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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

I was very excited to share a few months back that I had bought a truly beautiful betta named Lazuli from import and breeder Glee Bettas. He arrived in tip top shape and had the personality of a golden retriever - never aggressive or shy, always curious and friendly. Didn't seem stressed by shipping at all, had bright colors and ate readily.



I created a planted tank with ADA Amazonia soil, and cycled it for three weeks. During this time, he lived in a 1 gal floating critter keeper in the main tank, and I did a 25-50% water change every 1-3 days depending on what the ammonia reading was. When all my water parameters came back good, using sponge media and Seachem Stability and Prime, I released him into the main tank. He seemed to thrive. The parameters stayed very good, the plants are still doing great. But two weeks after that, Lazuli passed.


I made a photo album of the disease progression that you can view here, so that this post doesn't get too image heavy - https://photos.app.goo.gl/9tMDziSepVVrlIwj2 .


It seems to have started with a beige spot on his tail. I actually noticed this spot when he was still living in the critter keeper. It kind of looked like a spot where his color had just disappeared. I thought perhaps he was marbling since koi and marble bettas change color sometimes.



The beige spot got bigger, and he started getting bloated. Thinking maybe he had eaten some dirt or something, I fasted him (my previous betta was witnessed eating sand all the time, lol).


He only got more bloated. He bloated and bloated until he suddenly became discolored all along his ventral side. That same beige color.


Last Wednesday, I noticed he was not swimming as much and he was either resting on the bottom of the tank or floating weirdly. His gills were working hard. That's when I realized this wasn't constipation and I put him back in the 1 gal hospital tank and treated with a 1/5 dose of Lifeguard (since it comes in 5 gal doses). The ammonia-nitrites-nitrates of the main tank at the time was 0.25-0-1.

I raised the temperature from 78˚ to 82˚ and decided to leave his tank dark and check on him in the morning.



Thursday morning, he had passed. His gills had turned black and he was discolored and pale all over. However, there was no pineconing of scales during any of this.


I'm heartbroken to say the least. I searched high and low for his color morph and I was so careful to constantly check his water. I am shocked he passed away so young!



I have two theories as to what happened, any advice would be very appreciated:



---- Maybe my city water is contaminated. His breeder told me one of their associates lost 200 bettas when their city did a chloramine flush, as flush levels are too high to be buffered by Prime.

They suggested I look into a reverse osmosis system or a reverse osmosis water subscription. I agree with this because I actually don't drink the water here directly, I run it through a Brita filter. I always ran all my tank water through the Brita filter too. But RO water is expensive compared to the pennies a month for tap water.



---- It may have been a bacterial infection. My last betta actually passed of similar symptoms - bloated despite fasting, lethargic, black gills, gasping for air, floating. I bought a whole new tank and filter and substrate but I didn't think to bleach my supplies, like my turkey baster and net. I thought if they dried out completely, any water bacteria would die, but maybe not.

---------> if it was an infection, which one? Iridovirus? Tuberculosis? That's the part I'm stumped on.



This leads me to my next section: What do I need to do to make my supplies safe for another fish?

-- I know I can boil and bleach my net, turkey baster, ceramic decor, silk plants. I know I can even bleach dip my live plants. But what do I do about the soil substrate? Do I have to throw it out, or can I bake it in the oven or the sun? It's all dirt with no rocks.

-- I know I have to throw the filter media out and start over. What do I treat the tank and filter box with - vinegar? Bleach? I read at this link that 6% cleaning concentration vinegar will kill the tuberculosis if it's present.



Basically I don't want to lose hundreds in tank supplies and live plants if I can help it. I also don't want to kill another expensive import fish and be heartbroken all over again.
 

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I am not at ALL an expert at betta illness...but that sounds like either an infection or a parasyte.
I doubt he got it from the keeper...it may have begun, too small to be seen, during shipping, or even have been caught where he came from.

OR it could have been ich.
Did the spot look fuzzy? I can't tell from the pictures, I'm afraid.
 

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I've read about a disease that was killing a lot of bettas where the fish starts turning gray and dies within a day of symptoms showing. Nobody realy knows what it is, how they become infected, or how to treat it. I wonder if that could have been it?
 

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You don't have to throw out your filter media....you can boil it and it will be perfectly usable. I don't have any ideas on how to help ensure the substrate gets rid of any bad things lurking therein. Regarding your tank, cleaning with vinegar will work fine. I'd also stay away from using chlorine on the plants.

I suggest having a completely cycled tank prior to getting another fish. Ammonia is extremely toxic - even in small amounts nothing good is happening to a fish exposed to it....add in nitrite exposure and a lot of bad juju is going on in uncycled tanks that house fish.

It takes ~6 weeks to cycle a tank seeding with ammonia. Although I've never had luck with it, many people have been able to speed up the cycling process with products like Tetra's SafeStart, Dr. Tim's One & Only etc...

From my perspective, if you're planning on keeping a fish for years, what's 6 weeks to ensure you're giving it the best chance of getting started properly? Other than possibly genetics, the most influential thing to a fish's long term health is toxin free water.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Many members are on devices where it's a PITA to go from one this site to another and back. Pick three or four photos and post them in a thread; we don't need to see the entire progression. Also, I realize you've given a lot of information but please fill out this form so we have all the pertinent information in an easy-to-reference form.

http://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-f...-out-form-so-we-can-best-help-your-betta.html

PS: The Nitrate chart is in increments of five; there is no "1." However, the Nitrite test (purple) does have a 1ppm. Are you sure it wasn't .25ppm Ammonia, 1ppm Nitrite and 0ppm Nitrate?
 

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I'm just a newbie at this but I have done some research in preparation for the betta I'm getting later this month or next (depends on when the tank is done cycling)... Did he always have that yellowish gold metallic sheen that he does in the last photo? The one where he's in the net?
If he didn't always have that, then perhaps this is velvet? Or else maybe some sort of fungal infection.

