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Old 01-14-2012, 01:07 AM   #1 
Onyx Knight
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New to list - fish are dropping like flies

I have been a betta owner since 1993. I have always raised them all the same way and they have lived for quite a long time for me. But lately I've had 5 bettas kick the bucket.

I bought a red crowntail, he was good for about a month then mysteriously stopped eating and within 24 hrs died.

I bought a blue crowntail, he lasted a few weeks and same exact thing happened.

I cleaned tank (5 gal. tank) very well and bought yet another betta, this time a regular red betta, he lived a week suddenly came ill and died 12 hrs later.

I cleaned the tank again, bought a different type of water conditioner, threw out the old food and bought a white betta. He seemed to do very well for a week then died as well.

I now have a blue crowntail, he is showing the exact same signs as all the other bettas. I expect him dead within 12 hrs.


In all cases, none of the bettas ever created bubble nests, all appeared to have swim bladder issues within 12 hrs of death. I noted the article about a new illness hitting bettas, it did mention gray coloring but the picture showed it on the tails. My bettas did get this coloring but it was on their faces, giving a "piebald" look even if the betta was not originally piebald color.

What really strikes me is that I know they tend to loose their color when they die but in these fish's case, they all turned very very gray very quickly after death.

An interesting side note about the current betta is how scared to death he is of everything. When I went to purchase him and touched the container he went NUTS darting around faster then I've ever seen a betta do before, since he was smaller I assumed he was just younger and full of energy. But when I brought him home he doesn't act at all like a normal betta, he swims along the tank decor and tries to shove himself into impossibly small hiding places, he will dart and hide for hours just from seeing me move from several feet away. I have had him for several days but in all that time I have only seen him for maybe a total of 5 min the entire time I've had him.

In any event I am about ready to throw in the betta towel.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:34 AM   #2 
Onyx Knight
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PS...I noticed the questions and tried to copy/paste 'em but for whatever reason that won't work so will type out best I can:

housing:

tank size - 5 gal
temp - unsure, never had to check before tho
filter - no
stone/aeration - no

(starting to feel like bad fish owner here lol)

food:

type - varied from flakes, pellets and bloodworm treats
often - 2 x per day

maintenance:

how often water change - 2x week (generally every 4 days)
percentage - 50%
addictives - water conditioner and aquarium salt

water parameters:

(again, bad fish parent...don't have a clue on this but has never been an issue for my bettas before)

symptoms - treatment:

appearance - color often changes within a day of impending death, becomes very dull

behavior - none of the bettas made bubble nests, all would appear fine for a week or longer then suddenly stop eating, then start swimming on their sides, would then struggle to swim making jerky movements (swim bladder problem) then become listless would die within 2-5 hrs of becoming listless (just floating) all this would occur within 12-24 hr period, sometimes shorter.

noticing symptoms - varied with fish. NEVER had any issues with bettas except occasional fin rot till these 5 bettas starting dropping like flies.

treatment - none, don't have a clue how to fix this

history of illness - all fish appeared to be fine before suddenly becoming ill and dying.

age - not sure, but some of the bettas were quite large (I believe size often indicates age?) and some were on the smaller side.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:49 AM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and sorry your are having so many problems...it can be frustrating.....

In the 5gal unfiltered tank....is this a new tank or have you been using it since 1993

What is your source water-and if tap water -does it go through a water softening unit on the house or anything...

Any changes in your house since the deaths started

Are you getting all the fish from the same store/location

How are you acclimating to the new source water...

Really need a water temp-you need a thermometer-you may or may not need a heater....

What kind of dechlorinator and any other additives or live plants in the tank

Do you use salt long term and how much are you using....
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:17 AM   #4 
Onyx Knight
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Hi fishlady thanks for the reply, yeah I'm ready to tear my hair out on this lol. FEel like a really bad fish mom lately.

