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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there! My tank has been set up for a little over 2 months. On clearer days, the water is hazy and when it becomes a little cloudier there is usually an ammonia spike that follows & right before a water change (0.25 ppm). When I do the water change, the water stays cloudy but clears up 2 days later (stilly hazy). I then test the parameters & everything is within normal limits. I use the API Master Freshwater Test Kit. I do have a filter, and I put polyfil with the filter to help with the filtering. I did some reading, and people reported that black coated gravel could be the culprit? Or could it be something else? I did remove the moss ball because it started to stink & cause more clouding. I changed 1/2 of the plants out to silk plants a week ago. I’m trying to avoid using clarifying chemicals. I switched the black gravel to aquarium river rock (washed it thoroughly) yesterday. I was told black gravel can cause cloudy water. This morning he seemed a bit slower than normal but he’s acting pretty good (see pic) and ate breakfast. I’m hoping the water will clear up in the next 2 days and be less hazy (I don’t expect crystal clear or perfect). Just not as hazy. I tested the water last night & this morning & again everything is within normal limits. I’m going to test it again tonight to be sure. Water temp is reading 78.4 F.

All beneficial bacteria is still in the filter media, & on the plants and decor. There was a lot of crap (literally) in the gravel when I removed it. I did a partial water change as well. I gently removed him during this process, normally I keep him during water changes. But since I was removing the rock, he’s too nosey and all up in my business. I didn’t want to hurt him. I did do a 40% water change as well because of all the crap floating. Could it be anything else going on?


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5.2 gallons Imagitarium aquarium
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? 78.4 F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Outflow from Filter (waterfall effect)
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Mon-Sat he is fed Fluval Bug Bites, Omega One Buffet Betta Pellets or New Spectrum Betta Pellets (I switch for variety & nutrients), treats on Friday’s & Saturday’s he gets fed one treat both days between lunch and dinner (either Brine Shrimp, Blood Worms, or Mysis Shrimp). On Sunday he is fed Daphnia, to see if that works besides fasting to prevent constipation.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets (staple diet)
Freeze-dried? Yes (treats only)
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 2-3x daily, had to up his feeding since he’s on the skinnier side. 5-6 pellets per feeding. Treats 2x weekly.

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? He is not ill, I do weekly water changes.
What percentage of water did you change? 40-45% with new gravel this time. Normally I do 20% changes.
What is the source of your water? Gallon Spring Water.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Both.
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Seachem Prime water conditioner & API Stress Coat

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

*Taken this morning after water change. Same numbers as yesterday (before & after water change) with the exception of the ammonia yesterday at 0.25 ppm before water change.

Ammonia: 0 ppm (API FWM test kit)
Nitrite: 0 ppm (API FWM test kit)
Nitrate: 0 ppm (API FWM test kit)
pH: 7.8 pH (API FWM test kit)
Hardness (GH): 25 ppm (test strip)
Alkalinity (KH): 0 KH (test strip)

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? A month or more?
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Nope
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Hasn’t changed, little lazier this AM.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Nope
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Fin biter before or during transport when I got him.
How long have you owned your Betta? 1 month.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes fin biting.
 

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Hope someone can help you determine why you're still seeing cloudy wateer.

Have you cycled the tank? How? Ammonia indicates the tank might not be and cycled tanks, as far as I know, should have some Nitrates. I'd suggest you fish-in cycle following the Forum's tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial just to be safe. Not sure it would help the cloudy water, though.

I would stop the API Stress Coat as it and Prime do the same thing. A better alternative, IMO, is SeaChem StressGuard. Stress Coat also has Aloe Vera which is somewhat controversial.

Some additives contain aloe extract from leaves of the Aloe vera plant. Manufacturers of these products claim that the Aloe vera extract promotes healing of damaged tissue. One potential drawback to water additives that contain Aloe vera extract or CMC is the addition of organic waste load that can reduce the water quality and oxygen levels in a closed system. This may not be an issue, depending on the density of fish, length of time fish are held, and oxygen content of the water. However, the effects of these substances on gill tissue are unclear. Taiwo et al. (2005) tested the survival and behavior of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) exposed to different concentrations of aqueous extract of A. vera for up to 96 h. One hundred percent of tilapia exposed to 50 ppm A. vera died within the duration of the experiment. Fish used in this experiment exhibited severe depigmentation and destruction of organs (including gills). The evidence of the toxic effects of A. vera on fish solidifies the need to empirically test water conditioners, and their chemical components, for potential negative effects on fish.

