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Old 09-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #1 
isa627
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Betta Issues

I always had betta fish growing up and it took YEARS for them to die. So when my daughter asked for a fish I decided on a betta. The guy at the store even said they are the hardest to kill. We bought a 1.5 gallon tank that came with a filter. The guy said to not use the filter or a light as betta's don't like it or require it. When I had them I always used a filter and light, but figured if it wasn't needed then ok we'll listen. The tank is 1.5 gallons and he has the usual rocks, a cave, and a fake plant. This fish did great for several months then developed a white film every day on the top of his tank. I did 100% water changes several times, but it kept returning. I read that it could be due to overfeeding so we went to every other day vs. every day. We went on a 3 days trip and I fed him before we left. When we came back he was dead! A week later we bought a new betta. The tank was cleaned well, water added, conditioner added. Everything seemed to be doing great then a week later...he died too! Another 2 weeks later we are on our third betta. The tank was again cleaned very well, new water added, conditioner added, and I let the water sit for several hours then floated him before putting him in. I even bought PH test strips which it appeared the water was fine although I admit I was confused as to if I was reading right. I have done 50% water changes every 3 days and each time add a bit of conditioner to ensure everything adjusts well. I am feeding every other day and watch to make sure he eats. Once he appears done I scoop out what's left (he gets blood worms or flakes). Tonight I went in and he was sort of floating awkwardly by the side of the tank and his fins look almost all matted together rather than being flowy and pretty. I tapped the tank and he did move, but seems lethargic. I just don't know what to do. Like I said, I never had issues before. Do I just need to spring for a better tank with a filter and light or am I actually starving him to death? HELP!!! $16 per fish I can't keep killin these things.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:46 PM   #2 
MSG
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What kind of betta are you buying @ that price?

  • Dragonscale Halfmoon Betta?
  • Dragonscale Delta Betta?

Your giant paragraph was very difficult to read.

  • Are you cleaning your tanks out with soap/bleach/vinegar after the fish dies?
  • What did you do with the filter that came with the tank?
  • You don't have a heater for your tank, correct?
  • You're feeding flakes & worms?
  • What brand flakes & worms?
  • 50% w change every 3 days?
  • Never 100% water change?



Betta Issues
I always had betta fish growing up and it took YEARS for them to die. So when my daughter asked for a fish I decided on a betta. The guy at the store even said they are the hardest to kill.

We bought a 1.5 gallon tank that came with a filter. The guy said to not use the filter or a light as betta's don't like it or require it. When I had them I always used a filter and light, but figured if it wasn't needed then ok we'll listen. The tank is 1.5 gallons and he has the usual rocks, a cave, and a fake plant.

This fish did great for several months then developed a white film every day on the top of his tank. I did 100% water changes several times, but it kept returning. I read that it could be due to overfeeding so we went to every other day vs. every day. We went on a 3 days trip and I fed him before we left.

When we came back he was dead! A week later we bought a new betta. The tank was cleaned well, water added, conditioner added. Everything seemed to be doing great then a week later...he died too! Another 2 weeks later we are on our third betta.

The tank was again cleaned very well, new water added, conditioner added, and I let the water sit for several hours then floated him before putting him in. I even bought PH test strips which it appeared the water was fine although I admit I was confused as to if I was reading right.

I have done 50% water changes every 3 days and each time add a bit of conditioner to ensure everything adjusts well. I am feeding every other day and watch to make sure he eats. Once he appears done I scoop out what's left (he gets blood worms or flakes).

Tonight I went in and he was sort of floating awkwardly by the side of the tank and his fins look almost all matted together rather than being flowy and pretty. I tapped the tank and he did move, but seems lethargic. I just don't know what to do. Like I said, I never had issues before. Do I just need to spring for a better tank with a filter and light or am I actually starving him to death? HELP!!! $16 per fish I can't keep killin these things.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:00 PM   #3 
Perseusmom
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I think a bigger tank with a filter would be better and also get some New Life Spectrum Betta pellets if you can find them or another type of pellets, they are just better and easier to feed than flakes.Also you need a heater cause a Betta needs a water temp of 76-82 to stay healthy they are a topical fish.

As for water changes for a 1.5 gallon you should do at least 50 percent every other day and one 100 percent a week, not to sure on that since I have a 5 gallon but I am sure someone will have a better idea and how often and how much water change you should be doing and without a filter you will need to do more. Do not listen to those sales people they do not know proper care for Bettas.

