I'm So Mad! Ornament Poisoned Fish

Candace

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I will NEVER buy anything fish related from Walmart again. So about 2 weeks ago I bought an ornament for my 10 gallon from walmart. It said Aquarium Safe. I rinse it off, leave it to soak for a few days and rinse it off again before I put it in there. The first few days everything is fine. Then my water started clouding up and 2 of my fish are dead. I immediately do a 75% water change and go to put my surviving fish in the quarantine tank (that I had set up and my mother had emptied...) so my fish were stuck (I didn't think it was the ornament at the time) then everyday at least 1 fish died until I finally broke down and took my 2 still living guppies back to the store. Petco tested the deceased guppies and told me it was poisoning from some kind of paint. And what was the only thing with coloring? The "Aquarium Safe" product from walmart. In one week EIGHT of my ten guppies had died. I've completely gotten rid of the gravel, and water as well as the sponge in my filter which means I'll have to re-cycle my tank all over again, meanwhile I've got a betta fish arriving wednesday and I hope to god the safe start I used will have it cycled with some safe bacteria by then because I have no other aquarium/quarantine tank to put him in. Ok end of rant, and please send positive vibes to my tank so it's safe enough for my betta boy.
 

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Candace said:
I will NEVER buy anything fish related from Walmart again. So about 2 weeks ago I bought an ornament for my 10 gallon from walmart. It said Aquarium Safe. I rinse it off, leave it to soak for a few days and rinse it off again before I put it in there. The first few days everything is fine. Then my water started clouding up and 2 of my fish are dead. I immediately do a 75% water change and go to put my surviving fish in the quarantine tank (that I had set up and my mother had emptied...) so my fish were stuck (I didn't think it was the ornament at the time) then everyday at least 1 fish died until I finally broke down and took my 2 still living guppies back to the store. Petco tested the deceased guppies and told me it was poisoning from some kind of paint. And what was the only thing with coloring? The "Aquarium Safe" product from walmart. In one week EIGHT of my ten guppies had died. I've completely gotten rid of the gravel, and water as well as the sponge in my filter which means I'll have to re-cycle my tank all over again, meanwhile I've got a betta fish arriving wednesday and I hope to god the safe start I used will have it cycled with some safe bacteria by then because I have no other aquarium/quarantine tank to put him in. Ok end of rant, and please send positive vibes to my tank so it's safe enough for my betta boy.
Oh no, that's horrible. I myself boycott that 'w' place. Maybe you have a friend or other contact that can give you some cycled filter media? I've done that to jump start tanks. If not, bettas are Hardy and with close attention you'll have a happy betta in a cycled tank in no time at all.

What type and where's the betta coming from? Just curious.
 

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Sorry for your loss. Good Luck. That's why its always better to use live plants and Fishtank safe rocks and driftwood. IMO steer clear of any fake ornaments unless you make them yourself and know for a fact they are aquarium safe
 
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kallililly1973 said:
Sorry for your loss. Good Luck. That's why its always better to use live plants and Fishtank safe rocks and driftwood. IMO steer clear of any fake ornaments unless you make them yourself and know for a fact they are aquarium safe
I actually just got some natural river stones and about 8 plants for my tank and I'm waiting on my drift wood to arrive. I decided to go 100% to try and do the best for Luc.
 

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Just curious, but how did PetCo test them and come to that determination? And what was the item that you bought that you think killed your fish?
 

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wrs2 said:
Just curious, but how did PetCo test them and come to that determination? And what was the item that you bought that you think killed your fish?
I was thinking the same thing. Seeing they can barely test water parameters right seeing they use test strips.
 
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kallililly1973 said:
I was thinking the same thing. Seeing they can barely test water parameters right seeing they use test strips.
wrs2 said:
Just curious, but how did PetCo test them and come to that determination? And what was the item that you bought that you think killed your fish?
I don't know how they test, they asked me to bring in the passed fish to see if they could determine how they died (to see if maybe it originated at their store or not). A couple days later they called me to tell me that. And I assumed it was this house "cave" that was painted with blues and greens, I never had issues with my water clouding up or anything like that before I got it. But I guess that doesn't mean it was the culprit, it's just the only new thing I had added since I started my tank about over a month ago.
 

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Ugh I'm so sorry for your loss and yeah, they suck. I haven't lived in the States for a long time but have heard horror stories like them selling green spotted puffers which I keep and which are notoriously difficult to care for and need high brackish or full salt water as freshwater fish to people who have no idea what their needs are. They should not be allowed to sell animals or pet supplies to be honest, they're not a responsible retailer at all let alone in regard to animal welfare.
 
