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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2020

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    Question What's Wrong with my tank?

    0 Not allowed!
    Hello everyone!

    I am very new to fishkeeping. I kept a couple bettas in the past, but this is my first attempt at a community tank.

    Here's the facts in a nutshell:
    - 10 gallon MarineLand freshwater tank with dark, sandy substrate
    - Current readings: pH-8.2/Amm 0/Nitrites 0/Nitrates 0/KH 8 drops/GH 4 drops/Temp 78 F
    - Fish: 2 Ivory Mystery Snails (1 female and 1 male, if I'm understanding their behavior correctly), 6 Ember Tetras, and 3 Shrimp (2 Amano and 1 sold as an Amano, but I have my doubts)
    - Plants: Amazon Sword, Java Moss
    - Decor: 2 small driftwood pices, floating betta log, small castle, feeding ring, floating thermostat, Whisper filter, heater on wall, soap bar holder with betta rocks to slow the filter flow
    - Other Misc: 3 calcium balls (my snails had a pH disaster about a month ago - more about that later), water softener pillow
    - Tank "chemicals" - API StressCoat, API Leafzone, API pH Down
    - Future Plans: Add a male Betta Fish

    So, before getting this tank, I did a ton of research. I wanted a community betta tank and found good tankmates for bettas that were also beginner-friendly. The plants were also recommended for the above fish and beginner-friendly.

    I cycled the tank for about a month until the Nitrate Cycle was complete. My Anubais Nana and Dwarf Hairgrass died despite my best efforts, as well as my Amazon Swords. I got more Amazon Swords and due to the pH in my tank running on the higher side, I bought 2 pieces of driftwood, boiled them, and soaked them for about a week. After putting them in the tank, not only did they not lower the pH at all, but they added tannins to the tank, making it all brown. I bought a betta anyway and he did great! After about a week after adding the betta, I added my 2 mystery snails. They also did great and grew to be the size of ping-pong balls. I got some Java Moss to replace the Dwarf Hairgrass, because I heard it was hardier and attached it to my driftwood and in netting on the substrate.

    About a month ago, my young nephew decided he would try feeding the fish... with pH Down. He dumped in the whole bottle and needless to say, my betta died, Amazon Swords died, and my snails receded so far into their shells, that I thought they had died. However, I erred on the side of "maybe" and put them in separate cups in new water. Lo and behold, they were alive! I kept them in separate cups and changed their water daily until the only sign of their past crisis was some pitting on their shells. My Java Moss also survived the pH Down dumping.

    Since the Great pH Disaster of 2020, I have re-cycled my tank, put in my snails, and added shrimp and then Ember Tetras (I've had them for about 2 weeks now). My Ember tetras are turning bright orange, which I heard is a good sign. Although I have one who likes to hide in the furthest corner from the filter and, well, the best way I can describe it is twitch, when it isn't feeding time. But he eats and joins the other occasionally and he has no spots, bumps, lesions, or anything else wrong with him. He does have one eye, which may be a factor as well. I went online and bought these calcium balls that are supposed to help invertebrate shells. Everything has been going well (except for my plants not exactly dying, nut not flourishing either - not sure why). Then, two days, ago, one of my snails (the assumed male) was all boated and couldn't recede back into his shell. I researched and found that is often a sign of high ammonia and/or nitrites. I did the water tests and both came back as zero (I have both the drops and the strips - both were 0). So, I've been keeping him in a separate cup and although he does come out of his shell, sticks to the wall, and even eats, he can't squish himself into his shell. My other one seemed fine though, until today. Now she, too, is swollen and quarantined. Test still register as zero. So, with all this in mind, can you help? My main questions:

    - Why are my snails swollen?
    - Is my Ember Tetra acting ok?
    - Why won't my plants flourish?

    Any info or help you can give will be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time in reading this whole post. I look forward to your responses.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Southeast Texas

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    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC.

    Test your tap ph, let a sample sit out in a cup for 24 hours before testing, and post your findings here.

    The majority of the time, with FW tanks, it's best not to mess with ph levels, instead stock your tank with inhabitants that will do well with the tap ph you have.

    I'd remove the calcium balls, do a large WC, and monitor ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte.

    What kind of liquid test do you have? (the strips are mostly worthless). What kind of water conditioner do you use?
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