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Old 06-26-2022, 01:53 PM   #1
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What to do about this fluffy slime?

Hi everyone. Newbie here, 1 week in and I'm pretty sure I've done everything the absolute wrong way. I bought a pretty betta on impulse. Got a tiny tank. Then got a larger tank (fluval spec 5 gallons), watched a bunch of cool aquascape you tubers, built a pretty tank and now chaos and i need help. 😭😭😭

1.i planted a bunch of plants which about half of them seem to have melted or rotted so I'm trying to pull them out but it's a hot mess

2. My water stinks like rotten lettuce so i'be been doing water changes just about every day or every other day.

3 my betta is getting blown all over the tank because the filtered water is a jet stream. I put a sponge over the tip so it's a gentle glow so Swim Shady (my betta) is happy but now a really disgusting grayish slime is growing all over the place and I don't know what to do.

Anyone know what this is and how i can get rid of it?
Should i just take all the water out and rebuild this without plants?
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Old 06-26-2022, 02:15 PM   #2
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Plant melt is normal. Whats happening is your plants are cultivated emersed ie, partially out of the water. Emersed plants have ready access to CO2 from the atmosphere, grow quicker, and makes everything more commercially viable. You take that plant, submerge it in the water, drastically reduce the CO2 the plant has available to it. The plant responds by using up its carbon stores from within the leaf and melts. New growth however will have a different leaf structure and be more tolerant to the lower CO2 levels. It can get its CO2 from the carbonates in the water. This takes several weeks. You may lose all your original growth to this transition, but as long as the plant doesn't completely die off you should see new growth after time and that's what you should be judging plant growth from. 1 week isnt enough to write off your plants by a long way. Remove dead or dying leafs so the plant can concentrate its resources on new growth rather than support old, dying growth.

The greyish slime could be from decaying plant matter or leftover food. Make sure you dont leave anything to decompose. This could also be causing the smell.

As a new fishkeeper are you aware of the nitrogen cycle? Did you cycle the tank before getting your fish? If so, how? If you are cycling the tank with the fish, do you know how to do this? Or do you know nothing about cycling, and this is the first you have heard of it?
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:18 PM   #3
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I've been getting a crash course in all of this over the last week since I got Swim Shady. I didn't know I should cycle water for a period of time before getting a fish and the person who was helping me didnt mention this. ☹️
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:27 PM   #4
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The nitrogen cycle is the natural processes that go on in your tank that convert ammonia into less harmful substances.

Ammonia gets into your tank through various pathways. Fish waste, decaying uneaten food, and dead, decaying plants are common ammonia sources in an aquarium. Its also possible your tap water is an ammonia source. Chloramine is a common water treatment and when treated with most water conditioners the bond in the chloramine breaks and releases ammonia into the water.

Ammonia can be toxic to fish, depending on how much there is, and what the pH and temperature of your tank water is.

The first stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of ammonia. If you have real plants in your tank some of this ammonia will be absorbed as part of their natural growth. Generally though ammonia is consumed by denitrifying bacteria that lives mostly on your filter media. These bacteria consume the ammonia and produce nitrite. Unfortunately nitrite is pretty much as toxic to fish as ammonia.

The second stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of nitrite. A different denitrifying bacteria will consume the nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful than ammonia and nitrite, and for most aquariums the nitrogen cycle ends there. Excess nitrate is removed through your regular water changes.

A further stage of the nitrogen cycle can also happen, but its difficult to remove all the nitrate from a typical freshwater aquarium. Plants will absorb some nitrate in a similar manner to how it absorbs ammonia to grow. There are also nitrifying bacteria that consumes nitrate and gives off nitrogen gas which will simply offgas from your aquarium. This nitrifying bacteria is difficult to grow in freshwater aquarium.

“Cycling” a tank is the process you go through to grow denitrifying bacteria in your aquarium to consume ammonia and nitrite. You are said to be “cycled” when you have enough bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces and turns all of it into nitrate. If you test the water of a cycled tank you should see 0 ammonia and nitrite and some nitrate.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:28 PM   #5
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. Seachem Prime is a water conditioner that will also detoxify some ammonia for a day or two, so is a good choice for a water conditioner while cycling a tank with fish.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

In ideal circumstances you should be starting a fishless cycle with a low bioload (number of fish). 1 small fish per 10 gallons/40 litres is a good number of fish, but this can be tweaked a little for fish that are social and don’t do well on their own. Ideally a hardy type of fish. You may have fully stocked (or overstocked) your tank before you knew about cycling. In these circumstances, if its not possible to return fish, you will have to make the best of it.

If you haven’t already done so, add your fish. Acclimate them to the water in your tank before doing so.

Feed lightly to start with. Daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes, or as much as is eaten in 3 minutes every 2 days. You can increase to full feedings if you are confident your parameters aren’t getting too elevated too quickly and water changes don’t become a daily thing.

Start to regularly test the water for ammonia and nitrite. At least daily. Depending on your bioload you could start to see ammonia quite quickly. Nitrite will likely take a little longer to appear.

Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite combined no higher than 0.5ppm by changing water whenever your water parameters exceed this target. 0.5ppm combined is a level of waste that is sufficient for your cycle to establish but relatively safe for your fish.

If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.0ppm nitrite (0.5ppm combined) then leave things be. If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite (0.75ppm combined) then change 1/3 of the water. If you see 0.25ppm ammonia and 0.75ppm nitrite (1.0ppm combined) then change 1/2 the water. If water parameters get worse than these levels it may require multiple daily 50% water changes to maintain safe water conditions. This is more likely to happen with a fully stocked tank.

Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change to maintain your ammonia + nitrite combined target will reduce. You can also start testing for nitrate and should see this rising. If you are finding the ammonia and nitrite in your tests are consistently low, and you aren’t already fully stocked, you can add a few more fish. It may take a few weeks to get to this point.

Once you add a few more fish, continue to regularly test the water and continue to change water if you exceed the 0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite target. With added bioload the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change may increase again until your cycle has caught up. Again once you are consistently seeing low ammonia and nitrite you can add some more fish. Rinse and repeat with testing, water changes, and adding fish when safe to do so until you are fully stocked.

You can then cut back on water changes to control nitrate only. Typically you want to keep nitrate no higher than 40ppm, but I would recommend changing some water every 2 weeks even if your water test says you don’t need to.

A fish in cycle from an empty tank to fully stocked can take several months.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:13 PM   #6
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Aiken...

Wow, I just absorbed alot. �� Thank you. ❤️

I hope your Betta is doing better. I've got two. A blue regular male named Howard and a twin tale half-moon male named Lucent.
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