Paper can be found here https://www.researchgate.net/public...ners_for_reduction_of_handling-related_injury
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hope someone can help you determine why you're still seeing cloudy wateer.

Have you cycled the tank? How? Ammonia indicates the tank might not be and cycled tanks, as far as I know, should have some Nitrates. I'd suggest you fish-in cycle following the Forum's tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial just to be safe. Not sure it would help the cloudy water, though.

I would stop the API Stress Coat as it and Prime do the same thing. A better alternative, IMO, is SeaChem StressGuard. Stress Coat also has Aloe Vera which is somewhat controversial.

Some additives contain aloe extract from leaves of the Aloe vera plant. Manufacturers of these products claim that the Aloe vera extract promotes healing of damaged tissue. One potential drawback to water additives that contain Aloe vera extract or CMC is the addition of organic waste load that can reduce the water quality and oxygen levels in a closed system. This may not be an issue, depending on the density of fish, length of time fish are held, and oxygen content of the water. However, the effects of these substances on gill tissue are unclear. Taiwo et al. (2005) tested the survival and behavior of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) exposed to different concentrations of aqueous extract of A. vera for up to 96 h. One hundred percent of tilapia exposed to 50 ppm A. vera died within the duration of the experiment. Fish used in this experiment exhibited severe depigmentation and destruction of organs (including gills). The evidence of the toxic effects of A. vera on fish solidifies the need to empirically test water conditioners, and their chemical components, for potential negative effects on fish.

Paper can be found here https://www.researchgate.net/public...ners_for_reduction_of_handling-related_injury
I will stop the API brand, and I did cycle the tank 3.5 weeks on a fishless cycle. But I did not do it for the recommended full 4-6 weeks. I did test the waters prior to adding the fish & it was all within normal parameters.
 

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One of the reasons a fishless cycle is recommended for 4-6 weeks is to make sure the cycle is fully established.

A cycled tank has 0.0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and 10-20 Nitrates. If you're seeing Ammonia the tank doesn't have an established cycle. And bacterial blooms can happen when a cycle is interrupted or a massive water changes or addition of too many fish causes a mini-cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One of the reasons a fishless cycle is recommended for 4-6 weeks is to make sure the cycle is fully established.

A cycled tank has 0.0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and 10-20 Nitrates. If you're seeing Ammonia the tank doesn't have an established cycle. And bacterial blooms can happen when a cycle is interrupted or a massive water changes or addition of too many fish causes a mini-cycle.
Can ammonia pop up with smaller water changes? Or is it just bigger changes? Moving forward should I stick with 20% water changes or go higher?
 

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Usually ammonia won't pop up with water changes, unless there is ammonia in your source water. I would be very surprised if the spring water you are using has ammonia in it, but it never hurts to check. My guess is that @RussellTheShihTzu is right and it is a mini-cycle. I had that happen the first time I tried a fishless cycle also. Out of curiosity, what did you use for your ammonia source when you did the fishless cycle? I know you said the parameters were all normal, but do you remember the numbers? How long did it take the ammonia to get down to zero the last time you added it? That is what all the instructions for fishless-cycles that I've seen use to determine whether the tank is cycled or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Usually ammonia won't pop up with water changes, unless there is ammonia in your source water. I would be very surprised if the spring water you are using has ammonia in it, but it never hurts to check. My guess is that @RussellTheShihTzu is right and it is a mini-cycle. I had that happen the first time I tried a fishless cycle also. Out of curiosity, what did you use for your ammonia source when you did the fishless cycle? I know you said the parameters were all normal, but do you remember the numbers? How long did it take the ammonia to get down to zero the last time you added it? That is what all the instructions for fishless-cycles that I've seen use to determine whether the tank is cycled or not.
When the more clouding occurred, the numbers went from 0.25 ppm, did a small water change same day with prime/stress coat and they went down to 0 next day. Rewind back to June, I had already ordered the fish online before I knew about the 4-6 week cycling. I did it 3.5 weeks because I was originally told a couple weeks would be fine by a friend who has fish (as long as the numbers were normal). I checked the numbers before I added the fish in the day I got him. They were all 0 except for ph ranging 7.4-7.6 ph. The ammonia spikes once in a while, but the hazy water is always there.
 

