Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta.

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AesSedai

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I'm going to try to make this as succinct as possible.  I know you need enough information to be able to see what's happening though.  This is the deal...

On Nov. 14th my Betta was put into a 10 gal. tank.  The LPS neglected to tell me I needed a sponge for the buildup of beneficial bacteria.  I got the sponge when I changed the filter on 11/21 so this actual cycle has only been going on for 6 days. 

First, the products I used/use:

I let the tap water sit at least 5 hours (did use cold H2O but changed to hot H2O (as of last night) because I read that less oxygen is trapped).  I treated it with AquaPlus Tap Water Conditioner, TopFin Conditioning Salt and TopFin Bacteria Supplement (the past). 

As of the last water change on 11/24 and last night I changed that to:  I let 2 gals of hot water sit for 5 hours then I treat it with Bowl Buddies Water Conditioning Fizz Tabs, no more salt (read Betta don't need it), and a product called Cycle put into the filter box.

Here are the readings (from test strips) and water changes (always 2 gals.) since 11/20:

11/20:  2 gal. H2O change

11/21:  Amm. 0.25, NitrAte 20ppm, NitrIte 0.5, Total Hardness (TH) 250. Total Alkalinity (Buffer) 180, PH appr. 7.2-7.6
11/22:  Amm. 0.25, NitrAte 20ppm, NitrIte 0.5, TH 250, Buffer 180, PH 8.0

11/24:  2 gal. H2O change

11/26:  Amm. 0.25, NitrAte 20ppm, NitrIte 1.0 TH 250, Buffer 180, PH 7.2-7.6

11/26 (late night to help rise in NitrIte) 2 gal. H2O change

11/27:  Amm. 0.50, NitrAte 20 NitrIte 3.0, TH 250, Buffer 180, PH 7.2-7.6

Even after last nights H2O change, both the Ammonia and NitrIte has risen to dangerous levels. 

I expected this from having to start the cycle all over again but didn't expect the dangerous parameters to RISE after a H2O change so I'm starting to stress and worry.

I'm trying to not use chemicals to reduce Ammonia and NitrIte levels because I don't want to interfere with the cycling. 

Wondering if I should take the Betta out and put him in a 1 1/2 gal. bowl I have until the tank finishes cycling (with frequent H2O changing and testing of course) but I'd rather not stress him by putting him in a small bowl for the next 2+ weeks or however long it takes to complete the cycle.

Btw, there are 5 live plants in this 10 gal. tank, a Java Fern, 3 grass (mondo I think) and a Echinodorus (Sword) plant (I think that's what it's called)

I'm caught off guard.  Thought I was on top of all this.  If you need any more information, let me know and I'll post it right away (have to leave at 3 but will be back by 5:30 (EST).

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Maybe I should do a bigger H2O change?

(((Everyone)))
 

Gunnie

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

It's interesting to me that you would have such high nitrite and ammonia in such a short period of time with only 1 betta in the tank. Don't hesitate to do a large water change. The product called cycle in my opinion is worthless, and may cause your nitrates to go sky high. My guess would be all the additives you are putting in your tank are causing a lot of your problems. I'm also not sure about using hot water instead of regular cool tap water. There's just a lot of variables here. With only 1 fish in the whole tank plus live plants, I am a little confused by your readings. I will summons Dino about the hot water and see what his input is.
 

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

I am with Gunnie. Ditch all the chemicals but the water conditioner or whatever takes the chlorine out of the water. Put the betta in the bowl. (I WOULD NOT USUALLY RECOMMEND THIS BUT YOUR WATER IS FLUCTUATING TOO MUCH FOR THIS POOR LITTLE GUY) Do water changes of 50% on the bowl with room temperature water every other day. (Try to keep him in a WARM place) Do a 90% water change on the tank and get the chemicals out. Don't use Cycle, it is a different bacteria and will slow your cycle.

Fill the tank with new water and start over. You won't really be starting from scratch as the bacteria that may have already grown may be started on your gravel. Don't use hot water but lukewarm water and never add warm water to the tank or bowl. It is hot and warm water that has a problem holding oxygen but you don't want cold either. I use water that I can just feel a tiny bit of cool but not cold. It would be worth your while to buy a cheap aquarium thermometer (they are a dollar or two) to make sure that the water is in limits. The limits for fish is marked in a green stripe on most of them. Get the kind with the old style of thermometer if you can they are the most accurate. I just run the water over mine until it is the temperature I want and then fill the pitcher.

