Bio-Spira...Failure To Launch?

LZ Floyd

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Along with a little update, it’s time to get a little info.

For those of you who’ve not met him, our little Betta is Gainsborough.  Back in mid-February, GB was treated for fin rot for 10 days with penicillin in his Hex 5 filled with Amquel+-treated water.  He was moved after treatment to another tank filled with Stress Coat-treated water so we could ready his Hex 5 for cycling.  On 3/16, he was moved back into the Hex 5, which was filled with Novaqua+-treated water and dosed with Bio-Spira.

After his treatment, he improved a great deal.  The fin rot slowed to a crawl and new growth appeared.  As usual, he was active and forever in need of a meal.

On 3/19, I started testing the water for signs of the cycle using an API Master Test Kit.  Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates all showed zero.  I decided to skip a water change and tested the water two days later getting the same results.  Again, I held off on the water change to wait another two days.  I tested again late Friday and thought the nitrates test might be getting a little darker in yellow (a sign, I hoped, that some nitrates were starting to show).  On Friday, GB surprisingly lost some of his tail to what looked like the re-emergence of fin rot.  As it didn’t follow the previous fin rot pattern, I’m not sure if it’s a new case or a relapse.  Yesterday he started showing some signs of lethargy.  This morning I tested the water again, and again no ammonia, no nitrites, and very little, if any nitrates.  So, I gave the tank a 25% water change and GB seems more energetic.

I have no idea why the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates would be at zero.  I started to think that I’d erroneously used Amquel+ instead of Novaqua+ as the conditioner.  But, Amquel+ has an odor to it that was never detected in the tank.  I wondered if my test kit is out-of-date, but the Ammonia Alert is showing no ammonia, which seems to corroborate the ammonia test.  And, I know this little guy puts out ammonia (I wouldn’t be on this forum if he didn’t).

From the books I have here, it shows that each stage of the nitrogen cycle takes longer to complete than the previous stage.  But, from the posts I’ve seen here, most claI'm that, when using Bio-Spira, the cycle is complete in about a week or so.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Mike
 

voiceless_kat

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Good Morning, Mike ....I am saddened to hear of Gainsbourough's relapse.......you have been so helpful to everyone and we get all tied up in our own fish problems ...I am thinking if anyone can cure their Betta, it would be you.

Maybe your Bio Spira didn't like being in the fridge since Christmas? Really I know nothing.........my tank has been up almost two months with no sign of cycling.

If good thoughts can help Gains, I send lots - basically because that is all I have to offer. Best of luck with the tank and Betta. Val
 

heatmisr

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Hey Mike,

Sorry to hear GB is having a relapse. Maybe your bio-spira expired? I know the turbostart I used only has a 3 month refrigerator life. You should have gotten some readings. Most people say you get a small ammonia, then nitrite spike. When I used the turbostart, I had a 0 ammonia reading and a 2.0 nitrite reading. One day after adding it, ammonia and nitrites were 0. His nitrates have gone up to about 20, so I will be giving him a water change today. I put the turbostart in a week and a half ago. Since both products are similar, I would expect you would have the same type of result with the bio-spira. Hope this helps some.

Nicole
 

Eskielvr

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On the back of the Bio Spira bag, it said that use of AmQuel+ and other ammonia removing conditioners can kill the bacteria in Bio Spira, and said you shouldn't use them together. Do you think that's what happened?
 
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LZ Floyd

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Thanks for the well-wishes everyone.

Val, I can't cure fish.  The best I can do is pass along information I've learned here, and which I think I've recalled correctly.   

The Bio-Spira may have expired.  But, I think it was Rose who told me that Bio-Spira has an expiration of 6 months.  I'm certainly prepared to call the attempt to cycle a failure and start from scratch with some new Bio-Spira.  But I want to give it a day or two before heading that route as I may give some Furan 2 a try.

As far as the Amquel+, I had not planned to put it into the tank to be dosed with the Bio-Spira.  I did that a long time ago w/o thinking about it, but was alerted to it before anything happened.  Besides, the Bio-S wasn't used then as GB needed some treatment.

This time around I'm 99% sure I use Novaqua+ when readying the tank for the Bio-S.  Because it's acting like I used Amquel+, I'm second-guessing myself.  The fact that the tank had no odor of Amquel+, corroborates my belief that I didn't use it.  Once you get a whiff of Amquel+, it lodges pretty well in the memory and is potent enough to detect once the tank is opened up.  My Hex 5 has very few openings to allow odors to escape, they collect pretty well in there.

Even if the Bio-S failed there should either be a high ammonia or nitrite reading, I would think.  Ammonia triggers a bacteria, which, with oxygen creates nitrites.  If that bacteria were not present, or dead, in the Bio-S, there would be a high ammonia reading.  Likewise with the nitrites, which trigger a second bacteria that turns the nitrites into nitrates.  If that bacteria wasn't present in the Bio-S, I would see high nitrite readings.  There is no bacteria to take out the nitrates - those are removed with water changes.

