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Old 10-29-2012, 03:34 PM   #1 
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Why did my betta die suddenly?

I just bought a new tank setup and a new betta Thursday afternoon. I washed everything with hot water and no soap, and set it up that night and let it cycle, put the new betta in late Friday night. I woke up to my dead fish this morning (monday), and it broke my heart :(. Why did he die? I noticed that yesterday he was hiding a lot in the vase-structure I had bought for him, and wouldnt come up even for food, only for air. Other than that, he was swimming almost literally at the bottom of the tank, and would hide behind everything or just lie there. And then would come up for air only. And no matter what he wouldnt flare, ever, which I thought weird. To be safe, when I bought him he was in a TINY bowl with a bamboo plant sticking out of it, so I bought the bamboo as well.

Here's the form:
What size is your tank? - 2 gallons
What temperature is your tank? - I have a heater but I dont have a thermometer - was going to get one this week. It's about 25ish though
Does your tank have a filter? - Yes, a foam-power one, on low flow because the high flow is bad for the fins, I read.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? - No.
Is your tank heated? - Yes, by a pad heater at the bottom. I made sure its only a very thin layer of gravel covering it.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? - None.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? - Betta bio-gold pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? - About 3-5 pellets once a day. Near the end he wasnt eating.

How often do you perform a water change? - I was going to at the end of the week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? - Was going to do 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? - Prime Water Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Ammonia: ---
Nitrite: ---
Nitrate: ---
pH: ---
Hardness: ---
Alkalinity: ---

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - He was keeping his fins closer to his body.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - He was swimming only at the bottom and stopped exploring as of Saturday, 12-24 hours after I put him in.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - 12-24 hours after I put him in, and 24-36 hours later he was dead.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - No.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - I only had him for 3 days so I dont know.
How old is your fish (approximately)? - I have no idea.

Anybody help me with this? I have a live bamboo plant in the tank, but those are supposed to be good for fish, no? When I noticed he was hiding in the vase decor a lot, and swimming close to the ground, I thought he didnt have enough swimming space or something (because the vase is quite big, I'd say it takes up a little less than half of the tank and then there are 2 multicoloured silk plants as well as the bamboo) so I took the vase out, and he was very confused for a couple minutes and then continued swimming on the very very bottom. :( Whoever knew you could get attached to a fish in 3 days :(

I dont want to ever kill a fish again, and I dont know what it was that killed him, so I wont buy another one until I know what was wrong. Would anyone be able to help me? And sorry for the essay, Im just trying to provide as much information as I can.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #2 
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I'm so sorry he's gone. The cycling process takes around 4-6 weeks, it won't cycle overnight. If you do get another fish, then just do 2 50% changes per week for 4-5 weeks and then the tank should be cycled. Did you acclimate him? You know, get him used to the new temperature and new water parameters? If you didn't he was in shock, and that makes their immune system weak.
If your bamboo is lucky bamboo then it's not fully submersible. Keep the leaves out of the water and then it should be fine.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:42 PM   #3 
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Sometimes fish are not healthy when purchased. It will be difficult to determine why he died. It is possible since your tank was new there was a build up of ammonia which could have killed him. A tank needs frequent water changes, especially in the beginning. I would have less decorations/plants in that small of tank, they do need to be able to stretch their fins as they say.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:48 PM   #4 
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Thank you for your advice guys! And yes, I acclimated him to the temperature for almost half an hour and then put him him. Should I have added water into the bag first? Like I said, he seemed fine for a bit after I put him in, exploring and such, but then it got worse. He never really swam at the top of the tank, however, and I thought he was supposed to be...maybe he actually wasnt well when I bought him. The bamboo is lucky bamboo I think, and the bottom (with roots) is inside the tank but the top half is sticking out.

Now that he's died in the tank and I've removed him, I should change all the water, wash the filter etc? How do you wash a filter and not get rid of the good bacteria in it?
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:56 PM   #5 
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I would do a water change & if you want to wash everything you could. I doubt since the tank is less than a week old it has much BB built up. Remember you will need to water changes every few days in the beginning otherwise there will be the possibility of ammonia poisoning.
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Old 10-29-2012, 03:57 PM   #6 
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Well you will have to star the cycle over with the filter but no worries, it's not the established yet anyways. It takes sometimes up to 2-3 months to fully cycle a tank but smaller tanks it takes about 1 month.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #7 
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Welcome to the forum and sorry for your loss....

It sounds like you either bought an already compromised Betta and then due to improper acclimation to the chemistry- he most likely died due to osmotic shock.

Don't beat yourself up over it...stuff happens....we make mistakes, learn from them, grow and mover on with more knowledge.....

When you get your new Betta-acclimate to both the temp and chemistry of the new source water.

To acclimate:
Dump half the water out of his holding container-add 1 drop of prime-then add small amount of the tank water to the holding container over 15min until full. Dump half out and repeat. Provided that he tolerated the acclimation process. Pour most of the water out of the holding container and add him to the tank.
Depending on how he is acting: if responsive to you and begging for food-feed a small amount. If he seems shy-turn off the light and hold food for the first 24h.

Before you add him to the tank-dump everything-rinse well with warm water-Set it up and refill and add the proper amount of dechlorinator-Turn on the filter and let it run.
Get a thermometer so you can monitor the temp-very important-Not just for the tank but for the replacement water used for water changes too.

Your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable water temp in the 76-80F range.

The 2gal filtered tank is fine to keep a long fin male long term-provided that you maintain water quality.
Water change of twice weekly 50% (regardless of nitrogen cycle stage)...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.

IMO/E-filters are optional for this species and often the filter itself can be the cause of fin issue and stress with the long fin males. If you decide to remove the filter-Water changes of twice weekly will still be needed-1-50% and 1-100%

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

Look forward to seeing pic and hearing more about your Betta keeping adventures....
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:00 AM   #8 
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Thank you sp much everyone for your responses! I feel a bit better now. I think I'm going to let the tank run empty for a few weeks with water changes, get the water tested at Big Als, and then get a new betta and acclimate him properly and see how that goes.

I've also realized a couple things - the water felt a bit slimey on my hands after he died (ie not a lot, just not like regular water)- is this normal?

As well, I have the 2 gal circular bowl on my desk - is this okay? I have either a high shelf, ontop a chest of drawers, or ontop a tableish thing near a window to put the bowl, and I figured the desk was the best of the evils. Do you think the shaking of the desk might be a problem for a tank (it's not that stable, it's a misconstructed IKEA desk)? I'm in college right now, so there's not much space (hence the small tank), but I could bring in a folding table and put it on that. Any advice on this?

I was just looking at pictures of him and realized that when I found him dead, literally more than half his tail was missing. It was almost just a stub, the size of a normal fish's, not even a female betta's. Did it decay or something after he died? I don't think it was finrot, because just the day before he had most of it, I'm almost 100% sure.

Thanks again for your input guys. Hopefully with your advice I'll learn and get better for the next time :)!
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:10 AM   #9 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Virginia
So more water changes also remember that bettas need good hiding spots in my sig is a link to betta care.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:18 AM   #10 
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Read up on the cycling process in the stickies, just letting the tank run for weeks with water changes won't cycle your tank, you will need to actively feed your bacteria for them to grow.

I'm sorry you lost your fish; there are very knowledgeable people here who got me addicted really quickly (I went from zero to three before my husband knew what was happening to him). The stickies have great info and will get you moving in the right direction.
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dead betta, new betta and setup, sudden

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