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Old 08-09-2015, 09:16 AM   #11
BrainGirl
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Unfortunately it does sound like you may have killed off the beneficial bacteria needed to transform his toxic waste products into harmless ones. Letting a tank sit for 24 hours is not cycling though I am aware that this is the advice given in some pet stores and tank pamphlets. A cycle can take weeks to establish unless you use a products specifically meant for seeding your media with the beneficil bacteria. Some products are good and some are a waste of money, best to read up before buying.

With a betta though you can safely get away with a fish-in cycle because they don't need to use their gills for all of their oxygen. Plus they are a low-waste fish so probably won't cause an ammonia spike so high it will cause damage before you can remedy the situation. Get a liquid test kit if you can, not the strips, they're inaccurate. Test your ammonia, I expect it's high. Keep doing small (~25%) water changes to keep the ammonia around 1.0ppm and use something like Prime to render the ammonia that's left harmless to your betta. You need to have some ammonia for the bacteria you want to grow in your filter!

When you start seeing nitrites on your test you'll know you have the first wave of bacteria you need. Keep doing the water changes because nitrites are toxic too! Bacteria will move in that will start eating the nitrites and converting them into nitrates. Nitrates are much less toxic and are actually usable by plants. Monitor them though and keep doing your water changes. I actually lost a betta to a nitrate spike once. Well, actually not the nitrate spike but my reaction to it. I panicked and did a massive water change to bring it down not realizing that such a drop was as dangerous as a diver returning from deep sea too quickly. He got the bends and died One of the symptoms of too-high nitrates is the betta lying on the bottom.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:30 AM   #12
Wanna Hamster
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

You should NEVER do 100% water changes. I don't want to be mean, but they are B-A-D. It kills ALL the beneficial bacteria in the tank and also stresses the fish out way to much. He is showing severe signs of stress. I would try and keep things as normal and stress-free as possible. Bettas are very sensitive to water changes and a weekly 10% water change is the very maximum. Trust me on this, right now I own 21 fish, 3 aquariums, and have been keeping fish for 5+ years. He should make it through this time, but be careful in the future.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:55 AM   #13
Enh98
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Thank you all for your help! I took a sample of water with me and they tested it there. Everything tested OK but it was the dipstick test. I bought a fancy-schmancy liquid test kit so I can retest at home. I also bought a bottle of treatment for fin rot. Are live plants hard to maintain? Do they need a certain type of substrate? Right now we just have gravel. Are there certain live plants that are better for beginners like me? I'm hoping to nurse this little guy back to health, I hope I'm not too late!
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:11 AM   #14
BrainGirl
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

I wouldn't trust what the pet store says. You want numbers. What's "ok" for them may just mean that it's not completely and instantly deadly to your fish

What kind of lights do you have in your tank? Chances are you'll need to go with low-light plants. One of my favourites is the Java Fern but it can't be planted in your substrate. It needs to attach itself to a log, rock, or ornament and you can help it along by either tying it or gluing it (yes, gluing) in place. Safe glue is any 100% cyanoacrylate (original Super Glue) and you only need a dab. It actually cures quicker in water! Alternatively, you can just put an elastic band around the ornament/log you want the plant attached to and tuck the plant's rhizome through it. It's ugly, but quick There are different varieties of Java Fern, one of the smaller ones is the Windelov. I've also got the wild type (broader leaves) and the Narrow Leaf which has lovely, grass-like leaves. It's a very tough plant and can put up with a lot. Slow growing though.

Another hardy plant is Cryptocoryne, which can be planted in your substrate. There are many different varieties of this so you have a choice.

Another favourite is Anubias. So many varieties of this one and the leaves are lovely and tropical-looking! Low light, like the Java Fern it can't have its rhizome buried so it needs to be attached to something.

If you have brighter lights then you may have more options!
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:24 AM   #15
Enh98
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Assuming Fishy (my son named him) doesn't make it we will get another betta....especially after all the money invested! What is the proper way to cycle the tank before getting the fish? I read conflicting things online and of course pet shop employees aren't so helpful. This forum has been so wonderful in giving me advice to deal with this situation while not judging me for my lack of fish knowledge! As an update, I tested the water with the liquid test kit and all levels checked out good. pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I removed the carbon thingy from the filter (but kept the filter running) and added the treatment for fin rot. He's laying on his side breathing through his gills. Poor guy.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:26 AM   #16
candice clews
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

We brought a live plant from pets at home today to try and help our sick goldfish, we also brought some aquarium salt as advised by pets at home. Unfortunately we were too late to cure ours and it has just passed away we have 2 other fish and apparently aquarium salt and live plants help fish to be healthy. It prevents them from being ill.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:40 AM   #17
Enh98
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Awww, I'm sorry about your fish!
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:41 AM   #18
BrainGirl
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enh98 View Post
Assuming Fishy (my son named him) doesn't make it we will get another betta....especially after all the money invested! What is the proper way to cycle the tank before getting the fish? I read conflicting things online and of course pet shop employees aren't so helpful. This forum has been so wonderful in giving me advice to deal with this situation while not judging me for my lack of fish knowledge! As an update, I tested the water with the liquid test kit and all levels checked out good. pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I removed the carbon thingy from the filter (but kept the filter running) and added the treatment for fin rot. He's laying on his side breathing through his gills. Poor guy.
What were your numbers exactly?
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:23 PM   #19
Enh98
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

pH 6.0, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm and nitrate 0 ppm
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:40 PM   #20
Wanna Hamster
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Default Re: Help with betta fish!

Looks great! maybe in the future you could work on raising your pH to 7.0, but everything looks good for now!
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