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Old 09-13-2012, 12:39 PM   #1 
ladybetta33
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Exclamation Ugh, help! Could new heater be killing them?

Hey all,
I have been keeping Betta fish for a number of years, and have never experienced anything like what has happened this past week!

One of my old timers (3 y/o) was really failing, and I chose to euthanize rather than watch him suffer. :( I cleaned his tank with warm water, and got a new guy at Petco. Within a few days, his fins were clamped and he was head-down at the bottom. I thought maybe he was cold (I have never heated my tanks, as they seem to stay around 75 on their own), so I went back to Petco and got an 8W automatic heater. Initially, he perked up...but by the next day, his fins were shriveling and rimmed with white. He was gasping for air, lying on his side. A few hours later, he was dead, covered in stringy white stuff. :(

I took him back to Petco, and brought home his replacement. New guy did fantastic for the first day, but by the second was also lying on his side gasping, fins clamped. Hard to tell if there's white stuff, since he's a pale green dragon. I unplugged the heater last night, and today he is moving around more but still clamped and wanting to rest on the bottom.

Notes: Between 1st and 2nd fish, I disinfected the 1 gal tank and everything in it, using HOT water and vinegar. I always use fresh distilled water for water changes.

I can't imagine what's going on here, except that perhaps I have a defective heater that is getting too hot? The temp on my strip thermometer read 84-85 when 2nd fish was at his worst, but maybe that is not accurate? Am I dealing with some kind of latent infection brought on by the stress of moving, or is my heater killing my fish?

Oddly, I have the same type of heater in my other (identical) tank, and that fish is thriving.

What is going on here, and what else should I do??? I would love to save my pretty green dragon if I can...
Thanks in advance for any insights! Sorry this is so long!
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:01 PM   #2 
Bettanewbie60
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Omgosh...I am so sorry this has happened. I think that the temp was def too high, however, not knowing what your 3yo died from makes it tough to determine. There is a form to fill out at the top of this topic...copy and past it in here so others may be able to give you a better answer.

Oh, and distilled water? Are you using a water conditioner? Tap water with conditioner is actually a better choice IMO, but either way you need to use a water conditioner to make sure the chlorine is removed.

Last edited by Bettanewbie60; 09-13-2012 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:28 PM   #3 
ao
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I think it's your tank... I'd say to bleach everything at a 1:9 solution.
Then let everything sit in water with a couple tbsp of prime for a few days. Then dump. Test this new tank on say... a snail....
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:57 PM   #4 
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I agree with the bleach idea. That's what I used on my tank after my first betta died from something nasty, and it helped. I hesitate to guess, but I'm thinking the first fish you got from Petco had something wrong with him and maybe he left traces of it in the tank after he died. I'd get something cheap, a Kritter Keeper or something, and isolate the little green dragon in that for now while you basically bomb his other tank with the bleach solution and then let it soak in water with Prime, like aokashi suggested. Once you've got it all cleaned out, go ahead and put him back in with a bit of extra conditioner (just to counteract any lingering bleach residue) and watch him closely to see if he starts behaving oddly again.

Good luck! Hope the little guy makes it alright!
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:27 PM   #5 
ladybetta33
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Thank you all! On the advice of a friend, I have moved him to a small bowl with bottled water (not distilled), and added aquarium salt and tetracycline per instructions. Also got him a leaf hammock, but ATM he is preferring to sit upright at the bottom. No more gasping, but still clamped.

One of the benefits of the round bowl is that it magnifies him when he does swim by, so I can see that he doesn't appear to have the same white slime that the previous guy had. Whew, good news! My theory at this point is that there may have been some bacteria left over in the tank, and the heater (plus stress of new environment) made it "bloom" and make him sick. I'm thinking the first guy had it to start with, and the heater exacerbated it until it killed him.

I picked up a floating thermometer to test the heaters. My healthy fish's tank is at 85...a bit warm perhaps? He doesn't seem to mind, though.

The sick tank and everything in it is going to get a good hot water/vinegar soak. I hesitate to use a bleach solution...
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:34 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybetta33 View Post
Thank you all! On the advice of a friend, I have moved him to a small bowl with bottled water (not distilled), and added aquarium salt and tetracycline per instructions. Also got him a leaf hammock, but ATM he is preferring to sit upright at the bottom. No more gasping, but still clamped.

One of the benefits of the round bowl is that it magnifies him when he does swim by, so I can see that he doesn't appear to have the same white slime that the previous guy had. Whew, good news! My theory at this point is that there may have been some bacteria left over in the tank, and the heater (plus stress of new environment) made it "bloom" and make him sick. I'm thinking the first guy had it to start with, and the heater exacerbated it until it killed him.

I picked up a floating thermometer to test the heaters. My healthy fish's tank is at 85...a bit warm perhaps? He doesn't seem to mind, though.

The sick tank and everything in it is going to get a good hot water/vinegar soak. I hesitate to use a bleach solution...
I think your theory and approach to a solution are right on. I would hesitate with bleach also...the vinegar sounds safer..maybe even leave the tank outside for a day...the sun and dry air will kill bacteria. I wish you all the best with this.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:36 PM   #7 
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Happy to help hun! If you ever need any fishie advice you can always reach me on here or facebook! *hug* Keep us all updated on the little guy!
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:44 PM   #8 
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bleach should be fine. just soak with a solution of water and prime when done.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:27 PM   #9 
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bleach sounds scary, but I used it successfully. Roughly 1 tbsp in half a gal. Then I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. Then I filled it up and added about 4x the dose of dechlorinator, then dumped and started over with a double dose of dechlorinator.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:53 PM   #10 
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If you leave bleach in a bright place after washing, it will leave behind nothing but salt residue, so a quick rinse and you're ready to go. It's extremely safe.
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