I can’t keep them alive! At all!

Sugarplumz001

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I had a beta in college, it lived 2 years. I had one at my first job, I passed it along to the next person when I left, and I had one at my most recent job and I found a home for it when I moved. Betas we’re easy I said.

flash forward… my son wants a fish. I get him a beta. It survives night one, but dies night two (first night in his 1g tank). I replace him like a good mom the next day. This one doesn’t even last one night. My husband said I’m doing it wrong, buys a heater and pre-conditioned water and… his lasts two day. WTH kills betas that fast!!
So we go and get guppies. I buy 3 and a 5 gallon tank. They keep spitting up their pellet food so I started crushing it for them…. Night one, they’re good. Night two… they’re dying? One is swimming upside down, seems confused… the other two are just bobbing on the top near the heater… not really okay.
What can kill fish this damn fast! Help! My son LOVES his fish but I can’t keep killing them!
 
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Sugarplumz001

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You didn't cycle the tank. Tanks need to be cycled! A lot of pet stores claim that bettas are 'just add water' fish.
Info on cycling here. https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/
Okay, I’m reading this… and wow, I feel overwhelmed… but I can do it. But it says the old way to do it was to put in “hearty” fish…? What is a “hearty” fish. My kids don’t care what kind of fish it is, just so long as it swims.
 

Tiger burp

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Okay, I’m reading this… and wow, I feel overwhelmed… but I can do it. But it says the old way to do it was to put in “hearty” fish…? What is a “hearty” fish. My kids don’t care what kind of fish it is, just so long as it swims.
So betta spit out food it’s how they digest it a little,kind of how we use knives to cut food
 

Tiger burp

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Okay, I’m reading this… and wow, I feel overwhelmed… but I can do it. But it says the old way to do it was to put in “hearty” fish…? What is a “hearty” fish. My kids don’t care what kind of fish it is, just so long as it swims.
So I cycle without fish using only fish food as a ammonia source
 

Myraan

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While I agree with post 2, is there anything different you remember doing to not kill the the fish you had a few years ago? If there is a fish in the water making ammonia, you can remove the ammonia in three ways. Maybe before you were giving the fish clean water daily? Maybe you packed their tank full of growing plants that ate all the ammonia and removed the need to "cycle" the tank by growing colonies of beneficial bacteria.

Btw.... a 1 gallon tank is too small for a Betta really, a larger tank would have diluted the ammonia more, guppies will need larger tanks than 3 or 5, partly because of the swimming space they need and partly due the fact that you have numbers of them.

You bringing up food makes me wonder if you added too much, a Betta or a small number of guppies will not need much, a nice pinch of food would be plenty for a bigger tank with 20-30 small fish and produce the corresponding amount of ammonia by rotting in the gravel.

Have you measured the temperature of the water? If the heater your husband is non adjustable it might be raising the temperature by too much.

Try reading Cycle Your Tank! A Complete Guide For Beginners, this article by @Essjay explains it really well and contains a link to the more complicated article you already read and also discusses the other options I alluded to above.
 
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Sugarplumz001

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While I agree with post 2, is there anything different you remember doing to not kill the the fish you had a few years ago? If there is a fish in the water making ammonia, you can remove the ammonia in three ways. Maybe before you were giving the fish clean water daily? Maybe you packed their tank full of growing plants that ate all the ammonia and removed the need to "cycle" the tank by growing colonies of beneficial bacteria.

Btw.... a 1 gallon tank is too small for a Betta really, a larger tank would have diluted the ammonia more, guppies will need larger tanks than 3 or 5, partly because of the swimming space they need and partly due the fact that you have numbers of them.

You bringing up food makes me wonder if you added too much, a Betta or a small number of guppies will not need much, a nice pinch of food would be plenty for a bigger tank with 20-30 small fish and produce the corresponding amount of ammonia by rotting in the gravel.

Have you measured the temperature of the water? If the heater your husband is non adjustable it might be raising the temperature by too much.

Try reading Cycle Your Tank! A Complete Guide For Beginners, this article by @Essjay explains it really well and contains a link to the more complicated article you already read and also discusses the other options I alluded to above.
What’s a good guppy to gallon ratio? I have a 5 gallon tank Id like to use?
 

OliveFish05

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Ammonia wouldn’t kill the fish in one night, even in a 1 gallon. Though I agree cycling is an important step. Did you dechlorinate the water? Did you perhaps use something you didn’t realize was toxic as a decoration?
 

Tiger burp

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Ammonia wouldn’t kill the fish in one night, even in a 1 gallon. Though I agree cycling is an important step. Did you dechlorinate the water? Did you perhaps use something you didn’t realize was toxic as a decoration?
Agree they would get red gills before dying,quite a slow death
 

Myraan

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What’s a good guppy to gallon ratio? I have a 5 gallon tank Id like to use?
Theoretically 1 guppy for 2.5 gallons (and stocking above that level is possible if you are careful).

BUT.... I think they need to be in larger groups, and they likely need a larger swimming space - they are not lazy like Betta.

seriously fish page
 

OliveFish05

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What’s a good guppy to gallon ratio? I have a 5 gallon tank Id like to use?
Guppies are active little fish and do better in tanks larger than 5 gallons unfortunately. Fish wise, 5 gallons is suitable for a single betta. You could add a nerite snail too though.

Guppies do well starting with a tank of 10 gallons. This tank size is great for 3 to 4 guppies, if you have females with a male. Guppies will have tons of babies in a short time, which is why many people choose to get all males. In that situation, you could start with 6 in a 10 gallon, until the tank is more established and you have more experience.
 

Myraan

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Ammonia wouldn’t kill the fish in one night, even in a 1 gallon. Though I agree cycling is an important step. Did you dechlorinate the water? Did you perhaps use something you didn’t realize was toxic as a decoration?
We don't know how high the ammonia got due to potential overfeeding though.

But yes, perhaps something else is more likely
 

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