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Old 09-03-2011, 09:43 PM   #1 
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Exclamation newb betta owner-betta males dieing

Ok. I my 1st betta fish, Luke, was a crown tail that i owned for about a month till he died (due to constipation, otherwise he was as fit a a fiddle)

So i bought myself a new one, Skywalker.
My mom didn't know i'd just bought a new fish that day and got me a new one too , a veil tail named Hansolo, and i had him for a week before mom went off and bought my baby bro a veil tail, Starsceen, and me a female , Princess Lea.
(please note i did not want her to buy me more fish. i was only planning to have one betta...)

So to my problem. I'm very new to owning bettas and currently have 3 fish i look after (though star screen is my bro's , he's too little to care for it on his own)
My 4th one, Skywalker, just died recently for no apparent reason. He'd been very active and healthy for the month i had him. I changed 50% of his water every week with 100% every month. and he lived in a .5 gal tank with a little rock formation to hide in and he seemed healthy. Then, over night, he grew 'depressed' acting and wouldn't eat or move much. he just hid in the tank all day and died within a week.

Now my only living male , Hansolo, has been acting just like Skywalker did before he died. Perfectly happy up till a week ago and suddenly grew 'depressed'. He's in .5 gal of water same water changing schedule but i haven't done 100% change this month cause i'm worried i'd stress him more. he nibbled at food then won't touch it and hide. he either floats at the top, or lays on the bottom and will remain still for hours. I'm very worried he's about to die and i don't understand why this is happening.

today i notice my female, Lea, and my baby bro's male, Star screen, started to grow very inactive. Starscreen refused to eat and though lea will eat, she hides a bit more. Normally she's a very active fishy.

****PLease remember i'm not a fish hoarder. my mother bought most of them even when i told her to stop. i only have 3 fish right now (including my brother's) and they are all wallmart bout fish. ****

Because Hansolo is the worst off anf they all seem to be following his example, i'll just answer the following about him

What size is your tank? .5 gal (only thing i could get at the time)
What temperature is your tank? no idea. not regulated but it's been in the 90s outside around here and our house stays about 74F
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellet and freeze dried blood worms about once a week. only one per fish when i do give them a worm
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets daily. once or twice a month 1 pellet and 1 freeze dried blood worm


How often do you perform a water change? 50% weekly, 100% monthly (minus this month's 100% because i'm worried of stressing him out more)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? answer is above...
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? a little tablet i got from walmart, says it regulates the levels or the water up to 5 gals or water and to ad one per water changing. I add about a 3rd of a tablet when i do 50% changings.

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? he's always had a bit grey tint to him.. his (and the other's) bellies might be a tad greyer? and today a couple tiny tips of his tail curled up and fell off!!!
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? yes, 'depressed' won't eat but can swim fine when he chooses to (which is not very much at all)
When did you start noticing the symptoms? about a week ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? i added a little bit of Mella Fix 1st aid today after seeing the bits of tail fall off. (I used the same stuff on star screen to save him from fin rot when we first got him about 3 weeks ago)
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no idea. walmart bought
How old is your fish (approximately)? no idea walmart bought

__________________________________________________ _

I read a few articles and since winter is coming, i got a 5 gal tank and just split it into 3 sections. (so each fish will get about 1.7 gals instead of 0.5 gal) and it came with a filter, light, and i bought a heater for it. i just got doen gluging in the sections of fiberglass like material (small holes drilled in for circulation) with waterproof glueing and plan on trying to move all three living fish into them tomorrow. (after the water heats up to the right level)
i did all this because i read they can go into shocka nd survival shut down to try and stay warm. it hasn't gotten cold here yet but i don't want to take chances. especially with them already getting worse.

i plan on putting the heater on one side and the filet on the other in hopes the filter, sucking in water , would draw the heated water throughout the whole tank. would that work?

thank you so much for reading the HUGE article and for the help.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #2 
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Location: Currently based in NJ

First off, I'm a rather polite person, may I say. If you could hear me say the words I type here, I'm saying it as nice as possible... and I have a headache right now, so I'm being paranoid about my speaking skills right now. :'D

100% on a .5 gallon tank is Waaaay too little of a water change. In a tank that small, daily 100% water changes would have helped the fish live a lot healthier and longer.

