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Old 05-14-2013, 04:02 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: N.Virginia
Poor success rate

We are pretty new to this hobby, but love how pretty these fish are. Is it common that fish coming from Petco / PetsMart are not healthy, or am I missing something that is killing them. We are on well water, that is slighly acidic, so I have been making sure the ph levels are right before adding a new fish. I have been told that having the minerals from well water is good for the fish. I had the water tested several times, and was told it is a little on the soft side, but other than that, it's fine.
I have tested that a fish will eat by dropping a pellet of betta food is his bowl before making a decision on bringing one home. After setting them up
about 8 of the last 10 stopped eating & died. We have a total of 4 that are doing well.

I'm using filterless tanks, because I heard the current they produce is bad for the bettas. I'm boiling the rocks, and rinsing the rest of the decorations with hot water, and not using any soap on anything.

We are avid animal lovers, and it breaks our hearts when even a fish passes, I ended up giving up because so many of them weren't making it.

I don't get it ?

Any suggestions ?
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:08 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Hi.... some questions:

1) How do you acclimate (introduce) the new fish when you bring him home?
(They need to be introduced to new water slowly, so it doesn't cause a shock to their system. )

2) How long do they survive? Do they have any common problems or symptoms?

3) What size are the tanks? What's the water temperature? How often do you do water changes (and what amount gets changed)?

4) What do you feed them? How much and how often?
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:17 PM   #3 
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Reply; Poor success rate

I think your first note may be the biggest mistake. I was not acclimating, I wanted to get them out of the tiny, dirty bowls they come in.

They usually last about a week to 10 days.
Most commonly they stick thier face in a corner & stay there.

We are using the plastic 2.5 gallon Aqaueon tanks that are common at Petco.

Water temp is @ 80, water changes are 100% weekly.

They get fed the Betta pellets, I forget who makes them, about 6-8 every other day, plus a freeze dried bloodworm.

Thank you,

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Old 05-14-2013, 04:42 PM   #4 
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Hey Don, I would try doing 2x 100% wc per week with a 2.5 and make sure to use a good water conditioner. Also your fish may have brought a problem with them from the store which is not uncommon.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:02 PM   #5 
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Location: Oklahoma
Probably depends on the petstore. None of my 5 betta from Petsmart/Petco have died and are always improving. I actually work at Petsmart and some of the bettas do get a fungal infection and die shortly after. It's possible you're unlucky and buying these sort of bettas.

However, I wouldn't place all hope on that. It's great that you're looking for the cause of the unfortunate deaths! The best thing is to learn from mistakes and make improvements so you can enjoy these wonderful fish companions!
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:27 PM   #6 
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Location: Tennessee
Do you use a water conditioner before adding the Betta?
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:40 PM   #7 
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I understand wanting to get them out of the store cup and into their new homes. But doing it too quickly, especially the first time, can shock them.

There are many ways to do a water change and acclimate (reintroduce) your fish back into the tank. Here is one variation:
  1. Note the temperature of the water.
  2. Using a plastic cup, scoop him, along with some of his water, into the cup.
  3. Clean out the tank. Refill with water at the SAME temp. Be sure to add the correct amount of water conditioner.
  4. Float his cup in the tank for about 15 min.
  5. Add a SMALL amount of NEW water to the cup. (Several tablespoons, or about 1.5 ounces.)
  6. Let his cup float for about 10 min.
  7. If the cup starts to fill too much, remove a SMALL amount of water from the cup. Discard it.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7, until about an hour has passed.
  9. Gently release him into the tank.

To give you an idea, when I bring home a new fish, I acclimate it for at least 4 hours the first time, using the above process.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:46 PM   #8 
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+1 LittleBlueFishlets

You can also add a drop or two of conditioner to the cup when you get home or ask the pet store to do it before you leave. At least that will help neutralize the ammonia.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:56 PM   #9 
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In my experience it has been that they are not sick with a disease but in poor health due to high ammonia levels in their cups. Besides water tempature shock, if the ammonia/water chemistry in their cup is vastly different from your tap water which should be ammonia free (although not always) - that can also cause them to go into shock.

Out of 50 plus bettas I have had over the years, only about 4 or so have died withn a few days of purchase..minus the first 5 I ever had. I killed them b/c I didnt know about water conditioner or that I had to change their water weekly

Prime and amquel plus will neturalize ammonia but not all conditioners do. Prime is pretty popular but I won't use it. It has a horrible stench and I have one male that seems to have a reaction to it (sulfer based). I use Stress coat instead

Last edited by Tikibirds; 05-14-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:38 PM   #10 
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I take most of an evening to acclimate to new water. I first check the water temp of the cup and make up new clean water add Prime. I let the condition water sit for one hour. The I pour a just little water out of the cup and I add about a tablespoon. I let the fish sit 30-45 minutes and add another tablespoon. I wait. The next time I come back I pour just a little more dirty water out and add couple more tablespoons of clean and so on. I just watch TV and come back. At the end of the evening they have mostly clean water. You can use an eye dropper or turkey baster to get any poop if you have one. I have a one gallon hospital tank ready I first put them in there for a week or so and let them get used to the water at smaller volume and I watch for any disease signs. I think it's less overwhelming for them to go from cup to a smaller tank. I do water changes as suggested for that size and keep the tank clean. It's also easier to treat for disease if you see it in a hospital tank.

You could consider pretreating your fish with a dip in something like methylene blue. It can be used a pretreatment to eliminate and prevent many diseases. I can send more info on it if you like.

You also want to be sure to disinfect your tank and decor if one fish passes away and I'd suggest starting with fresh gravel.
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