Fish In Cycle With Betta Okay?

Joyii
  • #1
HI again!

I posted a while back regarding moving my betta, and I finally got 5 gallon Top Fin Aquaponics tank for him, but now I'm stumped in between choosing whether or not to leave him in the 20 gallon community tank (long story how he ended up there, but I do want to move him out asap) until his new tank cycles, or just move him now.

I had let some water sit in his new tank for about a day and the ammonia seems to read around .50 after using water conditioner. I'm not sure if a betta will produce enough waste to cycle the tank, but I can move some ghost shrimp from the main tank over if that'll help? I do also have an inch long BN pleco that I could move temporarily since I know they produce lots of waste and are hardy fish? I have also read that moving decorations from a cycled tank could help with the process, but my main tank is still finishing up it's cycle.

The aquaphonics tank we got also uses an integrated filtration system, and we won't be able to add the plants until this weekend.
Does anybody have any advice? My choices right now are keep in in the 20 gallon, keep him in the cup he came with from Pet Smart, or do a fish in cycle with him, and they're all undesirable options
 
smee82
  • #2
You can move some media from a cycked fikter tI jump start a cycle in a new filtwr.
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
You can move some media from a cycked fikter tI jump start a cycle in a new filtwr.

Do you know how I could do that? My 20 gal has a HOB filter meant for larger tanks, and I don't want to mess anything up!
 
smee82
  • #4
What media do you have or do you have cartridges. And what is the layout on both fioters
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
What media do you have or do you have cartridges. And what is the layout on both fioters
We use a topfin hob filter with cartridges, I think, in the 20 gal. Cartridges are those slides with the wool-like material around it right? As for the 5 gal, it uses a cartridge too but it seems as if all I have to do is put it in a compartment in the water right next to some pump, and that's it.
 
smee82
  • #6
We use a topfin hob filter with cartridges, I think, in the 20 gal. Cartridges are those slides with the wool-like material around it right? As for the 5 gal, it uses a cartridge too but it seems as if all I have to do is put it in a compartment in the water right next to some pump, and that's it.

Is it possible to stick a cartridge from your cycled filter somewhere before the other cartridges in the uncycled filter.
 
Katerpult
  • #7
You can also clean your big filter and pour the mucky water into your new tank and on the new filter media This reduces the cycling time significantly. In my experience it takes about a week. Just keep measuring the ammonia level and when ammonia starts disappearing and so does nitrite and you are measuring nitrate I would pour in a tiny amount of ammonia (of course at that point you haven't put in the betta yet) wait until that has completely turned into nitrate and then do a water change and put in the betta while still keeping a close eye on your water parameters. 0.5 ppm is way too much ammonia and your betta can get fin rot or permanent damage to his gills, reducing his quality of life significantly

I have also when I had to separate a betta kept her in a 2 gallon jar while doing 100 percent daily water changes while her filter was quick cycling in a bucket for a week the way I described. Oh and please don't keep him in that cup. A 2 gallon jug is about $1 and not only will it significantly increase his quality of life but also the amount of messing up required to kill him. There are also little breeder nets you can hang into your aquarium to keep him separated from the other fish while his tank is cycling. He won't be happy about it for the first days but he will get over it and at the same time have access to filtered and heated water
 
Dch48
  • #8
My Betta went in my 3.5 gallon tank 3 hours after it was first set up. No other media and everything fresh and new. A couple of days later, I added a Nerite snail and then a week later, a Mystery snail. I had ammonia readings between 0.5 and 1.0 for about 3 weeks and nothing showed any ill effects. I was doing gallon water changes every other day. Then I saw a very slight nitrite reading that lasted 2 days. I then added some Tetra Safe Start and 2 days later the tank was fully cycled. The only plant in the tank was a marimo moss ball.

People really overestimate the dangers of ammonia in a freshwater tank. It actually depends on your pH. At a pH of 7.0, 4 ppm is not dangerous. At a pH of 8.0, even a trace can be a problem. My pH was 7.4 and the info I found online said that at that level, the ammonia in the tank was about 95% non-toxic. Even without using anything to neutralize it. I never used Prime but only Tetra Start Right tablets the first few water changes and then the simple TopFin dechlorinator after that. A fish in cycle is an easy thing to do if done right. My Betta is still going strong after 5 months and has been healthy and active the whole time.

An ammonia reading of 0.5 is not "way too high" unless your pH is 7.8 or above. I have some sources you can check out.

