Sorry if the post is a bit long, I'm new to owning a Betta and want to give as much info as I can to help my little guy.
I have a 3 gallon tank with heater, filter, gravel, two soft fake furns and a little cave and thermometer. I had the tank all set up for a day before I got my Betta and rinsed everything and treated the water and let it stand for 24 hours with everything running and the water was clear. I got my little guy yesterday and fed him three pellets last night, one he swallowed and spat out which i scooped out, and the other two sank to the bottom. This morning when I woke up the water has gone cloudy not really thick cloud but it has gone a tad cloudy. I did an ammonia test and its at 1 ppm - what do I need to do?
Ammonia is a toxic substance that can harm fish in many given ways. Such as stresseing them out, lowering there immune system, being the main factor of diseases, and causing gill irritation, along with leaving an "ammonia burn" on the gills. These are the primary reasons to as why ammonia should be kept at minimal levels. Ideally zero would be the best. Any time it goes above that number, you need to imediwtely do a water change, the percentage will depend on how much is in the tank water. In this situation, you would want to do a 100% water change, and monitor ammonia
The amount of ammonia being produced is very elevated at this stage which is somewhat surprising to me, due to the amount of time that you have had the Betta in the tank. Ammonia magically appearing could be a sign of usually ammonia within your tap water. So have you tested the tap water for ammonia? If it does have it then ideally you would want to treat the water with prime or a similar product that rids water if ammonia
Another possibility to as why your tank is experiencing this issue could be due to the aquarium nitrogen cycle. There are multiple stages of this cycle. One of which being called the bacterial bloom, which happens first. This most likely will cause cloudy water and will eliminate itself within 3-5 days with no special treatment, but water changes can be done to help with the cloudiness
I'm gonna go with bacteria bloom, but that's mainly because it's the main thing I've come across with cloudy water... Anyway, that aside, it doesn't sound like you've cycled your tank- it's something that is VERY helpful in maintaining water quality and you should definitely try to steer towards that route. It will help keep ammonia down and minimize health problems that are caused by ammonia and nitrites and all that crap that's harmful to your fish (you still have to do water changes, but it still helps). I believe at most your ammonia should only get to .25ppm if not .5ppm... Any higher and you do risk damaging your fish's health... It's harder to keep a stable cycle with tanks smaller than a 5g, but with a filter for the beneficial bacteria to establish itself, it makes it possible.
You also want to make sure it's ammonIA and not amonIUM in your tap water. Test your tap water for ammonia. If it turns out positive, test the tap water again, but this time add a bit of dechlorinator- that way you'll know if it is or isn't ammonIUM, which is relatively harmless to your fish and will dissipate after a certain amount of time; in my experience the larger the quantity, the longer it takes for ammonium to disappear.
Since you have a filter-I wouldn't make any 100% water changes....
I agree it is most likely a bacterial bloom and a 50% water only change should fix it-since its a new setup and the start of the fish-in nitrogen cycle process.
You can safely cycle the tank with the Betta provided that you make the needed water changes....
As posted-you need to test your source water to rule out ammonia in the tap-I would test both with and without additives you normally use in the tank....this will help tell you if you have ammonia in the source water and/or if the additives are causing a false reading of sorts.
Some dechlorinator can cause skewed reading as well as change ammonia to ammonium.
What kind of testing products are you using and what brand of dechlorinator and any other additives used.
When you first added the Betta-did you add any of the pet shop water-if so, this could be the ammonia source too.
Usually it takes about 3 days for the ammonia to build up in a new setup-unless the source water has ammonia or you have something else organic in the tank-like-uneaten food, snail, live plant etc....
Do you have the full test kit for-ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH...if so, post all the numbers for the tank, source water with and without additives....
How is the Betta acting....any behavior changes with the 1ppm ammonia reading.....
Thankyou so much for all the replies, I got home about and hour and a half ago and did another reading from the tank - its the API ammonia kit - it was off the scale 8.0 ppm!
I tested my cold tap and it was reading 0.25 and was the same with adding Tetra AquaSafe. I then tested my hot tap and that reading (with no additives) was 0ppm.
I am in the process at the moment of doing a 100% water change. The water that is going back in at the moment is a mix of the cold and hot taps (to keep the temp stable), but it is reading 2 ppm!
No water from the store got into the tank as I transferred him by net.
He seems to be doing ok but got a bit annoyed when I transferred him into his little bag and started flaring.
I am going to get all the other tests tomorrow, given my reading should I get something to remove the ammonia from the tap source as well? And if so, do i need to use the Aquasafe as well as the ammonia remover?
Sorry for all the questions I'm just so worried for him at the moment.
Something is wrong with either the testing product or how you tested....if the ammonia was 8ppm the Betta would be dead......
Check the expiration date on the test kit, be sure to follow the directions to the "T" especially with drops, shaking and reading the results time line-read the results outside in natural light using a piece of white paper behind the vial-be sure and rinse the vial with tepid running water and air dry between test to avoid any cross contamination.....
Remember that some dechlorinators and additive can cause false ammonia readings-
Last edited by Oldfishlady; 04-06-2012 at 04:31 PM.
The expiration date on the kit is 2016. Should I try a different dechlorinator?
Would it still be worth getting something to remove the ammonia to add to the water on a water change just to be on the safe side?