Cycling Betta Tanks Is Driving Me Nuts

Bettajones’smom

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I am new to the hobby and am now addicted to betta keeping. Have already learned so much on this forum. I do still have one question that’s left me stumped. I started with 1 vt betta in 1 gallon, learned within 4 days that I needed a 5 gallon minimum so out I went to get a new tank, new heater, filter media (and fell hard for another fish that obviously needed help so I brought him home too). Since the new fish was unhealthy, he got the new tank, bought a 2 1/2 gallon for 1st betta (spamela manderson), and put new red vt (Katherine Betta Jones) in 5 gallon so he could get better, betta Jones had eye cloud and from what I gleaned on this site, inflamed gill disease. Medicated betta Jones, doing much better, bought another 5 gallon for spamela & a yellow mystery snail (Michael Slougless), to vacuum tanks & keep company. My question is the newer tank cycled within 8 days and older tank is still not cycled. Same tanks, top fin 5.5 gallon starter kits,same heaters, aqueoun adjustable 50 watt, same water conditioners & bb starter API QuickStart & aqueon betta bowl, so why has newer tank fully cycled & older tank still showing no nitrites, nitrates & still spiking ammonia. I am still having to do 30 to 40% pwc on spams tank while betta Jones is fully cycled. 0 ppm nh3 & nh4, 0 ppm NO2, 10ppm NO3 in Jones & Slougless tank, 1ppm NH3&4, 0 NO2 & NO3 in spams tank?? Temp is slightly warmer in spams tank, •80 degrees vs 78 degrees in K.Betta Jones. Could the slightly higher temp be causing this?
 

kayla20johnson

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Bettajones’smom said:
I am new to the hobby and am now addicted to betta keeping. Have already learned so much on this forum. I do still have one question that’s left me stumped. I started with 1 vt betta in 1 gallon, learned within 4 days that I needed a 5 gallon minimum so out I went to get a new tank, new heater, filter media (and fell hard for another fish that obviously needed help so I brought him home too). Since the new fish was unhealthy, he got the new tank, bought a 2 1/2 gallon for 1st betta (spamela manderson), and put new red vt (Katherine Betta Jones) in 5 gallon so he could get better, betta Jones had eye cloud and from what I gleaned on this site, inflamed gill disease. Medicated betta Jones, doing much better, bought another 5 gallon for spamela & a yellow mystery snail (Michael Slougless), to vacuum tanks & keep company. My question is the newer tank cycled within 8 days and older tank is still not cycled. Same tanks, top fin 5.5 gallon starter kits,same heaters, aqueoun adjustable 50 watt, same water conditioners & bb starter API QuickStart & aqueon betta bowl, so why has newer tank fully cycled & older tank still showing no nitrites, nitrates & still spiking ammonia. I am still having to do 30 to 40% pwc on spams tank while betta Jones is fully cycled. 0 ppm nh3 & nh4, 0 ppm NO2, 10ppm NO3 in Jones & Slougless tank, 1ppm NH3&4, 0 NO2 & NO3 in spams tank?? Temp is slightly warmer in spams tank, •80 degrees vs 78 degrees in K.Betta Jones. Could the slightly higher temp be causing this?
It could be due to your snail. They eat a lot of algae/waste and in return put out a lot of waste.
 

sfsamm

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Medications can destroy cycles depending on what you used. I'd give your media a good rinse in old tank water just to be sure it's not full of gunk and keep doing what you're doing.
 
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Bettajones’smom

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Snail was in betta Jones tank, that’s the one that’s fully cycled, I did move him to spamela’s tank while medicating KBJones with API fin & body cure, if it was Michael Slougless wouldn’t that have affected spams tank? Also, learning betta are like potato chips, can’t have just 1, whenever I go to pet store to buy dog food or water conditioner I try really hard to not look at the betta sitting in those sad little cups, another caught me eye, very young DT male was begging me to get him outta there, so of course I did, he’s now in the 2.5 gallon, I know it’s not ideal, but I baffled filter, heater keeping water at 79 degrees, and doing 50% pwc on his tank, (splash Gordon). Is it possible to cycle a 2.5 gallon or am I going to have to buy another 5 gallon? (hubby thought 1 fish was ok, 2 fish & he started asking how much it’s cost so far, didn’t want to tell him what I’ve spent, it’s insane, tried to sneak splash Gordon by him & put him in guest room, he found him & probably thinks I’m losing my mind about now)

From what I understand fin & body cure doesn’t kill BB and after medicating his water parameters are as stated, no ammonia, no nitrites and 10 ppm nitrate, my tap ph is a bit on the high side, ph in all tanks is at 7.6, high range test shows 7.6 or 7.8, nothing I can do about that, I’ve heard they will adjust to higher ph and that’s better than swings in ph, also read IALeaves can lower but it’s best not to have a constant swing in ph?

Only other difference between both 5 gallon tanks is substrate, betta Jones’ fully cycled has river rocks & pebbles, spamelas uncycled tank has gravel, could that make a difference in how long it’s taking to cycle spamelas tank?
 

sfsamm

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Nah the difference in substrate is fine. Yes you can cycle a 2.5 gallon. I would not put the snail in the 2.5 for any period of time though (meaning like a week, a day or two followed by a water change is alright).

Ph at 7.6-7.8 is fine. Mine is 8.2 I have two betta and 3 five gallon tanks and a 2.5. Some with betta some with shrimp. Cycling at higher pH is easier than under 6.8ish where chemistry starts to change.

My guess is maybe you didn't shake the TSS well enough and one tank got enough to go while the other didn't. Or if you used two bottles one was possibly bad. It happens with bottled BB they are hit or miss. Some people love them some don't. I prefer Stability by Seachem. I dose it daily and do all my normal tank maintenance. I use stability for fish in or Fishless cycling. I have pretty good luck with it where as I haven't ever had luck with other products. Other people are just the opposite of my experience.

Do what works for you. Don't panic or worry. You've not done anything wrong and eventually the cycles will kick around one way or another.
 
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Bettajones’smom

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Thank you sfsamm,
I used the last bit of B.B. I had in the uncycled 5.5 gal & waited a day, retested water & I’m finally showing nitrites and even a tiny bit of nitrates. Still doing pwc every other day in the 5.5 to keep ammonia down, and 50% pwc daily on 2.5 gal, so, now what to do about that 2.5 gallon? I’m afraid of using TSS on such a small tank, is there bottled B.B. that can be used in drops for correct dosing on such a small betta tank, and if yes, which do you recommend so I can fully cycle the tank and stop with the daily water changes? Sooo much easier to maintain a cycled tank, all I do to the other 5.5 gal that has fully cycled is check my levels every week, haven’t had to do any water changes except when I took out the meds for treating inflamed gills (30% pwc then added charcoal in filter canister and water parameters remained perfect). I’ve read many threads that say impossible to cycle a 2.5 but you’ve given me hope. I’d prefer to not have to add chemicals every day & get it fully cycled, how should I proceed? Is stability a daily dosing situation?
 
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