Need Opinions On My Betta Tank!

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by FloydtheBetta, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    Hey all,

    This is my first post so please be gentle with me! I recently got a Betta fish and got him a 3.7 gallon tank (I’ll upload pictures). Unfortunately I didn’t know about the nitrogen cycle until I had already fallen in love with him, and the Petco employees advised me to go with tetra safe start plus so that’s what I’ve done. My doubletail halfmoon (or butterly, not sure), Floyd, seems to be doing great! He’s super playful, seems to already know his name as he comes right up for food when I say it, fights/flares at the filter now and then, and I can already see his personality coming out more and more. That said, I did a water test with my api master kit and it said the ammonia levels were quite high the day after starting the TSS (I know you’re not supposed to check for a couple weeks but couldn’t help myself.) The nitrites and nitrates were also at low levels. Does this mean it’s working or should I be concerned and do a water change? Also another question, when is there too many live plants in the tank, I like the heavily planted look but don’t know possible consequences.

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  2. CrazycoryfishladyWell Known MemberMember

    Never enough plants! Welcome to fishlore!
    I have never used tss and I'm not sure how it works, but if you're getting nitrites and nitrates now already as well I would be guessing it might be giving false readings for the moment.
    I orefer to use stability by seachem.
    It usually takes about a month for a tank to fully cycle, with nitrites coming after ammonia and before nitrates appear, and then both previous disappearing into nitrates.
    Perhaps someone else knows a bit more about the use of tss, but honestly if you're scared about ammonia it doesn't hurt to do a small water change and add your water conditioner.

  3. Smack442Valued MemberMember


    Ok, so I was recently gifted a betta who had been placed in a uncycled tank too. I understand your worries, but give it time you are dealing with live organisms here. Keep adding the tss to your tank daily, I recommend adding it directly to the filter so that as the water flows through the media the bacteria in the tss will attach and start eating away at your ammonia. I also recommend doing daily water changes of 25-30% at least. If you are using tap water, make sure you are using some thing to remove the chlorine. I personally recommend Prime.

    As for testing your tank water, I try and do it ever other day or so. I also like doing it before I do my water changes, because I like using it to help determine how much water to take out. Also test the source water you are using, always good to know what its ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are.

    Plants help tank up ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and they look amazing. I agree, I like the heavy planted look too.

    Question, do you have a heater in your tank? If not you need one. I personally have a Tetra HT10 in my tank, and it does a great job keeping the temp at 78F.

    Another thing I've found helpful and a little calming, is to browse around look for other threads with similar problems or situations. It can turn ups some helpful information and answer questions before I even know that I have them.

  4. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    Thank you! All very helpful! I’m definitely thinking I’ll do a 25% or so water change today and add some more tss just to be safe!

    Thank you so much! Your knowledge is much appreciated! I do have a heater in there, however I’m not happy with it because it’s a 10w and it only keeps my tank at 76-77 or so and it’s not adjustable so I ordered the 50w aqueon adjustable one on amazon last night and it should get here tomorrow or Monday!

    I also use bottled water for the tank and I have prime so I’ll plan on a 25% change today using those after I test the levels again. I also put the TSS right into the filter media when I did it, as I had read that was better, so I’ll plan that again too!

    Again thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I’m a worry wart and if anything happens to Floyd I’d hate myself so it’s nice to have a bit of peace of mind from more knowledgeable folk! <3

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2019
  5. jenmurFishlore VIPMember

    If you are using TSS+ (start up not maintaining) do not do a water change for two weeks. Yes I know the difficulty of just sitting there twiddling your thumbs but it’s ok! Feed lightly, perhaps a few pellets every other day. These are what the directions say to do. When your two weeks are up (14 short days!) do I nice LARGE water change with a tap water conditioner of your choice (SeaChem Prime is mine)
    Floyd looks to be a beautiful fish . And 3.7 is a nice little home for him. And as I am learning, always room for plants
  6. PheonixKingZWell Known MemberMember

    I think it looks great!! Like someone’s said above, you can NEVER have to much plants!:)
  7. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    Thank you for the compliments on Floyd and his home! :D I have a tiny one bedroom apartment, so wanted the tank as small as possible for now (I’m a senior in college) but hope to upgrade to a divided 10 gallon when I move to a new place so I can get another Betta, this time preferably from a better source than Petco like someone reputable on eBay.

    And now I am rethinking the water change, but just tested again and the ammonia is still at 4ppm which is obviously terrifying, but I feel like it may be because of false readings since Floyd seems to be so happy and healthy!

    Also good to know about the light feeding, I had been feeding more than that, but was making sure only to give him one pellet at a time to make sure he ate them all. I’ll put him on more of a diet now that I know.

    Thank you! The compliments mean a lot as I know so many Bettas are mistreated, it’s good to hear I’m doing well by him! :)
  8. PheonixKingZWell Known MemberMember

    Your are to right, them and goldfish, are some of the most mis-treated fish, in the world!!:(
  9. Smack442Valued MemberMember

    Ok, so below is a link to a post that Mike made about important betta topics. I found it very helpful and informative during my first week and helped with a lot of the choices I made.

    I also feel I should state that there is a big discussion on using tss and tss+ per Tetra's instructions or not and if tss/tss+ should be using with Prime or not. I'm trying to track down the threads that I read to share, but at the end of the day the choice is your's because only you know your tank best.
  10. jenmurFishlore VIPMember

    I had to go through this too! Ugh the waiting! That makes sense. And 3.7g is just fine for him for now. If you do divide the 10 gallon be absolutely certain they cannot jump the divider. It happens.

