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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
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?
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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

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Discussion Starter #11
Bad news :(
I did a 5 gallon swap of the water yesterday immediately after posting to the board. After I finished working I went to the petstore I purchased the tank from and checked the levels - everything was looking good. Everyone was acting ok. I didn't pull the betta immediately since everything seemed fine/he was acting normal to not shock his system.
All of a sudden last night I notice around 9pm he's hiding down in a corner of a piece of driftwood on the ground. I watched him until about midnight, wouldn't move for anything. As a last-ditch effort I pulled him into a 1-gallon of half existing tank water and half new(treated) water. He's literally dying right now - stopped breathing through gills, takes a breath from the air, starts to tilt, repeat. I don't know if the water change was too much for him, maybe I should have taken him out before. He's had his 1-gallon fully changed all the time with no issues.
I tested the water again last night with my new kit, everything was under control, the pH was HIGH though - 7.0 when they tested at the store, 7.8 when tested at home.
What's most frustrating is he's the reason I upgraded the tank in the first place/I feel like crap for killing my betta.
One thing i did notice - when I removed the dead fish yesterday it had its fins nipped up. Was definitely done after death, the others are unhurt and noone is nipping. I wonder if it wasn't an ammonia issue at all and he was just ill/the betta chewed on him and caught whatever he had.
 

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"One thing i did notice - when I removed the dead fish yesterday it had its fins nipped up. Was definitely done after death, the others are unhurt and noone is nipping. I wonder if it wasn't an ammonia issue at all and he was just ill/the betta chewed on him and caught whatever he had."

Wow! Good eyes! It's possible that he had something. Did you notice anything odd about the fish before he died (the one the betta supposedly nibbled on)? Any odd coloration or fading, swelling, loss of appetite, etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Not that I noticed - but they again I'd only had the tetras for 2 full days so I wasn't really sure of their usual behavior at that point.
Not sure what I'll try next - I know I need to give the tetras some more to form groups with their own types, a small pleco and a couple ghost shrimp. I'd like an angelfish or a one a bit larger than the others but I don't think my tank is big enough(15 gallons, about 18" wide by 24" high or so) Not in a rush, will see what happens

A quick google search later and the Angelfish is clearly a no-go. Tetra tank for now.
 
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