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Hi Everyone,

I had Charlie for 2 weeks and he was my first Betta. Last night he passed away suddenly and I an stumped and shocked at how fast it happened.

Charlie resided in a 1.5 gallon unfiltered bowl which had gravel in the bottom and a silk flower that he loved to craddle himself in. I checked/cleaned his bowl daily making sure to remove any uneatten food and any poop. I also did a 75% water change every other day. I use tap water and condition it with Aqueon Betta Bowl. I also use an API kit to get PH around 7.

I went away for a couple of days and prior to going I gave Charlie a full water change, which kinda stressed him out. I used a net to move him into another container while I cleaned out his bowl and the gravel. The following morning he was swimming around but didnt want to eat anything prior to my trip.

I came home last night and went to feed him. He wasnt interested and was very twitchy. He was always very graceful. I decided to change his water. Again, I used a net to move him into a small container. Once I had him in the smaller container he began freaking out and I couldnt get him out of the net. He turned over on his back and was gasping and in seconds he was gone. I was totally taken off guarded and I'm still somewhat stunned by what happened.

What went wrong?? I'm certain i did something wrong. My wife thinks he may have gotten ill as she thought his gills looked enflamed, but I simply dont know. Before I get another I need to figure out what happened to Charlie so I make sure I dont repeat my mistake. I feel terrible as Charlie was very interactive and he grew on me. I really miss the little guy. Please help me figure this out

Thank you

George
 

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Betta's don't do good in bowls fist of all. they need a tank at LEAST 2.5 gallons and a heater.
 

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A 1.5 gallon should be fine IME.

that sounds like poisoning. you didn't forget the water conditioner did you? Are there any chemicals that could have gotten in the water?
 

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Ehh, don't hate me (though I do agree with you), but that wasn't really helpful, xShainax.

GFarra, I'm far from an expert but it could have been the stress/shock from such large water changes. Did you make sure the water was the same temperature? I lost my first fish (a goldfish) that way--I hadn't been paying attention and put him in water several degrees colder than what he'd just been in, and he just up and died (albeit not immediately).
 

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While Shainax is right and your betta needed a little more than 1.5 gallons, considering the amount of attention you payed to water quality I really don't think that was the cause :/. Plenty of very experienced betta keepers here think that it's fine (not IDEAL, but not horrible) to keep bettas in tanks of at least 1 gallon as long as you stay on top of water changes.
I'd still suggest getting a tank of AT LEAST 2.5 gallons, but you didn't know and you really did the right thing for a small container. So I'm not going to chastise you for that.

Did you have a heater? It could have been temperature fluctuation if you didn't. Bettas need a temp of between 76-82 degrees, preferably in the 78-80 range.
Also, betta bowl is not a very good water conditioner, unfortunately. I would suggest Seachem Prime for a container that small.
Are you absolutely SURE you added your conditioner the last time you changed your water? Because a sudden death like that usually indicates bad water quality. Also, if you didn't acclimate him properly back to the tank after a 100% water change, that would have done some harm as well.

I would also suggest not netting your fish for water changes. Instead, try to just catch him in a cup. Less stressful, and then he'll be in the same water chemistry that he was in the bowl.
Make sure the water you place him in while doing a change is the same as the water in his tank before you do a change, as well. Changing water conditions can lead to shock, not a good thing.
 

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The net may have hurt him a little. In future use a cup, as he won't be touching anything that could tear his fins or his slime coat. + 1 to CreativePotato about the temperature.

I also suggest aging your water a minimum of 24 hours + water conditioner to be doubly sure everything that could harm him is removed.

And, what is your city's pH from the tap? Bettas are surprisingly able to adapt to pH, and sometimes playing with pH does more harm than good. It's also very easy to make a slight mistake when doing pH adjustments with a chemical or something, so as long as your pH is between 8.5 and 5.5 I wouldn't worry too much. I do believe river stones help to naturally lower the pH a bit, same with driftwood though. Double check that though. Aging the water will too. I know my pH is naturally about 8.0 though, and he's surprisingly okay with it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for the quick replies. Im certain the water i put him in was treated with Betta Bowl since it was leftover from the earlier change. I also knew to never use any household cleaners around his bowl.

I dont have a heater in the bowl. I suppose the water temp was different enough to send him into shock. I do plan to maie an investment in a 5 gallon tank with a filter. Now that i am aware that water temp is critical i will get one that can house a heater as well.

