so I've lost two fish this week, both my fault. I feel like the worst fish keeper ever, but hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.
Loss 1 was from an attack in my 20g divided. I posted about this else whee, but basically my big PK dug under the gravel and slid under the divider and attacked Starbuck. Starbuck passed a few days later despite all I tried to do to safe him. I've now added craft mesh to the bottom of all my dividers to prevent this from happening again, hopefully.
Loss 2 was my EE, Aurora. Aurora was in another 20g divided, filtered, cycled, heated (80). I was planning to add live plants but in the meantime I had put in a whole bunch of branches of a silk plant from a craft store. I cut the branches up so they were smaller. For some reason, I did not think about or check for any wire in the branches. When I was cutting the branches they cut easily and for some reason I just wasn't thinking about looking for any wire.the branches were in the tank for about two weeks.
A few days ago, Aurora was looking a little off. Resting on the bottom, not very active. No other signs of illness. I put him in a qt critter keeper, added an ail, and floated him in the heated tank. I used the same water in the qt tank as was in the main tank, with the silk plants. (btw, I had rinsed and soaked the plants before adding to the tank).
The next day, Aurora had passed. No signs of fungus or anything else external. I also noticed that Posiden, my blue CT, looked ever so slightly "off.". It was subtle, but he just didn't seem his normal self to me. I removed him and the other two (who seemed normal) that were in the tank, put them in qt tanks, and used different water this time. Thankfully, they are all doing fine.
I broke down the entire tank, threw out the filter and the gravel, and cleaned everything else like crazy. It was then I finally noticed that the silk plants had little bits of wire at the ends where I had snipped them. I think this is what killed Aurora. Argh! I knew wire was bad. I had pulled all the wire out of my betta hammocks and was always so so carefully to the point of complete paranoia about anything that went into my tanks. So how I missed this I don't know.
Anyway, sorry for the long post. To anyone who doesn't already know, be careful about silk plants from craft stores if you cut them!
I guess the other thing I would have done differently was put Aurora in new water and not use the same tank water. That might have saved him. But at the time the water tested perfectly and I wasn't thinking toxicity. I am pretty sure that is what the problem was.
I am grateful that the other three fish are ok. And I have just about finished cycling a new filter in a separate, fish less tank, so I should be able to add that to their tank in a couple days, since I threw out the filter media from the poisoned tank.
Thanks for reading, I will try to stop beating myself up now.