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Old 11-30-2012, 03:15 AM   #1
Hidden Walrus
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Everything has gone horribly wrong no matter what I do!


I think I'm going to give up fishkeeping. Everything so far has gone wrong despite doing everything right. First, I got a betta. I even got him a heated, filtered 10 gallon tank with 2 dwarf frogs and although I ened up having to fish-in cycle it, with daily water changes they came out fine. He did so well I soon got another 5 gallon with another betta, and fishlessly cycled this one. Then, I decided I wanted a riparium, so I planted up both tanks with aquatic and non-aquatic plants and it was great.

But then I added some endlers guppies to one of the tanks. They had anchorworms. The worms killed all of the fish in that tank. I waited a month and replaced the betta.

But the first night the strainer on the filter intake fell off and he got pulled into the filter and died of its injuries.

Eventually, I replaced him too with yet another. He died of unknown causes soon after purchase.

So I decided to make the tank all shrimp. All of the cherry and amano shrimps I got jumped out to their deaths by the second week, except for one cherry, who lasted almost a month before she died of unknown causes.

Then I broke the ten gallon by accident and had to replace it with a 5 gallon as its all I had. The heater was too powerful for the 5 and the high temperatures killed the frogs.

So for a while, I had one 5 gallon that had only one nerite snail in it and one with a betta and a snail. Finally, I decided to try once again and got one last betta for the empty tank. He did great and grew very big and beautiful, and the other betta was doing well too.

Then my friend gave me a free 20 gallon with filter, gravel, heater, etc. I also made this a riparium and fishlessly cycled it. Then I added 6 white cloud minnows. The minnows are dying off one by one from columnaris and I have only 2 after 3 days.

The columnaris spread to the 4th replacement betta on a plant I had transferred from that tank to his a few days ago. Now his mouth is rotting away and he lays on his side on the bottom about to die like all of his predecessors. Great.

Not to mention that my java moss in all the tanks got so covered in black beard algae it wasn't salvageable and now its on my java ferns too.

The only things doing well are the riparium plants (some, others are getting anemic) and the nerite snails, and even they have climbed out but luckily, being snails, lived long enough to be rescued.

My mom kept a betta alive for five years in an unheated half-gallon bowl and changed the water in it every few weeks, if that. As a child I kept 35 large, horribly incompatible fish in a 20 gallon, never once did a water change, and they lived for years. Now I can't even a betta alive in a planted, heated tank with regular water changes and doting attention to water quality.

It sucks. All that money down the drain. Maybe I'll just keep the tanks with plants. Or try again after leaving the tanks fallow for a few months.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:57 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear your having such a hard time. Remember that now days, bettas aren't as hardy as they use to be, and I have the same issue with the minnows. I get them as feeders for my puffer and disease is a constant issue. I just went through 30 of them in 2 days because of columnaris.

Do not give up! Give the tank some time, and if you are starting over fresh you might just consider completely breaking down the 20 gallon and washing everything really good with baking soda and hot water. And I know it sounds funny, but start off harder to take care of fish. I have a horrible time keeping the "beginner" fish alive, but the harder they are considered to be to care for, the easier it is for me lol. "Beginner" fish are just too over-bred. In the mean time, take a look at your tank and figure out what is causing that BBA. Are you leaving the light on for too long? Is the light too much for the plants without co2? You don't half to have co2 for the plants you have, but avoiding fluctuations makes a big difference. Walmart sells timers for around $3 that you can simply hook your light up to so it's only on so much during the day. Hopefully I am helping! Don't give up!
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:42 AM   #3
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Thanks for your kind response.

I initially left the lights (fluorescent shop lights hung over the two 5 gallons) on only 8 hours a say, which was fine for most of the aquatics (the moss, java fern, and the anubias) but the hornwort got spindly and the riparium plants didn't grow well until finally I started leaving the lights on 12-14 hours a day. Now they are growing great but the BBA keeps coming back. I rub it all off and soak it in hydrogen peroxide but eventually it regrows. The nerite snails do eat it, but it grows too fast for them and once it gets really lush they won't touch it anymore. Only when it is starting to grow. I was hoping as the hornwort grew to cover the surface the lower light would stop it, but it has long ago did that and still lots of algae. I don't dose co2.