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<<snip>>Out of curiosity, what did you use for your ammonia source when you did the fishless cycle? I know you said the parameters were all normal, but do you remember the numbers? How long did it take the ammonia to get down to zero the last time you added it? That is what all the instructions for fishless-cycles that I've seen use to determine whether the tank is cycled or not.
Can you remember the above? How, exactly, did you cycle the tank? Thanks!
 

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I'm sorry your received such poor information. :( On the other hand, it tells us a lot. Mostly that your tank never went through the Nitrogen cycle.

About the Nitrogen Cycle:
There is tons of info on this, but I want to sum this up as briefly as possible. The nitrogen cycle is when you "grow" bacteria in your tank, on your filter and everything else in the tank. Fish produce ammonia, which is bad for them, it damages their bodies, causing burns and death. The bacteria consume the ammonia, and produce nitrite. Now, nitrite isn't any better and can do just as much damage as ammonia, so another type of bacteria consumes it to make nitrates. Nitrates are the last step of the cycle, and are much less toxic, but still hurt in the long run, which is why it's important to do weekly water changes of 30-50% in a cycled aquarium. From Step-by-Step Nitrogen Cycle Guide and Fishless Cycling

Without an Ammonia source (pure Ammonia; fish food; frozen shrimp for fishless) a tank won't cycle because there's nothing to feed the bacteria so it can grow. For the fish-in cycle linked in Post #2, you need Prime and a way to test parameters. The Betta's waste is the Ammonia source.

Test every day and do a 25% water change when either Ammonia or Nitrites reach .25 ppm. Additionally, you add two drops of Prime per gallon every day to protect the fish.

When you register 0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and start registering Nitrates the tank is cycled. Ammonia; then Nitrites; then Nitrates = Cycled tank. You still need to test once or twice a week to make sure the cycle is stable.

This is the only way I've ever cycled tanks and haven't lost any Betta. I also use SeaChem Stability. Shake bottle well and then shake some more. Double dose on Day #1; single dose Days #2 through #8. I also use it when adding new finned tank mates.

Hope this helps.
 

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Ok. I try to clarify your issues.

The advice given was incomplete. It may have been ok for a planted aquarium, where waste (ammonium) accumulates through decaying plant matters. This would "feed" the initial bacteria and start the whole cycle (Ammonium-Nitrite-Nitrate).

Without a decent amount of plants and no other source of ammonium added (e.g fish food or bottled products), you won‘t have enough beneficial bacteria in the tank to deal with fish waste.

Thus you‘ll have an imbalance of too much nutrients and not enough bacteria to deal with it, causing bacterial blooms.

If it was my tank, I‘d do no further changes to it for the time being and follow our Two-sentence Tutorial:

BF Two-sentence Tutorial

Only exception: I‘d do 25% water changes when Ammonium or Nitrite reaches 0.25 rather than 50% changes if one of them reaches 0.5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm sorry your received such poor information. :( On the other hand, it tells us a lot. Mostly that your tank never went through the Nitrogen cycle.

About the Nitrogen Cycle:
There is tons of info on this, but I want to sum this up as briefly as possible. The nitrogen cycle is when you "grow" bacteria in your tank, on your filter and everything else in the tank. Fish produce ammonia, which is bad for them, it damages their bodies, causing burns and death. The bacteria consume the ammonia, and produce nitrite. Now, nitrite isn't any better and can do just as much damage as ammonia, so another type of bacteria consumes it to make nitrates. Nitrates are the last step of the cycle, and are much less toxic, but still hurt in the long run, which is why it's important to do weekly water changes of 30-50% in a cycled aquarium. From Step-by-Step Nitrogen Cycle Guide and Fishless Cycling

Without an Ammonia source (pure Ammonia; fish food; frozen shrimp for fishless) a tank won't cycle because there's nothing to feed the bacteria so it can grow. For the fish-in cycle linked in Post #2, you need Prime and a way to test parameters. The Betta's waste is the Ammonia source.

Test every day and do a 25% water change when either Ammonia or Nitrites reach .25 ppm. Additionally, you add two drops of Prime per gallon every day to protect the fish.

When you register 0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and start registering Nitrates the tank is cycled. Ammonia; then Nitrites; then Nitrates = Cycled tank. You still need to test once or twice a week to make sure the cycle is stable.

This is the only way I've ever cycled tanks and haven't lost any Betta. I also use SeaChem Stability. Shake bottle well and then shake some more. Double dose on Day #1; single dose Days #2 through #8. I also use it when adding new finned tank mates.

