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Old 08-08-2011, 12:35 PM   #1 
cherrybello
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Should I attempt to cycle the tank or stick with water changes?

Hello everyone, I am really really new at this.

I have recently acquired a betta, I housed him in a 20 Litre tank with an adjustable filter (always on the lowest) and a heater(set at 26~28 degrees), and some pebbles on the bottom, a fake bark arch to hide in. A few days ago I noticed the tank water getting cloudy so I read up on it and found out about the nitrogen cycle. He was looking sick so I thought I would get him out and put him in a bowl while I cycle the tank. But I can't keep the bowl warm, and he's getting really stressed (he was pinkish with a bit of purple in his fins, and recently been looking really pale), and his tail is starting to fold in. Right now I am keeping his bowl in the sink with warm water to keep him warm, he's looking a bit more active but his tail is stiff and can't swim around very well. I am really worried about him and I don't want him to die. The ammonia reading is somewhere between 0.5 to 1, getting some nitrate readings but I can't be certain, that should indicate that the cycle is kicking in. So question here is that should I do an 100% water change in his tank and keep it uncycled with real frequent water changes or go through with the cycle with bacteria culture product?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:14 PM   #2 
Kytkattin
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The cycle really is a great thing to have. It means you can go away for a few days and not have to worry about water changes, and it can make a much less stressful environment for your fish. However, as you have already discovered, it can be a pain to set up. Because you have already had a nice ammonia spike, you are already well on your way to getting your cycle up and running! I think now you should do a partial water change, though I don't know how much. Just make sure any new water you add to the tank is de-chlorinated! Otherwise you start back at square one.

One thing you can do to keep your boy warm is to float him in a piece of tupperware in the tank.

For other people reading this that don't know litre to gallons, the OP's tank is about 5 gallons. I think... I am not great with conversions myself...
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:29 PM   #3 
cherrybello
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kytkattin View Post
The cycle really is a great thing to have. It means you can go away for a few days and not have to worry about water changes, and it can make a much less stressful environment for your fish. However, as you have already discovered, it can be a pain to set up. Because you have already had a nice ammonia spike, you are already well on your way to getting your cycle up and running! I think now you should do a partial water change, though I don't know how much. Just make sure any new water you add to the tank is de-chlorinated! Otherwise you start back at square one.

One thing you can do to keep your boy warm is to float him in a piece of tupperware in the tank.

For other people reading this that don't know litre to gallons, the OP's tank is about 5 gallons. I think... I am not great with conversions myself...
Thank you for answering Kytkattin! Its 4am here and I have been reading all night on what to do with my lil boy Mr Pinky (I know its dumb, but he is a boy who is pink!), I have always put the water through the carbon filter we use for drinking, and put in water ager before I put it in the tank. I have thought about floating him in a container, but it floats towards the place where the water that has gone through the filter comes out as soon as I let go...

So I guess I'll go ahead with cycling, time to invest in some bacterial culture product? I really don't want to trap Mr Pinky in small containers anymore...

Did the conversion, my tank is 5 gallons :)
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #4 
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Mr Pinky is a great name! I think I am going to name my next betta (a white one) Old Sock.

From what I have read, you have to be careful using filtered water because it can take out good minerals that the fish need.

Could your filter possibly be too strong for Mr. Pinky? Because of their long fins they can be pushed around like a sail. There are some guides on how to baffle a filter somewhere around here. My favorite method is to use a filter sponge because it also adds room for more good bacteria to grow!

Typically the bacteria cultures they sell in the store do not truly help cycle your tank because they are not the same bacteria you will establish long term. Fish poop does, and when that is not there, adding a touch of fish food is the best way to do a fishless cycle. Try using Mr. Pinky's old water (from your daily changes) and save yourself some money.

Yay, 5 gallons is the minimum needed to establish a cycle. Anything smaller than that and the bacteria can't get enough numbers before the ammonia is toxic.

Uh... I think that is it. There are other people who are much more experienced than I am that should be along to help you!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:48 PM   #5 
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Hi cherrybello, Welcome to the forum! Let me get you started and what to do for your little friend. First and immediately, you need to have a water conditioner that will detoxify the chlorine, chloramine but also detoxify the ammonia and the nitrites. A really good conditioner is Prime by Seachem. The average water conditioner will not detoxify ammonia and nitrites and that is what is really important when you're cycling a tank with the fish in. Ammonia and nitrites will both kill your fish and they are highly toxic. That's probably why your fish isn't looking good. I would do a 100% water change immediately to remove the polluted water, but don't vaccuum the rocks (if you have any in the tank) and don't clean any of the decorations. The good, beneficial bacteria grows on those items so you want to keep them in tact so your cycle can continue. Add the Prime to your new water and then check it again in 24 hours. Note: Don't worry about the water test right after the water change. If you have ammonia or nitrites in your tap, the test will still show positive for these parameters. Although Prime detoxifies ammonia and nitrites, they still remains in an alternate form. This saves your fish, but also allows your tank to still cycle. So don't worry. Be aware that Prime works for about 24 to 36 hours, so if you're still seeing Ammonia and Nitrites the next day, you'll need to do another water change. You can continue to do 50% water changes, but continue to check your levels. If you see any increases or spikes, do a larger water change. Never be afraid of a 100% water change! Whatever is necessary. You'll need to continue to do this until your tank fully cycles. It'll take time and patience. A cycled tank is certainly your goal, but you'll have to do it *really* slow because your fish cannot survive the cycle process without your assistance. Good Luck!
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