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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings. I have a mystery I want to run by you. For the last month or so, I've seen these mysterious fluffy white clumps appear in one of my two male betta tanks. It doesn't happen often. Yesterday, after vacuuming the black gravel, rinsing the filter and doing a large water change, these mysterious clumps appeared in the tank I just cleaned. It doesn't look like normal poo. They are large, fluffy, white clumps. They fall apart easily when I suck them up with a turkey baster. I've had these tanks since February, and this didn't start until recently. The only thing that's changed is I began feeding my fish some Bug Bites a few weeks ago. First only occasionally, and then for the second feeding of the day. I feed Betta Buffet pellets in the morning and in the months previous, but nothing like this ever happened then.

As an experiment, I put some of the Bug Bites in water overnight to see what would happen. Nothing.

Is it possible this stuff is expanding in the fishes stomach and he is regurgitating the food ? I am at a loss to explain it. Is he having some sort of reaction to the same fresh water he's been getting for months ?
 

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I feed my boy Bug Bites (the betta stuff) and have had no bad experiences. Is it possible that you could include a picture?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry I am finally getting back to a response. After thinking about it for a while, I've come to the conclusion that the mysterious substance was some of the accumulating slime from inside of my filter that sloughed off. The thing that perturbs me is that it only happens AFTER I've tried rinsing my filter thoroughly. :rolleyes:
 

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I dont mean to assume anything but just in case I will say it, make sure you only use treated tap water to rinse your filter or else the chemicals can kill all the bb and crash your cycle.
 

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Oh and I just thought of something to add to my original post maybe the dots could be left over food that got moldy overtime?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes...of course. I only use water that I've drained from the tank to clean the filter. The cycle is unfortunately irrelevant, because after five months....I still don't have one! But, that's a different post to make.
No....there's no moldy foods. The tanks get a thorough vacuuming every four days. I have to, to keep the ammonia levels as low as possible. Again, that's another story. :(
 

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Are you using SeaChem Prime along with an API Ammonia test? If so, it may be that your tanks are cycled and the API test is the issue.

The API test measures Total Ammonia (TA) which is a combination of NH3 (toxic free Ammonia) and NH4 (non-toxic Ammonium). Simply put, Prime converts NH3 to NH4. Because it measures TA, the API test doesn't differentiate between the two you can get an Ammonia reading that could be the harmless Ammonium.

The best way to know is to get a SeaChem Ammonia Alert. These read only NH3/Toxic Ammonia. So unless it starts to change color you are good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nope. I use API Ammo Lock every two days with 75% water change every four days. The boys seem happy and healthy. But, it's a royal pain doing water changes all of the time.

I have two 5.5 gallon tanks started in mid February. I've been using Top Fin "Betta Flow" BF5 filters. In one tank, I had to replace the terrible mud-producing gravel about a month in. About a month later, I had to thoroughly clean the gravel in the other one to get rid of a nasty gray "algae" (?). The lighting is very subdued...a fluorescent shop light reflected off of the white ceiling. They each have a silk plant and a resin "tree root". They've been OK for the last three months, except for the readings.

I use an API Master Test Kit, that is supposedly not out of date (2022). I also have some test strips for a quick check. After 5 months, I still have no detectable nitrite or nitrate, but the ammonia is always off the chart a day after a water change. I talked with a local aquarium shop keeper, and he said maybe the filter "isn't working", which left me puzzled. I even bought some chlorine test strips from him to see if that was the problem. The problem is, all of these water conditioners don't "eliminate" the ammonia and chlorine. They only convert it to a less harmful form.....for a while. That's what has me worried. I'm afraid after the Ammo Lock wears off after a couple of days or so, my fish will be poisoned by a massive amount of ammonia. But, I don't feel good about relying on these chemicals to keep them safe. That can't be good for them either...thus the large water changes.

I recently bought a KH Test Kit (I haven't been able to find one until now). It confirmed the test strips. My KH is about 70 ppm, and the GH is off the chart! I stopped at 20 drops. I always adjust my water to about 7.0 pH, but it always drops to at least 6.6 pH by the next water change. Out of the tap, the pH is about 8.4. I was wondering if the hardness was adversely affecting the cycle somehow. I've read a low pH helps lock up free ammonia.

I also just added two small Aquatop sponge filters thinking the BF5's just aren't able to aerate the water enough to promote the growth of nitrifying bacteria. It's been two weeks for one tank, and still no detectable nitrite or nitrate.

It's all very frustrating. All I have are the same old questions and no good answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
PS....I only just discovered a local "mom and pop" pet store that carries some of the brands the big boys don't. That's where I got the Aquatop sponge filters. They also have the SeaChem Ammonia Alert, but I don't have the money to spring for a couple of those right now. :(
 

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The Prime you use at two drops per gallon. You can dose daily until you figure out what's going on as it neutralizing Ammonia and Nitrites for 24-48 hours. I've not used Ammo Lock but it might have the same issue as Prime with the API test.

According to SeaChem, Prime removes Chlorine and Chloramine. English and History were my majors so technical science language confuses me a bit.

I like AquaTop products and use one of their HOBs on my 2.5.

I'm having issues with TDS right now. It's 176 out of the tap but once it hits the 20 gallon tank(s) it shoots up to 350-400. No one I've asked can figure out what's going on. As a last resort, tomorrow I'm going to drain and fill each at least three times. I'll be blasting the sand until the water is absolutely clear. Keeping my fingers crossed this will do the trick. If it doesn't I don't know what I will do. That's my way of saying I absolutely understand your frustration.

I wish you luck in finding out what the issue(s) might be.
 
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