A sad day

JamesL12

Lost my betta fish today. Had him a year and he has been doing great until the past month or so.

He developed popeye recently which did clear up after dosing with a few meds and regular water changes. He was just starting to get back to his normal self when I noticed a complete change in his behaviour. He would take himself away and hide, his fins were clamped, he would eat in small amounts but he wasn’t as excited about it as he used to be. He became depressed really and very lethargic.

I then noticed that reaching to the top of the surface was becoming an issue for him, so I lowered the water level, but the last few days he had hardly moved. Last night his breathing was heavy and laboured, he was struggling to stay afloat and upright (which made me think it was potentially a swim bladder issue.

I have attached a photo below of him. He looked perfectly ok apart from red lesions on his fins near his gills, and white lumps on his head and mouth. Is this old age or could this have been a parasite? I did everything I could to help him but clearly it was his time to go today.

5 gallon tank heated
Tank mates are 4No. Harlequin Rasbora
Ammonia, nitrate, Nitrite all 0
PH 6/7
Fed twice daily, a small portion of betta flakes and daphnia.

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated in case I have done anything drastically wrong. But I’ve followed everything I have learned so I’m thinking it was an internal issue.
 

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Ouse

I’m sorry to hear that. :(

Sounds like it was a bacterial infection. It would’ve been best to do daily 50% water changes to keep the water crystal clean. Clean water = healthy, uncompromised immune system. Antibiotics would be a last resort; many people have defeated bacterial infections by using such frequent water changes. Don’t use more than one medication at once, as mixing multiple meds has killed far more fish than it’s saved.

Popeye is a symptom of a bacterial or fungal infection. Bettas are particularly susceptible to health problems even with basic husbandry.

In temperatures of 28°C and above, harmful bacteria becomes more efficient. What is the temp?

Feed once a day, feeding the daphnia once a week.
 

Rose of Sharon

So sorry for your loss!

Once they get to the point where they are struggling to breathe, they hardly ever bounce back...

I agree with Ouse in that it was probably something bacterial. Once the pop eye went away, the infection probably moved to another place (thus, the red lesions).

He was a beautiful boy!!!! :(
 

JamesL12

I’m sorry to hear that. :(

Sounds like it was a bacterial infection. It would’ve been best to do daily 50% water changes to keep the water crystal clean. Clean water = healthy, uncompromised immune system. Antibiotics would be a last resort; many people have defeated bacterial infections by using such frequent water changes. Don’t use more than one medication at once, as mixing multiple meds has killed far more fish than it’s saved.

Popeye is a symptom of a bacterial or fungal infection. Bettas are particularly susceptible to health problems even with basic husbandry.

In temperatures of 28°C and above, harmful bacteria becomes more efficient. What is the temp?

Feed once a day, feeding the daphnia once a week.
Thankyou for your reply, I think you’re right regarding bacterial infection. I do 2 x 50% water changes weekly as it is a small tank. I’m a bit worried about doing more than that in case I lose too much beneficial bacteria and cause the tank to cycle again. I do add filter boost after every filter change, would you say this would be ok in the future if I suspect a bacterial infection? Water temp is 24 degrees
So sorry for your loss!

Once they get to the point where they are struggling to breathe, they hardly ever bounce back...

I agree with Ouse in that it was probably something bacterial. Once the pop eye went away, the infection probably moved to another place (thus, the red lesions).

He was a beautiful boy!!!! :(
Thankyou he really was a lovely little guy, I’ll miss him. It was horrible watching him struggling to breathe, I tried everything to save him but it just wasn’t working. I thought the Popeye may have been down to injury as it only happened in his one eye, but I’ll definitely be more vigilant next time.
 

ValkyrieLips

Thankyou for your reply, I think you’re right regarding bacterial infection. I do 2 x 50% water changes weekly as it is a small tank. I’m a bit worried about doing more than that in case I lose too much beneficial bacteria and cause the tank to cycle again. I do add filter boost after every filter change, would you say this would be ok in the future if I suspect a bacterial infection? Water temp is 24 degrees

Water changes will not affect your cycle since most of the bacteria live on filter media and surfaces in the tank. Barely any BB are free floating in the water column. Changing filter media can crash a cycle especially if you replace the whole thing without using old media to seed the new. It's best to only replace media when it's literally falling apart, even then just add new with the old. If you use filter cartridges I would suggest switching to DIY media.
 

Ouse

In your initial post, you say the pH is “6/7.” Are you struggling to read the test? A pH of 7 means there’s no hydrogen or hydroxide ions in the water, and any difference between integers on the scale is significant.

The filter boost isn’t having an effect. I presume it’s just bottled bacteria, which will die off in cycled tanks as it’s outcompeted for food by the current bacteria. 50% water changes daily or once every two days is more effective against bacterial infection.
 

JamesL12

I use test strips and the colour match of the OH reading is between 6 and 7. I should have clarified that my apologies.

That’s fine, I’ll bare that in mind next time I notice any symptom of bacterial infection and will swap from 2 x water changes weekly to daily water changes if a problem arises.

thanks for your help.
Water changes will not affect your cycle since most of the bacteria live on filter media and surfaces in the tank. Barely any BB are free floating in the water column. Changing filter media can crash a cycle especially if you replace the whole thing without using old media to seed the new. It's best to only replace media when it's literally falling apart, even then just add new with the old. If you use filter cartridges I would suggest switching to DIY media.
Brilliant thanks for letting me know. I have a filter sponge and poly pad. Change the poly pad every week and the sponge every six months. I’ll keep half the old sponge with the new one for 2 weeks, then cut it down to a quarter until the sponge has been fully replaced after a month.
Thanks for your help
 

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