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Given A Siamese Fighting Fish

Author Topic: Given a siamese fighting fish  (Read 1790 times)

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Offline Novice

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Given a siamese fighting fish
« on: September 06, 2016, 09:15:54 PM »
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A client of mine was moving house and so gave me her tank with 2 female siamese fighting fish. She told me they are easy to look after and that not to heat or filter the water as she has owned loads and finds that this just stresses them and kills them. Knowing nothing at all I said I would take the fish for her.
1 fish died shortly after getting the tank home. I then decided to read up as much as I could and felt that the clue was in the name- tropical fish! Surely the tank should be heated and filtered. Anyway over been to my local fish shop and got a filter and heater. I wanted to get a friend for her/fish so decided to look at what I could get that would be compatible which is when I came across this site. So to cut it short. The tank is only 30cm with maybe 15ltres water so going by advice on here the tank is too small. I am going to upgrade to a 60cm tank and I'd like to get another siamese and some other calm fish as suggested on here- what fish would these be?
Before I do any of this I also need advice on water. It got tap safe and done a 50%clean. She hasn't been out of her little cave yet, but when she has she seems much better and is darting about rather than laying as if asleep on the bottom of the tank or in the corner in reeds- I feel so awful that this little fish has clearly had a very poor quality of life! But I am going to change this. Water wise -what do I need to know about alkaline etc as seen it mentioned a lot on here though fish shop said nothing about this. Just to filter and heat. All help and advice greatly appreciated!!!

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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 08:46:35 AM »
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Hello there and welcome to the forum.  :wave:
Sorry to hear that you were initially given poor advice and that one of the fish died.
You certainly did the right thing by researching your fish, then getting a heater and filter. Bettas don't like a huge amount of water flow, but filters are absolutely essential to build up the bacteria for the nitrogen cycle to deal with the toxins produced from waste. You are doing a great job so far and it's good to hear that your betta is looking better.
The first thing I'd suggest is to get a water testing kit. I use the API freshwater master test kit. It's not cheap, but can be bought cheaper online than in the shops, is more accurate than the dip strip tests, and lasts for ages. Your filter will be starting to build up bacteria for the nitrogen cycle, which will cause high levels of ammonia, followed by nitrite, so you will need to test for these and deal with them.
As you already have the fish in your tank you will have to do a fish-in cycle, so I've attached a link that will help you through it.
http://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fish-in-cycling-with-fish-how-to-do-it/
As for getting a friend for you betta, they are fine on their own, but a bigger tank would be nice. It is possible to mix betta with other fish. I have my male betta in a 34 litre, 50cm tank, with a group of panda cory, and everyone seems to be getting along fine. I don't have any experience of female betta though, so perhaps some of the more experienced keepers will be able to offer advice on that.
As for other water parameters such as hardness, if you go to your water suppliers website you should be able to find a section on water quality, which will give a lot of information. The hardness will be listed under a number of units, and the german degrees of hardness are the ones usually used.
I hope that helps for now, just to get you started on cycling your tank and testing your water.
In fact, if you know someone with a tank that has a mature filter, perhaps you could ask them for some of their media to seed your filter and give you cycle a good start. If you don't know anyone else that keeps fish let me know as I am happy to send you some of my mature media, which should help to shorten your cycle.
Please keep us posted on your progress and let us know of any questions or issues, as we are more than happy to help as much as possible.
Best of luck.  :)

Online Sue

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 09:08:45 AM »
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Hi Novice and welcome  :wave:

Littlefish beat me to it; I was typing a reply and realised she had said everything  :)

Until you get the test kit, I recommend changing about 50% of the water every day. If you don't want to wait for the post, you can get just testers for ammonia and nitrite as they are the most important ones at the moment. Your water company's website should also give the pH hidden in the middle of its water quality report, so a pH tester can wait.
If you do go ahead with the bigger tank, you won't have to go through this cycling again as you can just put all the media from the current filter into the bigger tank's filter and get more fish a few at a time.

Does the tank have gravel on the bottom or nothing? If there is gravel you will need to clean any fish poo and left over food out of it, so a fish cleaning siphon is another thing to buy of you weren't given one with the tank. If it is bare-bottomed, just a length of tubing is fine to suck up the mess.
The new water needs to be warmed to around the same temperature as the tank water with changes of over 20%. Comparing the temperature with your hand is good enough. If you have combi boiler you can use hot tap water to warm the new water but if you have a hot water cylinder, use boiling water from a kettle to warm it.
The tap safe (dechlorinator) should be added to the new water before it is put in the tank. If the dose of tap safe is an awkward amount to measure with a small tank, get a babies' medicine dosing syringe from a chemist shop. The "babies' medicine dosing" part is very important as you'll get the third degree if you ask for just a syringe. Or at least I did  ;D


I'll leave the subject of a bigger tank and tank mates for now. There's time for that later  :)

Offline Fiona

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 10:36:29 AM »
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You could always use Seachem Prime as a water conditioner, it'll detoxify the ammonia and nitrite until your filter has built up enough bacteria to deal with those toxins.


