New developments..

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capekate

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good morning!
Well.. what a evening Ive had... I went to the LFS as mentioned and returned the silver tipped shark cat. tho at this point he wasnt bothering anyone in the 29 gallon tank, but knew at some point when he was bigger that he would. that went ok. I bought gravel, bubble stone, air pump, background and some live plants for the 10 g set up. I also bought cycle since they didnt carry the bio spira. Took some water from the 29 g tank and added it to the new water for the 10 gallon and set the 10 up with heater, filter, decorations air stone, cycle, prime and the live plants. All this was inticipation for bringing the male betta to the 10 gallon tank, as he was relentessly chasing that poor male dwarf gourami around since saturday. The gourami was getting stressed Im sure. So after bringing the betta to the new tank I started using the vaccumn suction to clean out the gravel in the 29 gallon tank. Somehow .. YIKES.. I vacumned up the male gourami into the tube. got him out of there asap and he immediatly fell to his side and stayed there. I was heartbroken over what I did. After awhile he actually got up and started swimming around and seemed fine for the rest of the evening. When I woke this am I found him on his side at the bottom, dead. How sad... I couldnt believe what I did. to that poor fish.
All this moving around was for his sake alone.. and now he is gone! I checked him out for injury, thinking maybe I may have hit him with the vacumn but there were no visible signs.
In the meantime, into the changed water for the 29 gallon I added cycle, as the LFS said that my ammonia levels were up. I also put back the charcoal bag that I took out on saturday when I added the ammonia remover filter insert. Now in the aqua clear has the foam, bio max filter insert, charcoal and ammonia remover insert. Im hoping that it clears up the dirty water look. Also, while vacumning I couldnt believe the junk that was coming up from the gravel! OMG.. what a mess! and then it just floats all over the tank til it settles. If i was to get it all out, Id have to empty the tank and clean out the gravel. Shouldnt my filter be cleaning most of this out? Its a aqua clear 50. Anyway.. will see what happens with the addition of the charcoal insert. I bought a seachem ammonia alert that sits on the side of the tank and will change colors depending on the amount of ammonia it detects.As of now its in the safe mode.
Sooooo... the betta is in his new digs. and seems very quiet. I think he misses chasing the gourami and his tank mates. Now will have to find out what smaller fish can go in with him for company.Are bettas really ok by themselves? any suggestions? Im adding a few photos of the bettas new home over in the tank and fish photos.
Have a great day ! ~ kate
 

Luniyn

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Re: New developments..

Couple things. First off... I'm sooooo sorry to hear about your fish. I can't stand that feeling of "oh my god what did I just do" myself, so I feel your pain. Secondly, the 10 Gal was just set up the other night right? You will have to go through the cycle process in that tank. I'm not an expert on bettas but I'm not sure if they are the best fish to put through a cycle with fish as opposed to a fishless cycle. Also, the Seachem Ammonia Alert only detects toxic ammonia and not the non-toxic version. If you are using Prime, it will always say that you are "safe" but that has nothing to do with how much ammonia is actually in your tank. You are better off with a test kit to tell you exactly how much ammonia you have in your tank (or at least frequent visits to the pet store to let them tell you ). Also don't expect "Cycle" to be all that big of a help in actually cycyling your tank. Most of the people here haven't had all that great of results with it and those that have still say it took them 4-6 weeks which it's possible the normal cycle will last that amount of time even without using "Cycle".

As to the filter. I'm not a fan of the ammonia reducing filler as it's the job of the good bacteria to remove the ammonia. And though during the cycle they are building up to get to the level where they can eat all that is in your tank, keeping it away from them will starve them and tell them not to reproduce more bacteria. Then if the filler stops working, all of a sudden you will get a surge of ammonia into your tank and won't have enough good bacteria to remove it. I prefer to just do 20% water changes during this stage of the cycle when cycling with fish in the tank, and that will be enough to keep the ammonia low. As for your gravel, the gravel vac's job is to remove all that gunk. If it's heavy enough to settle in the tank then it's too heavy for your filter to suck up unless you have an under gravel filter. Work only on a section of your tank at a time with the gravel vac and don't move it as long as there are particles in the larger part of the tube until it's been sucked up. Good Luck!
 
