Farewell Leon, my first Betta - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Farewell Leon, my first Betta

I want to dedicate this thread to my very first Betta named "Leon" who passed away on March 15th 2016.



Since I was a teenager there was a book lying around at my house about common Aquarium fish and it was there where my dream of owning a beautiful Siamese Fighting Fish began. My first aquarium was a typical community tank where many mistakes were made. But one thing I did right and that was not putting a Betta into it as well.
Many many years later I decided to fullfill me my dream and keep a small tank with one of those beautiful Siamese Fighting Fish inside. So I started to research. Forums were read, articles about fishkeeping were read, sources for Bettas were searched and then, for Christmas 2014 all the equipment was bought and installed.

I purchased my very first Betta! On the website of the European importer/transshipper for Aquabid. He was just a color code at first. I ordered a "A033 - Blue Red Halfmoon", the type I always liked the most! I didn't see a picture, just an example. Would he be as good looking as the example picture? Will he be better looking? Or worse? Will I love him if he's not exactly how I imagined him to look like? All this questions would be answered after an agonizing wait of 3 months.

On a cold March 1st 2015, I drove 100km (60 miles) to the town where the importer lives to pick up my Betta. My mom went along with me because she was curious and wanted to keep me company. We arrived, but the importer had stuck in traffic at the airport and so we had to wait for 4 hours or so until the importer arrived with several huge boxes full of fish for half of Europe.

After sorting everything out, my name was called out and I finally held this little bag wrapped in newspaper. I carefully removed the funny looking Thai newspaper and there he was! Sooo little and obviously a bit scared. And boy was he beautiful! Those colors! These fins! Those small puppy eyes that looked a little frightened at me probably saying:"Where the **** am I? And what happens with me next?"
My mom sat next to me and said:"I know a name for him. Leon." At first I found it stupid, but I am bad at name giving so I went along with it.

Arrived at home, Leon took his place in a 30l (8 gallons or so?, lol imperial system). His tank mates were Red Sakura shrimp and since Day One he never snapped even one of those shrimps! He was the most friendly Betta you can imagine. Even when a shrimplet sat right in front of him, he didn't touch it. On the contrary! I think he made an agreement with those shrimp by never eating the first few pellets I give him but instead waving them around with his fins until they sank on the ground where the shrimp ate them. It was not till then when he started to eat, only after some 4-6 pellets sunk for the shrimp to feed on.

After a while, I decided to get him some tank mates. I researched and came up with Corydoras habrosus (or "Salt and pepper catfish" as they're called in english. Funny name). Being the gentle and friendly being that Leon was, he never had a problem with them and all fish were happy in this tank.

Almost every morning, when I just have woken up and sat on the bed, he saw me and darted like a rocket to the front left corner of the tank dancing around and greeting me. That was so cute, I still can't believe that a fish could be like this. Recognizing me and dancing all around like a little puppy dog? How cute can one single fish be?
But behold! If I dared to first go to the bathroom instead of giving him his breakfast immediately, then he would get upset and would ignore me for the next few hours.

As the time went by, I tried to give Leon the best care I could. He always got varied food (flakes, pellets, frozen, live), he got a bigger and better filter, more live plants for hiding and leaning on them. Playing with a mirror didn't work with him, as he only would look at me like:"So what? What do you expect me to do? I know that I'm good looking! Don't need a mirror for that!" He became a great friend. I always looked at him when I was passing by his tank and was always worried about him getting sick or bored. When I was doing tank maintenance in the shrimp tank standing nearby, he came and watched me like he was cheking if I did everything correctly. His favourite food was frozen brine shrimp. Of course I would let them warm up first and then give him them. He couldn't get enough of them. He even broke his agrrement with his shrimp tank mates and stole the sunken pieces from them unntil nothing was left behind. He was always interesting to lookt at and it was a pleasure to have such a friendly gentle and smart Betta.

He had a healthy (at least I think so) life until March 2016. The most awful month I can remember. My computer monitor died, my smartphone died, my car broke, some financial problems occured (being a student).... and as if all that wasn't enough, Leon died on the night of March 15th. He was a bit lethargic the last few days, but at first I thought that would go away again. He got his favourite food (frozen brine shrimp), he got some more catappa leafs and I reduced the filter outflow so he would be more comfortable. But nothing helped. And then, this one night...I was watching a movie late at night and I got a feeling that I should look after Leon. Took the flashlight and I saw Leon, lying on the Java moss, not breathing, not moving.

He was with me only a year. I planned for at least one more year! Many sources tell Bettas get to 2-4 years. Leon was with me for 12 months plus the time he was in Thailand, make that 6 months (max). That makes him 18 months old. Not even close to 4 years! And not even 2 years! What did I do wrong? I don't know.
  • He had a heater (25-26C)
  • He had a big enough filter for his tank (Eheim Aquacompact 60)
  • I always did the weekly water changes of 30-50%(test kit had always 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, 15 nitrates when I checked)
  • He didn't have other fish that could stress him out
  • He didn't have any signs of sickness (until the last few days being lethargic)
Maybe, maybe my water was slightly to hard with 14KH and 7,5 PH. But my research told me it was still within the limits (though at the max) so I thought that this would be OK.
Maybe he died really only because of old age.
Maybe because being a possibly overbred/inbred Betta with shortened life expectancy.

