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Old 09-14-2016, 07:43 PM
19 posts, read 15,143 times
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Hi! I have a 3 gallon tank with a filter and a heater. All I have in the tank for fish is one male betta. I'm wondering how often I should change the water and what percentage? I can't seem to find a clear answer online. Answers range from once a month to once a week. Some sites even imply I'm a monster for keeping a betta in anything less than a 12 gallon tank and I need to do 100% water changes every day. I'm up for doing whatever frequency of changes needed to keep him healthy. Also...not sure if makes a difference or not but I have a couple fake plants, one real plant and one suction cup leaf that they like to lounge on in there as well.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:58 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,495 posts, read 26,875,485 times
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The betta can breathe some air, so it can manage with a smaller volume of water than some other fish can. It would be nice to plan on a larger tank at some point, because they like to swim when they have room to do it.

As far as water changes, when you first set up your tank, it has to cycle and may need more frequent changes. You can get some bacteria to culture your tank at the pet store (like this Top FinĀ® Bacteria Supplement Aquarium Cycling Water Conditioner | Cycling Aids/Bacteria | PetSmart ) , or get some gunk from a friend's tank to get the right bacteria growing in there.

I would change a gallon every week at first, more often if it's cloudy or really smelly. The danger is that the ammonia levels in the tank will get high enough to be dangerous to your fish before the good bacteria grow to start eating the ammonia. The smaller the tank, the more problems you can have with water quality.

Once you notice it having less odor, you can gradually space the water changes out. You don't ever want to change all of the water at one time, and even changing too much water too often can mess up the balance in your tank.

When you do get a bigger tank, put some of the water from the old tank into the new tank along with your fake plants and that will help the tank cycle sooner. A ten gallon tank won't take up much more room than the three gallon, but he'll have room to really swim around.
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:49 AM
19 posts, read 15,143 times
Reputation: 72
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:03 AM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,860,312 times
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general rule of thumb is 10% volume once a week for general maintence.
on my smaller tanks I generally do 10% weekly then once a month ill do a 25% change with a gravel vac as I find I get more accumulation in my smaller tanks for some reason...
but my parameters stay nice and stable at 10% a week (and if I occasionally forget my monthly maint it oesnt seem to be a big issue.)
the smaller the tank the more frequent the water changes should be, better to do a 5% water change every day than a 50% water change every week...on smaller tanks large water changes can throw off parameters REALY quickly.

live plants also help if your willing to use them

my personal betta fish seem MORE than happy in tanks ranging from 1 gallon to 5 gallons, anything more than 5 gallons I find they hide a lot more unless I mix them with none aggressive quiet none lashy fish (ie white clouds) anything smaller than a gallon is too small...but 3 gal tank for a betta is perfectly acceptable.
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