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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So here's the deal. At my work there is a small 25L (5ish Gal) tank with 1 old male betta and 2 white cloud mountain minnows in it. While I try my best to care for it I am often busy and sometimes I forget it's weekly water change. All I really do for it is feed the fish and change the water and it frequently may go 2-3 weeks without a water change. I don't even gravel vac I just scoop the water out with a small container. There also has never been a heater on this tank(although winter temps usually only drop the water to 19C, though there is temp control in the building)

I don't add salt to it, and food often gets scattered to the bottom of the tank by the over zealous minnows. This tank has not had a problem since it was set up about 1 1/2 ago. There is a large ball of java moss in this tank that I constantly have to kull. The betta itself was kept in a small glass jar (1gal or less) when I first arrived here and that rarely got changed, no one here knows how old he is but I think at least 3yrs.

On the other hand I have 3 other betta in 3 other 5 gal tanks at home and each one of these tanks has had some problem or another, either sick fish, deaths or tank problems. These tanks are all well cared for and treated as many people here recommend. Ie weekly water changes with light gravel vac, no food being allowed to fall to the bottom, small amounts of salt added to each water change(no more than a pinch), and heaters in the tank set to 25C all year. There are live Anubis in all 3 tanks

All tanks undergo fasting at least 2 days a week and they all have filters of some kind.

What is the deal with this?
 
G

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It could be that your three problem tanks don't have a good cycle due to A. the already low ammonia flow from just 1 fish, and B. the constant additives that remove ammonia.

Do an experiment, if you can afford it or already have one, buy a nitrate test kit (drops preferably, the test strips don't work well, and ammonia, nitrite, nitrate bundle would be even better but they are more expensive. After one of your 2-3 week neglect periods test the water. 3ppm of ammonia is the limit, nitrite is 5-10 i think, not quite sure, and nitrates can be okay up to around 30.
 

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Java moss is a great sink for crap and for nitrates. You pulling it out helps remove waste and nitrate. Its got a low fish-load and the low temp means less activity all around and with nothing new added, there are no new disease vectors breaking quarantine. And for all you know they went through 10 bettas to select one that's super-hardy.

But you really can't compare a small group of tanks without everything else being equal. Its too small a sample size. Everyone knows someone who does everything wrong and whose fish are fine. IME a neglected tank often does "just fine" until the pH falls off a cliff and all the fish die.

Its possible you are overdoing your maintenance. Low bioload tanks (like 1 betta) often need less than a normally stocked tank, but I really doubt extra water changes are hurting your fish. It is possible for plants to make a small tank unstable. A really good ammonia-eating plant like hornwort sometimes leaves no ammonia in the water for the bacteria and the tank suddenly acts like an uncycled tank when you thin the plant or some plant dies for any reason.
 
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emc7, do you think that overdosing on tap water conditioner could also do the trick, by removing any ammonia in the tank water when the water change is done?
 

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No, because most ammonia "removers" don't really remove ammonia, they just bind it to something else and the bacteria can still eat it. You need to watch ODing the WC that claim anything to do with pH (like adds alkalinity) or slime coat (stimulates protective slime coat = irritates your fish's skin), but things like Prime are safe @ 5x the normal dose.

Little are tanks are a bit risky. They can go uncycled for no apparent reason. If your water system uses extra chlorine the day you do a water change or pH falls a bit or one overfeeding makes a big ammonia spike you can have to start over. But the up side is even an uncycled little tank is easy to keep safe with "big" water changes.
 
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