The chart on that site says that at a pH of 7.4, your ammonia reading from the API test kit has to be 4.9 or over before dangerous toxicity is present. At a pH of 7.8, a test reading of 1.5 or less is good. At 8.2 pH however, any level shown in the test is dangerous. At 7.0 pH and below no ammonia level under 7 or 8 ppm is dangerous.

People with freshwater tanks who have pH levels between 7.5 and 6.0 have very little to worry about as far as ammonia is concerned. Buying all those products to control it is a waste of money.
 
Katerpult
  • #9
People think that just because your fish doesn't die outright it means that ammonia is less toxic than people expect. It is like keeping a baby in a smoke filled room for the first 5 years of his life. He probably won't die outright, but at the same time he probably won't live to be 80. The reason people say they do fish in cycles is that fish produce ammonia which cycles the filter. But as most people are aware something else that produces ammonia is ammonia, which you can just pour into your empty tank. So the real reason people do fish in cycles is that they want that pretty fish I their tank right now. Betta fish are amazingly resilient to terrible water conditions. Because they have a backup breathing system in their labyrinth organ, so if you completely destroy their gills with ammonia they can still breathe. That is why they are kept in tiny bowls in some pet super markets. But just because your dog won't die if you keep it in a barrel does not mean it's OK to do so. Betta fish can get to be 4 years. Those kept in conditions with high ammonia seldomly make it to 2. I'm sorry for the strong wording but I believe using fish to cycle a tank is selfish and cruel. I have bought fish without having a cycled tank because I wanted them right now. I felt terrible after bringing them home and having time to think about it. So I did twice daily 50 percent water changes until I was able to find a cycled filter for sale. The fish survived unscathed and are still in my tanks but I definitely wouldn't do that again
 
Dch48
  • #10
People think that just because your fish doesn't die outright it means that ammonia is less toxic than people expect. It is like keeping a baby in a smoke filled room for the first 5 years of his life. He probably won't die outright, but at the same time he probably won't live to be 80. The reason people say they do fish in cycles is that fish produce ammonia which cycles the filter. But as most people are aware something else that produces ammonia is ammonia, which you can just pour into your empty tank. So the real reason people do fish in cycles is that they want that pretty fish I their tank right now. Betta fish are amazingly resilient to terrible water conditions. Because they have a backup breathing system in their labyrinth organ, so if you completely destroy their gills with ammonia they can still breathe. That is why they are kept in tiny bowls in some pet super markets. But just because your dog won't die if you keep it in a barrel does not mean it's OK to do so. Betta fish can get to be 4 years. Those kept in conditions with high ammonia seldomly make it to 2. I'm sorry for the strong wording but I believe using fish to cycle a tank is selfish and cruel. I have bought fish without having a cycled tank because I wanted them right now. I felt terrible after bringing them home and having time to think about it. So I did twice daily 50 percent water changes until I was able to find a cycled filter for sale. The fish survived unscathed and are still in my tanks but I definitely wouldn't do that again
Years ago, we set up our 10 gallon tanks with fish right away. we didn't know anything about cycles or even that ammonia would be present. We had very few problems with any kind of fish so I will repeat. The ammonia "problem" with a normal freshwater setup is way overstated. It has nothing to do with whether fish die outright or not. It is the result of scientific research that proves it. I would have no qualms about doing it the same way again. The only thing I regret is not using the TSS sooner or even right from the beginning. I know it would have cut the cycling time at least in half. I was adding a different bacteria supplement (TopFin) that seemed to do absolutely nothing.
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Is it possible to stick a cartridge from your cycled filter somewhere before the other cartridges in the uncycled filter.

It's much too big to do so, and I wouldn't feel comfortable moving the filter over as the 20 gal is still a fairly new tank

You can also clean your big filter and pour the mucky water into your new tank and on the new filter media This reduces the cycling time significantly. In my experience it takes about a week. Just keep measuring the ammonia level and when ammonia starts disappearing and so does nitrite and you are measuring nitrate I would pour in a tiny amount of ammonia (of course at that point you haven't put in the betta yet) wait until that has completely turned into nitrate and then do a water change and put in the betta while still keeping a close eye on your water parameters. 0.5 ppm is way too much ammonia and your betta can get fin rot or permanent damage to his gills, reducing his quality of life significantly

I have also when I had to separate a betta kept her in a 2 gallon jar while doing 100 percent daily water changes while her filter was quick cycling in a bucket for a week the way I described. Oh and please don't keep him in that cup. A 2 gallon jug is about $1 and not only will it significantly increase his quality of life but also the amount of messing up required to kill him. There are also little breeder nets you can hang into your aquarium to keep him separated from the other fish while his tank is cycling. He won't be happy about it for the first days but he will get over it and at the same time have access to filtered and heated water

But I can definitely try doing this! When I got the tank 2-3 days ago, I put some fish food (I hear the waste produces a little, but some, ammonia) as well and some water from the 20 gal.
I do have a 2 gallon bucket I could use, would it be better to just use that as his temporarily tank? I also put an order for prime that will come on Saturday, if I put in in the new 5 gal using prime, would the ammonia still affect him?

