fish-in cycling

  1. KyleMarie Member Member

    So, I have two different Betta tanks, 5 gallons each. In one tank I have my first female with two African Dwarf Frogs and that tank has been cycling for a while and I am just starting to see an Ammonia level of 0 with a higher Nitrite level of sometimes up to 5.0, and a Nitrate reading of 5.0. I check the water every day, and so I've been doing daily water changes with Prime. So, I know that tank is cycling.

    However, in my other tank I only have one female Betta. I've been checking her water daily as well since I got her on May 31. I don't change her water, though, because her Ammonia levels have been a constant .25 and there has been no fluctuation whatsoever. There hasn't been any form of Ammonia increase, never a reading of Nitrite and definitely no Nitrates.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any idea why? I've had both Bettas for about the same amount of time, the first one a week or two longer, and that tank is way into its cycle. But, my second Betta (her name is Charlie), her tank is doing nothing. Is it because its just her? I'd think that there would be a good fish-in cycle with just her bioload enough. Or, should I start to put more than enough pellets in there so that there's another source of Ammonia? I only feed her 1-2 pellets twice a day and I do it one at a time so she gets to them. So should I put more in so there's more Ammonia feeding into the tank? I'm not really sure what to do.
  2. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Wouldn't it because you have the two ADFs as well in the first tank? And since you started it a week or two earlier, that could make a difference. You're also probably feeding more in the tank because of the frogs as well? Either way, I would definitely do a couple of back to back water changes to get that nitrite down. It's highly toxic.

    I would also do water changes at least weekly on the 2nd tank regardless of how little the ammonia is . The betta needs the minerals that fresh water provides.

    You could also use a bacteria supplement to speed things up on both tanks like Seachem Stability. And what are you using as a water conditioner? You'll want a dechlorinator that has the added bonus of an ammonia and nitrite detoxifier like Seachem Prime to keep your fish and frogs safe while cycling and for water changes after you're cycled.

  3. KyleMarie Member Member

    Well I change the water in the first Betta's tank every single day at exactly the same time. Always 50% changes. I know people would say its a lot, but its what I've been doing every day and its been fine. And I use Prime, I mentioned that in my first post but you must have missed it. I test the water before and after a water change, and I dose the tank with enough Prime to detoxify whatever is left in the tank. And, I don't think the food is really doing much of a difference in the first Betta's tank because I feed her one pellet every morning and night, and I watch her eat it. As well, I feed the frogs separately every other day at night, and I hand feed them so I know there's no other food getting lost in the tank either. So, the only thing that would cause the ammonia increase would be their bioload, and that I feel would be minimal since the frogs aren't eating all that much.

    Also, I change Charlie's water once a week with a 25%-30% water change. Her tank shouldn't be so far behind the first Betta's as to not even have had the slightest spike in Ammonia. Could the fact that her tank has several live plants be doing anything? I know they are supposed to help with the levels but I didn't think they would do so much.

    I was thinking about getting Stability, but I've put it off because, well, college kid on a budget. I was hoping that I could use the sponge from other established filters to speed up her cycle and that hasn't even done anything. I'm just confused why there are no signs of anything. Sometimes when I check her water the color in the tube is closer to yellow than to the light green and I just don't understand how she could be losing ammonia instead of gaining it.
  4. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Ah, sorry about missing the mention of Prime!

    The addition of live plants and the fact that Charlie is the only one in the tank would definitely explain the ammonia and practically non existent nitrates.

    And while you may not be over feeding, the two frogs plus your Betta are still creating enough waste especially in that tank size.

    I think you're doing the right things. 50% water changes are definitely needed especially in those smaller tanks where water parameters fluctuate and are harder to stabilize. What are your water parameters right now in that first tank?

  5. KyleMarie Member Member

    Sorry for the late reply! In the first tank the water parameters are Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 1.0, and Nitrate 10.0. I did another 50% water change after testing and then I added prime.

    In the second one the water parameters were: Ammonia: .25, Nitrite: 0, nitrate: 0 again.
  6. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Can you also test your pH out of your tap and both tanks? Sometimes too low of a pH inhibits the growth of nitrifying bacteria.
  7. KyleMarie Member Member

    I always have a hard time reading the pH scales, but it seems like both are about 6.4.

  8. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I think that might be the reason why you're not seeing much progress on either tank. That pH is pretty low which could also mean your KH is low as well and could cause a ph crash.

    Do you have a KH and GH test kit? If not, it might be a good idea to get one. I would start adding crushed coral to your filters or sprinkle some in your substrate to help get that number up.