Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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The Mayor 08-02-2010 07:05 AM

Pump/Filter help
Good day all;

My wife bought a small 2.5 gallon tank for our 6 yr. old daughter and I am starting to believe that the filtering system and or the tiny pump itself (Elite Mini A-130) are just not doing the job. It looks like the second fish we have bought now will die shortly. It is a beta and is the only fish in the tank.
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced pump that would work well in a small tank like this?

The present pump has a built in filter medium inside of it so maybe I need to consider a different type of filter also.

JohnnyD44 08-02-2010 07:18 AM

Hello, The Mayer, and welcome to TFK!

I'm guessing that if this is a newly set-up tank, the filter is not the issue at hand. Most aquariums have to go through whats known as a "cycle", also known as the "nitrogen cycle". Basically your filter needs to grow beneficial bacteria in order to handle the ammonia load which wil be present in your tank. The beneficial bacteria which needs to be grown, breaks down ammonia in your tank(which comes from fish waste, as well as food) into a far less toxic version of ammonia, ammonium.

If you are un familiar with the cycling process, please read up on this:

--For starters I would do a partial water change in your tank, 50%. Be sure you're using a water conditioner for the water going into your tank (Prime is a great one, as well as API Stress Coat).

-- I would try and get a reading of both your tap water and your current tank water. If any ammonia is present in the tank water, I would do an immediate water change. Any ammonia in your tank can kill your fish, so we need to keep all that in check. You can take your water to your LFS (local fish store) and have them test it for you, and while your there pick up an API Master Liquid Test kit. The kit will allow you test your levels at home, and be crucial during your cylcle. When you go to the LFS, have them give you exact numbers for your levels. Then post them here.

Once we have your water parameters, we can go from there.

~ Johnny

tanker 08-02-2010 07:26 AM

Is the tank heated?

The Mayor 08-02-2010 08:37 AM

Thanks JohnnyD44 & Tanker for your responses.

Being that I am the Dad and am working crazy hours I was hoping that I wouldn't have to go thru all of the cycling and water testing. As I said earlier, my wife bought the tank and I have to give her credit, she did buy water conditioner and has changed the water almost every other week. Yes, the tank does have a heater (7-15 watt I think).

The weird thing is that with both fish we have bought now, they both have lost either one of their fins or on this Beta that is now in the tank, it is losing it's blue colored skin below the fins.

tanker 08-02-2010 08:57 AM

Was the other fish a betta too? They need really clean water. You (or your wife) should be changing the water more than every other week, especially in a small tank, after it's cycled. While it's cycling you need to change the water more often than that to keep the ammonia down. If I were you, I'd try changing some water every day and see if your fish improves.

If the water isn't clean, the fish can get bacterial fin rot. Did they have any signs of problems when you bought them? If they came to you with an infection it would only have become worse if your fish were then exposed to ammonia in their water. As I understand it, changing the water more is also recommended for fin rot.

The Mayor 08-02-2010 01:28 PM

I am not going to lie to you. The tank was never originally cycled before the latest beta fish was inserted.
The first fish was a fantail goldfish. I told my wife after she bought it that it was a prolific pooper.
On average how long might it take to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank?

tanker 08-03-2010 12:33 AM

I'm no expert so I don't know. My answer would be "as long as it takes for the bacteria in the filter to sort themselves out". My tanks took about 6 weeks, but they are much bigger than 2.5 gallons so I doubt knowing that is of any use at all as to how long your tank would take.

Bettas can live in an uncycled tank if you change the water every day, which is what you may need to do while the tank is cycling. If you get the test kits, you just need to change the water frequently (maybe daily, or every other day) until you get nitrates, then you can change it once or twice a week. At this point, either way, you need to change the water more frequently than you have been, IMO.

The Mayor 08-04-2010 06:38 AM

I just read on another site that it is virtually impossible to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank and keep the ammonia in check due to the size. If so, it looks like we need to go to a larger capacity tank.

zof 08-04-2010 01:51 PM


Originally Posted by The Mayor (Post 439040)
I just read on another site that it is virtually impossible to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank and keep the ammonia in check due to the size. If so, it looks like we need to go to a larger capacity tank.

You can cycle any size tank, the true question is, is there enough hard area in the tank for the bacteria to grow on for the fish load you have? If you just have a beta in the tank I would image you would be fine, of course don't let me stop you from getting a bigger tank, bigger is always better when it comes to fish keeping. The more water in the tank the more slowly you will see things happening to water quality, so you will have a chance to correct it.

If your worried about insufficient places for the bacteria to grow then add more decorations in the tank, the bacteria will grow on any hard surface.

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