From what I see, your replacement of the gravel wiped out the bacteria that were living in there that handled the nitrogen cycle in your tank. That's where most bacteria live.
They turn the ammonia your fish's waste produces (super toxic) into nitrite, a harmful byproduct, but another strain of bacteria takes this nitrite and turns it into nitrate, a much less harmful byproduct that won't make him sick unless you neglect water changes for months at a time (in your 1g's case, weeks). You then remove the nitrate from his tank with water changes to keep him healthy. This also replaces valuable minerals and nutrients.
When you took all these bacteria out with the old gravel, the ammonia level in your tank probably skyrocketed with no bacteria to process it. The lethargy and color loss is the most common symptom of ammonia poisoning.
Usually, it takes a few weeks for your tank to recycle from scratch. Some stores sell the bacteria in bottles (Tetra Safestart is one such bacteria, doesn't require reusing, just dump them in once and cycling is sped up considerably), but in my experience that's expensive, and you can achieve the same result with frequent water changes to remove excess ammonia and nitrite while the bacteria regrow. If you purchase a testing kit, you can watch it happen.
I definitely agree with Callistra's suggestions to handle the problem now, and the changes to your care regimen, though I personally think cycling is incredibly important, as it's something that happens in nature, and in putting these fish in tanks, you want to try to reproduce their natural habitat the best you can so they can live long, healthy lives. It's not expensive, it doesn't have to cost you a dime if you're patient, it just happens over time and is something to keep in mind.
And yes, it looks like he said start over once the cup is full.
Azurelove, the thing is, dougan has a 1 gallon tank with no filter. You can't keep a cycle in such a small tank. The only thing to keep ammonia in check in such a small tank is frequent 100% water changes.
Once the cup is full, pour most of the water out and restart. Good luck with your boy!
Last edited by majesticstorm; 02-10-2013 at 04:26 AM.
The fish was fine for two years, then he changed the gravel bed and it got ammonia poisoning. Sounds like a cycle existed despite its small size. If he never touched the gravel when doing the water changes, it makes sense.
Just because it's a 1g doesn't mean it can't grow a cycle. It's hard, but with water changes as infrequently as he was doing them before, it gave the bacteria a chance to grow and adapt themselves to the ammonia and nitrite levels the fish was producing.
dougan, yes. If the cup gets full, pour out some of the water and continue adding new water.
1g is way too small to build hardly any of a bb supply even with a filter. Sorry Azurelove I totally disagree but there is absolutely no way a 1 gallon bowl with no filter breeds any notable amount of good bacteria. Doesn't work that way.
I've done a full water change. I rinsed all the gravel and plants off very thoroughly.
Right now my fish is in a Solo cup with just a little bit of the original tank water and some Omega One Betta Buffet food flakes.
I'm testing the heater out in another 1 gallon tank. It is working, but very slowly. They didn't have the kind that Callistra recommended, so I got the Aqueon, 10 watt.
I've tested the pH of my water and it is ABOVE 7.6 (see photo).
I tested the pH of the purified drinking water that I've been using (straight from the jug) and it's BELOW 6.0 (see photo).
The instructions for the pH tester say that those ends will only register if the pH is on the extreme end of those, meaning above 7.6 if the blue color, or below 6.0 if the yellow color.
I'm on my way back to Petsmart to get pH Down. Has anyone used this? Anything I should be aware of before I put it in the water?
Now for the Prime:
Would you mind checking my math for me (see photo)?
The instructions say to use 1 capful (5 mL) for each 200 L (50 gallons) of new water. For smaller doses, please note each cap thread is approx. 1 mL.
I have a 1 gallon tank, so here's how I've done the math:
Line 1: I've used a ratio to calculate the dose for my 1 gallon tank. 5 mL/200L, where 200L = 50 gallons.
Line 2: Conversion factor, gallons to liters.
Line 3: Left side of ratio is 5mL/189.27L. I got the 189.27 L by multiplying 50 gallons by the 3.79 L conversion factor from Line 2. The right side is x/3.79L, where x is the amount that I'll need for my 1 gallon tank.
Line 4: Cross multiplied.
Line 5: Solve for x, where x is approximately 0.100 mL.
Do you agree with my math? Also, 0.100 mL is going to be very hard to measure using the cap. Since the first thread is 1 mL, I'll need 1/10 of that, which is basically just a drop. Does that sound right to you guys/ladies?
Okay, I'm off to Petsmart. I'll be back in about 30 minutes to continue on.
You don't need pH down. He will do fine in a pH of 7.6 as long as you acclimate him properly. My boy is in a pH of 8.0-8.2 and he's just fine. Using pH altering products might make the pH fluctuate from time to time which is much worse than just having him get used to the new 7.6 water and keeping it at around 7.6.
For prime, 2 drops/gallon is the rule that I usually go by since it's hard to measure out such a small amount of Prime. And your calculations are correct!
I am guessing at this point the extreme acidic ph of your water with no minerals is causing his problem. So when you get him in the tap you will improve him. I'm actually surprised he's surviving as well as he is considering.
It's important not to use the ph down. It only temporarily decreases the ph and you will be left with lots of swings, which are stressful and can even be lethal. Bettas can adjust to a wide arrange of ph, so that's fine it's high.. except it seems to be off the chart? So you would need a high ph test kit to see how high it goes. If it goes really high you can cut it 50/50 with the tap. It will be extremely important at that point though to mix it up EXACTLY the same each time (measure exact) and premix it before you betta ever sees this water.
Since you are dealing with such a HUGE ph shift I would acclimate slowly for an hour - like a tablespoon every 10-15min, give him an hour off and go again a second hour. Whatever the ph is at this point I would leave him and go again tomorrow.
You use 2 drops per gallon on prime. The smallest containers have a dropper cap. If yours does not you can use a clean eyedropper dedicated just to him.
I'm back. I came home, saw your messages and left again to go get an eye dropper.
The photos show my current setup on how I'm acclimating him. He's actually been in there now for about and hour (the tank, that is. He's been in the cup for 4 hours now, with those flakes from earlier. I'm a little worried the flakes will start to cause more harm by just being in there).
I just added two drops of the Prime about 10 minutes ago (5:10 MT time). How long should I allow the Prime to remain in the water before I begin putting it in the cup? Should I put the air stone in to help the solution mix?
And once more (sorry to harp on this), but when the cup is full, do I pour the water back into the tank, or get rid of it completely when I "start over"?
Also, I have not used the pH down and will not at this point. I will have to go and see if I can find the high pH tester either later tonight or tomorrow. I also bought an ammonia tester.
The current temperature is 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thanks, everyone. I will continue to update.
Last edited by dougan; 02-10-2013 at 07:32 PM.
Reason: Add current temperature