How do you deal with feeling like you failed you fish? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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How do you deal with feeling like you failed you fish?

Not sure if this is the right subforum to post this in. Apologies if not.

My betta of a few months died yesterday. I got him on sale and he was already a little worse for the wear, but nothing horrible. He was doing really well for a while and the tank was cycled fully, but then I noticed him acting odd. I checked and the water quality had dropped drastically within the few days since I had checked it last, and he was showing symptoms of both the beginnings of fin rot and swim bladder disease. I immediately did a water change and looked up how to treat him for the swim bladder issues, which I think occurred because I hadn't noticed that there were gnats getting into his tank that he was eating in addition to his food. (I blocked off entrances that the gnats had as soon as I realized.) He seemed to be getting better over the course of a week or so with treatment of small bits of pea soaked in garlic and smaller than usual portions of food like bloodworms and and other frozen betta food rather than his usual more pellet heavy diet, plus daily water changes while I tried to figure out why the tank had somehow uncycled. He was getting more active and starting to be able to float a little. And then suddenly on Sunday he started getting worse again, and on Monday when I came home he was dead.

Even though I did so much research about bettas before getting one, I just feel like I missed something. Like I did something wrong. And that if I'd done more research before getting him or something, I would have been able to give him a longer life.

Like, I don't know how to feel. Like, I keep feeling this conflict between people saying "Oh, fish die easily so..." and knowing that he was a living creature with needs and feelings, even if not the same as a person's, that died under my care... Every time I look at the tank I expect him to be there, swimming around and he's not, and it's so like. I dunno.

I know I'll get another betta once I've mourned my lost boy and have made sure the tank is safe, but right now I'm just grappling with my feelings of responsibility for his death.

For other people who have felt this way after a betta's death, how did you get past it?

Last edited by bobonaca; 11-19-2018 at 07:41 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 11:30 PM
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I had a betta named Indigo for 4 years (2004-08) when I was really young. He lived for so long without a heater, filter or even conditioned water. He died so suddenly and I'm still not sure from what? I think pineconing. But he suddenly turned pink (was normally a blue/purple) and inflated while I was gone for only an hour.

In 2015 I was finally over the death of Indigo and my mom suggested I bought a new betta to house Indigo's old 1 gallon tank. I bought Meelo and he was so beautiful (he was red, yellow and green) and I tried to convince my mom to get at least conditioner for the water. Since I was 17 and researched betta care, but she said "Indigo didn't need any of this stuff." I brought Meelo home and put him in his tank, bubbles were covering the tank's service and I kept telling my mom that wasn't right.
Fast forward only a few days, I went to sleepover at my friends house and my mom texted me "Meelo died last night"
The worst thing is my mom kept him in his cup days after he died to "get her money back" but he was sitting out until she could make it to PetSmart...

I completely understand feeling like you could have done better. Meelo was such an amazing boy in store/his cup but as soon as I got him in his tank I could tell he wasn't going to make it. My mom told me PetSmart would let me pick up a new betta but I knew nothing would change and it would happen all over again. :(

Two months ago I was at PetSmart and fell in love with a betta that I saw. I impulse bought every possible thing to make sure I could give him what he needed. Granted I still do not have a filter for him but I hope to be getting him a larger tank and a filter when it is possible in the near future! Clove is such has an amazing personality and I'm glad I overcame my fear of owning a betta again!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 09:10 PM
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Sometimes you do everything right and things still just go wrong and you lose a fish.

I had a double tail I named Cassanova about 6 years ago, he was a good fish, had a fully cycled planted tank and a heater and suddenly he just got sick, I went to forums asked for help tried everything I could and the only thing that seemed to work was an absolutely sterile environment that I had to do 100% water changes on every single day. I did that for weeks until he finally gave up.

For me, the best thing is to just move on asap, I got a new fish and he lived for 3 years happy as a clam. Sometimes staring at an empty tank just makes it worse, find a new boy or girl to fall in love with and provide them with the best possible environment you can.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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I think you're right about moving on asap Shifa. I'm going to try and bury or cremate him this weekend so I at least won't have the body in the freezer anymore. And then I have to make sure my tank is fully cycled again since I still don't know what happened with that and clean it well before another inhabitant (I think the issue was non-contagious things but still want to be safe), but I think I'll try and start looking at new fish as soon as I have that done. I was going to wait because I felt (and still feel) so responsible for his death despite trying so hard to help him, but having his empty tank sit there just makes me sad whenever I look at it.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 01:37 PM
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My boy Aether died because of stress. Sometimes the owner's situations arn't the best for the fish. I felt really bad when he died, because there was nothing I could do about our living situation. He had a good life. It's best to just remember them at their best and know that you took care of them. Good luck getting a new finned puppy XD
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“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." (Quote from William Shakespeare) ~Me when first saw Romeo in the pet store


Anyone is welcome to be my friend!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 03:21 PM
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Even though I've done my research and treat for diseases, I still feel like I could've done more. All of my past bettas (excluding one who jumped out of its tank while I was sleeping) have died due to columnaris, dropsy, or a tumor. And it really sucks to hope that a bettas dies overnight because you don't want to have to deal with the pain of euthanizing again. That's my fear with my current betta who might be developing dropsy. I just want one of my bettas to live to its average lifespan, but I think I'm taking a long break after my current one goes.
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