My Betta went in my 3.5 gallon tank 3 hours after it was first set up. No other media and everything fresh and new. A couple of days later, I added a Nerite snail and then a week later, a Mystery snail. I had ammonia readings between 0.5 and 1.0 for about 3 weeks and nothing showed any ill effects. I was doing gallon water changes every other day. Then I saw a very slight nitrite reading that lasted 2 days. I then added some Tetra Safe Start and 2 days later the tank was fully cycled. The only plant in the tank was a marimo moss ball.

People really overestimate the dangers of ammonia in a freshwater tank. It actually depends on your pH. At a pH of 7.0, 4 ppm is not dangerous. At a pH of 8.0, even a trace can be a problem. My pH was 7.4 and the info I found online said that at that level, the ammonia in the tank was about 95% non-toxic. Even without using anything to neutralize it. I never used Prime but only Tetra Start Right tablets the first few water changes and then the simple TopFin dechlorinator after that. A fish in cycle is an easy thing to do if done right. My Betta is still going strong after 5 months and has been healthy and active the whole time.

An ammonia reading of 0.5 is not "way too high" unless your pH is 7.8 or above. I have some sources you can check out.

The chart on that site says that at a pH of 7.4, your ammonia reading from the API test kit has to be 4.9 or over before dangerous toxicity is present. At a pH of 7.8, a test reading of 1.5 or less is good. At 8.2 pH however, any level shown in the test is dangerous. At 7.0 pH and below no ammonia level under 7 or 8 ppm is dangerous.

People with freshwater tanks who have pH levels between 7.5 and 6.0 have very little to worry about as far as ammonia is concerned. Buying all those products to control it is a waste of money.

Oh wow, really? I'm just paranoid after everything I've read because I wasn't told about cycling when I got my first tank and lost a fish in the process... I want to make sure I'm doing everything I could to keep the betta as healthy as possible.
I just tested my pH at 6.7-6.8ish.

People think that just because your fish doesn't die outright it means that ammonia is less toxic than people expect. It is like keeping a baby in a smoke filled room for the first 5 years of his life. He probably won't die outright, but at the same time he probably won't live to be 80. The reason people say they do fish in cycles is that fish produce ammonia which cycles the filter. But as most people are aware something else that produces ammonia is ammonia, which you can just pour into your empty tank. So the real reason people do fish in cycles is that they want that pretty fish I their tank right now. Betta fish are amazingly resilient to terrible water conditions. Because they have a backup breathing system in their labyrinth organ, so if you completely destroy their gills with ammonia they can still breathe. That is why they are kept in tiny bowls in some pet super markets. But just because your dog won't die if you keep it in a barrel does not mean it's OK to do so. Betta fish can get to be 4 years. Those kept in conditions with high ammonia seldomly make it to 2. I'm sorry for the strong wording but I believe using fish to cycle a tank is selfish and cruel. I have bought fish without having a cycled tank because I wanted them right now. I felt terrible after bringing them home and having time to think about it. So I did twice daily 50 percent water changes until I was able to find a cycled filter for sale. The fish survived unscathed and are still in my tanks but I definitely wouldn't do that again

I'm aware of how bad in-fish cycling could affect my fish's life, but at this point there really isn't much I can do for my betta other than bring it to back to PetSmart or another LFS which I'd rather not do unless I REALLY had to. And I understand the strong wording, because I did the same for my first tank, and I feel really bad for it. Will the 50% daily changes help my betta?
 
rainbowsprinkles
  • #12
They have a super low bioload I’ve had over 10 long lived bettas and always done fish in. Ammonia never gets above .25 and rarely that high..and never got a sick fish. Just don’t overfeed and monitor water. My tanks have a slow bubbler but rely on bacteria in the gravel and lots of plants- never had a nitrogen problem. Sometimes I stick in a year old fallen leaf from our magnolia tree to speed things up
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
They have a super low bioload I’ve had over 10 long lived bettas and always done fish in. Ammonia never gets above .25 and rarely that high..and never got a sick fish. Just don’t overfeed and monitor water. My tanks have a slow bubbler but rely on bacteria in the gravel and lots of plants- never had a nitrogen problem.

