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Old 09-17-2020, 10:39 PM   #1
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New to fish tanks, water gone wrong. HELP.

I just purchased a 2.5 gallon tank and a Betta from a local specialized aquarium store. I set the tank up that day with substrate, gravel (all rinsed thoroughly) and 3 live plants. I was given enough water from the store (idk if that's normal, but they said it would help establish the tank because it was from one of their "main tanks") and introduced the Betta the same day. I didn't buy an aquarium light or a filter for the tank, but purchased a light a few days later as it seemed like the plants needed more exposure. I also introduced a piece of natural aquarium wood from a different aquarium store and introduced that into the tank (after boiling it) a few days later once I did my first water change, 25-30% volume (exactly a week after I got the tank/fish). I noticed that evening of the first water change the wood had released tannins in the water, making the water more yellow/tea colored. This didn't alarm me. The next morning I turned on the aquarium and noticed what looked like bugs, what I came to find out was copepods. The water was a bit more cloudy than the previous day. Long story short the consecutive days have the water looking cloudier and a bit smellier. I did a 25% water change a few days after the first water change because of the reasons I listed above. I always use distilled water with a small dose of API stress coat and Stability. I only leave the aquarium light on a max of 4 hrs. a day and the tank does not receive direct sunlight. I have a small heater that's set to 77F. What am I doing wrong? I want to get a 5 gallon tank with a filter, but want to prevent this same problem from happening or getting worse. Please help. I also wanted to add that my fish seems totally healthy and active and eating...honestly better than when the water wasn't cloudy and a little smelly. Once I put the wood in the water he perked up. Im just afraid there's something off balance and it's a ticking time bomb so to say.

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Old 09-18-2020, 04:06 PM   #2
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Have you tested your water parameters?
I can't tell how long of a span it's been since you started up your tank, but it sounds like your tank is not cycled.

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Old 09-19-2020, 12:15 PM   #3
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The cloudiness is apparently a bacterial bloom as your tank is not cycled. I don't understand why you use distilled water - fish need minerals. Adding API stress coat is supposed to remove chlorine and other things which distilled water does not have and API stabilizer makes the pH about 7 which distilled water is anyway, except it will pick up some carbon dioxide from the air, making it a bit acidic. If you use distilled water, add SeaChem Replenish. You don't need the other stuff.
My suggestion, for this tank and any others, just fill them with water and wait about 6 weeks for them to cycle or speed up the cycle by adding some sponge filter from a cycled tank. Patience is the key.
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