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Old 04-23-2013, 05:38 PM   #1 
PNP
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Ammonia question

So I got the API freshwater test kit, and after I perfected my evil mad scientist laugh, I tested Jazz's water. I was happy with the pH and nitrates and nitrites were zero. The ammonia reading was 0.5 ppm. And this was just a few days after a 100% water change.

So I did a 50% water change, and yes, the reading went down to 0.25 ppm. Still too high, right?

So my question is this: Is this why Jazz's tail isn't healing, even though I use Stress Coat and the temp of the water is a consistent 80-81 degrees?

The rest of the story: 5 gallons, heated, no filter (more on that in a sec). A few live plants. I feed him mostly NLS pellets and an occasional Aqueon pellet for variety. He's acting fine; very happy and active, and building bubble nests like mad. But his tail looks all shredded, even though there's not one thing in his house that he could catch it on.

More: Little Jazz is a chowhound. If I'm over-feeding him, would that increase the ammonia in the tank, even though I feed him one pellet at a time and there's nothing left over?

Filter: I got one of those Mignon 60 filters, but I think it's just a mechanical filter with funny little sponge things, rather than charcoal or something, so I don't think it's helping. I turned it off last night when I did another partial water change.

Water: I've been doing 50% changes once or twice a week. I did the 100% change to get rid of aquarium salt. Am I doing too few changes?

Any ideas? Jazz is a very happy boy, but I'd sure like to see his tail heal up.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #2 
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So I got the API freshwater test kit, and after I perfected my evil mad scientist laugh, I tested Jazz's water. I was happy with the pH and nitrates and nitrites were zero. The ammonia reading was 0.5 ppm. And this was just a few days after a 100% water change.

So I did a 50% water change, and yes, the reading went down to 0.25 ppm. Still too high, right?

So my question is this: Is this why Jazz's tail isn't healing, even though I use Stress Coat and the temp of the water is a consistent 80-81 degrees?

The rest of the story: 5 gallons, heated, no filter (more on that in a sec). A few live plants. I feed him mostly NLS pellets and an occasional Aqueon pellet for variety. He's acting fine; very happy and active, and building bubble nests like mad. But his tail looks all shredded, even though there's not one thing in his house that he could catch it on.

More: Little Jazz is a chowhound. If I'm over-feeding him, would that increase the ammonia in the tank, even though I feed him one pellet at a time and there's nothing left over?

Filter: I got one of those Mignon 60 filters, but I think it's just a mechanical filter with funny little sponge things, rather than charcoal or something, so I don't think it's helping. I turned it off last night when I did another partial water change.

Water: I've been doing 50% changes once or twice a week. I did the 100% change to get rid of aquarium salt. Am I doing too few changes?

Any ideas? Jazz is a very happy boy, but I'd sure like to see his tail heal up.

Thanks!
Was the tank cycled? If it was that 100% change killed of the biological filter. In short the only thing consuming ammonia right now is the live plants, and judging by the .5ppm ammonia there are not enought plants.

If there is not anything to catch his fins on and his fins still look shredded there is a possibility of fin rot. I am not an expert but perhaps you can post a picture and someone else can diagnose it for you?

Turn the filter back on. It will provide mechanical and biological filtration, both much more important than the chemical filtration (charcoal) provided. Chemical filtration can actually be bad for a planted tank. A filter with no chemical filtration is far from useless, and it is definitely helping.

Due to the 100% water change you will most likely have to cycle your tank again. Keep a constant eye on ammonia and do water changes as nessecary (never 100%). I would turn the filter back on to. Your live plants will help, get more if possible. Aim for fast growing plants.

Hope this helped!
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:45 PM   #3 
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The sponge in the filter is perfect. Plenty of surface area to grow benifical bacteria. Turn the filter back on and being to cycle your tank. Keep the ammonia level around or bellow .25 and perform a water change when it exceeds .25. Don't do 100% water change as that may cause your cycle to crash. Did you test your tap water for ammonia?
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:54 PM   #4 
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Thanks! I turned the filter back on. It's very gentle and Jazz actually seems to play in the outflow, which is fun to watch.

I thought about testing my tap water for ammonia, but I haven't done it. I'll do that today. And I am planning to get more plants. Jazz likes to swim between them, and I occasionally look over to see him peering at me from between the leaves. Very cute.

