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Old 06-15-2012, 09:37 AM   #1 
LittleWatty
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Nitrites from Fake Plants?

I'm 95% positive that whatever is causing my nitrite spikes is because of my fake plants (had a topic going a few days back, trying to get as many answers as I could from more experienced betta caretakers). I was really hoping it wasn't, but after all the little tests I've done over the past week and a half, it seems to be so. My plastic rock and a plastic log I have do not cause nitrite spikes, and have had a steady 0ppm whenever I've tested them. Even when they're in with my fish. By having a few crested java fern in there, I can balance out the nitrites coming off of one fake plant, but if I add two, they spike again and I have to remove them.

My larger tank is far from cycling, and if I have more than just java fern in the occupied tank, the plants start to die off. I've lost a few water wisteria stems, and all of my compacta. They're perfectly fine when in the cycling tank (which still has high levels of ammonia). So... I don't know what to do. My betta has a large hollowed out plastic log to hide in, if he wants, but he's so bored. He does a lot of glass surfing, and I don't know what I can do to keep him interested without risking high nitrites by adding back in my fake plants. Every once and a while I'll have him chase an onion bulb that is growing in the tank, as it gives him exercise, and he flares at it. But I can't do it all day. Otherwise, the only thing that seems to get him to stop surfing is me being by the tank and actually doing something (like making food).

For the record:
- I have plastic and silk, and both cause nitrite spikes
- My tap spikes to 1.0ppm after 4 or 5 days of sitting around, but having live plants in with the conditioned tap, there is no spike.
-- My fake plants seem to accelerate the spike, and can reach 5.0ppm in 24 hours.


To answer any other questions that might be asked:
- I have a 6.6 gallon tank that is cycling and has some live plants in it. The live plants are in there instead of the occupied tank because there's not enough nutrients, and they die off rather quickly.
- My betta is in an unfiltered but heated 3.0 gallon critter keeper with a plastic log and two crested java fern
- I use API stress coat as a water conditioner, and have been using recommended dosage of AQ salt as he's either missing a scale on his head, or has a slime coat infection. I'm thinking missing scale, but that's beside the point.
- There is no gravel/substrate, and no filter, so there's really nothing for nitrifying bacteria to cling to, and I'm 99.9% positive my 3.0 gallon is not going through a mini-cycle. And I will not cycle this tank, so don't even bother suggesting it. He's in this tank so I don't have to put him through a fish-in cycle while the bigger tank is going!
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:53 AM   #2 
deso
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That is frightening. I'm sorry that I have no helpful advice on the matter, but just in case, would you please tell us which brand of fake plants you're using so we can avoid them? Perhaps it's something about the material used to make them.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:14 AM   #3 
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I don't know what the problem with them is. I don't know if its something with the plants reacting with something in the water, or if its solely based on the plants. But I can do you one better and give you links to all the plants I have:

Petco Natural Green Silk Aquarium Plant (my betta loves this one, but he can't swim in it now :()
Petco Anubias Betta Aquarium Plant
Petco Leafy Green Silk Aquarium Plant
Petco Purple Burst Silk Aquarium Plant
Petco Yellow & Green Blossom Silk Aquarium Plant

There's one more I can't find online, but it looks like this, only green:
http://www.petco.com/product/118929/...ium-Plant.aspx
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:25 AM   #4 
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Omg that blue one is our sammys fave plant!!!
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:28 AM   #5 
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In my pix/almbums yu can see that plant a lot in the pix:) the one yur looking for in green:) wehave the blue one..i call it the poop catcher..it works like a filter..lol
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:29 AM   #6 
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That is rather interesting. I've never heard of fake plants causing a nitrite spike. If you hadn't done the testing I would of never believed it.
How long did you do the testing?


ETA: I looked at all your links. I'm leaning towards the glue on the base of the plants.
Is it possible you can go completely live plants in your tank? But then again, I'm not completely sure 1 adorable fish can produce enough for the plants to naturally thrive on.

Last edited by FishyFishy89; 06-15-2012 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:37 AM   #7 
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FishyFishy89, I tried. I put a couple stems of water wisteria in there, some compacta, two growing onion bulbs, and two bunches of crested java fern. The compacta completely died off, and the wisteria started to go too. All that's left in there is the java fern and one onion bulb.

I might be able to use them again in a cycled tank, as the bacteria should take care of any nitrites along with the live plants absorbing them. But... for now, they sit in my kitchen near the tank, so he can at least feel like there's cover around him, even if its not inside his tank.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWatty View Post
FishyFishy89, I tried. I put a couple stems of water wisteria in there, some compacta, two growing onion bulbs, and two bunches of crested java fern. The compacta completely died off, and the wisteria started to go too. All that's left in there is the java fern and one onion bulb.

I might be able to use them again in a cycled tank, as the bacteria should take care of any nitrites along with the live plants absorbing them. But... for now, they sit in my kitchen near the tank, so he can at least feel like there's cover around him, even if its not inside his tank.
Bummer.....
I'm a tad curious, how come you don't have any substrate in his tank? Are you just trying to make sure it doesn't try to cycle?
Maybe you get to get some regular plastic plants. Remove the bottom piece that is used to root it into the substrate and float it. Maybe even weave softer or smaller ones through decor. I did that with Spike's smaller log. Shown here:
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:48 PM   #9 
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Well, I would try that, except I'm not sure the glue is the problem. A plastic plant that I pulled off of the plastic log, which should have no glue left on it anymore, but there was still a spike. I might try it again, with two plants that I KNOW have to glue on them, but not until I zero out my tank again.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:16 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWatty View Post
Well, I would try that, except I'm not sure the glue is the problem. A plastic plant that I pulled off of the plastic log, which should have no glue left on it anymore, but there was still a spike. I might try it again, with two plants that I KNOW have to glue on them, but not until I zero out my tank again.
I want to make sure you understand what I was saying


Could you just use some regular plastic plants? Not the silk ones. and float or weave them through decor?
This could create some entertainment for him.
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