I Made A Huge Mistake..

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Amber Fuschetto, May 19, 2018.

  1. Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    This is gonna be long but I’d appreciate any help you can give...before you all judge me I would like to simply appologize. I’ve been on this site for quite sometime now thinking I’m finally learning the basics. But everytime I get a step ahead, I feel as if I fall a million steps behind. In no way do I mean to harm my fish, or sound like an uneducated, careless fish mom (lol). I’m just simply trying to do everything correctly so I appreciate all the knowledge..
    A little back story:
    20 gallon tall tank for about a year or two. I have a hang on back filter with all 3 media ( the brand is aqueon) as well as a heater. The tank has two thermometers. It also has a few plants, deco, and rocks in which I planned redecorating until this happened..
    A local fish store was telling me that I should never change the filter media and I should swoosh around the sponge, and change the carbon every now and then.. since I’ve has this tank I’ve never changed anything.. not the sponge. Not the carbon. Nothing. So the same media has been in the tank for around 1-2 years without being touched.
    Now comes the even worse part;
    I’ve been noticing my little guy acting weird lately, but he’s never been that active so I figured he’s just getting older or chilling out. Until today, I noticed the entire filter was not working. This could have been broken for 3-4 days and I didn’t even take notice.. Anyways here is what I did;
    Took apart the canister and cleaned it out (it stared working perfectly fine again)
    As for the media:
    I rinsed the sponge and then put it back
    I put the same media back
    And I put a BRAND NEW carbon bag in
    The tank was completely covered in little floating debris so I went ahead and did a 40-45% water change ( I have extremely high ph so I can’t do massive water changes all at once ), I also used seachem water conditioner.
    My question is, where do I go from here?
    My little guy is on his side and I feel like an awful person. In no way did I intend for any of this to happen. Like I said I’m just trying to get the hang of this whole thing and make him happy. Any help would be immensely appretiated. Again, thanks for all the help and thank you for reading.
    PS: 1 Beta in the tank, nothing else. If it works out I may add 1 mystery snail.

    If it somehow matters, I do weekly water changed of 30%, if the tank is dirty I’ll do more. Again, thankyou.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2018
  2. Sergeant Pepper

    Sergeant PepperWell Known MemberMember

    When you rinsed the sponge, did you rinse it out in the sink or in a bucket of tank water? Unless you completely changed out the sponge, I can't imagine that's the issue. I haven't changed my filter sponge on my 29 since I got it and that was a couple years ago. I really squeeze it in a bucket of tank water, and put it back in. Your bacteria lives in that sponge, so changing it completely without letting a new one seed or rinsing it in tap water will kill your cycle.

    Do you have the parameters of the tank currently? Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite?
  3. Lynn78too

    Lynn78tooWell Known MemberMember

    You needed to rinse the carbon filter before you put it in the tank.

    Your poor little guy is swimming in the carbon particles which is not good for their system. I would take the carbon filter out and rinse it out. Keep doing water changes every day or every other day. I'd keep the water level a little lower to make it easier for him to swim up to the surface. If you want, you could even take him out and put him in another bowl/container and do a 100% water change.

  4. OP

    Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    Sorry I knew I forgot to mention something! The carbon was rinsed out with warm water until all the black turned clear! Thanks for the catch, appreciate that a lot! :)

    As of right now I do not.. We just ordered a new set of 5 in 1 test strips as well as the water sample kit which I heard is extremely accurate. We overnight shipped it so it should be here early tomorrow morning. Also, I rinsed it under the sink but I didn’t squeeze it..

    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2018
  5. Lynn78too

    Lynn78tooWell Known MemberMember

    When you say debris, is it just little speckles that looks like dust? Sometimes when I do water changes that happens to me as well when the filter is turned off and then as it turns back on and gets an extra oomph of pressure. It can be right after I've cleaned the filter (in a bucket of fish tank water) and then I turn the filter on and it kind of chug-chug-SWOOOSH and out comes the water as well as a release of particles. It is also a HOB filter. I assume it's because of the suction coming up the tube. Could that be what it is? Your fish was already having problems, then you made a change in the filter. It could just be something as simple as that.
  6. OP

    Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    Yes that’s exactly what I’m talking about it was driving me insane lol! Couldn’t find the proper wording. But yes I do have a a HOB filter!

  7. Sakana魚

    Sakana魚Well Known MemberMember

    Well I am sorry to tell you that you killed you BB. Dont ever rinse your filter media under untreated tap water(exceptions being new carbons obviously). Its best to clean it in a bucket of old tap water.