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capekate

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Hello and thank you for your advice, I appreciate it., 
about the cycling in the new tank. I thought that with adding water from the 29gal tank, plus the cycle product, and prime that I would be able to put the betta in right away. The temp is exactly at the same place and the ph is the same. Considering that bettas have been kept in small bowls..at times, I thought that he would be fine where he is with frequent water checks, changes etc and with the live plants to absorb some of the ammonia. Im not planning on adding any fish to that tank til it has cycled.
Thank you for the advice on vacumning the gravel, i will keep it in mind and only do one section at a time when i do the water change.
The filter issue: I see what you mean.. I will take out the ammonia remover filter and let it run that way. The Seachem ammonia alert lets me know when there are "free"ammonia present in the water. But hoping with continue water changes that I have been doing it will be fine. and now with the less fish in the tank, even better. I dont plan on adding any more fish to the 29 gal tank either til the water issue and cycling are complete. I will also pick up some ammonia tester strips when Im at the LFS.I did a 50% water change on saturday and yesterday did a 20% water change as well. Water changes about every 5 days or so.
i would have much rather used the bio spira, but the LFS didnt have it, and suggested the Cycle brand. thought Id give it a try for now til i can order some bio spira online.
 

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I really don't have advice, but I'm so sorry about your gourami. :'( I always get so scared I'm gonna suck one of my fish up. When I had bettas, I once dropped one of them on the floor. After picking him up...I accidentally dropped him again!!!! I don't know how he survived such stress.
 

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Re: New developments..

capekate said:
about the cycling in the new tank. I thought that with adding water from the 29gal tank, plus the cycle product, and prime that I would be able to put the betta in right away. The temp is exactly at the same place and the ph is the same. Considering that bettas have been kept in small bowls..at times, I thought that he would be fine where he is with frequent water checks, changes etc and with the live plants to absorb some of the ammonia.
Unfortunately that's not how it works. The reason the cycle process takes so long is because the good bacteria grow REALLY slowly. They are only able to double the colony size once every 15 hours or something like that. And if you are starting with a colony the size of a spec of dust, you can see why it would take quite a while till there were enough to actually eat all of the ammonia in the tank. And then only once they start eating the ammonia and converting it to nitrite can the other good bacteria that eats the nitrite and turns it to nitrate actually start to grow themselves. The Bio-Spira though adds those colonies to your tank so technically you are supposed to have enough of the good bacteria to be fully cycled. And no unfortunately the product 'Cycle' doesn't actually do that. Adding water from a cycled tank wouldn't really add any of the good bacteria because it doesn't live in the water, but rather your filter and in your gravel, on plants, etc. So unless you took an old filter from your cycled tank and put it into the filter of the 10 Gal, you are unfortunately starting from scratch. Also to my knowledge plants do not actually eat any of the ammonia in your tank only the nitrates, however, I haven't gotten into live plants yet and so someone with better knowledge would be able to answer that.

capekate said:
The Seachem ammonia alert lets me know when there are "free"ammonia present in the water.
Yes this is true, and 'free' ammonia is the toxic ammonia. However, when you use Prime (which I do too as it's a very good product) it binds up all of the free ammonia so you will never have any 'free' ammonia in your tank. I.e. it defeats the purpose of the "Ammonia Alert" product (which is why I returned the one I bought too ). The ammonia alert will never show that you do in fact have ammonia in your tank (which you will until the good bacteria grow enough to eat all of it that your fish, uneaten food, plant matter, etc. produce) and that is why I said it wouldn't be much help.

capekate said:
But hoping with continue water changes that I have been doing it will be fine. and now with the less fish in the tank, even better. I dont plan on adding any more fish to the 29 gal tank either til the water issue and cycling are complete. I will also pick up some ammonia tester strips when Im at the LFS.I did a 50% water change on saturday and yesterday did a 20% water change as well. Water changes about every 5 days or so.
As to the water changes, yes that is always the best way to go. However, the frequency of them will depend on your levels which is why a lot of us (including myself) recommend getting a liquid testing kit like . It is MUCH more accurate then the test strips and will be a big help. When cycling with fish you have to look out for your ammonia levels and nitrite levels getting too high and that can change in a matter of a day or two. I am currently doing a 20% water change in my 20 Gal tank 2 times a day and have been doing that for over a week and a half now. This is so that I can keep my levels as low as possible. Yes it slows down the cycle process a bit but it's worth it to have healthy fish. Going a week without a water change without testing to see how fast your levels rise can cause big problems. Even if you don't want to buy the kit, if you are near the pet store, just keep taking them a sample of water every other day or so just to be sure you aren't too high. But if they are just using test strips then they won't be able to tell you accurately what your readings really are. And as for the Betta, yes they are subjected to sitting in a little tiny cup on the fish store shelves for a long time, but that doesn't mean it's good for them. They may work out fine for a cycling tank as I've said I have never owned one, but I'll leave that answer to someone who does.