I will monitor the water more frequently, and if I need to change water more often, I will. Jazz is a very sociable little guy, and I just want him to be healthy.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:02 PM   #5 
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Actually the explanation you gave of that filter is more ideal then the charcoal ones. I was having a problem a while ago with my well planted community fish/frog tank and finally was given instruction by a vet on another board of how to alter my filter to one more like yours so I didn't have to throw away good bacteria when the charcoal went bad. It was a chore altering my filter but now no more ammonia spikes and all the other tanks I have are with sponge and bio balls or similar. The ammonia issue you were having was likely due to over feeding a bit and not completely cycled.
Glad your little dude is enjoying his tank!
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:17 PM   #6 
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Well, I do think I feed him too much, even though he eats every morsel. I'm such a soft touch that when he swims up to take the pellets from me, I can't resist giving him more than he probably really needs.

But having said that, I've seen what seems to be conflicting advice on how much to feed. He gets mostly NLS pellets, which are tiny little things, and yes, he can put 6 or 8 of them away without slowing down. It's hard to imagine that only 3 or 4 is enough. Any ideas on this?

And thanks for telling me about the filter. I did turn it back on. He likes to go up to the outflow and get into the current from the side and let it push him down. I know that sounds odd, but I've seen him do it several times in a row, so I know it's deliberate. He's a funny little guy.

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:55 PM   #7 
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It's hard to imagine that only 3 or 4 is enough
I feed the omega one BB pellets and they are teeny too, so I wonder the same thing. he gets 2 in the am and 2 in the pm just cuz Im scared to over-feed him cuz I heard it causes problems with the swim-bladder. I dont wanna starve him tho, hope Im doin it right. he gets vita-chem a couple times a week too
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:08 PM   #8 
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I've never had a problem with swim bladder or bloat (knock on all avail wood!!), and I feed them until they look plump. Then I watch them to make sure that they go back to being sleek again before the next feeding. If they are still a bit too round at the next feeding, I fast them a day or so, and then feed them a little less after that. Your betta is not going to get SBD or Bloat from over-feeding them a couple of times, and you can definitely tell when they're getting too fat and need to go on a "diet", so I'd follow the individual fish, making sure that they're getting what they need on an individual basis.

And, this number changes over time. If they start to swim more (bigger tank, more things to look at, tank-mates, etc.) then they'll probably need a few more pellets, same with less activity = less food. And age. When I first got my guys, they were young (almost fully grown, but not quite) and they needed more food for the first several months. Then after about a year I noticed that they were getting rounder than they should have been, and cut down their food accordingly until they were at an appropriate weight.

I think that someone telling you a specific amount of food for every fish in the world is actually pretty ridiculous...it's like saying that all dogs in the world need a cup of food twice a day. No-one would ever look at a great dane and a poodle and tell you they need the same amount of food. Nor would you feed a puppy the same amount of food you'd feed an adult dog, or a very active dog the same amount as a lap-dog.

Why on earth are we saying to do this to fish?! I know that the majority of bettas are roughly the same size, but their activity rates, their ages, size to some degree, and their individual metabolisms are all going to be different, depending on the fish. *These* factors need to be the basis for feeding, not just a randomly assigned number.

Okay, I'll get down off my soapbox now... :)
I hope that helps. :)
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:14 PM   #9 
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yeah mine is about 4.5-5mo old and CRAZY active so I guess it wouldnt hurt him to have more than his 4 pellets a day
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:08 PM   #10 
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I agree with Blue Fish about the feedings. If your guy is active and not having other issues then feed maybe a little less then you do now and then try to keep that consistent for a while and see how it goes. To avoid the ammonia issues on a heavy eater you could spot clean with a gravel vac or turkey baster around his fav hangouts(thats usually their poo spot lol). I spot clean all the time and find they often poo around their plants, in one specific corner or in their hides. When doing the weekly water changes in a 5+ gallon I highly recommend doing it using a gravel vac to remove the old water.
Sounds like a fun guy. I am starting to think my Betta misses his current from the filter(I baffled all the betta's filters). I know what you're talking about. In my community tank the guppy's crack me up. They sit in line then go straight into the current from the filter like it's a roller coaster and do it all day long! lol I have now dubbed it the "filter flow roller coaster" ;)
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