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Old 08-04-2012, 03:18 AM   #1 
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Betta Died just ONE day after buying him!!!

My son and I (he's 3 and 1/2) owned our first betta for almost 3 years, so when "OhNo" passed away due to old age last week, I decided to purchase my son a new fish. Now we had no problems with our previous Royal Blue Splenden, so this time around i figured we'd have no problem again and "Bubbles"(a red splenden) would live a long healthy happy life.

Yeah, didn't happen.
We bought him from out local pet store (Pets Unlimited) August 2nd, brought him home and he seemed fine, Active, he ate well and was fairly interactive. A day later he had gone completely down hill(the very next day, august 3rd) and when we had gone to feed him first thing yesterday morning, I noticed that he had this white cottony film that coated most of his back fin and part of his body near the edge of his fin along with two white strands that were attached to the ends of his "beard" .

So i did a complete 100% water change (He was living in a 1.5-2 gallon tank with a filter, no heater since our previous Betta did completely fine without one and we do use water conditioner) and did a bit of research to figure out what was wrong. When i did the water change, I had him in out second much smaller holding tank i use when we do water changes, i noticed the greying of his back fin, which i knew was fin rot. So i did a treatment of AQ Salt to see if that would help clear things up. He wouldn't eat, He would hide in the corner where the filter was and was pretty lethargic. As the day grew on, he seemed to be getting worse, the white filmy substance was larger in size in the evening when i last checked on him for the night before heading to bed. When i woke up this morning, he was dead.

I even wrote to the pet store yesterday telling them how disappointed i was that they weren't checking their fish regularly for any signs or symptoms that one of their fish could be sick. Luckily, unlike the employee's in store, they had great customer service and were actually educated about Betta's, Apparently the Division manager went down to the location and had any cleanliness/health issues cleared up. I am able to bring the body back to the store and have him replaced with a new fish, but I'm just so disappointed that we only had him for one day. I'm hoping to have him replaced before my son comes home because he doesn't understand death yet.

I don't think i did anything wrong??

Attached photo is what we woke up to yesterday morning.

Last edited by MizMelis; 08-04-2012 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:31 AM   #2 
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it's slightly blurry, i don't have the best camera, But you can kinda see the white filmy stuff near the back of his tail and engulfing his tail fin.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:40 AM   #3 
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It was a fungus which with a betta that was at a pet store, will get sick because of stress, much easier.

Invest in a heater, bettas are hardy and can live without one, but they are sluggish and are more likely to get a disease, A betta kept at 78 degrees or close to that will be way more active and playful. Get a small heater like a 25 watt tetra heater.
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Old 08-04-2012, 03:57 AM   #4 
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Thanks, I wasn't sure at all what it was, I just took him out of his tank and into a clear plastic bag with some of the tank water and he's now sitting on my counter and after a much closer inspection of him, he looked like he also had Ich (although at the time i took the photo's to send to the division manager, he only looked like he had the Fin Rot, along with that white filmy substance and i didn't see anything that looked like sugar crystals or grains of salt at the time).

This was only our second Betta so i was slightly stressed that it might have been something i did. We use Nutrafin Aqua PLus tap water conditioner which was supposed to reduce stress attributed to transportation, and acclimatization. We also feed our betta BettaMin, specialized just for betta's that has a color enhancer by Tetra. We also have 3 different items for the tank, that i will change out every once in a while so that our betta wouldn't get too bored and start tail biting.

I've learned a lot about betta's in the last couple of years, but i because this is the first time we had encountered health problems i didn't know a whole lot about about illnesses that they could have until now.
Is it more common for a betta to get sick if it does come from a pet store ?

I'm really hoping to get him replaced before my son comes home at the end of the weekend with my parents.

Just a quick edit- When i was e-mailing back and for with the division manager, I told him that I noticed that the employee (who was cleaning out the Betta's tiny holding tanks) was not using any kind of water conditioner, which as far as i know, is vital to keep stress down and so they don't get sick from any kind of metals or chlorine in the water.

I'm wondering if i should bring in my own Water Conditioner in with me when i have him replaced for the ride home??

Last edited by MizMelis; 08-04-2012 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:48 AM   #5 
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Sadly, that is pretty common in most stores like Petco. You didn't do anything wrong. He was sick when you got him

When you get a replacement, look for the following:

1) you want to get one that is alert and aware of your presence. its kinda hard to be happy and active in a small cup that is probably full of ammonia but when you pick up the cup, the betta should respond to it by moving. You don't want to get one that does not move
2) check the gill area - make sure they gills are not rapidly moving
3) No Fuzzies - that can be fungus or columnaris. Columnaris is just nasty and can kill in a few hours.
4) No white spots that look like salt. It's a parasite called Ick.
5) clamped fins. This is not always a sign of sickness and can be caused by poor water quality/high ammonia. However if it is sick, this is usually the first symptom.
6) Torn fins - most likely caused by fin rot and is almost always treated by clean water but it can also be a symptom of something more serious. Ot it can be from them bitting off their fins or ammonia burns
7) THE LOOK. It's when they look right at you with their little fins flapping as if to say "Please take me".... When you see THE LOOK, you'll know I can never resist THE LOOK...probably why I have 16 bettas

yes, ALWAYS use some kind of water conditioner. If not that can get heavy metal poisioning or cholorine poisioning. It wouldnt hurt to put a drop or two into the cup for the ride home.

