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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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First I would like to mention that this situation was cleared up, but I've just been curious since no one was able to give me an answer for it:

So I had just bought a 10 gallon fish tank, and had my friend help me set it up, I did everything exactly the way that she did it and put my female betta (which I had for about a month), a marble molly and a Mickey Mouse platy in the tank. The next day I find my female betta had died, which concerned me but I flushed her and went on living my life, until I noticed the molly seemed to have something similar to swim-bladder, since she wasn't staying leveled and she died not too long after that but the platy seemed to be fine. The tank started to look a little cloudy, and the platy died the next day the same exact way the molly died. I took in samples of my water to Petco where they tested the levels of everything and couldn't find anything wrong with it.

The same thing happened with 3 feeder fish and the next female betta I bought, again they all looked like they had a swimbladder issue and died. When we cleaned the tank, the filter cartridge looked really gross and disgusting so could that have been the cause?

Again, the situation was fixed and I have my male betta, Fai living happily with my guppies and my black molly, and they've been in there about 2 weeks with no issues.. This was all just for curiosity since everything seemed clear and no one could think of what was wrong.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 01:23 AM
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You need to test the ammonia and pH balance of your water frequently, if they are off then it can kill your fish. Im not sure but this could have been the cause
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 06:33 AM
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Im not sure but the same thing happened to my sisters goldfish ladt year. She had the tank in front of the window and I gave her this little pad thing which was supposed to keep algae from growing.. Next morning ALL 8 fish had passed away. Im so sorry but Im no expert on fish, Id have all sorts of other things tested... (This is why I dont keep fish anymore, it's too sensitive)
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Sorry that happened to you; new tanks can be very frustrating and this looks like a classic case of NTS (New Tank Syndrome).


First off the cloudy water you experience early on was a bacterial bloom caused by the nitrogen cycle. This forum has a nice sticky that explains Aquarium Cycling that you may want to look at. When starting a new aquarium, no matter the size, it's very important to get a *few* hardy fish (Zebra Danio are a favorite, though White Cloud Minnows and Platies are sometimes used). Female Betta are not known for being hardy and tend to die off easily (at least in what I've seen). Platies are schooling fish, as are Mollies; they need to be kept in a school of at least three or they will become stressed very easily. The stress of being alone in addition to the near toxic water of a cycling aquarium is probably what killed them off. Mollies are too big for a 10 gallon tank. They usually get about 4 inches in length and are known for being semi-aggressive when they don't have enough space.


As for what happened to your fish that appeared to be swim bladder- I'm thinking it was more likely Ammonia burn. With swim bladder they tend to literally do flips in the water and swim almost vertically. Ammonia burn/poisoning affects the gills and the fish will struggle to stay at the top, usually trying to get air. This is why it's important to do small water changes throughout the first few months of setting up an aquarium; it keeps the ammonia/nitrites down to safer levels. What did Petco test for? Ammonia is crucial for testing in the early days of a tank's cycle and pH can play a big role too, especially since your pH effects how toxic the ammonia is to the fish. Extremes in pH in either direction (below 6.5 or above 7.5) can really cause problems. I'm assuming you got new fish right away, which didn't leave enough time for the bacteria to die off in your tank, resulting in your tank finally cycling through


Now for the next thing: NEVER clean out your tank. The only reason you should ever clean out a tank is if there's a nasty parasite and everything dies and you want to start out new. Small water changes and gravel vacuuming is important, but never totally clean the tank. Fish do no live in sterile environments and actually rely on the bacteria that grows in their tank. This also goes for filters. When you do small water changes you can take your filter cartridge out and rinse it with the water you removed, but not under tap water, as that will kill the bacteria. Once you've gotten some of the "gunk" off the cartridge, just put it back in. A lot of your bacteria lives in that cartridge and you don't want to kill it off. Filters should be changed every 2-3 months, despite what the packaging says (they just want to sell you more supplies).


I'm glad things are getting better for the tank. You'll want to keep a close eye on your Male Betta and the guppies, especially if the gups are males. The fancy tails on Guppies look like other Bettas to your Betta and he will attack them. Usually it isn't good to mix Bettas with Guppies, but it does work in some cases. You may want to rethink the Molly; as I said before, they really are too large for a 10 gallon and can be aggressive. Bettas and Guppies are both slow-moving because of their long fins and thus look like tasty nipping snacks larger and more aggressive fish like Mollies.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 02:21 PM
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Pogaf covered it pretty well (although I disagree with "needing" to start with hardy fish--if you cycle the tank, it shouldn't matter...otherwise no one would have reef aquariums, hehe).

I agree, don't try to keep mollies in such a small tank. Besides, I've personally found that they do best in brackish environments. Even then, they're not very hardy fish (although pet stores love to pretend they are) and most are horribly inbred. I would bring your molly back.

Guppies and bettas CAN mix but in a lot of cases someone is going to end up beat up. I would try keeping whitecloud minnows, cherry barbs, or cory cats instead. Those fish are all fairly peaceful and usually do well with bettas.

EDIT: I also wanted to add that "two weeks without problems" is nothing in a fish tank. They're still getting used to their environment. Plus, I doubt your aquarium is cycled yet--watch out for nitrite spikes (unless you cleaned out the tank before trying your second batch of fish, in that case watch out for ammonia AND nitrite spikes).




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Last edited by Sasami; 01-15-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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Thanks for pointing that out, Sasami! I should have specified, as I've cycled many a tank without hardy fish! I find it easier to give beginners hardy fish (though with my first tank, I fully stocked it and only lost a single fish in six months... beginner's luck?).


And just as a follow-up, I would recommend getting a Freshwater Master Test kit (the chemical kind). They are a little pricey (usually about $30), but it will last you a very long time and allow you to keep watch on your tank! They usually come with a manual that explains all the different part of the nitrogen cycle, what levels are safe, and how to go about fixing them, which is a good quick reference.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well thanks for your help guys, I'll keep an eye on all of the above and so far the Molly hasn't really caused any issues or spats, but I'll get him another tank so he has plenty of room (since I really don't want to take my buddy back ^^. I'll keep a sharp eye on everything and invest in a gravel vac (despite how pricey they can be, I shall manage). Again thank you for all your help and hopefully my fish will live long healthy lives with the advice you've given.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 02:58 PM
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Gravel vacs aren't pricey at all, you don't need a fancy electronic one or anything. I bought mine for less than $5, haha. And I've used the same couple of vacs for years.




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