I bet the Betta you have now is cold cause that is how they act when they are cold, get a heater made for his size tank. When you do water changes make sure the water is as close as possible to the same temp of water he is in to avoid shock. For how much to feed him I dont really know since I use only pellets and bloodworms are more of a treat and should be given only once or twice a week. If you get pellets you can give him 3 in the morning 3 at night. Good luck !
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #4 
isa627
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Thumbs down Answers

Sorry if my post was hard to read. Was trying to just get info across before putting my daughter to bed and did not know I should post in a certain fashion. My answers to your questions are below.
  1. I am unsure what the first one honestly; however, the second one was a halfmoon, and the third is a crowntail.
  2. The tanks have been cleaned with soap and warm water each time the fish die. I always rinse very well and sift through the rocks several times to ensure no other debri is left. Then the water sits for several hours with conditioner before I let the fish back in. I keep the little containers from the pet store and float him in the new water still in his container first to ensure he is used to it.
  3. We hooked up the filter when we had the first fish, but he avoided swimming by it and isolated himself to one side of the tank. After that we just put it away and didn't hook it up again. I think with the type of filter and that small of a tank it just caused too much movement in the water.
  4. No heater as I've never had one before with betta fish prior and did not realize it was necessary (yes I know I could have read on it, but like I said I've always done well with betta fish before)
  5. I feed the flakes every other day and the worms once a week as I didn't know if they were appropriate for every day feeding. I have pellets, but haven't used them as the fish didn't seem to really like them and they wouldn't eat them. With my betta I had when I was growing up I always did pellets and never had issues.
  6. All my food is the BettaMin brand
  7. 50% water changes every 3 days is correct, yes
  8. I always change the water 100% after 2 weeks...but the fish aren't making it that long so we just don't get to that point
We have several other fish in our household (not betta) and we do so well with them. As I said several times I had betta prior and they seemed so easy to care for. I used to add salt to the water...is that something beneficial I should start doing again? Advice is appreciated.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
  • Dragonscale Halfmoon Betta?
  • Dragonscale Delta Betta?
Your giant paragraph was very difficult to read.

  • Are you cleaning your tanks out with soap/bleach/vinegar after the fish dies?
  • What did you do with the filter that came with the tank?
  • You don't have a heater for your tank, correct?
  • You're feeding flakes & worms?
  • What brand flakes & worms?
  • 50% w change every 3 days?
  • Never 100% water change?


Betta Issues
I always had betta fish growing up and it took YEARS for them to die. So when my daughter asked for a fish I decided on a betta. The guy at the store even said they are the hardest to kill.

We bought a 1.5 gallon tank that came with a filter. The guy said to not use the filter or a light as betta's don't like it or require it. When I had them I always used a filter and light, but figured if it wasn't needed then ok we'll listen. The tank is 1.5 gallons and he has the usual rocks, a cave, and a fake plant.

This fish did great for several months then developed a white film every day on the top of his tank. I did 100% water changes several times, but it kept returning. I read that it could be due to overfeeding so we went to every other day vs. every day. We went on a 3 days trip and I fed him before we left.

When we came back he was dead! A week later we bought a new betta. The tank was cleaned well, water added, conditioner added. Everything seemed to be doing great then a week later...he died too! Another 2 weeks later we are on our third betta.

The tank was again cleaned very well, new water added, conditioner added, and I let the water sit for several hours then floated him before putting him in. I even bought PH test strips which it appeared the water was fine although I admit I was confused as to if I was reading right.

I have done 50% water changes every 3 days and each time add a bit of conditioner to ensure everything adjusts well. I am feeding every other day and watch to make sure he eats. Once he appears done I scoop out what's left (he gets blood worms or flakes).

Tonight I went in and he was sort of floating awkwardly by the side of the tank and his fins look almost all matted together rather than being flowy and pretty. I tapped the tank and he did move, but seems lethargic. I just don't know what to do. Like I said, I never had issues before. Do I just need to spring for a better tank with a filter and light or am I actually starving him to death? HELP!!! $16 per fish I can't keep killin these things.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:41 AM   #5 
OrangeAugust
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A number of people around here would say not to clean the tanks with soap. Any soap residue left could be dangerous to the fish. It's better to clean out the tanks with water and a bit of vinegar.
Also, you definitely need a heater. Being too cold couldn't have killed them in that short amount of time, but besides making them comfortable, warm water keeps them healthy. Water that is too cool will lower their immune system.
Try feeding pellets instead of flakes. The pellets are more nutritious. Bettas can be picky at first if you change their food, but he should start eating them within a few days. You should also be feeding him every day, with one fasting day per week. It's easier to control how much they're eating if you're giving them the pellets. I always feed my bigger betta 2 pellets in the morning and 2 at night. My other betta is smaller so I have to feed him the smaller pellets to fit in his mouth, so I have to give him more of those. I put one in the tank at a time and make sure they eat it before I give him the second, which I also make sure they eat. Then you don't have any extra food clouding up the water.
Also, get a liquid test kit. Those strips are inaccurate. I found mine at Petco in the pond section.
I think you should use the aquarium salt only if the fish is having a problem like fin rot, and you shouldn't be treating with the salt for more than 10 days in a row.
Anyway, I couldn't tell you why so many fish died in such a short period of time, but I can say that to keep them healthy you need a heater, and you need to feed him pellets every day (and a bloodworm once or twice a week as a snack). You said you kept bettas successfully in the past, but it could have just been luck or an especially hardy fish. I had a betta for over 3 years a few years ago, before I really knew how to care for bettas, and he didn't have a heater and I only changed his water every 10 days or so. I don't know how he survived for so long.

