Beginner questions - where did I go wrong?
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Beginner questions - where did I go wrong?

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Beginner questions - where did I go wrong?
Old 03-29-2013, 03:21 PM   #1
 
Beginner questions - where did I go wrong?

Oh, where to start? My kids got a betta and a frog about 4 months ago - Betta in a 5 gal (heated and filtered) and the frog in a 1 gal bowl. Have managed to keep both alive with only feeding and water changes, so I'm willing to put a bit more time and effort towards them. Got a 20H tank off craigslist that I'm working towards, but that's another post. In the meantime, I've just moved the frog to another 5 gal in an effort to improve his quality of life and keep the cat out of the bowl.
I used the filter cartridge from the betta tank, a few decorations from the bowl, and handful of the marbles from the bowl floor and most of the water from the bowl, in an effort to avoid new tank syndrome. Didn't work. I got a big spike of ammonia. Changed some water, added a dwarf sag. Next day changed more water and added some anacharis. 2 days later and my ammonia is finally coming down but my nitrites are off the chart.

Now I'm worried that my plants don't look so great. The anacharis is looking browner than when I got it and I've got extra leaves floating around the tank. I thought the live plants were supposed to help avoid the spikes in the cycle? Aren't they supposed to be using up the ammonia and nitrites/nitrates? Do I need to add some of the ferts I see people talking about?

And also, is there anything else I need to do to not kill my frog while the tank finishes cycling? Will more water changes help, or slow down the process? I haven't fed him in 3-4 days cause I'm afraid to add food to the ammonia spike - should I feed him anyway to keep him from starving?

I know live plants = light questions. I've got a CFL screw in bulb that claims to be full daylight 10 watt.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
 
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first off welcome to the forum!!

now im not to familliar with bettas and frongs, but the nitro cycle i have a pretty good understanding along with how plants play a role in this. as far as fertilizer goes a little is going to go a long way with your current lighting tanksize and bio load. you are correct in saying plants are supposeed to help reduce the new tank syndrome. your anachris losing its leaves and looking not as good is probobly related more to it being the specific specis that does not tolerate warmer water temps and will slowly die off as a result. with it going through this process it more then likely isnt doing anything in terms of helping the cycle. i would reccomend some fast growing stems as this will help use up your nos (rates and ites) along with your ammonia. but with the addition of the stem plats they are faster growers and will require a bit of fertilizeing. a balanced liquid fert will bes your best option since you are just starting out. personally i use flourish comprehensive by seachem. add this 1-2x a week to keep the plants helping with the cycle.

as far as helping things in the meantime with what you have i would still feed but maybe feed once every other day in small amounts. just something to keep him healthy and disease free. untill you get some fast growing plmats in there i would do water changes untill the ammonia is .25 or less as far as the nitrites are concerned higher amounts of this is toxic to fish 20 ppm on the conservative side same for nitrates. but as i said throw a few fast growing stems in there and they will help balance things out. hope this helps and if i confused you somewhere let me know and i can do the best i can to help ya understand.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sahm2girls View Post
Oh, where to start? My kids got a betta and a frog about 4 months ago - Betta in a 5 gal (heated and filtered) and the frog in a 1 gal bowl. Have managed to keep both alive with only feeding and water changes, so I'm willing to put a bit more time and effort towards them. Got a 20H tank off craigslist that I'm working towards, but that's another post. In the meantime, I've just moved the frog to another 5 gal in an effort to improve his quality of life and keep the cat out of the bowl.
I used the filter cartridge from the betta tank, a few decorations from the bowl, and handful of the marbles from the bowl floor and most of the water from the bowl, in an effort to avoid new tank syndrome. Didn't work. I got a big spike of ammonia. Changed some water, added a dwarf sag. Next day changed more water and added some anacharis. 2 days later and my ammonia is finally coming down but my nitrites are off the chart.

Now I'm worried that my plants don't look so great. The anacharis is looking browner than when I got it and I've got extra leaves floating around the tank. I thought the live plants were supposed to help avoid the spikes in the cycle? Aren't they supposed to be using up the ammonia and nitrites/nitrates? Do I need to add some of the ferts I see people talking about?

And also, is there anything else I need to do to not kill my frog while the tank finishes cycling? Will more water changes help, or slow down the process? I haven't fed him in 3-4 days cause I'm afraid to add food to the ammonia spike - should I feed him anyway to keep him from starving?

