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Old 10-01-2012, 06:48 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: nyc
Trying this again, hopefully with more knowledge

New betta owner here. I'll admit what inspired me to get a betta was couple of office bettas and the misconception that they are easy to care for in a small space. That being said, I did some research and found out that that wasn't correct.

This weekend I went to a reputable aquarium store to pick up the supplies (5g tank, filter, and gravel). I also picked up a betta. (I was hoping that the aquarium would cycle with betta in it.) I looked at a few tutorials and acclimated him very quickly to the tap water (10-20 minutes of adding some tank water, after floating the bag for 10-15 minutes), and scooped him in (with a very small measuring cup, since I didn't have a net.

He was active, swam around, and seemed to like his new home. Turning the light off to go out for the night, when I came back, he was sleeping near the surface (which is normal behavior, I think), and I went to bed. The next morning he was floating at the bottom of the bowl. I wasn't sure whether he was gone, but I gently nudged him with a chopstick, and then proceeded to scoop him out. There was absolutely no response... so I took it as a safe bet that he was dead and not in a deep sleep. I was pretty devastated.

(I didn't pick up a couple of things, like gravel cleaner, test kits, water conditioner, etc... and I figured that I would be able to pick these up within the next day or so. Would lack of water conditioner cause a death in less than 24 hours? The office bettas my coworkers have probably lived in worse conditions for 1-4 years and they are still going.)

So, I went to another Aquarium store (who had a very knowledgeable sales guy) who set me up with PH/Ammonia testers, thermometer, heater, vacuum, water conditioner, and solution to build up good bacteria. He showed me how to use everything and warned me against putting the betta fish in that night.

I cleaned the fish tank thoroughly after the death (thought maybe there was a possibility of sickness) with hot water and vinegar. I thoroughly rinsed the tank. I filled it back up with water and it has been sitting there for 7-8 hours. Once I got home from the shop, I treated the water with the conditioner and the solution for bacteria, put in the heater, and then eventually floated the plastic bag in the water for the rest of the night, and then I waited until the morning of the next day(approx. 9 hours).

And now here I am trying to acclimate him for the last hour and 30 minutes. I'm feeling pretty paranoid, so I am trying to go slow (woke up early before work). Hopefully everything goes well. This little guy (a light purple/blue with a red face veil tail) seems really active with a gorgeous full tail, so hoping I'm doing everything right.

The last Aquarium shop was so much more helpful, but both specialized in fishes and gets good reviews by fish hobbyists on yelp. Unfortunately the first place only had two betta fish and one seemed lethargic and sick (had white fuzzy thread on his forehead). The one I got seemed ok, but who knows...

This place seems to be a wealth of information. :) Hoping you guys can help me in the coming weeks/months.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:31 AM   #2 
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I'm in the same boat as you; after just losing Zuko, I want to start over and do everything right this time. I already have a 5.5 gallon tank, heater, food, water conditioner and quick start. I want to do a full fishless cycle before I even put him in there.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:02 AM   #3 
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It is possible that whatever was in your water could have killed him. Water conditioner is very important, so it's good that you are using it now.

I'm sure your buddy will be just fine :) Let us know how it goes.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #4 
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So far so good... except he's not eating. It's only been 3 days, but I'm concerned. (I have betta pellet food.) I've been trying to feed him 1 pellet yesterday and today, and he's been ignoring them.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:38 AM   #5 
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Best wishes for you and your new guy and try not to worry to much most new Betta will not eat for few days, keep trying with the pellets.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:59 PM   #6 
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Actually. I'm very upset and frustrated. So the new Betta (Florence) was doing fine until today. Yesterday, I measured the ammonia levels and thought that I should do a partial water change.

I had filled some glass bottles (cleaned) with tap water and treated it with stress zyme and stress coat (as the aquarium shop owner suggested) on Monday (2 days prior). I vacuumed the gravel and took out a little more than 30% of the water (I was advised to do around 30% changes for my 5 gallon). I took the water that was already treated and filled the tank back up (it wasn't quite where the previous water level was, but sufficient). I took a PH reading and adjusted the PH to lower, slightly. The betta seemed fine that evening. He was pretty active. The water was room temperature, which was around 70-74, and I

This morning the betta was hiding (as he liked to do) between the heater. Later in the day I got a call from my boyfriend telling me the betta fish was on the surface gasping for air. Later in the day, the little guy was at the bottom of the tank. I called to check in again and my boyfriend told me that he probably passed.

I think this is related to the water change, but I was meticulous with the amount of conditioner. (same ratio as what it was on the tank) This little guy survived 3 full days, and this would have been the 4th day in the tank. It was such a rapid decline this morning. I'm shocked.

The temperature yesterday and this morning is still steady around 75-80.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:03 PM   #7 
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Sorry about your fish, the first one could have been sick, not sure about the second.

When doing a water change you should try to match the conditions of the water in the tank so having the water the same temperature is a good idea. Other than that i'm not sure what else to tell you, i can't see that you're doing anything wrong when doing a water change.

I tend not to mess with the ph of my water, i just take the tap water, add some prime, check it the same temp as the tank and switch out some water.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:07 PM   #8 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Unless your tap water pH is off the charts I'd advise against chemically lowering it. My tap water pH is 8.2 and my bettas are fine with it, it does naturally go down once it's been sitting for an hour and I also use Indian Almond Leaves to gently nudge it down.

The problem with using chemical products like pH Down is that while they work initially, there can be a "backlash" of sorts a few hours later where the pH either spikes or plummets. This is actually much more dangerous than slightly high natural pH.

You may want to ask your utilities company for a tap water report so you know exactly what you're working with. In most locations it is safe to use conditioned tap water without doing anything else to it, but some places do have things like extremely high initial pH, ammonia in the tap water, high concentrations of copper, etc. that need to be addressed as part of your normal routine. It makes it much easier to pinpoint issues when you have all of the data.

I don't think you did anything wrong care-wise. The most common time a betta will die is in a new environment. A lot of the time they're already sick at the pet store even if they don't show it, and the shock of being moved (even into a better tank) can be enough for the immune system to lose the battle.

I hope you're not too discouraged, I am sorry for your losses. You sound like a very compassionate pet owner.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:09 PM   #9 
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Location: Red River, NM
If you didn't use water conditioner the first time, that's very likely what killed your fish. My friend did that despite the fact everyone told her it would kill her fish. Her response was "our water here is so clean, it won't hurt my fish". Sure enough, her fish died the very next day. Then she went out and bought another one and did the same exact thing! And again, she ended up with a dead fish. After that, we finally convinced her to use water conditioner, and she didn't have a problem after that.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:11 PM   #10 
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Do you just add prime and then add the water immediately to the tank? Do you let it sit out for while (as I did - which is what was recommended to me). I altered the PH initially on Sunday when I first set up the tank... which is why I measured the PH again during the water change (which was also recommended to me). Would a slight PH change kill the fish in this amount of time? (

I checked to make sure the water addition didn't change the temperature too rapidly. :( Would something like that kill the fish within 24 hours?

I was pretty meticulous with the measuring of water conditioner, also.

I'm devastated. I invested in a lot of tools/equipment, but at this point, I feel like I just keep killing them. I don't feel confident enough to get another fish.
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new betta, new owner

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