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My dwarf half moon male Betta fish has had this sludge in his tank since the moment I set it up at least a few months ago. He is in a 2.5 Gal which I will be upgrading him to a 10 gal in maybe 2 weeks or so. The 2.5 was just a waiting period tank until I could move my 10 gal back home.

I don't know what this sludge is. I posted on here once before when I thought it was bacterial bloom, but it is still there. I filter his gravel because I have to at least every five days. The sludge is that bad. It comes out of his gravel in noticeable pieces. It isn't green, brown, or anything that looks like algae. It is a white sludge. It could be algae that just isn't as green as it could be, but I went to a pet store today to try and fix it. I have to travel cross country this Wednesday -- which means I won't be able to take care of his tank.

Barney, my Betta, is small. He is barely an inch. My sister bought him from Pet Co for a good bit of money because of his size. He doesn't have the long, gorgeous fins that male Bettas do. I don't know much about specific Betta appearance, but you can tell he is half moon.

I went to the pet store today because I wanted a UV sterilizer. I am so sick of the sludge. My mom is going to feed him while I am gone, and I didn't want her to get any ideas about cleaning he tank. At the pet store today, for once, a girl that understands fish spoke with me. She told me that for a tank that small that a UV sterilizer (Green Machine 9 Watt) would just push my Betta around from its flow. I took her word for it because I have Googled so many times about how it would be in that small of a tank.

So, she suggested I buy two or three Cory catfish that are tiny yet full grown to help clean while I am gone. She also suggested to me an algae food since Cory catfish can't get full nutrition from just the sludge, algae, and poop. These fish are only a little bit bigger than my toe nail. They are so cute, too. I bought three because one might die if my Betta attacks it. He hasn't attacked a Cory yet, but he does nudge them. Am I safe to leave the fish with my male Betta? He only does this when they move and he notices. I haven't seen him nip at the Cory fish, but I am worried. I don't want a fish to die. I love them all now.

What should I do? I don't know what this sludge is. My tank has been trying to cycle for a few months, and when I get back from my trip (which will be right after I send the 10 gal home) I am done with the 2.5 Minibow.

Also, when should water changes be made since I now have four fish in there of very small sizes? I have maybe a 1 1/2" Betta and three 1" or less Cory catfish. The Cory fish seem to be eating up the sludge quickly.

Can I leave them in a tank for 7-10 days without water change, too?
 

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First of all, a 2.5 gallon is WAY too small to have more than one fish in it... I can only imagine terrible things happening from that. You'll be doing daily water changes with the amount of waste build up causing your Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites rising exponentially, but it will be easier when you're in the 10gallon. That'll be about a 50% change once a week, or 2 25% ones depending. THIS sticky has GREAT information on Water Changes.

We will also need pictures of the Betta, and the "sludge" you're talking about in order to help more.
 

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Cories also don't eat poop- and are shoaling , so 6+ is recommended. I highly suggest returning them.

Yes pictures of the sludge would be helpful.
 

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Google "mulm" and see if it is that.

Can you post a photo of your Betta and of the substrate?

Unless you're going to be gone overr a week I wouldn't worry about feeding Barney. The less that goes in = the less that comes out. It won't hurt Barney and will keep the tank from being fouled.

Get the 10 gallon ASAP; that many fish in a 2.5 gallon that's already having problems is a disaster waiting to happen. And Strawberry is right: Cories don't eat poop; nothing does. And as shoaling fish they need a minimum of six for long-term, optimum health and a normal lifespan.

Hope we can help when we see photos. I know how frustrating it can be.
 
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