It really sucks because these weren't feeder white clouds either, they were breeding sized, colorful adults that cost 2 bucks a piece. They were great at the store, but at home the columnaris went crazy. I still have two that don't look sick at all and are as active as ever. Is it possible the disease won't kill these two, or is it inevitable?

The white clouds tank isn't lit at all, so algae isn't a problem there. The riparium plants growing up out of the water get by with window light, but the tank itself is below the windowsill so while light enough to see in, it's to dark for any plants.

I really like bettas and white clouds, even if they are generic. I especially liked my betta who just died now, he was just a veiltail but had so many different colors on him and his fins were enormous, I'd never seen one like him. In less than an hour he came down with the disease and died from it. He built his first bubblenest this morning. Now I can check Walter off of my list of bettas not yet dead, along with Irving, Larry the first, and Oscar. Now I have just Larry II, but he'll probably catch columnaris and die also. I used the same nets in all the tanks.

In my old tank as a kid, I remember we had tiger barbs, guppies, a betta, blue gouramis, a paradise fish, a firemouth cichlid, a bluegill, a baby bullhead catfish, a pictus, a bolivian ram, platies, swords, mollies, tetras, a synodontis catfish, a flying fox fish, and a pleco in a 20H, among others, without any water changes and never had any diseases. Figures.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:59 AM   #4
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We all have our dark days and some roads are longer then others. I am positive there is a betta out there dreaming of the home like yours. Find him and make him yours.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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I suggest going at this a little bit slower and with fish which give you a better chance. Small fish, like small children are much more difficult. Hardy fish like cichlids give you a week or so to correct things before they die. Try some cheaper hardy cichlids like convicts and then when you have it down, try some others if they still appeal to you. Set yourself up for success rather than failure!

Just admit that there is a learning curve involved. Don't expect immediate success but learn as you go along and try to avoid the big disappointment of fish deaths.

More success=more fun. More fun=more success!
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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Can you give us the details on how you cycled your tanks? I know when shrimp are jumping out of the water, they clearly do not like the water they're in. Sounds to me like either the water temp was too high for them and they jumped (had that happen to me) or you still had ammonia in your tank, which will easily demolish a shrimp population either from them jumping or just dying to ammonia poisoning.

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Old 11-30-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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There are some things you could be doing better. For example - quarantine all your fish - this probably would have prevented the spread of the anchorworms to your betta.

Make sure your tanks are covered, including the holes in the lids, so that your fish and shrimp can't escape. If you notice that they are trying to escape test your water, ehck your temps, and do some water changes immediately.

Monitor the temps in your tank so if one starts to overheat you can pull the heater out. I check the temps in my tanks about 3 times a day. This won't guarantee that my tanks don't overheat but it sure gives my fish a better chance of survival than if I didn't do this.

Never ever share equipment between tanks without disinfecting it thoroughly first!

Hopefully you learn from your mistakes instead of giving up!
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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I don't keep fish, but I do keep shrimp. I've learned never to trust what the heater says. I have a manual therm suctioned on the front glass at all times.

Also, if you don't have testing kits, they are pretty cheap now. I know API sells a masters kit for around $20 or so. If something doesn't seem right, you can do a quick check to rule things out.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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It's really not your fault in any way. Freak accidents still happen frequently, we can't prevent them.

Start out with maybe a community tank, 20 gallon is fine. I would order fish from a good seller online, one that pre-quaratine's the fish.

I would wait on shrimp, even the easy ones get pretty high maintenance.

Don't give up the hobby, it's a great and rewarding one, I'm praying you get past this phase in fish keeping!!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixkiller View Post
It's really not your fault in any way. Freak accidents still happen frequently, we can't prevent them.

Start out with maybe a community tank, 20 gallon is fine. I would order fish from a good seller online, one that pre-quaratine's the fish.

I would wait on shrimp, even the easy ones get pretty high maintenance.

