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Betta Cam: the magical non-ammonia producing fish

447 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Cranly
Clearly that's a bit of a hyperbole; he does produce ammonia - it just doesn't build up quickly at all!
I'm trying to cycle my tank, and we can't seem to get even close to .25ppm ammonia before I just do a water change because it's been several days (usually 3 or 4) and I just get weird-ed out and feel like it needs to be changed and I will do a 50%.
It's a 5 gallon tank. We use Seachem Prime to treat the water to be used in changes.

The water test kit is pretty new - got it a day or two after I got my fish - and the expiration listed on it isn't for another year or two. The kit does not sit in the sun.

I don't have my tank-cycling water-test levels calendar on me at the moment, or i could give you a day by day, but for the past week or two we've pretty much been sitting at:
.1ppm ammonia (an estimate - it's not .25, but it's not 0)
0 nitrites (we've never gotten violet on the water tests)
5 nitrates (the nitrates have seemed to have existed in the system since the beginning of the tank. not sure where they are coming from.)

My mild theory is that I don't have gravel or substrate, so maybe when I siphon it out, I'm getting out more waste that would produce ammonia than tanks that do have it?

Any thoughts though? Should I just keep going as-is to try to cycle? Or is something else standing out as incorrect?

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Do you know what your pH is? I've had my large tank set up for over 2 months and no cycling (the ammonia never gets above .25) and i've been told low pH can slow the growth of bacteria. Do you have plants? If so, they might be sucking up your ammonia. I imagine a lack of substrate might also be slowing you down. I think substrate is recommended if you are trying to cycle. And LOTS of aquarium foam.
My pH hangs out between 7.4 and 7.6.
No plants - except a moss ball.
That does make sense that the substrate could be a help. I do have a terracotta pot in there - with extra foam at its base. But that's not quite as much surface area as substrate, I would imagine.
In a 5 gallon tank with one betta, he may not produce much ammonia in 4 days. My 2.5 gallon barely got to .25 in 4 days. Maybe add a snail friend? Nerites are good (if you can get them), or mystery snails. I have a mystery snail friend in with 3 of my 5 bettas (one has a ramshorn and the other is mean to anyone else in his tank). Marimo moss balls do suck up SOME ammonia, so maybe it's sucking up what amount he produces in 4 days? I think that amount of ammonia will support a bacteria colony, but growth will be slow.
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