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Filters, filter media, meds and water conditioner
Where to start. I have many questions and I wasn't sure how to go about posting them so I'll just do it all in one. I have a 5gallon starter tank with a betta buddy in there. I use Prime as water conditioner. I used to add only 1/4 tbsp of aquarium salt, but since he got sick I add about 3/4 spoon diluted in water at every water change. Since I am trying to cycle my tank I do PWC almost every day unless school gets in the way. Even then I make sure that I don't go past 2 days without changing his water. My heater is not working very well, it keeps dropping the temperature to 72-76 and I would like to keep it on the 78-82 degrees. I am hoping to buy a Hydor theo 25watt or 50 watt, not sure which one yet.
I have been thinking of switching my filter because the one I have right now is carbon and I would like to switch to a biofilter. I am pretty sure I'm going to buy an Aqua 20 with ceramic rings as filter media. Also, lots of people have really recommended DIY sponge filters made out of an air pump and I like this idea, however I am unsure if I can use both the small sponge filter along with the Aqua-clear20. Could I just add ceramic pieces to my filter and take out the carbon or does the filter need to be specifically for biofilter? If I do, should I leave the ceramic pieces inside the tank for a few days while they soak up a little bit of bacteria? How do I transition from one filter to another?
Prime. It is a very good product I've read. Sadly I did not know about cycling before I bought my tank so now it is cycling with my fish in there. My nitrites have made an appearance therefor my fish is really stressed out and getting sick. Should I use both Prime and something like aqua safe, novAqua, betta complete water conditioner, stability or betta safe in ADDITION to the Prime (I don't mean ALL of these together, I mean one of these plus the Prime)? Should I also add stress coat on top of all this? Or should I only use ONE of these be it the Prime or the stress coat or one of the others? Will these products affect the cycling process? I also read about Attison's betta spa which contains almond leaf extract, could I add some of this too? Or should I just get some almond leaves? Is there a way around the brown-ish water after adding the almond leaf extract?
He's sick. I am pretty sure it is ammonia poisoning and now that the nitrites have appeared, brown blood disease. He already had a clamped fin when I bought him but his tail and fins looked increasingly frayed until a couple of days ago his tail split in half. He's got red marks over his gills and sometimes they swell up. His belly looks white-ish. I had heard that three aquarium salt baths of 5minutes a day for a week might help with any infections and tail rot that he might have. He is pretty strong so I knew he could take it. I did a salt bath a day for 4 days in a row and it did not seem to help at all, on the contrary, it just stressed him out more. His a strong little fella and he seems generally happy unless you count those times when brown blood disease hits, then he almost seems blind, bumps into everything (not scratching, he just bumps into things as if he didn't know it was there) his eyes look red, his color fades to a brownish tone and he keeps swimming around the tank in a sort of zombi mode. When this happens I do a 50% water change and it always helps. I should have read an researched before I bought but all I can do now is try to help him.
Just to be on the safe side in case of a fungal/bacterial infection I want to buy the best medicine. I bought Kanaplex and treated him with it a couple of times and every time he seemed to react badly to it.
What would be better to treat him with, Melafix, Tetracycline, Maracyn, or tabs? What kind of tabs? I assume I would dilute it in some of his water first and then put it in the tank? Do I mix any of these or would that be too much? Do I use one of these plus the salt bath or just one or the other?
I realize these are a lot of questions in one sitting but as you can tell, I am attached to this little guy and really want to help him. I just don't know how. I am coming to you experts to help!
Do you have pics of the sick betta? Gotta figure out the white belly.
Keep everything simple. You just need your Prime and aquarium salt. Dose a teaspoon per gallon. This will help neutralize the nitrite. Do not attempt salt baths anymore.
Water changes, of course, remain more effective against ammonia and nitrite. Have you tested your tap water yet for ammonia and nitrite? Please post the exact readings of both tank and tap water. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are all important.
For reference, fungal infections are extremely rare. I doubt you're encountering this issue. It will need Maroxy treatment.
As for gram-negative bacteria, you will need kanamycin/tetracycline (depending on the pH which plays a vital role in their effectiveness), Maracyn Plus, a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn 2 together, or Jungle Fungus Clear.
As for your filter, use the old and new filter for now. Give a week until you are sure the new filter is colonized by beneficial bacteria. This is pointless though if you start using antibiotics. Antibiotics can kill off the beneficial bacteria.
Alot of headache for 5 gallon tank!!!!
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