Ultimately, a tank with no ammonia, nitrites, nor nitrates (unless you have live plants) would be great, but that's not how it works in reality.  So, me thinks something is wrong.

Thanks all.

Mike
 

nmwierman1977

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I'm sorry to hear you are having a tough go at it again Mike. I've been using bio-spira for the past week and 3 days now. The first week I was cycling my q-tank and it was cycled by saturday. I had to do a small water change Saturday morning while RJ was floating in his bag because there was ammonia which shouldn't have been and nitrates were at 40 which I'm sure was because the ammonia appeared again after 2 days of not having it again. So I checked the water again that night and everything was back to normal and it was cycled. I am now in the process of re-cycling my 5 gallon again with Fred in there with the bio-spira,so far that is going well.


The only thing I could think is it might be expired or maybe the novaqua had an effect on itand killed the bacteria.

Natalie
 

voiceless_kat

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Well Mike, if you can't cure fish, you sure impress me with your willingness to share your knowledge, and say it in such a way that a dahhhhhh fish newbie cat-person can understand! LOL

So please accept my thanks, take credit due, and best wishes to get your tanks straightened out and GB back to health.

PS : I will follow since I am awaiting AmQuel+, but have learned my husband can not get Bio Spira/Turbostart in the city. Neptune will be the case of the never-ending cycle! ( well, never started - LOL)

Val
 
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LZ Floyd

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Thanks Val.  I'm pretty new to this Betta stuff myself.  I started taking care of GB in early December with only a bit of recollection from some long-ago fish keeping days, but most of what I know now came from the good folks on this forum.  They're the ones who deserve the thanks.

As for GB and his condition today, he's still a bit less lively than usual and it appears some of his coating has come free.  But his tail doesn't look any worse, which is a good thing, and he had no problem eating.

He got a 25% water change yesterday, and this morning I gave him a 40% change w/some Amquel+ added to the mix.  Sometime today he's going on Furan 2 and we'll see how that goes.

Mike
 

voiceless_kat

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I hope all goes well, Mike. And you are so right : the people on this forum,. which I just found by accident when I was looking up / Goggling Betta info prior to buying Neptune, truly are so welcoming, so helpful, so supportive.

I am learning a lot I must say, and my confidence creeps up a little more every day. I have never used or been part of an on- line forum before and although I have never actually "met" anyone here,it feels as though I have made some new "fish" friends who will help & encourage me ( & each other) along the way.

So it is an interesting Bio Spira mystery, will your tank need to be recycled now?

Keeping my fingers crossed that GB fights the good fight!! Val
 
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LZ Floyd

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Isn't it something how the Internet has changed so many lives?

As far as the cycle here, I've declared it toast and am working the tank as if it didn't exist.  If it shows up later, fine.  But, for now, I'm looking at cycling on some future date.  GB was given the first dose of Furan 2 earlier today and needs to make it through this treatment before I'm even going to think about cycling, though.

Thanks for the well-wishes.

Mike
 

chickadee

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HI there. Mind if I chime in for a bit? The Bio-spira cycle is a bit different and will not show up with testing so I do not even bother with it. You just shake the pouch up good and add to the water then add fish and do not under any circumstances do any water changes or medicating for 7 days. It is also important to use Novaqua or StressCoat as a conditioner or something that does not interfere with ammonia or nitrates so it will allow the Bio-spira to do it by itself. It does have a 6 month refrigerated life unopened but if it is shipped during warm weather I did have one pouch which did not work well. I am sorry to hear that the little guy is having the difficulty again and especially since he had been doing so well.

Take care and please let us know how he is doing.

Rose
 
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LZ Floyd

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Hiya Rose, good to see you up and doing some writing.

I abandoned the cycle and got GB into a Furan 2 bath for six days. He looks much better. His tail is starting to fill in, but he does have a split in his dorsal fin now. If it isn't one fin, it's another.

Once he looks a little better, we'll take another shot at cycling.

Mike
 

0morrokh

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Sorry to hear about the relapse. Hope GB improves again.

Are there any plants in the tank? My only thought is that Bettas produce little waste since they don't eat very much, so any plants may be enough to eat up all the nitrates. In my Betta tank, which is a divided 10gal with just the 2 Bettas, I have never been able to detect nitrates, even when naughty naughty me goes longer than I should without a water change. The tank is long cycled, so my only guess is that the 2 Bettas produce so little waste the plants in there eat it all up, even though there aren't a ton of plants.

Well, that's just my guess, see what you think.
 
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LZ Floyd

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Thanks 0morrokh.  No real plants in the tank.  I don't want to start experimenting with that until I get a handle on the fin rot and cycle stuff.

I suspect the Bio-S just wasn't up to snuff after sitting for three months in the fridge.  Who knows how long it sat elsewhere before I purchased it, or how well it was taken care of.  I put it right in the fridge, bottom shelf, the moment it arrived, and that was in mid-December.  While I don't recall it getting that cold, maybe it froze while in-transit (that would likely kill off the bacteria).

Anyway, GB seems okay for now and we'll deal with the cycle when he looks ready for it.

Mike
 

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