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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm hoping you guys can help me out...right now I'm sort of at a loss of what to do. I've had 2 other bettas in the last year die of similar symptoms and I just can't figure out what is going wrong. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Also sorry that I didn't put this in the diseases/emergencies forum...been a while since I've been here and the format has changed a bit!

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank?
2.6g
Does it have a filter?
Yes
Does it have a heater?
Yes
What temperature is your tank?
80 F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?
One nerite, MTS

Food:
What food brand do you use?
New Life Spectrum
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
Pellets, also sometimes frozen (the pack is called Freshwater Frenzy, can't remember the brand)
Freeze-dried?
Very rarely, Hikari spirulina brine shrimp
How often do you feed your Betta? How much?
Once a day, 4-5 pellets, or I'll replace one pellet feeding with a equal sized about of frozen or freeze-dried food (soaked for 10 minutes before feeding).

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
Once every couple weeks
What percentage of water did you change?
25%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?
Vacuum
What additives do you use?
Prime, sometimes Flourish for the plants, wonder shells

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.8
Hardness (GH): >12
Alkalinity (KH): 4-5

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
Gradually worsening over the past month
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
No obvious changes other than clamped fins
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
For the past month or so he has been acting very lethargic. He's never been a super active fish, but her started hanging out by the filter intake constantly. Up until a couple days ago he was still eating. Now he refuses food and lays at the bottom of the tank instead. I currently have him in a breeder net so I can keep an eye on him and do medicated baths, and he just lays on his side.
Is your Betta still eating?
No - have tried offering pellets and frozen food soaked in Garlic Guard
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
Medicated Wonder Shells (3 weeks, coming to the end of that treatment with no improvement which is why I'm asking for help now)
I've kept the lights off in the tank for the past two days, have him in the breeder net as I mentioned. Today I did a 30 minute bath with methylene blue, aquarium salt, and API general cure.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
Yes, he was a little lethargic when I first got him, recovered after a week or so. Was never as bad as he is now.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue?
Bought from a pet store in May
 

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Your water change schedule could very well be what is stressing the fish out. Tanks of that size need water changes at least once a week, more often if it's not cycled.

I don't know what wonder shells are but I do know that over-medicating a fish, especially if it is not sick, can also stress/kill it. Can we have pictures please?
 

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A nitrate reading of 0.0ppm indicates that the tank is not cycled. But I don't trust your ammonia or nitrite readings either. If you're only changing 25% of the water every few weeks, I'd expect the ammonia to read dangerously high -- unless you have a heavily planted tank.

When a fish is acting off, I always suspect water quality, especially if you've had previous deaths.

Change half the water at least weekly or more. Dose Prime 4-drops daily.

Make sure the tank is cycled. CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Your water change schedule could very well be what is stressing the fish out. Tanks of that size need water changes at least once a week, more often if it's not cycled.

I don't know what wonder shells are but I do know that over-medicating a fish, especially if it is not sick, can also stress/kill it. Can we have pictures please?
Not sure what you were requesting pictures of, fish or tank (or both)? In either case I will try to get those tomorrow.
Wonder shells are mineral blocks. I haven't used the regular ones in a while, but the medicated ones contain Malachite Green, Acriflavin, Copper Sulfate, and Methylene Blue.

A nitrate reading of 0.0ppm indicates that the tank is not cycled. But I don't trust your ammonia or nitrite readings either. If you're only changing 25% of the water every few weeks, I'd expect the ammonia to read dangerously high -- unless you have a heavily planted tank.

When a fish is acting off, I always suspect water quality, especially if you've had previous deaths.

Change half the water at least weekly or more. Dose Prime 4-drops daily.

Make sure the tank is cycled. CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial
The tank is heavily planted and has been cycled for over a year, using the method you described, except that I've never had high nitrate readings. I use the API Master Test Kit.

For reference, the previous deaths I was referring to did not occur in this tank, though they had similar water parameters and were both in similar heavily planted tanks (I have 3).

What is your water source? Bottled or tap? If tap is it RO/DI filtered? If bottled is it spring, distilled, or purified?
Tap water
I did consider a water source issue but my other boy hasn't shown any signs, and he gets the same water.

Thanks for all of your help so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here are pictures of Courfeyrac and his tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No changes, good or bad. I am really unsure what to do at this point. I got really busy yesterday and didn't get around to his methylene blue bath, but I'm not sure if it was helping or hurting anyway. Anybody seen something like this before? Do I just wait and see what happens? How long can I keep the lights off in his tank before my plants start to suffer?

His symptoms are just so non-specific. Wish we could do blood work on these guys!
 

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A heavily-planted tank, such as yours, might read 0,0,0 as being perfectly healthy. A low nitrate reading is fine; even 0.0ppm. Your water change schedule is OK for a tank planted as much as yours. But weekly keeps minerals refreshed and toxins from building up.

How much darkness can plants handle? Only your judgment can decide that. Why do you want it dark?

I tend to agree with Rainbo about aggressive medication or treatment. Wondershells tend to raise pH, though yours looks OK. Methylene etc doesn't work for everything.

Back to basics: can you get your water tested for chemicals such as iron, other metals, arsenic (quite common around my place) and other things.

Your food seems adequate, though he might respond to more fresh foods -- frozen bloodworms, mosquito larvae (glassworms), fruitflies etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A heavily-planted tank, such as yours, might read 0,0,0 as being perfectly healthy. A low nitrate reading is fine; even 0.0ppm. Your water change schedule is OK for a tank planted as much as yours. But weekly keeps minerals refreshed and toxins from building up.

How much darkness can plants handle? Only your judgment can decide that. Why do you want it dark?

I tend to agree with Rainbo about aggressive medication or treatment. Wondershells tend to raise pH, though yours looks OK. Methylene etc doesn't work for everything.

Back to basics: can you get your water tested for chemicals such as iron, other metals, arsenic (quite common around my place) and other things.

Your food seems adequate, though he might respond to more fresh foods -- frozen bloodworms, mosquito larvae (glassworms), fruitflies etc.
He actually passed yesterday :( I had been doing more frequent water changes since you suggested it but was probably too late.

I will look into getting the water tested for toxins though. Hopefully I can figure out what is going on so the same thing doesn't happen to my last boy.
 
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