In any event, Good Luck with the fish! ;D
 

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Sorry to hear about your fish. That's too bad.....What you could do to keep the process moving in the 10 gallon is take some gravel (a small handful) from the 29 gallon and put it into the toe of an old stocking/panty hose. Tie it off and drop it into the 10 gallon tank...The gravel has some bacteria on it and it would help to seed the 10 gallon....As for the ammonia strips, I and others would advise against using them as they are expensive and notoriously unreliable. You're better off, if you can, to order an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit from PetSmart.com. They tend to be the least expensive and the test kit is very easy to use and more importantly, provide you with more accurate readings.
 

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Re: New developments..

I'm sorry to hear about your gourami.. i've done the same thing with a few of our platy fry.

As you've read, don't count on the cycle.. unfortunately it's just a product to make money for the LPS/LFS it seems. Our tanks do better without it and I think the cycle was actually keeping our tanks un-cycled by creating a series of mini-cycles. We have a big bottle of the stuff too because we used it as instructed until getting on here last month and learning about it.

The API testing kit seems to be the favorite here and the DFS site is the cheapest, especially when it's on sale. When you get one, be sure to check the readings when it says too - at first we figured if it said 5, it wouldn't be a big deal if i was a few minutes late checking. Then we find out it throws off the results.. but it's an easy kit to use and the directions aren't hard to follow and you can build up arm strength shaking the nitrates test bottles & tube.
 

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Sorry to hear about your fish.  We all have tragedies, it really makes your stomach sink.    I am just glad you are here on fishlore, and folks are reaching out to help.    

Two additions to what have already been posted.  Everyone I have seen report on test strips say they are NOT accurate.  I agree the API master kit is what you need to get, and use daily until your cycles are finished.  You will know that day when your ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrate is 5 or above!      Be sure to follow the directions on the second bottle of the nitrate test.  Shake, hit the bottle on a table, or counter, and shake the recommended time, this is to break up the crystals and make your test true.
  The problem of adding water from an old tank to try to establish bacteria in the new tank is that the bacteria live IN and ON the gravel, decorations, filters, and tank glass, not in the water.   When you change water (which is necessary until the cycle is finished),  it slows the bacterial colony growth, not because you are getting rid of bacteria, but because you are watering down their food source.   This is ABSOLUTELY necessary though for the health of your fish.  As a matter of fact if ammonia or nitrite are .25 or above I would do a 50% change every day until it is down to 0.  Also do 50% changes every day if nitrate gets up over 10, even after the tank is cycled this is just an on going program............The bacteria are on things as I said, to transfer bacteria over to a new tank you have to use gravel, filter material etc from an old cycled tank.    
  When cleaning (vacuuming), scrubbing decorations, rinsing filter media etc you are destroying bacteria, and can experience a 'mini cycle' afterward, which means even after your tanks are completely cycled there are ups and downs that you have to use your test kit to keep track of, and do water changes if any of the readings show ANY ammonia or nitrite.      Long winded, but I just hope the best for your tanks, and maybe this will help.  

Land of the Midnight Sun 8)
 
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Bonochick said:
I really don't have advice, but I'm so sorry about your gourami.   :'(  I always get so scared I'm gonna suck one of my fish up.  When I had bettas, I once dropped one of them on the floor.     After picking him up...I accidentally dropped him again!!!!  I don't know how he survived such stress.
I hear that!..he was one lucky betta glad to hear he survived the stress. It is sad about the gourami, as I had mentioned all the move was to protect him from being bullied by the betta and then he goes and gets sucked up into the vacumn tube.. I know that it couldnt have been the stress that killed him, tho there were no marks on him, I more than likely hit him or part of him with the vacumn edge to have caused his downfall. I feel really bad about it, the pair were the first fish I got. I like the dwarf gourami's alot. Needless to say... im nervous about vacumning again and will do it realllll slowwww the next time!
 
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<<<As to the water changes, yes that is always the best way to go. However, the frequency of them will depend on your levels which is why a lot of us (including myself) recommend getting a liquid testing kit likethis master kit from API. It is MUCH more accurate then the test strips and will be a big help. When cycling with fish you have to look out for your ammonia levels and nitrite levels getting too high and that can change in a matter of a day or two. I am currently doing a 20% water change in my 20 Gal tank 2 times a day and have been doing that for over a week and a half now. This is so that I can keep my levels as low as possible. Yes it slows down the cycle process a bit but it's worth it to have healthy fish. Going a week without a water change without testing to see how fast your levels rise can cause big problems. Even if you don't want to buy the kit, if you are near the pet store, just keep taking them a sample of water every other day or so just to be sure you aren't too high. But if they are just using test strips then they won't be able to tell you accurately what your readings really are. And as for the Betta, yes they are subjected to sitting in a little tiny cup on the fish store shelves for a long time, but that doesn't mean it's good for them. They may work out fine for a cycling tank as I've said I have never owned one, but I'll leave that answer to someone who does.>>>>>

