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Old 08-19-2014, 11:35 PM   #1 
hrutan
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Bad water quality & tank cycling

I've come to the conclusion that poor tap water quality has slowly degraded the health of my work fish while I've been trying (vainly) to cycle his tank. I dose with Prime every day that I'm there, and water change 3x per week. I've been trying to cycle his tank ever since I bought it with absolutely no success. His water parameters didn't budge over the course of I think about 6 weeks. The ammonia from the tap reads at 1-2 PPM depending on the day.

A week ago I threw out the filter that came with the tank (Aqueon Minibow 5 gallon) and bought him a sponge filter. But, Mr. Kitty is sick now. He went through such a slow, gradual decline that I didn't even see it until a week ago -- it snuck up on me.

Should I make a drastic change and buy bottled spring water for the rest of the fish-in cycle, taking into consideration Mr. Kitty's delicate health and keeping him as safe from ammonia as possible? Or should I bite the bullet and continue using tap water?

I'm worried about my desk buddy Buttercup, too. He's fine right now, and he'll be getting a sponge filter tomorrow.
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Old Yesterday, 03:53 AM   #2 
bluenail
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Even if a tank isn't fully cycled, when switching filters it is best to run BOTH filters for a while then remove one.

I would get gallons of bottled spring (not distilled) and do a 20% water change and then a 50 % change later that day. (The spring water will be even more different than a normal water change so safest to take it slow). This should help get him up to where he was. I would also strongly recommend the addition of some safe start.

Let a bucket of tap water sit overnight before testing it, is the ammonia still 1-2 ppm? If so, then yes, I'd go for bottled until your cycle completes, and periodically even thereafter. (Probably monthly). You should probably also look into water filtrations not only for your betta, but for your own drinking as well.

Get one of the better units that screws onto your sink, and test the water quality that comes out of that, it may be enough better that you can avoid the bottles.
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Old Yesterday, 09:29 AM   #3 
hrutan
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This drama is all happening at work, where my space and freedom is limited. We have our own drinking water, fortunately, because modifying the tap and keeping buckets sitting out is out of the question. I'll do that with the spring water. It's cheap enough.
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