Appreciate the advise on the water conditioner

Regards

George
 

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Pretty much any 5 gal will house a heater :3. So you don't need to worry too much about that!
Sorry about your loss, but remember that at least Charlie didn't die in a pet store cup, and you did better by him than a lot of first-time betta owners do. Unfortunately pet stores don't do a lot to inform you that bettas need space and a heater, which tragically means that a lot of people aren't educated about this...
You did the right thing coming here though, and I'm glad it didn't discourage you from betta ownership!
 

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My minimum is 1 gallon, and with partial water changes almost daily. More ideal would be 2.5 gallons, but what you've got is fine. Its more of an opinion, but the consensus around here is that the absolute bare minimum is a gallon.
I would never suggest using a net, I (personally) don't like them and I feel they stress they fish out more than needed. Do you know the temp of the water?
For water changes always use water conditioner, like Prime. There is no need to age water if you use water conditioner. Also, since bettas are a topical fish, a heater is needed to keep the temp between 76-82 F. A combo of different things could have attributed to his death.
If your thinking about keeping another betta in the same bowl, make sure to clean it thoroughly. Any gravel should either be tossed(preferred) or boiled(be careful if you choose to do this). And a solution of vinegar and water should be used to clean the tank.

@ElBeau: My water PH is 8.0 as well. :)

EDIT:
Just saw the betta bowl comment, betta bowl KILLED my brand new gorgeous yellow VT when I was acclimating him into the tank. I do not recommend that stuff. Ever. It doesn't work.
 

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I think the size of the tank is fine. You seem to know what you're doing as far as water quality goes! I think some people have had adverse reactions with the "betta bowl" so ditch that, it might have just not worked. Aging water in bottles for a day or two is good because toxic chlorine gas evaporates. (I age my water for the snails)
Good luck!!
 

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I had a betta in a gallon and a half bowl, he died in 3 weeks so when I bought my second betta, I got a 2.5 aqueon mini bow tank. I suggest if you get another betta to upgrade and use a heater
 

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I'm so sorry to hear that your Betta passed away. They have such wonderful personalities, and you are obviously a caring parent. I'm glad you're going to try again...
 

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I've kept my frst betta in a 1/2 gallon for a month before I upgraded him to a 1 gallon minibow. I adopted him off and he is still in the same mini bow. it's been 3 months, he's still going strong :) So I really don't think it's the container that killed him, especially with the frequent WCs the OP did. It was more likely due to temperature shock or poisoning. or the fish has some internal problems from time of purchase.

plus breeders keep their fish in small 1/2 gallon or 1/4 gallon bottles. ofcourse that isn't recommended as it really leaves little room for the fish to swim in, and these people have dedicated fish rooms kept at tropical temperatures.
That said, I agree with bigger is always better :)
If you have the resources to get a bigger tank, go for it. Otherwise the current one should be fine, as long as you figure out and correct the problem that may have killed the fish.

unfortunately, if the temperature of your tank water is too cold or is prone to fluctuations, you really don't have any other optiona but to get atleast a 2.5g which can be heated more safely.
 

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If you do end up keeping the 1.5 gal, they DO make heaters specifically for smaller aquariums like that...
Hydor makes this one specifically for "betta bowls". I normally would shy away from stuff like that, but Hydor is a very respectable company that a lot of people here recommend, and it's a decently priced product to boot. Non-adjustable heaters might actually be better for a small aquarium because they automatically turn on when the heat drops and off again when it's within an acceptable range.
 

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My minimum is 1 gallon, and with partial water changes almost daily. More ideal would be 2.5 gallons, but what you've got is fine. Its more of an opinion, but the consensus around here is that the absolute bare minimum is a gallon.
I would never suggest using a net, I (personally) don't like them and I feel they stress they fish out more than needed. Do you know the temp of the water?
For water changes always use water conditioner, like Prime. There is no need to age water if you use water conditioner. Also, since bettas are a topical fish, a heater is needed to keep the temp between 76-82 F. A combo of different things could have attributed to his death.
If your thinking about keeping another betta in the same bowl, make sure to clean it thoroughly. Any gravel should either be tossed(preferred) or boiled(be careful if you choose to do this). And a solution of vinegar and water should be used to clean the tank.

