Okay, so I've checked everything I can think of, and I have no idea why this keeps happening.
I've got a huge algae problem. It's coating my tank walls, covering my plants, and my driftwood is almost entirely green. The tank gets about 8 hours of light a day, split into two four-hour bursts, and I have no idea what else to do short of giving up and pretending that I've got an algae-y tank on purpose.
but that's not what I'm here about.
My Beta's a murderer.
I tried ghost shrimp, he ate the ghost shrimp. I'm not buying him Amano shrimp. They're expensive and he's just gonna eat them and get sick
There was a poorly-planned stint where I tried an Oto on the advice of a petsmart fish lady. The Oto went to live in my LFS' plant tank after he got so done with my Betta's issues that he went carnivorous and started chasing my betta around the tank like he thought he was a tiny shark or something.
I figured snails. They're sturdy. They're armored. They can't possibly move fast enough to attack Altair or freak him out. Mystery snails are hardy little things, if Altair the Incredibly Accident Prone Betta can survive me, a snail can, right?
The first one lasted about two weeks. After the second water change with it in there I noticed it was falling a lot, it stopped moving and when I pulled it out of the water it just kinda hung out of its shell like a sad dead thing.
I freaked, checked the water levels (everything's fine, PH 7.5 Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate some tiny number between 0 and 5, temp at ~73F it's a five gallon planted, for good measure because someone's gonna ask)
There's still enough algae in the tank to feed a small snaily army, though the first little guy did make quite a dent, so I went back to the LFS to talk to their invertebrates guy, we both made puzzled faces over the oddly mysterious death of the snail, and I grabbed another one because algae. in my tank. do not want.
That was about three-four days ago, and snail#2 is dead. He made some halfhearted attempt to clean one side of the tank, crawled up on the sponge filter, and now three days later, I pulled him out and he's drooping out of his shell like a sad dead thing.
So my question is, is my betta eating their eyestalks or something? Are they just too stupid to find the algae that's everywhere and starving to death? Do I have the wrong kind of thing to eat the wrong kind of algae again? Should I just give up on finding something that will eat this algae and peacefully coexist with my betta and resign myself to a florescent yellow-green tank of doom?
Some snails are just bad from the start. They may have been at the store for a while so they just get too far gone. Try waiting to buy another snail or go someplace else. My boyfriend had a betta that would flare at nerites and kept biting tem, but they outlived the betta. Therefore, I don't think that your betta is killing the snails. But, does your betta constantly flare or try to nip at the snails? Also, I would suggest getting a nerite. They're better algae eaters than mystery snails, but if you can't find some, then even pond snails will do. I've had a 10g cleaned of algae (although it took a while xD) with pond snails. A lot of people consider them as pests, but I don't.
Anyways, you could also try to buy more plants and/or reduce the photoperiod. Then the plants will compete for the nutrients in the water and the algae will slowly start to die off. Since your photoperiod is 8 hours, I would do 4 2-hour bursts. 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 4 times a day. Try to get the algae off your plants, but if they die, jut start over. Since you have such a massive problem, I would try to figure out what type of algae it is (sounds like black bush algae to me) and figure out what eats it. I would go with nerite snails, but only snails, since your betta eats shrimp. Either that it do a complete black out, which means killing your algae and plants. Then you get to start over with new plants. But, it's your choice. I've never done a black out, since I didn't want to kill the $20 worth of plants that I just got. lol
I will admit, I DIED laughing at the oto situation. Mine is so peaceful and it scared to DEATH of my RCS. Here's the thing, he's twice the size of the shrimp! xD
I'm afraid to reduce the photoperiod even more than I have already, but I'm going to be adding root tabs once they come in to hopefully encourage the plants I've already got to grow a bit. I'd been adding flourish excel, but my schedule's so hectic lately I kept forgetting to add it in.
