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Old 05-14-2011, 11:27 PM   #1 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
Exclamation Cycling Questions-

I'm doing an in-tank cycling ( meaning my fish is in the tank as it gets it gets its cycle );
is 50 water change daily okay or should I do more?
it's a five gallon with heater and filter and live plants.
once it's fully cycled, do I just syphon gravel and plants or leave them be all together?
and, when I do the partial change, tips on getting it to the right temperature to add in so it doesn't stress my betta who will still be in the tank? or should I just use the plastic ( washed ) cup he came in to put him back in while I add it and wait a few hours for the water to level back out and then float him and release him back? D: he's still not all back to health from the cup, and has a stress stripe, and I don't want to kill him D:
thankyouu <3
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:09 AM   #2 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
also, someone told me because of his current stress levels I should wait a few days before starting the water changes because they can technically deal with higher ammonia than most fish? I'm not sure I believe this though >^< I'm not sure what the best thing to do for the little guy is and it's quite frustrating...
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:09 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: MO
Too many water changes can stall a cycle; you don't need to make daily water changes when cycling. If you have/can get a test kit (preferably liquid because they are more accurate) that will help you determine when you need to change the water. But if you don't have one, the general rule of thumb is two 50% water changes per week--one just water, and one with a gravel vacuuming. How many plants do you have? I have read that cycling a heavily planted tank is different, but I don't know anything else about it as I don't have live plants (could never keep them alive!).

Once cycled, you only need to do one 50% change + gravel vacuuming per week.

I always take my bettas out of their tanks because they are in small (2.5-5g) tanks, and I'm paranoid that I'll suck them up with the gravel vacuum! The temperature issue always concerns me too. I try to fill up my clean water bucket, then stick one hand in it and the other in the tank to gauge how similar their temperatures are. Not totally accurate, but better than just a blind guess. It might be a good idea to get a thermometer to stick in the clean water bucket so you have a better idea what temperature the new water is. But I do prefer to keep them in their small cups until the water change is over and I know the temperature is correct.

When you say his cup was washed, do you mean rinsed, or do you mean washed with soap/detergent? Soap residue is extremely hard to get off, no matter how well you rinse, and it is harmful to fish. So if his cup was washed with soap, I recommend finding him a new, never-been-washed container to keep him in during water changes (if you do decide to continue cupping him during wc's).

Good luck, I hope he starts feeling better soon!
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:32 AM   #4 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
nonono, no soap no worries. I used hot tap water, I don't think the chlorine sticks does it? just in the water? and I dried it with paper towels.

I would like to be able to leave him in tank if possible, I was just nervous on the stress levels since I JUST brought him home and he was stressed from the cup they'd kept him in. ( awful pet stores, it makes me so miserable to think how many must die there :/ )
I did have to change his plants today and add gravel to weight them down, so I had my hands moving around in his personal space bubble for quite awhile XD; so he may be used to it now :P but he darted around for a long time and he has a stress line, so I just was nervous to do any more. the ammonia was between the yellow safe and the first shade of green which is caution ( it was a strip that you dip into a sample and remove and see what color the water turns, is that okay? )
and I heard bettas are more able to withstand it as I said, so maybe that's okay? I did a little water change before I got nervous and quit, but it certainly wasn't 50.
I have three that are live, one Oriental Sword, one Annubis something or other, and a Money Wort. I tried to find silk, but they all had sharp plastic stems on the back of them, which ofcourse defeated the purpose :/

they suggested the daily partial change to delude ammonia untill it's cycled enough to delude it itself. but that may not be a real concern for bettas so much, maybe they can handle it more ><
do yours stress when you cup them? it may just be less stressful for him to stay in there so long as it's clean, he'd be there a few hours while I waited on the temperature and floated him though... and I could see myself being paranoid enough to do a short drop period as well in case the water wasn't the same balance as his old ><;

thankyou for the response and well wishes :D
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:30 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Australia
Originally Posted by inkrealm View Post
and, when I do the partial change, tips on getting it to the right temperature to add in so it doesn't stress my betta who will still be in the tank? or should I just use the plastic ( washed ) cup he came in to put him back in while I add it and wait a few hours for the water to level back out and then float him and release him back?
I do what Lola said she does.... I fill up my bucket (10 litres) of clean water and get it close to what I think the tank is. I take it over to my tank and put one of my hands in Leroy's tank for about 10 seconds to get used to the temp. Then, I take that hand out and put it immediately in the bucket of clean water and see if I notice my hand feels cooler or warmer. Then, I adjust the temp of the bucket by adding cold or hot water to get it closer.

Doesn't have to be "exact", but as close as you can get it would be good.
Also, if you've got a 5 gallon and do a 50% change, any difference in temperature between the new water and old water will be sort of buffered because you still have half of the tank's water remaining. For example, if your tank is 80 degrees and new water is 78 degrees and you do a 50% change, the resulting temp in the tank will be about 79. So, just keep temps close to avoid shocking your fish with a big difference in temp.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:38 AM   #6 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
thanks, your fish is gorgeous by the way, he's made amazing progress :D
the math is appreciated, I wasn't sure how they would mix. I suppose if he didn't like it he would also tend to retreat from it where as mine actually jumped at it... I'll try again tomorrow after he's had a good night's sleep and see how he reacts. if it doens't go well I'll just start removing him. thankyou both guys :D
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Old 05-15-2011, 03:56 AM   #7 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Matching temperatures I just use a second heater and adjust it so it turns on at the same temp as the one in the tank. You have to let it cool down for about 5 minutes after unplugging it before you move the water from the bucket.

