Fish Keep Dying And I’m Upset

NatCatFishie

*update the sick betta died :(
Rip Richard it was a good 2 years

I am having some problems, well many problems with fish keeping and I’m starting to think maybe I didn’t a mistake trying it.
I always see beautiful planted tanks with cool fish on YouTube and I wanted to try it.

I have had a betta fish alone in a 10 gallon for two years about. He was doing fine until he slowly started to degrade over time. His fins got ripped, I did more research and figured out plastic plants rip fins so I got rid of those and it didn’t fix the problem.
So I thought we’ll maybe he has finrot? So I treated the tank with bettafix (I now learned melafix is actually better) that didn’t solve it so I tried aquarium salt. That didn’t work I even feel like he got worse when I was treating him because now he wouldn’t come up to get food anymore.
I just felt like he was going to end up dying. Surprisingly he didn’t and he soon started eating again but his fins never healed.

Months later I decided to try getting another betta since the original seemed like he was doing fine (besides his fins). Also I learned had a friend who eat having success with a betta and other fish in a five gallon so I figured maybe I would just try getting some other fish too and see how it goes.

I bought and 8 gallon tank from petsmart (I know sorry don’t have a local pet store besides them), all nessessary stuff like a heater and all that jazz, another betta, and some neon tetra. That’s when all my problems got even worse.

I used established tank water for beneficial bacteria, and it was 5 neons tetra and a betta in an 8 gallon, (because I’ve seen people on YouTube say that would be ok ?) not one of my better choices I guess because death ensued.
4 neon tetras died and the betta. And I was very discouraged took the dead betta to petsmart and some water for them to test.
They tested the water and said the water parameters were fine but my water was a little hard but that shouldn’t have killed the fish) this lined up with my test strips too.

Defeated I just had two neon tetra in the tank for a week or two. Than I thought I have to get more neons for the tank because they are schooling fish.
I realized it was probably a mistake to put them with a betta so I just was going to keep neons in the 8 gallon. I got 3 more but they were tiny like babies. I also got some snails because I’ve had some luck with those.

Finally I thought maybe everything had calmed down. Betta In 10 gallon w/two snails, five neons and two snails in an 8 gallon. I’ve also tried some plants now instead of the silk plants because I wanted to have a cool planted tank. I got some plant soil stuff and some plants that were supposed to be hardy.

Welp the tiny neons got sucked into the filter and died. Not kidding. Distraught I moved them to the ten gallon because I thought surely they will not get sucked into that filter because it was different.
One of them started to but we tried covering the filter with some cut of pantyhose to stop them from getting sucked in. That has worked so far because it cannot let the fish get sucked up but can let water go through. Also we had to move the tanks because we are getting new floors upstairs. I took out about a gallon and a half from the ten gallon and half a tank of the 8 gallon (since it only has snails in it right now anyways)
Everything is alright until I wake up and the original betta is now laying on his side and is swimming weird on the bottom of the tank.

Long story I know but I’m basically a terrible fish keeper. I don’t want to be I’m trying my best I just keep doing everything wrong. I just feel really discouraged about everything.
What do I do? My ending situation is A sick betta, 2 snails, and 3 neon tetra in a ten gallon. And 2 snails in an 8 gallon.
I really don’t want to keep killing fish, I just want to successfully keep something.

My mom keeps saying I should get a goldfish and I told her no a ten gallon it too small for a goldfish and I don’t really like goldfish
In the end that’s like 7 fish ended because of me five neon tetra, and 2 bettas if the sick betta dies. I just feel really terrible about it. And I don’t know what to do.
 

WRWAquarium

Hi and sorry to read you are having problems.

Can you fill out the emergency template?

Might not be that relevant, but will give people lots of information to work with to try to help.

It sounds to me like your betta at 2 years old is just getting to be old age.

Perhaps you are having bad luck with poor health fish with the neons but if you only added established tank water that will not cycle a new tank so the water could be what's killing the fish.

Im going to suggest you try a group of small hardy fish. White cloud mountain minnows are small enough to stock in either tank in a little school of 6. These guys don't even need tropical water and compared to betta and neons are bulletproof. I really enjoy it whenever I have a tank with these in.