    But if its just a betta in a 20 gallon I can not imagine it is building up toxins fast enough to kill it.

    Do you have a heater? What temp is the tank at? How much do you feed and what do you feed? Can you show a picture of your betta? A side and top view if you can.
  8. OP

    Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    I have a heater set on 78. The tank is also at 78. He gets 1-2 flakes a day and sometimes some bribe shrimp. Once a month I also give him a pea. I can’t take a picture at the moment but right now he is on his side. He doesn’t seem to be breathing heavy but he’s just lying there. I should be able to have water readings at about 10 tomorrow since the kit should arrive at 9. I’m so angry I rinsed the sponge with tap water. I thought I was doing the right thing. Thanks again for all the help..

  9. Sakana魚

    Sakana魚Well Known MemberMember

    Alot of us have been there. I think in the mean time you should do another water change if you can. Alot of problems can be fixed by clean water.
  10. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    If you have 3 different types of media in your HOB and didn't rinse all of them with untreated tap water you won't have killed all the BB. You removed some of the BB by replacing the carbon and some by rinsing the sponge. What kind of media is the 3rd one? It you didn't rinse it and didn't scrub out the filter housing you may still have enough BB to reseed the carbon and sponge.

    With just 1 little fish in a 20 gallon tank you shouldn't see big spikes in ammonia.

    It seems like your little guy wasn't feeling well before cleaning the filter so that cleaning isn't causing the problem. Some bettas live several years but sadly a lot of them are fortunate to live 1 or 2. They are not bred for long life. I hate to say it but it is possible that your little guy is just about at the end of his life and he will pass no matter what you do. :(

    I know most folks don't like to hear this but I just wanted to point it out to you so you won't be second guessing yourself and beating yourself up thinking you did something wrong and caused this. Most of the time that isn't the case.
  11. OP

    Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    I just got home from work so I do plan on doing a water check and another 45% water change. I’m gonna upload some pictures and pictures of the water test results.
    He lays on the bottom on his side and then when I tap the glass a little bit he flys around the cage and then falls back on his side.
  12. Hunter1

    Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    I agree with mattgirl.

    Even if you killed all of the beneficial bacteria, he wouldn’t be in a toxic environment yet.

    May just be age.

    A bottled bacteria may speed up the cycle but I don’t think it will help him.

    Test and let us know the parameters.
  13. Robjoco

    RobjocoValued MemberMember

    Any update on your betta, Amber?
  14. OP

    Amber FuschettoValued MemberMember

    I was just about to come back on here.. He passed away after I made my last post about the water parameters. Just stayed off here to think about what I’m going to do next.. I love the idea of fish keeping but I don’t want to keep killing fish because of my own faults.. I want to do the right thing before I get another betta.. So I guess my question is where do I go from here? There’s absolutely no fish in the tank or any life at all.
    The tank is still running and temperature is the same but keep in mind I rinsed the sponge with tap water..
    I also plan on changing the rocks and decor around but should I refrain at this time? Should I do a 100% water change?
    I’m sorry for such a late response I’ve just been bummed/confused as what I wanted to do..
  15. Robjoco

    RobjocoValued MemberMember

    I’m sorry to hear that. I know it’s hard. I really don’t think you should blame yourself. As a labyrinth fish, bettas can withstand a bit more in water chemistry anomalies than many other hobby fish, and I don’t at all think the tap-water sponge rinse killed him.

    I think the fact that you’re so hard on yourself demonstrates that you care, and being on this forum means you want to learn. If you decide to get more fish, we are here to support you!
  16. Hunter1

    Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    I would cycle the tank again using pure ammonia and a API master test kit.

    Should give you 4-8 weeks to think about your next move.

    I would consider getting a young male betta that you know is young. Watch him grow and mature.
  17. NavyChief20

    NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember


    Since you are starting over you can make some great changes that will improve your water quality as well as lighten the dent in your pocket.

    Remove that cartridge from your HOB and throw it away. Get some lava rock from lowes and some coarse aquarium or pond sponge (pond is cheaper cause its at lowes). Put the rock in your HOB where the cartridge was and place a sponge over it with a nice tight fit.

    Now run your filter and do you water changes and dose with ammonia for a fishless cycle. This will make your HOB much much more efficient and as a nice bonus you dont need to buy those useless cartridges anymore.

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