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Betta Fin Rot and Nitrogen Cycle

pebbles28

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I'm having a lot of trouble and have not been able to get the answers I need. I've had my betta for a month now and have been trying to cycle the tank, but no luck. He is in a 5.5 gallon tank. He had fin rot which I had seemed to get under control and he even had new growth on his fins, but suddenly his fins are starting to get worse again. I can't get the ammonia levels down to 0, or when I do, they go right back up pretty quickly. I can usually keep them under .5 though. I do about 50% water changes every other day and 75% the other days. I'm wondering if the stress from constant water changes is causing the fin rot. He seems very happy, he's interactive and loves to be talked to. He's just as colorful as the day I got him. He's acting okay but I just can't get the ammonia levels to stay down. I tried aquarium salt and stress coat+ which is what seemed to get his fin rot better before, but it's not really working now. The fin rot is not really bad, and it doesn't seem to be progressing very fast though. He doesn't have the dark brownish/ black around his frayed fins anymore though like he did before and doesn't really have any holes like he did before. I also removed all the plastic plants or anything that could be sharp against his fins. I'm just not really sure what to do at this point. Help!!!
My current levels are
Ammonia- .5
PH- 6.6
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 0
Temp- 78
IMG_20200403_184453.jpg
 

FishkeeperLinz

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I'm having a lot of trouble and have not been able to get the answers I need. I've had my betta for a month now and have been trying to cycle the tank, but no luck. He is in a 5.5 gallon tank. He had fin rot which I had seemed to get under control and he even had new growth on his fins, but suddenly his fins are starting to get worse again. I can't get the ammonia levels down to 0, or when I do, they go right back up pretty quickly. I can usually keep them under .5 though. I do about 50% water changes every other day and 75% the other days. I'm wondering if the stress from constant water changes is causing the fin rot. He seems very happy, he's interactive and loves to be talked to. He's just as colorful as the day I got him. He's acting okay but I just can't get the ammonia levels to stay down. I tried aquarium salt and stress coat+ which is what seemed to get his fin rot better before, but it's not really working now. The fin rot is not really bad, and it doesn't seem to be progressing very fast though. He doesn't have the dark brownish/ black around his frayed fins anymore though like he did before and doesn't really have any holes like he did before. I also removed all the plastic plants or anything that could be sharp against his fins. I'm just not really sure what to do at this point. Help!!!
My current levels are
Ammonia- .5
PH- 6.6
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 0
Temp- 78
View attachment 100633
Hi. Lovely looking fish. Sorry you're having problems.

I apologise if you've gone over this before, but did you carry out a fishless cycle (this involves adding a source of ammonia to the tank to simulate fish waste) before getting him?

Have you added anything to the tank, such as fish or inverts recently? Any plants?

Could you post a picture of the whole tank?

What dechloronator and test kit do you use?

Personally, I wouldn't be doing 75% water changes every other day - just stick to about 30-50%.
 
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pebbles28

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Hi. Lovely looking fish. Sorry you're having problems.

I apologise if you've gone over this before, but did you carry out a fishless cycle (this involves adding a source of ammonia to the tank to simulate fish waste) before getting him?

Have you added anything to the tank, such as fish or inverts recently? Any plants?

Could you post a picture of the whole tank?

What dechloronator and test kit do you use?

Personally, I wouldn't be doing 75% water changes every other day - just stick to about 30-50%.
Thank you. I've had tons of fish tanks in the past and have honestly never had an issue with the nitrogen cycle so doing a fishless cycle honestly didn't really cross my mind. I have not added anything besides my betta. And some decorations. I haven't really been able to go out and get anything with this whole quarantine situation.

I use Tetra Aquasafe as well as Stress Coat+ for my dechlorinator. And I use the API Freshwater Master test kit.

The reason I do 75% is because the ammonia gets too high if I don't, not sure how to keep them down without the big water changes but I'm open to any suggestions. I will include a picture of my tank.
IMG_20200405_144643.jpg
 

FishkeeperLinz

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Thank you. I've had tons of fish tanks in the past and have honestly never had an issue with the nitrogen cycle so doing a fishless cycle honestly didn't really cross my mind. I have not added anything besides my betta. And some decorations. I haven't really been able to go out and get anything with this whole quarantine situation.