Last edited by OrangeAugust; 09-06-2012 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:48 AM   #6 
MSG
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  • Exactly what kind of soap are you using? I don't use soap because of all the other non fish safe chemical residues it leaves behind.
  • What temperature is the water in your tank?

Try to take a focused picture of your fish & a photo of your entire fish tank.

  • Either you're buying sick fish or you're poisoning them somehow from from ammonia or soap.
  • Usually even with ammonia poisoning, they won't die in 2 weeks.
  • I would recommend cleaning those tanks with the hottest water you have. If you have a child, you should own a detachable showerhead. That is great for rinsing out soap.
  • Gotta use the hottest water you have. Warm doesn't break up the fat molecules enough to remove it completely without leaving residue.
  • Put the betta in a cup filled with conditioned water while you clean out the tank.
Let me know what kind of soap you used first before you resort to that.

You might want to wait for someone else to chime in as well.


I'm sure when you first owned a betta it was a more traditionally breed one, now with all the extra fancy tails and fins, they have I think a ton of genetic defects & compromised immune systems.

That's just a guess. But most stores have a guarantee on the fish. If they die within 14 or 30 days they'll give you a new one as long as your water checks out.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:21 AM   #7 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and sorry you are having so much trouble....

You might be getting immune compromised Bettas to start with-they are not a strong as they used to be.....

I would't use any soap to clean just tepid running water....

Your 1.5gal unfiltered tank is fine to keep the long fin males long term IMO/E-Provided that you make the needed water changes.

What I would do now-give the tank a good cleaning with vinegar to cut any soap residue-followed by a lot of rinsing.

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

You will need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes. You want to try and keep the replacement water within 10 degrees of the tank water.

Filters are optional for this species and in the smaller tanks often the filter itself can cause fin and stress issues.

The only chemical additive you need is a good dechlorinator that covers both chlorine and chloramine-You want to use the dechlorinator with any water that is used for the Betta.

I wouldn't worry about your pH-Betta adapt.....

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

The scum on top of the water is most likely organic and harmless, however, it looks ugly and if too thick it can compromise gas exchange. You can use a paper towel and lay over it to remove. Most common causes are either from the fish food, your hands, smoke/oil in the air especially if the tank is near the kitchen.

Water changes on a 1.5gal without a filter-twice a week...1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality.

Be sure and properly acclimate the Betta to the new chemistry and temp when you first get him and with the 100% water change-By adding small amount of the dechlorinated tank water to the small holding cup over 10-15min or to tolerance-then net and add to the tank. You don't want to add any of the pet shop water to your tank.

To add-you didn't post wrong-but it can be hard to read a wall of word and breaking them up can be helpful. Members complain about my posting method too...they hate my dots, dashes, poor grammar and punctuation.....

Look forward to some pics
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:08 AM   #8 
isa627
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Thanks for the input. I guess I should clarify that I don't dump soap directly in the tank by any means. I take a rag and wash the cave, plants, and other nic nacs that we have in there with soap and water. The tank itself I never have put soap in. I usually just use my hand to sift the water through the rocks and rinse everything. It is just Dawn soap and even if I am just doing the tank accessories and rinsing well I can see how that can still leave a residue. I usually use it to get the "grime" feeling off the cave and whatnot. I use vinegar to clean so much in my house I never thought about using it in a fish tank.

I plan on getting a better tank if this little guy makes it. He was still active today although looks awful. We'll see if he makes it through my work day and I'll get a bigger tank with a heater. I'm sure having no light makes the water even colder.