Try not to use any chemicals during your cycle or afterwards unless you really have to. Every chemical you add to the water makes it that much harder for your fish to live in it. They have to have the dechlorinator but try not to use anything else unless your fish becomes ill. Then it is necessary to only use the necessary medications but he does not need medication now just dechlorinated water.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

TY so much for responding ((Gunnie))

Leave it to me to come up with a stumper ...  :-[

I quit with the additives but the spikes *just* started last night and I used the salt and bacteria supplement from Nov. 14th to the 26th with stable parameters with nitrates constant at 20 (only used Cycle once so far in filter box, 11/21, and a couple drops in tank last night)  Of course, things could build up I guess and cause trouble as you suggest.  

KISS?  (keep it simple stupid)  That's always the best way and I'm catching on.  After all, noone does it better than Mother Nature anyway  

Now it's just the Bowl Buddies for H2O changes (not sure I like this product...seems too cutesy).  I bought some Prime today and think that might be a better water conditioner.  I just added 1.25 ml of Prime to the tank to deal quickly with the ammonia and nitrite before they kill my Betta.  Bottle mentions this specifically too...dealing with ammonia/nitrite toxicity during cycling.

Ok.  I admit I panicked.  Would have been better to do a large water change.  Think I still will tonite.

Thank you for trying to find out about the hot water for me.  I have a couple of Ghost Shrimp and used the hot water (brought to room temp. of course) in their tank and had bubbles on the inside that I never had with cold water so that was weird.

My Betta is supposed to bring him and me joy but I'm such a perfectionist that I have brought myself such stress.  I look forward to a seasoned tank!!  
 
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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

chickadee said:
I am with Gunnie. Ditch all the chemicals but the water conditioner or whatever takes the chlorine out of the water. Put the betta in the bowl. (I WOULD NOT USUALLY RECOMMEND THIS BUT YOUR WATER IS FLUCTUATING TOO MUCH FOR THIS POOR LITTLE GUY) Do water changes of 50% on the bowl with room temperature water every other day. (Try to keep him in a WARM place) Do a 90% water change on the tank and get the chemicals out. Don't use Cycle, it is a different bacteria and will slow your cycle.

Fill the tank with new water and start over. You won't really be starting from scratch as the bacteria that may have already grown may be started on your gravel. Don't use hot water but lukewarm water and never add warm water to the tank or bowl. It is hot and warm water that has a problem holding oxygen but you don't want cold either. I use water that I can just feel a tiny bit of cool but not cold. It would be worth your while to buy a cheap aquarium thermometer (they are a dollar or two) to make sure that the water is in limits. The limits for fish is marked in a green stripe on most of them. Get the kind with the old style of thermometer if you can they are the most accurate. I just run the water over mine until it is the temperature I want and then fill the pitcher.

Try not to use any chemicals during your cycle or afterwards unless you really have to. Every chemical you add to the water makes it that much harder for your fish to live in it. They have to have the dechlorinator but try not to use anything else unless your fish becomes ill. Then it is necessary to only use the necessary medications but he does not need medication now just dechlorinated water.

Rose

Didn't read this before posting response to Gunnie. Will read slowly and reply again.
 

chickadee

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Just a small hint in case I am misunderstanding, do not ever put the betta and the shrimp together in the same tank. Yours may be okay but bettas love shrimp YUMMY! Bye bye shrimp.

Rose
 
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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Ok.  My boyfriend wanted to share his ideas too.  I'm going to do what you and Gunnie suggested.  No more chemicals except water conditioner, period, except medicine when he's ill and properly diagnosed.

Sooooo many posts and web sites (and I've read steady, daily, since Oct 18th so I would do right by him) said to use the salt, mentioning a slime coat and that it helps with stress.  Only one web site and you guys say not to use it.  My instincts are to go natural though.  Heh, I'm even into Homeopathy.  Our instincts are generally right so thanks for reminding me of mine.

