I'm just curious though, what kind of lid do you have for your tank? Is it open enough to let fresh air in? Bettas breathe air rather than get their oxygen from their water. (You probably already knew that, but I just want to be thorough.)
Also, did you notice any signs of illness, like clamped fins, fuzzy spots, bloating, or a rust or gold colored dust on your fish, or any change of coloring? Those are all signs you need to look for quite often to keep your fish healthy.
Thanks for the reply. The unconditioned water is probably what did it the first time for sure. For my second betta, I definitely conditioned any water that came near him.
Would leaving the water to sit for 2-3 days affect the water that was conditioned? The aquarium shop owner (who seemed very knowledgeable) told me that he refills his gallon jugs with water, treats it, and leaves it for the next time he changes his water. He said that this was preferable to treating the water immediately before dumping into the tank.
My boyfriend told me that by the end, it seemed like Florence was having trouble breathing and he would hang out by the top of the tank and then later at the very bottom. I don't know what that means.
The timing of it makes me think the culprit was the water change. I rinsed out anything that would come into contact with the tank. Do you think this process stressed the fish out?
I can post a photo that's 2 days old. I didn't notice anything odd, other than the fact that he didn't really "flare" often. He was a VT. I didn't notice any odd rust spots, bloating, or anything white or fuzzy. (I saw one betta at the first shop with fuzzy white strings on his forehead. Did not get him, although I felt bad for him.)
I actually don't have a lid, and kept the water level a little lower (water volume was still above a 4g). I was shopping around for a hood with a light so I can get some real plants. The tank was located in a place with low light (the light in the room is a dimmer in the dining room).
I refill my gallon jugs a day or more before I'm going to clean his tank. They are old water gallon jugs you get at the store. If there was ever anything other than water in the jugs it could have contaminants that would kill your fish. I also never put anything in her tank that has been washed with soap. The soap residue can kill your fish as well.
When they hang out at the top, and are gasping for air, they are usually sick. Ammonia poisoning can cause them to do that as well, but it sounds like you were checking for those levels.
From your pictures, it doesn't appear that your fish was sick, although, his dorsal fin seems to be folded down a bit, which could be an indicator that he was sick, But there are no other physical signs that I can see. Someone with a little more expertise might see something else and can give you a better answer.
In the meantime, double check everything in your setup. If anything may have come into contact with any sort of contaminant, such as dish soap, hand soap, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, etc., that may be your culprit.
I guess there is always that possibility that there is soap residue on my hands. I don't use hand sanitizer or lotion, so that's out. Otherwise, I just rinse everything in the tank with hot water. I use a glass bottle that had fancy water/spring water originally in it and an old wine bottle that I used to refrigerate filtered water in.
Hmm... Did you use a towel to wipe down your equipment, plants, etc before putting them in? They usually recommend using a paper towel to dry tank related things because the laundry detergent in the towel can be harmful? What about the wine bottle, how long has it been since there was wine was in it?
I know I'm reaching here, just trying to help you find an answer. Like I said before though, it could have been an internal illness, and has nothing to do with you at all. Did you notice if your fish pooed at all? If there was anything white and stringy in the bottom of the aquarium, that's usually a sign of internal parasites.
The bottle didn't have wine in it for a while, but that would be the only thing that would have at one point come into contact with any soap. (Although it had been rinsed more than a few times and used for water - and I didn't taste any soap.) There is a slim chance that could have been it... especially given the circumstance that this happened after the water change.
Also, I didn't add any decorations after I got the fish. (I was shopping around, but didn't get the chance to purchase anything new.)
I didn't see anything white and stringy when I changed the water after he died. I don't have any way of knowing, but he hasn't eaten anything - I think since he came home with me. This seems pretty unlikely.
It could have been that he was ill and the water changed stressed him out, but I do think that I probably brought in contaminants somehow.
I tried to call the shop and explained what happened. The shop owner said it could have been the stress zyme I treated the water with prior to putting it in the tank. I could have sworn that the original guy who sold it to me, told me to treat the water with both stress coat and stress zyme, but when I called the guy on the phone told me that if the bacteria has no where to live/nothing to feed off of, it will die and contaminate the water. Does that seem likely? That makes me so angry. :(
Yesterday I ran an errand and stopped by Petco and the Betta fish there seemed so weakened. I wanted to rescue one, but I don't think I can handle another death after a few days. I think that getting a fish might be animal cruelty... the way things are looking.