    Breathe. The readings will be horrible. As long as you used the TSS+ start up you are fine and so is he. That bottle is full of bacteria goodness.

    Ok. And this is temporary. Once the two weeks are up and after that HUGE 80-90% water change feel free to feed him a normal meal. Just keep in mind bettas can act like starving little puppies because they are little pigs! Hehehe.
  11. nuclearTOILETNew MemberMember

    Hello. I had to cycle a Betta in a 2.5 gallon 2 years ago so I can share my first hand experience. First off, until you have a strong biological filter do not over feed your fish (although you shouldn’t overfeed it in general). Second, everyday preform a 30-50% water change and make sure the new water your put in is treated with water conditioner. Do not be afraid of removing the beneficial bacteria as they reside in your filtration and gravel, not water. Keep notes and adjust your regimen if needed. Test once 15 minutes after the water change and then a day after every single day until the cycle is complete.

    Also plants are good. Never too many.
  12. BarbaraLockeNew MemberMember

    Welcome, FloydtheBetta! I am new here also, and it is a wonderful community of fish ‘folk’! I won’t add to the advice you’ve received about cycling your tank, as it’s been covered well, but I did notice in your pix that there appear to be seashells in your tank. I’ve always been told that real sea shells in a freshwater tank is a ‘no no’ - because they contain minerals (like calcium) that are not good for freshwater fish that will leach out into your tank water. If these are plastic sea shell decorations, then you’re fine, but if they are the real thing, you might want to take them out. The same goes for a lot of rocks that look pretty, but should’t be used in an aquarium.

    Floyd is beautiful!
  13. Jeff041419New MemberMember

    Please do something immediately to reduce that ammonia level. Ammonia of 4 and above is not only toxic to fish it is toxic to Safestart.

    It will kill your Safestart. Again, that comes straight from the Tetra company.

    You'll have to redose if the first dose has been killed.

    I found the link.

    "If you already have fish, and are having an ammonia issue, it is best to
    get the ammonia levels down to below 4.0. 4.0 and higher is just as
    toxic to TSS as it is to fish. While 2.0 -3.5 ppmammonia may harm some
    of the TSS bacteria, it should still have some effect."

    TSS itself can be harmed by ammonia higher than 2.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2019
  14. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    I wasn't able to start testing my water before adding the TSS because my test kit didn't arrive from amazon until a couple days afterwards but I had just done a 50% water change, and the tank was only a day old, when I started the TSS so I dont think it would have been at toxic levels then. I figured it must be giving false ratings because I heard TSS is housed in a non harmful form of ammonia (so thought test was possibly picking that up). However, just checked my levels again and still at 4ppm so I'm thinking I'll do a 25% water change and check again, just dont want to mess up the TSS process by changing the water too soon so a bit hesitant!

    Floyd says thank you! :p

    I didn't know that, I have lots of shells (live in Santa Barbara) so I was using them to attach my java ferns to and for decoration but I'll have to pick up some aquarium rocks to switch them out with.

    Funny how you think fish are easy until you get your first one, I'd take a dog or cat any day!;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2019
  15. Smack442Valued MemberMember

    Doing water changes won't harm your tss cycle process only maybe slow it down if you use Prime or something like it. I do water changes on my tanks either 25-30% change every day or 40-50% change every other day and add more tss+ to then when I do to replace any that the Prime might be removing. My last water reading for both tanks were: ammonia 0.50 ppm/0.50 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm/0 ppm, and nitrate 5 ppm/5-10 ppm (reads were taken before water changes). Also keep an eye on your nitrate levels because they can also stall/stop your cycle if they get too high.

    Have you checked the water source you are using? If you are using bottled water, I check and make sure that isn't where your extra ammonia is coming from.
  16. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    I just did about a 30-40% change and then checked the levels again and still have the same ammonia reading! Now I must say I'm at a loss for what to do. Wasn't aware bottled water could have ammonia so I'll have to check that next time I do a change.
  17. Smack442Valued MemberMember

    Wait are you checking right after doing a water change?

    If you are, that might be part of the issue. I think I read somewhere that you should wait 12-24 hours before checking your water. One of the reasons I do water check before I change my water.

    I don't know anything about bottled water, since I know I have good tap water. But I know ammonia is commonly found in process/treated water in small amounts.
  18. KellyLvLadyNew MemberMember

    Don't worry about the nitrogen cycle. Use this: SeaChem Betta Basics. Its all I use for my Betta's.
  19. FloydtheBettaValued MemberMember

    Oh interesting I didn't know that! I waited a minute or so after putting the filter back on so the old and new water could circulate but I did check right after the change! I use bottled water because I know the tap where I live is quite hard and I dont think the conditioners are meant to counteract that, but I'll make sure to check the tap before the next change.

    Also I've been doing some research on some other threads and it seems others have had similar super high ammonia readings after starting TSS, some speculate because its housed in a specialized ammonia formulation that feeds the bacteria but isn't harmful to fish (yet it still shows up on tests). I also used 3/4 of a bottle on my tank thinking that was recommended but the bottle was intended for up to a 100g tank. I'm thinking maybe thats why the readings are so high for me and maybe I should just keep an eye on Floyd to see if he's acting strange.
  20. WinterSoldier.Well Known MemberMember