have to live unfiltered with frequent water changes

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:19PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Ezzy showed interest in adding live plants in this or another thread. Also if she did deside to "cycle" the gravel would help, because it is extra surface area or bacteria to grow,Especially in the darker areas under ornaments and rocks. It is a PITA to vacuum, I admit, but you should only do 1/2 the gravel 1 week and the other 1/2 the next. In a planted tank (with gravel rooting plants)only hover to remove surface "poop" and thorough Vac. every 4-6 months. And at this time you only should do 1/2 one week and the other the next.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:46AM
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Ezzy...I can see where you can get very confused with re-reading these posts.

Let me see if I understand this have a 3 gallon tank with a betta in it? Or what kind of fish and how many?

First of all...As soon as you added water and the fish....the cycle has started. You have no control over that. The cycle however will cause peaks and many fish simply won't survive that. To get your fish through this cycle since you have already added will have to do frequent water changes for at least a month and a half. I would change about 30% one day and 50% the next for this period of time. Get an ammonia test kit...and monitor for the peaks....This is the cycle and it will settle down in time. But the water changes are a must to get your fish through this. After the cycle settles can go to weekly water changes...instead of daily water changes.

Gravel is not a necessity....I didn't say it didn't allow surface for bacteria to grow....but I would like to point out...that the tank bottom and sides are also a surface that bacteria will grow.....

As for the can vacumm the whole tank once a week and it will not hurt anything. Here is proof. These are some of my live planted tanks.

Live plants no gravel. :O

And yes vacuuming planted tanks is a PITA...but it can be done.

Please understand that fish keeping allows for many different ways to do things....there is no one way that things have to be done. What works for one person..may not work for the next. I speak from experience and education in this field of fish.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 12:46PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Are those Zebra Ottos in the potted plant tank. Sierra I never said it was a necessity. Minaku stated it was essential not I. The original post was "I would like to add some gravel (as a decoration, and to secure some plants i'd also like to get)". I was responding more to the ????'s of Ezzy. Some plants (heavy root feeders) benefit from iron rich substrate. I agree with you that it is not a necessity. It is however more natural looking IMO. Most stem plants do fine just floating, but the appearance is what ezzy was going for, I think. What are your potted plants rooted in? Also I never said you shouldn't gravel vac. I said you don't have to as frequently. It is entirely up to the person. I just suggested hovering as apposed to plungeing the tube into the gravel as most instructions on the vacuums will tell you. If that is done,especially with a newly planted tank all you are going to do break the root system and have a tank full of floating plants. Not to mention any fertilizer tablets/spike for the root feeders.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 12:02AM
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