Combating sourcewater ammonia is a real pain. But do not panic. As long as you're treating the refill water with Prime (or other ammonia-locking conditioner) your fish is safe.
I've been using both Stresscoat+ and Prime. Is that overkill? I like the Stresscoat, because when I stopped using it for a week or 2 it seemed like the fish lost some of his shiny top color. Should I treat refill water with Stresscoat only, and add the drops of Prime to the tank between water changes?
My bigger question is how much ammonia can the Prime detoxify? What reading should prompt me to do a water change, since I can't go by the standard 0.25 ppm?
I was doing wc every 2 days to try to keep the level as close to 0.5ppm as I could. Before moving Axl from his 2.5 gal today, I actually did a regular wc. The tank water after the wc was pretty close to 0.5, so I was pleased. After a very long day's work, Axl is all moved in to his shiny new 10 gal. I rinsed the tank and all the new gravel very thoroughly. The sponge filter, heater, gravel, decor, etc. from the small tank all moved over to the large one without rinsing. I bought a couple more silk plants and a half dozen more live plants, rinsed and added. I tested the tank water in the 10 gal, and it was 1.0 ppm. Say what? It's higher than the tap water? Does Prime protect the fish at that level? What if it were closer to 2?
Now that I have 10 gallons reading at 1.0 ppm ammonia, how much water should I change? Or how long should I wait before changing, since that water is almost all new?
I bought another bottle of TSS, hoping that this one will work. My first attempt, when I added it to the little tank, it quickly raised the ammonia level above 2.0 ppm, and I did wc to bring the level down. This time, if I should see a spike, how high is safe to let it go before changing water? In a 10-gal, are most wc going to be 25%-50%? I'm planning to add the TSS tomorrow.
Originally Posted by relaxedcrazyman
hooray! trust me, the larger you have the more addicted you become...
wait until you get stable conditions, then the next question out of your mouth will be, "What else can i put in there with him."
I know! It's like dominoes, isn't it? Actually, it's like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." One thing leads to another leads to another.... Haha! It should be a while before I get to that stage, though. I've got a lot to learn about the new tank first.
You can check on the Seachem site but, if I recall correctly, a standard dose of 2-drops/gal of Prime locks-up from 1.0ppm-to 2.0ppm for 24 to 48 hours (the time may depend on the amount of ammonia being locked up. It's not clear).
Stresscoat does the same thing. So it's your choice which to use and how. Using both together is not necessary and adds too many chemicalks to the tank, in my opinion.
I think TSS is supposed to raise the ammonia 1.0 to 1.5ppm. I consider this too high to subject fish to, but Prime will lock that up. Tetra says don't use ammonia-lockers. But I have majors issues with that advice. Seachem says Prime-locked ammonia stills feeds the cycle. Shake TSS really well and pour it into your filter. Rinse the bottle out in your tank to get it all in there.
In your case where readings are suspect and you source-water ammonia is high, I'd try to keep the ammonia below 1.5ppm, even with Prime. Do this with 50% wc's until your tank is cycled. Then weekly 25% to 33% wc's should work for general maintenance.
Thanks for the info and help. I'll condition new water with just Stresscoat, and use Prime between water changes.
I tested ammonia this afternoon to get a starting level. and it looked just below 1.0ppm. I added the TSS. Poured it in above the filter, which is in a corner of the tank. As the cloud spread through the water, my fish did something I've never seen him do before. He went to the bottom on the side where the TSS was most concentrated, and sort of licked at the gravel. Apparently, the TSS bacteria tasted good. I have never once seen this fish attempt to eat any food after it sank, nor has he ever nibbled along the bottom before. I think if I fed him sinking pellets that he'd truly starve. So the gravel-licking today was pretty funny to watch.
Two hours after adding TSS, I tested ammonia again. It was a little above 1.0ppm, but not as high as 1.5. So I left it alone. I did add 10 drops of Prime to the tank, in case there was a sudden spike.
Ten hours after TSS, I tested ammonia. Surprisingly, it was a clear 0.5ppm. I was expecting a spike, and instead it had gone down. So I tested nitrites, and got the usual 0. Curious, I tested nitrates. They were up to slightly above 5ppm, which is the highest reading I've ever had. Interesting.
I'll test again tomorrow. I'm really curious about which direction the ammonia will go between now and then.
I think I also have to go get a new heater tomorrow. My 25 watt Hydor Theo is not cutting it in the 10 gallon. I've turned up the dial from 78 to 82, and the thermometer still is reading 76. I don't know how safe it is to keep cranking up the dial, so I err on the side of caution. Fish is acting normal, so it isn't an emergency. But it looks like it's time for a 50 watt heater.
Readings today pretty much the same as last night.
Ammonia: slightly above 0.5ppm
Nitrites: zero, zip, nada
Nitrates: slightly above 5ppm
I bought a 50 watt Eheim Jager and a lovely little piece of driftwood from LFS. Heater is running a little high, compared to the thermometer I've been using. I've dialed it down a little and will calibrate it after it settles in to the familiar temperature. Driftwood is soaking in my water prep bucket.
Patience is so much easier now that I'm not draining a tank every other day. I don't mind playing with my chemistry set a couple of times a day. :)
im glad to hear things are finally coming into order. now that you have one betta in such a large volume of water, it should be much easier to maintain. :)
then you can start to think about adding more fish :D
just picked up another betta at petco yesterday, just could pass him up...
there were at least two other bettas i would have loved to have taken home, but alas i just dont have the space right now.
So far, so good - I think.
Ammonia still just above 0.5ppm. Nitrites still flatlined. It's been 6 days without a water change. I am holding off as long as readings are okay, to give the TSS as much chance as possible to do its thing. Their website says not to change it for 2 weeks. If my readings go south before then I will do a 50% change. I added the driftwood to the tank today. That should provide a great deal more surface for the bb to grab onto.
Here is a final shot of his Minibow apartment:
Here he is moved into his 10 gal ranch house. It's pretty funny with only the decor from the Minibow. He needs new furniture in his big house.
Last shot is from tonight, right after I added the driftwood.
There are a few more photos in my Tank Upgrade album. As always, I welcome all comments and advice. I still have much to learn.
Yes, he sits in between some Anubias leaves, above the rhizome. He doesn't seem to mind that they float freely, because I didn't tie them to anything. (They actually stay in place fairly well.) There's also a small bunch of Water Wisteria that I tied together with twine. It floats all the way in the corner, behind him here. This corner is his favorite spot. Thanks for recommending the floaters. He seems pretty content.
Last edited by JessiesGill; 04-21-2014 at 03:40 AM.