Maybe going to a basic setup with Hardy, easy to care for fish will help you too get some confidence and enthusiasm :)
 

NatCatFishie

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? About two years
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
One bettafish for a basically the whole two years until about a month ago. I tried two zebra danios for like a day or two from petsmart employee suggestion and decided after further research nope and took them back to the store. Now I have a Betta, 3 neon tetra, a nerite snail, and a mystery snail.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? I try to change it at least once every two weeks

How much of the water do you change?
Usually a quarter of the tank

What do you use to treat your water?
Tetra Aqua safe, and/ or Start right

Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum the substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I didn’t really know to do that at the time

What do you use to test the water? JNW direct aquarium test strips

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: just realized my test strips don’t even show ammonia oops I’m dumb I’ll pick some up today or order some real fast. Should I do a water change to be sure it isn’t ammonia poisoning, is that is a good idea?
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate:0
pH
: 6.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once a day

How much do you feed your fish? A small pinch of the neon tetras flakes and about three or four blood worms for the betta

What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Omega one freeze dried blood worms

Do you feed frozen? No

Do you feed freeze-dried foods? Yes

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Two years and he was full grown when I got him so I don’t know how long petsmart had him

How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Tail ripped and duller colors about a year, new symptoms of sinking to the bottom/ laying on the bottom noticed this morning.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Ripped tail, dull colors, swimming oddly at the bottom of the tank.

Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Months ago like maybe in the spring I tried using bettafix and then aquarium salt when the bettafix didn’t work. Also replaced plastic plants with silk plants and now live plants

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Not that I know of

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? He’s just seems worse with the swimming at the bottom of the tank weirdly and stuff. He seems more pale too

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
 

Debbie1986

Neon tetras are delicate and over breed.

JMO - but an older tank works best for them. I purchased 10, but then 5 died, then 3 more, bought 6 , 4 died and I have 2 left.

they are a great fish, just weak blood lines due to over breeding.

To set up a tank, unless you moved to new water source, you do not need to use old water.

old filters and decor with bacteria on it will help 'seed' the tank with beneficial bacteria to start our cycle.

keeping fish is hard because there's a steep learning curve and experience is the best way to master it.

Please don't be discouraged. Read up here & look at good creators on you tube.

Simply Betta, Foo the Flowerhorn , fish for thought are a few I follow. Rachel O'leary, King of DIY are also wonderful addresing issues for fish keepers.
 

NatCatFishie

Hi and sorry to read you are having problems.

Can you fill out the emergency template?

Might not be that relevant, but will give people lots of information to work with to try to help.

It sounds to me like your betta at 2 years old is just getting to be old age.

Perhaps you are having bad luck with poor health fish with the neons but if you only added established tank water that will not cycle a new tank so the water could be what's killing the fish.

Im going to suggest you try a group of small hardy fish. White cloud mountain minnows are small enough to stock in either tank in a little school of 6. These guys don't even need tropical water and compared to betta and neons are bulletproof. I really enjoy it whenever I have a tank with these in.

Maybe going to a basic setup with Hardy, easy to care for fish will help you too get some confidence and enthusiasm :)
Ok thank you so much! That sounds like it might be a better type of fish to have for now. I might try some of those in the 8 gallon with just the snails (since that is all that is in that tank right now is snails) does that sound like a good idea?
And, Maybe I will just leave the situation with the 3 neon tetra and the bettas alone and try my best to take care of them in the ten gallon. I think the neon tetra that I have will live now if I do everything right but I have a feeling the betta might now make it. But I’ll try my best to take care of him
 

Debbie1986

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? I try to change it at least once every two weeks

How much of the water do you change?
Usually a quarter of the tank


change water every week
if planted tank, you can extend to 10 days at max because plants offset nitrate cycle

I only delay water change if very, very ill

ripped fins can be sharp decor or plastic plant issue. rub finger around any decor. I know Betta L0gs are known to rip fins if sharp inside (point of entry hole) it can be rubbed down with sand paper

I test plastic plants with my hand, if sharp don't use.

JMO - experience can vary

I use planted silk & plastic plants, no ripped fins thus far

good luck!
 

Bwood22

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? About two years
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
One bettafish for a basically the whole two years until about a month ago. I tried two zebra danios for like a day or two from petsmart employee suggestion and decided after further research nope and took them back to the store. Now I have a Betta, 3 neon tetra, a nerite snail, and a mystery snail.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? I try to change it at least once every two weeks

How much of the water do you change?
Usually a quarter of the tank

What do you use to treat your water?
Tetra Aqua safe, and/ or Start right

Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum the substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I didn’t really know to do that at the time

What do you use to test the water? JNW direct aquarium test strips

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: just realized my test strips don’t even show ammonia oops I’m dumb I’ll pick some up today or order some real fast. Should I do a water change to be sure it isn’t ammonia poisoning, is that is a good idea?
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate:0
pH
: 6.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once a day

How much do you feed your fish? A small pinch of the neon tetras flakes and about three or four blood worms for the betta

What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Omega one freeze dried blood worms

Do you feed frozen? No

Do you feed freeze-dried foods? Yes

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Two years and he was full grown when I got him so I don’t know how long petsmart had him

How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Tail ripped and duller colors about a year, new symptoms of sinking to the bottom/ laying on the bottom noticed this morning.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Ripped tail, dull colors, swimming oddly at the bottom of the tank.

Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Months ago like maybe in the spring I tried using bettafix and then aquarium salt when the bettafix didn’t work. Also replaced plastic plants with silk plants and now live plants

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Not that I know of

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? He’s just seems worse with the swimming at the bottom of the tank weirdly and stuff. He seems more pale too

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
Before you order anything. Try finding an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. They probably have them at the same Petsmart you referred to.

Its appears that the tank is in mid cycle.

When you bought this fish....did you dump that water from the betta cup into your tank?

And to clarify: you had 1 betta, it died a month ago. Then you bought a new betta and a bunch of tetras and added them all at the same time?
 

NatCatFishie

Neon tetras are delicate and over breed.

JMO - but an older tank works best for them. I purchased 10, but then 5 died, then 3 more, bought 6 , 4 died and I have 2 left.

they are a great fish, just weak blood lines due to over breeding.

To set up a tank, unless you moved to new water source, you do not need to use old water.

old filters and decor with bacteria on it will help 'seed' the tank with beneficial bacteria to start our cycle.

keeping fish is hard because there's a steep learning curve and experience is the best way to master it.

Please don't be discouraged. Read up here & look at good creators on you tube.

Simply Betta, Foo the Flowerhorn , fish for thought are a few I follow. Rachel O'leary, King of DIY are also wonderful addresing issues for fish keepers.
Tysm for the information! Definitely good to know for starting the aquariums in the future and also I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who has had bad luck with the neon tetras! I was really starting to feel like a fish murderer. I will definitely check out those channels, I already watch a bit of Fish For Thought I love his channel a lot! Thanks again!
 

SuspiciouslyFishy

Hey. Just saying, your nitrites are way high. Unless you got them confused with nitrates? Nitrites at 10ppm will definitely kill off fish. Nitrates at 10ppm are fine for most fish.
If your nitrites are 10ppm, a water change would be best to try to get them down a bit.
The bacteria that keep the cycle going live on surfaces in the tank and most especially in the filter, rather than the water. But I can understand the mistake, after all, why wouldn't a bacteria that consumes waste in the water live freely in the water? It does intuitively make sense.

Many bettas only live for 2-3 years. It's quite possible that your betta is just an old boy at the end of his life. Just try your best to make him comfortable, really.

Also, you managed to keep your betta happy and healthy for two years. So clearly, you can keep fish alive. It's very hard when you loose fish. I have almost given up on fish at least twice due to fish deaths, and I've only been keeping fish for a few months really. At times like that it can feel like things are going to go wrong forever. But you learn from it and you can come out of the other side. Don't be discouraged.

*hugs*
 

NatCatFishie

Before you order anything. Try finding an API Freshwater Master Test Kit. They probably have them at the same Petsmart you referred to.

Its appears that the tank is in mid cycle.

When you bought this fish....did you dump that water from the betta cup into your tank?
Ok I’ll check out the fresh water master test kit at the store! Thanks! Also I believe I got all of the fish out with nets and not dumped in the water.
 

SuspiciouslyFishy

Also, I keep neon tetras. When I first got them, I got 6, and it seemed to be going well, until one day, it didn't. They can be finicky. But once they establish themselves, they are great little fish. I have 8 now, two of which were from those original 6.
 

NatCatFishie

Hey. Just saying, your nitrites are way high. Unless you got them confused with nitrates? Nitrites at 10ppm will definitely kill off fish. Nitrates at 10ppm are fine for most fish.
If your nitrites are 10ppm, a water change would be best to try to get them down a bit.
The bacteria that keep the cycle going live on surfaces in the tank and most especially in the filter, rather than the water. But I can understand the mistake, after all, why wouldn't a bacteria that consumes waste in the water live freely in the water? It does intuitively make sense.

Many bettas only live for 2-3 years. It's quite possible that your betta is just an old boy at the end of his life. Just try your best to make him comfortable, really.

Also, you managed to keep your betta happy and healthy for two years. So clearly, you can keep fish alive. It's very hard when you loose fish. I have almost given up on fish at least twice due to fish deaths, and I've only been keeping fish for a few months really. At times like that it can feel like things are going to go wrong forever. But you learn from it and you can come out of the other side. Don't be discouraged.

*hugs*
Awww thanks so much for the motivation. I really do care about my betta he is a cool little guy. It’s so hard when pets die especially ones that have been around for so long. Like I’ll miss him a lot if he dies. I think I might have gotten nitrates and nitrites mixed up oops it’s kind of hard to judge off the test strip colors. I might have to see about the fresh water test kit another user let me know about instead.
 

