Changing Betta Fish Water – Don’t Accidentally Poison Your Betta!
It is critical to follow this advice when changing betta fish water. Waste material and toxins in the form of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate can accumulate if the water is not changed regularly. These toxins are extremely harmful to aquarium fish and sea life. Ammonia and nitrite are the most dangerous, while nitrate, which comes from the bacteria in the water, is less dangerous but can still be lethal in high enough doses. These toxins can come from several different sources:
Fish waste – Fish waste is the main contributor to the poisons in the water – ammonia is the worst of these maters and is toxic even at small levels.
Uneaten food – Uneaten food is another contributor to ammonia in the water and one of the biggest reasons to schedule your changing betta fish water. If you feed your fish too much, this will happen more rapidly. Check out
Plants and Substrate – Plants can either help clean out some toxins or be the cause of them. Healthy plants tend to be great for your fish – they clean and oxidize the water, provide a place for your betta to play, and are great to look at. However, dead or dying plants deteriorate in the water and cause more ammonia and other toxins. Make sure to remove any dead leaves or dying plants to prevent this. In terms of substrate, gravel tends to be much better for your fish than a sandy bottom tank, which can hold (and hide) more decaying matter. Larger substrate, like gravel, is also much easier to clean.
Filtration – The type of filtration device (or if you even have one) will play a factor in the toxicity level and therefore frequency of changing betta fish water.
The frequency of the water changing will depend on the size of the tank. Smaller tanks, such as a one gallon tank, will require a complete water change every two or three days. For larger tanks and tanks with filtration devices, you can change the water less frequently. Try to maintain a minimum of a two gallon tank for a single fish in order to extend the betta life span and keep him as happy as possible. If you are a beginner or this is your first betta, it will be much easier to care for him in a larger tank. If you are an advanced hobbyist, then you can probably handle the more careful attention required by using smaller tanks.
It’s critically important to maintain a consistent water temperature and other water conditions (such as pH balance) whenever doing a water change. Read Water Temperature for Betta Fish and Water for Betta Fish for detailed information on the water temperature for your betta, as well as pH balance, type of water, minerals, chemicals and other important information. Don’t shock your betta by introducing water that is more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit different than his existing water.
Cycling is one way to maintain healthy water without replacing all the water in your tank. This will reduce the need for changing betta fish water significantly. The nitrogen cycle is a naturally occuring process that occurs all over the world. Good bacteria grow and reproduce while consuming the toxins produced by fish and dying plants. It can be difficult to arrive at the right conditions for this process to occur, but it will happen. If you plan to cycle your tank, you’ll need to only change about a quarter of the water at any given time.
If your tank is not cycled (the majority of betta fish owners), then changing betta fish water must occur in full and fairly often. The best way to determine when changing betta fish water is necessary is to start with a 100% water change and then test for ammonia levels daily. The first day, the ammonia level should be 0. If it takes a week for your testing to show ammonia, then you should change the water every 5-6 days. If you add any fish or plants, change the food, or make any other changes, make sure to go through this process again.
Do You Want to Ensure Your Betta Lives a Happy, Healthy Life?
If you answered YES to the above question, then I highly recommend you get Caring for Betta Fish: a Guide for Betta Lovers by Marcus Song.
This regularly updated, essential guide includes the right plants to keep water clean and free from ammonia, ways to acclimate your Betta to other fish, and much more. Your Betta Fish will thank you for the rest of his life! Click Here to get it now!