Good to know you've read up on some things on the site. Since you have the three fish in one rather small tank (for three), I'll say you do water changes as much as most here would do on a 1.5 galon, which I think is a 100% every other day.

Water temperature should stay between 78-82'F.

The temperature of the water will diffuse to be equal temperatures even if the filter wasn't in there, but I'm sure the filter will help a lot, too.

Do you have live plants in the tank? If not, and forgive me if you already knew, but plants help keep ammonia levels down. It doesn't mean you don't have to do water changes any less unless there are a lot of plants (but don't overcrowd the fish, either), but it does help.

Edit: Any sick fish, you might want to keep separate from the others, unless they're all sick with the same thing, I don't see why you shouldn't treat the whole tank.

Editedit: I just thoroughly read through your form. Since they're all in their own tanks right now, treat them individually.
First, do a 100% water change. Let the temperature even out with his water (acclimate him) and let him into the water.
I think with proper water changes, the fish will perk up considerably.
As far as eating habits go, try feeding half a cooked pea to the ones who aren't eating. It could be that their intestinal system is blocked up that they have no desire to eat. Usually bettas will eat themselves to death, but it's a good diet you have them on.
Also, forgive any mispellings... my heaache doesn't help that either.

Last edited by BlakbirdxGyarados; 09-03-2011 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:04 PM   #3 
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Blakbird- i don't see you as being rude at all.
each fish is in .5 gal for now with soft fake plants but i'm not allowed to get real ones :/
i have read about real plants though

i would have loved to have gotten them all a 5 gal tank or at least a 2 gal but that's all i could get them at the time and some goes for this 5 gal i just bought.

the heater says it'll keep the water about 78-80f after the first 24 hours on it's own.

i had tried doing 100% every day the first week i had my first betta but that really stressed him out no matter how careful i was so i was very timid about doing the same to these.

i want to be sure the gluing is 100% dried before putting the water and ehater in so i won't be putting the fish in till tomorrow noon maybe?

lea seems to be a bit more active now it's dark but the two males are still 'depressed'

i don't mind the mistakes. i'm a horrible speller and i'm thankful you're willing to help me though you feel unwell.

Ok. so leave them all in their own .5 gal tanks instead of putting them in the 5 gal that's separated out?
how could i convince them to eat a halved pea (assuming the little round green ones) if they won;t even eat a bloodworm (they all go loco for them other than lea)

do you think i should still give hansolo (the worst of the bunch) the mella fix?

Last edited by patchesofheaven74; 09-03-2011 at 10:18 PM. Reason: answering questions
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:06 PM   #4 
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daw crud there's a typo in my origenal post. i meant that i do 100% weekly
and i lightly scrub the whole tank (rocks and all) once a month XD sorry
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:16 PM   #5 
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It's alright... as a note, with typos, there's an edit button on the bottom right corner of your post. It will stay there for 20 minutes, afterwards you can't edit it. :D'

I understand; people are in different situations that they're only allowed so much. What you did sounds fine, though I imagine if and when you get a chance, you'll buy separate tanks for them? If not, as long as you keep them in good water, they'll be fine.

While most of us on the site prefer heaters you can adjust, the one you have now sounds perfect. Is it a Tetra heater? If it's the one I'm thinking of, I know they work like a charm.

He might seem pretty stressed out, but it's honestly better to keep him in clean water than let him sit in old. Eventually he'll realize he's going into fresher water every time there is a change and get used to it. My half-blind betta was super stressed about his water changes, too... especially since he's half blind. He got used to it though and is a very bright, snow white color (as opposed to his slightly off-white he was when I got him).

That's fine with the glue, too... though make sure it's dry and rinse out the tank a few times before adding the bettas.

It's good Princess Lea seems better, but still keep an eye on her, especially the guys.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:19 PM   #6 
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I think the problem is with the water quality. Ammonia will build up very quickly in something as small as a .5 gallon. If the ammonia level is high enough it will eventually kill the fish

if you are worried about stressing the fish out with a normal water change, you can use an eye dropper or something similar to suck out some old water and replace it with fresh, clean, conditioned water.