Offline Novice

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 08:07:09 PM »
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Hello there and welcome to the forum.  :wave:
Sorry to hear that you were initially given poor advice and that one of the fish died.
You certainly did the right thing by researching your fish, then getting a heater and filter. Bettas don't like a huge amount of water flow, but filters are absolutely essential to build up the bacteria for the nitrogen cycle to deal with the toxins produced from waste. You are doing a great job so far and it's good to hear that your betta is looking better.
The first thing I'd suggest is to get a water testing kit. I use the API freshwater master test kit. It's not cheap, but can be bought cheaper online than in the shops, is more accurate than the dip strip tests, and lasts for ages. Your filter will be starting to build up bacteria for the nitrogen cycle, which will cause high levels of ammonia, followed by nitrite, so you will need to test for these and deal with them.
As you already have the fish in your tank you will have to do a fish-in cycle, so I've attached a link that will help you through it.
http://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fish-in-cycling-with-fish-how-to-do-it/
As for getting a friend for you betta, they are fine on their own, but a bigger tank would be nice. It is possible to mix betta with other fish. I have my male betta in a 34 litre, 50cm tank, with a group of panda cory, and everyone seems to be getting along fine. I don't have any experience of female betta though, so perhaps some of the more experienced keepers will be able to offer advice on that.
As for other water parameters such as hardness, if you go to your water suppliers website you should be able to find a section on water quality, which will give a lot of information. The hardness will be listed under a number of units, and the german degrees of hardness are the ones usually used.
I hope that helps for now, just to get you started on cycling your tank and testing your water.
In fact, if you know someone with a tank that has a mature filter, perhaps you could ask them for some of their media to seed your filter and give you cycle a good start. If you don't know anyone else that keeps fish let me know as I am happy to send you some of my mature media, which should help to shorten your cycle.
Please keep us posted on your progress and let us know of any questions or issues, as we are more than happy to help as much as possible.
Best of luck.  :)
Thank you So much little fish,  that's really good informative advice- there's so much to do with tropical fish, I see why people fall in love with it... sadly the fish died today:( I'd assume from the toxins in the filter perhaps, or maybe really she was on her last fins anyway...I think the lady who gave them to me had them for over 6months-in fact more like a year, without a filter or heater, so I guess the outlook wasn't good from that alone :'( however I would now like to get some tropical fish to use the tank and equipment I have brought too, but firstly I am going to make sure I have everything else sorted and ready like you have suggested here. I live in reading so know is extremely hard water and so will now check this out properly like you have suggested and get the tester kit. Then I just need to decide what's the best fish.

Thank you all for your amazing support and advice!

Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Siamese Fighting Fish (female) (1) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Online Sue

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2016, 08:19:28 PM »
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I'm sorry to hear that about the fish. You are probably correct in that the treatment she had received with her previous owner shortened her life considerably.

However, if you want to get another fish, and a siamese fighter male or female (just one fish) is about the only fish suitable for a tank that size, can I suggest you do a fishless cycle before making a purchase. It will mean not having anything in the tank for a few weeks but it is much easier that trying to keep a fish alive during cycling. Basically it is a method of growing bacteria before any fish are in the tank, using ammonia from a bottle to simulate fish waste.
There is a step by step guide to fishless cycling here. It looks a bit off putting at first but read through it a few times and ask any questions about it.





I also should add that if you decide on a bigger tank, 2 siamese fighters is a bad number. 2 males will fight to the death; a male and female will end up with one fish badly injured; and with 2 females, one will bully the other. Females can be kept together but only in groups of at least 4, and preferably by someone with a fair amount of experience in these fish. Females can be as aggressive as males.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 08:37:00 PM »
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So sorry to hear that the other fish passed away today.
If she had been kept without a filter and heater previously I'm not surprised that things didn't end well. Such a shame though.
Fishless cycling is the way forward if you are considering getting another fish. If you get a bigger tank there are a lot of lovely fish suitable for hard water areas. Spend some time going through the fish profiles on this site, and using the community creator to see which fish can work together in the size tank you get. have a look around some aquatic stores as well, to see if there is anything that you really like.
One very big warning though, some advice that I can give you from personal experience, this fish thing is very addictive.  ;D There are so many lovely fish suitable for each type of water, and once you start looking you may find so many that you want that you end up thinking "oh, I'll just get one more tank for some of......". The next thing you know your living room is full of fish tanks, and you talk to all of your aquatic housemates on a daily basis.  ;D 

Online Sue

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2016, 08:41:00 PM »
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Littlefish is well known on the forum for her inability to refuse to buy more tanks  ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2016, 08:58:38 PM »
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 :rotfl:
So true.

Offline Fiona

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Re: Given a siamese fighting fish
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2016, 11:07:02 AM »
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Sorry to hear the poor fish died, it's not surprising under the circumstances. A fishless cycle does take time, usually 40 plus days if it's done without the benefit of mature media but it's worth the time spent as it minimizes stress to the fish.

I'd be careful what filter you select, you want to avoid those with cartridges filled with chemicals to remove toxins in the water. Once you have a cycled an mature filter you won't be needing anything like that. Ideally you're looking for a filter with a cavity that you can add some ceramic media to.

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