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Foggy Tank and a Newbie

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Scribble1979, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Scribble1979

    Scribble1979 New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    This will be long, apologies. I am new here. I have had my current tank for a week and a half. Sadly like so many others here, I did everything wrong in the beginning. Originally I bought two bettas from a store and put them in a 2.5 gallon separated tank. One of them got swim bladder and I watched him slowly die. As sad as it is, that is what inspired me to learn more about what I was doing.

    I started with two bettas, a 2.5g tank for one week. Then I moved to a 6.6g tank with the one surviving betta. He had swim bladder too, but thanks to all of you here, I saved him and it was CLOSE. (Learned I had to soak the betta pellets before feeding). I had this set up for a week.

    Still doing everything wrong, I decided I wanted a 10g tank so I moved my betta to that tank. I didn't wait a day or two like you are supposed to, I just did the swapping a cup of water here and there over the period of a day and then put my betta in. I know, this was BAD. Thankfully he was doing fine. I've had this tank for a week and a half.

    THEN and I made another rookie move on day three with this tank and got 3 xray tetras, and five ghost shrimp and a pleco that I have since been informed will end up being two feet long one day! Aside from acclimatizing them to the water, you guessed it, no quarantine.

    Thankfully 9 days later, everyone is still alive. Through this forum I also learned that plecos need food! Whew... Soaking driftwood now, two days left and he gets it along with the cucumber and algae wafers he likes.

    Since then I have bought those measuring strips to assess the tank situation. I have had several crisis situations with both ammonia and nitrite. Thankfully I was able to do a 50% water change twice and correct the situation. I use half tap water and half ro water because my tap water pH goes sky high when combined with my bubbler. Amazing what I've learned from my self induced panic situations

    Well I did a 75 percent water change two days ago, and also changed the filter because it was plugged up. The filter is a whisper bio filter with carbon inside it.

    Tank specs:

    10 Gallon * I know I need a bigger tank. Not right now, this one has been hard enough! *
    One preset water heater 78 degrees
    One 6 inch bubble stick
    7 artificial plants
    Medium tetra whisper filter.
    One artificial castle decoration
    20 round smooth rock decorations.

    Current water specs:

    Nitrate 10-20
    Nitrite 0
    Hardness 150 (very hard, how to fix?)
    Alkalinity 180
    PH 7.8 - 8.2
    Ammonia 0

    Fish specs

    1 bn pleco
    3 xray tetras
    5 ghost shrimp
    1 round tail male betta

    Thankfully I'm not really having any fish issues at the moment other than my betta can act kind of strange sometimes and rub on his floating log. The tetras act wild and crazy and they are always together. My pleco for some reason likes to sleep on the bottom of the tank during the day which scared me because I thought he was dead.

    The real issue here is the cloudiness of the tank. 2 days ago I did a 75% water change because I had put cucumber in the tank for my pleco and I didn't realize he didn't eat it. Two days later my tank was a cloudy mess of disintegrated cucumber.

    My water change process:

    1. Remove all of my ghost shrimp from the tank
    2. Remove betta from tank
    3. Use gravel cleaner to suck nasties from gravel. By the time I'm done, approx 50 percent of water is removed.
    4. Wipe walls of tank down.
    5. Add water half ro and half tap. Tap water is declorinated first.
    6. Let tank cycle for an hour and test, if it is within specifications I put my shrimp back in and acclimate my betta to the water before putting him back.

    Feed:

    Betta and Tetra - Tropical fish flakes and bloodworms
    Pleco - Cucumber and alge tabs, soon to be driftwood.

    I feed one pinch three times a day. The light is on 8 hours a day.

    Can someone please tell me if you think I'm even somewhere in the nitrogen cycle, and why my tank might be so cloudy 2 days after changing 75% of the water? It is very frustrating because I think I'm going to have to do another water change. I'm scared I'm going to shock my betta because this will be the fourth water change in nine days.

    Since I know somebody will ask if I was able to get a cycled filter from somewhere, no I was not able to do that. No I did not use any of the bacteria from my previous tanks because I did not know I should have.

    At one point the ammonia in the tank hit at least 4, it was in the Danger Zone on my strips and the nitrite had been as high as 5.0. I have to thank my betta for letting me know something was wrong, he was not acting right.

    I am very protective of my betta now because I lost one and it was heartbreaking. My friends are starting calling me the Crazy Fish lady because I actually started talking to my betta LOL

    Every time I come near the tank he comes to the front to greet me and he follows my finger across the tank. I was able to touch him the other day and he was okay with it. This fish may be making me crazy LOL

    Everyone told me he would eat my ghost fish and he hasn't done anything of the sort. He chases the Tetra around but I think they're playing because he has never shown any signs of trying to hurt them.

    He has never made a bubble nest. I have no idea what that even is or if I would even notice because the bubbler makes lots of bubbles.

    Anyway, told you this was long. Any advice about my foggy tank or any advice in general would be great. Please and thankyou!