Not to be a nag but a heater is a really good idea. They are so much more vibrant in color and more active when they are at their ideal temp (76-82). Plus, he would be much happier to not be cold :)

Is it more common for a betta to get sick if it does come from a pet store ?
Yes. The improper care - ie, no water changes and cold (room temp) water can compromize their immune system so they more easily get sick. Also, alot of times - high ammonia weakens them as well. They are pretty hardy but if the ammonia level is high enough, they will die. I think alot of the bettas in shops are not actually sick with a bacteria/parasites but are suffering from high ammonia levels which can only be removed from their cups via water changes. Even with a filter, you still need to do water changes every week.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-04-2012 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:09 AM   #6 
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lol thanks Tiki! "Bubbles (I was totally over ruled by my 3 yr old as to what to name him, My pick was Sergeant pepper lol), as far as i know looked really healthy for being a pet store fish. Our previous Betta "OhNo" (A gorgeous royal blue, who never really flared his fins, as far as i know, but he left bubble nests, so i know he was a happy fish) was a gift to my son from my sister on his second christmas, so I never had any experience buying, so as a technically first time buyer, but not a first time owner, I did do a bit of research to make sure i knew what to look for when buying him.

I must have missed something when checking him over, since this morning after posting the thread I fished him out of the tank and got a closer inspection, so on top of the fin rot he had(Which had escalated really quickly within one day), and the fungus(which until now i didn't know what it was), I finally noticed the white grainy specs all over his body that wasn't there yesterday when i took the photo's, which i now know as Ich. So I'm making a guess that he wasn't as healthy as i thought he was when we first bought him.

Thank you so much for more detailed information on what to look for, when i do get him replaced(which i'm hoping to today). I'm hoping to get the same color so that i don't have to explain to my 3 yr old why "bubbles" is no longer with us, not necessarily to lie to him, but he is only 3, so right now it's much harder to explain why his fish got sick and died.

Now before i go ahead and get him replaced in the next day or two, Is there a really safe way to clean out the tank to get rid of any lingering bacteria from the health issues he had ? I know i can't use soap or anything because as far as i've read it will kill them, but other then hot water, I'm not sure of how i can really clean it properly so that our next Betta doesn't catch what Bubbles had.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #7 
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I have a male dog named Bubbles so yeah.... The breeder told me he was a female but Nope

Alot of people say to use hot water and vinager or a mild bleach solution. Just make sure you get them both washed out of the tank.

Red Veiltails are pretty common so you should have no problem getting Bubbles the second.

Oooh and be sure to slowly acclimate him to his new water - not only because of the different temps but the chemistry of the water might be different as well.

you may want to consider picking up Aquarium salt (NOT table salt) and unscened Epsom salt. Alot of basic fish issues can be solved with one or the other.

Another side note: If the filter is too strong, you don't really need it for tanks under 5 gallons. Over 5 gallons, it worth it because of the beneficial bacteria that will colonize the filter but tanks under 5 gallons usually can't support the cycle..well, some say it can others say it can't. More info on the cycle here:
You would do 2 water changes a week without a filter- one 50% and one 100% with gravel cleaning to get out excess food and poops.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-04-2012 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:37 AM   #8 
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I do plan on buying a heater this time around since it gets quite cool in the mornings and in the evenings this time of year. I've always done weekly water changes even though we have a filter, washed his gravel off in just hot water and wiped out the tank with a clean cloth before filling it back up and returning the gravel to the tank along with his "Tiki" type cave guy.

I have bleach, but i don't have vinegar. The bleach is just regular Ultra Clorox Bleach. I'm slightly wary of using even just a tiny bit because i'd rather not kill the replacement fish lol. Would just boiling hot water work, or at least would the temperature be high enough to kill off any bacteria ?

I'll definitely pick up both kinds of salt just to be on the safe side.

I'm hoping my neighbor will give me a lift to Pets Unlimited so that i can replace the fish today (I'll post photo's of our new fishy if he does)

Acclimation, is that when your supposed to put the bag(they put the fish into plastic "bags" for transportation) into the tank so that the water in the bag gets to be the temperature of the tank ? It's what we've done in the past, but I have no idea how to acclimate them to the tank water ?
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:47 AM   #9 
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I'm going to have to read this thread more carefully later.

Just pay very close attention to the bettas before you buy them. Ask the employee to change the water for you if they're keeping them in the blue water.

I took plenty of time when I was checking them out because most of them were stressed and I wanted to make sure I choose one I liked. I've bought 9 girls last month & all are very healthy.

Earlier this week, I stopped by a large PS store by my friend's house and they had over 100-130 bettas. 40 girls to chose from, but most were not to my liking and the one that did catch my eye, had some sort of cloudy fungus/stress coat looking thing on it. So I put all 40 back nice & neat & left the store.

Hot water does not sanitize unless it's at a certain temperature, and it has to soak in HOT water for at least 15-20 minutes if I'm correct.

That sanitizing temperature will melt/warp damage most tanks.

  • That's why a chemical sanitizing solution is recommended versus the hot water method. It's much quicker, but does have some procedures you need to follow to make sure once you're done sanitizing the tank/container, that it is safe again to house your fish.

Last edited by MSG; 08-04-2012 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:47 AM   #10 
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I know Pets Unlimited... they take HORRID care of their pets. I got my Scuzi from there. I can almost guarantee he was sick when you got him. I've gotten several sick fish from there, and don't shop there anymore.
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