Hello, I have a marineland 5 gallon tank with heater and filter. I have a Halfmoon male Beta, 2 Ghost shrimp, and until just a few minutes ago I had a Bumblebee platy.
I know I wrote a lot on this post but I just wanted to give as much info as I could, I tried not to ramble but I'm kinda upset right now about losing my fish so I'm sorry if I did.
First some background,
I had a pretty successful 10 gallon aquarium until early last year when I moved to an apartment for college that didn't allow fish so I found people with established tanks and gave the fish away rather than leave my parents with them. I now am back home after finishing my lease and 2 weeks ago started a new 5 gallon hexagonal shaped tank because I just want to keep things small until I graduate and get settled in at a more permanent residence.
Before adding the fish I let the tank run for almost 2 weeks because I was out of town for almost a week after setting the tank up and figured I would just wait to get fish till I got home. After much research I found that Platy's and several other fish generally get along well with male Beta's as long as they arent too colorful or have fancy fins. I finally went to Petco and as a final chance for advice I asked the person in the fish area to confirm that a male beta, a platy, and 2 ghost shrimp would get along fine and not be overcrowded in my 5 gallon tank. He said that would be no problem and that he had done it himself successfully before in a 10 gallon tank.
With that final bit of advice I had my water tested even though it had no fish in it yet just to be sure the water was safe, Then I got the Beta, a Bumblebee Platy, and 2 Ghost shrimp (to help clean). He said that the fish I picked would work out fine so I took them home and acclimated them to the tank water, then released them all into the tank, I released the Beta last to try and avoid him claiming everything as his territory. The Ghost shrimp didn't seem phased at all and just started walking around picking at stuff looking for something to eat, The platy immediately hid in a house decoration I have but from past experience I wasn't too shocked about that, and the beta just slowly swam around near the surface, I watched them for a few minutes then turned the light off to help reduce their stress. The next morning I put the light on a timer for 12 hours on and 12 off and fed them a little food, the beta ate a bunch, the platy was still hiding so he didn't eat anything, and the ghost shrimp both ate a few flakes that fell to the bottom. later that day I noticed the platy was finally beginning to venture out and explore his new tank, but anytime the beta noticed him he rushed him and chased him until he lost sight of the platy in the plants, he even took a small chunk out of the platy's tail, I was about to return the platy but first I did some research and found out that often the Beta will attack new tank mates for the first few days then calm down so I decided to give it a few days, I added some stress zyme and some other medication for fin bites and the next morning the fin appeared to have repaired itself. after 3 days the beta's attacks on the platy lessened and all the fish were eating, The beta mostly remained near the top and the platy stayed near the bottom in all the plants I have. The beta would still occasionally chase the platy but the platy was fast and always got away and the beta would lose interest. There were no more fin injuries and I assumed the platy was no longer stressed as his gills were no longer opening and closing so fast and he appeared to be breathing at a normal rate so I was happy.
I ordered a API Master water test kit so that I wouldn't have to rely on stores for water tests and before that arrived I took a water sample to the local petstore after one week of having the fish. They said other than hard water my water was still clean (never had hard water before so I'm puzzled about that reading, though later tests do show my tap water is all of a sudden hard)
Starting yesterday I noticed the platy was hiding almost all day in the house but he still came out for the daily feeding time and ate fine so I wasn't too worried. Today he did the same thing but I also noticed when he came out that his gills were going real fast so I was a little worried and since it was time for my weekly water test today anyways I did the test with my new kit and came up with the following readings.
pH:8 Ammonia:0.25 Nitrite:0 Nitrate:0
I wasn't too worried about the high pH because I know platys actually like higher pH and the beta was swimming around happy making a big bubble nest, and the tank is still cycling so I wasn't worried about the Ammonia.
Just a few minutes ago I walked past the tank and looked in to see the Bumblebee Platy against a plant with a Ghost shrimp holding onto his tail eating away at it, the platy was obviously still alive because his gills were going really fast, I broke him from the Ghost shrimps grasp with my fish net and he slowly swam with what little tail was left over to a plant and hid behind it. at this point I realized there was no saving him and the Ghost shrimp both quickly found him again and began eating him alive so using my fish net I pulled him out of the tank to stop the suffering. I just couldn't stand to watch him get eaten alive.
Now finally, my question:
Why do you think the platy died? everyone seemed to be getting along for the most part other than the occasional chasing of the platy by the beta. Was the platy sick? Or was it a bad idea to put a Bumblebee platy with the beta?
I am going back to Petco tomorrow to get my money back for the platy, Should I get another fish? if so should I try a platy that is less colorful than a Bumblebee platy? Should I just let the tank cycle before I get another fish to replace him? Or should I just keep the Beta alone since I have a 5 gallon tank?
If I shouldn't get another fish is there another cool thing that I could get other than just more Ghost shrimp? (the beta just ignores my shrimp so they are no problem) I know dwarf frogs and snails are big bio load makers so I figure they wont work plus the frog will probably like to eat my shrimp I imagine. Maybe a bamboo shrimp or 2 or some other kind of shrimp? how big do they get?
Any other ideas about possible new tank additions, if any would be appreciated. I wasn't planning on expanding my tank past the 2 fish and 2 Ghost shrimp since I figured my tank was maxed out by them. I just wanted a 2nd fish with the beta to add some more decorative interest but if that would be against a fishes best interest then I wont get another fish.
Thanks for reading all of this, I know it was a lot!