The bacteria supplement is suggested on the aquarium salt container and was also used in frustration at not being sold the bio-sponge in the beginning and loosing all that cycling time.  The Cycle was just a better bacteria supplement I thought.  Grrr to the salesman that didn't mention it's a different bacteria.  Ultimately though, I'm responsible for him not the salesman who isn't paid enough to do research too, I'm sure.  I'd do the research but I'm anal so I don't count  ;D 

I'm going to put the Betta in the bowl but only until I start over with the tank totally and have that ready for him.  A new filter, and warm water cleaning everything in the tank...gravel, 1 fake plant, a statue, the glass, the filter box itself, the thermometers (I put 2 in, the kind you mentioned, on each side of the tank from when the tank was first set up).  His temp has remained totally steady at 80 degrees from the beginning (have a heater too) and I check it many times through the day.  They do fail so that's why the diligence and why I use 2 of them.  I'm also taking out all of the live plants and just leaving the 1 live java fern in there.  The plants are browning and I think that could cause ammonia too.  I've been cutting out the brown/yellowing areas and trimming back the roots but I need them out of the equation for now.

The Ghost Shrimp *were* bought as company for my Betta.  They are too big for him to eat (I think) but then I saw a thread about someone buying what they thought were GS and ended up with prawn instead that ate! an adult tiger barb!!  Tiger barb's are not only FAST but aggressive too.  The thread has pics of it all. 

Out they came and into their own tank and there they will stay.  The Betta didn't like them at all.  For 10 hours I watched him chasing them, being totally preoccupied with them, so even without that thread, they would have come out. 

I want company for him eventually (after I get a seasoned tank!) but nothing with claws, no matter how small.  Scary thread and I'll post that here url later.  Great information.  Apparently that GS mix up isn't that rare since prawn and GS look soo much alike when young (transparent).

Thank you both for your help, so much.  I sure have my night cut out for me and my back hurts at the thought, heh, but a sacrifice I happily make for Great Blue.   
 

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

I would not clean everything in the tank, you would be losing valuable bacteria.
Are you on city water or a well?
Also, do a test on the water straight out of the tap and just before you add it to the tank.
The amount of oxygen in the water can be affected by many things.
You can add O2 to the water as it sits by running some type of air pump/bubble wand in your bucket. The O2 content can also be raised by poring the water into the tank so that it stirs the surface up, thus creating a larger surface area for exchange.
To be honest, I would use take the water from the tap at the temperature of the tank.
The oxygen content will equalize with the air within a few hours anyway.

Please expalin you comment about oxygen being trapped in the water.
Under most situations, you want as high a oxygen content in your water as possible for your fish.

I hope this helps,
Dino
 

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Quick heater hint:

If you ever need to replace a heater  ~  Marineland Stealth Heaters are not that much and they are LIFETIME warrantied.  This means that you keep the box and receipt but it also means that the folks that make them make them GOOD because they do not want to have to replace them FREE.  They are also the nicest people in the world to deal with IMO.  



They are available other places but this is the best price I have found and the biggest choice of sizes.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

chickadee said:
I just run the water over mine until it is the temperature I want and then fill the pitcher.

Rose
That was a really helpful tip Rose.  I was able to match the tank temp holding the thermometer under the faucet and then filling the 2 gal. glass container I use for ease of measuring the Tank Buddies water conditioner.  1 tab does 2 gallons and that's what I used to do my water changes with.

Before I was letting it sit 5+ hours, but usually overnight, in the same room as his tank to ensure the same temps in both tank and 2 gallon container.  This is much nicer.  It's ready to use right away after conditioning.  Very cool.

((Rose))
 
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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Dino said:
I would not clean everything in the tank, you would be losing valuable bacteria.
Are you on city water or a well?
Also, do a test on the water straight out of the tap and just before you add it to the tank.
The amount of oxygen in the water can be affected by many things.
You can add O2 to the water as it sits by running some type of air pump/bubble wand in your bucket. The O2 content can also be raised by poring the water into the tank so that it stirs the surface up, thus creating a larger surface area for exchange.
To be honest, I would use take the water from the tap at the temperature of the tank.
The oxygen content will equalize with the air within a few hours anyway.

