Based on the advice I received in response to my introductory post the other day, I purchased a water test kit and tested my tank's water last night. I am new to fish ownership and knew nothing about cycling tanks until I did lots of online research (unfortunately, I did this AFTER bringing home the fish and putting them in the tank, so the tank is NOT cycled).
Here is a little background on my fish and tank: This is week 3 of having 3 female bettas in a 4-gallon filtered tank. The tank is heated to 78-80 degrees. (I have seen no problems with aggression, but I am prepared to separate the fish if necessary). I have been doing weekly 25% water changes.
I tested the water last night with an aquarium "multi-test" kit. It showed no nitrate or chlorine, but it did give a reading in the "caution" level for nitrite (around .5, I think) a high pH (about 8.4), and a very hard water reading (I already knew we had hard water here, but I don't know what this means for the fish).
What action should I take based on these readings (the instructions were not specific)? All I know is that nitrite is harmful. Should I add something to the water to lower it, or just change the water more frequently until I get no nitrite readings? Or is this just part of the natural cycle? What about the pH and hardness levels? Should I do something to fix that? Also, this kit didn't have a test for ammonia. Should I buy a separate test for that, or should I assume that if nitrite is high, then ammonia is high?
Thanks for any help!