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Old 12-09-2010, 01:59 PM   #1 
NikiandBeyond
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Location: New Orleans, LA
Unsafe water! (picture heavy)

Problematic tank all around. I put a cover over the filter intake, which Casper was getting stuck to. I rigged a very effective buffer for the filter current that was knocking him around. I'm treating him with Betta Fix and adding in aquarium salt for his fin rot. I can't seem to do right by him....

Now the water test results seem scary!!

Housing
What size is your tank? 4.65 gallons
What temperature is your tank? constant 78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no. should I?
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? We haven't seen him eat once in 2 WEEKS (since I got him). I switch his options up Hikari Betta Bio-Gold, Aquarian pellets, and Zoo Med Dial-A-Treat with daphnia, blood worms, and mysis. He's only started noticing the food I put in days ago, but still doesn't seem to consume it.
How often do you feed your betta fish? I try twice a day, taking out the uneaten food.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? right now, I'm doing it daily...
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? about 25%, but I did a 50% change yesterday!!
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime with every water change, and a bacteria supplement once a week. I started dosing with Betta Fix last night, and put in the aquarium salt for the first time last night. I'll do a 25% water change shortly, how do I go about supplementing the aquarium salt? Do I add the appropriate amount to the conditioned water that I'll be putting in?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

I'm using a color coded strip set from Jungle Fish Care. If it's as accurate as it and the pet store people say, the water doesn't seem safe.

Ammonia: .75 (in between .5 and 1.0, in between "stressful" and "harmful")
Nitrite: 2.00 ppm ("stressful"
Nitrate: 10 ppm ("safe")
pH: in between 7.8 and 8.4!!
Hardness: in between 150 ppm ("hard") and 300 ppm ("very hard")
Alkalinity: seems a bit over 180 ppm, but not by much (so just outside of "ideal", 300 being "high")

Also, the water has had a smell for about a week. Not a foul bacteria or scum smell. More chemically....

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His colors haven't gotten better over the past week. He's darkening in some spots on his body.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's actually pretty active, and much improved from when we first got him. He was in shock for about a week (the warmest he's ever been, in the biggest container he's ever been, and with the most color he's ever seen). He darts up and down one side of the tank a lot.... I want him to eat!
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Betta Fix, starting last night
How old is your fish (approximately)? He seems small, so I would think less than 6 months.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:02 PM   #2 
NikiandBeyond
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I shrank these a little bit...
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:12 PM   #3 
small fry
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I would continue the water changes every day. 100% if you can, since the tank is not cycled yet (right?). If you are adding Prime to the water then it shouldn't be as bad as you think. Prime converts ammonia into a less toxic (almost harmless) form, but it is still visable on the test.

(edit: I would stop the BettaFix. It is doing more harm than help.)
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:16 PM   #4 
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Although the strips are not the most accurate they are good for a quick look-however, I think your water pram numbers are more related to the bacterial supplement you are adding...personally I don't like the stuff and think it is a waste of time and money.....I would start a daily 50% water only changes for a week and get it out and clean up the water and this will also help the fin issues and then let the nitrogen cycle happen naturally...also, Prime can sometimes cause skewed reading especially on the ammonia and with test strips in general

I would hold all food for about 3-4 days and then offer small amount until he starts to eat-you can also add some fresh garlic juice to the food and this sometimes can stimulate their appetite...good that you are removing the uneaten food

Also-draw a clean glass of your source water and test that too and make sure that is not some of the water pram reading...you can cut the strips down the middle and make two test out of them otherwise you can run out pretty fast with all the testing you need to do.

You have a lovely Betta by the way
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:32 PM   #5 
Miharu
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First of all he is lovely! Since you are doing daily water changes you aren't giving any beneficial bacteria time to form, and your tank can't cycle. I'm not super knowledgable when it comes to cycling tanks, but I do know that daily water changes won't give it a chance to cycle so you'll always get the reading of your tap water (I hope that made sense)

Are you using any water conditioners when you do water changes? What are you using the bettafix for? He looks good, so im not sure why you feel the need to medicate him. Bettafix is just a diluted form of melafix which can be harmful if used to often, and it's not a water conditioner or dechlorinator.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:49 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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[quote=Miharu;530695]Since you are doing daily water changes you aren't giving any beneficial bacteria time to form, and your tank can't cycle. I'm not super knowledgable when it comes to cycling tanks, but I do know that daily water changes won't give it a chance to cycle so you'll always get the reading of your tap water (I hope that made sense) /quote]

The nitrifying bacteria needed to cycle the tank are sticking and adhere to everything in the tank, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media-very little are in the water column itself so water only changes will not stall or hurt the cycling process....over cleaning the substrate (more than weekly) and over cleaning or changing the filter media can stall, slow and even cause mini cycles or spikes
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:51 PM   #7 
NikiandBeyond
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I'm glad to hear that the ammonia levels aren't as toxic as they appear!

How harmful is the hardness and pH?

I don't plan on using the Betta Fix "too often". I intended to do it for one week max, as instructed on the bottle. You can see in the pictures that the edges of his fins are white and fuzzy/shreddy. Also, his ventral fins are broken. Like...broken in half - broken, and they kinda dangle on. One is worse than the other, and the fins are darkening significantly. I suspect that this injury occurred when his fins got sucked into the grate of the filter intake. I've ensured that it won't happen again, but I'm treating his injuries and fin rot with Betta Fix and aquarium salt (I also know prolonged use of this will cause issues) for one week..

Last edited by NikiandBeyond; 12-09-2010 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:04 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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Nitrite is what I would be more worried about...too high (2ppm and greater) this can affect oxygen transport in the blood and the fish can suffocate....

pH and hardness are usually not an issue and the fish will usually adapt without any problems-stable is best...swings can be deadly.....

Best treatment for fins is clean dechloranated water from lots of water changes...healing and re-growth can take time-you may need to change your filter to a sponge filter if the water flow is so strong it is sucking him to the intake-you need to fix the cause of the fin issues too or it will just keep being a problem-on my HOB I stuff the back with poly fill to slow it down some.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:43 PM   #9 
NikiandBeyond
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I tested my water source (after a Prime dose, since that's what I'll always be using).

Ammonia: .5ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm
Nitrite: 0
Hardness: Hard to Very Hard
Chlorine: 0
Alkalinity: 180ish
pH: 7.8-8.4
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:55 PM   #10 
Oldfishlady
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Test your source water without the prime and remember you will not get an accurate pH reading until it has gassed out for 24h but strips it is hard to get an accurate pH reading anyway...but I would not worry about the pH..its fine...

And you have nitrate in your source water...not uncommon...good that it is low....
adding live plants will help this...you want to keep your nitrate under 20ppm

You may want to go to your city water company and look at the web site and see what they have

Prime changes to ammonia to ammonium and the test can't tell the difference

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 12-09-2010 at 03:58 PM.
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