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Old 03-15-2014, 04:49 AM   #1 
Graceful
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Unhappy Alarming water parameters... from tap water. & Questions about bettas

I adopted a betta from my friend's little sister. He was in a 1/2 gallon "tank" and I have no idea when his water was last changed. I was curious, so I took home a bottle of their tap water to test it.

My city's tap water parameters:
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20

My friend's tap water parameters:
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The betta's dirty water parameters:
Ammonia: 4.0
Nitrites: .50
Nitrates: 20

Questions: why are my tap water's nitrates so high? Could this stress out a betta fish? My last three betta fish were not thriving and they died, besides my best efforts treating them. My last one died within 24 hours! And now I have this new betta fish (Shiloh), and I don't want him to die. His old owner would be heartbroken, as would I.

What can I do to make sure Shiloh does OK in the new water? How can I lower these nitrates? I obviously can't get rid of them by doing WCs, because my water already has 20 ppm in it!

Please help, he's in his dirty water now because I'm worried the nitrates will shock him and kill him like my last betta.
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:09 AM   #2 
NaisyCuu
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He would be better off in the tap water than he is right now! Change the water ASAP he could die if the ammonia level is any higher that .20 and he is at 4! you may want to bulk buy a large waterbottle (like 10 litre - sorry I'm in Australia - I think that's a bit more that 2 gallons) and either have him in just that or use 50% your tap water and dilute it with 50% rainwater from the bottle - should lower the parameters. That is the only way I can think of - I hope you are treating the water with a conditioner too,, Hope everything goes well for you both =) Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:21 AM   #3 
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I just moved him into a 1-gallon with clean water (and a little dirty, but can't help that). Thank you. :)
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:17 AM   #4 
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A nitrate reading of 20ppm in tapwater should be illegal. Test again and really shake the shake out of the #2 nitrate bottle. It will read high if not shaken thoroughly.

In any case 20ppm is not a dangerous level. Ammonia at 0.25ppm is not dangerous unless you pH is very high. If your fish do not thrive, there has to be another reason (like too cold or poor-quality food). Are you using Prime water conditioner (by Seachem) or a conditioner that detoxifies ammonia? This is important in a small tank.

A 1g tank needs to be changed every other day or whenever ammonia rises to 0.50ppm. And that's with using Prime @ 2-drops/gal with changes and 1-drop/gal daily.

The only way I know to reduce nitrate is by plants that consume ammonia. Plants prefer ammonium first. They reduce ammonia to ammonium. If there is nitrate they reduce that to ammonia then to ammonium.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:29 AM   #5 
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I use Prime.

I tend to fudge the shaking because my arm gets sore quickly. I'll have a friend help me out.

What are some good plants for controlling ammonia?
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:36 AM   #6 
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Yeah 20 ppm nitrate has nothing to do with the trouble you've had with the fish. While there are a lot of people that make a big deal about keeping nitrates below 20 ppm, that's by no means "the limit" and people who push that as THE limit do a disservice to the hobby, scaring people into thinking that that's what's required. If it's something you WANT to do, then fine. Great it's your hobby to be enjoyed as you please. I'd hate for anyone to lose sleep over it though, as it definitely doesn't warrant that.

I don't think my tanks are ever under 20 ppm, except maybe immediately after a water change.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:44 AM   #7 
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Thanks so much, I feel more at ease now! I will come to you guys if anything goes wrong. :)
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:18 AM   #8 
Hallyx
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You can pull the dropper part out of the #2 nitrate test bottle (carefully with pliers). Put a bead ot piece of gravel in there. That makes it into a rattlecan for thorough mixing.

But, as Jaysee says, nitrate is not critical.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:32 AM   #9 
NaisyCuu
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Wow that's a relief,, I actually thought 20-25ppm was really bad - sorry if I scared you!
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