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Old 07-12-2011, 11:25 PM   #1 
LaurenL
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Eek - is one of my girls sick? *dead, help please!*

Hi all, I have a betta sorority. 15g, started out w/ 9 girls. Here are the symptoms:

Housing

What size is your tank? 15g
What temperature is your tank? Constant 80
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, AquaClear 50
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 7 other female bettas and 2 tiger snails

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari dried bloodworms and pellet
How often do you feed your betta fish? About once or twice a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Weekly, but the tank has not been set up long w/ fish
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 15% or so
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I use water that is either from an RO/DI system or from tap water that has been sitting for 24hrs

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0 but I did not check as soon as one of the girls died today
Nitrite: Not an issue
Nitrate: Not an issue
pH: Not an issue
Hardness: Not an issue
Alkalinity: Not an issue

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Nothing noted from the disease. However, she, like most of the other girls, does have bits of her tail missing.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? She stops moving, sinks to the bottom, and then does quick darts
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About an hour ago or so. She was normal this morning.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I moved her to a small QT tank with betta revive
Does your fish have any history of being ill? When I got her, her fins were "crumpled up" and kept her fins close to her body. She did not move a whole lot and was in bad conditions. She did, however, get MUCH better before being moved to the DT
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have had her for maybe 1 1/2 wk.

Extra notes: Tank has been up for maybe 4 days and I have had the girls for about 1 1/2-2 wks in QT. One other girl had "something" before entering the DT. Her fins had a clear film on some areas but it cleared up a lot before I moved her to the DT. Earlier this morning, I found the smallest betta dead and half-eaten. I do not know what happened to her. I did a water change after I found her. Almost all the girls had their fins nipped, particularly because of one "bully" who has settled down quite a bit after a time out.

UPDATE: Just after writing this, she died!!! Ah, I want to save the other girls if there is something wrong. I am so confused! I put her in her QT, added Hikari Betta Revive. She still did the swimming pattern while I was writing but now she's dead. That was so sudden! What's wrong do you think?

Edit 2: I dipped the body in cold, cold water with high salinity. Nothing came out. It's very sad..I felt like I saved her when she healed up. I still have the body if I need to post pics. :(

Last edited by LaurenL; 07-12-2011 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:51 PM   #2 
Sakura8
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Location: Elk Grove, California
Hi LaurenL and welcome to the forum.

Am I correct in assuming your tank is not cycled yet? If so, I think your girls both died of ammonia/nitrogen poisoning. In an uncycled tank, 9 carnivorous fish will make the bioload skyrocket. If you can, get several of the girls out, leaving maybe 5 in the tank for the cycling. The others will have to be in QT until the tank is stable enough for that many bettas. However, if you can't remove that many for a long period of time, you can leave them in there. You just have to change at least 50% of the water every 2-3 days.

Also, when you use tap water for the water change, you definitely want to use a water conditioner like API Stress Coat or Seachem Prime.

The swimming pattern your girl was doing is "darting" and is a sign that there was something in the water she was reacting to. I would suspect ammonia/nitrogen poisoning or heavy metal poisoning if the water was not R/O water.

I'm sorry you lost two of your girls. :( I hope we can get this figured out before you lose any more girls.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:54 PM   #3 
LaurenL
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Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
Hi LaurenL and welcome to the forum.

Am I correct in assuming your tank is not cycled yet? If so, I think your girls both died of ammonia/nitrogen poisoning. In an uncycled tank, 9 carnivorous fish will make the bioload skyrocket. If you can, get several of the girls out, leaving maybe 5 in the tank for the cycling. The others will have to be in QT until the tank is stable enough for that many bettas. However, if you can't remove that many for a long period of time, you can leave them in there. You just have to change at least 50% of the water every 2-3 days.

Also, when you use tap water for the water change, you definitely want to use a water conditioner like API Stress Coat or Seachem Prime.

The swimming pattern your girl was doing is "darting" and is a sign that there was something in the water she was reacting to. I would suspect ammonia/nitrogen poisoning or heavy metal poisoning if the water was not R/O water.

I'm sorry you lost two of your girls. :( I hope we can get this figured out before you lose any more girls.
I'm sorry, I had the tank set up for 3 weeks and it was cycled. I used establish tank water and did one water change with RO/DI water and planned on using tap water left out for 24 hrs for the next change. :( I use the tap water left out for 24hrs for my other tank and all the fish are perfectly normal as are my countless red cherry shrimp. It was so weird! She was fine this morning and acted 100% normal. I then just saw her doing this and she died really fast after being moved. Thank you for the help! What do you think happened now?

