Many people will get their breeding stock over seas from breeders in Thailand. Their fish show great health and beautiful sturdy finnage. If you breed these fish at all, you will quickly realize their water quality affects everything from spawning to the condition of their fins. Curled fins and bent rays are often a result of water parameters getting out of line.
I have heard that the water Bettas are native to is very soft and has a low ph. That would mean water more on the acid side of the ph scale and very little calcium and other minerals in the water. But upon reading how necessary calcium is for good growth and finnage in fish, I wondered what the water parameters actually were. So, this last bunch I imported I asked my transshipper to save the water they were shipped in and to bag it up and send it to me with the fish. I was going to know once and for all what kind of water these fish came out of. Not only could I make sure that the water I had here for them was close to home, I could expect better spawning behavior if water was close to what they were raised in.
So here are the results. If anyone that imports fish and would like to test the water and send me the results, I will compile a database here for all to see. Hopefully knowing the source water will improve our success with our imports. I have a nice program that I keep a log of my water parameters and it has a handy chart that I will be using to show you where the water parameters for the different breeders fall. Ignore the last CO2 as it is automatically calculated and for planted tanks.
The water parameters I got from Banleang were typical of what most expect to see a betta raised in. All values were very low. The pH was acidic at 6.4. The kH was between 2 dKH or 35.8 ppm and the gH was between 2-3 dKH or 35.8- 53.7 ppm. As can be imagined with such low values, there is not much in the water so the TDS, or total dissolved solids is also low at about 142. Another thing about this shippers water was it was very dark from IAL. So one can assume the fish are used to a lot of tannins in their water.
This information actually was very useful for me. I love this breeders fish but they have always struggled here and really did not last long for me. Many fish just kinda laid around and the recent Red male pretty much did the same thing. Once I saw these parameters I dumped out half of his water and added pure RO water. My parameters are a bit higher than what his fish is used to, so cutting with the pure RO should have lowered everything and gotten the water close to what he was raised in. I also added 3 Indian Almond Leaves. By morning the water was so dark I could barely make out the fish, but he had a huge bubble nest and was flaring his heart out at the boy next door. In the future I will make sure I have very soft water to receive this breeders fish to avoid stress.
I also set up a spawn for this male with soft water. Not as soft as he is used to, but still much softer than my usual parameters. I was rewarded by a spawn in 24 hours after setting them up. I will gradually add more of my regular water to the fry as they grow and they should do just fine.
So the next test I did was Aquastar. I still expected some soft water, though figured not all would be as soft as Banleang. Boy was I surprised! Aquastar had water parameters completely different and way to the other side of the scales. On every value he was much higher. His pH ran 7.8-7.9. That is very alkaline and seems rather high. In my experience that is close to fin curling water. His kh runs 11 dKH or 196.9 ppm. The gH is also high at 12 dKH or 214.8 ppm. With these values there is a lot more dissolved solids in the water so the TDS is also high at 363. This breeder always has incredible fish with great fins, so higher values, if the fish is raised in them, works just fine. There is no need to mess with your water and try to get that soft blackwater so many talk about. Just adjust for an import from softer water and raise the fry in your regular water.
His fish have always done well with my water, and though my values are not as high as where they were raised, they are high enough to make the transition to my water easily.
O Betta Shop
This is the first time I have bought fish from this breeder. I found his water parameters to be in line with mine and about where I thought they might be over seas. I was not entirely convinced the water was as soft as most people say, and after 3 tests, it seems the soft water is the exception, not the rule. His pH I found to be between 7.2 – 7.4. The kH was 5 dKH or 89.5 ppm and the gH was also 5 dKH or 89.5 ppm. The TDS or amount of solids in the water was 190. I actually expected to see the TDS around 225 with those values as that is what mine is close to. But we are still pretty close and the fish from this breeder seemed pretty content in my water.
This was another first time getting fish from this breeder. So far we had very soft, very hard and one right in the middle. I really had no guess at this point. What I found was this breeder also had water pretty much in the middle. Ph coming in 7.2-7.4. The kh was like the previous breeder at 5 dKH or 89.5 ppm. But the gH was a bit higher.. with a value of 8 dKH or 143.2 ppm. With the higher gH we can expect to see an increase in the dissolved solids and the TDS came in about 271.
What does this mean to you?
If you buy fish from over seas, you are investing quite a bit of money in the fish and the shipping to get them to your door. If you know your water parameters, and know what the sellers is, you can match your water to the sellers and reduce the stress of that new import. You know how good it is to get back home in your own bed after traveling. The fish have only their water. After the stress of shipping, having water that feels familiar to them will go a long way to keeping them healthy in your home. The water change on Banleang’s fish made a huge difference in how happy and settled the fish was. this type of information will be very helpful to breeders everywhere.
So I’d like to continue to add water parameters of breeders to this list. If you import, get your transshipper to send their water too and get a test kit. Let us know your results and we will continue to add to this list.