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Discussion Starter #1
My betta tank had some algae I just couldn't get rid of. I tried keeping the light off, wiping the algae off, etc.. to no avail.
So I finally did a full clean and scrub down of the tank.
It's a 10 gallon, fully heated and filtered.
I had 4 betta girls in there who have been happy, healthy, and growing quite nicely.
First day, the girls were fine.
Second day, they seemed lethargic so I got worried.
Third day, also lethargic.
Today? One dead, 2 pineconing and one acting perfectly fine.
I added aquarium salt and water conditioner when I changed the water and did the scrub down, used NO soaps.. just hot water. Cleaned the filter with hot water as well.
The sick girls won't eat and they're for sure on their way out. I feel horrible and don't know what happened. I've done full cleans before for algae and haven't had a problem. I'm beginning to think maybe someone used soap or cleaner on the sponge I had used and didn't tell me, though the sponge wasn't sudsy or anything.
Is there any hope for non-eating pineconed bettas? I assume not, but figured I'd ask.
 

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If your tank was cycled and you rinsed the filter in hot tap water, you have killed probably all of your beneficial bacteria and your cycle has crashed.

Do you have liquid test kits for ammonia/nitrite? You could be seeing the results of ammonia poisoning. For now I would do a fairly sizable water change and see if that perks them up. Also if they are bloating, you want to use epsom salts and not aquarium salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I used the aquarium salt prior to their bloating/pineconing.
I didn't scrub the filter, just washed some of the stuff off the outside. And the rocks werent scrubbed either, just rinsed in hot water and shaken a bit. The sides of the tank were scrubbed though.
Unfortunately, I don't have an ammonia test kit anymore. The one I did have wasn't working properly and tested tanks that had brand new water as high for ammonia over and over when it was clearly not the case.
 

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There may be ammonia in your tap water. Mine reads .25 straight out of the sink. Some conditioner will eliminate the ammonia or change it over to something non toxic.
 

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Before all this happened-how much and how often did you make the water changes, water temp, additives used, how long had the tank been running, how old are the Betta, any history of illness, appetite, how much and how long did you use the salt.....how did you re-acclimate them back to the new water....

Most likely the tank did crash, however, if the tank was high nitrate and low pH and you didn't properly acclimate them to the new chemistry it could also be osmotic shock complicated by the crash...

I would go ahead and get the Bettas in Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and tannins if you have some.....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've had them about 3 months or so.. maybe 2?
No illnesses.
Water change about once every 2 weeks. I know it should be more often, but being pregnant and 6 weeks from my due date makes it a bit hard.
Temp is 80 F, I used aquarium salt (not sure of brand?) and about 1/2 tsp I believe? I'd have to read the package.. might be more than that..I just followed the directions on there. and I used stresscoat, also followed the directions on the bottle.
Their appetite is awesome usually. Fed once a day. I tried to do 3-4 pellets each at first, but some fish would eat ALL the pellets and leave one fish with none.. so I ended up doing a bit more than what would be 4 each so each fish got at least 2.
To acclimate I added some old water to the new water (to keep some of the old water in at least in an attempt at keeping the balance "okay") and floated the girls for a half hour or so, added tank to the cup, another half hour then put them in the tank. Would have waited longer, but it was really late at night. Guess I should have waited.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just to update on the fish, another has passed and the 3rd is well on her way. She looks like a giant balloon. I highly doubt she would survive even with epsom salts.. she may even be dead before I can get them.
However, I still have one very healthy looking fish. She's acting fine, swimming fine, no bloating or anything. That's what puzzles me. 2 die, one is almost dead, and one is healthy as can be?!
 

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Dang sorry for your loss.....

What sounds like happened......you already had some compromised fish and along with possible water quality issues to start, use of sodium chloride and possible sudden extreme chemistry changes due to possible high nitrate and low pH that happens naturally in systems with limited water changes-the already compromised fish experienced osmotic shock-then along with the possible ammonia spike put some over the top....this just my opinion based on the information......
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Darn :( I thought I was doing them a favor getting rid of the algae growth and cleaning the tank. Guess I should stick to small water changes from now on. They were fine with the last water change, which was the same, but guess they couldn't take it a second time. Think I'll stick with the one fish I have healthy for a while and save up for some plants, a different substrate (sand?) instead of rocks, and maybe add more fish eventually. Think after my luck with bettas, I'll try another type of fish with just one betta girl.
 

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I saw that you contacted me on FB, but I'm all over the place lately with Joe in the hospital, my truck on the fritz and my sister visiting. I would have guessed the same as OFL, sudden change with compromised fish. I had this happen a few weeks ago, my fish were getting sick so I did a full tank clean. Found out that my thermometer busted and was slowly poisoning them. Once I did the full water change (meanwhile keeping my filter stable with cycle) it wasn't enough to keep them safe :( I lost all my first girls, except for Yuuna. She's still kicking and happy and now has 5 new sisters. I think with everything going on, maybe taking a break until you get into a routine with the new baby is best. Spoil that little girl rotten, and maybe get another with another tank and have them side by side :) Then, start the Betta craze again!!
 

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Now, now....don't be too hard on yourself.....stuff happens.....

Remember, algae is normal and expected and can even be a sign of a healthy system, it can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it provide area for microorganism to colonize on that the livestock in the tank can feed on for added nutrition, exercise and entertainment.......not all algae is bad or a bad sign, however, since this is a closed system we have to keep it controlled by manual removal on occasion along with a water change....that good green algae on the non-viewing walls and some decorations...can be a good thing.....life can't thrive in too clean and sterile conditions......

Also, remember that this isn't a long lived species of fish either....average lifespan of 2-3 years and often we get them near 1 year to start.....and genetic has a lot to do with longevity.......

Don't give up......
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm just frustrated with it all. I know people who buy bettas and keep them in vases, change the water whenever it gets gross, no filter or heater, nothing added to the water..and their fish live 2 years.
I've been lucky to get 4 months out of mine in a filtered, heated and well cared for 10 gallon tank.
Heck, My mom had a 20 gallon tank with tetras and a very large pleco (much too large for her tank) and they survived quite some time without one single water change.
I don't get it. It seems fish that get less care live longer than ones that are cared for very well. I've seen ich (treated it and all was well..this was many months ago and those fish have since died), I've seen pineconing in multiple fish, popeye in a molly, and random fish death for no reason I could determine...
I ADORE fish, but they seem to hate me. My first betta lived a good year or so in a vase with a plant at the top. Mind you I was probably 10 or 11 at the time and had no idea about the requirements for bettas, yet my fish lived?
I quarantined the pineconing bettas (turns out the one I assumed was dead was not, and both are still alive) and the healthy betta is still in the 10 gallon by herself. She seems to be healthy, but her appetite isn't what it usually is.. Either she's going to die on me too or she's stressed by her pineconed friends.
I know some algae is okay, but it seemed to be overgrowing. My partner had gotten me an algae eater..but it refused to touch the algae and then died because it never once came out of hiding.
I'm beginning to think that fish just aren't my thing. I have better luck with things that don't live in water, like birds. They don't die on me until they're quite old usually.
 
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