Thank you for the feeding tips. When I had my bettas years ago I fed every day so when the pet store told me to feed every other day I was so confused. I should have just listened to my gut. I think my tank was better equiped for a betta when I had them a long time ago which is probably why I got lucky. The conditions may not have been perfect, but I think they were better than what we have now by far.

Thanks again for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeAugust View Post
A number of people around here would say not to clean the tanks with soap. Any soap residue left could be dangerous to the fish. It's better to clean out the tanks with water and a bit of vinegar.
Also, you definitely need a heater. Being too cold couldn't have killed them in that short amount of time, but besides making them comfortable, warm water keeps them healthy. Water that is too cool will lower their immune system.
Try feeding pellets instead of flakes. The pellets are more nutritious. Bettas can be picky at first if you change their food, but he should start eating them within a few days. You should also be feeding him every day, with one fasting day per week. It's easier to control how much they're eating if you're giving them the pellets. I always feed my bigger betta 2 pellets in the morning and 2 at night. My other betta is smaller so I have to feed him the smaller pellets to fit in his mouth, so I have to give him more of those. I put one in the tank at a time and make sure they eat it before I give him the second, which I also make sure they eat. Then you don't have any extra food clouding up the water.
Also, get a liquid test kit. Those strips are inaccurate. I found mine at Petco in the pond section.
I think you should use the aquarium salt only if the fish is having a problem like fin rot, and you shouldn't be treating with the salt for more than 10 days in a row.
Anyway, I couldn't tell you why so many fish died in such a short period of time, but I can say that to keep them healthy you need a heater, and you need to feed him pellets every day (and a bloodworm once or twice a week as a snack). You said you kept bettas successfully in the past, but it could have just been luck or an especially hardy fish. I had a betta for over 3 years a few years ago, before I really knew how to care for bettas, and he didn't have a heater and I only changed his water every 10 days or so. I don't know how he survived for so long.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #9 
isa627
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Pictures

I attached a photo of the tank and the best up close pic I could get of the fish. Sorry it really is not focused, but my camera and the fish would not cooperate! Although he looks awful he has energy!

Not sure if you saw my other post, but the soap is Dawn; however, to clarify it is not dumped directly in the tank. I use a cloth with soap and water to clean the accessories and the inside of the tank gets sprayed down and I sift through the rocks with my hands while water runs through them until they look clean.

I need to get a thermometer as I am unsure of the temp in the tank. My house stays about 77 although not sure how fish water compares.

I am indeed getting a new tank for this guy and going to pay much closer attention to the temp and how I clean it. I'll figure this out yet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
  • Exactly what kind of soap are you using? I don't use soap because of all the other non fish safe chemical residues it leaves behind.
  • What temperature is the water in your tank?
Try to take a focused picture of your fish & a photo of your entire fish tank.

  • Either you're buying sick fish or you're poisoning them somehow from from ammonia or soap.
  • Usually even with ammonia poisoning, they won't die in 2 weeks.
  • I would recommend cleaning those tanks with the hottest water you have. If you have a child, you should own a detachable showerhead. That is great for rinsing out soap.
  • Gotta use the hottest water you have. Warm doesn't break up the fat molecules enough to remove it completely without leaving residue.
  • Put the betta in a cup filled with conditioned water while you clean out the tank.
Let me know what kind of soap you used first before you resort to that.

You might want to wait for someone else to chime in as well.


I'm sure when you first owned a betta it was a more traditionally breed one, now with all the extra fancy tails and fins, they have I think a ton of genetic defects & compromised immune systems.

That's just a guess. But most stores have a guarantee on the fish. If they die within 14 or 30 days they'll give you a new one as long as your water checks out.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:50 PM   #10 
kevinbacon
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I know where I live, there's something in the tap water we have that slaughters fish within a matter of days. Have no idea what it is. Could be a similar yet less drastic issue (and yes, it killed the fish even after we conditioned the water - yikes!) I would take a water sample into your nearest pet store that sells fish and ask them to test it for you (they usually do this for free). They can give you some advice on what you should do. I personally have a one gallon tank, similarly set up to yours. To maintain my tank, I usually do a few 25-30% water changes (probably every other day or so) throughout the week and then a 100% water change once a week. Since my tank is smaller, though, and houses a betta and a snail, you could do yours less frequently. I also have an undergravel filter system, which doesn't create much flow. You may want to look into this; my betta doesn't mind it at all, and it helps keep his tank clean. If you're having some ammonia problems, I would recommend getting a gravel vacuum or turkey baster to suck waste from the bottom, but as someone mentioned above, ammonia levels shouldn't be killing your fish that quickly.

Hope that helps, and best of luck!
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