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Old 11-19-2010, 09:52 PM   #1 
HouseKitten
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Unhappy Messed up BIG TIME while cycling tank

Hello! I am new to bettafish.com, and am new to fishkeeping in general... I have had my new tank for about 3 weeks, and it seems like everything you can do wrong, I have done =/ Ok so where to begin? Lets start w/ my setup:

-- 2.5 gal aqueon betta-bow tank, the one that comes with a divider, and 2 male bettas inside: Dragon and Hiro (Dragon is the one in my profile pic). I now realize this is too small for 2 bettas, and Dragon hasnt stopped flaring since i put him in (Hiro doesnt seem to care), so im gonna get another tank to separate them.

-- stock carbon filter installed

-- black gravel substrate that was said to have the beneficial bateria in it

-- a few plastic plants

-- pH around 7.4 - 7.6, and my water is relatively hard so i dont add any pH correct stuff cuz I know it will just bounce back up (Ive done some homework).

I didnt know you were supposed to cycle a tank BEFORE u add the fish, and bought the tank and the fish the same day (actually, I didnt even know there was such thing as cycling a tank @ the time I was buying the bettas and the tank).... and hence, I am cycling the tank w/ my boys inside.

About a week or 2 into having the tank, the water turned cloudy... at the time I didnt realize this was the bacterial bloom of the ammonia-eating bacteria, and did a 100% water change: took out the boys and rinsed the gravel, plants and tank with hot water (oops).

So its been a week since the 100% water change and i figured it was time to do a partial water change (the water did not get cloudy again) and check the water (with my new API master test kit).

The problem: my ammonia is at 2ppm (YIKES!?), nitrites and nitrates are at 0ppm...

My question is, how bad did I mess up by doing that 100% water change and thorough tank rinse after the bacterial bloom?? Do I even have an bacteria left? (I think I might have rinsed out the filter also).

I bought the tetra ammoniasafe tablets but havent used them yet because I read they will upset the cycling process. Should I use tablets????

Note: the boys are fine: eating normally, swimmin' around ok, Dragon is still flaring like crazy....

Wow this post got really lengthy... sorry! I appreciate any help I can get right now cuz Im super worried.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:13 PM   #2 
Astro277
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A 2.5 doesnt need to be cycled i reccomend cycleing 5 gal's and up. A 2.5 is just too small to cycle all the time and correctly
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:22 PM   #3 
HouseKitten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astro277 View Post
A 2.5 doesnt need to be cycled i reccomend cycleing 5 gal's and up. A 2.5 is just too small to cycle all the time and correctly
OK that good news (I think) although I have read that people have successfully cycled small tanks... so should I add the ammoniasafe tabs? or is 2ppm not an emergency or something I should worry about?

Oh and I just tested my newly conditioned tap water: 0.5ppm ammonia

any suggestions?
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:29 AM   #4 
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Hey :) Good for you for coming here for advice & caring about your guys.


I cycled 3G's before...It took about a month, I used a cocktail shrimp though, not fish.

I would just stay on the safe side and assume you lost your good bacteria that was growing.
Don't be sad, I spaced out and washed an established filter in TAP WATER before & I was sooo mad
after I realized what I was doing! Grrr....

I've never used tablets as conditioner...I just find it easier to use a syringe (CVS pharmacy gave it to
me for free when I asked nicely) & draw from a liquid container of conditioner (Prime brand is cheapest in the long run, most concentrated), then add it to the jugs of water & shake...My tap has ammonia in it already @ like 1pp...so I use a lil bit more to be safe (which PRIME says is safe to do).

For a 2.5 with 2 bettas though, until you get the new tank (what kinda are you thinking of? I like
the Hawkeye 5G kit's...$30 @ walmart.com)...Petsmart has 10G kits for $12 on Black Friday!
Try your best to do daily or every other day changes.
Try to get the new water within 1-2 degrees of the old tank temp.
Mine are in a PH of 7.8-8 with high hardness & do great...Ammonia is your #1 concern now.

Good luck!

Last edited by CrankyFish84; 11-20-2010 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:08 AM   #5 
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You can do fish-in cycling...it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be without fish, but a lot of people don't want the risk of their fish getting sick.

You can cycle a 2.5 gallon, but I think it'll be a bit of a hassle. If you choose not to cycle it, you can do a 50% and a 100% change weekly. If you want to cycle with your fish in, though, test the water regularly and be ready to do small (like 30%), frequest water changes to keep the ammonia down, but not wipe it out completely.

Btw Dragon is gorgeous! :)
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:13 AM   #6 
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Also - when you do partial changes....I just find it easier to use a siphon tube, but I guess with a tank that lite, you could just dump it over a sink...Unless the fish are in it of course...The siphon is good bc you can see
all the debris getting sucked up & not just remove the top water.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:15 AM   #7 
HouseKitten
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@Crankyfish84, @Jupiter Thanks so much for the quick responses! you guys have definitely put me at ease (I think I will be able to sleep tonight LOL)

@cranky, thanks for the black friday tip! i will def be hitting up petsmart!!!! And yes, i do use a little siphon vacuum... works great getting all the poop out of the gravel...

@Jupiter, if there are no real benefits to cycling my little tank Im just gonna do the larger % water changes... Just to confirm, you wrote a 50% AND a 100% water change weekly (so water changes twice a week?).

Thanks again guys! So glad I found this forum :)
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:31 AM   #8 
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HK - You're welcome & this forum loves to help newcomers!

If you can swing it, try to get some live plants for any tank(s) too...Java plant, Wendt, Anacharis floating, and some others I'm forgetting...those will help water quality & are easy to maintain. :)
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:03 AM   #9 
Rolling21
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I'm in a similar position, I have a 2.5 gal i'm trying to cycle. My fish's behaviour changed all of a sudden and was hiding all day, not eating and only coming up for air.

I decided to do a 100% change, and completely wash out all the gravel (it was DISGUSTING the stuff that came out). But people keep saying to not clean the gravel, but so much waste builds up in there?

Likewise with my filter media, it was brown (I thought from tannis), but I cleaned it for the first time ever, its a month old, and it was so full of gunk it was disgusting. But I also heard not to clean that either because like the gravel, good bacteria grow in there.

How do you strike a balance between cleaning and preserving good bacteria?
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:10 AM   #10 
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Rolling - I know people say good bacteria is in the gravel, and that is true...However, you don't really NEED gravel for a healthy tank...the good stuff is mostly in the filter. Once a month, just dip the filter in old tank water to get the junk off, that will clear it out, but keep it still cycled.
I know what you mean about lots of gunk in the gravel too...I don't see the harm is washing that too in old tank water, or water conditioner treated water once a month or so...Can anyone else verify this? I use a siphon too & even swish it around & still lots of crap is left. Actually I changed to brand new gravel in a 3 month cycled tank once & all the levels were fine.
I don't have gravel in my tanks that have no filter yet for the reason it just makes cleaning harder.

Last edited by CrankyFish84; 11-20-2010 at 03:12 AM.
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