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Hey everyone!
I joined this group in hopes to find some answers to my questions. I have been in the fishing hobby for about 7 years. I have had mostly had gravel aquariums with fake plants and goldfish, so it was not very hard to maintain. Awhile ago my son fell in love with a female crowntail betta at Petsmart so I bought her for him. I originally put her in a fish bowl but after watching the water get stagnant on the top, I decided to put together a live planted aquarium for her. Some info about the tank: It is a 29 gallon high tank with eco-complete for my substrate. I also have white sand on top that I purchased from Petco. I bought some rocks from my local fish store and have some java fern tied down to the sides. There is a piece of rock and driftwood that I have tied java moss down to. There are two annubias plants, one amazon sword, and a small bunch of anacharis. The top is covered with amazon frogbit and i float indian almond leaves. It has an aqueon hang on back filter that takes large filters. For lighting I have a Fluval Pro 2.0 Fresh and plant led. For heating I started with an older heater I had but I have now purchased an aqueon pro 150. I let the tank cycle for about 3 weeks before I added the betta. About a week after adding the betta I added 4 ADF's. I have read the controversy about ADF's not being able to breathe in a high tank but rest assured they have no trouble getting to the top. About a week after adding the ADF's I decided to stock the tank more and here is where my problems started. I added another plant from petco. It was the only plant I didn't research and bought on a whim because I thought the fish could hide in it. Big mistake. It was labeled "aquatic combo." After problems kept happening I looked it up to find that it is called Dracaena and it does not belong under water. I have now removed all of it (as of yesterday). When I went to a different local pet store (family owned) to get the fish, I wanted to purchase some neon tetras and he said he was only going to give me two because it was a bad batch. I had no idea what that meant. The two he gave me were bigger than the rest so I figured that the other ones were the problem. I also purchased 4 golden pristella tetras, 6 harlequin rasboras, and 2 pristella tetras, and 1 rubbernose pleco. I got a few more neon tetras from petco to make a school. Also picking up 2 cherry shrimp and 2 more ADF's. As soon as I added everyone my betta started killing off the neon tetras one by one. When there was one tetra left, I noticed my betta was sick. It looked as if her face was shedding off. She was dead withing 24 hours of finding her like that. I did some reading and found out about neon tetra disease to which I was horrified to find there was no cure. Guess I found out what the bad batch was and needless to say I will not be returning there to buy any more fish. After the betta died so did the last neon tetra. It didn't even get eaten, it just died. I waited about a week to see how everyone else was doing to see if they seemed to have the neon tetra disease and everyone seemed fine. So I purchased another betta for my tank. It was a baby girl from petco. I added her to the tank and everything was fine. Then after a few days I noticed what appeared to be ich. White spots all over the body. But with having the ADF's, shrimp, and snails, I had to medicate naturally. I looked up the heat method which is what I am currently trying. However here is my current issue. I now have the the 4 golden pristilla tetras, 6 harlequin rasboras, 1 pristilla tetra, 2 cherry shrimp, snails, and 6 ADF's. The new betta died. One of the two pristilla tetras died. And I just found my rubbernose pleco dead today. As of yesterday is when I tried to resolve most of the problems. I bought the new heater so I could get the tank up to 86 degrees. I read about the Dracaena so I removed all of it. And I will be doing daily water changes. I read to do this natural ich treatment for about 3 weeks. However I am looking at the fish and they just look so unheathly. They look like they are now starting to get fin rot. I guess I'm wondering if it is ich, if it is fin rot, if it is both, or if it neon tetra disease. I don't know if I should keep trying the heat method, if I should move everyone to a hospital tank, if I should tear this whole thing down and start over, I don't know but It is so depressing and I just feel like a fish killer having all these guys die on me. I use aqueon water conditioner 15mLs everytime I do a water change. I was using a little bit of Seachem's Floursih but I have stopped since I noticed everyone getting sick about a week ago. I have a freshwater testing kit and test the water daily. A consistent problem I have is the pH is too high. (hence the indian almond leaves) I am considering buying a r/o aqua fx barracuda to get softer water, but I also don't know if that is a good move or waste of money. My ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite levels are all fine. It is just the pH that at one point was 8.8 (the day the first betta died) now it generally stays at about 8.0-8.2 Please help!!
 

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You need to quarantine the fish first. Also, don't buy from big box stores.

Get an ro unit or better yet just keep fish that can thrive in your water.
 
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