    OH, if anyone will be in need of a two foot long pleco in a few years, hit me up!

    20190717_115330-1008x756.jpg 20190717_115352-1008x756.jpg 20190717_115330-1008x756.jpg 20190717_115352-1008x756.jpg 20190717_115427-3024x2268.jpg PhotoPictureResizer_190717_133955427-3024x2268.jpg 20190717_115453-3024x2268.jpg PhotoPictureResizer_190717_133739165-3024x2268.jpg 20190717_115537-1008x756.jpg PhotoPictureResizer_190717_133854531-3024x2268.jpg 20190717_115453-3024x2268.jpg
     
  2. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Firstly please don't take your fish or shrimp out of the tank for water changes. This causes an unbelievable amount of stress and will harm them.

    Secondly Betta are not community fish. They don't need friends and in fact don't even like them. Can you move him back into the 6G on his own? They are lovely and have great character, but however well you think he is getting on with everyone else he is not.

    Thirdly X-Ray tetras do need friends. Specifically they need other X-Ray tetras and 2 friends really is not enough. Ideally they should be in groups of at least 10 but as it is a small tank I would suggest a minimum of 6.

    Ok, so to your question. Keep up with your water changes. Make sure the water you add is dechlorinated and a similar temperature to your tank. Change a minimum of 50% every week AND every time you detect any ammonia or nitrite in the water. Don't do anything else. The cloudiness will clear by itself. It may take a few weeks but do not add anything to help clear it.
     
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  3. seangee

    seangee Member

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    I forgot to mention, only feed once a day (just one small pinch). As long as you are not catching the fish and removing them when you do a water change you can change it as often as you like. Every day, several times a day - whatever is needed.
     
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  4. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    Hello and welcome. You've made a few rookie mistakes here, but you're learning fast under pressure and have the willpower to make things right. Soon enough things will be looking much better for you.

    A lot of times new tanks become cloudy during cycling after ammonia begins to stack up.

    As I was reading this I was thinking about how this tank is not cycled....but your ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite readings show a cycled tank.

    The pleco as you have realized needs a much bigger tank.....and very soon. If you aren't currently working on a 125 gallon + tank right now, I would suggest rehoming him.

    Feed once a day.

    Keep up with water changes and keep fish inside the tank!

    Clean your filter media by rinsing the media in tank water every 2 - 4 weeks. (for a new tank, I'd wait at least a month to do the first filter cleaning) Do not rinse with tap water as it will kill your bacteria that you've worked so hard to get. DO NOT REPLACE THE MEDIA. That is where your bacteria lives. You need that stuff.

    Did you rinse the carbon before adding it in? There can be a lot of dust in the packaging prior to using it. You're tank may be cloudy because of the carbon if you didn't rinse it.

    Believe it or not, smaller tanks are much harder to care for than larger tanks.
     
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  5. Scribble1979

    Scribble1979 New Member

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    Thank you so much for your response! Well, I must be crazy but I'm now looking at a bigger tank. I've already decided that I love having fish and am in it for life. I love that pleco, and decided it would be too hard to find him a good home, so..... I am looking at a 75 gallon.

    Do you think it would be possible to keep him in a 75 gallon tank for a while? Obviously the 125s are very expensive and I would like to move up to something like that gradually. If I could get a year out of a 75 gallon tank and then that would be great.

    The other person that commented had strong feelings against keeping my betta in a tank with other fish. He really seems non-aggressive and I'm seeing a lot of mixed posts about bettas being alone and bettas being with other fish. I was just wondering your opinion on this as well. He has never shown aggressive behavior (flaring or charging, tail slap) but I don't want to make him miserable either since he is my favorite.

    Thank you so much for your advice it really helped and I think you were right that I did not rinse the media very well. I probably put a lot of charcoal dust in the tank. I am hoping that water changes over the next week or two can clear that up because my betta looks so pretty when the water is clear.

    I was kind of thinking that I must have cycled the tank somehow because that is what I read my numbers should be if it is cycled but I don't understand how I could have done that in 9 days. I don't trust anything so I test several times a week out of beginner nervousness. I did learn that the bigger tanks are easier to maintain temperature on. My small tank was getting way too warm during the day. This one has no issue with going over temperature. Think I almost cooked my betta at 86 degrees.

    I really didn't know about leaving the fish in the tank! I was scared the new water would shock the betta! I feel really bad for causing him trauma now but at least now I know. I didn't use a net though, I just put the container he came in in the water and sort of scooped him up. Maybe that wasn't quite so bad. I won't do it anymore though.

    Thank you so much you have been a wonderful help!
     
  6. Scribble1979

    Scribble1979 New Member

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    Thank you very much for the feeding instructions. I didn't realize that they only needed to be fed once a day so I was probably still overfeeding him. I read somewhere to feed 3 or 4 times a day so I am glad I have that straight now.

