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Discussion Starter #1
I went away for three days and when I got home I found 2 dead bettas in the tank, and the rest are clinging to the surface with their breathing seemingly laboured. They swim upright but seem weak and lethargic. They show varying degrees of symptoms. I don't know what's wrong with them. None of their tankmates are affected.

Housing
What size is your tank? - 26 gal
What temperature is your tank? - 83
Does your tank have a filter? - y
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? - y
Is your tank heated? - y
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? - 5 corys and 5 White cloud minnows. None of them are showing any sign of illness.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? - Varies. Mainly Hikari betta pellets mixed with Wardley's shrimp pellets (for the corys) or nutra fin betta flakes. Occasional frozen brine shrimp
How often do you feed your betta fish? - twice a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? - at least once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? - 1/3 to 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? - Prime, IAL

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

Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: n/a
pH: 8.4
Hardness: n/a
Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - Seem bloated but no pineconing. They have torn fins from picking on each other and I wonder if some or all have fin rot?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - lethargic, laboured breathing, either sitting on bottom or hanging near surface, no fin clamping
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - last night when I got home after being away
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - 2 sickest looking fish quarantined for observation with aq salt and IAL. Main tank: aq salt added along with IAL
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - Unknown, all purchased from Petsmart within the past month
How old is your fish (approximately)? - Varied ages, based on sizes
 

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Good that you got them in QT......did anyone feed the fish while you were gone????

Did you make a water change on the main tank after you found the dead fish...if not....I would go ahead and make a 50%....

Be careful using salt with the corydoras

If you have Epsom salt-I would use that instead of aquarium salt for the bloated, lethargic Bettas...dosed at 2tsp/gal along with the tannins....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nobody fed the fish, I was under the impression that they can go for up to a week without feeding. I've also been advised that weekend feeder blocks are a bad idea.

One of the fish in QT has now died and the other looks near death. There appears to be no improvement so far in the ones still in the big tank.

Just wondering if it's still ok to add Epsom salt if there is already some aq salt in the water?

I think I may have been overfeeding them. I saw that the white clouds couldn't eat betta pellets so I'd add some tropical fish flakes for them, and the bettas would eat those as well... then I'd add bottom feeder pellets for the corys and bettas would sample those. :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just a note : 83 is very warm for white cloud minnows and most corydoras species
Yup - I'm aware of that. It was hot here this weekend and I don't have A/C. I turned the heater right down and the temp is down to about 78 now.

Update: Both of my isolated fish died and so did one of my white clouds. The white cloud was not bloated or acting sick like the bettas. I changed about 60% of the water and did not add salt this time because of the corys, and because it doesn't seem to be doing any good anyway so far. I've left the IAL's in and added a bit of Flourish for the plants (which seem to be doing well at least).

I now have 3 female bettas left. One is definitely bloated and sick and the other two are sluggish but still active. None of the corys or white clouds appear sick. My male bettas in separate tanks are all doing great.
 

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Sounds like alot of deaths are around lately with the same symptoms + -.. (Including my own community tank or atleast it was) and saw few other death treads around with that.

I can't really say what it was or what.. But for me I had deaths in the first 2-3 day then they were abit bloated and heavy breathing(tetra and guppy, the betta died at day1), and after 1-2 more days they just came back to normal the remaining ones..(today is the second day after the death days) Some were in Omnipor sera and some no treatment(same effect).

If its what I had it goes as it comes.. fast and without a warning.

Hope your fish recover and I hope people here can findout why this is happening so much in the past week to multiple people.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like alot of deaths are around lately with the same symptoms + -.. (Including my own community tank or atleast it was) and saw few other death treads around with that.

I can't really say what it was or what.. But for me I had deaths in the first 2-3 day then they were abit bloated and heavy breathing(tetra and guppy, the betta died at day1), and after 1-2 more days they just came back to normal the remaining ones..(today is the second day after the death days) Some were in Omnipor sera and some no treatment(same effect).

If its what I had it goes as it comes.. fast and without a warning.

Hope your fish recover and I hope people here can findout why this is happening so much in the past week to multiple people.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who has gone through this, though I am sorry for your loss of fish as well... in all my years of fishkeeping I have never seen anything like this! I've been blaming myself and second-guessing my husbandry.

All three of my remaining bettas are sluggish and have no interest in food; one is staying near the bottom of the tank which is not a good sign. Thankfully the other species seem ok. Now that I have changed my water I am going to wait to see how things go. I don't want to dump meds in the tank when I don't know what's causing this.
 

