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Old 06-01-2012, 03:28 PM   #1 
LittleWatty
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I caved... and need help

So, I just moved into my new apartment, so I went to PetCo to get their 6.6 bookshelf tank and some other supplies to start cycling the tank. I was going to wait until it was done before getting my fish, but... as the title states... I caved. They had my black CT with blue and red. I'm pretty sure its a black orchid CT too. So, I spent over $180 at PetCo just for a fish XD Anyway, this thread isn't just to say that I caved, I need some help with the setup.

The area I live in has REALLY hard water and REALLY high pH (the woman at PetCo - who seemed to know what she was talking about - said that our pH is about 8.4 and the water hardness around 300. Described as liquid cement). I'm wondering if this is going to be an issue? I know CT's tend to clamp when the water is really hard, but he's been fine so far and he's in pretty much the same water that I'll be getting out of the tap.

Also. I got a few different things for the water, in terms of conditioners things to help my betta during the first few days. I have API stress coat and aquarium salt. Jungle Start right (says it conditions tap water, removes chlorine, and adds slime coat). But, because I didn't recognize that brand, I also got the Tetra AquaSafe+. I probably over did it and bought 3 of the same thing interms of the API, Jungle, and Tetra liquids, but I wanted to make sure. And if one runs out, I'll just use another. But, I don't know all of what to do with them. I have a 3 gallon critter keeper as temp housing while the 6.6 gallon cycles, and I'm unsure if I should use the Stress Coat with the Jungle or Tetra. Also, I read somewhere on here that some people use a little aquarium salt with new bettas. The directions say 1/2 rounded teaspoon per gallon, so would I want to use 1.5 teaspoons for my 3 gal like the directions say? Or should I use less?

I also grabbed some Melafix, just in case. Should I use give him a little dose while he's in the 3,

I also got some live plants from the tubes (I checked all the names for ones I recognize). I got some wisteria, crested java fern, assorted anubias, and compacta (which the PetCo worker suggested - I trust her, she's got like 500 gallons worth of aquariums at home). Would it be better to put them in the 3 gallon with the fish for now, or keep them in the 6.6 while its cycling? (the wisteria is too tall for the 3, so it will be in the 6.6 at least)

That's all I have for now, so... time for fishy! (I'm not sure if I should be worried about the discoloration on the bottom fin)

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Old 06-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #2 
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You definitely overdid it on the water treatment products, but it's certainly better than under-doing it! You are right, you can just save the extra products for when others run out.

Stress coat itself is a water conditioner. I've used API and Jungle products and both are great. Choose one of those 2 to be your regular water conditioner. Stress coat can be added at the recommended dosage when you think your fish might be stressed (such as when moving him into a new tank or recovering from a disease, or if something goes awry in your tank). You want to condition any water that goes into your tank.

As far as the tank itself - you don't mention a heater anywhere. Bettas need warm water to be happy. You'll want the tank water to stay constant between 76-79 degrees. I usually aim for 78. That is more important than a filter, IMO.

Do you have a cycling plan? There are some great threads in this forum that take you step-by-step through a fishless cycle. The one thing you need to cycle is the ability to frequently test your water for ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. Liquid kits are best, but PetCo will test the water for you for free if you're willing to make frequent trips.

As for the water hardness, it shouldn't be a big deal. Bettas are very hardy. I do, however, recommend that you get your own test kit. I've had many "fish experts" at chain pet stores give me awful, terrible, dangerous advice, and I've heard many stories of incorrect water test results done there. All you have to do is look in the tanks in the store to see how little they know. Do your own research and you'll be SHOCKED at the conditions they keep their aquatic life in while marketing themselves as fish experts.

Put the plants in the permanent tank. They will help with the cycle and the overall water condition, and once they take root they are harder to move. I recommend getting some cheap fake plants at the dollar store to put in your temporary tank to give him something green to hide in while you get his new home ready.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #3 
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Conditioners: I thought so XD But like you said, better to over do it than under do it!

