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Old 06-12-2012, 04:41 PM   #1 
Join Date: Jun 2012
My Betta me figure out what I did wrong :(

Hi Everyone,

I had Charlie for 2 weeks and he was my first Betta. Last night he passed away suddenly and I an stumped and shocked at how fast it happened.

Charlie resided in a 1.5 gallon unfiltered bowl which had gravel in the bottom and a silk flower that he loved to craddle himself in. I checked/cleaned his bowl daily making sure to remove any uneatten food and any poop. I also did a 75% water change every other day. I use tap water and condition it with Aqueon Betta Bowl. I also use an API kit to get PH around 7.

I went away for a couple of days and prior to going I gave Charlie a full water change, which kinda stressed him out. I used a net to move him into another container while I cleaned out his bowl and the gravel. The following morning he was swimming around but didnt want to eat anything prior to my trip.

I came home last night and went to feed him. He wasnt interested and was very twitchy. He was always very graceful. I decided to change his water. Again, I used a net to move him into a small container. Once I had him in the smaller container he began freaking out and I couldnt get him out of the net. He turned over on his back and was gasping and in seconds he was gone. I was totally taken off guarded and I'm still somewhat stunned by what happened.

What went wrong?? I'm certain i did something wrong. My wife thinks he may have gotten ill as she thought his gills looked enflamed, but I simply dont know. Before I get another I need to figure out what happened to Charlie so I make sure I dont repeat my mistake. I feel terrible as Charlie was very interactive and he grew on me. I really miss the little guy. Please help me figure this out

Thank you

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:52 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South Glens Falls NY
Betta's don't do good in bowls fist of all. they need a tank at LEAST 2.5 gallons and a heater.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #3 
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Location: NYC
A 1.5 gallon should be fine IME.

that sounds like poisoning. you didn't forget the water conditioner did you? Are there any chemicals that could have gotten in the water?
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #4 
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Ehh, don't hate me (though I do agree with you), but that wasn't really helpful, xShainax.

GFarra, I'm far from an expert but it could have been the stress/shock from such large water changes. Did you make sure the water was the same temperature? I lost my first fish (a goldfish) that way--I hadn't been paying attention and put him in water several degrees colder than what he'd just been in, and he just up and died (albeit not immediately).
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #5 
Join Date: May 2012
While Shainax is right and your betta needed a little more than 1.5 gallons, considering the amount of attention you payed to water quality I really don't think that was the cause :/. Plenty of very experienced betta keepers here think that it's fine (not IDEAL, but not horrible) to keep bettas in tanks of at least 1 gallon as long as you stay on top of water changes.
I'd still suggest getting a tank of AT LEAST 2.5 gallons, but you didn't know and you really did the right thing for a small container. So I'm not going to chastise you for that.

Did you have a heater? It could have been temperature fluctuation if you didn't. Bettas need a temp of between 76-82 degrees, preferably in the 78-80 range.
Also, betta bowl is not a very good water conditioner, unfortunately. I would suggest Seachem Prime for a container that small.
Are you absolutely SURE you added your conditioner the last time you changed your water? Because a sudden death like that usually indicates bad water quality. Also, if you didn't acclimate him properly back to the tank after a 100% water change, that would have done some harm as well.

I would also suggest not netting your fish for water changes. Instead, try to just catch him in a cup. Less stressful, and then he'll be in the same water chemistry that he was in the bowl.
Make sure the water you place him in while doing a change is the same as the water in his tank before you do a change, as well. Changing water conditions can lead to shock, not a good thing.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
The net may have hurt him a little. In future use a cup, as he won't be touching anything that could tear his fins or his slime coat. + 1 to CreativePotato about the temperature.

I also suggest aging your water a minimum of 24 hours + water conditioner to be doubly sure everything that could harm him is removed.

And, what is your city's pH from the tap? Bettas are surprisingly able to adapt to pH, and sometimes playing with pH does more harm than good. It's also very easy to make a slight mistake when doing pH adjustments with a chemical or something, so as long as your pH is between 8.5 and 5.5 I wouldn't worry too much. I do believe river stones help to naturally lower the pH a bit, same with driftwood though. Double check that though. Aging the water will too. I know my pH is naturally about 8.0 though, and he's surprisingly okay with it. :)
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:26 PM   #7 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Thanks everyone for the quick replies. Im certain the water i put him in was treated with Betta Bowl since it was leftover from the earlier change. I also knew to never use any household cleaners around his bowl.

I dont have a heater in the bowl. I suppose the water temp was different enough to send him into shock. I do plan to maie an investment in a 5 gallon tank with a filter. Now that i am aware that water temp is critical i will get one that can house a heater as well.

Appreciate the advise on the water conditioner


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Old 06-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #8 
Join Date: May 2012
Pretty much any 5 gal will house a heater :3. So you don't need to worry too much about that!
Sorry about your loss, but remember that at least Charlie didn't die in a pet store cup, and you did better by him than a lot of first-time betta owners do. Unfortunately pet stores don't do a lot to inform you that bettas need space and a heater, which tragically means that a lot of people aren't educated about this...
You did the right thing coming here though, and I'm glad it didn't discourage you from betta ownership!
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:37 PM   #9 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: SoFla
My minimum is 1 gallon, and with partial water changes almost daily. More ideal would be 2.5 gallons, but what you've got is fine. Its more of an opinion, but the consensus around here is that the absolute bare minimum is a gallon.
I would never suggest using a net, I (personally) don't like them and I feel they stress they fish out more than needed. Do you know the temp of the water?
For water changes always use water conditioner, like Prime. There is no need to age water if you use water conditioner. Also, since bettas are a topical fish, a heater is needed to keep the temp between 76-82 F. A combo of different things could have attributed to his death.
If your thinking about keeping another betta in the same bowl, make sure to clean it thoroughly. Any gravel should either be tossed(preferred) or boiled(be careful if you choose to do this). And a solution of vinegar and water should be used to clean the tank.

@ElBeau: My water PH is 8.0 as well. :)

Just saw the betta bowl comment, betta bowl KILLED my brand new gorgeous yellow VT when I was acclimating him into the tank. I do not recommend that stuff. Ever. It doesn't work.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #10 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
I think the size of the tank is fine. You seem to know what you're doing as far as water quality goes! I think some people have had adverse reactions with the "betta bowl" so ditch that, it might have just not worked. Aging water in bottles for a day or two is good because toxic chlorine gas evaporates. (I age my water for the snails)
Good luck!!
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