Tank will not cycle

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starrynight2331

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Hello everybody,

I got my first betta about a month ago and started him in a 10 gallon, filtered, heated tank with some decor and substrate. I started with Safestart and initially the tank was beginning to cycle. (7.0 ph, 0.5ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite,10-20ppm Nitrate.) Fast forward three weeks of moderate feeding and weekly 25% conditioned water changes, and the levels are at 7.4ph, 1.0ppm ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, and 20-50 Nitrate. In this time I also started using API Stress Zyme but I think the bacteria died during delivery. I also just changed the filter at the beginning of the month. (It’s your basic Tetra 2-10 gallon Whisper.)

My fish is also not OK at all. He’s active, sleeping, building bubble nests, and eating but he has fin rot and velvet. I didn’t notice what these were until they were going on for over a week, close to two, and I feel horrible. I’m waiting for Bettafix, CorrectPH, and StartZyme to all arrive in the mail and I’m buying some aquarium salt tonight. I know Bettafix and CorrectPH aren’t the best solutions but our water quality is bad and I don’t know what else to use. I just feel so bad because I did everything I could and couldn’t get the water to improve and now he’s sick. :-(

Thank you guys. I also attached a before and after photo and a photo of the substrate.
 

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Heron

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Your fin problems may be caused by ammonia poisoning. I would firstly do more frequent or bigger water changes to keep the ammonia below 0.5 until it's cycled. You said you changed the filter. The bacteria you are growing live on the filter media so replacing it will throw alot of the bacteria away. Don't replace filter media at all during cycling and if you do replace media afterwards only replace half at a time then wait at least a week before changing the other half.
What sort of media are you replacing?
 

Momgoose56

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starrynight2331 said:
Hello everybody,

I got my first betta about a month ago and started him in a 10 gallon, filtered, heated tank with some decor and substrate. I started with Safestart and initially the tank was beginning to cycle. (7.0 ph, 0.5ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite,10-20ppm Nitrate.) Fast forward three weeks of moderate feeding and weekly 25% conditioned water changes, and the levels are at 7.4ph, 1.0ppm ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, and 20-50 Nitrate. In this time I also started using API Stress Zyme but I think the bacteria died during delivery. I also just changed the filter at the beginning of the month. (It’s your basic Tetra 2-10 gallon Whisper.)

My fish is also not OK at all. He’s active, sleeping, building bubble nests, and eating but he has fin rot and velvet. I didn’t notice what these were until they were going on for over a week, close to two, and I feel horrible. I’m waiting for Bettafix, CorrectPH, and StartZyme to all arrive in the mail and I’m buying some aquarium salt tonight. I know Bettafix and CorrectPH aren’t the best solutions but our water quality is bad and I don’t know what else to use. I just feel so bad because I did everything I could and couldn’t get the water to improve and now he’s sick. :-(

Thank you guys. I also attached a before and after photo and a photo of the substrate.
You need to do a 75% water change Both the ammonia and nitrates are too high. The finrot and velvet are a result of that. Clean water will help the fin rot. Velvet is a parasite and needs to be treated with an antiparasitic. Messing with the pH will just make things worse. A pH of 7.4 is perfect, why do you want to change that?
 

kallililly1973

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Continue doing WC's when the ammonia gets close to 1ppm. I would up the WC's to 50% everytime the Ammonia and nitrates are high. Be sure to test your source water to be sure you know whats going into your tank. Your source water could possibly have nitrates thats why their showing up.
 

Rcslade124

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Great advice above. In my 5.5 I did 50% twice a week. Also added an airstone for extra oxygen.
 
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starrynight2331

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Heron said:
Your fin problems may be caused by ammonia poisoning. I would firstly do more frequent or bigger water changes to keep the ammonia below 0.5 until it's cycled. You said you changed the filter. The bacteria you are growing live on the filter media so replacing it will throw alot of the bacteria away. Don't replace filter media at all during cycling and if you do replace media afterwards only replace half at a time then wait at least a week before changing the other half.
What sort of media are you replacing?
Hello—yeah, I figured it had to do primarily with the ammonia. On that note, tomorrow I will do a large water change with everything I bought. I’m not well versed on Media—I just threw out the old filter because I didn’t know it was safe to do anything else. The filter I bought was a single pack carbon filter. Tetra Whisper Filter Cartridge Medium Single Pack, (2 Pack) - Walmart.com

How should I treat the fin rot from here? Google said full daily water changes with added salt for at least a week for bacterial rot but is that what this is, or is it more chemical?
 

Rcslade124

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From my understanding just frequent water changes will help fin rot. Velvet on the other hand is something else I have no idea about. I would say like momgoose said. 75% water change asap. Then maybe 50% every other day until ammonia and nitrites are 0. You want ammonia and nitrites below 1ppm combined.
 
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starrynight2331

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Thanks everyone. Ok, so as far as I’m understanding, do a large 75% conditioned water change ASAP, then do 50% every other day to lower ammonia and nitrates and to fix rot. And I should do this until ammonia is at 0. Also test my water to make sure that’s not an additional nitrate culprit. However, use an anti parasitic for the velvet ASAP. Hopefully that’s all correct?

As for the ph—I thought 7.0 or slightly lower was best for bettas?

Should I bother with Safestart again at all?
 
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starrynight2331

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Very important update... it’s not that it wouldn’t cycle. I don’t think I did anything wrong. My tap water has 0.5ppm-1.0ppm ammonia AND an approx reading of 10ppm nitrate.

I changed a massive portion of the water anyway... I put in a tablespoon of aquarium salt for both rot and velvet, along with water conditioner. I bought beneficial bacteria that I will add when I figure things out.

What should I do? That’s an insane amount of ammonia (that I’M drinking as well). What should I buy to solve this permanently for every change? Are there fizzy tablets or media for this?

thank you all
 

Rcslade124

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If you use prime it will neutralize the ammonia after water change so the bacteria can consume it. Nitrazorb is a product that's suggested for lowering nitrates.
 
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starrynight2331

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Rcslade124 said:
If you use prime it will neutralize the ammonia after water change so the bacteria can consume it. Nitrazorb is a product that's suggested for lowering nitrates.
Awesome—thank you much. I ordered a $4 bottle to give it a try. Hoping my friend will be OK.
 
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