Good morning. As soon as I can afford the master tester I will be getting it. In the meantime I have been testing with the test strips every am. And only once did I have a high nitrate reading of over 20 and a nitrite reading of 5.0 that same day and did an immediate 50% water change which brought the readings down and ive never had that high a number since. I have brought the water to the LFS a number of times and it always showed good.The other day on tuesday was the first time they said that the ammonia was a little high.But im sure it was caused by the addition of the new fish. This am the nitrites are almost 0 and the nitrate this am less than 20. Daily average readings are nitrite 0.5 and nitrate hovering around but not above 20. Water changes are more frequent than once a week and tests are done every am. and sometimes pm. This tank has been cycling for more than a month now and hopefully its cycle is complete. So far fish are fine and keeping my fingers crossed!
 
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vin said:
Sorry to hear about your fish. That's too bad.....What you could do to keep the process moving in the 10 gallon is take some gravel (a small handful) from the 29 gallon and put it into the toe of an old stocking/panty hose. Tie it off and drop it into the 10 gallon tank...The gravel has some bacteria on it and it would help to seed the 10 gallon....As for the ammonia strips, I and others would advise against using them as they are expensive and notoriously unreliable. You're better off, if you can, to order an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit from PetSmart.com. They tend to be the least expensive and the test kit is very easy to use and more importantly, provide you with more accurate readings.
good morning Vin~
thanks for the advice, I took a large handful of gravel from the 29 gallon and tied it up in a cheesecloth bundle and put it in the 10 gallon last evening.With water changes and only one betta fish in that 10 gallon with the live plants and now used gravel hopefully the betta will be fine. He seems to be doing well.
I saw the master tester at my local petsmart and will get it asap that I can afford it. The ammonia test strip is what the girl at the LFS used and said that it was a little high. Yes the test strips for ammonia are expensive its a shame that they are unreliable, at that price they shouldnt be. At 29.99 for the master kit the ammonia test strips are almost half that price. So will save some money and invest in the master kit. For what i paid in test strips now, I see the master kit in the long run is the better bargin.
 
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Re: New developments..

FLBettaCouple said:
I'm sorry to hear about your gourami.. i've done the same thing with a few of our platy fry.

As you've read, don't count on the cycle.. unfortunately it's just a product to make money for the LPS/LFS it seems.  Our tanks do better without it and I think the cycle was actually keeping our tanks un-cycled by creating a series of mini-cycles.  We have a big bottle of the stuff too because we used it as instructed until getting on here last month and learning about it.

The API testing kit seems to be the favorite here and the DFS site is the cheapest, especially when it's on sale.  When you get one, be sure to check the readings when it says too - at first we figured if it said 5, it wouldn't be a big deal if i was a few minutes late checking.  Then we find out it throws off the results.. but it's an easy kit to use and the directions aren't hard to follow and you can build up arm strength shaking the nitrates test bottles & tube.
G'morning
To cycle or not to cycle.. to bio spira or not to bio spira.. ahhh that is the question!! Well.. Im hoping that with it being over a month now, the 29 gallon has cycled with fish. the readings are great IMO this am and have never been really high. Only once, as I mentioned in above reply. Wish they had the bio spira at the LFS I would have gone with that. Will check out DFS for the master tester and compare prices. and look for it on sale as well!
I added the used gravel to the 10 gallon betta tank last evening. He seems to be doing fine and ate some bloodworms this am. and does come to the front of the tank when I go in and sit with him. But alas I have to wait for that tank to cycle before I can add one other fish for company. If i thought that moving him back into the 29 gallon wouldnt stress him, I would do that til the 10 gallon cycles. What do you think? Or is it too much back and forth for him?
 

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Probably best for him where he's at if he's good & eating. Sounds like you're doing fine.
 

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Hi. Just read all the posts. Just to throw my 2 cents in LOL....

