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Old 09-23-2010, 05:31 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question Please Help, What am I doing wrong. I don't wanna kill my fish.

So many things gone wrong.

I am sorry to report that I had to put my betta back in his gallon tank from his 20 gallon. So many things just went wrong.
1. brought betta home and housed him in a gallon tank while preparing his 20 gallon home
2. Attempted a fishless cycle in the 20 gallon tank for a month
3. added my betta to 20 gallon, heated, filtered and what I thought was cycled tank
4. Was very please at how happy and beautiful he looked in his new home.
5. started noticing tail fin was looking ragged.
6. Noticed a tear in his fin. Aghhhh!
7. Realized it must be from filter current that he so loved swimming in and against.
8. Divided the tank with plastic canvas to keep him out of current.
9. Everything seem fine
Tank light was mostly kept off with only ambient lighting for the tank because when it was on he seemed to notice his reflection and started flaring constantly, so to keep his stress levels down, I kept tank light off and room light on during day.
10. Tested water conditions daily, noticed ammonia leves were at .25 - .50
11. Did daily partial water changes to keep ammonia levels down, made sure not to overfeed, only 2 - 3 pellets a day, an occasional bloodworm.
12 Notice ammonia levels would not go down nitrites were 0 So I bought stresszyme to help out, hopefully, I thought it couldn't hurt. Maybe at the very least keep his stress levels down by making any ammonia less harmful.
13. Well, I thought things were great. Ammonia, down to 0 Nitrite 0 Fish seemed a little over active, water was like this for 5 days. I notice he was a bit pale on day 6 so of course tested water and it was at .50. I did a partial water change and the next morning he looked really pale, in a matter of hours, sickly pale. I panicked.
Set him up in the gallon tank with fresh cleaned conditioned water. I don't think he liked losing so much swimming space but...anyway his color came back withing half an hour!
I am planning to keep him in this gallon and change the water daily and putting the dirty water in his 20 gallon so that it can continue to cycle.
Please help me. What am I doing wrong? Why wont the 20 gallon cycle? I haven't messed with the filter, did not disturb gravel or plants, just partial water changes.
I have 20 gallon long tank
tetra whisper filter for 10 - 30 gallon
gravel and silk plants
water testing kit Master kit
I tested my tap water for ammonia just to see that I am not actually adding ammonia.
tap water checks out with no ammonia a ph of 7.8 We have really hard water here.
Any tips, advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance. Oh and so sorry for such a long post.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:12 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: John 14:2-4
That is good your betta is okay now. If he's been in the 1 gallon, he will probably be fine in the 1 gallon while you finish cycling the 20 gallon, but it can take up to 4 months to cycle one. There are some ammonia drop things to make it cycle faster, maybe in a week or two. I've read before you can use dead shrimp to put in the water and they will decay in the water, helping the cycle. It's gross, but it works!
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:01 PM   #3 
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Location: NW Connecticut
When you clean the water, do you scoop it from the top or use a siphon or gravel vac to get the water down below? It's possible that the ammonia is rising because of debris in the gravel, but I'm not entirely sure.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:39 PM   #4 
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Location: Savannah, GA
What method were you using for your fishless cycle? Adding pure ammonia? Fish food?

It takes 2 weeks all the way up to 2 months for a tank to cycled depending on how well you seed the tank. If your starting from scratch it will take longer. Once your readings are 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and 0-15 nitrate for at least a week straight, then you are safe to add fish (a small amount at a time).

Do you have plastic plants in the tank? If so that could be why his fins got torn up.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:30 PM   #5 
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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Wow 4 months to cycle! I thought 2 months max. When I did the partial water changes, I usually syphoned from mid column. I did not disturb the gravel much because the tank was new and I read somewhere not to disturb the gravel much when begining to cycle a tank as not to disturb the delicate bacteria forming on the gravel.

I started the fishless cycle with pure ammonia, and using fish food only once. When the ammonia peaked to 4 I started to do pwc. All this without the betta in it of course.

They are no plastic plants in the tank, just silk ones which is why I assume it must be the filter current.

He looks much better today. I am feeding him flakes instead of pellet. The first ingredients in the flakes is salmon, instead of wheat flour, so I figure that might help. His face is darkening again and he is getting his beautiful color again.

I really want to give him his 20 gallon tank but can't help to wonder if it is really the best enviroment for him. I guess I will try one more time once the tank is cycled.
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