I am cycling a new tank, it has been running for 8 days, 7 days with my new betta. After a few days I noticed the tips of his ventral fins turned white. After 5 days of having my betta I did a 15% water change and added 6 neon tetras and a mystery snail. I added before I really knew about cycling . Now more of the tips have turned white, but it doesn't look fuzzy. He doesn't want to come out of his house and he's not eating nearly as much as usual. I was worried about the water levels so I got a test kit. My base ph was 7.2, it's 7.6 in the tank, the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are all in the good range. I'm not sure if its the tetras stressing him out or the ph...any ideas?
First off, when you are doing water tests, there is no good range of ammonia or nitrite. There is only one value that is "good", and that is 0. Anything other than 0 is not good, and needs to be taken care of one way or another.
Second, if you are doing a fish-in cycle, which you are, you need to be doing frequent water changes, often times large (at least 50%). It is perfectly safe to change out 100% of the water while the tank is cycling, and any other time for that matter as long as the water chemistries aren't vastly different. What is NOT safe is having any measurable amount of ammonia, and later on nitrite. Ammonia/nitrite = poison. It's going to take several weeks and a lot of work on your part to keep these fish alive. if you stay on top of your water changes, you should be able to move past this cycling business just fine.
As for your issue with the betta, I think it's definitely stress related, and there probably is no shortage of things going on to stress it. I didn't see you mention a tank size, but it is entirely possible that the neons are causing the betta to be stressed. Or it could be a water quality thing, which is usually the case when fin rot sets in... If that is what is setting in.
I thought I posted a reply but I don't see it so lets try this again. I have a 10 gallon tank. I will do a water change immediately. I woke up this morning and two of my neons were dead with their tails missing. I think that it is stress. I do have a question about water changes. I have seen a lot of conflicting info and I don't know if it is just a matter of a right way versus personal preference on how you change the water. Should I let the water w/conditioner mix sit for a couple days before I do the water change, or do I just let it sit for a couple hours bf I change it?
For the water changes, if you are using a water conditioner, such as prime, you do not need to let the water sit at all. You can add the water conditioner to the tank and immediately refill the tank. While chlorine will kill your fish, it does not kill them as quickly as people seem to think. It takes time. Water conditioner, however, works immediately, so all the bad stuff will be neutralized well before your fish are in any danger. But to answer your question, some people prefer to do things one way, while others do it another way. Neither way is really wrong, it's just a matter of how difficult you want things to be. Some people like doing things the hard way. However, there are special cases where it is necessary to use a holding tank for water changes, such as in the event that the water chemistry must be altered before it can be added to the tank. In such a situation, the water is added to a holding tank and prepared, after which it is then pumped into the main tank.
The purpose of letting the water sit is so that the chlorine dissipates. However, many municipalities now use chloramine (chlorine and ammonia), which does not readily dissipate...which is one of the reasons why they are now using it. As I said, some people are happy to do things the hard way. Not everyone is comfortable trying a different way.
As for your neons, yes losing their tails was probably stress related, though not directly attributed to stress. What did the dorsal fin look like? They could have nipped each other, or the betta could have nipped them, or they could have died and then were nipped at - there are a number of reasons why a dead fish would have no tail.
What exactly were your water test results for ammonia and nitrite?
that's exactly what happened to my betta. his tail started to get fin rot so just added aquarium salt and did 50% water changes every 2days and now his tail looks better. way better. just a couple more days till our treatment is over. what i advise you to do in future reference is to keep only one fish such as your betta for the whole cycling period then add fish slowly. it seems that you over stocked your fish tank too soon and now your betta is suffering.
Agreed, adding additional fish while cycling just makes things that much more difficult. The OP added the new fish before they learned about the need to cycle the tank, so we will let that one slide
Like was said, water changes water changes and more water changes. Once the cycle has completed (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and lets say 20 nitrates), then you can relax with the water changes and find yourself a sustainable routine.
Yesterday my ammonia was .25 and nitrites and nitrates were 0. I did a 50% change when I got home for work. How soon after should I retest the water? As for the neons with missing tails I definitely think it was tail nipping. When I got home one had its entire tail missing but he was still alive. The other just had half of his tail gone and had trouble swimming. I am also worried that my filter current may be too strong. It is the filter that came with the tank. I have read that generally filters that come with smaller tanks are slow flow, but the betta seems to fight the current. It doesn't have any settings to turn it down.
It would stand to reason that nipping was occurring - stress can make fish act out, and nipping is one of the ways that is manifested. The stress is likely from the ammonia poisoning, though there are other reasons why it could be.
If your ammonia reading was 0.25 and you did a 50% water change, at BEST your new ammonia level will be 0.12. I say at best because if the water contains chloromine (instead of chlorine), then the act of a water change will create ammonia. Chloramine breaks down into chlorine and ammonia. While your tank is cycling, you should do almost complete water changes to keep the ammonia, and later nitrite, levels as low as possible.
I just tested the water again and my levels were the same as yesterday, even after the 50% change. I don't know if I tested too soon, but I wouldn't think that would matter if I used the conditioner. At this point should I change the water every day? My other question is about using chems. From what I l've read you shouldn't use Chems while cycling bc it could take longer to cycle, but I'm worried about the ph and ammonia being sooo high.
Like I mentioned, some ammonia may be created because of the water change. Dosing with a water conditioner will detoxify the ammonia, and later nitrite, for 24 hours keeping the fish safe until you can do the next water change. Yes, you should be doing water changes every day or two, depending on how fast the ammonia level rises. The lower you can keep the ammonia, the better it is for the fish.
You won't have to use any chemicals to control the pH. You will be doing water changes so frequently that the pH in the tank will be whatever the source water is - it won't have a chance to change. As for ammonia, I covered that already. Water conditioner is absolutely necessary - that should be the only chemical you use. The cycle will take as long as it takes, and not a day less. There is no sense in stressing about how long it will take because you will only frustrate yourself.
You are at the beginning stage of the cycle. Once the ammonia bacteria gets a foothold, the ammonia levels will drop to 0. As the ammonia level drops, the nitrite levels will rise. Nitrite is poisonous as well. Keep up with the water changes. In about 2 weeks from the time you first see nitrites, you should see their level start to drop. It may even just go to 0 one day. When you see 0 nitrites, you will see a rise in nitrates. That is when the cycle has completed.