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Old 01-31-2011, 12:01 PM   #1 
DazzleKitty
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My tank is a death zone....

Okay, I need some help.


I got a 15 gallon tank for Christmas and I will admit that I likely didn't let it cycle enough. I heard just a day from others is good, but then many said it would take weeks.

I had four bettas in that tank over a period of time and all passed away. They would lie on the bottom in breath quickly in a fish-like pant. The had trouble swimming. Eventually, they'd fall over on their side and die.

I talked to a guy at Petco about what happened. I know they aren't experts but this guy has a lot of fish too and he seemed to be at least somewhat knowledgable based on his own experiences.

This tank has been going for say.....three two four weeks. My bettas were great at first then all started to die. I wondered if it was a contagious disease like Ich. The dude at Petco said Ich is always in the water but it attacks fish when they get stressed. They could have gotten stressed due to lack of proper cycling. But is it normal for them to be vibrant and happy for a couple of weeks, then just suddenly get sick and die 'mysteriously' within days of each other?

I had put some additives in the water such as water clearing liquid and anti-algae liquids. The man at the store personally never recommended to use that stuff. He liked to let things happen naturally. I quietly disagreed but maybe the guy is right?
I do use water conditioner which he okayed and I think is quite necessary anyways and used by pretty much everyone.

I asked him if I should changed out the water, gravel, and everything. He said no, just let it be. It's still in the cycling process and you need fish to keep that going. He recommended that I get two cheap fish to keep it going, so I bought two black mollies. He said they'be be happy in the tank and the 78 degrees I have the water at is just perfect for them.

I brought them home last night and let them get used to the water in their baggy. One died within hours of being in the tank. I woke up this morning to find the other girl had went too. I noticed that the water was also REALLY cloudy (it has been cloudy for a while now but this time you can't even see through the other side of the tank....it's like the water is white!).

So, I'm really frustrated and unsure of what to do. Should I start from scratch? Or should I treat the water?

I know I need to do it right this time and have patience I didn't have before.
What would you all suggest?


Also, can someone recommended at heater for a 2.5 gallon tank online? I need to get one asap.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:18 PM   #2 
Littlebittyfish
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Do you have a water test kit? If not i would take a sample of your tank water to the petstore to get an idea of what is going on.It also might be something in the tank itself is leeching some sort of chemical or toxin, a decoration, or the heater I would check everything carefully.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:33 PM   #3 
HarleyRigid
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Could be you are full up with ammonia. Are you doing water changes? Need much more info to help

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?

What method of cycling did you start to use?
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:53 PM   #4 
SmokeNLark
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Fill out those questions will help. But as very as the additives, I agree with the guy, I don't like adding them. That stuff will be taken care of naturally. Personally, I see them as a waste of money and they don't really work anyway. But, I do not think they are the reason for you fish dying.

The only thing I can recommend without those questions answered, is to take it down, bleach everything (rinse REALLY WELL and let air dry. I always rinse and dry at least twice to make sure the bleach is gone) , reset it up and try again. Restarting the cycle is a small price to pay for keeping your fish alive.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:29 PM   #5 
scootshoot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DazzleKitty View Post
I had put some additives in the water such as water clearing liquid and anti-algae liquids. !
Why?
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:38 PM   #6 
ilovebunnies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DazzleKitty View Post
Also, can someone recommended at heater for a 2.5 gallon tank online? I need to get one asap.
Sorry about your fish, I hope someone else can help you out with cycling. All I can do is recommend a heater. For my 2.5 gallon I use a 50 watt Marineland Visi-Therm Stealth Submersible Aquarium Heaters (it's adjustable).

They do sell a preset 10 watt in this brand that is suppose to heat up to 3 gallons, but it didn't keep my 2.5 gallon warm enough. The 50 watt is good, just make sure to buy a thermometer that sits in the tank to keep an eye on the temperature. Besides, if you ever want to upgrade your tank later on, the 50 watt heats up to 15 gallons.

Petsmart has them on sale for $26 plus $6 shipping. Amazon sells it for $19 plus $5 shipping.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:46 PM   #7 
DazzleKitty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scootshoot View Post
Why?
I had algae growing and I felt the water clearing solution helped keep the cloudiness at bay. I am also using an algae brush to get rid of it. Should I buy a new brush? Can it be contaminated from what was in the tank?