    Unfortunately I can't put him back in the 6.6 gallon tank because I gave it to my daughter and she has a goldfish. Actually she has a goldfish and a koi. She won them at the fair and I really thought that they would have died off by now but they are thriving. I've sort of taking over managing that tank as well but those fish are messy!

    I am looking at getting a 75 gallon tank, would that make it easier for him to be in a community or does he still need to be by himself? He really seems non aggressive in any way but I understand. This certainly seems to be a mixed issue! The man at the pet store told me that tetras would get along with my Betta as long as they were smaller and didn't have long fins. Frustrating situation.

    Thank you so much though I definitely appreciate the input!
     
  7. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    When recommending stocking on a tank, I'd recommend a fish for the tank you currently have. Same goes for recommending a tank for a fish. It's hard to recommend a tank that is too small for it's max size. With that being said, I think that a 75 gallon would do for about a year with the pleco and it would need a longer tank after that.

    I can't really comment on the beta community tank. I've been keeping keeping certain fish for years, but bettas are not one of them. I do know that certain fish like tetras and barbs are a little too fast moving for bettas and also are known to nip fins. I've also never seen a betta in a larger tank. I feel like the filters alone that would be needed for a 75 gallon tank would either toss him around on the outlet, or he'd get stuck to the inlet.

    I don't think that your pleco and betta were meant to be in the same thank.

    Maybe some other members can comment here, a lot of members keep bettas.
     
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  8. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    On the subject of bettas, they are not community fish. They really should be kept alone. It's not just that he may attack other fish, though a lot of them do, it's the other fish that can stress the betta, often by just being there. Fish that are not known fin nippers often just can't resist when in a tank with a long tailed betta, though I do appreciate that you have a short tailed plakat betta. Other fish also stress a betta by being too active, or just being there in 'his' space. It is not unknown for a betta to suddenly snap after being in a tank for several months, and go on a killing spree.
    Always have a back up plan. Even if it is just keeping one of those breeding nets (and something to cover it with) in the cupboard to separate the betta should the worst happen. This will give some breathing space while you sort out a permanent solution.

    Of course the ideal solution is to get the 75 gallon, move the other fish into that and leave the betta in the 10 gallon :)
     
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  9. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    This is what I was thinking as well.
     
  10. Scribble1979

    Scribble1979 New Member

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    Thank you very much for the information. I am making long-term plans for the pleco and my betta but it is going to take a little bit of time to get it done. I'm really thankful for everybody's help here.

    Upon testing my water today I discovered that I am in trouble with ammonia. It tested 4 and 0.5 PPM of nitrite. Nitrate is now 20 and pH is way up at 8.6.

    Doing a water change as we speak, sad because the tank had finally cleared itself and the water was crystal clear! Today was the first day anything had tested off.

    I noticed the surface of the water is about 1/4th covered in small bubbles so small it almost looks like foam. That's what caused me to check it.
     
  11. Scribble1979

    Scribble1979 New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I'm worried now but hopefully things can stay the same until next week, I have a 75 gallon tank coming. I'll move the tetras and the pleco into that one and my betta will stay in the ten gallon.

    I hope this will resolve any issues and hope the peace will last that long!
     
  12. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    Those readings are a concern. Your looking at daily water changes until things get better.

    Set up the 75 and do a fish less cycle as you are working on your 10 gallon. If you move fish over too fast, you'll just have 2 tanks with problems.

    If you have any questions about setting up the 75, let us know.
     
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  13. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Fast growing plants absorb ammonia directly from the water and would help massively. The best plants are floating plants, I like amazon frogbit and water sprite for this. People usually recommend to quarantine plants but in your case its urgent so try to get some tissue cultured plants on-line as they are immediately safe. Tropica 1-2-3 grow is a brand that springs to mind. You just throw the plants into the tank. It will take a few days to make a difference because the plants need to be actually growing, and that is why fast growing plants are best.

    Until the ammonia is under control reduce feeding to once every 2 or 3 days - your fish will be fine on this.

    FWIW if it were me I would put masses of floating plants in the 75G, give them a day or 2 and move the fish straight in. You don't have time for a fish less cycle while you have fish swimming around in ammonia. The 10G should also cope better with only the Betta once the rest have moved out.
     
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  14. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    I would not put fish straight in. Within days, you'll have ammonia readings when the tank starts to cycle. You'd pretty much be starting from day one. Your 10 has nitrate readings, so your cycle has started the process.

    Plants are great, but you need the benifital bacteria of an established filter.

    Maybe someone else can chime in here. I'm sticking to what I'd do and that's letting the tank cycle before adding fish.
     
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  15. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Found this from @Byron because he explains it much better than I can
    At best a fishless cycle will establish in 4 weeks. A silent cycle can make the tank safe in a few days.
    In any event, assuming 2 uncycled tanks, there will be less ammonia concentration if it is diluted by 75G than by 10, but we needn't worry about that because the plants can deal with the ammonia (and nitrite).

    Feel free to google silent cycling in aquarium - it really does work.
     
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