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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Her mother is totally inept in keeping ANY living things alive, including simple plants. No offense to my sister. So, my niece wants to have another betta fish again after having to lose 2 of them within a year. And after her mother decided to put 2 goldfish inside a half gallon plastic container designed for the betta fish. PH crash and ammonia killed those 2 gold fish within a day. Why? How? Don't ask. These things to her are expendable as long as they serve some immediate purpose. She considers spending more than $40 to keep some $3 tropical fish alive isn't economically worth it. Hehehehe.......


Anyway, for my niece, she is 7, I decided to setup a 5g plastic fish tank and came with a filter and LED light. Great. I even treated the water from my home and to drive all the way to Long Island to setup the tank. I even used my own filter media (9 ceramic rings should be more than enough for a 5g tank). Is fault proof other than the fish's health itself.


Well, we bought 4 white fin Tetras at the local PetSmart but one of them died yesterday. This morning, she told me another one was dead and the water became foggy. It turns out the foggy water came from the fact that she never removed the first dead fish from the tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When the second one found dead this morning, she left it in there as well. Her reason was that she couldn't find the net. Used her hands maybe???


I think those 2 deaths were from some gill disease. The other 2 are fine. I am going to bring in some of my fish from own tank today.


Oh the humanity.... :crying:
 

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To a lot of people its just a fish oh well no big deal. I think people like those of us on this forum become attached to our fish. We have an appreciation for their unique behavior, personalities, and natural beauty. If I may say I think you would be doing your niece a favor by taking her and really explaining what she is seeing and instilling in her those appreciations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To a lot of people its just a fish oh well no big deal. I think people like those of us on this forum become attached to our fish. We have an appreciation for their unique behavior, personalities, and natural beauty. If I may say I think you would be doing your niece a favor by taking her and really explaining what she is seeing and instilling in her those appreciations.


The thing is that she is only 7. Only so much she could understand about the fish keeping hobby. I only see her twice in a month. If issues come up, her parents are to help her. Unfortunately, they are as clueless as her and they don't even care much. So, now, they have to deal with an upset child of who they feel helpless themselves.


Do they even bother to educate themselves in order to help their child to understand???

Bump:
Sounds like someone needs to go to fish keeping 101
You may think they would after losing so many fish in a year. I doubt it. Some people keep doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.

Bump:
Most likely you are going to regret this.

I think you are better off to buy plastic plants and plastic fish as well. It can look just as nice but needs no maintenance.


Hahahahaha...you know, they do sell mechanical plastic fish at ToyRus....


I have to admit it. I have setup a fault proof tank and somehow they would screw it up because they neglect even to do some simple task like changing water.
 

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The thing is that she is only 7. Only so much she could understand about the fish keeping hobby. I only see her twice in a month. If issues come up, her parents are to help her. Unfortunately, they are as clueless as her and they don't even care much. So, now, they have to deal with an upset child of who they feel helpless themselves.


Do they even bother to educate themselves in order to help their child to understand???

Bump:

You may think they would after losing so many fish in a year. I doubt it. Some people keep doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.
Not much you can do. You might move her away from fish into something that takes less care like hermit crabs then move her to fish in a few years when she is better able to understand the husbandry behind fish keeping.

As for the parents if they have no interest they wont learn, after all they are 'just fish', besides that the kardashians are on (if you see what I mean by that). I hope it works out for you.
 

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If you think her parents will keep buying her pets to kill, then I think it's worth it to make each pet live as long and healthily as possible to minimize the total damage. If you think the parents are on the verge of giving up on the whole thing, then I'd say your help is just dragging it out.

If your niece is willing to try something other than a fish, you could try something low-maintenance like a snail, a hermit crab, sea monkeys, triops, tadpoles, etc. Or insects might be a good choice - an ant farm, a praying mantis, a walking stick, millipedes (not centipedes, as they are aggressive), beetles, or even a giant cockroach.

Maybe you could set up the tank as a terrarium and every time you visit, take her on a "pet hunt" for crickets, daddy longleg spiders, garden snails or slugs, beetles, caterpillars, and things like that. Then challenge her to keep the animals alive until you come back.

If she insists on a fish, I would recommend something really hardy. White clouds, zebra danios, male endlers, male guppies, one or two male platies, a betta, etc. I would add at least four or five ghost shrimp to help clean up any fish deaths. I don't know what plants you already put in, but you might want some fast growers like anacharis, salvinia, java moss, or water sprite.

Since the parents aren't interested in modeling good care habits, books and movies are the way to go. Get ones that have lots of pictures or a story to them. Little girls are very narrative-oriented. You want her to think of the animal as something to care about, not as a moving toy. Finding Nemo might be a good start - it could spark a conversation with her about how it makes the animals feel when they are treated poorly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No live plants at all. I have a very, very low tech 20g tank here without any plants. Not even light. Thin layer of gravels and some plant pots. I only change my tank water once a month. No heater. I have over 12 fish here and these are leftover from my planted tank days. I figure that my niece 5g tank would eventually reach that stage in which little maintenance is needed. Fish do die from diseases. If you are too inept to realize that dead living things would rot and decompose and to pollute the water and you don't remove them from the tank??? That's just hopeless. You get what is coming to you... :)

At the moment, I am hoping my old filter media is doing its job and to remove all the ammonia buildup. I am heading to her house today and doing some partial water change and adding 4 more fish. Hopefully things would go well. :)
 

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Wait, when you say white fin tetras, do you mean these? I would get something smaller this time around. For stocking without plants I would suggest:

1 male or female betta
or
3 male platies
or
3 male guppies
or
4 male endlers
or
5 white clouds

Anything bigger is asking for trouble. A whole hoard of ghost shrimp could fit in the tank, though - up to 15 without fish.

If possible, do a large water change, between 60-80%. Some zeolite might be a good idea, too.

Do you have any pics of the tank? If it's an LED you might be able to grow some anacharis and that will go a long way towards keeping the tank stable.

Keep in mind that your 20g with 12 fish and a seasoned filter probably has less of a bioload than a 5g with four large-bodied tetras.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Just came back from her house. Yeah, a dead fish in a 5g of water and sitting there for over 24 hours would create a staunch of foul smell....hehehehe...foul smelly water. Got the fish exchanged at PetSmart and got a 250ml bottle of prime. Now, I have to pray the fish god to hope that the fish in this tank would survive. There are about 5 fish in there now. Did a 50% water change and using water from my home.
 

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This is my sister in a nutshell. 6 goldfish in a 10g tank, and the filter dribbles out water, it is that nasty. I have convinced her to re-do the tank, so that is a plus. At least she can tell that you remove a dead fish from a tank.
 

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The child is only 7 years old, so can't really be expected to know what to do if the adults around her don't instruct her. When the fish died, it was really up to one of her parents to tell her to remove the fish and dispose of it.
I think that if this group of fish don't work out for one reason or another, it would be best to go with something hardier and easier for a child to care for. Some good suggestions have been made on that front.
Also, can your niece phone you whenever she has a question, or text, skype, something like that, and you can walk her through what she has to do?
Floating plants help, too, some frog bit, salvinia or even duckweed!
 
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