IMO I'd keep the Seachem ammonia alert in the tank. Try to get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit when you can. Then you'll have an idea of the levels of both toxic ammonia and total ammonia in your tank. If you reach a point where you're showing no toxic ammonia, and no nitrites, but have 10-20ppm or higher nitrates, then for all purposes the tank is cycled. In my experience the non-toxic form of ammonia that was detoxified by the Prime may take one to three weeks to disappear (and give you a zero reading on the API ammonia test). I'd keep adding the Prime with water changes though, as when you reach the point of no toxic ammonia and no nitrites (with nitrates), the bacteria are sufficient in number to be consuming the new ammonia as soon as it's being generated. Just be sure to follow the directions mentioned above when using the API nitrate test.
 
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Terry said:
Hi. Just read all the posts. Just to throw my 2 cents in LOL....

IMO I'd keep the Seachem ammonia alert in the tank. Try to get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit when you can. Then you'll have an idea of the levels of both toxic ammonia and total ammonia in your tank. If you reach a point where you're showing no toxic ammonia, and no nitrites, but have 10-20ppm or higher nitrates, then for all purposes the tank is cycled. In my experience the non-toxic form of ammonia that was detoxified by the Prime may take one to three weeks to disappear (and give you a zero reading on the API ammonia test). I'd keep adding the Prime with water changes though, as when you reach the point of no toxic ammonia and no nitrites (with nitrates), the bacteria are sufficient in number to be consuming the new ammonia as soon as it's being generated. Just be sure to follow the directions mentioned above when using the API nitrate test.
Hi Terry~
So... If i understand correctly.. during cycling lower nitrites and lower nitrates. After cycling is complete, a reading of a zero nitrate and a nitrate reading of 20 or higher is good? The readings usually run about a 0.5 nitrite and a 20 nitrate at this point, with the nitrite almost totally clear now on the test strip. Its been just over four weeks in the 29 gallon so its possible that it has cycled? And once it is cycled.. a reading of 20 or 20+ on nitrate is ok? As long as the nitrite is at zero?
I will keep the seachem ammonia alert where it is, since it cannot be brought back to the store anyway. I took out the ammonia remover filter insert and put the AC insert back in. All the fish seem fine so far. I will get that master tester asap! ( next weeks pay check...) Got to see where it may be on sale at that time. hopefully...
Thanks so much for giving me your two cents... Worth more than that my friend! experiance.... can save alot of money!
 

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Quote: "So... If i understand correctly.. during cycling lower nitrites and lower nitrates. After cycling is complete, a reading of a zero nitrate and a nitrate reading of 20 or higher is good? The readings usually run about a 0.5 nitrite and a 20 nitrate at this point, with the nitrite almost totally clear now on the test strip. Its been just over four weeks in the 29 gallon so its possible that it has cycled? And once it is cycled.. a reading of 20 or 20+ on nitrate is ok? As long as the nitrite is at zero?"

While cycling ammonia (free-toxic) should start going down, as nitrItes will go up, and nitrAtes will start to be generated. When you reach 0 toxic ammonia, & 0 nitrItes, but have a nitrAte reading (whatever it is - most likely you'll see 5-20 or 40ppm nitrAtes) you should be done. The nitrates are controlled by water changes. It's possible you're done with that .5 nitrite reading but those test strips are really not very good so it's hard to tell. I usually run about 20ppm or higher nitrates, and keep it down with water changes.

I should have kept my 2 cents out - I think all I did was confuse you! :-[
 
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Terry said:
Quote: "So... If i understand correctly.. during cycling lower nitrites and lower nitrates. After cycling is complete, a reading of a zero nitrate and a nitrate reading of 20 or higher is good? The readings usually run about a 0.5 nitrite and a 20 nitrate at this point, with the  nitrite almost totally clear now on the test strip. Its been just over four weeks in the 29 gallon so its possible that it has cycled? And once it is cycled.. a reading of 20 or 20+ on nitrate is ok? As long as the nitrite is at zero?"

While cycling ammonia (free-toxic) should start going down, as nitrItes will go up, and nitrAtes will start to be generated. When you reach 0 toxic ammonia, & 0 nitrItes, but have a nitrAte reading (whatever it is - most likely you'll see 5-20 or 40ppm nitrAtes) you should be done. The nitrates are controlled by water changes. It's possible you're done with that .5 nitrite reading but those test strips are really not very good so it's hard to tell. I usually run about 20ppm or higher nitrates, and keep it down with water changes.

I should have kept my 2 cents out - I think all I did was confuse you!  :-[
Terry..
after re reading what I typed it is I who am confused by what I said!!! WHat the H was I thinking ( or typing?) lol. I mixed up the nitrites and nitrate readings in my second sentence and you probubly were scratching your head on that one! gawd... Im sorry! I understand what you are saying and thank you for taking the time to explain it to me again. I just messed up the wording in my response.
 
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