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Old 01-19-2013, 04:23 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Possible Ammonia problems?

OK. So I all my tanks are back to normal and have had no problems so far. I recently went and got a second betta, Vito, who is very active and funny. He is doing very well. I fell in love with another betta at the store but didn't get him because I wanted to see if Vito would do OK. Two days ago my dad surprised me by bringing the other one at the pet store home who I named Dunn. I noticed that his gills are kind of shiny white and I suspected ammonia poisoning and wasn't surprised because I doubt they change the water that frequently at the store. Today I put him in his tank and he is very active, eating, and breathing OK. I have pictures of all three but mainly I just want to confirm what is wrong with Dunn. If he does have ammonia poisoning, will he get better now that he is in a new tank with clean water that will stay ammonia free? Or should I be worried.

This is for Dunn's tank only
What size is your tank? 2.5
What temperature is your tank? 76
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none other than a live plant

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Every morning

How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 times a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Start Zyme, Water conditioner, and Aquarium salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0.2
Nitrate: 4
pH: 7
Hardness: 92
Alkalinity: 81

Bam, I've had for two years

Vito, A week and a half

Dunn, three days
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:30 PM   #2 
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In a tank that size you need 2 weekly changes - one 50% and one 100% which includes a rinsing of the gravel to remove debris... sounds like you're close to doing that.

You can't have nitrites and nitrates unless you're running a filter and not doing 100% weekly water changes... unless you have some in your tap water. Can you test your regular tap water and confirm? What kind of kit are you using to test? The readings you are giving aren't making sense.

I would discontinue the startzyme. It's really only useful ever if running a cycled tank, and then assuming it does what it says it does (most of those bacterial supplements don't) it only needs to be added once. Aquarium salt is okay for up to 10 days but then you can't use it anymore. Are you saying you're using it to treat him or because you are adding it regularly?

Gold on the gills isn't a sign of ammonia poisoining. He doesn't look really happy to me though... He's clamped. Since he's new I would give him some time to adjust, but he should perk up a lot. It also looks like with his mouth open and his gills out at the top like that he may be breathing a bit heavy..

ETA: What's your water source now? I remember your tap water was testing over 9 or close to? Are you cutting it now? What are you cutting it with? Are you doing an exact measure each time if you are? Wondering how you went from over 9 to a perfectly 7 ph..

Last edited by callistra; 01-19-2013 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:09 PM   #3 
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I'm not sure why you said that my pH was over 9. It has never been that high, even when I was having problems the pH was still really close to 6 and 7. I bought really expensive testing strips that test everything but Ammonia unfortunately. I hope I didn't waste my money on them. My other two tanks have filters which was why I was using start zyme, I figured it wouldn't hurt to add it to the one with only a bubble system. I have just been adding aquarium salt whenever I make water changes because that's what the bag told me to do.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:13 PM   #4 
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Testing strips are inaccurate. Drops kit is needed for this reason, sorry. Something is definitely wrong with those test results, as you should not see nitrites and nitrates unless they're in your tap, but you were getting 0 in your last thread so that doesn't add up either. Ammonia is the only one you need when not using a filter to run a cycled tank. All three are needed when cycling. A lot of people use this kit: Exactly what strips are you using?

Your ph fluctuates you're saying? Or that you can't tell it's somewhere between 6 and 7? Fluctuations can happen as ammonia builds to too high a level, up but should hopefully be stable others. Strips again will be hard to see on ph and drops is best. Ph and high ph are also included in the master test kit.

only use AQ up to 10 days in case of illness. Never add it regularly. More than 2 weeks can cause premature organ failure.

Last edited by callistra; 01-19-2013 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:45 PM   #5 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
What a lovely collection of Bettas.....

IMO/E-test strips are accurate enough for simple test. I use both and haven't seen that much of a difference between the two. I will cut my strips down the middle so I can get 2 test out of them. I like to use the strips for a "quick look" and my liquid reagents for further test if needed or when I need to change the pH/KH/GH with some of the species of fish I spawn-but I never change it for my Bettas-they adapt to a wide range without issue-Its those sudden extremes that can be problematic.

As for your test results in the unfiltered tank-most likely what that is due to- is the additives you used that caused false results-unless you have nitrite, nitrate or ammonia already in your source water.

Even in unfiltered tanks-if you have lots of active growing plants (more than a couple) the plants can provide oxygen for the BB to colonize in a small-single Betta tank.

Since you have a rooted plant in the unfiltered tank-I wouldn't make any 100% water changes-especially removing the substrate and uprooting the plant. Not needed-provided that you don't leave mass amounts of uneaten food daily-Leaving a small amount a couple of time a week is okay since fish food is a great plant food.
What I would recommend on a 2.5gal unfiltered with rooted plant actively growing......1-2 50% water changes a week-leaving the Betta in the tank to limit stress. Provided that the plant is healthy and actively growing-if its not...then the plant can be part of the water quality problem.

Aquarium salt (Sodium chloride) is a great product to use for the right reason, duration and dosage. It is not needed or recommended to use long term-it won't prevent anything, however, long term use can create resistant pathogen/parasite issues and kidney failure in this species.
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