Please expalin you comment about oxygen being trapped in the water.
Under most situations, you want as high a oxygen content in your water as possible for your fish.

I hope this helps,
Dino
Hi Dino.  Nice to meet you.

Using even warm/cool water only to clean everything will kill all the bacteria?  I didn't think that was the case.  Maybe it's unconditioned water that kills the bacteria?  I planned on using warm/cool and conditioned water to clean everything and not tap.  Is that better?  I really need to clean/rinse everything to get rid of all the chemicals.  What would you suggest that would still get rid of all the chemicals but not kill the bacteria?

We have city water (Tampa) and heavy clorinated.  Be right back with parameters.  Testing it now...cold and the temp of the tank...testing both. 

Will explain oxygen thing then too.
 

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

If you change out most of the water the carbon in the filter media will remove the rest of the chemicals. Don't clean the gravel, it probably has already started to accumulate bacteria and you will clean it all away. Just fill the tank with clean water and turn the filter on. It will clean the rest out. The gravel bed is like a second place for the bacteria to grow.

But I agree with Dino, you need to test your water straight out of the tap to make sure that you do not have natural nitrates. Some areas of the country do. That could be one of the problems.

Rose
 
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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Dino said:
I would not clean everything in the tank, you would be losing valuable bacteria.
Are you on city water or a well?
Also, do a test on the water straight out of the tap and just before you add it to the tank.
The amount of oxygen in the water can be affected by many things.
You can add O2 to the water as it sits by running some type of air pump/bubble wand in your bucket. The O2 content can also be raised by poring the water into the tank so that it stirs the surface up, thus creating a larger surface area for exchange.
To be honest, I would use take the water from the tap at the temperature of the tank.
The oxygen content will equalize with the air within a few hours anyway.

Please expalin you comment about oxygen being trapped in the water.
Under most situations, you want as high a oxygen content in your water as possible for your fish.

I hope this helps,
Dino
That was educational.

Parameters for just cold water from faucet:

Ammonia:  closer in color to 0.50 than 0.25
NitrIte:  1.0
Total Hardness:  250
Total Alkalinity/Buffering Capacity:  180
PH:  8.0
NitrAte:  20

Parameters of warm/cool water  (matches tank temp of 80 degrees) CONDITIONED with Bowl Buddies:

Ammonia:  (opposite from above) closer in color to 0.25 than 0.50
NitrIte:  0
Total Hardness:  250
Total Alkalinity/Total Hardness:  180
PH:  8.0
NitrAte:  20   (ugh)

Parameters of warm/cool water (matches tank temp of 80 degrees) straight from the faucet, not conditioned:

Ammonia:  closer in color to 0.25 than 0.50
NitrIte:  0.5
Total Hardness:  250
Buffering Capacity:  180
PH:  8.0 (but could be 8.4, hard to tell with color)
NitrAte:  20 

Now Parameters of tank right now after adding 1.25 ml of Prime 3 hours ago:

Ammonia:  between 0.25 and 0.50 in color
NitrIte:  3.0  (still)
Total Hardness:  250
Buffering Capacity:  180
PH:  8.0
NitrAte:  20

About what I learned re: oxygen in water and why you don't want it (don't remember where I read it, I've been to soo many sites)...

Apparently if there is too much oxygen in the water, bubbles will form on the inside of the tank and, worse, on the fish/Betta.  I read that this can kill the Betta and that when really bad, his whole body can be covered in bubbles.

I'll try to find the site (sites I think) that said this tomorrow if I remember.  Going to be a long night.

The site or sites said to use hot water to reduce that bubbling on the inside of tank and on fish.  So that's where that comes from.

Thank you for your time Dino!
 
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chickadee said:
If you change out most of the water the carbon in the filter media will remove the rest of the chemicals. Don't clean the gravel, it probably has already started to accumulate bacteria and you will clean it all away. Just fill the tank with clean water and turn the filter on. It will clean the rest out. The gravel bed is like a second place for the bacteria to grow.

But I agree with Dino, you need to test your water straight out of the tap to make sure that you do not have natural nitrates. Some areas of the country do. That could be one of the problems.

