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Hi, I had my baby betta fish die today, and I am very worried since I have no idea why.

For background information, I decided to use some of the money I had saved from working this summer to buy a second betta, since I love having bettas and having one during college has done a lot for my stress levels. When I got to Petco, I realized that the tank I had had been mislabeled and wasn't 2.5 gallons like I thought (more like 1.5), so I bought a bigger tank to switch the first betta, Max, into and a baby betta, Marcus, to keep in the old tank. My thinking was that the tiny baby would be fine in a smaller tank until I could save up for a bigger one. I do the tank switches, put a heater in the baby's tank, and feed him dried blood worms. For five days, he seems healthy and extremely happy, swimming around, interacting with my family and me, enjoying having more space.

Yesterday, Friday, I went into town (I live in a very rural area, so this is an all day event), partially to get some more decor for both of the tanks. While I'm in town, my mom texts me saying that she can't get Marcus, the baby, to eat and that he's acting very lethargic, staying near the top or bottom and not interacting with anybody. Other than that, he looks absolutely fine. This really worried me, especially since he hadn't been interested in food the night before, but I had chalked it down to him still being full from being fed a little later than usual. I asked a (seemingly very knowledgeable) lady who worked at Petco what to do, and she suggested changing his water to bottled spring water, instead of treated tap water, and change his food to tiny pellets. I don't get home until very late, so I try to feed him pellets (he doesn't take them) and wait until the morning to do the water change.

He didn't act any different this morning, a week since I brought Marcus home, and still wouldn't eat. I put him in the travel cup, watched him swim around for a second, and then worked on the tank. When I got everything but the water in, I checked on him and he had died.

Even though I had only had Marcus for a week, I had been eagerly looking forward to his sweet company for many years to come. I'm very brokenhearted and very confused. I have had bettas on and off my entire life, and my family had a freshwater aquarium for several years, so I know to look for fin rot, ick, and the like, and Marcus didn't appear to have any of those. Both of my tanks are filtered, but even the bettas I had years ago, before I knew about proper tank size and the need for filtration, still lived long lives. I've looked all over the internet trying to find answers, but haven't really came across any. I think he may have had a problem with his swim bladder, since he always had an odd swim patter (I attributed it to personality and age), and I have seen things about needing more frequent water changes (which I hadn't gotten around to due to having an extremely busy week), but I haven't seen anything on either of those being lethal. The only other thing that I can come up with is that there was a chemical imbalance in the water, but since Max's water was filled a few minuets before Marcus's, and from the same tap, and Max is behaving like his normal grumpy-but-content self, I'm not sure if that's the cause.

I really want to find out what happened, because I want to make sure it isn't affecting Max too. I also know from loosing pets in the past that I will heal a lot faster if I get another fish, but under no circumstances do I want to get another fish until I know exactly what happened and how to prevent it again. If this is just a problem with babies, I don't even know if I will be able to get one for a while, since I can't afford another new tank/decor right now.

Anyways, sorry for the very long post, I wanted to make sure that I had all the information down from the start. I decided to see if someone on here could help me even though I haven't been on a forum before, since my sister has gotten a lot of help from a forum for her gecko. I would greatly appreciate any help/answers/advice that anyone would be willing to give me.
 

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Sorry about your baby.

Just because Max has done well in the tank it doesn't mean that it couldn't be water conditions.

Animals can get used to living in sub-optimal environments, so your older guy may be acclimated to bad water chemistry that the baby just couldn't handle. Just like how sled dogs are happy in the snow but my dog gets chilly with anything less than sixty degrees.

If you don't already have them, I'd order water testing supplies. Driving into town to get chemistry testing sounds like it would be tough but if you have the stuff at home you can really do a lot to help your fish in the future.
 
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