I use Tetra Aquasafe as well as Stress Coat+ for my dechlorinator. And I use the API Freshwater Master test kit.

The reason I do 75% is because the ammonia gets too high if I don't, not sure how to keep them down without the big water changes but I'm open to any suggestions. I will include a picture of my tank.View attachment 100640
Yeah, the quarantine is putting the halt on everything, really. .:/

You could do with some more decor in there - especially live plants as they would help "soak up" some of the ammonia. They'd also them help keep nitrate down once the tank has cycled.

As for keeping ammonia levels down, well, yes, you do need to do the water changes for that, but not 75% because you still need some ammonia in the water for the filter to cycle. Up to 50% should do.
 

Retired Viking

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You can add fast growing floating plants like aracharis, hornwort, moneywort, water sprite that will help absorb the ammonia. You can plant them in the gravel or let them float and they absorb what they need from the water so they are easy to care for. You can look at Tetra SafeStart Plus and follow the cycling instruction on this site when using it. It has the good bacteria and will jump start your tank.
 
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pebbles28

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Yeah, the quarantine is putting the halt on everything, really. .:/

You could do with some more decor in there - especially live plants as they would help "soak up" some of the ammonia. They'd also them help keep nitrate down once the tank has cycled.

As for keeping ammonia levels down, well, yes, you do need to do the water changes for that, but not 75% because you still need some ammonia in the water for the filter to cycle. Up to 50% should do.
Ok thank you. Do you have any idea where to get live plants online? I can't really go out right now to get anything. I will not do as much of a water change. It definitely needs more decor but I don't have much more. I put a few decorations in my 38 gallon established tank, hoping that it will get some bacteria and then move it into my little tank in a week or so.

As for the fin rot, what do you suggest for that? It's not progressing very fast but I am worried about it. I don't want to wait until it's super bad.
 

FishkeeperLinz

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Ok thank you. Do you have any idea where to get live plants online? I can't really go out right now to get anything. I will not do as much of a water change. It definitely needs more decor but I don't have much more. I put a few decorations in my 38 gallon established tank, hoping that it will get some bacteria and then move it into my little tank in a week or so.

As for the fin rot, what do you suggest for that? It's not progressing very fast but I am worried about it. I don't want to wait until it's super bad.
I got my from Amazon and eBay. But that was before the quarantine.

If you have another established tank, with 0ppm ammonia and nitrite, is there any way of swapping some of the media from the 2 filters, so that some of the filter media from the 38gal seeds the 5.5,gal filter?

It's been years since I had Bettas, but to me, the fin damage looks like it's stress related, so once we get the water quality and tank decor sorted, it could self-resolve. Maybe add some aquarium salt (1 tablespoon for your tank) or a general tonic just to protect the fins from infection while sorting his environment out.
 

Retired Viking

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You could try moving some gravel from another tank there is bacteria there also. As far as salt, pool salt, aquarium salt even rock salt but not table salt.
 
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pebbles28

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I have been adding some aquarium salt. I know for a fact that he did have fin rot a couple weeks ago but it looked a lot different than this so I was questioning whether it was fin rot or stress. So thank you. I actually did add filter media from the big tank but the filter media was only sitting in the established for like a week or so before I put it in and I know they recommend two weeks. I also put some gravel from the big tank in there. Maybe I'll try again with the filter media, because it's been in the established tank for longer than two weeks now. The levels in my 38 gallon are great though. So I will try that again. Thank you so much for your help. I will get a live plant, not do so much water changes, and try the filter media again.
 

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I can't focus on what has been written, think my brain is going. But the fish in the picture appears to have bites in its tail. Since there don't appear to be other fish with her, she is probably biting her own tail.

You want ammonia and nitrite levels to be at 0 and nitrate levels to be below 20ppm at all times. If you have any reading above this, you should do a big water change to reduce it.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.
 
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