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Old 06-16-2011, 10:32 PM   #1 
annamae07
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Exclamation I just got my first betta and in 24 hours the ammonia is too high!!?

Sorry its so long I'll add the actual question right at the beginning as well as the end:

Should I rely on my strip's results, or should I just see how he does that the results could be off and he is just gaining his true color now that he is in a better (i hope) environment?

I've been waiting and cycling my tank for several months now waiting for summer when I would have more time to help him get settled. I tested my water just a few days before getting him and they were virtually nonexistent and just in 24 hours the ammonia level is between stress and harmful. I did a full water change minus the amount that stayed in the gravel and kept the water that was in the filter just so some of the original bacteria would be there. I just tested the new water and its saying the same thing. I use the strips which I have read can be unreliable but I just cant afford the real tests right now because of recent car problems.

What made me concerned is that once I brought him home and into the 5 gal heated and filtered tank his head started turning black where it was once grayish and I was worried that it was ammonia burns.

What I originally had in his tank the first time around was 25 mL of Aqueon betta bowl plus, 3-4 drops of tetra algae control, and about one tablespoon of salt (now knowing it doesnt need that much salt.

This new batch of water has only 15 mL of the conditioner since I let my water set for 24 hours plus, 3-4 drops of algae, and 10 mL of Atison's betta spa.

I know its more stressful on the fish with such a recent water change but I didnt know what to do. Should I rely on my strip's results, or should I just see how he does that the results could be off and he is just gaining his true color now that he is in a better (i hope) environment?
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:02 PM   #2 
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I think he's just coloring up, and not having burns.
When tanks cycle via the nitrogen cycle (which, I assume is what youre doing?) they can have ammonia spikes. I have to ask, though- if you havent had any source of ammonia in the tank, either a fish or pure ammonia, it just plain wont cycle, as there is no ammonia to feed it. Unless I am wrong, your tank hasnt been cycling at all.

Regardless of what is going on, do a water change again and wait 20minutes to recheck the ammonia levels. If its back to normal, chalk it up to a spike. Also, if some of the water from the cup he was in got in there, that was probably pretty high in ammonia too.

IMO/E strips are not at all accurate. Every kind Ive used will severely under-read, which is annoying and dangerous. Theyre also a lot more money in the long run. Consider getting a liquid test kit, I like API's.

Btw, unless the fish is sick, dont add in ANY salt. Its not great for constant use and is not needed. Theyll become resistant to it over time, too, which isnt good. 1tsbsp in a 5 gallon is fine (When SICK), but still, dont use it. Usually, we recommend 1tsp/gallon (higher than 1tbsp/5), on this site.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:54 PM   #3 
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What I did was a fishless cycle of adding food into the tank daily and watching the levels. I've heard both sides of the salt debate but decided to go with it because the water were I live is really hard and I needed something to soften it.

Just for the heck of it I tested the strips on my tap water and it shows the same results? So i have ammonia in my tap water or it is just a bad set of strips. I'm going to have to see what kind of liquid test kit I can afford right now. Thank you.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:12 PM   #4 
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It could honestly be both. If you can, send a sample of the water to a local petsmart or something, they test it for you for free :) If you do have ammonia in the tap, consider getting some stem plants like anacharis, horwort, cabomba, water sprite, ludwigia (and many more) to suck it up. Itll also help it cycle naturally a little faster. If not, try getting Seachem Prime, a water conditioner that also helps remove ammonia, which is perfect when it comes out of the tap.

Hard water isnt a problem for the fish, at all. They are not bothered by it :) Salt long-term can lead to kidney damage.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:35 AM   #5 
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I also have ammonia in my tap water as well and when i test with a liquid test kit it always reads .25


From what I have hears about ammonia burns is that they will be red, not black. Several of my fishies have ammonia burns from when they were at either petco or walmart and they had ammonia readings of between 2.0 and 4.0

I've tried using the test strips before but i found them hard to read. the colors always leaked and never matched up with the chart.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:42 PM   #6 
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Thank you both, I'm going to go out tomorrow to get my water tested and to get a liquid test... my car can wait a little while?... all I know is I dont want my fishy to get sick.
I still havent named him going to try and get a better feel of him, so far I know he prefers hes purple colored food over his red ones and he likes for some reason to get pushed by his filter... :-/
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:06 PM   #7 
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Theyre quirky sometimes :)
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:10 PM   #8 
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I really dont know what to do, I went out and bought the liquid test and Seachem Prime, turns out that there is a high level of ammonia in my tap water, and I put some Seachem Prime in my fish tank and in the 5 gallon water I have that sets before a new water change. I tested both of those after 24 hours after the prime and there is still a high amount of ammonia in BOTH!. I'm so worried for my fishy. :'( I've had a long string of bad luck lately but mostly I want him to be alright.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:16 PM   #9 
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i have high ammonia in my tap water. i use water conditioner and let the tanks cycle longer than most. also i have tried using an ammonia reducer for my guppies haven't tried it with bettas.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:42 PM   #10 
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prime doesn't actually get rid of ammonia, it converts it to ammonium which is safe for fish, but can still show up in test results
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