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Old 07-18-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Is this normal?

Hello everyone!

I'm Kathy and I have a small 5 gallon, planted (live) tank for one beta that I'm trying to cycle for the very first time. I've read the instructions here maybe 50 times to make sure I'm doing right. It's been about 15 days and I seem to be stalled. Ammonia showing 0 each morning, Nitrites off the chart but Nitrates are very low. I guess I'm just too impatient! I have had to do two PWCs two days in a row because my PH started dropping for some reason. Still waiting for that magical morning when A and Nitrites are gone.
Do things normally take this long? I thought (or was hoping) that with such a small tank this would be much faster. Oh, I had no seeding material, just ammonia, plants and a tiny bit of fish flakes once or twice.

My other worry is the Beta. I'm not sure he's going to be okay with the filter in his new home when he finally gets there. Right now he lives in a large, 2 gallon jar (no filter) and seems to be completely happy and thriving. He takes bloodworms off my hand and it's great having a happy and healthy fish!
My question is, Is it okay to turn his filter off at night or will that upset the balance in the cycled tank? Maybe I'll just wait until I see how he adjusts, the filter doesn't have a very strong current, I've tried to situate plants in the way to block it and he does have an aquarium decoration to hide in to get away from the flow if he wants.

This is a great forum and site and I've really enjoyed learning from it!! Thanks in advance for any helpful encouragement!
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:54 AM   #2
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You could stop dosing ammonia for a couple of days and see if anything changes. If not, you might want to do water changes until your nitrite reading is down to 1 or 2, then dose more ammonia. It can take a while for nitrites to drop, even in small tanks. Just try to keep your pH stable with PWCs (adding a buffer may help too). One thing you can do is compare the nitrate level of your tap water to the nitrate level in the tank. If the nitrate concentration is a bit higher in the tank, then at least you know you're on your way.

If you need to reduce the flow, and your filter doesn't have the option, you could put a sponge pre-filter over the intake tube. (which has the added bonus of providing more bio-filter surface area)
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #3
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Smaller tanks take much longer to cycle. I have two 5 gallons that used to have a betta in each one.

Honestly with the plants and only stocking a beta I would do a small water change and wait a couple days till your nitrItes are at zero and then put your beta in. You probably have plenty of bacteria along with the plants to handle his bioload. I always just popped my betas straight in with plants and just did water changes if anything got out of wack, no different than changing the water in his bowl? I'm a fish in cycle type a girl though


As for the filter, no the betas don't like it at first. Most are used to living in a jar so you gotta give them time to get used to it. Once they are they love it. I had one woth an internal fluval minifilter and I just turned the flow on the lowest setting. Another I had a small hob filter and I fixed a sponge on the filter outtake that distributed the flow so there wasn't much current.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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You're quite welcome
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