Cycling Tank Before Vacation, Beta Jumped Out Of Bowl

Pankitty83

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Hi. So I have a few questions and concerns about cycling my tank and my beta. First, I have been cycling for a month now. It seems that it is almost there. It took forever for the ammonia to start dropping and I did get a nitrite spike in the beginning, but nitrites have been at zero for a week or so, but there are still trace amounts of ammonia. My nitrates are really high. My pH has been on the low side 6.4. They have stayed around 40-80 ppm. I have been trying to get this tank cycled before I go on vacation in a week in a half, so that I can put my beta in there and my pet sitter doesn't have to change the water daily because I feel that she might not be comfortable doing that. She has never really had fish before(she is also taking care of my cat) But, if I don't feel comfortable adding him in, I will just have to pay her extra for that. My beta is currently in a 2 gallon bowl with a small filter until the 10 gallon is ready and I change his water daily, but lately twice a day. My concern is that I will put him in there and there will be an ammonia spike and he might pass away while I am gone. I don't know if my pet sitter would test the water daily like I would, I just feel like it would be a lot to ask. The reason I am now changing it twice a day is because a few days ago, he jumped out of the bowl and I walked in and saw him just laying on the table not moving. I put him back in the water, not knowing if he would even make it or how long he had been out of the water. He floated for a while and looked lifeless. I really thought he was dead. I ran out of the room crying and thinking the worst, but after checking on him a few times, he was starting to perk up and even swim around a little. This poor little fish has been through the ringer, with having fin rot and going through various treatments and daily water changes, and now this. He is back to his normal self now. He damaged one of his front fins a little during the episode and his lower fin is torn some too. I did put a net over his bowl so that wont happen again. I guess my concern is that putting him in the new tank without me being there to keep an eye on him, he might tear his fins even more. There are a lot more plants and things in the new tank. Also I got a HOB filter for the tank after talking to my boss about my cycling issues and just how unstable the water parameters were and it seemed like a more reliable filter than the standard filter that came with the 10 gallon tank. The flow on it is really high though and I worry that it will push him around too much and not be good in his injured state. I have been using his pellets to cycle it. i have just been adding the amount i usually feed him to the 10 gallon to give the bacteria the nutrients it needs, but I have started to worry that might not be enough, so I ordered Dr. Tims ammonia online and it arrives tomorrow, so using that should tell me if it is really cycled or not. I don't want to be worried the whole time I am on vacation about him. Another option would be to leave him at my bosses house while we are gone. He has a tank and has given me advice on cycling and If I don't feel comfortable leaving him with a non fish person, I could ask him to keep him. Sorry so long and all over the place. I just want my fish to be okay and it would be tragic if something happened to him while I was away. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

hanra85

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What do you mean by trace amounts of ammonia, if you're using Seachem Prime and API test kits for example your ammonia will give a minimum reading of 0.25 ppm when it may actually be 0. Either way it sounds like the cycle is complete, maybe not full strength yet but that shouldn't take much longer and I'd imagine with water changes to bring down the nitrates he'd be good to go in there pretty soon, if you're having problems with your flow being too strong for him, you could try raising the intake tube slightly and holding it in place with tape where the flow seems adequate or try stuffing some filter floss or something on the output ramp to reduce the force...
 

Algonquin

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Sounds like your cycle is almost done - I'd do a big water change, and see how things progress over the next few days, as you are adding the Dr. Tims. If the cycle isn't complete by the time you are going away, have your sitter put a pre-measured amount of Dr. Tims Ammonia in the tank each day she's there, to keep your cycle going (and finish it). Easy for her to do, and no danger of her hurting any fish! By the time you get back, the cycle will be done and you can get the tank ready for your betta. In the meantime, I'd get your boss to look after your betta if that's an option (regardless of where the cycle is at). Otherwise, you're going to ruin your vacation stressing and worrying about him. If he's being taken care of by someone with experience, you'll know that he's in great hands, and daily water changes are probably an option
This thread caught my eye because my betta also jumped out of his tank - and I didn't know until I found him on the floor about 15 or 20 minutes later. He's doing fine now (it was a few months ago) and has fully recovered. I understand how awful that feeling is, it seems hopeless at first, but they're tough little creatures! His fins were a mess, and his slime coat was in really bad shape. I did lots of water changes and added Seachem Stress Guard to help him heal. I hope your little guy is healing well - take a deep breath and know that you are doing your best at helping him along
 

Bexiboo

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Betta should never be kept without lids - they are well known jumpers. Not just when water conditions are poor, they will jump when their sleep cycle is thrown off and sometimes feeding (or thinking there is food).
 

Algonquin

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Agree with Bexiboo completely. My tank has a glass lid with a tiny corner cut out for the cords from the heater and airline, and he managed to somehow jump out thru that little space. No lid at all could mean very big trouble. (I have since covered that corner with a little triangle of plastic mesh.)
 
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