Rose
Ok.  I'm glad I haven't started yet.  Betta still in tank.  Will put Betta in bowl and change most of the water, take out the live plants and leave gravel and other stuff alone.  Much easeir on my back too!  In alot of pain right now.  Back problems for 20+ years.

You are so right.  Check the parameters I posted to Dino.  Every one has NitrAte at 20!

(((Rose))))
 

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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

If I were in this situation, I would look into using some type of purchased water ( you would be looking for something along the lines of a spring water, NOT distilled ).
Just by wiping or running water over your tank contents will remove some of your bacteria.
Hyper oxygenation is usually found in well water, not city water.
If you still have concerns about letting the water sit 30 minutes or so would remove this problem.
If the water is hyperoxygenated, the oxygen would move from the water into the air, where the oxygen concentration is less.
This is what forms the bubbles folks are warning you about.

Dino
 
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Re: Water Chemistry is dangerous!! Worried about my Betta. Can U Help?

Dino said:
If I were in this situation, I would look into using some type of purchased water ( you would be looking for something along the lines of a spring water, NOT distilled ).
Just by wiping or running water over your tank contents will remove some of your bacteria.
Hyper oxygenation is usually found in well water, not city water.
If you still have concerns about letting the water sit 30 minutes or so would remove this problem.
If the water is hyperoxygenated, the oxygen would move from the water into the air, where the oxygen concentration is less.
This is what forms the bubbles folks are warning you about.

Dino
My boyfriend's getting a 40 gal. and another 10 gal. for Christmas so 60 total gallons with mine would be too expensive to buy bottled and too much lugging too. Aquariums are a big business here in Tampa so somehow people are working it all out. It'll come in time.

My final parameters after doing about a 75% water change were:

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0.5
TH 250
Buffer 180
PH 7.2
Nitrate 20 still

TY again Dino, chickadee and Gunnie. You guys helped alot! and I learned alot too.
 

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If the ONLY problem was the Nitrates, we have 40 straight from the tap in the summer when the farmers are doing something that raises it. Strange situation. I have lost a fish from the problem, but I found my solution was just what Dino suggested during the worst of it. Otherwise when we are at a level close to yours, I have my tanks heavily planted with LIVE PLANTS that use Nitrates as a type of fertilizer and the levels dropped dramatically. But you have to have more than just a few and it takes a while to notice a big difference. Until then I mixed the spring water in by about 25% or so. I know that it runs up in price but so do fish and perhaps you could wait and get one tank planted and cycled and on its own at a time. Plan to have lots of plants from the start and then let them help you cycle the Nitrates out of the tap water. I mean my bettas have room to swim around them but they pretty much cover the back of the tank and I use plants that have wide leaves and things like the Lace plant that have a lot of leaf surface. Even in the foreground I use Anubias to give a lot of leaf size even though they are not tall. My Nitrates run between 5 and 10 all the time now.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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More excellent advice Rose. You are so knowledgeable.

I'm totally into more plants. Have to replace the few I have now. I've been cutting off leaves with snail eggs for 2 weeks now and the plants aren't doing well. The store said they'd replace them for me since they are keeping soooo many snails in with the plants and when I got the 10 gal. tank and Betta, I was a total newbie and didn't know about the snail situation (including the danger to Betta...holding them down by the fins and drowning them and the hundreds you can end up with and they're asexual too). I've since learned, heh.

I'll pick up extra plants, the ones you mentioned too if they have them, when I'm there today. Adding some spring water to the tanks might be a possibility but we buy so much to drink already (can't drink Tampa tap water, rather we won't) and we're currently financially supported by another so what we spend isn't really up to us if we wish to be considerate...and grateful for what is given.

Oh and, the new tanks, the 40 and 10 are my boyfriends and he's made that abundantly clear <clears throat> so I'm to stay out of it as far as suggestions and, fairly, I do sometimes give them when not asked for. Sometimes? LOL

I only have say with my 10 gal. and that's totally ok with me.
 

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This article is an excellent read to help you get started with plants. I know you have already had some experience with live plants, but you will still enjoy reading this:
 
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AesSedai

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TY ((Gunnie))

Actually I wouldn't call it experience yet so I really appreciate the link. Love learning about all things aquarium and Betta. Going there now.

Karyn
 
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