Q: I replaced 50% of my betta's water yesterday; however, the nitrites are still between .25 and .50.  Should I replace some of the water again or do you believe that it is okay to use Amquel+ to remove the nitrites.

Question submitted by Linda, Miami - FL

A: Linda, Linda, Linda.... I am missing some important pieces of the puzzle such as: Is there a filter in this set-up? What is the betta in, a tank? A bowl? How large?

So I have to (once again) put on my psychic hat on ;) and say that if your betta is in a jar and does not have a filtering system, then when you do a water change you should do a 100%. How often to do the 100% water change will depend on how large the bowl is. If 1 gal or less, once a week, if 2 gal once every 10 days. This also depends on how much you feed, what you feed etc... 

If you however have a filtering system (say your betta is in a 5 gal tank with corner filter), then the filter is going to clean up some of the nitrites and a water change becomes less critical (although still necessary). In such a set-up I recommend doing a 50% water change once a month (in the case of a single betta). If you do it regularly, the nitrite levels should never rise, especially once the filter has become established and the tank has cycled. But let's assume you slacked off and did not change the water for a while and now there is a good amount of nitrites in the tanks' water: Then you would do a 70% water change, replace the carbon, and let the filter clean up the rest of the nitrites. If filter is not performing right and nitrites still high, then do another 70 % water change a week later.

Chemicals are not efficient at removing nitrites (if they were we'd all be using them to wiggle our way out of jar cleaning!! LOL). So do not rely on any chemicals to do your job (which is to replace water), regardless of what the label claims. Many products claim to do many things that they simply do NOT do. (However I do not believe that Amquel claims to remove nitrites).

So hugh, Wise Mermaid Who Swims With Bettas has spoken.