Cycling With Betta. High Nitrites And Red Gills. Advice?


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1 year
I got this betta as a baby about 3 weeks ago. I decided to cycle the tank with her because I was going to use TetraSafeStart and that starter bacteria is designed for the fish-in cycle. Well, according to what I have researched, TetraSafeStart is supposed to cycle your tank in just 2 weeks. It’s been 3 weeks, the ammonia is like .25 ppm but the nitrites are really high. I think they were off the chart. TetraSafeStart has clearly not cycled the tank and I noticed today she had her gills red. I don’t think they were that red when we got her. The first week I fed her tropical flakes. I soon learned there’s special food bettas need to eat to meet their nutritional needs. Well, I got her that food and fed it to her for a few days until my dog made all the pellets fall into the floor (my sister had left the lid open.) Since my sister had left the lid open and the betta is actually HER fish (I’m just taking care of it for her) I asked her to buy the betta her food the next day. She said she would. Well, days passed and she never did. And it’s been like a week already since the betta has not eaten well. In the third week, the betta would sometime eat nothing because we didn’t have her food anymore. But other days she would eat at least the tropical flakes because I felt bad that she was starving. I know they’re ok without food for like a week. But I still felt bad. And I just want to clarify that I didn’t starve her on purpose. The only reason she starved for like a week is because my sister was supposed to buy her food the next day after it fell to the floor and she never did. So since she never did, I’m going to buy it myself. But I won’t do that until Tuesday because I’m literally busy all day tomorrow (Monday.) Anyways, I really want to do like a 70% water change for the betta because I think the reason her gills are red is because of the high nitrites. The only reason I haven’t done one is because I know you’re not supposed to for at least 2 weeks after adding the bacteria so that the bacteria can establish/seed itself in the filter. I added a second and third dose of bacteria after 2 weeks because the cycle was taking longer than normal. Because of that, I was planning to do a water change one week from today (I’m in the 3rd week.) After noticing her red gills, do you think I should do a water change even though I’m not supposed to until one week from today? (It’s been 3 weeks since we set her 3.5 gallon tank and no water changes at all) or should I wait one more week before doing any water changes because those are the instructions for TetraSafeStart? I just want my betta to be ok. I feel so bad for her. I feel so bad for deciding to cycle the tank with her inside. But TetraSafeStaft it designed for cycling the tank with fish and it was supposed to cycle it in no longer than 2 weeks! But clearly it didn’t work.By the way, are the red gills normal (I don’t think they were that red when we got her)? Or is that a sign of high nitrites/ammonia in the water? The only reason I mentioned the food issue is because it might have had an impact to her red gills. I’m not sure. I also left two pics of the betta. Those are the best pics I could take.



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I got some prime from petsmart for 5$ it detoxes ammonia and nitrites without removing them doi doesnt affect the cycle just added it with a 20% water removal every day the first day u get it u can just measure out 1mml its concentrated if yr tanks 10 gallon that's what I use with my 10 gal half moon tank I also hv a 10 gal cycling a fishless cycle bc I wanna start fish the proper way but primes great for immediate relief from ammonia and nitrites I believe or atleast with my experience
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