Is there something in our water?
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?
Welcome to the forum. I just wish it was under better circumstances. I don't even have to know where you are from or anything else to tell you that the issue wasn't with your tapwater. You had two major issues that I can see. Lacking of cycling is the one that killed your fish. Beginner's Guide to Freshwater Aquarium Cycle That link should help with the basics and after that we can go from there.
The second issue I saw (which also contributed to the problems) is that your aquariums were entirely too small for the fish selected. They might be suitable for a single Betta each. Reference Material You can find some profiles for all the fish you had with this link. Glotetras are a genetically modified type of black widow tetra so you'll have to read that profile to see about them.
Don't worry nothing you have done hasn't been done by countless others.
Yes. I agree. Imagine starting with a 35 gallon tank and having something similar to this happen. Luckily I had a friend who came over and taught me all the basics. Without her I would have certainly been up a creek. It's not at all your fault. It happens to most all of us in the begging and that's how we usually end up in a place like this. Just make sure you read the link on cycling. It will probably answer a lot of questions for you. Remember, we are always here.
I entirely agree, the fact that you aren't cycling your tanks and that you are overstocking them/they aren't big enough for the fish you kept, is what's killing the fish. Please read up on the nitrogen cycle in the link provided by BWG and we can help you get track. Are you still interested in keeping glotetras or do you want to stick with bettas? Regardless of which, I recommend you purchase a liquid test kit. We mainly use the API Freshwater Master Test Kit which can be purchased in store or online for a bit cheaper. It seems expensive but it'll last you a while and you should still have tests left when it expires in three years! I've yet to empty a kit completely. This will be necessary to cycle an aquarium properly.
Glofish (now in danio, tetra and barb form) are not dyed, but they do get their color before they are hatched. The first glowfish were created by splicing a jellyfish gene into a danios while it was still an egg. Those fish were born full of color that will never fade. When breeding, they produce colorful offspring so the ones you buy have never seen a needle, even as an egg. It's as "natural" as it gets.
Betta Care Basics
In fact there is a whole section of this forum dedicated to keeping Betta.
This is the test kit referred to earlier in this thread
By all means read and learn all you can about the nitrogen cycle. But understand that even experienced keepers need to exercise skill when cycling tanks smaller than five gallons.
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