Very confused—cycling

KribensisLover1

Member
Hello!
So I personally have two cycled tanks that are running and have been long term.

However I’m asking for a friend—

Rescues a betta fish yesterday in a 3.5 gallon
Water hasn’t been changed for a month and fish has moderate fin rot.
Did a 50 percent change yesterday and added 3 teaspoons aquarium salt
Did a 50 percent change today and replaced the 1.75 in salt
HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS:

1.) she tested the water but her test doesn’t have ammonia. She has 0–.5 nitrites and 15 nitrates. Does having these nitrites def mean she has ammonia, and would the ammonia be similar numbers (0–.5?)

2.) She dosed prime when she did the change to condition the water (and added like 6 drops instead of 3). Will that earlier prime dose neutralize these nitrites or does she have to dose AGAIN until her next water change tomorrow?

The fish is acting lethargic. When in the dirty water he was active and now he’s lethargic. Thoughts?! Thank you!
 

StarGirl

Member
She needs ammonia test strips too. Especially when cycling. The fish is probably shocked with the good water as it has been in terrible water for so long. Yes dose the Prime every water change.
 

Sofiafish17

Member
I agree with StarGirl. I do want to add something though. I personally will not use test strips, I am sure that the liquid tests are more accurate. I would recommend those, specifically API brand master test kit, it has all the basics for Nitrogen cycle tests and PH
 

StarGirl

Member
KribensisLover1 knows this. Her friend obviously has strips if there is no ammonia test. That is why I said that.
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
StarGirl said:
She needs ammonia test strips too. Especially when cycling. The fish is probably shocked with the good water as it has been in terrible water for so long. Yes dose the Prime every water change.
Thank you!
Sofiafish17 You as well!

So I will certainly let her know. She will use prime every water change but will that prime neutralize ammonia and nitrites until the next day? Or should she dose more? And just Bc I thought I understood the nitrogen cycle but clearly don’t well enough—do nitrites always indicate the presence of ammonia? I know ammonia is broken down by nitrifying bacteria and becomes nitrites but can there be nitrites and no ammonia? For ex Bc she has changed the water twice, so the current water is ammonia free, but the nitrites are lingering from the bad water?
And since the fish is lethargic from the fresh water, is the salt for the fin rot too stressful, esp when combined with frequent changes (which is stressful for the fish?). Basically, is the fish too fragile to treat the fin rot with salt? She saved him and is super concerned he will die with the right care now!!

Sorry to bother you with so many questions! She’s new to this and I can help to some degree but am certainly not an expert!
 

JaidWS

Member
From what I understand Prime will treat 1ppm combined ammonia and nitrites for 24(?) hours. Since she can’t test for ammonia she should assume there are some at least until she can get the test. The 50% water changes daily will help till then. I wouldn’t stop them until she can confirm the water is ammonia free.
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
thank you! So so much! You all are so smart and awesome.

I just am so so curious to know what the correlation between nitrite numbers and ammonia numbers is. E.g., is there def ammonia if nitrites are present? And if nitrites DEF indicates ammonia is present, does that more likely mean ammonia numbers are super high, or would the ammonia levels be similar to the nitrite levels? Perhaps this is only a question that can be answered anecdotally, and there isn’t a definite answer.
 

JaidWS

Member
It really depends. I’ve had 0 ammonia and a random nitrite spike. When I cycled my cichlid tank I had 4 ammonia 0 nitrites and 20 nitrates, that tank never had any nitrites. Without testing it is just guesswork and you’ve got a 50% chance of being wrong.
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
JaidWS said:
It really depends. I’ve had 0 ammonia and a random nitrite spike. When I cycled my cichlid tank I had 4 ammonia 0 nitrites and 20 nitrates, that tank never had any nitrites. Without testing it is just guesswork and you’ve got a 50% chance of being wrong.
Makes sense. No exact science every case is diff. Thank you!!!!!
 

jtjgg

Member
if i remember correctly 1ppm ammonia turns into 3ppm nitrite into 4ppm nitrate. that's why most people will see the nitrite spike above 5ppm during cycling.

fish are constantly producing ammonia just by breathing. when the test shows 0 ammonia, it just means that the bacteria colony is large enough to convert all of the ammonia almost instantly.

if her tank isn't fully cycled yet, you could give her a few pieces of bio media from each of your filters to help her cycle faster. and then just replace yours with a few new pieces.
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
jtjgg said:
if i remember correctly 1ppm ammonia turns into 3ppm nitrite into 4ppm nitrate. that's why most people will see the nitrite spike above 5ppm during cycling.

fish are constantly producing ammonia just by breathing. when the test shows 0 ammonia, it just means that the bacteria colony is large enough to convert all of the ammonia almost instantly.

if her tank isn't fully cycled yet, you could give her a few pieces of bio media from each of your filters to help her cycle faster. and then just replace yours with a few new pieces.
BAD NEWS! She said her fish is dying and on the bottom. I had told her to do a water change Bc the prior owner hadn’t changed the water in 3–4 weeks. Was I wrong?
 

jtjgg

Member
its the previous owner's fault.

keep doing daily water changes with Prime.
 

mattgirl

Member
KribensisLover1 said:
BAD NEWS! She said her fish is dying and on the bottom. I had told her to do a water change Bc the prior owner hadn’t changed the water in 3–4 weeks. Was I wrong?
You weren't necessarily wrong. We can't know the history of this fish. Was once a month water changes the norm, do we know how much water was changed each time, do we know the parameters of the water before the water changes or after them, do we know how long the fish had been living in these conditions. The answer to all these questions in no.

By not knowing all of this we are just shooting in the dark when giving advice. In a situation such as this I do recommend making very small changes and doing them slowly. Instead of big water changes I recommend starting low and steadily increasing the amount of water changed each time to slowly acclimate the fish to fresh clean water. 10% today, 15% tomorrow and so on although drip acclimating would also work.
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
mattgirl said:
You weren't necessarily wrong. We can't know the history of this fish. Was once a month water changes the norm, do we know how much water was changed each time, do we know the parameters of the water before the water changes or after them, do we know how long the fish had been living in these conditions. The answer to all these questions in no.

By not knowing all of this we are just shooting in the dark when giving advice. In a situation such as this I do recommend making very small changes and doing them slowly. Instead of big water changes I recommend starting low and steadily increasing the amount of water changed each time to slowly acclimate the fish to fresh clean water. 10% today, 15% tomorrow and so on although drip acclimating would also work.
Thank you! As for the fin rot—is the salt (3 teaspoons in a 3.5) too stressful?
 

mattgirl

Member
KribensisLover1 said:
Thank you! As for the fin rot—is the salt (3 teaspoons in a 3.5) too stressful?
I really don't know. Personally though if this fish survives, the salt may not be necessary. Fresh clean water may be all that is needed. Since I've never had to medicate fish I just don't have any first hand experience to share.

How is the little guy doing this morning?
 
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KribensisLover1

Member
I apologize for not replying—I was waiting to hear from my friend! The fish is much better today. She changed less water and added salt but less than the water amount she replaced. The Betta was angry and active so that’s a great sign! Thank you so much!!
 

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