Ok, short story is that I had cycled completely, 2 tanks. 10 gallon divided and a 5 gallon. I decided to get a 6.6 gallon, divided it as well. I have had the 10 and 5 running for almost 3 months now, taking care to not clean off too much bacteria with each cleaning and PWC. The boys that are housed in these tanks have been going up and down with fin damage and loss of color, etc. I had been checking my water parameters when I saw signs of stress and all, with readings where they should be for 2 of them, and one had all 0's. I have just removed them all to QT tanks for the time while I went ahead and tested the 5 and 6.6 gallon with pure ammonia. After 24 hours, the tanks both still had ammonia readings.
First, I would like to ask your thoughts on the following:
Would a fully cycled tank lose too much BB due to only containing one betta? and what about 2? I know that they can't produce as much ammonia as the BB gets built up for using pure ammonia, so it made me wonder why one that was cycled, would not be now...
Second, is it not possible to keep a cycled tank under 10 gallons cycled? I tried with a 2 gallon in the summer, but read about the surface area not being enough to keep the cycle without fluctuating readings. Does that apply here too?
What should I do now? Should I just do a full water change and start over, fishless cycling? Or just keep dosing the current setups with ammonia and proceed with fishless? Or put them back in and increase the amount of PWC and time between them as to not stress them out? I just don't know what to do from here forward. Any advice or previous experience that anyone feels like sharing would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!
I guess I should add that both setups have filters and heaters and all.