Heater: I have one. Its a non-adjustable tetra that sits at 78F. Forgot to mention it as that's the one thing I know I've got! lol

Cycling: Only plan I have is to use some cheap betta pellets as my ammonia source, and to test the water every couple days (or once a week, since its fishless) until I get the right levels.

Testing: Got the API master test kit ;) I actually just tested my pH and got a reading of 7.4-7.6 (did high range and regular). Ammonia, just in case, is sitting out right now to develop color.

Plants: I got a few silks just in case the real ones died. Not many, so I'll need more... but thanks for letting me know I should definitely put them in the permanent.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #4 
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I acclimated my new betta to the water slowly, with Stresscoat and a pinch of aquarium salt in the water. He seems to be doing ok, and is exploring the 3 gallons. Though... he keeps seeing his reflection in the side of the critter keeper and tries to attack it XD

I don't have very many plants right now (just two big silks) but he really likes one of them and hides in it whenever i try to get a picture of him (see avatar). I've got the 6.6 running right now with some mixed substrate (some large gravel, some smaller gravel, and a little bit of aquarium sand) and some added fish food to get that cycle started. I didn't add any conditioner to it, since there's nothing in it just yet. Is that ok? Unless all of my plants can survive in 65F water, I'm going to keep them out of it until I can get another (adjustable) heater. They should be ok in their tubes for now, as they no doubt are stuck in there for weeks at a time in the stores.

I can't think if I'm missing anything... I tried feeding him today, just a few pellets. It looked like he wanted to eat one of them, but then it sank down behind the base of a plant that's tucked in the corner and he gave up XD After trying to give him another one, he just ignored it. So... I pulled them out with a turkey baster, and I'll try pellets again tomorrow. If he won't take them, I'll try flakes. If he keeps not eating, I'll just try in the morning and evening until he actually eats, while removing any uneaten food so I can keep my ammonia down.

Edit: Scratch that. Got him to eat a couple pellets :D I just had to make sure he was looking at them XD He won't eat them if they're on the ground. Only in mid sink or floating

Last edited by LittleWatty; 06-01-2012 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:44 PM   #5 
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Consider getting a 50w adjustable heater for your 6.6g. It will keep your temps more stable than a 25w. Keeping a temperature of 85* will speed up the cycle.

The most important item for cycling is one you cannot buy. Beg, borrow or scrounge a half cup (or more) of substrate or some filter foam from a cycled, established aquarium. It has the nitrifying bacteria you need. No product I know of will get your cycle off to a better, faster start. It's one of the more difficult items to come by if you don't have a fishkeeper friend. Get some, somehow. Put it near the inflow and/or outflow of your filter.

Fish food is good as an ammonia source, but you'll want to crush it to powder before seeding your tank. This will prevent mold from forming on the rotting food. Use enough to get your ammonia levels up to around 4.0/5.0ppm.

Your pH is perfect for cycling and not too high for CTs. Check your sourcewater pH in a jar. Then check the jar again 24 hrs later to see if it goes up or down.

What kind of filter will you be using? You'll get lot's of opinions on this one. A bubble filter (aka: a sponge filter) is simple, reliable and cheap. Get one with lot's of foam, so your beneficial bacteria have a large area to grow on. Don't bother with charcoal. ATI brand are very good. But get one soon, so your cycle will start. (You'll need an air pump and airline tubing with that.) And I suggest you get extra filter foam to provide more area for you BB.

High temps, high ammonia, good flow, aeration and seeded substrate will get you cycled in less than two weeks, with any luck at all.

Edit: Ah, I see your 6.6gal comes with a filter. Get extra foam, anyway. BB need room to grow.

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-01-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:41 AM   #6 
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I got some aquariums sponge to stick in the outflow as a baffle. Its not in right now, but I can put it in there.

I don't have any fishkeeper friends... so, I think I'm screwed on that part. Unless I could get some from Petco, but I don't know if they cycle their tanks. And I don't know if I'll be able to get any XD I'm headed back there today, though, so I'll be sure to pick up a good heater and some extra foam for the filter. I need to get those plants in there.