Don't give up the hobby, it's a great and rewarding one, I'm praying you get past this phase in fish keeping!!!
Eh, cherry and amano shrimp are pretty easy to care for and if they're diving out of his tank then there was something he did wrong. I've had shrimp run for the hills, after I checked the params I had ammonia.
I honestly don't think he cycled his tanks properly.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoffeeLove View Post
I honestly don't think he cycled his tanks properly.
I agree. Shrimp and Fish don't up and die for no reason, nor do they decide to leave the water for no reason. You have got to be doing something incredibly wrong for disasters like this to strike over and over again.

Even when I first started out a decade ago, I took the proper steps in researching and planning everything before even so much as choosing which fish would go in. I never had anything leave my tanks, nor suffered uncontrollable outbreaks of algae, and I sure as hell never introduced any disease into my tanks. (Dat QT tank OP)

I'm not telling you this to discourage you from trying again, I just am doubtful that you took all the proper steps to setting up and maintaining a tank; and if you don't do the most important things right, you won't get the results you want.

Of course this is just an assumption that I made based on what I've read in this thread, I do not know the extent of your knowledge or any of your practices, so I may be wrong.

What I'm trying to say is this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendyjo
There are some things you could be doing better.
And finally,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soothing Shrimp View Post
Also, if you don't have testing kits, they are pretty cheap now. I know API sells a masters kit for around $20 or so.
Amazon had API's Master Test Kit and the GH/KH Test kit for $21 bundled when I saw it last week. This is usually a $30-$35 value which is even sweeter since they offer free shipping on purchases over $25. All you need to do is get something else to rack up the total.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:10 AM   #12
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I agree, I could have done some things better. I did not quarantine new fish and did not even consider that the plants I moved could have been holding diseases and transferring them.

And yes, every tank is cycled, but I already knew why the shrimp jumped - I had a mini cycle, adding too many at once and the ammonia rose - but still, it was just another thing gone wrong even if I now know the cause. And I had the water level too high on a rimless tank, which didn't help either.

The frogs died when the heater was too powerful for the tank already and on top of that got stuck on ( I exchanged it for a new one after this). The water was almost 90 degrees when I found it in the morning, which the betta didn't seem to mind but the frogs obviously couldn't handle.

And, again, it is because of not quarantining that I got the anchorworms before and the columnaris this time around. And I won't be buying fish at that store again.

I am actually very knowledgeable about the species I have kept. Before I obtain any animal, I like to know every thing I can about that particular species before I ever buy it. This includes my bettas, my minnows, my pet rats and my cat. Before I ever obtain any animal or start any hobby I am practically a walking encyclopedia on that subject. I don't even buy a potted plant without knowing its exact requirements. I didn't just go out and buy a bunch of animals and toss them in the tank. I prepared for them, doted on them, and still have had horrible luck so far. Some of it is just freak accidents - betta getting caught in the filter, frogs boiling, and others were lack of care - diseases from not quarantining, not monitoring the shrimp tank well enough and letting ammonia spike. But I feel bad having killed so many animals, even if I have learned from it, and that's why I don't know whether I want to continue. I appreciate everyone trying to help.

But on another note, I still have a pair of white clouds and the one betta and none of these last fish are showing signs of columnaris, which killed all the other fish within 2 days. If the minnows do end up coming out of this alright, when would it be safe to slowly start upping their numbers again? Will they just spread the disease to any new ones even if they themselves are asymptomatic?
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:57 PM   #13
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Did you add like a hundred shrimp to the tank at once or something?

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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Wow talking about bad luck.
Take a hammer and kill all the endlers. Even if the endlers already dead.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:13 PM   #15
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I would tear it down, remove any livestock and change 90% of the water. Bacteria lives in the water column, worms live in th substrate.

My advice to you, since you do know what you are doing, is to slow down. I think most of these things happened due to a combination of bad luck and a rush to restock. My quarantine period lasts 2-3 weeks before I introduce to any tank, and I do bleach/hydrogen peroxide dips on plants.

It might just be your LFS (you should alert them of all the diseases their fish have given you) but it is also your fault for not QTing. I know you know this now, but knowing and doing are two different things.

I wish you luck in your next endeavor, and encourage you not to give up just yet. There are many members on this site who are very knowledgeable and generous, perhaps you can enlist their aid.
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