Hey, I'm new to this forum and I actually just joined to see if anybody can help me with a HUGE problem I've been having. I've been breeding bettas for 3 years, so I generally know what I'm doing even though I'm only 17, but I've never had a problem like this before and it's happened twice in the last 5 days.
My LFS had a 50% off fish sale, and they had a big tank full of female doubletails. I decided to get a few, as I was short on females and I've kind've been on a doubletail craze lately. So I bought 5, and I've been thinking of setting up a sorority tank for them as well as my existing females, but I hadn't set it up yet so I put the 5 females in an 8 gallon tank I already had set up. It had a little bit of gravel and a couple fake plants. I checked the water parameters beforehand, and everything was normal (PH, Hardness, Nitrates/Nitrites, Ammonia, etc.) For the first 2 days they were fine, no signs of stress or disease at all. But on the morning of the third day I woke up to find 3 dead and 2 barely alive. After removing the live ones and putting them in different water, I immediately checked the water parameters again. Everything was exactly the same as yesterday- PH was 7.0, hardness was medium, no nitrates/nitrites or ammonia at all. I thought ammonia might be the problem, because the fish looked like their fins had burned away and some of their scales had sort of come loose from their bodies. It looked like it could have been some sort of fungal disease, but I've never known one that worked so quickly. The night before, they were perfectly fine. Anyways, the remaining two died very quickly, and I decided to put it behind me, as I had wracked my brain and I couldn't figure out the cause. I set up my sorority with brand-new gravel and both live and fake plants, also brand-new. Again, I checked the water parameters and everything looked good. After about 2 days, I went back to the store (maybe that was a stupid move on my part, I don't know) and got another 5 females for the new sorority. I also had 5 females that I bought a long time ago that I was also planning to move to the sorority. So I did, and everything was fine for the first 2 days. But then, exactly like last time, I woke up one morning to find 7 dead and three barely still alive.
What is going on????? Do you think it's something in the store's tank? But what disease kills 7 out of 10 bettas overnight, and leaves the others struggling to stay alive? Or is it maybe something that I'm doing? Although, I've dealt with dropsy, fin rot, velvet, ich, external parasites, and a wide range of diseases I couldn't identify. And never have I seen or heard of anything like this.
Their fins look like they've been eaten away by acid. They are chewed sometimes right down to the body and any fins left are transparent. Patches of the body have turned a pale greyish-white colour, which could be fungus or maybe a discolouration of the body, I can't really tell. I thought it might be ammonia, but I have checked and checked and checked, and all the water conditions are perfect. Any ideas what this could be? I'm absolutely devastated...I've lost 15 females in the past week.
Could you clear this up please? The first 5 females where in an 8 gallon undivided tank? and the other 10 females where together in the same 8 gallon tank? It just seems like a lot of fish for such a small tank, in both cases. But that's just my opinion.
It sounds like fin rot. And it sounds like the store you're getting them at is providing it. If you're going to get any more, quarantine them and treat them before they show any signs.
But it could just be fighting. With that many fish in there, it seems inevatable. I wonder, did you have a lot of hiding places for your girls the first time, with 5? I know you couldn't have with 10 in there.
No, I'm sorry, I didn't explain this- the sorority tank was a heavily planted 15 gallon tank. And I'm sure they weren't fighting- I watched them constantly, and the ones from the store were still quite young and all siblings. There fins weren't torn as if from fighting, and it didn't really look like fin rot either. The fins were transparent and not much was left of them. I'm sorry I don't have a picture to show you- I know that would be helpful.
I have thought about this, but I don't think so...I'm very careful with that kind of thing (I don't even paint my nails, in case it poisons the fish), and it would be weird if the same thing happened twice, in two totally separate tanks...
I hope nothing is in the water system That would be very bad...
Fin rot can really work that fast? I have always thought that it takes a while, at least several days, before a fish can die of fin rot. But the symptoms were similar...and what else could it be? I'm scared for my other fish. I really hope the thing, whatever it is, doesn't somehow get into my other tanks. I'm really hoping it was something in the store's tank, and not something that I've done wrong or something in the water system/food/equipment.
I think it's called Advanced Fin Rot, it's quick acting and almost always kills, but there are typically signs that it's starting. Fin rot makes the most sense, I can't think of anything else that would melt fins like that. Bacteria and parasites are almost always slow acting and very visible when external, and internal parasites wouldn't effect the fins as much as the body itself.
First off I would inform the store that they might have been responsible for all the deaths, because all of them came from that store, there is a chance they might know what it is, and may even tell you.
Secondly, if you DO get anything else from that store, or ANY store, QUARANTINE! Always! You want to set whatever you get aside for a few days, watch it, study it, and treat it if need be before you expose it to any kind of complex environment or other fish. Everything in it's own jar/tank/bow/whatever. And if everything seems ok, salt as a preventative measure. Make sure your temperatures are up to standards. You said you're doing water tests, that's good, and just keep a close eye on your fish.
You might never know what happened to the other fish, but if you take steps ahead of time, you might be able to prevent it from happening again, or only lose single fish, rather then groups.