It could still also be dropsy, there have been cases where there's bloating but not pineconing, or vice versa from what I've read, though it's certainly less common.

Just a couple super basic guesses. The main thing is that I'm really sorry for your loss, he was a beautiful fish.
 

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Many members are on devices where it's a PITA to go from one this site to another and back. Pick three or four photos and post them in a thread; we don't need to see the entire progression. Also, I realize you've given a lot of information but please fill out this form so we have all the pertinent information in an easy-to-reference form.

http://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-f...-out-form-so-we-can-best-help-your-betta.html

PS: The Nitrate chart is in increments of five; there is no "1." However, the Nitrite test (purple) does have a 1ppm. Are you sure it wasn't .25ppm Ammonia, 1ppm Nitrite and 0ppm Nitrate?
Hi, thanks for the reply. I'm replying from a new account because the website is not letting me log in even though my password is correct (I write all mine down.) I reset my password but the reset link to my email doesn't work - it just says "server unavailable" and has all day. Same thing no matter what browser I use.


In regards to the nitrate test, what I meant was the test was not perfectly yellow like a 0 reading, but it also was not nearly dark enough orange to be a 5. So I guessed that it was between 0 and 5, like maybe a 1.


Here's the form filled out:

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5 gallons
Does it have a filter? yes, sponge and mechanical
Does it have a heater? yes, cobalt 50 w
What temperature is your tank? 79˚ at beginning of disease and raised to 82˚ at the end
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None except the accidental bladder snails that came with the plants.

Food:
What food brand do you use? new life spectrum
Do you feed flakes or pellets? betta pellets
Freeze-dried? none
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? It was 2-3 pellets twice a day, when he started looking bloated it went down to 2 pellets once a day, then fasted.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? about once every 7-9 days. I went off the ammonia and nitrate readings; if both were zero I did not do a change as I wanted the bacteria to establish. Once I saw a reading for either of those numbers I would do a change.

What percentage of water did you change? 25-40%
What is the source of your water? Tap water filtered through a Brita filter
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dip out because the substrate is soil, if possible I'd turkey baster the fish poop off the top
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Seachem Prime, Seachem Fluorish (8 drops a week), Aqueon Stress Coat, Seachem Stability

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters?

Ammonia: at time of the decision to move to hospital tank: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: between 0 and 5
pH: when tank was first established: between 6.8 and 7.8
Hardness (GH): n/a
Alkalinity (KH): n/a

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? see first post - disease seemed to progress slowly over past 2 weeks
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? started with a beige spot on tail and the discoloration spread, betta became bloated despite fasting and gills turned black
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? started freezing, floating at the surface, or hiding at the bottom
Is your Betta still eating? interested in food at first but became more lethargic
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Wednesday night moved to 1 gal floating hospital tank with 1/5 dose of Lifeguard
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? None at all
How long have you owned your Betta? since mid August
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not at all he was very spry



In regards to the question about velvet - yes he had that iridescence when I got him. That was part of his appeal, he had a lot of green, gold, and orange highlights in the right light. Looking at google photos of velvet, it doesn't seem the same, since he didn't have that "sprinkled sugar" look all over his body or face, it was only on the shiny parts of his fins mainly. The yellowish tint in the net photo was a new tint that happened when he died I think because he didn't have it alive.
 

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You don't have to throw out your filter media....you can boil it and it will be perfectly usable. I don't have any ideas on how to help ensure the substrate gets rid of any bad things lurking therein. Regarding your tank, cleaning with vinegar will work fine. I'd also stay away from using chlorine on the plants.

I suggest having a completely cycled tank prior to getting another fish. Ammonia is extremely toxic - even in small amounts nothing good is happening to a fish exposed to it....add in nitrite exposure and a lot of bad juju is going on in uncycled tanks that house fish.

It takes ~6 weeks to cycle a tank seeding with ammonia. Although I've never had luck with it, many people have been able to speed up the cycling process with products like Tetra's SafeStart, Dr. Tim's One & Only etc...

From my perspective, if you're planning on keeping a fish for years, what's 6 weeks to ensure you're giving it the best chance of getting started properly? Other than possibly genetics, the most influential thing to a fish's long term health is toxin free water.
That was the plan. The breeder shipped him to me early (they were having trouble with their post office and told the trans-shipper to ship to me directly instead of stopping at the breeder's first), so my tank wasn't ready.

He lived in a floating 1 gal with water changes every 1-2 days while I waited for the main tank to finish cycling. When I got two straight weeks of ammonia readings of 0.25 or less and nitrates of 5 or less (before a water change) I made the decision to release him into the main tank. I found that dosing with Stability really helped the process as before the Stability was added, I wasn't getting any nitrates at all. I checked his water diligently to make sure the cycle was staying intact, testing every 2-4 days, never saw any spikes. When it got up to 0.25 ammonia or more than 0 nitrates I would change water, I only ever saw nitrites at all when the tank was in the beginning of cycling and reading 2-4ppm ammonia.
 

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I am not at ALL an expert at betta illness...but that sounds like either an infection or a parasyte.
I doubt he got it from the keeper...it may have begun, too small to be seen, during shipping, or even have been caught where he came from.

OR it could have been ich.
Did the spot look fuzzy? I can't tell from the pictures, I'm afraid.
No, it was not fuzzy. It honestly looked as if someone had just bleached his skin on that spot and all you saw was pale beige skin under the scales. Like the color had just disappeared. I thought maybe he had lost a scale but when I looked really close all his scales were intact. So I decided at the time that he must just be marbling after settling into a new environment. Now I wonder if it was some kind of under the skin disease.
 
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