I can tell you exactly what killed him. The heater. How do I know...I lost 6 breeders to Tetra Heaters. Called Tetra...they denied that the heater would have caused it, so I did an experiment with one of my deformed culls. Put in a 2.5g breeding tank with out the heater for 3 days, she was fine. Added a new heater (according to Tetra, the heater can come out of the box and into the tank, I always rinse in hot water first), so new heater from Walmart, out of the box, rinsed in hot water and into the tank. With in 24 hrs, she was showing all the signs you mentioned....I removed her into clean salted (aquarium salt) water and after about a week, she was better. 2nd cull, same thing, with the same heater...this one didn't make it. Back to first cull fish, cleaned the heater with vinegar and rinsed with hot water...she was fine after a week...now here is the kicker...heater was NEVER plugged in, so it HAD to be something off the heater it's self. The breeding tank had been used successfully with my OLD Tetra heaters (I was replacing the ones that had gone out).
I LOVE the small Tetra heaters, but I don't trust their "cleaning" instructions (by the way....NONE are printed on the paperwork). I clean ALL "decor" going into my tanks with vinegar now. Tetra did refund my money for the lost breeders and the one heater that I did return to them, so don't take this as DON"T BUY TETRA because it is not. I still buy Tetra heaters, but I clean them with vinegar.
Find out what temp the water actually is. If it is above 82, you need to get it out ASAP!! And then get a new heater.
Being in such a small, cold place before lowered his immune system (I know from experience) that now he is suffering from something.
If he's having trouble swimming, he probably has swim bladder. The best way to treat that is epsom salts and war water. I'm not sure the amount you are supposed to put in (I've never actually had to treat for that), but many people here do.
If he has Fish TB, you would see him getting skinnier and skinnier no matter how much he is eating, and he would seem to have a spinal deformity. You might also see open sores, and he would become increasing lethargic.
Other things to look for. White fungus patches would indicate he has a fungus infection. White sprinkles like salt would indicate Ick. Gold or Rust colored "dust" or coating anywhere on his body, especially around the gills (you may need to use a flashlight to see it) indicates velvet. Paling of color (you mentioned his fins were pale) can indicate just about anything from any of the things I've already mentioned, as well as anything internal, to stress caused by almost anything.
Well, actually I won't. He is laying on the bottom on his side between the glass and house and he is dead I'm pretty sure. There is no movement at all from the gills. I tapped a bunch on the glass and he isn't moving at all. I think he is dead for sure now. I gotta get him out before my son comes home. I'm going to toss the tubing, filter, rocks and decor I think. What would we sanitize the tank with?
Poor Bruce fishie :( he was a sweet fish. Always said hi at the front of the tank.
I am not sure but maybe you should get both the AQ salt and some unscented Espom salt. But you use to treat different things and it always pays to have both around in case you need it. Its a myth that Betta live in mud puddles and you did do the right thing for him to get him a bigger tank. Keep us updated on how he is doing.
Awwwww I am so so sorry you lost him, Bettas are such awesome fish I love mine so much !
You'll know if he's dead when you try to get him out. (long story about that one) He will start to squirm around very quickly, they can look very dead with no movement at all until you try to pick them up, so be prepared for that.
But if he is and you need to sanitize everything, boiling water is the best, don't use any kind of soap at all (that could make your next fish very ill). Some people have used bleach, but then rinsed it extremely well and let it air dry for a really, really long time (talking days, and weeks here) before putting a new fish in. I've heard that vinegar works well, but remember to rinse it really well before putting in a new fish.
1 tsp salt per gallon of treated water is safe. IF you have well water (tastes salty), then I'd lower it to no more then 1/2 IF that. Salt doesn't actually cure anything, but when a fish is sick or injured, they loose salt from their bodies. Having salt in the water can/will replace any that the fish has lost. This in turn raises their immune system.
To disinfect, use a heavy bleach solution and let everything (that the bleach won't eat) for 24 hrs...this includes the filter, throw the filter media out though. Rinse with hot water, run 100% white vinegar through everything (set the filter up and run it. Throw the air stone out...anything you can't bleach, throw it out.
A friend of mine actually had fish infected with TB, she sent me a text the other day that one of her locals had fish that had the lesions......
Thanks Lori. That sounds EXACTLY like what happened and I did just stick the heater in. So do you think it is introducing some sort of chemicals? Should I toss that heater then? GRRRR!! so mad at them. I thought the instructions for the aquarium and heater were bad. I emailed them this morning to find out what was wrong with my fish and they haven't even replied. The darn thing didn't even say to use a thermometer just like set it and forget it. Stupid.
Thanks for the suggestions. I don't even want to go get him out. UGH! I didn't think I'd get attached to him. I thought at first he was "just a fish" but he greeted us every day for a month and watched the kids play from the tank. He was a good fishie and I killed him!
Honey, it was an accident. Don't feel bad!!! People wonder why we breeders put so much time and effort into raising these fish....
"but he greeted us every day..."....this is why!!!
Don't throw the heater out. Clean it with white vinegar...you can use dawn dish soap on it, but clean it VERY well with vinegar afterwords. Vinegar in a small amount won't hurt the fish...let it all air dry for a couple days and set it back up and run it...see if the water changes colors. Mine (usually with in 24 hrs) had a white tint to the water....