Also, you can use storage containers as fish tanks. I have two that live in them. One is about 1 gallons and the other is almost 3 gallons. Just be sure to either cover the top with something so they don't jump out OR drill holes into the cover.

Alot of people will go psycho and demand that they need a minimum of 2.5 gallons each. Personally I don't that that is the case as long as you keep up with the water changes. Plus not all fish like big tanks. I have a white delta tail male that seems to like the 1 gallon way more the being in a divided 10 gallon. Larger tanks are easier to maintain then smaller ones though, and I think most fish would rather have more room...

And I doubt anyone on here will call you a fish hoarder with only THREE fish. Many of us have more then that - especially those that breed bettas

Last edited by Tikibirds; 09-03-2011 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:22 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by Tikibirds View Post
Also, you can use storage containers as fish tanks. I have two that live in them. One is about 1 gallons and the other is almost 3 gallons. Just be sure to either cover the top with something so they don't jump out OR drill holes into the cover.

And I doubt anyone on here will call you a fish hoarder with only THREE fish. Many of us have more then that - especially those that breed bettas
To the first paragraph: +1 to that. I forgot about regular household items that make great tanks.

And to the 2nd: I almost became a breeder, too.... But I still already have and had so many fish! xD
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:46 PM   #8 
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ok thank you both very much. i wish i'd known about this site before i might have been able to save Luke in the very beginning.

man i used to think i had a 'way' with fish.. tell i got a betta XD first fish i've had all these problems with. i've had gold fish, koi (pond and tank), neons, these strange little blue and pink fish, etc and well.. none of them died fast. in fact one golden i got from the fair was 1/2 inch when i got him. he died 7 years later and was nearly a foot, grew an extra dorsal fin, and front fins. O.o

it is a nice little tetra heater :3

ok so tomorrow first thing i'll change the water in all of the little tanks and give the big one 24 hours to regulate, etc. i'll keep hansolo in his little tank and maybe put lea and star into the bigger one if they are doing better after the change since they only just stared acting weird.

i wish i'd known about the edit button sooner!

i would have never thought about the storage containers either. dang, too bad all mine are full with crud under the bed.. i'll have to keep that in mind.

i'll try and get another 5 gal tank in the future but for now i'll have to stick with the 3 .5 and 1 5 gal i already have.
my parents are already peeved with me for spending this much effort on these little fish. (he wouldn't really do this) but dad threatened to just flush them and be done with it from hearing me jabber away about how worried i was.

P.S: Lea is creeping on me cause her tank is next to my bed... she seems to like staring me down and swimming bck and forth on this side of her tank. i'm very happy she seems to be feelign better tonight. and i'll be sure to give a little update tomorrow.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:03 PM   #9 
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Be sure NOT to RUSH the drying of that glue!! It needs at least a solid 24 hours before you rinse that tank and then fill with water. I once rushed a project and killed my betta because the glue wasn't dried all the way - it essentially poisoned the fish.

Great advice from everyone, and it sounds like you are doing your very best, patches.

Best wishes!!
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:14 AM   #10 
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Hi patchesofheaven and welcome to the forum. First, I agree with Tiki. I have no problem with bettas in small tanks as long as the water as often as is necessary. My only problem with tanks 1 gallon and under is that they are very hard to heat and heat is essential to bettas. If you can find a way to reliably heat a tank 1 gallon or smaller, fabulous. :)

I'm sure it's been mentioned before but I'll just repeat real quick: water changes. Clean water is the best thing you could do for your bettas. I know you said 100% changes really stressed your bettas out. Can I ask how you go about them? Do you net the betta? You might want to consider using a clear plastic cup to catch them. Usually all you have to do is put the cup in the water and the suction pulls them in. If you're really lucky, your betta might swim in on his/her own. Using a cup is a lot less stressful than nets. Another tip is this: you don't necessarily have to do 100%. You can leave the betta in the tank and just remove water either by cups or by siphon until there is just enough water left for them to swim in. That's usually more than enough of a change.

I hope this helps you and I hope your fish perks up soon. May the Force be with you.
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deing fish, inactive fish, male depressed, new betta owner

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