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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, new to the site! Also new to keeping fish, and am sad to say I am struggling! My first betta was from PetSmart... I asked the store associate for advice and did exactly what I was told. That meant keeping one male betta in a 1.5 gal tank with 2 neon tetras, a few plastic plants, and an aerator. That was it. Needless to say, they all died within the week (white fuzzy patches on body). Looking back, my ignorance was awful. After doing MUCH more research, I went to my local specialty fish store. I now have a bigger tank, a better setup, and a little more knowledge. But after 7 days, my (sweet, funny, awesome) new betta got sick (white fuzzies, lethargy, not eating, hiding) and died. Eventhough the water testing strips indicated everything was within healthy limits, I used Tetra fungus guard tablets right away, but it didn't help. After reviewing posts on this site, I think what got my little guys was columnaris. I am using a completely new setup now (even different silk plants), so nothing from my first tank could have contaminated the new tank. Why is this happening? And what do I do now? Obviously, I would like to have another betta soon, but most of all I want him to survive and thrive! Do I put the neon tetras into a holding tank and clean out the new one? And if so, what are my next steps moving forward to ensure I have no more betta casualities! Use aquarium salt in the beginning? Have an antibiotic on hand? I feel awful. Trial and error works for most hobbies, but not when living beings are concerned! Please help!

Basic info:
Housing- 5gal, 76 degrees (heated), filtered, no aeration, 4 neon tetras as tank mates
Food - Pellets, occasional blood worm. 2 pellets twice daily
Maintenance - Goal is 25% once weekly, but my new guy didn't survive a full week so this didn't happen with him. Always add conditioner and safe start.
Water parameters - (tested twice a day for 7 days): amonia - 0ppm, nitrite - 0ppm, nitrate - 0ppm, pH - 7.2, Hardness - somewhat soft, alkalinity - 7, I think, it was the color slightly to the right (more alkaline) of neutral.

THANK YOU
 

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actually your 5 gallon was over stocked.

tetras are not good tank mates for bettas because they nip bettas fins and vice versa. I would keep the 5 gallon just for your betta.

The first step is to clean everything. And I mean everything. Tank, heater, filter, filter media, decor, gravel, cups and buckets you use for water changes, gravel cleaners, everything. Clean everything with hot water and rubbing alcohol. Then let everything air dry. If you can leave everything out in the sun to dry even better. Then wash with just hot water and leave it dry again. Repeat this until you can no longer smell the rubbing alcohol.

Also something to be aware of. You did not QT (quarantined) your tetras before you added them with your betta. All new fish should be QT for at least 2 weeks, but 4 is better before adding them to new fish. This include snails as well.

Also your goal water changes are not exactly correct. A 5 gallon with a filter will need a 50% water change once a week when there is just a betta in it. Not a weekly 25% water change.

My advice is to return the tetras if you can or get a separate tank for them (a 10 gallon) and keep the 5 gallon for your betta only.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I wil definitely clean everything thoroughly!

Ok to ask a couple follow-up questions?

Since I didn't quarantine my tetras long enough before adding them to the betta tank (I kept them separate for 2 days), could they have transmitted the disease to the betta? Even if none of them had any symptoms (and still don't 3 days after my betta died)?

And, would the tank levels have fluctuated or shown any indication of bacteria growth or fungus in the tank? I was checking levels religiously twice a day and everything was peachy. Are there any warning signs before the fish show symptoms?

Thank you again.
 

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Yes it is always possible that fish are carrying illness that they aren't showing symptoms of.

and no. those levels only tell if your tank is cycled and the levels of ammonia. You levels would have had no change.
 
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