Could be you are full up with ammonia. Are you doing water changes? Need much more info to help

Housing
What size is your tank? 15 gallon
What temperature is your tank? Kept at 75 degrees to 78 degrees. It seems to fluctuate a bit whenever it's cold in my house.
Does your tank have a filter? Yep.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? I tried ghost shrimp and they died. I tried a snail and it died too. It was divided three ways between the bettas.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta pellets and freeze dried bloodworms.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day. I'd give 3-4 pellets each or a few bloodworms. I'd alternate each day.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Every 2 to 2.5 weeks.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I'd put in the water conditioning fizzy tablet and then add a small bit of water clearing solution.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I have not been able to do so yet. All the fish stores in my area are at least an hours drive from me. I drive that far away to work and my schedule is annoyingly difficult to work with.

Ammonia: This was not able to be tested on my kit for some reason....How do you find out?
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: .5 to 1.0 (so apparently not good)
pH: 8.4 (in the alkalinity range according to my chart...not sure what that means)
Hardness: 150 (hard)
Alkalinity: 300 (high on my chart)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Not to the naked eye
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? More lethargic and inactive. Not swimming and not interested in food. Would lay and "pant" at bottom of tank and couldn't swim straight. Would dash to the surface only when needed. It would be hard to actually catch them with my hand when I tried to see if they would move.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About 2-3 days before the death of each betta.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? At first I thought it was a swim bladder for the first fish and was advised to do nothing. The next time they got sick I was mystified and sough advice. People suggested Ich but it was too late by that time.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No. They did beautifully in their individual smallish (ranging from 1 gal to 2.5 gallon) homes when they were in there. They started these issues when put in the new tank.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Had each of them for less than two months if that helps.

What method of cycling did you start to use? Just let the pump run, put in the starter cycle liquid that came with the tank, and let it go from there.

Thank you all for your input and advice.

Last edited by DazzleKitty; 01-31-2011 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:03 PM   #8 
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What fizzy tablets do you use? and how do you put them in? For conditioning water, I'd use a liquid one because you can put in the exact amount. I use Prime as do a lot of people on here.

I'd also increase the water changes by a lot. Your ammonia is probably fairly high. Especially since there were 3 betta in there. And I'd change more water. In my 3 gallon, I change 100% every week and a 50% halfway through the week. I'd really step up the changes. And since it's cycling, you need to change more water than if it wasn't since there isn't any bacteria there to get rid of ammonia. I would probably change 50-75% twice a week to keep the ammonia down.

If it were me, I would change the water change schedule, scrap all the additives (with the exception of the conditioner), and bleach everything just to be sure. Then I would set it back up and only add 1 fish at a time. That way, if something does go wrong, you're only losing 1 fish instead of 3. It's good to quarantine anyway in case one is sick when you buy it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #9 
Jupiter
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If you were only doing a 20% water change every 2 weeks in a new tank, I think it's most likely ammonia that killed your fish. Fish-in cycles are perfectly fine to do, but you need to be monitering the water parameters constantly so that it won't go up too high. When I was doing my fish-in cycling with two girls in a 10 gallon, I did 25-30% water changes a day, sometimes twice a day.

I'd go out and find a kit that can test ammonia too. Or you can always take a water sample to a pet store and have them test it for you.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:23 PM   #10 
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Sorry about your fish :(

From what I've read, you didn't exactly cycle your tank. You should have been doing several 25-50 % water changes a week if you wanted to do a fish in cycle. Slight algae isn't bad, but if it was growing everywhere, that'd be a pretty good indicator you weren't removing the toxins from the water well enough or had your lights on too long each day. The cloudyness was probably bursts of bacteria growing from all the wastes in the water.

If you clean out your tank with hot water, re-fill it, cycle it correctly before adding fish and then keep up with proper water changes, you should not have a problem.

If you start again, don't use algaecide or other additives, just use a dechlorinator like Prime

Last edited by JKfish; 01-31-2011 at 05:26 PM.
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