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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately I had to go out of town for a month and the person I trusted the care of my betta to did not do a great job of cleaning. Got back and the tank was filthy, had to do major cleanup and ended up doing about a 5/8 water change. Ever since the nitrites and nitrates have been high and I can not get them to go down no matter what I do. I’ve been doing frequent 1/4-1/2 water changes (every other day). There is one live plant but no decaying plant matter that I can see, no tank mates. The tank looks pristine—almost nothing even comes up when I vacuum the gravel. Thought maybe I’d removed too much good bacteria so I’ve also been using Seachem Stability. It’s been several weeks and now nitrates are at 0, but nitrites are fluctuating between .25-.5ppm and now all the sudden today the ammonia, previously at 0ppm, is at 1.0ppm. I’m at a loss at this point. Betta seems mostly okay for now—active, bright eyed, eating excellently, but I did notice his fins have started to curl a tiny bit. Please send help, not sure what else to do if water changes aren’t doing anything. Not sure what I’m missing. Thank you!


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 80
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None

Food:
What food brand do you use? Omega one
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets and sometimes frozen bloodworms and fairy shrimp
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice a day, whatever he eats in about 3-4 mins

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every 1-2 weeks
What percentage of water did you change? 1/4
What is the source of your water? Tap (conditioned)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Seachem Prime and Stability

Water Parameters:

Ammonia: 1.0 ppm
Nitrite: .50 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 7.0
Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? A week ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Fins curled slightly
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? N/a
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? N/a
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? 8 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No
 

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SIP Flash, you beautiful boy!!!
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Hi,

Sounds like you are going through a mini cycle, but it could be something else.

Long finned bettas will sometimes have curling fins as they age. Could you post a pic?

What are you using to test your water with - test strips or API freshwater test kit? Expiration dates of products?

Have you tested your source water to see what the parameters are for it?

Water changes and Prime are the best things to do for mini cycles.

These are just thoughts. Floating plants can help with water issues. Also, I really recommend that water changes be done weekly once you get everything sorted. Pristine water defends against a multitude of illnesses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, I primarily use the API freshwater test kit to get a more precise read but also use the strips to double check sometimes. I ran out of everything about 3 weeks ago so I actually just did a big haul so all my products currently are brand new. There doesn’t appear to be any issues with the source water either.

How long can a mini cycle last? This has been ongoing for getting close to a month now?

Sorry the pics aren’t great—took them while I was feeding him so I could get better closeups but of course he was moving around a lot. Thank you for your help.


Plant Terrestrial plant Netbook Grass Hood
 

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SIP Flash, you beautiful boy!!!
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That is one stunning betta boy!!! He is just gorgeous!!!

His fins look fine. With fins that long, you can expect some curling and maybe the occasional tearing, too. It just comes with the territory with feather/rose tail bettas.

I have had a mini cycle last for almost 6 weeks, but that was after a major hurricane and power loss for 8 days.

It is a mystery, that is for sure. Your husbandry sounds spot on, and the Prime should protect your betta from the low level ammonia/nitrites. I would think that it should be getting back to normal by now.

I'm sorry I can't give you more help. I've never used Stability before, but have used Tetra Safe Start Plus. I find that using bottled bacteria is really hit or miss. I would just keep doing the small water changes and using the Prime. The cycle will straighten out eventually - it has to.
 

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I may have missed it, but have you deep cleaned the gravel?

Remove all decor except live plant. Push plastic end deep in the gravel (I like it to touch the bottom) and vacuum that one spot until the water runs clear before going to another.

It is amazing how much gunk can accumulate under decor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi,

Sounds like you are going through a mini cycle, but it could be something else.

Long finned bettas will sometimes have curling fins as they age. Could you post a pic?

What are you using to test your water with - test strips or API freshwater test kit? Expiration dates of products?

Have you tested your source water to see what the parameters are for it?

Water changes and Prime are the best things to do for mini cycles.

These are just thoughts. Floating plants can help with water issues. Also, I really recommend that water changes be done weekly once you get everything sorted. Pristine water defends against a multitude of illnesses.
That is one stunning betta boy!!! He is just gorgeous!!!

His fins look fine. With fins that long, you can expect some curling and maybe the occasional tearing, too. It just comes with the territory with feather/rose tail bettas.
Thank you so much! And I’m so glad to hear his fins don’t look abnormal—I’ve never had a long-finned boy before so I feel like I’m constantly wondering if he looks normal or if something’s wrong! I’ll just keep plugging away then and hope for the best. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I may have missed it, but have you deep cleaned the gravel?

Remove all decor except live plant. Push plastic end deep in the gravel (I like it to touch the bottom) and vacuum that one spot until the water runs clear before going to another.

It is amazing how much gunk can accumulate under decor.
Yes, that was the first thing I did when I got back and saw the tank in that state. Needless to say I will not be asking that friend to care for my fish while I’m away again. Did exactly that though—removed and cleaned decor, touched vacuum to bottom till water ran clear, etc. It was so dirty though that by time I got all the gunk out there wasn’t much old water left, so it was a pretty big replacement, and I also had to clean the filter a bit bc it was totally clogged, which is why I was worried I may have removed too much good bacteria, though I did try to preserve as much as I could. The whole situation’s been frustrating
 
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