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Old 08-15-2011, 07:18 AM   #1 
etcher
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Question moss covered terra cotta skull problem

Last week I set up a 3 gallon tank for my King Betta; Jack. Since I heard so many good things about live plants, I decided to go natural. For the most part, it worked well. I also put in a tank heater and I thought Jack would be in bliss.

However, my husband and I came back from a weekend trip (adult step son was watching the house for us) and Jack was huddled up on top of the heater on the edge of the bowl after he'd been very active and interactive prior to the weekend away.

As we were settling back in, my husband noticed that there was a white "mist" surrounding the terra cotta skull (it was purchased from Petco) and the moss was sluffing off debris. I tested the water and everything came back normal. I did a full water change just in case. Jack perked up for about an hour but then returned to his heater again.

This morning, I came in to feed him and again there was the white mist surrounding the skull and debris was floating all over the water. That was it; I'm not going to sacrifice my Jack for the sake of "looks cool"...I threw out the skull and did another water change.

Now...Jack is just fine! He's even playing with his reflection in his mirror again!

Has anyone else had this problem?!? The people at Petco said that the moss was safe but I'm not so sure.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:07 AM   #2 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etcher View Post
Last week I set up a 3 gallon tank for my King Betta; Jack. Since I heard so many good things about live plants, I decided to go natural. For the most part, it worked well. I also put in a tank heater and I thought Jack would be in bliss.

However, my husband and I came back from a weekend trip (adult step son was watching the house for us) and Jack was huddled up on top of the heater on the edge of the bowl after he'd been very active and interactive prior to the weekend away.

As we were settling back in, my husband noticed that there was a white "mist" surrounding the terra cotta skull (it was purchased from Petco) and the moss was sluffing off debris. I tested the water and everything came back normal. I did a full water change just in case. Jack perked up for about an hour but then returned to his heater again.

This morning, I came in to feed him and again there was the white mist surrounding the skull and debris was floating all over the water. That was it; I'm not going to sacrifice my Jack for the sake of "looks cool"...I threw out the skull and did another water change.

Now...Jack is just fine! He's even playing with his reflection in his mirror again!

Has anyone else had this problem?!? The people at Petco said that the moss was safe but I'm not so sure.
The moss is usually safe..I wonder about the skull though...Terra cotta is usually pretty safe though...Maybe the white fuzz was some sort of fungus or bacteria...or maybe some uneaten food had fallen into the moss and went bad. Moss tends to collect things ... I use my gravel vac pressed against it during water changes and I am always surprised at all the stuff that comes out of it. It is possible that maybe they used a terrarium moss instead of an aquatic moss..maybe it was rotting.
I am glad to hear jack is doing better.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:37 PM   #3 
etcher
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Thumbs up I'm amazed!

In the couple of hours since I've taken that moss terra cotta skull out of the tank, he's back to his old self completely! He's feeling so good he actually bit one of the plants and started "fighting" with it!!

The moss is beautiful but maybe it's not a good thing for a betta. I'm glad I threw it out.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:42 PM   #4 
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I'm not sure it was the moss. Do you have a PH tester? Maybe the skull ornament shifted the PH and stressed the little guy out. I have moss in all of my tanks..But I have never bought it from petco, I am not sure what type of moss they use on their tank ornaments. Silly bettas! Mine love to fight the bobbing thermometer. It is like a betta punching bag.
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:07 PM   #5 
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I tested the PH yesterday and it was normal, ammonia was at 0. Everything about the tank was by the book. I have noticed something else though; when I first put the tank together, it was pretty cloudy but I figured that it was due to it not being established (the skull was in it). I'd done 2 water changes and the water still had a haze to it. However, now the skull is gone the water is crystal clear and Jack is his old happy self again. Whether it was the moss or the terra cotta, life is good now that it's gone.
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