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I'm sorry I have no idea what caused it or what made it go away..
Can it be some mutation of a bacteria or virus? I mean just look at threads in this section in the past 5-6 days.. Atleast 3-5 cases like ours same symptoms and speed of death.
 

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Our fish often die of unknown causes from no fault of our own...it just happens......Diagnosis are just "Best guesses" at best......especially over the internet.....so don't beat yourself up.......

I asked about feeding to rule that out....Betta and fish in general can go a fairly long time without food.....but I just wanted to make sure you didn't have a fish sitter that over fed them while you were gone......and yes, the feeder blocks are not a good idea IMO.....

I would get any of the symptomatic fish out of the main tank if you haven't done that already.......And start Epsom salt 2tsp/gal and tannin treatment

Since you have made the water changes on the main tank-I would keep making daily 50% for several days....just to rule the environment out as the cause.....Good that you got that temp lowered-not just for the other species.....But pathogens often can colonize faster/better in warmer water.

Good luck....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help, OFL!

I have my last two female bettas in isolation tanks on Epsom salts and IAL. One is only a bit sluggish but seems to be a bit wobbly balance-wise, and is moderately bloated. The other is very bloated, much slower and when she swims she wobbles from side to side. Neither fish is clamping her fins, and neither has any sign of anything on the skin (parasites or fungus).

When previous fish have died, they just seemed to slow down until they stopped, dying in an upright position. They don't take very long to die, 24-48 hours from becoming symptomatic. While sick they refuse to eat.

I'm going to keep posting symptoms and observations in the hope that this helps anyone else whose fish start dying like this. I will also let everyone know how the Epsom/tannin treatment goes.
 

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I've been doing some research re sudden mass deaths in fairly well-maintained tanks.. one thing that seemed to come up was that this happens a lot in summer, when high temps and more fluctuations in temp and ph cause bacteria like flexibacter and other nasties, parasites and such, to flourish and at the same time make the fish more susceptible to infection.

I wonder whether tank cooling systems that help the water not get high temp spikes might help?

Not the voice of experience here, lol. Just posing more questions, really.
 

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I was thinking how about more water changes during the warmer weather. That what i do for my bettas. Because i read that the warmer water is the more chance of the infections. So during the summer i do more water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I was thinking how about more water changes during the warmer weather. That what i do for my bettas. Because i read that the warmer water is the more chance of the infections. So during the summer i do more water changes.
My big 26 gal tank is the warmest and the only one that has had any sick fish, so I tend to agree with you re warmer water contributing to infections. I have since turned down the heater in that tank and turned off the heaters in the other tanks. I live in an apartment with no a/c and we had hot weather for the past few days.

I change the water in all of my tanks 50% twice a week normally. Now I will be changing the water in the big tank 50% every day for a few days as per OFL's advice. I do plan to change the water in my isolation tanks 100% every day.
 

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I would say that 76-80* is the perfect temperature for bettas. My bettas live in lower temperature and they are absolutely healthy.
I do 50% and 100% water changes in all my tank which is 2.5 gall and a few 5 gall and i never have any problem.
I understand you can't do it for 26 gall though.

I hope your girls will survive :(
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quick update: One of the two fish I had in quarantine/hospital died yesterday. The other is still alive and seems a bit better than yesterday, or at least she's not getting worse. Her colour is getting darker, which is good. I've named her "L.F." for "Last Fish." I changed her water and did the 50% change in the big tank. Still no sign of any other fish getting sick.

I took a couple of pics of the fish who died yesterday, in case anyone is interested to see the degree of bloating.



 

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If your L.F have any symptoms i was wondering if it good idea to treat her with medications since you know that Epsom salt didn't help other female. Or increase Epsom salt dosage? Or use medication and Epsom salt.

Don't share anything between you sick fish and your healthy bettas.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If your L.F have any symptoms i was wondering if it good idea to treat her with medications since you know that Epsom salt didn't help other female. Or increase Epsom salt dosage? Or use medication and Epsom salt.

Don't share anything between you sick fish and your healthy bettas.
At this point since LF seems to be surviving and getting slightly better, I'm going to stick with the current dosages of Epsom and IAL - "if it ain't broke don't fix it." If she survives but isn't better after a couple of days then I will consider medication such as an antibiotic. That's my current plan anyway, unless I receive some different advice.
 

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I agree with Cattitude's approach, I don't think meds will do any good if we don't know whats causing it. Most important she's getting better!
 
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