Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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BettaDexter 10-17-2011 10:48 AM

New Tank - Fish Dying
 
Hello all,
Brand new to this forum, glad to find it.
I've had a Betta for a while now in a 1 gallon tank, I bought him at a Petsmart and upon doing a bit of research I found a 1 gallon was WAY too small for him.
We'd been talking about getting a 'real' tank, so Friday night we went to an aquarium shop in the area and walked out with a 15 gallon setup. We were sold 6 small tetras and told all would be ok to start off with a small amount of fish.
Of course, afterwards I started reading more and first heard about cycling tanks. Everything was ok until this morning - first tetra down. A second is acting very slow, I'm predicting he'll be dead as well by tomorrow morning.
Getting quite worried at this point - we're going to have the water tested tonight, I'm guessing the ammonia is really high at this point however.
I feel bad that the other fish are suffering, I would have set up the tank and let it cycle itself if I'd known better. My main concern is the Betta however since he's been a family pet for a while now. Should I remove him and put him back in his 1 gallon until this is over? Is there anything I can do to help out this process? Frustrated. Help! Thanks in advance.

BTW, the Betta is showing no signs of stress - swimming around, acting normal at this point.

Romad 10-17-2011 11:17 AM

If you suspect that it's the ammonia, do at least a 50% water change immediately (it can't hurt).

Do you have a good water conditioner like Seachem Prime? That will neutralize ammonia and nitrites for approx. a 24 hour period.

Have them test your hardness and ph too. You don't mention what type of tetras they sold you and some are very sensitive to water params. and are not good hardy starter fish for cycling.

Live plants will help a lot during cycling as well. See if your fish store has some good healthy plants while you're at it.

Good luck to you and welcome to TFK.

BettaDexter 10-17-2011 11:22 AM

They're two of the neons(I believe - half blue/half red), two gold, two orange(small, orange tips, apparently get brighter with age) - so now I have one lonely blue/red. Also looks like I should have gotten 6 of one kind as opposed to a mix from what I'm reading.
I'm going to get it tested in about 6 hours - I'm guessing I should wait to do anything until I know for sure what's going on? Also I don't want to push back the cycle by switching water yet, correct? But at the same point I don't want a bunch of dead fish.
I was told they were good to start out with but upon reading, yup, everyone is saying tetras are weak.

Romad 10-17-2011 12:00 PM

If it were me, I'd do that water change to save the remaining fish. If ammonia is the issue, there will be enough to keep your cycle going tho it might take a little bit longer than you'd like. I did a fishless cycle and it took me 3-4 weeks to get there.

The key is to start a fish in cycle with a few hardy fish like danios. Sadly, your lfs gave you some bad advice on starting a tank with neons or cardinals.

BettaDexter 10-17-2011 12:11 PM

Thanks so much for the advice. I'll switch out half - should I do this every few days or so? And NO adding new fish for about 2 months it sounds like? Plants as well, and slowly as I understand. In regards to the betta, it's safe to keep him in so long as he is active, correct?

Sorry for so many questions - one more thought, would it be beneficial to add an ammonia-absorbing plant to help keep things in check at this point?

Romad 10-17-2011 12:21 PM

I wouldn't take any chances if your ammonia is high. I'd remove him and put him back in the smaller tank/bowl until you know what you're dealing with.

And are you using a good water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramines from your tap water before you add it to the tank?

You're going to have to constantly monitor the water params. in your tank until you are cycled. Get a good test kit like API Freshwater master test kit. It's a bit more expensive than some others but is one of the best (if not the best) kits out there.

BettaDexter 10-17-2011 12:24 PM

Great, I'll pull him to be safe as I'm changing the water.
I've got 'Prime Freshwater and Saltwater' and 'Aqueon Water Conditioner' - is one better than the other? I'll add per gallon before pouring in. Will pick up the test kit as well this evening.

KendraMc 10-17-2011 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BettaDexter (Post 864819)
would it be beneficial to add an ammonia-absorbing plant to help keep things in check at this point?

plants are good. all plants will use ammonia, but if you need to bring the levels down fast growing ones are best. duckweed is supposed to be one of the best, but will take over your tank and have to be thinned out frequently. water sprite is another floating plant that is supposed to be good. for planted plants, i'll let other make recommendations or you can look at other threads, as it has been discussed a lot.

Romad 10-17-2011 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BettaDexter (Post 864831)
Great, I'll pull him to be safe as I'm changing the water.
I've got 'Prime Freshwater and Saltwater' and 'Aqueon Water Conditioner' - is one better than the other? I'll add per gallon before pouring in. Will pick up the test kit as well this evening.


Not sure about Aqueon but Prime is probably the best one out there. You should up the dose to two or three times the recommendation for now. It won't hurt the fish.

Keep us posted.

KendraMc 10-17-2011 12:46 PM

aqueon stuff tends to be cheap quality, i'd go with the prime.


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