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AZL said:
Ugh I'm so sorry for your loss and yeah, they suck. I haven't lived in the States for a long time but have heard horror stories like them selling green spotted puffers which I keep and which are notoriously difficult to care for and need high brackish or full salt water as freshwater fish to people who have no idea what their needs are. They should not be allowed to sell animals or pet supplies to be honest, they're not a responsible retailer at all let alone in regard to animal welfare.
I've been starting to see some of that (Like saying betta fish can survive happily in a 0.5 gallon tank (only ONE person at petco told me a least 5 gallon and that person was a betta owner so...). It's the main reason I bought my betta from a breeder in the U.S. His url is bettasquadusa.com and he has some real beauties. And I love that he does this in his home, it's not a business for him its a passion, and he really cares about them. He has a really cool backstory too.

Brizburk said:
Oh no, that's horrible. I myself boycott that 'w' place. Maybe you have a friend or other contact that can give you some cycled filter media? I've done that to jump start tanks. If not, bettas are Hardy and with close attention you'll have a happy betta in a cycled tank in no time at all.

What type and where's the betta coming from? Just curious.
He's a copper butterfly halfmoon and I ordered him from a breeder in Texas ( bettasquadusa.com ). Let me see if my silly computer will let me upload a picture.
betta3.jpg
 

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Candace said:
He's a copper butterfly halfmoon and I ordered him from a breeder in Texas ( bettasquadusa.com ). Let me see if my silly computer will let me upload a picture.
betta3.jpg
He's beautiful!
 

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It sounds like you've realised quickly how poor LFS 'advice' can be and have a good source now as well as all the lovely people on here. I'm new to marine, I've had a salt tank with two puffers for 3 months now and am setting up a small reef tank at work. Like you I've been lucky enough to get advice and stock from cool people. I have a good friend at the LFS and get my live rock and marine animals from a local hobbyist/dealer. He keeps stock tank at home and buys in captive bred only - he also takes on creature from tanks that have been broken down and re-homes them after quarantine. I don't keep bettas now but I had one as a kid that I was told would be fine in one of those tiny tanks for kids to keep little things and with no filter or anything like that. Even at 10 or 11 I realised that was not the case, I ended up getting a 5 gallon tank from a garage sale and had that with sponge filter and a lot of plants, my betta had a long life and seemed happy. As in nature they're found in small, still pools they don't need much flow or space and their bioload is minimal. Those currently keeping bettas will advise in more detail I'm sure. For a single betta a little HOB filter that doesn't blast it with flow and a lot of plants is ideal and sounds like what you're planning. Some people just use a sponge filter powered by an air pump - I'd ask betta keepers for suggestions. They do really well with almond leaves as well - these soften the water gently, protect against stress and disease, and give them a comfortable bed. One of those in your size tank is sufficient, soak it overnight in tank water or water treated to remove chlorine, etc. or it will make the water brown. This doesn't hurt the fish, it's just unsightly - the colour comes from tannins which are beneficial. Replace the leaf when it starts to disintegrate - that can take weeks or months. A lot of betta owners provide a 'hammock' near the surface for them to rest in. Bettas are labyrinth fish, they have an organ that allow them to breath air and they like to be near the surface to do so, including when they sleep. The one you have coming is gorgeous, all the best with him!
 

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AvalancheDave said:
There's no way PetCo has this capability.
I agree. What did they do, send them out for an autopsy? Would PetCo seriously go through all that trouble over a likely less than $5 fish? I find it hard to believe. Not doubting what the OP is saying just thinking PetCo was less than honest.
 
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wrs2 said:
I agree. What did they do, send them out for an autopsy? Would PetCo seriously go through all that trouble over a likely less than $5 fish? I find it hard to believe. Not doubting what the OP is saying just thinking PetCo was less than honest.
Do you think so? I really hope that’s not the case. I’ve been going to Petco and only buying from them since I was 10, I’ve been so loyal and thought I could trust them. I’m gonna go back tomorrow, what would be some good questions to ask to see if they’re being dishonest?
 

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Candace said:
Do you think so? I really hope that’s not the case. I’ve been going to Petco and only buying from them since I was 10, I’ve been so loyal and thought I could trust them. I’m gonna go back tomorrow, what would be some good questions to ask to see if they’re being dishonest?
Maybe call the customer service line and see if they know anything about doing an autopsy on dead fish. I just don’t see how they could determine this is the cause of the fish dying.
 

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wrs2 said:
Just curious, but how did PetCo test them and come to that determination? And what was the item that you bought that you think killed your fish?
This has acctually been a common occurence with walmart decor.

When you put them in your tanks after insiing they get slimy and actually start to produce ammonia.

I killed all of my shrimp with ammonia in an established tank because of the addition of a new ornament.
I've even tested buying a second new one, putting it in a tank with no substrate or fish, and sure enough over the next few days the tank went from no ammonia to 2ppm in a very short time.

I'm sorry this happened.

The good thing about this decor though, is once it's been rinsed AGAIN after the ammonia spike, let to dry and washed with the hottest water, they eventually stop prodicing clouds and ammonia.

I'm guessing mabye not the paint causing the problem, but maybe the seal over the paint?

