I just can't believe that we are this inept, so something has to be up.
We were in the pet store buying the special expensive food that we give our ancient teacup chihuahua one day when our 8-year-old wandered over to the aquariums and spotted the "glo-fish," which AFAIK
are just Tetras that were dyed before they hatched. We made a deal with her to stay out of trouble at school and be extra helpful around the house for two weeks to prove to us that she was committed and responsible enough to take care of an aquarium.
We never actually thought she would pull it off!
We went back and bought her a little 1-gallon bow kit, a couple of glo-fish that she picked out, a pleco, a little castle, a blue LED light strip, and the "glo" gravel. Her two younger brothers wanted in on the action but they are not old enough to care for an aquarium, so we let them each pick out a Betta. Then we got a 2.5 gallon bow kit with a divider, let them each pick out a decoration, and got two different colors of gravel for the two sides along with a pleco for each side. After setting them all up that night, she was given strict instructions for feeding; the boys were given strict instructions NOT to feed the Bettas without supervision (knowing that we would be the ones feeding them most days). To keep them honest, the boys' tank was even set up in a common area of the house and not in one of their rooms. Our daughter was permitted to keep hers in her room.
The next day I discovered the filter in the Betta tank recirculating the same bits of food over and over right back into the water because it was so overwhelmed. It seems one our sons was sneaking behind our backs and feeding them. Over. And over. And over. I made my best effort to save them, but within 24 hours we had two dead Bettas and two dead plecos. The boys caught hell and our daughter took the lesson to heart, following all instructions to a tee and being very fastidious with her tank.
My wife and I confiscated the 2.5 gallon tank for our bedroom, cleaned everything thoroughly, and filled it with a few glo-fish for us along with a chinese algea-eater and some more "glo" decorations. We procured a different 1-gallon kit (that included a pump but no filter) and put the boys' decorations back in it with some Comets and ANOTHER pleco. This time they kept their sticky fingers off of the food can and all was well.
Within a week both comets were dead. Over a period of about a month or so our daughter lost three glo-fish and her pleco, and we lost 4 glo-fish and our algae-eater. This was not all at once. It was a gradual process, maybe 1 or 2 fish per week until we had lost every fish in our house in every tank.
How do you kill Tetras and Comets??????
FWIW, we live in a community named Kingwood and our tap water comes from Lake Houston, which is notoriously polluted (you can walk on it; think "Blinky" from The Simpsons) and goes through a lot of processing before it gets to our house. Some days you can smell the chlorine while bathing or shaving. I would invest in a water softener were I not about the flip the house.
I'm thinking that the water killed all of our fish, so after I clean all of the tanks and before I repopulate them I want to use bottled distilled water and a few drops of conditioner. Then I'll let the fish spend a few hours in a 50/50 mix of the fresh conditioned tank water and the store's aquarium water before introducing them to the tanks.
I am on the right track to keep our future fish alive or completely barking up the wrong tree?