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Old 07-16-2012, 11:22 AM   #1 
tngirl92
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Unhappy Sad/Guilty Over Betta's Death - what happened?

Hi all. I'm new here and I guess I joined a little too late because my betta died last night. I had been tossing around the idea of getting a betta for about a year now. I used to keep them in the little bowls as a kid (bad, I know now) but I hadn't kept fish in several years. I'm a college student and having a little buddy on my desk was really appealing to me. My boyfriend, who also keeps bettas, takes me with him to browse Petsmart often and when we went last week I found a fantastic green betta in the fish section. I have always only seen red and blue bettas at Petsmart, so it seemed like a great time to get a more unique fish and start a new aquarium. I wanted to treat my betta well and get the biggest tank I could afford. I went with a glass 2.5 gallon. I treated my tap water with water conditioner and floated my betta for about an hour to get him used to the temperature and look of the tank. I know now that I should have cycled it first but it any case I let the little guy loose and he immediately started acting funny, floating only on the top, sometimes on his side, and struggling to swim down towards the bottom. Assuming it was a problem with his swim bladder, I fasted him for a day, fed him a fourth of a microwaved frozen pea, and also got a tank heater to help perk him up. With the water at eighty degrees he seemed to get healthier within a day and was swimming normally and accepting food. I also realized after researching that putting him in a totally clean tank could have harmed him and a Petsmart associate recommended a bacteria solution to add. I did so, and didn't notice anymore problems with his swimming, though he did typically continue to stay near the top of the tank. About two days after all this, I realized his water was clouding up very quickly and I knew from reading online that getting a filter might provide the best quality of life for my betta. I went back to Petsmart, got the filter recommended by the associate, and installed it. I was pleased by how quickly the water cleared up and my betta fish even started to build a bubble nest at the top.

I am really good about checking on my fish. I have read that it's risky to leave a heater running in such a small tank and I didn't want to boil the little guy so I would set alarms during the night to wake up and check on him. I'm really dedicated to my pets and sensitive about them getting sick or dying (my mom says I've always been "tenderhearted"). When I came home yesterday, he was doing fine, swimming happily and making bubbles, but I noticed he was no longer eating. He would try to consume his fish pellets but the immediately seemed to involuntarily pop out of his mouth. Thinking they were perhaps too big for him to eat, I tried crushed up betta flakes but he wasn't interested in those either. Chalking it up to not being hungry, I let the little guy be for a few hours. When I came back, he was stuck in the bottom part of his filter totally lifeless. I felt awful about perhaps buying a filter that killed my fish- like seriously crying all night long. I'm a really emotional girl, especially about innocent little creatures that I feel responsibility for. I read online this morning that a healthy fish hardly ever gets caught in the filter.

Just to help me get some closure and decide whether or not to forego fishkeeping for good, what do you think happened to my little buddy? Was it most likely that he died before he got caught? I would like to think that he didn't feel any pain. I have this hideous image of him stuck in the filter and struggling to swim to surface to breathe and slowly suffocating. :( Ny boyfriend recently got a betta from another local Petsmart that died unexpectedly a few days ago- and he takes VERY good care of his fish. Is it just common for them to be sick when bought from a chain store? I noticed my little guy floating at the top of his cup when I bought him whereas the other bettas usually rest at the bottom, but I thought he was just energetic. What went wrong?
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:49 AM   #2 
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Welcome to the forum and sorry you had such a hard time with your new Betta.....Don't beat yourself up over this and please don't give up on the hobby......Sometimes we get sick fish to start with and no matter what we do the fish will die.......By the sounds of things you did a great job and did your best....

Your 2.5gal tank is fine for long term keeping of the long fin male....with or without the filter-IMO/E-filters are optional for the long fin males especially in the smaller tanks due to the water current causing fin damage and stress.

While the 2.5gal filtered tank can establish the nitrogen cycle-due to limited surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize the cycle isn't always stable and twice weekly water changes are still needed....

In a 2.5gal unfiltered tank without live plants-water changes of twice weekly....1-50% and 1-100% to maintain water quality...

In 2.5gal with a filter-twice weekly 50%....

You may or may not need a heater-but its a good idea to have one on hand....your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.....

The only chemical additive you need is a good dechlorinator that covers-chlorine and chloramines.....

When you first get your new Betta be sure and acclimate properly to both temp and chemistry by adding small amount of the tank water to the holding container over 10-15min....You also want to acclimate like this with 100% water changes....

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals.....

Most important....Enjoy and don't over stress yourself.....you always have us to help when needed.....
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:51 AM   #3 
lelei
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I am so sorry to hear about your lil fishy:(
I just want to add, that it seems that eveything that you did do was fine, However, I really don't beleive a filter is necessary in a 2.5 gal tank, as much as regular water changes, that is the most important thing, and if you change the water, and keep it clean 50% 2x a week and 100 or 85 once a week, it will be fine, I have been doing it that way for the past 2 months with my first fish..in a 3 gal, and he is a happy, healthy lil guy..and now he is in a 5 gal, unfiltered, and he is thriving, and I do water changes every week at 75%..I really am uncertain about filters,

I read more and more horror stories regarding fish getting caught in them..so if you are going to do it again, unless you have a 10 gal tank I would not use a filter..Just M/O:)
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:13 PM   #4 
Kenny G
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It's could have been any number of things. I have read many posts in this forum where health fish have gotten caught in filters and sadly died. Some filters are very strong and often you have to add sponges or do other things to them to slow down the suction. I brought my last betta from PetSmart a few weeks ago and he is doing fine. I always observe the bettas for a few minutes to see which ones are active and which ones just say in one spot. I had picked up a few betta fish bowls and looking for signs of sickness or spots. Many places do not take good care betta fish so you could have brought one that had health issues that you didn't know about. Just know that for the time you had your betta you did your best to provide a good home. I hope this will not discourage you opening your heart and home to another betta in need. I only wish more people were as caring as you. God Bless.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:20 PM   #5 
Toaster11
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I bought a 1.5 gallon tank from petco that came with a small filter specifically designed for that tank. My male betta seems to enjoy his surroundings (bubble nests) and he swims by the filter all the time with no problems. Actually found him wresting next to it on the cord. Is this all okay? Seems to be working fine so far. He is very energetic and seems happy.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:24 PM   #6 
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<---- That is actually a decent picture of my filter in the tank. I have that castle right in front of the filter's current so maybe that is disrupting it?

Last edited by Toaster11; 07-16-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #7 
Kenny G
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It looks like you have the Whisper 3I filter. I had the same filter in my old 1.5 gallon tank. I always kept it close to the ground/gravel so yours will be fine as well. The suction on that is great to clean the water but not strong enough to pull your betta down.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:04 AM   #8 
teeneythebetta
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It sounds As if he was Sick before you got him.
Before getting a new betta, clean your tank & decor with a vinegar water solution, in case whatever your betta had is contagious.

Do not beat yourself up. My first two bettas died because I didn't use water conditioner, not to mention they were in 1/2 gal cold bowl. Do I feel guilty? Of course! It was my fault they died!! But the thing that makes me feel better is looking at my current betta in her spacious 10 gal (soon to be divided, so she will have 5 gal) heated tank. She is super active and thriving with the care I give her
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:52 AM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny G View Post
It looks like you have the Whisper 3I filter. I had the same filter in my old 1.5 gallon tank. I always kept it close to the ground/gravel so yours will be fine as well. The suction on that is great to clean the water but not strong enough to pull your betta down.
Thanks you made me feel way better. After reading all of this I was getting worried.
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