I know live plants = light questions. I've got a CFL screw in bulb that claims to be full daylight 10 watt.

Thanks for any help!

10W over a 5 gal is about right.

NitrItes can spike for some time. I stop adding food until they drop down. Fish can go literally for weeks with no food being added. Not recommended as standard operation but for things like getting nitrItes down it is good to know. Or when you go an vacation for 2-3 weeks as well.

If the anacharis are with the betta, the betta may be picking at the leaves.

But overall hang in there and the plants will start growing with nitrItes dropping down as well.

Sometime it just takes a little while.


my .02
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:05 PM   #4
 
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Welcome to TFK!!

Just wanted to add that plants go help in the cycling process when they are healthly and growing.
Plants will only photosynthesis (grow) when all the available nutrients are available. Nitrogen is only one of 17 they need for this process. When there is some or even one messing from the mix plants can slow down or even stop photosynthesising and then can die after too long of periods without them.
Dosing a well rounded fertilizer and there are couple out there will help out a lot! Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive is one that works good bur like I said there are others as well. I would find one and start dosing at least once a week. In a 5 gallon tank using Flourish Comprehensive you would use like a .5mls once week.
Second thing that's is needed is light and plants require certain light spectrum. A bulb that is around 5000k - 7000k will work. A natural daylight bulb or a full spectrum bulb with a Kelvin of 6500k is best. Once you have that finding a lighting period that works best for you and your tanks is going to be needed. 6hrs of light (I have heard or read as little as 4hrs) is the lowest I read that plants need to photosynthesis and still be healthy a day. You can go longer but that will just depend on the setup.

As for the health of your frog and nitrites. I would personally wouldn't let the lvl get up to 20ppm of nitrites. Nitrites are highly toxic to frogs and fish. I would keep doing water changes till the lvls of nitrites are going or at least under .5. This going to hurt your cycle it might slow it down but its safer for your fish/frogs. The best thing is getting more plants and fast growing ones like stems and floating plants. Water sprites or even Duckweed would do wonders in this situation.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
 
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I would do a large water change right about now. 90% or so. Frogs are highly sensitive animals.
5ppm nitrite is off the charts.

I think Bored is talking about nitrate.
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:00 PM   #6
 
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for now i wouldnt stress to much about a "plant light" or anything like that, jsut get some good stem/fast growers liek 1077 mentioned. the light you have will be fine as far as k rating goes, the plants will use it but they wont break any records in terms of growth but still fast enough to help in the cycle. with the current light and plants reccomended you should be able to get away with once a week ferting. if i were you i would hold off on the fert and just see how the plant does for a week. if it seems to look bad then start to fert. with the light and bio load there may be enough in there for the plant to do its thing but then again it may require the comprehensive fert (a little of everything in balance)
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:26 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
I would do a large water change right about now. 90% or so. Frogs are highly sensitive animals.
5ppm nitrite is off the charts.

I think Bored is talking about nitrate.

Thought that's what I said?? Maybe I worded it wrong? .....
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:28 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
Welcome to TFK!!
As for the health of your frog and nitrites. I would personally wouldn't let the lvl get up to 20ppm of nitrites. Nitrites are highly toxic to frogs and fish. I would keep doing water changes till the lvls of nitrites are going or at least under .5.
The second half is right but the first half seems a bit off. The test kits don't even go to 20ppm nitrites.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:36 PM   #9
 
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reversal of the rites to rates oops!
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:36 AM   #10
 
Thanks for the comments guys. I'm still getting rites and rates mixed up myself.

No betta in this tank to nibble the plants, and the temps are mid 70's. Is that too warm for the anacharis?

Olympia, I did a water change today, I'll do another tomorrow, and the next day, til the angry red goes away when I test the water.
If I had known the tank would freak out, I would have left the poor guy in the bowl til the tank cycled. I had NO ammonia or rates/rites in there. It did have this huge plant growing out of the top of the bowl though, maybe that was the difference. I thought using an old filter cartridge from a cycled tank would be enough, since there's only one inhabitant.

When you say "stem plants" which ones do you mean? Looking at beginner/low light plant info, I keep seeing Java ferns, moss, and anubias, none of which are really stem plants, are they?
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