So, I have two bettas right now, a female (Ophelia) and a male (Merlin). They both are usually pretty happy, sitting here on my desk and playing around. But then last night, Merlin decided to die on me. I'll tell you all the details, and maybe you can offer some suggestions.
About 2 months after I got him, I noticed that Merlin's fins were being shredded...on a non-plastic plant...and it wasn't a water quality issue, I checked all the levels. So, freaking out, I took the plan out and replaced it with a plastic one (I know, but I wanted the offending one out and didn't feel right leaving him without anything till I could get a new one). To my surprise, it stopped. He seemed to like that plastic plant.
Then, about a month and a half ago, I noticed that he seemed to be having trouble grabbing his food. Upon a close inspection, I noticed that it looked like his top lip was separated. I kept watching, and discovered that it wasn't detached, it was connected to the rest of his body, but not flush up against it, more like a thin membrane was connecting it. I couldn't remember if he had been like this before, so I started looking around the internet but got no answers. He seemed fine, but what do I know.
So, I decided to take them home with me 3 weeks ago. I took the train, so I had to put them in water bottles (That were cleaned with vinegar and rinsed well) and then inside my backpack. They weathered the trip well, but they weren't very happy in their new smaller bowls (which happened to be their old ones). I figured they'd be fine for a couple of weeks. My mom keeps it cold in the house, so I regulated their water temperature as best I could with a heating pad. After a few days, both stopped eating.
But then, I got them back in their cups and we took the train back to my apartment. They were both really happy to be back. Then, last night, Merlin didn't seem interested in food. This morning I found him dead.
The weird thing is, his body is all contorted. He had this habit of going around the whole tank bobbing his head out of the water and also of digging through his stones (the glass kind). I've been worrying about having him jump out, so there's a lid over him.
Is it possible that he tried to jump and hit his head? Could those couple weeks of rather unsteady temperatures, no food, and high stress have done him in, even though he seemed fine when he came back? Something in the water maybe (I haven't been able to test levels lately)? Were his weird habits and weirder lip a sign of something that went unnoticed by me? Let me know what you think.