Bwood22

I don't have much faith in that nitrite reading. Really want to see a liquid kit result.
Ok I’ll check out the fresh water master test kit at the store! Thanks! Also I believe I got all of the fish out with nets and not dumped in the water.
Ok good. Dont ever never ever dump water from a container or bag into your tank.
Always net the fish then release into the tank.

But still....be wary of fish from big box stores because they don't usually take the best care of them, they get the fish from an aquatic version of a puppy mill, then they all share one huge filtration system in the store so they all share the same diseases. Always look for dead fish in the tank you are looking at but also all of the other tanks.

My gut is telling me that since you added all of those fish in that small of a tank that was cycled for an elderly betta. You have increased the bioload which has initiated a cycle so that the bacteria in the tank are now trying to grow to meet the demand of the increased food supply provided by the increased stock level.

Since its a slow process its killing off some of the fish. (Really need that test kit)
Its ok you will make it thru this. I promise.

We are all here to help you.
 

NatCatFishie

I don't have much faith in that nitrite reading. Really want to see a liquid kit result.

Ok good. Dont ever never ever dump water from a container or bag into your tank.
Always net the fish then release into the tank.

But still....be wary of fish from big box stores because they don't usually take the best care of them, they get the fish from an aquatic version of a puppy mill, then they all share one huge filtration system in the store so they all share the same diseases. Always look for dead fish in the tank you are looking at but also all of the other tanks.

My gut is telling me that since you added all of those fish in that small of a tank that was cycled for an elderly betta. You have increased the bioload which has initiated a cycle so that the bacteria in the tank are now trying to grow to meet the demand of the increased food supply provided by the increased stock level.

Since its a slow process its killing off some of the fish. (Really need that test kit)
Its ok you will make it thru this. I promise.

We are all here to help you.
Ok Tysm! My local petsmart is apparently out of stock on the api freshwater master test kit but I’m going to order one with Amazon prime so it should be here pretty fast. Probably within two days. What do you think I should do in the mean time to help the betta? Should I do a water change? And if I do how much water? Also do I vaccum it for the water change?
I don't have much faith in that nitrite reading. Really want to see a liquid kit result.

Ok good. Dont ever never ever dump water from a container or bag into your tank.
Always net the fish then release into the tank.

But still....be wary of fish from big box stores because they don't usually take the best care of them, they get the fish from an aquatic version of a puppy mill, then they all share one huge filtration system in the store so they all share the same diseases. Always look for dead fish in the tank you are looking at but also all of the other tanks.

My gut is telling me that since you added all of those fish in that small of a tank that was cycled for an elderly betta. You have increased the bioload which has initiated a cycle so that the bacteria in the tank are now trying to grow to meet the demand of the increased food supply provided by the increased stock level.

Since its a slow process its killing off some of the fish. (Really need that test kit)
Its ok you will make it thru this. I promise.

We are all here to help you.
Also in the future I might drive a little further and go to somewhere else for new fish cause petsmart sucks
 

Bwood22

Ok Tysm! My local petsmart is apparently out of stock on the api freshwater master test kit but I’m going to order one with Amazon prime so it should be here pretty fast. Probably within two days. What do you think I should do in the mean time to help the betta? Should I do a water change? And if I do how much water? Also do I vaccum it for the water change?

Also in the future I might drive a little further and go to somewhere else for new fish cause petsmart sucks
I don't think that it's going to hurt anything to go ahead and give your fish some nice fresh water.

Yes it would be nice to know what the test says, but fresh water never hurts anything. It only helps.

Change more than a quarter of the water. Go ahead and gravel vac and change out 50-70%

Then let the tank do what it is gonna do until the test kit arrives and we can see what's going on.
 

NatCatFishie

I don't think that it's going to hurt anything to go ahead and give your fish some nice fresh water.

Yes it would be nice to know what the test says, but fresh water never hurts anything. It only helps.

Change more than a quarter of the water. Go ahead and gravel vac and change out 50-70%

Then let the tank do what it is gonna do until the test kit arrives and we can see what's going on.
Ok sounds like a plan, you guys are so nice I should go here more to ask about these type of things!
 

SuspiciouslyFishy

A word of advice- try to make sure the water you change is a relatively similar temperature. Otherwise it can shock the fish and lead to more deaths.
 

Bwood22

Ok sounds like a plan, you guys are so nice I should go here more to ask about these type of things!
We're glad you're here. We love to help and we refuse to let you get discouraged.

Look, we have all killed fish....its part of learning how to do this successfully. Anyone here that tells you they have never killed a fish is lying (unless they just bought their first fish and its still alive :) )

Always bring your questions. It's kinda the whole point of why this forum exists.
 

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