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Old 11-02-2010, 08:17 PM   #1 
thetawave2
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Unhappy Water Change Trauma?

From the small amount of lurking I've done here in the past hour and a half, I know you guys like to have details about the setup of the OP. I have a quart bowl (small, I know; I'm planning on upgrading) with no filtration or heating system. Room temperature is fairly stable and on the warmish side. My fish has no tank mates. I have been feeding him three betta pellets three times a day. I have done partial water changes (1/3 to 1/2 volume) or full changes every couple days (I figured it's best to err on the side of frequency because of the small bowl volume). I use no additives, but filter my water with a Brita filter and let stand in water bottles at least overnight. I have not tested my water, but the sudden nature of this problem suggests it isn't an issue with the water quality.

I bought almost a week ago my first pet, a peppy little betta I named Aroon. He had been very healthy and happy, blowing bubble nests every night, eating his food enthusiastically, swimming energetically, and even learning to recognize me. This evening I decided it was time for another water change. So I scooped him out of his bowl, rinsed the gravel, poured in some tap water I had previously cleaned with a Brita filter and left to normalize to room temperature, and went to pour him back in. I noticed he wasn't moving much at the bottom of the cup I'd put him in during the cleaning and his gills were flared, something I hadn't seen him do before. I figured he was a little stressed out from being taken out of his bowl. Perhaps he'd wanted a bit more time to digest his dinner?
When I put him back in his bowl, he just rested on the bottom, unmoving, but breathing heavily. After a while he began to move his fins a little and his breathing seemed to settle down. I thought he was coming back around, but then he began having spasms of increasing violence and frequency.
There was no temperature shock from the water since it had been sitting at room temperature for days. I can't figure out what else may have caused him any trauma, since I've changed his water a couple times with the exact same method over the week I've had him. My friend did briefly stick his finger in the cup I was holding Aroon in, but I find it hard to believe he caused him any harm.
I don't know if his behavior in the cup was indicative of the start of the problem, or if it was simply stress that was followed by some actual injury in the bowl.
He's now thrashing about every second or so at the bottom of his bowl. I fear that by the time any of you responds to this, your comments will more likely be speculative autopsy than treatment advice. I am planning to get another fish and if anything I'd like to learn from this if there is anything to be learned.


*Edit* Unfortunately, it appears that Aroon is now quite dead. I would still appreciate any comments you may have so that this can be a learning experience.

Last edited by thetawave2; 11-02-2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:28 PM   #2 
bettafish15
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Perhaps more chlorine was added into the water supply? A brita filter wont do much for your fish's water, I dont think... I would have added water conditioner... but I'm no super expert ^^'
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:40 PM   #3 
thetawave2
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Originally Posted by bettafish15 View Post
Perhaps more chlorine was added into the water supply? A brita filter wont do much for your fish's water, I dont think... I would have added water conditioner... but I'm no super expert ^^'
Thing is though, it was the same water I'd been using. He'd been fine until this water change. The problem was very sudden and did not follow a change in the source of water I'd been using, which suggests to me that chemical levels did not cause this problem.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:20 PM   #4 
ashleyy
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could there have been some residue of soap in the cup he was scooped out in?
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:28 PM   #5 
thetawave2
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could there have been some residue of soap in the cup he was scooped out in?
No; it was a new, unused paper cup I scooped him out with and I put him in a larger plastic cup I used only for keeping him during water changes. Good thought, though.

Last edited by thetawave2; 11-02-2010 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:23 AM   #6 
Adastra
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Sometimes the water company will release small amounts of ammonia into the water supply--not enough to affect humans but certainly enough to hurt a fish in a very small container of water.

You need to use a good dechlorinator. Chlorine will evaporate in 24 hours, but chloramine will not, and it is just as toxic as chlorine. Chloramine takes weeks to evaporate, but it can be neutralized with a dechlorinator product like Seachem Prime or Amquel+. These brands will also neutralize small amounts of ammonia that may be present in your water. The Brita filter will do nothing for your water but make it even less hospitable for fish. Never use it for this purpose again--it is meant to make water taste better, not to make it safe for fish.

Every time you do a water change, you need to take the time to acclimate your fish to the new water--especially if there is a change in temperature, water source, or water additives. To acclimate your fish, float his holding container (cup/bag/whatever) in the tank, pour out the old water in the container and replace it with new water from the tank in small increments over the course of 15-20 minutes if the old water is the same as the new. If the new water is different in any one of those factors I mentioned earlier, and especially when you get a new fish, do this over the course of 30-45 minutes.

Before you get a new fish, you need to have a larger container--at least two gallons, a 25 watt adjustable heater, and a good dechlorinating product like Seachem Prime or Amquel+. Resist the urge to replace your lost fish until you can afford to properly house and care for another. Honestly, I would burn that 1 QT container in effigy--it is unsuitable to house any vertebrate animal and it is a terrible shame that pet stores regularly profit over the sale of such death traps.

Sorry for your loss, hopefully this experience will help you take the best possible care of your future fish.

Last edited by Adastra; 11-03-2010 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:25 AM   #7 
bettafish15
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^ +1. Thats what I think it was too.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:15 AM   #8 
TaylorW
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I agree with Adastra.... But I am very sorry for your loss! :(
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:05 AM   #9 
LikeDiscoSuperfly
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I agree with Adastra as well. Definetly need to be using a good dechlorinator.
And getting a larger tank will help. He might have seemed okay and happy in a smaller bowl, but with not getting enough water changes he wasnt living a very good quality of life. And definetly get a heater with your next set up before you get another fish.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #10 
vaygirl
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Adastra covered it all. Listen to her. She is wise.

Sorry you lost Aroon. :(
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