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Old 07-20-2021, 04:49 PM   #1
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Betta tank cycle not starting

My kid got a betta in a bowl.. which I'm trying to convert to a tank life. I bought a 3 gallon cube tank with top fin betta Flo filter. He's been in the tank a month now. Initially I added betta alive gravel and fluval bacteria. Not seeing any signs of nitrites yet with my api test kit. The past 2 days ammonia was at 1ppm so did 1 gallon water change to keep betta safe. Not sure what to do to keep him safe and get the cycle going. There are two plants in the tank as well.

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Old 07-20-2021, 04:50 PM   #2
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How long have you been cycling the tank? 6 to 8 weeks is typical.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:13 PM   #3
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Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite at no higher than 0.5ppm combined through your water changes. So the 1ppm ammonia you see and 0ppm nitrite warrants a 50% water change.

Best way to speed up your cycle is to introduce some media from an established filter into your filter. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some. After that bottled bacteria like the fluval cycle you used might help. Might not do anything. Ive used fluval cycle, wasnt impressed with it.

Could you post a link to the betta alive gravel. Im not sure what it is and google doesnt throw up anything. Is it supposed to be a source of beneficial bacteria?

Low pH can slow down a cycle. Whats your pH?

Every cycle is different and doesn't work to a timescale. Most important thing is to keep your fish healthy through regular testing and water changes until cycled.

I would also add that 3g is a very small tank even for a single betta (way better than a cup though). I understand you have only just upgraded to it, but is a 5g out of the question? Small tanks make controlling water parameters that much harder.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:20 PM   #4
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He is now an office fish and they only will allow as big as 2.5gallon on desk but I snuck the 3 in. Get is a link for the gravel.

https://www.petsupermarket.com/bio-a...kId=3638156645
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:21 PM   #5
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4 weeks but my 54gallon had nitrites by week 2 when I used the fluval biological stuff
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaspian View Post
4 weeks but my 54gallon had nitrites by week 2 when I used the fluval biological stuff
2 weeks to see nitrites is more normal, but its not unheard of for it to take much longer.

If you have a 54g tank, any reason why you cant use a little media from the filter to cycle your 3g? I know i can remove 6 to 8 pieces of biomedia from my 55g and instantly cycle a 2.5g tank without any impact on my bigger tank. I do it regularly when setting up my small tank to quarantine.

Not sure i would trust that gravel to do what it says. Is the gravel dry in the bag? How would bacteria stay alive in those conditions?
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:39 PM   #7
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My 54 gallon is not fully cycled yet I've got basically 0 ammonia but nitrites spiking up every day to 2 so I'm doing water changes and don't want to mess with any media.
The betta live stuff was a bag with watery bacteria not dry. But yea who knows if it even works.
I didn't think of pH which actually I bet it's low as I did only use RO in that tank whereas using treated tap and RO in the big tank. I will try using some treated tap water I just didn't know if I never get ammonia levels up if it would just never cycle.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:46 PM   #8
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0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite is a relatively safe amount of waste, while still being enough to feed your cycle.

pH is a bit of a double edged sword. Low pH can slow down your cycle, but makes your ammonia much, much less toxic. Generally the best thing to do with pH is just let it settle wherever it does. Dont go chasing pH numbers.

Any reason for the RO water? Is there an issue with tap water?
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:50 PM   #9
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Yea after testing the tap water after treatment, and I've tried various products), the ammonia test comes up 0.25 bc I guess chloramine in the water.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:00 PM   #10
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0.25ppm ammonia is basically zero.

Have you tried comparing the a test of the RO water (which should be 0) with your tap water to make sure your tap is 0.25? A zero test often looks a little greenish.

Regardless, you dont need RO because of a very small amount of ammonia (or chloramine). Ammonia toxicity rises with increasing pH and temperature. Ammonia at 0.25ppm would need a stupidly high pH and temperature to be toxic, way over 8 pH and 30c. A cycled tank will take that down in a matter of a few minutes anyway and if you use a dechlorinator like prime, it will detoxify what ammonia you have until its cycled out.

Many people keep fish in areas that use chloramine to treat water without the need for RO water.

Its up to you though.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:33 PM   #11
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Gotcha. Yes the RO tests 0 which is yellow. The tap treated with prime or other tests 0.25 (greenish yellow)
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:37 PM   #12
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https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...ty-159994.html
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:20 PM   #13
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Thank. You. I will be more patient. I was just confused that I needed more ammonia to get it cycling but don't want to hurt betta so well keep the water at no more than 0.5 ammonia and I'll use tap water instead of RO to get my pH higher
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:36 PM   #14
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I do have questions on my 54gal corner tank though....
It's slow on converting nitrites currently. I started it fishless the end of May using fluval cycle biological. I had nitrites within 2 weeks ( wasn't testing every day in the beginning) and on week 3 I had nitrates. All levels were low so I added a pair of swordtails And also used Fritz 7 bacteria. Everything had been well for what 4 weeks til the last week I've had no more than 0.25 ammonia but 2 nitrites and 5 nitrates so been doing water changes to ensure nitrites don't go above 2. Do I need to keep them lower or Do I need just more time for them to natural convert?.. it's almost 9 weeks. The fish seem to be thriving the female swordtail is even pregnant which is my worry that she will have babies and throw off my tank even more. Not sure whether to wait and keep going water changes (been doing 8 gallons almost daily) or add more bacteria. I run a fluval 407 on this tank with all the media it came with plus bio balls and have an air stone. My pH was 7.6 last I checked will check again tonight.
Appreciate the advice.
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Old 07-21-2021, 02:35 AM   #15
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As per advice on your smaller tank. Water changes sufficient to keep ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm.

With 2ppm nitrite and ammonia at 0.25ppm (lets round it to 2ppm combined) you need to do a 75% water change. Thats a big water change, so do 50% and a couple of hours later another 50%.
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:56 AM   #16
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I know it does not make sense but the i did a 10 gallon water change last night and nitrite is 0.25 this morning. Same thing happened yesterday was about 2 then 8 gallon change and it was 0.5 in the morning. Maybe I'm reading it at 2 wrong with those purple marks or when I test it after it's it's less hours after feeding so is at is high point. Not sure but hoping when I test after work it's still low. My swordtail was seated on my huge ambulia plants in the back so wondering if there will be babies soon. I my bubbler down to extremely low for now.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:12 AM   #17
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Water tests arent accurate. Its a home test kit, not laboratory testing.

Maybe your nitrite was 1.5 not 2. You cant really tell the difference between those 2 readings. Maybe your water change took it down to 1 and not 0 5. Again you cant really tell the difference.

All sorts of things can throw out a test. Maybe a slightly different amount of water, a slightly different amount of test solution. Maybe you looked at the 2 test results in slightly different lighting conditions. Maybe there is a contaminent somewhere. Some of these tests dont even test for what it says it does on the bottle. While its something to base decisions on, they are never going to produce accurate results and they will sometimes look a little confusing.

I looked at a professional test kit a couple of weeks ago. £500 for the equipment, and about £1 per test for the solution. Your £30 kit isnt in that league for accuracy, but its good enough to look after your fish and cycle a tank.
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:19 PM   #18
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According to a scientist in another forum, nitrates are very difficult to test for under laboratory conditions with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of analytical equipment. Always best to just change some water if you are unsure and observe.
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