Would you say it would be okay to put my betta in then? He's still been sitting in the cup (did a small water change since), and I feel so so bad right now!
 
rainbowsprinkles
  • #14
He will be so happy- just acclimate slowly

If you have a pothos plant hanging around stick in some long stems they love them
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
He will be so happy- just acclimate slowly

Would you recommend floating his cup in the tank for 15 minutes, or slowly adding/replacing the water in his cup with the warm tank water every few minutes for 20 minutes or so? (I've read about both, but was wondering if there was a way I should do it for an uncycled tank?)

And I don't think I do, but I may go get some
 
rainbowsprinkles
  • #16
I would do both.

Show us a fish picture when he’s settled !

If ammonia is in your new tank change the water unless the source is your tap. Test your tap. Shouldn’t be ammonia in a new fishless tank unless your tap has it like mine. Then you need lots of plants in there. Pothos hornwort work well.
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
If ammonia is in your new tank change the water unless the source is your tap. Test your tap. Shouldn’t be ammonia in a new fishless tank unless your tap has it like mine. Then you need lots of plants in there. Pothos hornwort work well.

Got it, I'll start with putting water in to his cup and then floating it! And for sure, I'll post a picture of his new home once he's settled!
And I've been using conditioner for my tap water, so I think it'll be okay. The current ammonia in the tank I assume is from the decorations and water moved over from the other tank.
I have an aquaponics tank, so there's currently some lucky bamboo planted above the tank with the roots in the water. I may be getting some more of those, and I'm currently looking at some more beginner plants.
 
rainbowsprinkles
  • #18
I’d change some water out then for some conditioned tap. .Good luck
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Acclimated him a bit ago, and he seems really energetic! He's been swimming all around the tank and exploring all the decorations. He seems to really enjoy floating and swimming around the leaf hammock I got him instead of resting on it haha

Coming up with a water change, water testing, and feeding schedule for him now!

Thanks for the advice and help everyone

Would anyone by chance know if the top fin of my Betta is normal, by the way? After some googling of other Veiltail Betta's, his top fin looks a bit off

I noticed this when I first got him from petsmart a day or two ago and we were told it was just natural, but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask on the forum.

The first picture is a picture of his fin from when I first got him, the last two are from just now


IMG_0154.JPG
IMG_0217.JPG
IMG_0214.JPG
 
rainbowsprinkles
  • #20
Hard to tell just keep his water parameters good and monitor it for change. Often they recover when removed from stress and water issues
 
Dch48
  • #21
Would you say it would be okay to put my betta in then? He's still been sitting in the cup (did a small water change since), and I feel so so bad right now!
It is absolutely safe to put him in now. At your pH level, practically no level of ammonia will be toxic. Get him out of that cup. He'll be much better off.
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
It is absolutely safe to put him in now. At your pH level, practically no level of ammonia will be toxic. Get him out of that cup. He'll be much better off.

He's in his tank now and seems pretty content!
Will a low pH level still allow the cycle to continue though?
 
Dch48
  • #23
He's in his tank now and seems pretty content!
Will a low pH level still allow the cycle to continue though?
Yes, of course, The bacteria processes both types of ammonia. Toxic or non-toxic, it doesn't matter.
 
Katerpult
  • #24
He looks great! Betta fins can be very individual. Even if he had a tiny amount of fin rot, which it doesn't look like from the photos, clean water usually clears that up pretty quickly!
 
Dch48
  • #25
He looks great! Betta fins can be very individual. Even if he had a tiny amount of fin rot, which it doesn't look like from the photos, clean water usually clears that up pretty quickly!
I think a Betta's fins are in a constant state of flux. They split, grow back, recede a little, grow back,and in my guy's case, develop into more of a Rosetail from a Halfmoon.
 
Katerpult
  • #26
Yeah I've had that experience too. I bought my last male because he had pretty small fins and then he just exploded, which was also very pretty. But what I wanted to say is that the the dorsal fin of different veiltails can look very different to one another. I think that is also linked to a different gene than the tail fin anyways.

SmartSelect_20180909-015310_Gallery.jpg
SmartSelect_20180909-013438_Gallery.jpg
 
Joyii
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Yeah I've had that experience too. I bought my last male because he had pretty small fins and then he just exploded, which was also very pretty. But what I wanted to say is that the the dorsal fin of different veiltails can look very different to one another. I think that is also linked to a different gene than the tail fin anyways.
View attachment 476536 View attachment 476538

Your betta looks absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing, I'm glad that my Veiltail just has a unique tail and it's not anything bad.
 

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