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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,
I am looking for some advice. My neighbor passed away with no family and her fish was destined for the garbage can so I intervened. The neighbor was a drug addict and bought it on a whim a few weeks ago and was keeping it in a tiny bowl with no filter and it looked like it had never been cleaned. It seems surprisingly lively though. Anyway I set up an old 3 gallon round aquarium with a sponge filter to get him housed as quickly as possible and I did not have time to cycle the tank and of course the ammonia has spiked and even with daily water changes it is hard to control. I have to do 50% changes daily just to get it to stay at .5ppm. I had planned to move him to a 5 gallon tank which I picked up today but being new it is also not cycled. My question is would it be best to try and get the ammonia under control and not stress him out by moving him again or just get him into the easier to manage tank. I have never been very successful at keeping fish but with everything that happened with my neighbor I would really like to see this guy survive. The only thing I have purchased so far was the Fluval bug bites as he seemed to have a hard time fitting the Tetra pellets in his mouth. Everything else was the stuff she had.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What temperature is your tank? 76F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Sponge Filter
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Tetra Betta Min and Fluval Bug Bites
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets and flakes
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Morning and evening 2 pellets or a tiny amount of flakes.

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Daily
What percentage of water did you change? 50%
What is the source of your water? Conditioned tap water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Imaginarium Beta Water Conditioner.

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.
All my neighbor had were the ammonia test strips but I have a test kit on the way.

Ammonia: .5pm
Nitrite: Unable to test
Nitrate: Unable to test
pH:Unable to test
Hardness (GH):Unable to test
Alkalinity (KH):Unable to test

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? The day after adding the Betta to the tank.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? No changes
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? No changes
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Daily 50% water changes to keep ammonia down.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Unknown
How long have you owned your Betta? 4 days.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Severe neglect.
 

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Take a look at this and see what you think. Once you have a kit all you will need is SeaChem Prime. I also recommend a SeaChem Ammonia Alert but that's optional.


Moving this to Betta Care where you might receive more replies.

Thank you for taking him in.
 

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Separately: The Ammonia Alert reads only the toxic NO3 or "free" Ammonia. The API Test measures Total Ammonia. It doesn't differentiate between NO3 and the harmless NO4 or Ammonium. Because of that, you don't know which you are measuring. The Ammonia Alert takes out the guesswork. That's why I have one on all of my tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input and the link. I actually already had one of these on order and it arrived today. It also read it was reading "Alert". I know it needs to cycle and it will not read zero until it does but I guess I am just not sure at what point I need to start worrying. The other aquarium is already a no go now anyway. When I picked it up I tossed some food into it with no fish because I was hoping to cycle it first. This is how I used to cycle aquariums before I had to get out of the hobby when I moved, not that I was ever really that good with the hobby to begin with. Now its reading higher than the other tank. Its amazing how fast those levels can go up from a little food. As a side note I left out a pitcher of fresh conditioned water overnight and tested it for ammonia and it was zero so it is definitely building in the tank. I will just keep up with the water changes until the new tank is cycled and then move him. He is still doing great considering he was in a dirty unfiltered bowl and had not been fed in at least a week. Unfortunately she has been deceased for around a week before maintenance was called to check on her.
 

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I agree the Ammonia is in the tank, absolutely.

I use basically the method in the tutorial. I also use SeaChem Stability and change 25% of the water at .25 ppm. But, honestly, it's okay if it hits .50 ppm as long as a water change is done.

Ammonia Alerts are a must for me. Still check parameters every day while cycling but they give me some measure of comfort.

I did forget: The Fluval Bug Bites are good but for his staple diet you might try NorthFin Betta Bits, New Life Spectrum or Omega One. All three have whole fish or whole fish meal as the first two or three ingredients and are much more nutritious. I prefer pellets to flakes as flakes can be so messy.

If you try freeze dried, only use it as an occasional treat. Manufacturers warn freeze dried is treat-only.

Send photos when you can and, again, thank you for working with this Betta.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I decided to leave the water alone for a day and the ammonia dropped on its own. I did seed it when I noticed the spike and I am thinking it might have worked. The tank on the left is where he will go eventually but the power filter will come out at that time.. I was wanting to get an aquarium going anyway and this just forced it. I may turn the round one into a shrimp habitat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Things are looking up. Ammonia levels are super low and nitrate levels are at 5 ppm in both tanks now. I was not expecting much from Tetra Safe Start (not plus) bought at Walmart but it sure had a big impact. Also he stopped spitting out the pellets when I feed him now. I am going to give him another week before I move him.
 
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