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Old 04-24-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
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What have I gotten myself into? =D

Hi there,

I am totally new to the aquarium world. I agreed to let my office have a fish as an office pet and impulsively went and bought a betta and a small aquarium at Petco on 4/2/18. Fortunately I started looking into it before I set the tank up and returned it the next day for a 5 gallon Fluval spec. But I knew nothing about cycling. And all the paraphernalia that goes with a fish! =)

I have aquarium sand in the bottom, a live plant, a soft plastic plant, a silky feathery plant, a floating log, plus a couple of decorative things for him to hide in. Plus the filter that came with the tank and a preset heater and a thermometer. The tank stays about 76 degrees. I made a baffle for the outflow tube with a plastic water bottle, making sure there were no soft edges (George loves to play in there, the nutcase!). I have been putting in cappa leaves.

I love my little half moon betta (George). He is an absolute hoot and I don't regret for one minute getting him. I did hire a zebra nerite snail (Fred) and a bristlenose pleco (Emmet) as housekeeping staff a week and a half later, on the advice of the fish person at Petco, still not really understanding cycling.

I got a test tube water kit and have been tracking the water quality. I'm doing water changes weekly (so I've done 3 partials by now). I do about a gallon and a half at a time with a siphon vacuum.

My pH bounces a little, but not overly much. We have hard water in our area. At first I was using purified drinking water, but after testing our well water here, I used that for part of yesterday's water change. I add a tsp of Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus to every gallon.

I added Tetra Safe Start with the last 2 water changes. Today I added an Eco Bio Stone, after soaking it overnight.

Here are my water test readings, taken 4/9, 4/13, 4/16, 4/23:

pH: 7.6, 7.2, 7, 7.6
High pH: 7.4, not taken, not taken, 7.4
Ammonia: 0,.25, .5, 1, (then again after yesterday's change: .5)
Nitrite: 0,0,0,0
Nitrate: 0,0,0,0
TDS: not taken, 131, 146, 139

I am concerned about the ammonia. I don't want George hurt!

I am mainly feeding him Omega One betta buffet pellets and frozen bloodworms. I feed him twice a day and have come in once each weekend to give him a feeding. I give him 2 pellets and a little bit of bloodworms. They have tended to be small in the frozen cubes so am giving him 5 or 6 small? They're sort of in pieces. I did more research last night and thought maybe I'm giving him too many worms, so this morning only gave him the 2 pellets.

I give the snail and the pleco algae tablets. I gave them a piece of blanched zucchini last Friday and a piece of blanched romaine. I removed both of those yesterday and put in another zucchini last night. I doubt I'll do the romaine again because it created a mess when I took it out. =P

That's about it. George seems happy. He's created 2 bubble nests, this morning's was huge!

Tell me what I should do to make the most ideal environment for Emmet, Fred, and George. =) I would be heartbroken if anything happened to them, particularly George. I never knew a fish could have so much personality! I like that George.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:44 PM   #2
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Hehe, I meant the baffle has soft edges, no sharp edges.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nonie View Post
Hi there,

I am totally new to the aquarium world. I agreed to let my office have a fish as an office pet and impulsively went and bought a betta and a small aquarium at Petco on 4/2/18. Fortunately I started looking into it before I set the tank up and returned it the next day for a 5 gallon Fluval spec. But I knew nothing about cycling. And all the paraphernalia that goes with a fish! =)

I have aquarium sand in the bottom, a live plant, a soft plastic plant, a silky feathery plant, a floating log, plus a couple of decorative things for him to hide in. Plus the filter that came with the tank and a preset heater and a thermometer. The tank stays about 76 degrees. I made a baffle for the outflow tube with a plastic water bottle, making sure there were no soft edges (George loves to play in there, the nutcase!). I have been putting in cappa leaves.

I love my little half moon betta (George). He is an absolute hoot and I don't regret for one minute getting him. I did hire a zebra nerite snail (Fred) and a bristlenose pleco (Emmet) as housekeeping staff a week and a half later, on the advice of the fish person at Petco, still not really understanding cycling.

I got a test tube water kit and have been tracking the water quality. I'm doing water changes weekly (so I've done 3 partials by now). I do about a gallon and a half at a time with a siphon vacuum.

My pH bounces a little, but not overly much. We have hard water in our area. At first I was using purified drinking water, but after testing our well water here, I used that for part of yesterday's water change. I add a tsp of Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus to every gallon.

I added Tetra Safe Start with the last 2 water changes. Today I added an Eco Bio Stone, after soaking it overnight.

Here are my water test readings, taken 4/9, 4/13, 4/16, 4/23:

pH: 7.6, 7.2, 7, 7.6
High pH: 7.4, not taken, not taken, 7.4
Ammonia: 0,.25, .5, 1, (then again after yesterday's change: .5)
Nitrite: 0,0,0,0
Nitrate: 0,0,0,0
TDS: not taken, 131, 146, 139

I am concerned about the ammonia. I don't want George hurt!

