My little Moonshine just passed away this morning & I'm hoping to understand why...
I've had her for about 2.5 years & don't know how old she was when purchased from Petco. The past 7 months she's been in a baby biorb: 4 gal, carbon filter, ceramic media with fake plants. She's been kept between 76-78 *F all her life & ate Top Fin betta bits, freeze-dried krill/bloodworms, never any live food. I used Mardel 5in1 test strips & my results were usually: pH 7.5, alkalinity 120, hardness 150, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. Sometimes the pH or hardness would test a bit higher.
So, here's how it progressed over the past week and a half: we noticed she wasn't as responsive as usual (not greeting us, following our finger, flaring for food, etc) to being lethargic & getting pale. This has happened once before so I didn't think much of it, just thought it was a "senior moment". I put some Betta Fix drops in her biorb & waited for signs she was bouncing back. 3 days ago (4 now, I guess) she stopped eating and it seemed like she was struggling to the surface to breathe. (swim bladder disorder?)
Once she finally broke the surface for air she would sink like a rock back to the bottom, with her tail curved. The curve got more pronounced with time until, today, she was practically in a U shape at the bottom. (tuberculosis?)
I put her in a cup with very shallow water, literally 2", so she wouldn't have to struggle so much for air, and put that on a heating pad so she didn't get cold (76* temp was carefully monitored with a therm.). I used a bamboo skewer to hold food right by her mouth which she nipped at a few times but didn't eat & eventually backed away from. @ 1:09am this morning I noticed her eyes looked unfocused (usually she looks right at you) & her gills weren't moving at all so I tried to support her with the tip of her mouth breaking the surface & she seemed to take a breath or two (mouth opened) but still her gills didn't move. At 1:17 she started twitching... and 2 minutes later she was gone.
It was pretty painful to watch & I know my husband is heart broken. She had incredible personality & was the apple of his eye... So I wonder if anyone has any idea what happened here? Was it preventable? Should I have done something differently?
& what's an accepted way to "lay her to rest"? I can't even entertain the notion of flushing. Burying seems strange... unless she's in a sealed container of water. I just don't know. A big thanks to you if you've made it through my long post!
First pic is recent, when she first started acting lethargic. 2nd pic is from xmas 2008! Our little moonie will be dearly missed. <3