Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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xslinds 03-04-2008 02:53 PM

Confused about cleaning gravel and cycling
I am new to keeping fish. I got my first 10 gallon late November and fishless cycled. Now I have just one betta. I use a gravel siphon and take about 25% of the water out every week. Am I supposed to just vacuum on top of the gravel, or kind of jab it in the gravel to get debris loose? Does cleaning all the gravel disrupt the bacteria? I don't know whether to do the whole bottom, or just half..

Secondly, maybe a month or two ago I completely changed my filter media - I'm thinking this was a bad idea because since then I've had ammonia readings. Is my tank cycling over again? Also, I've noticed I have planaria (I think?), and my betta has developed tail rot. :cry: I haven't had very good luck. I started feeding him less because of the planaria (from 6 pellets + bloodworms to 3). I used melafix, but I think I'm going to buy maracyn also. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

fish_4_all 03-04-2008 03:17 PM

Changing the filter media removed half or more of the needed bacteria creating another mini cycle. Water changes and deep gravel vacs will help keep the ammonia and nitrites down. IMHO, oyu do not need anything but the Melafix in low quantities. Changing the water and getting rid of the ammonia and nitrites will help the fin rot heal.

I gravel vacced everything I could every time I did a water change in my cycle. It took about 8 weeks to finish to a point I was willing to add fish. I am overly cautious though and the fish I was adding are sensitive to water parameters.

Flashygrrl 03-04-2008 04:33 PM

One thing I noticed is you said you think you might have planaria, which is usually caused by overfeeding (right?). Perhaps if you are giving too much food it's also resulting in ammonia when it starts to decay.

xslinds 03-04-2008 04:38 PM

Yeah, I've considered that. I've cut back on how much I feed him. I guess that and more water changes is the only thing to get rid of the planaria and ammonia? All this stuff takes so much patience!

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