1. 16 gallon aquarium
2. Freshwater tank
3. Tank has been set up for 3 1/2 weeks
4. There is one Beta, 5 neon tetras, 3 corycats, and a stupid mystery snail, oh yeah, and 3 ghost shrimp, i forget about them cuz they hide all the time in the log and I barely see them.
5. There are live plants in the aquarium
6. The tank stays between 78-80 at all times, usually at 79. I have a heater in the tank.
7. I am using an Aqua-Tech Power filter model 10/20 (sorry ppl i'm poor lol)
8. I am not using a co2 unit
9. It recieves no direct natural sunlight
10/11. Last water change was a 25% change two days ago, I do weekly 25% changes with gravel vacuuming
12. I feed my fish a lot of things, lol. The basic is twice a day I feed them tetrafin max complete flake food. But my beta will not eat flake food. so he is fed Wardley essentials betta food pellets. He gets 3 pellets twice a day. Then for treats I alternate between Tetra brand freeze dried bloodworms, HBH brand shrimp pellets, and Hikari brand algae wafers. I alternate between the three and give them enough for them to eat in two minutes. the treat foods are given once every three days and are switched out between them. So they only get each one, once every nine days.
13. I am using flourescent lighting, it is on between 12 and 14 hours per day.
14. My problem is that my nitrite is starting to go up, I'm assuming due to cycling, and I was wondering if cycling products are okay to use, or if they might be dangerous. It is currently at 1.5 mg/L. Also, my ph is running at about 8.1, because of how alkaline the city water is here, and I don't know how to safely drop it. Although I am looking at buying the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter to help with the ph, would that help the ph become more neutural? If not, what do I need to do, I'm so lost, and scared. The fish are actually not showing signs of distress and I have not had a single casualty yet, not even in the ghost shrimp. The only thing I have noticed is that my beta has black spots on him, and his tail, that I can't remember if they were there before or not. He has become much more healthy and active since I moved him out of the bowl and into the tank though. His tail has become much wavier and he has become more brightly colored. I will add pictures of him tomorrow, or later tonight if I can find my camera after I post this.
15. water parameters pH - 8.1 | ammonia - do not currently have test for | nitrite - 1.5 ppm (mg/L) | nitrate 0 | hardness - shows as hard, at 150 (GH) ppm
16. I am using test strips
17. The last fish I bought were the corydoras, and they seem more active in the tank than at the pet store, but that was a couple weeks ago now. The last creatures I bought were the ghost shrimp. They were clear when I bought them, and still look clear/healthy and eating fine.
If anyone can help me, anyone at all, I don't know what to do, this is my first time having fish, and I love it, I got bit by the bug, and I'm scared about losing some. I also have a 30 gallon with sailfin mollies, but they're good with alkalie water, so I'm okay with them, and their nitrates and nitrites are both 0, so I have no worries. But how much salt can I add before it will start to harm my plants?