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Old 02-12-2011, 12:07 AM   #1 
Pekemom
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Question "Killing with Kindness"

That's how the expression goes! I've been running a five gal Fluval Chi tank with one lone female betta. The water has been absolutely crystal clear since I removed the gravel. This past Wednesday, knowing the rest of my week was hectic, I did a quick 1 gal water change with water treated and sat overnight.

Soon after that, my crystal clear water started to cloud and it never cleared up. The Petco guy seemed pretty knowledgeable - he told me that by removing the gravel, I removed surface area for the 'good bacteria'.

Because of the water change, I messed up the cycled tank and the tank started to recycle - that's why the water clouded up. He told me to put a thin layer of gravel back in, and wait a few days.

Does his explanation make sense? He also said with a 5 gal and only 1 fish, I should only make small water changes twice a month. Thoughts? Thanks for your help...
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:43 AM   #2 
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Well, I'm about to add a thin substrate of gravel and see if the theory of 'more surface area for the good bacteria' is a good one versus a bare bottom! Tank is still a little cloudy this morning. I'm shooting for crystal clear water in the near future!!
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:50 AM   #3 
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That may be part of it... But I don't think that's the whole problem. Has anything else in her environment changed lately?
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:00 AM   #4 
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If your tank is recycling, adding in gravel isn't going to help right away. It will take time for the cycle to complete itself again. Most of the good bacteria is housed in the filter system. I'm not familiar with the Chi filter, but as long as you're just rinsing the media when you do water changes, the cycling process shouldn't take too long.
Just keep checking for ammonia and doing water changes as necessary to keep the levels at a 'tolerable' level and wait it out. Seems like you're familiar with the cycling process..

IMO, twice a month water changes for any tank isn't enough. A cycled tank should have a 25% water change weekly..(I'd do 50% once a week). Keep in mind that during the minicycle, you will have to do more frequent water changes to minimize the effect of the ammonia on the fish.

The cloudiness that you're seeing is most likely a bacterial bloom. it will take some time for the bacteria to stabilize again and get the system back under control.
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:13 PM   #5 
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You know what? I really agree with you both. I don't think small water changes twice a month is acceptable. I'm used to doing big weekly water changes on the two 39 gal tanks I used to have years ago. Yes, I think a bacterial bloom could be the cause. I'm anxious to get back to my crystal clear water. Will monitor daily and test later today. Thanks for the great feedback!
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