So here is an interesting story for you. Three days ago, I decided to put filters in all my betta tanks. I had five that I had previously been running/switching around (Tetra Whisper 3i). These five Whispers were put in with the females and my one petstore male betta.
I went on Amazon and bought five more filters for my males, and decided to try the TOM Mini Filters. I washed them throughly, hooked them up, turned 'em on and the fish seemed to not mind them at all. The next day, I noticed a couple of my males acting a little 'tired' but thought nothing of it. The next day all of them were acting lethargic (laying on the ground like they do when they sleep only to come up to eat or when I tapped on the glass). I thought this was strange but left them overnight to see if maybe they were just tired!
The next morning I woke up to a horrendous sight! All five of my males were laying on the ground, on their sides, a couple of them hyperventilating/panting quite hard. I panicked!
As all the females seemed perfectly fine, I took a bit of their water and mixed it with half of the males water in their temp jars and put them in. I then did a whole lot of testing and this is what I found!
The tap water I had filled the tanks with (conditioned of course) was a normal-ish PH of around 7.2. The females was higher at around 7.8-8 and the males was a whopping 8.5! I went and tested my petstore bettas water (his filter has been used for a couple of months) and his PH was around 7.4, nothing to worry about.
So here I am not only kicking myself for not listening to my instinct the night before, but I am also wondering how the heck a filter made for fish, is KILLING my fish!
I do know that carbon/filters can raise the PH and make the water harder. But not like this. And I would have thought it was such a gradual change for them anyway, how could they react like this?
The entire day was spent, trying to nurse them back to health. Thank goodness for Betta Spa! All five males ate, but then the two guys in 'critical condition' would throw it all up about five minutes later. They would not touch a pellet again. I tried freeze dried bloodworms, and only one would eat, the other refused. Eventually I got the difficult one to eat a couple. The entire time, both of these males are barely moving and when they do, they end up 'losing their balance' and floating up and around on their side like they've been drugged!
At this point, I run out to the store to buy some spring water. For the entire afternoon, I have been slow dripping the spring water into their temp 1/2 gallon tanks. Right now it's 75% spring and 25% old water. They have perked up!!!! Their fins are still clamped (a couple have started to unclamp) and even the boys who started to literally go belly up have started to come about.
This has been rather shocking to me....has anyone had a similar experience with filters/carbon? Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, advice?
I am beside myself and feel so bad....so guilty. I just really had no idea they could be affected like this! These filters are supposed to be safe!!!!
Thanks in advance....
P.S. I should also mention, I did not keep the filters on full time. Only for an hour or two in the morning and at night for two days! I only turned them off because I was wondering if that was the cause of the behavior. Maybe the on and off made things fluctuate more? I only did it because after they were on for a while, they seemed to lay on their sides more. Ugh.