I wonder if there is some way to contact them about it and ask why it's happening or if there's some way for them to fix it as they are costing money, time and lives with their decor.

If we could prove it I feel like they could technically be in trouble for boasting their products as safe meanwhile they kill every animal who is in the tank.


I'd suggest next time you get any fake decor or plant, qt it in a bucket.
Even driftwood can fungus and create ammonia or bacteria, so it's important some things are cleaned and observed before adding them to our tanks.

It's sad to think you can trust someone who SHOULD know what theyre talking about but they really DONT.
So many stores are like this.

I was upset when they removed aquatics from our store, but also glad that boycotting the suffering ended the abuse for now.
 

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Crazycoryfishlady said:
This has acctually been a common occurence with walmart decor.

When you put them in your tanks after insiing they get slimy and actually start to produce ammonia.

I killed all of my shrimp with ammonia in an established tank because of the addition of a new ornament.
I've even tested buying a second new one, putting it in a tank with no substrate or fish, and sure enough over the next few days the tank went from no ammonia to 2ppm in a very short time.

I'm sorry this happened.

The good thing about this decor though, is once it's been rinsed AGAIN after the ammonia spike, let to dry and washed with the hottest water, they eventually stop prodicing clouds and ammonia.

I'm guessing mabye not the paint causing the problem, but maybe the seal over the paint?

I wonder if there is some way to contact them about it and ask why it's happening or if there's some way for them to fix it as they are costing money, time and lives with their decor.

If we could prove it I feel like they could technically be in trouble for boasting their products as safe meanwhile they kill every animal who is in the tank.


I'd suggest next time you get any fake decor or plant, qt it in a bucket.
Even driftwood can fungus and create ammonia or bacteria, so it's important some things are cleaned and observed before adding them to our tanks.

It's sad to think you can trust someone who SHOULD know what theyre talking about but they really DONT.
So many stores are like this.

I was upset when they removed aquatics from our store, but also glad that boycotting the suffering ended the abuse for now.
Still, that is not what PetCo said to the OP as was the reason for the fishes death, and there is no way they could have determined that anyways, as they don't test for ammonia (as I have seen them use test strips, the ones that don't have the ammonia test on them). That very well could've been the cause though.
 

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wrs2 said:
Still, that is not what PetCo said to the OP as was the reason for the fishes death, and there is no way they could have determined that anyways, as they don't test for ammonia (as I have seen them use test strips, the ones that don't have the ammonia test on them). That very well could've been the cause though.
Yeah that petco comment is definitely one of the more ignorant ones..
Don't think they've ever tried to determine the cause of death for fish.
They never have for mine, just took them, looked at them to ensure it was the same fish in the notes, and then they threw it away in front of me.. Lol
They said okay and scooped me out another and sent me on my way, or refunded a similar one if I didnt want to retry a weak fish.
 
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Crazycoryfishlady said:
Yeah that petco comment is definitely one of the more ignorant ones..
Don't think they've ever tried to determine the cause of death for fish.
They never have for mine, just took them, looked at them to ensure it was the same fish in the notes, and then they threw it away in front of me.. Lol
They said okay and scooped me out another and sent me on my way, or refunded a similar one if I didnt want to retry a weak fish.
When I told them what was happening to guppies they asked me to "put the fish in the freezer in a plastic bag filled with water and bring them in at your(my) earliest convenience to see if we (they) can determine the cause of death." So that what I did and when I brought in the fish they told me they would call me when they knew. I am going to call customer service like wrs2 suggested.
 

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Candace said:
I will NEVER buy anything fish related from Walmart again. So about 2 weeks ago I bought an ornament for my 10 gallon from walmart. It said Aquarium Safe. I rinse it off, leave it to soak for a few days and rinse it off again before I put it in there. The first few days everything is fine. Then my water started clouding up and 2 of my fish are dead. I immediately do a 75% water change and go to put my surviving fish in the quarantine tank (that I had set up and my mother had emptied...) so my fish were stuck (I didn't think it was the ornament at the time) then everyday at least 1 fish died until I finally broke down and took my 2 still living guppies back to the store. Petco tested the deceased guppies and told me it was poisoning from some kind of paint. And what was the only thing with coloring? The "Aquarium Safe" product from walmart. In one week EIGHT of my ten guppies had died. I've completely gotten rid of the gravel, and water as well as the sponge in my filter which means I'll have to re-cycle my tank all over again, meanwhile I've got a betta fish arriving wednesday and I hope to god the safe start I used will have it cycled with some safe bacteria by then because I have no other aquarium/quarantine tank to put him in. Ok end of rant, and please send positive vibes to my tank so it's safe enough for my betta boy.
I recently bought a really cool looking Kraken and a bubbler with glowing lights UFO ship for my freshwater aquarium from PetSmart. I haven't noticed any thing going on but after reading this I'm going to pull them both out I don't want my fish to die :-(
 

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