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Old 04-14-2012, 06:19 PM   #11 
bahamut285
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My current guess as to your dilemma is this:

Your KH must be fairly low, and the constant exhalation of all 3 of your bettas MAY be causing gaseous CO2 to dissolve into your water.

My recommendation is to check your KH in case I'm wrong, and if it is indeed low then you may have to go get some crushed corals as OFL suggested or some buffer solution at your LFS.

A pH of 6, if I recall correctly, is fine as long as it doesn't drop further... how often do you do water changes and how much?
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:42 PM   #12 
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okay. and i get a separate test kit for that?

should i even out my betta fish to 2 per tank?

i usually do a 25-45% once per week- depending on how icky it may look.
also, another user told me i was vacuuming too much and that was why my bacteria wasn't growing- so i stopped vacuuming as frequently. should i start doing more gravel vacs?
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:45 PM   #13 
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Yes you need a separate kit for it. The strip tests are fine, I think they cost around $5?

Leave your fish where they are for now, and continue to do your NORMAL water change routine until you can test the KH.

As for vacuuming, your vacuuming in my opinion is fine. I think you are possibly changing your water a bit too much/often for bacteria to establish a stable colony. You can stop vacuuming if you want, but the bacteria prefer to live in your filter :)
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:52 PM   #14 
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that sounds excellent. okay, i'll keep doing regular changes til i can get that test, and leave the fish. okay. -breathes-

too often already? so, how often do you think i should change the water?

yeah, i've seen some in my filters already.. it may not be the right kind of bacteria but i have icky bacteria growing everywhere. it's clogged up my filters once or twice. is it normal for it to grow outside of the water? like, up the wire for the heater and on the sides of the tank wall?
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #15 
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Bacteria are mostly in the filter but they can also grow in the substrate, I on the walls, on decorations, ect.

I don't get my tests results either. I get ammonia and nitrAte but never have i see anything for nitrIte.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #16 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmckin20 View Post
that sounds excellent. okay, i'll keep doing regular changes til i can get that test, and leave the fish. okay. -breathes-

too often already? so, how often do you think i should change the water?

yeah, i've seen some in my filters already.. it may not be the right kind of bacteria but i have icky bacteria growing everywhere. it's clogged up my filters once or twice. is it normal for it to grow outside of the water? like, up the wire for the heater and on the sides of the tank wall?
I would say that your biggest problem right now is that your tank is not cycled as can be seen by the fact that you have very high ammonia levels and no nitrates at all. Your pH is another problem. It is true that your tank will not be able to cycle properly with such a low pH- it is not conducive to growing the beneficial bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle- however if you were to attempt to raise the pH right now, all of that less toxic ammonium would be converted to the very toxic ammonia in such high levels that your fish may die.

That being said, I would try to lower the ammonia levels through water changes- enough to slowly bring the ammonia (now mostly in the form of ammonium) to at least half of its current level. As long as there is some ammonia in the tank you will be able to eventually establish a cycle- high levels of ammonia are not necessary and are very stressful for the fish. Also, doing water changes will not affect your bacterial colonies (assuming that you may have at least some bacteria currently)- these establish mostly in the filter and also in the gravel, which is probably why you were advised to stop vacuuming it. However, having large amounts of organic waste decaying in the gravel is not good either. A good compromise is to only vacuum a portion of the gravel each water change and leave the filter alone. If doing very regular water changes (as may be necessary for your tank), only vacuum a portion of the gravel once per week.

Also, the buildup that you are seeing in the tank and the filter is likely algae or diatoms, not bacteria. Bacteria are microscopic and can not be seen with the naked eye. Diatoms (brown in color) are quite common in new tanks and should not pose a problem to your fish.

You mention another tank...is this one cycled? What are the water parameters in there?

As far as the pH goes, once you test the kh we should be able to give you a better idea on how to proceed. In the interim, I would check the water parameters daily and perform water changes as often as necessary to bring the ammonia down to at least 2 ppm. Once you figure out what is going on with your pH, you can begin trying to raise it a bit and get the tank fully cycled. Good luck...hope this helps!
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:46 PM   #17 
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great! thank you, i feel very informed now (:

i have a few other tanks, and they're all coming back with similar (if not the same) readings.

alright, i'll go buy one of those strip tests tomorrow at petsmart.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:00 AM   #18 
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Looking at this in the morning I realized that my last paragraph should have read "In the interim, I would check the water parameters daily and perform water changes as often as necessary to bring the ammonia down to around .25 ppm." This is the level that is most acceptable for when your pH is raised and the ammonium is converted to ammonia. Thus, my recommendation would be to bring it down to at least 2 ppm right away with a water changes, then do subsequent changes each day (only changing the water which doesn't harbor beneficial bacteria) until it is at 0.25 ppm at which time you can begin trying to stabilize/raise your pH without fear of harming your fish. While it is cycling, test the water daily and perform water changes to keep it at around this level. Sorry for the confusion....I guess I was a little tired last night!

Last edited by Kim; 04-15-2012 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:29 PM   #19 
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As I posted earlier....with low pH the beneficial bacteria can't colonize and it will be difficult of not impossible to establish the nitrogen cycle....

Once you find out what the KH/GH is of the water-add some crushed corral to get this up to make the pH stable, however, if your Bettas are acting okay and doing fine....you may not need to worry-make your water changes like you normally do-but monitor the pH-with low pH the ammonia is ammonium and will not harm the fish, however, if something was to cause the pH to increase-it could be deadly-but until you get the KH/GH stable you will have a great deal of trouble maintaining a stable pH.

If you have a tap outside-draw some water from that and test just for giggles.......you may have a softening unit on the house and don't know it and this may fix the problem.....

How long have you had the Betta in this water in this tank-before you started testing the water...and have you had any problems, illness with the Bettas or keeping Bettas in general.....
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #20 
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still going about as normal, fish are acting normally, i still gotta make the trip to get those test strips soon.

oooh, okay, i'll try that OFL...

my betta have been acting fine though i had a bit of a problem last month, i'm not really sure what was going on but some fish just died without any notice of illness or anything. i assume one in the tank with Thor, Cosmo, and Nobel died and took the other two with him- then Flair died and then Viper- and Gypsy and Atlas, though they weren't the healthiest bettas to begin with (like when i got them) and didn't die instantly, rather, over a little time as i took them out and temp tank'd them both. Soldier on the other hand just jumped out of his tank...

though up til last month I had no problem with fish dying and haven't had any problem since Viper.

they seem to be fine with the low pH but i am worried it'll shift or change suddenly and kill them.
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