In the 5gal unfiltered tank....is this a new tank or have you been using it since 1993 I've had several tanks since '93, I got this one about a year ago. I DID buy a new decor for the tank it was a large decor log with fake plants attached. I have sometimes wondered if this decoration is not leeching something? Seems like it started around the time I bought this thing but I can't imagine it would be the cause of the problems, and I have thoroughly cleaned it several times to make sure there wasn't any residue on it.

What is your source water-and if tap water -does it go through a water softening unit on the house or anything... I use tap water conditioned with "Jungle Start Right" conditioner.

Any changes in your house since the deaths started Nothing that I can recall.

Are you getting all the fish from the same store/location Yes, and I have wondered if this was the problem (since its ugh...walmart, I live in a small town and would have to drive 2 hrs to the nearest big city with a pet shop). The fish tho all look very healthy when I buy them. I used to always go for the betta with the worst water, least water etc as I figured the bettas that had the most water would have more time to get "adopted" lol. But now I've been even getting the bettas in the best water possible at the store and they still are dying. My crowntails seem to do more poorly then the regular bettas.

How are you acclimating to the new source water... I think you mean when I first put them in the tank? Well, I let the conditioned water stand without the fish for 48 hrs then I buy the fish, and float the container he's in, inside the tank for 2 hrs then gently release him.

Really need a water temp-you need a thermometer-you may or may not need a heater.... Yeah I agree gonna pick one up next time I go to the store. Also moving the betta to a warmer location for the time being. Tho I have had the other fish in that location and they have done just as poorly.

What kind of dechlorinator and any other additives or live plants in the tank I use Jungle Start Right, had another one forget the name of it but it didn't seem to make a difference either. There are no live plants in the tank (I read they deplete the water of oxygen so I quit using them years ago).

Do you use salt long term and how much are you using.... I use salt about every other water change and I just use a pinch of it. But lately I haven't used any because it seemed like they would die even faster when I did.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:27 PM   #5 
Sena Hansler
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For bettas, salt is not really an essential, and can actually cause more harm than good in the long run (or so I've been told, so I only use it for medicating ).

It could be because they came from Walmart. Not only does it seem that most of the time, the employees do not know what to do (add tap water conditioner, cleaning bowls, treating sick fish etc), but in my Walmart although the employees were devoted to the fish section, the shipping practices ended up sending them overwhelming amounts of goldfish (5/100 would live), fish arrived frozen/dead, or sick/dying. Have you tried getting to another place?
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #6 
Onyx Knight
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There is one other fish store here in town but I have heard nothing but bad about that place, its supposedly dirty, and the owners are not knowledgeable and I have heard their prices are through the roof, the are located in an old part of town in a run down little building. So I have never set foot in that place.

My current betta is in the process of dying, I've got him in a smaller tank so he can surface easier for air.

I dunno, they always seem healthy till they get to me. I don't know if there is some disease that lays dormant for a week then has a sudden onset, if there is I haven't heard/read about it I think its just something I'm doing and at this point I've invest so much $ and feel like such a fish killer lol I may not get another one after this. But I do love these fish, they are normally such a de-stresser but lately they've been nothing but a stresser!
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:42 PM   #7 
Sena Hansler
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Is there any other signs? fin rot, body rot, velvet, ich?

Also, have you tried removing the new ornament? When I see something wrong, I remove anything new and do a water change. And I know... it's nice to have destressers - until they get sick!
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:49 PM   #8 
Onyx Knight
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No they never show any other signs of illness. They look great do well then slow down on eating, then stop eating, start losing their color, get swim bladder problems and die. Poof. lol


I just did a water change (why the betta is in another tank) and took out the plant. He did surprise me, started eating again when I just checked but still quite listless and he is getting a whitish gray streak of color on his lower fins

EDIT: I called it a plant but its a reg. ornament but has fake plants attached but not a real plant ;)
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #9 
Sena Hansler
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Have you tested the water lately?

Also you mentioned "swim bladder.." how much do you feed them? However, swim bladder shouldn't actually kill a betta (...ALL the bettas...) unless his immune system is down, or it isn't SBD.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:18 PM   #10 
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For the salt do you just put it in the water? Or do you dissolve it?
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