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hi so i already own a betta, before getting him i regrettably did not do my research. I knew nothing about needing to cycle the tank. I want to be a good betta owner so i do have a lot of questions.

1. I am getting the api freshwater master test kit, but i saw another product by seachem called ammonia alert and saw that it might be another good way to keep track of ammonia levels regularly. I plan on getting both, should i?

2. Does the tank naturally start cycling? I have a water additive by topfin that is a bacteria supplement. Does that work well enough to keep the tank from having spikes?

3. If ammonia levels spike, how do i lower them? I heard doing a partial water change will help bring the levels back down, if thats correct let me know.

I also have a few other questions, about water additives.

1. I saw that api has a stress coat water conditioner, but i already own a regular water conditioner. What is the next best thing to add for stress?

2. What is the difference between stress zyme
and stress coat? I plan on adding a pleco, and i dont want anything that will take out anything that it will need to eat.

3. Is there anything else I should consider getting for additives?

Last thing, this is a bit off-topic but i fogured since im already here ill ask. My tank has a weird film at the top of the water. It seems oily, its kind of rainbow-y if you know what i mean? Idk how to explain. Ive scooped some of the water out but it just comes back. If anyone knows how to avoid films tips would be helpful. Thanks :)
 

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Here is the Forum's fish-in cycling tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial I think this will answer many of your questions. BTW, contrary to the opinion of some, fish-in cycling is not dangerous if done properly and you use something like SeaChem Prime as a water conditioner.

What you are seeing is most likely biofilm; usually caused by lack of surface agitation. Do you have a filter? Do you keep really low so there's little output?

I use both the API Freshwater Master Test Kit and the SeaChem Ammonia Alert. The AA only measures NO3 or the toxic "Free" Ammonia. If the API test measure a positive you need to do a water change even if the AA doesn't register.

I use SeaChem Prime and Stability. Haven't used anything API except the test kit in years and have never used TopFin. Hoping someone can help you with those questions.

Unless the tank is at least a 10 gallon (20" long) but preferably a 20 gallon (30" long) a Pleco won't work as they need a lot more room than a Betta. Few fish can be housed in anything less than a 10 if living with a predator.
 
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