Safe Amount Of Nitrates/no3 In A Plantless Betta Tank?

cantbelieveitsnotbetta

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Hello all, I inherited a (already somewhat sick) betta back in May, and that led to me crashing the cycle in his 3 gallon tank. I think it's nearly back on track again, but I'm not certain.

There are no living plants in his setup, only plastic and silk, and as a result I'm not sure what an acceptable level of NO3 would be in a cycled system. I've seen advice that it should be 0, others who have said it will never be 0 in a tank without live plants, and "safe" betta ranges stated anywhere from 5 to 20.

Similar stuff for ammonia: I've seen statements that it should always be 0, that anything under .25ppm is probably okay for a betta, that sometimes .25ppm is actually 0 even if you're using a liquid test kit... does anyone have a more definitive answer with a resource to back it up?

(And as a side question, how much is too much GH for a betta? Or will they take just about anything?)

Using an API liquid ammonia test kit and an API 5-in-1 test strip kit, these are my current numbers:

(Seachem Betta Basics treated) tap water: ammonia 0, GH 0, kH somewhere between 20-40, pH 6.5, NO2 0, NO3 0.

3 gallon tank: ammonia 0.25 (I think; it was a bit difficult to pinpoint the shade), GH 120, kH 40, pH 6.5, NO2 0, NO3 20.

Safe for the fishes? Or no?
 

Big Red

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Not sure bettas specific toleration butmost will say that parameters need to be 0 Ammonia, 0 NitrIte, and no more than 20 Nitrate some may say 40 but I never let mine get that high.
 

smee82

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As big red said ideally you want 0, 0, and between 20 - 40 nitrates if your tank is planted.
 

el337

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To determine when the ammonia gets toxic is to look at your pH and temp. With pH that low, I don't think the ammonia would be toxic to your fish. But if you're concerned with how safe your nitrates are, it'd be best to get the master liquid test kit instead of relying on the strips since they are inaccurate.
 
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cantbelieveitsnotbetta

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@el337 I thought that might be the case... hope I can afford it soon. And thanks for the tip on pH affecting ammonia, I didn't know that one.

@ So it should be 0 if there are no live plants? I'd been doing weekly 25% changes in the main tank before the mess; should I be doing more than that when all the plants are fake?
 

el337

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cantbelieveitsnotbetta said:
So it should be 0 if there are no live plants? I'd been doing weekly 25% changes in the main tank before the mess; should I be doing more than that when all the plants are fake?
If you don't have live plants, you should keep your nitrates under 20ppm.
 

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