Last edited by LaurenL; 07-13-2011 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:01 AM   #4 
Sakura8
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Did she have any spots covering her, like black spots all over her body? If not, that's good. I wonder if it was sheer stress from the move?
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:05 AM   #5 
LaurenL
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Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
Did she have any spots covering her, like black spots all over her body? If not, that's good. I wonder if it was sheer stress from the move?
It's really hard to see. She was starting to color up to be a beautiful mustard gas with a black body. I used a light on her and there is nothing on her body. Should I post a pic of the body and the tank? She surely had something when I got her but she healed very fast. Thanks for your help! :)
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:12 AM   #6 
Sakura8
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I'm wondering if she was severely stressed when you first got her, that she was never in very good health probably even at the pet store. Was the clear film literally on her fins or was it like at the tips of her fins, like possible new growth? I wonder if she was losing her slime coat when you first got her. Then, without a slime coat to protect her, she was very susceptible to shock and stress. But it's good she didn't have any black spots on her. Mostly what I was concerned about were large parts of her body turning black right before she died but that doesn't sound like it happened so that's good.

You can post a pic if you'd like, anything helps.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:28 AM   #7 
LaurenL
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Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
I'm wondering if she was severely stressed when you first got her, that she was never in very good health probably even at the pet store. Was the clear film literally on her fins or was it like at the tips of her fins, like possible new growth? I wonder if she was losing her slime coat when you first got her. Then, without a slime coat to protect her, she was very susceptible to shock and stress. But it's good she didn't have any black spots on her. Mostly what I was concerned about were large parts of her body turning black right before she died but that doesn't sound like it happened so that's good.

You can post a pic if you'd like, anything helps.
Here is what happened:
I received most of the girls from petco and walmart. All of them were well taken care of by pet store standars. However, the 2 girls I received from petsmart were in pretty bad shape and I could tell never had their water changed. The one who had the clear film is still alive and well in the tank - she is the largest of all of them but quite submissive. The other one was this mustard-gas black girl who just died. The red girl had some clear film on the back of her large fins and was perhaps a little lethargic. However, she healed up quite fast. As I said, the mustard gas was in very bad shape when I first got her. Her fins were crumpled up, she didn't move a lot, and she kept her fins close to her body. She healed up with the hikari betta revive aswell. The other betta who died was the smallest. I just found her half-eaten carcass behind one of my pieces of driftwood. I have no idea what happened to her. Both were beautiful fish.

Pictures of the body (sorry for creepiness and bad quality):


Last edited by LaurenL; 07-13-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:37 AM   #8 
Sakura8
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Ooohkay, I think I finally have it straight now (lot of girls to keep track of, how do you do it?). Had the small girl and the mustard gas been chased/nipped a lot prior to their deaths? Was there a lot of physical damage when the sorority was settling in? And how long had the mustard gas been healthy before she died?

It IS beginning to make a little sense, though. If the mustard gas was sickly once before, whatever killed her could have been a recurrence. Unfortunately, we probably won't ever know what it was she had without any obvious signs like dropsy or bloating. And the little one may simply have been too young and too small to withstand the jostling going on in a big sorority. Did the little one show any symptoms like she may have been ill or did she just up and die like she may have been killed by the others?
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:43 AM   #9 
LaurenL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
Ooohkay, I think I finally have it straight now (lot of girls to keep track of, how do you do it?). Had the small girl and the mustard gas been chased/nipped a lot prior to their deaths? Was there a lot of physical damage when the sorority was settling in? And how long had the mustard gas been healthy before she died?

It IS beginning to make a little sense, though. If the mustard gas was sickly once before, whatever killed her could have been a recurrence. Unfortunately, we probably won't ever know what it was she had without any obvious signs like dropsy or bloating. And the little one may simply have been too young and too small to withstand the jostling going on in a big sorority. Did the little one show any symptoms like she may have been ill or did she just up and die like she may have been killed by the others?
When I first got the little one, there were no real signs of sickness. She turned out to be lowish on the totem pole. However, the mustard gas one was actually kind of aggressive but was beaten down by my white and red one like all the others. The white and red betta is by far the "leader" and she is causing some nipping. She's calmed down quite a bit but still has occasional fights. When I read online about adding the girls in, I was expecting there to be a lot of fighting. However, when I added them they tolerated each other pretty well except for a little fighting. All their fins are quite beaten up however. I woke up and the little blue one was not to be found despite 2 feedings. This worried me in the first place but I eventually found her in a corner behind driftwood half-eaten. I would understand it if the mustard gas was dying slowly, but it was just in an instant. I noticed her doing this in the tank, moved her to the cup, and while writing in maybe 10 minutes she died. She was completely normal this morning. Perhaps I should just do more frequent water changes (just in case) and continue to monitor - or maybe I should remove the main bully? Thank you for all the help! :)

Last edited by LaurenL; 07-13-2011 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:54 AM   #10 
Sakura8
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Have you tested the water to see what the parameters are? If the levels are a little high, you might want to do a partial water change. Even though your tank is cycled, I'm just a bit concerned that adding in 9 bettas all at once may have overloaded the biofilter and caused an ammonia spike. If so, that could be what killed your mustard gas. I have a suspicion your littlest one simply got beaten/hounded to death.

If your alpha female is still beating everyone, then you can remove her for a timeout, perhaps overnight. Sometimes it takes as many as 3 or more timeouts before they settle in. When I started my sorority, three of my girls got into a serious cage fight and I almost quit several times. But each time I tried again and I always put the newest/lowest girl in first and the alpha female in last. That way everyone kind of started out equal.
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