Hope this helps.
Usually when the Ammonia reaches 0.25 ppm, I do the 25% water change. It’s happened this last couple weeks, twice. I think since I’ve been using the stress coat the hazy water appeared. Because I was using the Aqueon brand water conditioner with the spring gallon water and didn’t have any issues with the hazy water or ammonia strikes. I’m gonna continue doing what I’ve been doing, weekly water changes at 25% & use prime only. I’ll test again before and after water change. Other than that he’s been doing great. Aggressive eater, swimming gallantly, and sometimes being chill. Should I still use SeaChem stability?
 

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As a side note or question:

Do the spring water bottles have a label with parameters/analysis? If yes, could you post a photo or copy any findings online?

I just wonder why your hardness is so low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As a side note or question:

Do the spring water bottles have a label with parameters/analysis? If yes, could you post a photo or copy any findings online?

I just wonder why your hardness is so low.
They do not. I’m also using test strips for that because my API FW kit doesn’t test for it. So I don’t know how accurate those strips are.
 

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I agree with everything that Feanor and Russell said about what is going on in your tank. What you are describing sounds like a bacterial bloom; those happen a lot with new tanks. It will clear up on it's own with a little time and the regular water changes that come with a proper cycling process. Reading that snip of the article Russell found, it makes sense that would happen after the stress coat, since that would contribute to the organic waste in the tank.

I strongly recommend reading through the Two Sentence Tutorial that Feanor linked: following those instructions will help you cycle your tank without harming your fish. You'll find as your tank cycles, the ammonia and nitrites will probably build up faster than once a week. Since both ammonia and nitrite are quite toxic to fish, not doing the regular water changes often enough can lead to some serious problems for them. Adding two drops of prime per gallon every 24 hours will neutralize the ammonia building up (without compromising your cycle), but the water changes are important too.

Good luck! Definitely keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
UPDATE: I have been testing the water every day, and my numbers have stayed the same. I didn’t use prime every day because of the Ammonia reading being 0. I would have if the ammonia spiked. My numbers this week have been:

pH: 7.4-7.6
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

I've had another family member look at the colors on the chart with the vials. And I’ve followed the directions to a “T.”

Today before a water change the numbers were:

pH: 7.6 (maybe 7.8 the color was in between)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

I forgot to test GH/KH with a separate test strip prior to water change. My API test kit doesn’t test for those. I was more worried about the Ammonia & Nitrites. I’ll test for the other two tomorrow when I do a full test run again, and using natural light to see the colors like I have been doing. The water cleared up a lot better but is still a bit hazy. Pretty much the same hazy water prior to the cloudy water (maybe that was during a bacterial bloom)? But wouldn’t my numbers have gone up or read something besides zero if that was the case? I used gallon spring water and I tested the GH from the gallon and it said 150 ppm & the KH is 80 ppm. I know Feanor you said the numbers were low last time?

Also, the water didn’t really clear up prior to todays water change. It stayed cloudy. I discontinued the API stress coat. During the 50% water change today I used Seachem Prime only (I don’t want to introduce any other Seachem products just yet). Plus I’m following the 2 sentence tutorial link posted above.

I’m wondering if the API Stresscoat, and/or the new gravel has clouded the water? I felt like I rinsed the new River rock for a very long time. I strained it while rinsing and the water was clear? The River rock is made by Petco and was very dusty prior to adding it in the tank. But again I rinsed it as best as I could for a very long time.

Other than that, Azreal has been living his best life. Following me around, swimming gallantly, and resting on his little hammocks. Every time I test the water he thinks I’m trying to play with him and won’t leave me alone. Lol

So he seems healthy, but my water is still hazy (see pics from today post water change). I’m hoping after the next couple of water changes the water will be better!!! If not, maybe I’ll try the other Seachem products?

I currently have an Imagitarium B/C filter with carbon & filter floss in the filter. I did have to remove the filter floss and change it for a fresh piece mid week since it turned brown and was gunked up. It caused my filter to spit out a bazillion bubbles like it was clogged. I didn’t touch the filter for the good bacteria was still on it. I’ll keep everyone posted. Low key I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not taking pictures when it was cloudier mid week. But I’ve had such a long work week!!! Maybe I’m just cursed with a slightly hazy tint to my water? Idk, but I’ll keep everyone posted! And thanks everyone for their help!!!

-Sarah
 
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