The "trick" to fish-in cycling is to keep the ammonia and nitrite under 2.0ppm at all times. This can be tricky since 2.0ppm ammonia becomes about 3.8ppm nitrite (less with live plants) so generally I advise Seachem's little AmmoniaAlert in-tank sensor. Thing about it is ANY color other than yellow means there IS ammonia but it will never read accurately if you use water treatments that make ammonia safe. If it cycles from yellow to off-yellow and back, you're building up bacteria. Nitrite tests are easy in that it's 5ml/cc and 5 drops, so you can get a little children's medicine dropper and take one milliliter out and use one drop chemical with it in the vial. The AmmoniaAlert sensor is much cheaper than running ammonia tests and will give you a nearly minute-by-minute reading resolution. If your ammonia is above 3ppm or the nitrite is over 5ppm the bacteria will not eat it. If your nitrate is over 500ppm not only will your bacteria be unable to digest their food but your fish will begin taking kidney damage. These are _mandatory_ water change numbers. You do a 50% water change right off.

My BEST tip for acclimatizing bettas when you bring them home is to feed them their new regular food in their cup. Even if the water is dirty this will show them immediately what their new food looks, smells and tastes like. I do this with all my girls and - trust me - a fair meal really reduces new tank stress.

One thing that will help new tank cycling along is aeration. The bacteria eat air and having the O2 levels in the tank go low is bad for propagation. You should also NOT use RO, distilled or softened water for cycling. The bacteria need the iron, calcium, carbonate and dissolved solids in regular old tap water. We get around this somewhat with ceramic media in canister filters and rocks in the UGF (painted rocks don't work any better as bio-media than the glass tank wall) or by adding in a little neutral regulator.

Be careful even considering using "stress zyme" or other bacteria products including Cycle in tanks you're currently fish-in cycling because they can jump-start the conversion of solid wastes into liquid ammonia. You can actually have a sterile tank go from 0ppm ammonia to 6ppm ammonia and 10ppm nitrite in a couple hours if the bio-waste load is high but none of it has decayed.

Nitrite is the carbon monoxide of fish, it builds up over time and takes time to get out of their system, even though betta can tolerate it and ammonia you are risking the lifespan of your fish.

Either the AmmoniaAlert sensor or liquid ammonia test for ammonia AND testing dip-strips is the best way to monitor the whole process. The dip strip is the fastest way to find out what's going on in the water and includes a carbonate hardness test. You will need to do a water change if the hardness zeros out as well.

Little dip-strip guide for Jungle 5-in-one:
Nitrate: Higher nitrate or high alkalinity will slow the reading on this, watch for a minute.
Nitrite: any color other than yellow is bad, this is sensitive to surface scum so break it up if you see it.
Total Hardness (Gh): Only a concern if it is below "soft" of 75. Should read higher than Alkalinity, if it doesn't something is WRONG wrong.
Total Alkalinity (Kh): This is the carbonate hardness. Do NOT let it zero.
pH: This is tricky to read if there are pollutants in your house air. Only truly worry about final readings below 6.7. Do visual checks for fin edge health if you're worried about a static pH level.

Kh/Alkalinity going to zero can cause massive changes in the pH of the water as well as all sorts of other problems in the tank. I've had sudden hardness changes freeze up my filter's motor because of magnetic deposition and the Kh drop near zero. An over-loaded tank will grow bacteria faster than the carbonate of their cells can return to the tank and will continue to consume carbonate as the bacteria slime layer on the media buries ever increasing layers of dead cells. This process can be drastically affected by water changes and generate large swings up the pH scale. Hard water and soft water will often produce an inversion layer at the top of the gravel and generate two biospheres in the tank. Since the solid waste drops into the hard water at the bottom the ammonia from it never gets out of the rocks and it gets converted into nitrite but not nitrate. You can get natural bacteria turning it into protein which will then decay into ammonia and the end result is a massive buildup of nitrogen compounds in the rocks. Its not uncommon for people with too much rock layer thickness to have HIGHER ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings AFTER a water change due to this entrapment in the rock bed.

Babble babble blah bark bark babble yap yap. Watch out for brown/red algae on the filter's water-fall area, watch out for dark green hair algae on the plants and either put the plants in a deep rock bed and thin it out for the rest of the tank or plant around the whole bottom with easy to keep plants like Anubias Nana. Remember to use long-stem aquatic plants as well.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 05-15-2011 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 05-15-2011, 08:40 AM   #8 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
hrmm, my Alk is around 80 and my hardness is somewhere around 75, is this okay for a new tank right after a water change has been done? D:
I have an Anubias, an Oriental Swords, and a Money Wort ^-^
also PH is barely reaching 6.5? >.<; it's the color for 5.5 with 6.5 edges. thanks :D

and I used the faucet method, just putting in warm water to begin with, and treating it with conditioner and putting it in, and he seemed fine with this,

it's normal for them to dart after all that activity right? not just at the top of the water,

and thankyou for all the additional information as well, this will be a huge help for him and any other Bettas I might get in the future ^-^

Last edited by inkrealm; 05-15-2011 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:23 AM   #9 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Pluto, North Carolina [ mountain region ]
he also seems to be purposely putting himself in the filter current and trying to swim against it? is this okay? everywhere else in the tank is calm, and he'll get out of it and swim deliberately back into it. should I try to spread it out some more os he can't do this or is it healthy for them? I don't want him to rip his fin worse or rip it again. x-x

as for the water strip after the given time once all the water dried of it changed colors? by this point it's probably contaminated by air though right? because otherwise my readings are WAY different and I need to check again ><;
this was a good length of time after the time they said to wait, it was done changing when I had checked it.

Last edited by inkrealm; 05-15-2011 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:53 AM   #10 
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i put my decholrinated water into a clean pot, get the thermometer and "cook" the water until the desired temp ^^ if that helps at all
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