I am mainly feeding him Omega One betta buffet pellets and frozen bloodworms. I feed him twice a day and have come in once each weekend to give him a feeding. I give him 2 pellets and a little bit of bloodworms. They have tended to be small in the frozen cubes so am giving him 5 or 6 small? They're sort of in pieces. I did more research last night and thought maybe I'm giving him too many worms, so this morning only gave him the 2 pellets.

I give the snail and the pleco algae tablets. I gave them a piece of blanched zucchini last Friday and a piece of blanched romaine. I removed both of those yesterday and put in another zucchini last night. I doubt I'll do the romaine again because it created a mess when I took it out. =P

That's about it. George seems happy. He's created 2 bubble nests, this morning's was huge!

Tell me what I should do to make the most ideal environment for Emmet, Fred, and George. =) I would be heartbroken if anything happened to them, particularly George. I never knew a fish could have so much personality! I like that George.
I the cycling process, critters poop causing ammonia in the tank. A bacteria called Nitrosomas break ammonia down into nitrites which are also dangerous. Then another bacteria called Nitrobacter changes the nitrites into nitrates that can be controlled by partial water changes. At this point you show ammonia, but no nitrites or nitrates so your tank is not cycled and therefore a little dangerous. It's best to cycle a tank without fish, but you can do it with fish too. You just have to keep doing water changes to keep the amonia at 4ppm or less until the bacteria have a chance to grow. Get rid of the snail and the pleco. The only housekeeping they do is eat algea, but then they poop and create more ammonia. There are no living creatures that don't produce as much algae as they eat. The pleco if it's a common type can grow a couple feet long. Wrong fish for a small tank. Fish baggers often know nothing about fish when they get hired. Keep the betta alone. They don't need company or housekeepers.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:46 PM   #4
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No, no... 4ppm for ammonia level with fish is way too high. Fish will die! Keep it at .25 and no higher than .50 everything else I agree with. Make sure you vacuum the bottom. Your doing a "fish in cycle". Research it so you know. Hope things work out.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:57 PM   #5
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No, no... 4ppm for ammonia level with fish is way too high. Fish will die! Keep it at .25 and no higher than .50 everything else I agree with. Make sure you vacuum the bottom. Your doing a "fish in cycle". Research it so you know. Hope things work out.
My bad. You're right Angel. My brain tuned into a fishless cycle for a moment. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:49 PM   #6
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My bad. You're right Angel. My brain tuned into a fishless cycle for a moment. Thanks for the correction.
Don't worry, I got your back. I know you, you know better than that. Lol! drjallen3 has much experience, more than I do. But, sometimes we think one thing and write the opposite. Happens to the best of us too. We are human.
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:19 PM   #7
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I'm not quite sure how to get rid of the pleco and snail. The pleco is a bristlenose pleco, supposed to get about 4 inches. We're considering starting another tank for them, but I would still have a cycling problem with that tank, as well, right?

The ammonia is .5 today so I'll do another partial water change. The nitrites are still 0.

So my course of action, as I understand it, should be to check the water quality daily and do frequent, perhaps daily water changes? How will I know when my tank has cycled? When the nitrates start rising?
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:40 PM   #8
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Your pleco is fine. Yes you would have to worry about cycling the other tank as well. What a lot of us do is get one tank cycled and then use some of the good bacteria from the tank that is cycled for the next one. You can use a filter cartridge by dunking it into the new one, use gravel, deco. Sponge filters. So, for a heads up to cycle the new tank. You can throw another filter on the tank you have even. Then just take that filter off the tank and put it on the new tank when your cycled. Yes, and Yes! Test your water daily. Do your water changes as needed. And just a side note, when you feed is when ammonia will spike. I would test in mornings and nights. Sometimes you might have to do a couple of water changed in a day. Just to take care of your fish from ammonia.
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:58 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for your help Angellove78 and drjallen3. I just did another gallon and a half change. I had read not to test the water just after feeding, so have been careful not to do that. Fortunately George is a pleasant little guy and doesn't seem to mind the water changing. He'll follow around my vacuum to see what I'm up to in his domain, or what I've uncovered in the sand. And he hovers wherever I pour the water in so I'm careful not to pour too quickly.

And what a great idea to get another filter when my tank is cycled to start another one! I will do that for sure when we are ready to start another tank (without fish first!!)
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:12 PM   #10
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Take the pleco back. Bristlenose may not get that big, but they need a 20g tank at the very least. You can take him back to the store you got him from, tell them you were sold a fish that is too large for your setup, if you fuss, they WILL take the fish back. You will never be able to keep up with the bioload the pleco has in a 5g tank.

Keep up with the water changes, you'll get through the cycle
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