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Old 04-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #1 
bettafish2012
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Betta Tank Nitrite Issue

I have a male betta in a 2.5 gallon uncycled tank. I clean the tank and change the water every week.
I remove all of the decorations from the tank, then rinse them and the tank in hot water. I clean the plants too. I add 1.5 gallon fresh water (that I kept for 1 day and treated with conditioner) and the rest of the water from what was in the tank before. That probably means approx. 75% water change.
I make sure there is no change in the temperature and put my betta back in his tank.

My betta was happy for 2 months then suddenly over night he bit and destroyed half of his tail. I read he might be stressed or nervous.

The water temperature is around 80F. I donít use a heater because my apartment is always warm. The water is clean. I'm very conservative with feeding, also, to minimize waste and water pollution.

Last week I tested the water. Ammonia is almost 0 (my tap water has some ammonia), but the nitrite was 0.25. I changed the water, tested again and nitrite was 0. Three days later the nitrite was again 0.25. I did a 50% water change and 2 days later the nitrite is almost 0.5.

I use APIís test kits. When I test the tap water the color indicates more than 0 but less than .25 for ammonia and nitrite is 0. I use Aqueon (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3714140) water conditioner. I know this one will not remove ammonia, but itís that ammonia from the tap water causing the nitrite increase after 3 days or is something else? What to do in this case? I also donít know if the nitrite present in the water has something to do with betta biting his tail.

I have another 7 gallon cycled tank with 6 black tetras that are very happy and every time when I tested the water I read ammonia and nitrite 0. I use Big Alís multi-purpose water conditioner for this tank (http://www.bigalscanada.com/Features/Products/watertreat.html).

I had betta fish in the past but never tested the water (I didnít have the test kits until I got my 7 gallon tank). I kept all my previous betta fish in boiled cooled water (please donít laugh, I come from a country where we do not have water conditioners). All my betta fish lived for years having only some minor heath issues. I always had better luck with female betta fish. This is my first betta that is biting his tail, itís for the first time when I use fresh tap water with conditioner and itís for the first time when I test the water and trace amounts of nitrites. Please help me, I donít know what to do.

Thank you
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:52 PM   #2 
kfish
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It sounds like your little 2.5 gallon is cycling. I'm assuming it has a filter? If not, that's really weird, haha.

Keep watching the levels and doing water changes like you are and wait for the levels to balance out. It'll probably take 2-3, sometimes 4 water changes a week. But it should balance out in a week or two. Since it's a smaller tank, you'll always have to watch the levels, but after it balances out you should be able to go back to 1 75% change a week.

For your water changes, start just vacuuming (you can leave your fish in there), instead of removing/rinsing. That's going to make it take longer to cycle. It probably won't be a consistent cycle in a tank that size, which is why you'll always have to keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:18 PM   #3 
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Is it possible that you have nitrite in your source water?
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:20 PM   #4 
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Yes, it looks like my tank is cycling. I don't have a filter.
My tap water has some ammonia but nitrite is 0.
I'm going to do more partial water changes, but what concerned me more is that the next day after 50% water change (vacuuming the bottom) the nitrite level was going up to something between 0.25 and 0.5.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:54 PM   #5 
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What substrate do you have? Do you have any live plants? Weird that you have nitrite with no filter and none in the source water...

Wait... you empty the tank out and wash everything every water change. Now I'm really confused, haha. Keep doing water changes and vacuuming... Feel free to even do a 100% change since you have no filter.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:10 PM   #6 
bettafish2012
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Yes, it's very weird. I have small white stones as substrate (they sell them at petsmart) and a few live plants. I'll do a 100% water change tonight, change the substrate with some new one still left in the bag and remove some plants. I don't have too many plants. I just got a few more trying to change his environment hoping he won't bite his tail anymore.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #7 
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The live plants are fine! Don't take them out! The only thing I can think of is that you have some nitrifying bacteria living in the substrate and on the plants. This isn't a problem at all! Just up your water changes... do 1 50% and 1 75% a week and see how it goes (since you have plants, vacuum once every two weeks... rest of the changes just water). After doing your 100% change today.

Figuring out a water change schedule is kind of an experiment... it's a little different for everyone. Just have to adjust to whatever ammonia output you have.
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