I don't know.
All I know is that it was a great time with you, my little buddy. You showed me how awesome Bettas can be and left me wanting more. I would trade all the Bettas I can have and will have in the future for one more year with you, like I thought it would be. Please don't be mad at me and forgive me if I did something wrong. I have always tried to do my best to give you a great life. May you rest/swim in peace wherever you are now.






Leon died in the night of March 15th 2016. I was watching a movie. I will never watch this movie again. I did not have the heart to throw his body in the trash can or flush him. I'm 29 years old, but I felt the need to bury him as silly as it sounds. I buried a small fish behind my house under a tree. Leon was small compared to other pets, but he has a very big place in my heart. Forever.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 07:47 PM
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I teared up while reading this. I too just lost one of my bettas. He died on the 30th of March and looks somewhat identical to yours besides the tail type. I too couldn't stand to flush or trash his body, so I buried him out in the woods behind my house that morning. Leon sure was a beauty, and a year is a pretty long life for a splenden! He likely was 6 months or older when you first got him, which is a large portion of time for a betta. Sounds like he had a wonderful life it your care :)

May our lovely fishy friends swim in peace <3

Male Koi PKHM: Renji | Male Koi PK: Keanu | Male PKHM: Echo

Those who have passed on; Joseph (Seph) | Male HM King: Hideyoshi (Oshi) <3 | Male DTHM: Pastel
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 07:57 PM
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What a lovely fish he was! And such a nice tank you set up for him. May he swim in peace!


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Oh Crash, I'm sorry to hear that one of your Bettas died, too. And so recently. Sending you an e-hug right now (if such a thing exists)

Thanks ashleynicol3. I tried to set up a nice living quarter for him, the Corys and the shrimp.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 08:28 PM
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You have a beautiful tank, and I see that you are much much more prepared than 90% of people out there when they bought their first Bettas (me included). There is absolutely nothing you did that made him fall short of his second birthday. Unfortunately, sometimes, that's just how it is with fish. He lived a very happy life under your care, and I'm sure he knows he is loved.

18 days ago I lost my Plakat girl Seren, only one week shy of her fourth month home. She was give or take 4 months when I brought her home from a local fish store that bred their own Bettas. Out of the blue she developed dropsy, and within two nights she was gone. About a month prior she developed a cyst right under her mouth - which means she would not be able to eat say she did live to her golden years. It's a saddening mix of bad genes and bad luck. It would be really easy to just rehome all my remaining fish and give up the hobby entirely, but if it wasn't for Seren I would never find this community. If I never find this community, I would never learn everything I know now. The very least I can do to let her legacy live on is staying here, in the very place she led me to, and learn and learn and learn. So one day in the distant future I would be an actual Betta expert. I hope you won't give up either xx

I'm sorry for your loss.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 10:09 AM
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This was a lovely writeup.... we feel your pain and wonderment, something we will all go through. I agree, I would not be able to dispose of my little ones in the trash or flush...You did right by the little guy, thats what counts.

Life is unpredictable even under the best of circumstances.
Rest peacefully little one.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your kind words, LittleMan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivia27 View Post
You have a beautiful tank, and I see that you are much much more prepared than 90% of people out there when they bought their first Bettas (me included).
Thank you, Olivia. I did a lot of mistakes when I had my first aquarium as a teenager. There was no internet at that time to gather useful information (writing this I feel like I'm 100 years old ) and no one to be around for giving advice. So I too had my share of "being a complette noob and making a lot of mistakes".
This time I wanted to do everything right and be well prepared.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivia27 View Post
There is absolutely nothing you did that made him fall short of his second birthday. Unfortunately, sometimes, that's just how it is with fish. He lived a very happy life under your care, and I'm sure he knows he is loved.
Thanks. I really hope so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivia27 View Post
18 days ago I lost my Plakat girl Seren, only one week shy of her fourth month home. She was give or take 4 months when I brought her home from a local fish store that bred their own Bettas. Out of the blue she developed dropsy, and within two nights she was gone. About a month prior she developed a cyst right under her mouth - which means she would not be able to eat say she did live to her golden years.
I'm sorry to hear that. Battling with diseases is a whole different level. I wish Seren a wonderful afterlife (if such a thing exists) with no diseases and pain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olivia27 View Post
It's a saddening mix of bad genes and bad luck. It would be really easy to just rehome all my remaining fish and give up the hobby entirely, but if it wasn't for Seren I would never find this community. If I never find this community, I would never learn everything I know now. The very least I can do to let her legacy live on is staying here, in the very place she led me to, and learn and learn and learn. So one day in the distant future I would be an actual Betta expert. I hope you won't give up either xx

I'm sorry for your loss.
I considered that whole giving up thing, especially after I had lost fish in my other tanks due to diseases as well. In the aquarium hobby, one has to deal with death more often than one would like, I guess.

My next step after Leon died was to get a Reverse Osmosis filter so that way I can eliminate that one last thing that still bugs me: "was it the hard water that contributed to Leon's death (and furthermore my Boraras brigittae in my other tank)?" When my future Bettas and other fish still will die too early even in softer, more ideal water, then I will consider giving up. Watching loved fish die although you're doing everything by the book is something I don't need to have in my life.

Last edited by Captain Balu; 04-02-2016 at 10:17 AM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 11:29 AM
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I know this is a little late, but after you responding to my post I found this. I am sorry, looks like he had a beautiful habitat, I find it hard to think it was something you did.

I feel exactly the same, I could never flush them. I know when the time comes it will be buried under rocks in the local creek.
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