I'll need to preface this by giving a bit of background for my own mistakes, and perhaps to aid everyone involved in assisting me. Please, read every detail, as I feel it is a bag of mixed worms.
My wife and I, in planning our wedding, decided on having fish as centerpieces instead of flowers, believing it would make a better decoration for people to take home, more exciting to look at, and less expensive than flowers or something more ornate.
Originally planning these centerpieces as glass vases with mollies in them, we had no idea (never having kept fish before) that we would need aeration for them. The gentleman at our LFS suggested we use bettas, because of their labyrinth organ, and hardiness.
I purchased a 10 gallon aquarium, small brown rock substrate, 17 female bettas and a package of 30 portions of freeze dried blood worms.
All the fish in bag, marinated in about 6 gallons of semi-warm aquarium purified drinking water for half an hour, along with the substrate. Added to aquarium. Seemingly happy fish. Fed one portion of blood worms to the fish and that was that.
All fish doing well, no changes. At this point, I am not monitoring any chemicals, and the next days are all the same. Feed the fish one portion of blood worms in the evening, and make sure they are all alive and swimming.
One is clearly not doing well, and is swimming on its side. Not doing well. Consulted several online websites with very contradictory information. I figure this is the one fish that is the fluke, and after it dies, it is flushed down the toilet.
4 more female bettas purchased. If there will be more deaths, i want to be prepared. Wedding is two days from this point, and there are more than enough bettas to go around each table. Everything seems to be going well. 0 deaths, all fish seem to have made transport from home to wedding site without any damages. (drained aquarium to half, and drove slowly in car)
Day 15 wedding finished, and honeymoon over)
5 or 6 betta fish are taken by guests, 14 bettas remain.
After some reading on the subject of keeping an aquarium, and general Betta care, I decide to invest in a 10 gallon aquarium, a heater, filter combo package. the PetSMART Top Fin 10 package. (I also purchase a basic Betta care book by Animal Planet publishers.)
If there was ever a need for there to be consistancy in a single product's instruction manuals (And in a self-contained & packaged product i thought I would find it) this product clearly is not it. Reading the main "quick start" manual about registering ammonia levels, etc, the individual components' package instructions contradict what is listed on the package. At this point, I am confused, and to make matters worse:
One fish is doing worse than others. It is floating on its side, but still responding. I decide to separate this fish from the rest and only have a small plastic cup ready.
At this point I am very worried that the fish are not going to make it as a whole , because they are not warm enough.
Quickly setting up the new aquarium, ignorant of the nitrogen cycle, and mostly at chaos with myself in needing to take care of the freezing fish, I move the remaining 12 fish into the new warm aquarium, one by one. quickly allowing them to adjust in their water and in small snack bag plastic bags.
The change in temperature is amazing. I am clearly satisfied at this point, and they all come jumping to full vibrancy in color and activity. Swimming back and forth and all over the aquarium like they have been reborn.
My excitement continues, and it seems all is well.
Read much about nitrogen cycles the next day. Panicy. Did not understand what or how a PH/Nitrite/Nitrate/Ammonia kit could have been missed in my starter kit. Realization that it must be purchased seperately. WalMart (only thing open at the hour I realize this) has only PH and Ammonia Kit. Better than nothing. Everything within reasonable levels at this point. I begin to facilitate the process for the fish and handle 10% water changes daily.
Everything seems to go well.
The pattern for impulsively made bad decisions becomes seen more easily at this point; I purchase silk plants, as well as live Mondo Grass, and Anacharis, with hopes they will aid the nitrogen cycle. Per a website I am reading, I also purchase driftwood, with hopes that the bettas whom have mostly shied away in their activities will have a place to hide. I do not sterilize any of these items in anyway before adding them to the tank.
Day 21 Today)
Major problems evident.
White cottony splotches appear on one fish. A red sore on another. Possibly additional cotton splotches on one other fish.
Some research, this might be a fungal infection. Common theme, to purchase Fungal solution as made by Jungle Lab products. LFS does not carry product by exact name that I am looking for, but Fungal Clear by Jungle is carried. A note about known carcinogens found in the pacakge concerns me, but I must also take care of the fish.
Disolved product in seperate container, 1 tablet per 10 gallon solution. Added to aquarium and water turns blue... Looks like public restroom toilet.
Day is somewhat over for me, I turn in for a nap, and come back down stairs 2 hours later:
Everything is worse. All fish are now showing signs of affliction. Cotton patches and strands hanging from every fish. Water horrendous blue color. Prime fishes with hardiness compared to others are now floating on their sides at the top of the aquarium, virtually unresponsive to stimulus, except for minor flapping of fins.
Proceeded with 25% water change. 2 hours later, another 25% water change. Added 2 tablespoons kosher salt and raised temperature of aquarium by two degrees. Aquarium is at 78 degrees Fahr.
1:38 am. Fish are much more active at this point. Cotton splotches still evident. two fish still carrying most of their business at the top of the aquarium.
I do not know what to do. I have no idea where to go from here, nor where to proceed. What do I do next?