He actually didn't seem bother the snails at all, but he's so sneaky I wouldn't put anything past the little turd. Do nerites breed quickly/at all? one of the reasons I was set on a mystery snail was because they didn't breed. I don't have any other tanks to put them in and I'd feel bad killing them if the population exploded, which is why I've been avoiding pond snails. The other thing is I can't find nerites anywhere, so I'd have to order them.
I might check the local petsmart and look at their mystery snails. I'd personally rather go to the petco, since they normally have really healthy stock, but I think they just hired a new fish guy or fired the old one because I was in there the other day and all their snails are dead, and so were half the betas in their little cups :< it was really sad, and I don't think I'm going back there for a while.
It looks like a mixture of green dust algae, brown diatoms on the plants and a tiny patch of some carpety really intensely colored emerald blue-green thing that I can't for the life of me identify. nothing that looks like BBA.
Honestly I might just do a blackout at this point, despite the fact I really really don't want to think about replacing and replanting all these plants >.< especially the planting. It took me three days and a complete replanting two weeks later to get the plants in a vaguely correct configuration when I set the tank up. But I want to be sure that this isn't just gonna happen again when I inevitably miss a water change.
Nerites are great and it's hard for them to breed in freshwater. I have an olive and a tiger nerite in my sorority and none of the females have attacked them (they are small, I think much smaller than Mystery snails). My white female is mesmerized by the tiger nerite, lol. She will go right up close to it and stare it down if it's moving, it's hilarious. Anyways, as for the algae problem, I'm no expert. I would say to add in some fast growing stem plants like hornwort (I can't keep that stuff alive though, maybe you'd have better luck), pennywort, cabomba or maybe some fast spreading floaters like salvinia, duckweed, etc. All I know is algae problems are caused by an imbalance in photoperiod and nutrients. My Amano shrimp ate all my brown algae in a week but if you're afraid your betta will eat them then I wouldn't try it. Try to manually remove as much algae as possible and hopefully someone else has some more information for you here.
The algae ate my java moss ;~;
right now I've got some sickly water wisteria, brown wendtii that's spreading surprisingly quickly, lugeria repens that keeps getting taller and not much else, and a tiny patch of baby's tears that was supposed to have spread into groundcover by now but I think also got eaten by the algae.
I stopped at the local petsmart and the girl there seemed to actually know what she was talking about for once. I got one of their snails and it seems to be a lot livlier even in the bag than the two I got from my LFS, so maybe my LFS just has a bad batch of snails? It's acclimating now, so cross your fingers.
they also have a much better return policy than the LFS, so even if things go sour at least I'll get my money back.....
EDIT: now I have a bit of a dilemma. The gold snail is in the tank now and seems to be moving around quite a bit, I went to check on blue snail#2 who I'd left on the driftwood just in case he was alive, and he's moved a tiny bit and his 'trap door' is now tightly shut instead of hanging out of his shell like a sad dead thing. he had a bit of white fluffy something peeking out of his shell when I thought he was dead, and I still think he's dying, but now I feel like I should be trying to save him. thoughts?
Trade him in. I'm not sure on how to save snails. Still, "sad dead thing" is all I'm seeing whenever you post! xD most of my algae got eaten by GHA. It sucks ... Honestly, I would try to get an oto, instead of a snail. Not all otos are sinister like your last one. lol either that or a nerite (which petsmart carries).
OTL I feel like 'sad dead thing' is a thing that happens far too often in my tank.
It's two days too late to return or trade him in, esp since I don't think he's actually dead yet, just dying. My LFS has a 48 hour return policy for live fish and invertebrates
The gold mystery snail seems to be quite happy in his new home. He's atacking that patch of Unidentified Vibrant Green Fuzz right now.
I still don't know what to do with the sickly blue dude though. he's not dead yet, seems cruel to flush him, but I don't like that fuzzy white bit that was sticking out of his shell, and I definately don't want to leave him in the tank until I'm sure.
I know that an Oto would be best for cleaning up the diatoms and all, but most people I've talked to say that they prefer to school with at least two others, and I don't think a 5gal has room for that....
Besides, the reason the other one went evil was my betta was harassing it so much it couldn't eat.