@ElBeau: My water PH is 8.0 as well. :)

EDIT:
Just saw the betta bowl comment, betta bowl KILLED my brand new gorgeous yellow VT when I was acclimating him into the tank. I do not recommend that stuff. Ever. It doesn't work.
Wow, do you have as many problems cooking veggies as I do? Man it drives me crazy how they get slimy if I boil them too long :p (high pH is why that happens, so you have to boil a minute or three less than a recipe states haha)

Baking soda is safe to use on a tank as well for cleaning - it's simply acid lol. As with vinegar, make sure you rinse A LOT! as residual acid won't HURT your fish, but will cause pH fluctuations.
 

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Wow, do you have as many problems cooking veggies as I do? Man it drives me crazy how they get slimy if I boil them too long :p (high pH is why that happens, so you have to boil a minute or three less than a recipe states haha)

Baking soda is safe to use on a tank as well for cleaning - it's simply acid lol. As with vinegar, make sure you rinse A LOT! as residual acid won't HURT your fish, but will cause pH fluctuations.
Omg yes! I have to watch or else they get gross!
Yeah anything acidic. :)

That betta bowl was the conditioner right? Because its got like tannins in it already (it was like yellow/brownish), and it didn't properly decontaminate the water. That's how my poor buddy died. I took it back to the store and they felt bad for me because I was so excited. T.T
 

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I agree the tank size is fine. 1 gallon is really minimum, and that's mainly for younger fish.

A full size adult betta will grow to fill up a 1 gallon and look really BIG for the tank eventually. Generally if they start to look big for whatever you're keeping them in it's time to upgrade.

No matter what you do keep the tank you have, if for nothing else, a hospital tank.

The red gills point to poisoning probably from the conditioner. I have never used that conditioner, but I stay away from anything that says "fizzy tab" or water conditioners marketed directly to bettas. (personal choice)

Prime is a good conditioner because it also binds ammonia for a time making it less toxic to fish if I remember correctly. When getting a conditioner look for removes chlorine, chlorimine, and heavy metals. (that ammonia binding is nice too.) I am using Top Fin Tap Water dechlorinator. I plan on getting a bottle of prime once this is gone. I've never had a problem with the top fin stuff though, and it comes in a tiny inexpensive bottle that treats 600 gallons.

The water companies are switching over to chlorimine now i'm sure for the summer. If your conditioner does not remove this, it could be what shocked him. (From what I understand water is chlorinated in winter, and chlorimine is added in summer because it does not evaporate from the water.

I DO use Aqueon Betta Water Renewal which just is a bottle of mineral supliments I put in a few drops per water change, not as much as they say to put in. Offhand I don't know if this stuff works but 6 drops per gallon of water has never harmed my fish.

If you want to age water you can get couple gallon water jugs of drinking water from the grocery store. Drink them and save the water jugs to fill for your fish. Put the drops of tap water conditioner directly in the jug, shake it up and set it near your bettas tank. The water temperature should be the same as long as they aren't in a draft or on a cold floor.

Here is another heater I personally like, it's not adjustable though, but I have never had a problem with them and I own quite a few.
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4134008

They keep the water stable at 78 and if your water gets above 78 it shuts off until the temperature drops below the safe zone. They work in tanks as small as a half gallon safely. It's better to invest in an adjustable thermometer though in the long run. If your fish ever get sick you may need to raise the tempature above 78 to treat them, and many here swear you should keep your bettas in water temperatures below 80 which is really ideal.

I love a lot of Aqueon products. They have super customer service too if you ever need to contact them. I would stay away from that conditioner in the future though.

To everyone else talking about PH and cooking:
Gads I never knew that the ph could be what is making me mess some recipes up. I even was an avid watcher of the food network when I had cable tv... Even in cooking magizines I have gotten it was NEVER talked about...

Sorry this was long, and i'm very sorry you lost your fish. Don't let it discourage you from trying again.
 

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Lol about food, I knew it was a base, I'm just so tired! My bad D:

I'm in school to become a dietician which is where I learned about it messing up recipes and the difference between baking soda and baking powder and what not :p Man, introductory foods was like the best class I ever took- its just so practical! haha.

Back on topic though: I age my water and use conditioner, just to be doubly sure! I figure, why take the risk right? It also helps to ensure the same temperatures, as previously stated :)
 
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