Just Started New Betta Tank Today...

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madelyn anne

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Hello!

I just started a 5 G tank today for my Betta, Ferguson.

Did a water test tonight just to make sure everything was still looking good and I got an ammonia reading of 0.25, and a pH reading of approximately 7.4-7.6.

I'm a bit confused, because the pH on my tap water is about 6.8, and the tank was set up like 9 hours ago - not long enough for that much ammonia to build up...right?

I'm not going to mess with pH + or down, as the most important thing is stability for Ferguson.
But what is going on?

xx
 

Mary765

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Mmm... could you test your tap water? It might have unusually high params. Turns out mine has a nitrate reading of 40-80 ppm and I'm still not sure what to do about it.

Params can have an effect on ph, so that's probably the cause of your strange ph. That or there is something in the tank which might leach chalk or other alkaline substances.
 
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madelyn anne

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Yeah, I did test my tap water. Tap water is testing at 6.8 pH, 0/0/0. Sooo...definitely confused. I'm not using any media from other tanks, the only thing in the tank that has been used in another tank before is a fairly large piece of rock (see photos) - could that release anything harmful into the water? Maybe I should take it out and re-test in the morning?

fergytank.jpg
fergy.jpg
 

KakeHugs

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That ammonia is probably coming from your tap water then, I would check it again!

EDIT: I was typing my post at the same time as you!
I don't know what it could be tbh. Maybe he just pooped a lot already lol
 

OnTheFly

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Did you use seeded media or this a straight fish-in cycle.
 
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madelyn anne

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Straight up fish-in cycle, unfortunately didn't really have the option to do a fishless cycle
 

OnTheFly

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You better get some Prime then because he'll be very lucky if .25 is the worst he sees.
 
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madelyn anne

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OnTheFly said:
Yuu beter get some Prime then because he'll be lucky is .25 is the worst he sees.
I already use Prime, and I never allow the ammonia levels to surpass .50.
 

Aurah

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Be careful, .25 is dangerous already and .5 is almost lethally high, even for a betta. If you slip on re-dosing the Prime at all there could be trouble. If taking cycled media isn't an option, then you can try using a product like Tetra SafeStart Plus to seed your filter media with bacteria, which should help you finish a cycle in as little as a week or so. If you go that route, then for best results I strongly recommend you find a bottle with at least 6 months until the expiration date.
 

Mary765

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That rock looks very chalky to me! Could be part of the issue. Does your water look cloudy at all? Was the rock meant for aquarium use from a reputable source?
 
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madelyn anne

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I have SafeStart+ in the tank, and will do a water change in the morning and remove that rock. The rock is aquarium safe and was purchased at Petsmart. It's just the only source I can think of that would cause this sort of spike in pH, etc.
 
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madelyn anne

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Another option is I could use water from my other 36 G tank that is like, at the VERY end of it's cycle, to do a water change with.
The parameters from my 36 G are;

Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 10-20 ppm
Nitrite - .25 ppm
pH - 6.6-6.8
 

Aurah

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On closer look I'm pretty sure that rock is "rainbow rock" which, if I recall correctly, is actually a fancy type of sandstone. Sandstone can sometimes affect pH and hardness, so that might be your culprit. You can always take it out and put a few drops of the strongest acid you can find (muriatic acid works best, but you can use white vinegar instead, it just isn't quite as reliable since white vinegar is a weaker acid than muriatic) on the rock. Leave it a few minutes, and if it fizzes then the sandstone's very likely your culprit or at least a contributing factor. If it doesn't fizz, rinse it really well and you can put it back in no problem. Either way it shouldn't be affecting ammonia - in the absence of other info I'm going to assume it's all your betta, though overfeeding will make ammonia production worse, obviously, since more food = more waste. You might want to cut back feeding to every other day or even once every three days until the cycle finishes. Better to risk underfeeding and have to help the betta regain weight later than to kill him with ammonia burns now.

EDIT: Water from an existing tank will not help, unfortunately. 99% of the beneficial bacteria in a tank is in the filter media. That's why you can do a 100% water change in a bare bottom tank and not lose your cycle. So therefore, taking cycled filter media from a cycled tank and putting it into the filter of the new tank, whether its the corner of a sponge or a palmful of bio-balls, is the only way to use an existing tank to help cycle a new tank. That said, I'm not sure I'd risk upsetting your cycle in the 36 at the moment so I'd suggest just cycling this one from scratch.
 

david1978

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Ammonia at .25 is not lethal to fish even without prime.
 
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madelyn anne

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Aurah said:
On closer look I'm pretty sure that rock is "rainbow rock" which, if I recall correctly, is actually a fancy type of sandstone. Sandstone can sometimes affect pH and hardness, so that might be your culprit. You can always take it out and put a few drops of the strongest acid you can find (muriatic acid works best, but you can use white vinegar instead, it just isn't quite as reliable since white vinegar is a weaker acid than muriatic) on the rock. Leave it a few minutes, and if it fizzes then the sandstone's very likely your culprit or at least a contributing factor. If it doesn't fizz, rinse it really well and you can put it back in no problem. Either way it shouldn't be affecting ammonia - in the absence of other info I'm going to assume it's all your betta, though overfeeding will make ammonia production worse, obviously, since more food = more waste. You might want to cut back feeding to every other day or even once every three days until the cycle finishes. Better to risk underfeeding and have to help the betta regain weight later than to kill him with ammonia burns now.

EDIT: Water from an existing tank will not help, unfortunately. 99% of the beneficial bacteria in a tank is in the filter media. That's why you can do a 100% water change in a bare bottom tank and not lose your cycle. So therefore, taking cycled filter media from a cycled tank and putting it into the filter of the new tank, whether its the corner of a sponge or a palmful of bio-balls, is the only way to use an existing tank to help cycle a new tank. That said, I'm not sure I'd risk upsetting your cycle in the 36 at the moment so I'd suggest just cycling this one from scratch.
Yeah, except I haven't ever fed my Betta. I got him yesterday. There's never been food in the tank, and the amount of waste in the tank is so minimal that it couldn't possibly cause a 0.25 ammonia spike (which I agree with david1978 - a level of 0.25 ppm of ammonia is not lethal to fish, even without prime.)

I'll try the vinegar thing on the rock and see if that could be what's doing it!
 
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