Also... I forgot to ask this. I picked up a little tree trunk cave type thing from a petstore a few weeks back. Its made out of plastic, no paint, and its a more natural plastic (I think it said it was made from trees?). I'm wondering if it's aquarium safe. Its a real nice cave. There's no paint, so I'm hoping it will be?

Edit: I'm also not getting any readings on my ammonia tests >.> At all. There's no color change on either the 3 gal or the 6.6. I don't know if I'm just doing it wrong, but I'm following the directions. 5ml of water, 8 drops, quick shake, and sit for 5 min. I do two tests each time, and both come up clear.

Last edited by LittleWatty; 06-02-2012 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:28 AM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWatty View Post
I got some aquariums sponge.....can put it in there.
Yup. That's the idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWatty View Post
... I could get some from Petco, but I don't know if they cycle their tanks.
They certainly do. But they might decline your request citing "liability issues." (You know how corporations are.) Or they may be helpful; you never know. Do you have a small fish store in your area you can make friends with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWatty View Post
... tree trunk cave ... made out of plastic..... made from trees?).
Never heard of a plastic made form trees. Most casting resins are aquariium safe. Unfortunately, there are only two ways to find out for sure. The safe one is start a new post with a description and a picture.

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I'm also not getting any readings on my ammonia tests .... 5ml of water, 8 drops, quick shake, and sit for 5 min. I do two tests each time, and both come up clear.
I'm sure you meant 8 drops from bottle #1 and 8 drops from bottle #2, right? It'll take a couple of days for ammonia to build to a measurable amount (in either tank). For you cycling tank, keep dosing crushed food until the ammonia gets up to >4.0ppm
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:42 AM   #8 
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They certainly do. But they might decline your request citing "liability issues." (You know how corporations are.) Or they may be helpful; you never know. Do you have a small fish store in your area you can make friends with?
Nope... none... I looked a few weeks ago online (as I only just moved into the area) so I might be able to support a local business, as well as get some nice quality things. But... there's no fish stores around here that aren't big box stores :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
I'm sure you meant 8 drops from bottle #1 and 8 drops from bottle #2, right? It'll take a couple of days for ammonia to build to a measurable amount (in either tank). For you cycling tank, keep dosing crushed food until the ammonia gets up to >4.0ppm
I must have read the directions too fast XD I thought by #1 and #2, they meant two separate water tests. But, after reading around, and then finding this, I realize that I have to use the two ammonia bottles. I'm just really cautious of the levels of anything in my water. I was desperate to find this fish, so I'm desperate to keep him alive!
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:25 AM   #9 
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I'm just really cautious of the levels of anything in my water.
As well you should be. Careful water maintenance is the mark of a responsible fish-keeper. I commend your attitude. Having said that, learn to relax and enjoy your fish. (Easy for me to say, eh?)

I forgot who said this: I don't keep fish. I keep water. Water keeps fish.

It's OK if you can't find any cycled gravel or foam. The nitrifying bacteria is everywhere in the air. It'll just take longer to cycle

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-03-2012 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:54 AM   #10 
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I went and picked up an adjustable heater (just the Petco brand one) and put it in the big tank yesterday. It was at 80F when I went to bed, and I haven't checked it yet this morning. Once I find a good spot for it where it doesn't really go over 80F unless its really hot outside, then I won't be touching it :D It just has + and - signs, with the middle arrow signifying 76F. They don't even say what the range of temps. for it is. Anyway. I also picked up another chunk of aquarium sponge to stick in the filter, increasing the surface area of the media for the bacteria to grow on. I can get even more in there, but I've spent about $260 already! XD I'll have to wait until my next paycheck before I do that.

A day and a half later, my fish is still alive. I tested the ammonia levels yesterday in the occupied tank, and they were at .25ppm. I figured he would be ok until this morning, so I could to a water change today. I know ideal ammonia is 0, but I figure letting it be at .25 isn't horrible? Especially since I want him to get used to me without me yanking him out of his tank every day. I'm still dosing the big tank with betta flakes. Just as practice with testing, I've been checking its ammonia levels too, and it was at .50ppm last I checked. Can't wait until Its done cycling :D
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