The Clean Betta

I was reading over my comments from a few weeks ago, and saw someone posted about their own betta fish experience. A few of them had died, one of them due to… soap poisoning?

That sounds pretty funny at first; I honestly laughed, just because it sounds so ridiculous. However, it’s a pretty common problem with new owners. As humans, we believe soap and/or disinfectants = clean. The same rule doesn’t apply for fish though. They actually thrive in filth, to some degree. Good bacteria reduces the amount of ammonia in fish tanks, which keeps the nitrite and nitrate levels at the proper level. So put down the Dawn, and try this instead.

How you clean your tank properly depends on the size. If it’s larger than 2 gallons, it’s better to siphon about half of the water and clean the gravel in the process. Some people recommend even less than half. Technically, you don’t even have to take your fish out to clean it. But you might scare the heck out of them.

Steve lives in a half-gallon tank right now, so I just put her in a little plastic cup (much like one a person would put beer in) filled with water and I dump the rest of it in the sink. I also make sure all the residue at the bottom is gone. However, I won’t scrub her plastic plant, castle, or inside of the tank. This still keeps some of the necessary bacterias sticking inside of it.

And a word to the wise, be careful when taking your fish out of the tank. Bettas are natural jumpers, and will probably try to jump ship while you’re trying to fish it out. Steve’s pulled that one on me once; she wound up on the desk, and I had to drag her into the cup of water. Needless to say, she no longer interferes when I’m trying to keep her home clean.

And don't do this either. We're watching you, kid.

Another important tip that a lot of people forget is to put a water conditioner in the tank, regardless of its size. Fish aren’t accustomed to swimming in our tap water, which contains certain contaminates that could harm it. You don’t need much either: a capful per two gallons is all that’s necessary.

What keeps you clean won’t keep your fish clean. So keep your soap to yourself.

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