Oye, what have I done to my cycle?
Well, I know what I did: I killed it. But I'm trying to figure out what I did that killed it and how I can remedy that problem.
I haven't checked my water params in a few weeks because I found out my test kit was too old and the chemicals had gone bad. (Found this out when my nitrAtes tested 0 in a goldfish tank; if only /sigh) I tested my 10 gal divided betta tank today and got these readings: ph: 6.6 (understandable, I have a bit of driftwood in there); Ammonia 0.25ppm; NitrIte: 0ppm; NitrAte: 0ppm.
The tank they are currently in has been set up for 4 years and previously had kuhli loaches in it. The bettas have been in it around 3 weeks (moved them shortly after I found out my test kit was bad). Right now it houses 2 male bettas (divided of course), about 5 ramshorns, 3 anubias plants, and a carpet of duckweed at the top. I removed the power filter when I added the bettas because I didn't want the flow to bother them. I also began feeding the bettas a little more (2 pellets in the morning, 1 bloodworm in the afternoon, and 2 pellets an hour before lights out) starting a few days ago. The fish are showing no signs of stress or disease.
Could it be that the increase in food caused an ammonia spike? Did I really kill my biological filter? What can I do to fix this?
Appreciate the help! Thanks in advance!
(Also figured I should note that I do about 30% water changes weekly.)
HI! im a newb but I was wondering if you had live plants maybe they are enough to absorb all the ammonia there fore leaving none for your bacteria wich then died? or maybe you did a water change with a too great difference in temp ?
i know thats probably not it but ... if you had it cycled at one point... then you test and its saying 0 nitrate? where did it go? :P hehe you should at least see traces of it I guess
You make a good point about the plants, Max. Duckweed is known to be a nutrient sink. That is an idea I have also entertained. I have to wonder if this truly is the case, then is it bad or should I let it continue?
I check the temp with a digital thermometer before adding water to the tank. I've been pretty careful with these guys since they are so young.
You took out your filter thus you removed a huge part of your biofilter.
Well, I'd say from what you have posted that you are going through a new cycle. Hopefully since there should be bacteria throughout the tank it won't be long. Is there any filter in the tank now? If not you might want to think about getting a small sponge filter.
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but pretty sure Ammonia turns to Ammonium at the Ph and Ammonium is harmless to fish. Still reads on test kits as Ammonia but isn't. If that's true then you're fish will be fine and plants will still use the Ammonium as a food source. Also more bacteria will develop in your tank overtime to deal with the increase so if the Ph ever rises it should still be ok to a certain point.
I can't see plants killing the nitrification bacteria to any extent that would then cause an ammonia spike. Plants, and especially ones like duckweed as you mention, assimilate a lot of nutrients including ammonium. Nitrite is not released so that's the end of the "cycle." Dying bacteria would create ammonia, but not more than so many plants could assimilate or take up, not to mention the other bacteria that would feed on this. And as long as your tank remains on the acidic side in pH, there will be no cycling issues.
I would want to find the source of the ammonia though. Any chance it is in the tap water?
I just tested the tap water; the results are as follows: pH 7.5, ammonia 0ppm, nitrIte 0ppm, nitrAte 0ppm. I was also able to find the city water quality report from 2010 for my city. It listed nitrAte at 10ppm, pH at 7.3, GH at 68, and KH at 16.
When I first got the ammonia reading from the tank I thought I accidentally administered the test incorrectly, so I tested a second vial and got the same results. I'm stumped. My only thought is that the tank is re-cycling extremely slowly.
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