My first betta fish, Crumpet, is gone. He disappeared. I can only assume he died and was consumed by the shrimp in the tank.
I had only had him for a week and a half. He was in a ten-gallon tank with three Amano shrimp and one blue mystery snail. The tank is filtered and heated. The temperature was steady. I tested the water every day and the pH was always the same, there was no ammonia, no nitrites, no nitrates. He ate well but not too much. He seemed very happy and healthy. He was purchased at a local fish store (NOT Petsmart or Petco) that has an excellent reputation. I have never seen sick or dead fish in their tanks. I tested the water my betta came home in and all levels seemed perfect. I acclimated my betta very slowly following all the advice I'd read.
This morning he was acting normal. He had no symptoms of any of the common diseases I have read about. A few hours later I didn't see him and thought he was hiding in the plants. When I opened the lid and he didn't come swimming up I got nervous, but he was a small young betta and I still thought he was hiding. I moved a few of the plants and he still didn't come out. I took every plant and rock formation out one at a time until all that was left in the tank was the substrate (Tahitian moon sand), the three shrimp, and the snail. Crumpet was not in the tank.
He did not jump out of the tank. Although there were small spots on either side of the filter where he could conceivably have fit, he was not on the desk or the floor around the desk.
He was not sucked into the filter. I took it out, took it apart, rinsed it out, and did not find any sign of him. It is a very mild filter, anyway.
He may have been sick, but as I said, he was acting completely normal last night and this morning. He had no signs of velvet, dropsy, ich, fin rot, etc. He was eating and swimming normally.
The shrimp, who are normally very active, are just hanging out in a plant right now. Perhaps they are full from eating my betta? If my betta died and the shrimp ate him would there be any change in the water? I immediately tested the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels and all were exactly the same as they were when I tested them before going to bed last night.
I'm really very upset right now. Even though I'd only had him for a week and a half I had become very attached to him. He was such a funny and personable little guy. I feel terrible. At least if I'd known he was sick I wouldn't be so surprised. If I'd found his body on the floor or something I'd have known he jumped out. Right now I don't even know for sure what happened. I feel horribly guilty. Also, I'm nervous about putting anything else in the tank without knowing what happened to him.
Please, if you have any suggestions, thoughts, or advice I'm happy to hear it. I really felt like I did everything I could to make Crumpet happy and healthy in a really nice environment. I feel awful. I miss him already.