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Old 10-27-2011, 01:39 PM   #1 
bllauben
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First test

Nitrates are between 20 and 40 (test is inconclusive)
Nitrites are 0
Hardness is75
Chlorine is 0
Alkalinity is about 120
PH is about 7.8

It's been about 24 hours since I set up my tank. Feed back?
Using Tetra Easy Strips

Broke down and bought the test kit. Now, I'm looking for silk plants. All I have found so far is plastic.

--Beth

I just realized I did not test for ammonia... Grrrr... I don't like it when I don't buy the complete kit...

Last edited by bllauben; 10-27-2011 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Added to my comments.
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:01 PM   #2 
tf1265
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Unfortunately ammonia is the most important test, so you'll want to have a way to test that. Also unfortunate, the test strips are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable (not to mention that I don't believe a strip test is available for ammonia, which as I said is crucial). You'll really want to have a liquid test kit if you plan on making this a hobby - API makes a great comprehensive one.

As to the results: Do you currently have fish in your tank? What is in there besides water?

The nitrate reading would lead me to believe your tank is cycled, BUT it would be dependent on the nitrites rising and then dropping back down to 0, which I doubt happened in 24 hours. So I'm wondering what else in your tank could cause a nitrate reading. Or, as I said, the test strips are unreliable and could be giving a false reading.

Bettas prefer soft, acidic water which is the opposite of what you have, but please don't be fooled into buying products that will alter those readings - a betta will adapt to the water you have as it's not extreme.

Is a single betta your plan? Or is there more in the works?
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:25 PM   #3 
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There are strips for ammonia, I know Jungle makes one but take it with a grain of salt. I used both the strips and the API liquid kit and got different readings, Strips said I was 0 (ideal) liquid said .50 (stress). The liquid is much more sensitive and most likely gives a better reading.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:48 PM   #4 
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I have one betta and two dwarf swordsmouth catfish in the tank right now. I have a river rock substrate. My decorations are 2 coffee mugs and a small saucer (the tank is in my kitchen. Thought it should be kitchen themed). I am looking into finding some silk plants. Right now all I can find is plastic. With Flash's incredible fins, I don't want to risk injury. He is a small fish with LOTS of fin. The video is 3:09 long. You can see his colors really good at 1:16 and 1:58

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnfwi...ature=youtu.be

After the tank cycles, I am going to look into getting some tettras or some other small fish that Flash (my betta) won't be bothered by and won't bother. I'm looking into 4-6 tettras or small fish. Something to liven up the tank just a bit.

I think I am going to return those test strips and spend $35 on the liquid test kit. This is turning into a hobby for me and my husband is FINALLY seeing that it's not a case of "I want another pet." (He accuses me of being a hoarder despite only having 3 cats. I'm just a huge animal lover but I know my limits).

I know the tank is not cycled yet. I am just surprised and am puzzled by the readings. This is my first tank ever.

If you watch the video and have any suggestions, let me know. I tried putting something up against the outside wall, but it just seemed to make his aggression worse. Thinking about some silk plants there.

--Beth
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:29 PM   #5 
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[quote=bllauben;877036]I have one betta and two dwarf swordsmouth catfish in the tank right now. \

After the tank cycles, I am going to look into getting some tettras or some other small fish that Flash (my betta) won't be bothered by and won't bother. I'm looking into 4-6 tettras or small fish. Something to liven up the tank just a bit.



You need to get some plants in there as soon as possible. He is flaring an awful lot. Just put anything in there now, even if it's the cheap fake ones from a dollar store as a temporary fix until you find the silk ones you'd like. He needs some coverage or he'll stress himself to death.

I've never heard of a swordmouth catfish. Can you post a picture? Does it go by another name that you know of, or do you have the scientific name? Your tank doesn't look very large, I would be very careful about adding more fish. Also, Flash seems aggressive so he probably won't take kindly to any additional friends - and some species of tetras do not make good betta mates. I'd advise you to check in here before making any additions if this is your first mistake - it could save you a lot of grief (example A: the test strips. The petstore will tell you they're fine, in theory it's a great idea and a cheaper alternative to the liquid ones, but most people here can tell you that they're simply not that reliable).

I'm glad it's becoming a hobby! Fish are a lot of fun, but definitely more work than people think, especially at the beginning. Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:15 AM   #6 
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Flash does seem a bit aggressive. That's part of the reason I am holding off on getting more fish until I can research it more. The tank looks small in the video. It's just a 10 gallon standard goldfish starter kit. I put my own submergeable heater in there. Temp is between 76 and 78 degrees.

The scientific name for my algae eaters, as given to me by the store is octocinlus. I'm sorry. Got the name wrong. It's Dwarf Suckermouth catfish. I must have siamese fighting fish on the brain. LOL!

I will be getting a liquid test kit as soon as possible. Might go to a guy who specializes in fish for one. He's been really patient with me about getting Flash to eat a good frozen diet (varied proteins).

He did the flaring for about an hour until he finally calmed down. I don't know what brought it on. I think the next time he starts on that, I am going to shut the lights off. That's the first time he's done that. I will talk to my fish expert in the morning and see if he has silk plants or if he can order me some. I am just highly unsure about the plastic ones. The ones I have looked at are really sharp (I was looking at them when I bought the test strips). Not something I would want around delicate fins, even short term.

He flashes his fins up at me when he sees me as a greeting of sorts. After a second or two, he puts them down, but he has never behaved like this before. It's been 2 weeks since I've had him.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:47 AM   #7 
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Second test:
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0
Hardness: 75
Chlorine: 0
Alaklinity: 120
PH: 7.2

I have not done anything different. After the test, I did add a second larger plate along the side where Flash discovered his reflection. Almost as tall as the tank itself. Going to go see if I can find some silk plants before work. Going to see if I can find a good liquid test too.

--Beth
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:54 AM   #8 
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I suspect the first nitrate reading was a false reading. These seem much more normal fora new tank. Ammonia is the reading you need though to get the tank cycling, and also the one that will let you know if you're poisoning your fish too much during the start up/cycling process.

Chlorine,hardness and alkalinity should always been about the same. Chlorine needs to be at 0 all the time, but if you use a conditioner then it always will - and you'll know if you don't, because your fish will freak out and probably die if you don't catch it in time. pH should also stay stable, but if you add live plants it could alter the pH, or something like driftwood that will leech into the water.

Smart move adding the plate along the wall where he was flaring earlier. It's OK for them to flare at their reflection occasionally, but it's bad for him to do it all the time, he'll hurt himself.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:08 PM   #9 
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I am going to pick up an ammonia test today. I will test it tomorrow and post the results.

Right now, the decorations in the tank include gravel for the substrate, 2 mugs (which the fish love to swim in) and 2 plates-the larger one on the side where Flash was flaring at. Freaked me right out when he did it. Thought he had hurt himself on something. Took him about an hour to settle down.

Thanks for the advice! You guys are really nice!
--Beth
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:19 PM   #10 
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Ammonia is at 0.25
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