Betta Died After Week Of Water Conditioning

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Tainum

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Hey guys, got a Betta for my son and I've been the primary caretaker for it. Only had it for about a month. Started off very basic with a 1 gallon tank, small blue Pebble flooring, a fake plant decoration as well as a shark decoration. Got these specifically to allow some hiding spots for the fish as I had read that they enjoy hiding spots since they are a predator fish. Within a couple weeks I noticed his mood change, slowing down and not seeming as alive as he was when I got him. Also seen his color seemed off and his tail strips were peeling off and some floating around the tank. Did some research and assumed it was fin rot. Ran to the store, grabbed some water siphon, blood worms, ph test kit, as well as the API Bettafix. Did a water test and results were
20 nitrate
nitrite seemed 0
ph 7
carbonate hardness 20-30
general hardness 30ish.
Noticed there were pellets from previous fish food in tank, and knew it wasn't good to have them there, so I did a water cycle anyway. Removed excess food, washed floor to try to be thorough and washed filter as well. Readded the water conditioner and made sure temperature was correct which was 78-80 Fahrenheit. Performed the betta fix for a week straight, once a day at half a tsp. Switched his diet to the bloodworms which he seemed to enjoy and was showing signs of improvement within a couple days. Stopped the Bettafix on Sunday, then I come home today, Tuesday, to find him dead. What went wrong? His fins seemed to grow back and his condition appeared to be improved. I fed him the blood worms once a day of about 4-5 worms per feeding. I'd like to know if I did something wrong or if your best guess might be an alternative issue he had pre-existing. Sorry for the long post, tried to include any information I could think of to give a better idea. Thanks.
 

Asomeone

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You say you started off with a 1-gallon tank. Was there any filtration method for the tank? While the nitrates were elevated, they weren't necessarily high for Freshwater tanks. I question what your ammonia was in the tank since the fish died. If you didn't have any filtration method or anything moving the water that was a problem. If you also weren't performing more regular water changes...since it was such a small tank...It's likely ammonia spiked and the fish died. it's possible there was something preexisting, there always is that soon after intro. But since there was nothing in the tank to facilitate biological removal of waste I'd vote for that as the most likely reason for death.
Just to build off this I built a 2.5 gallon nano tank with plants and 4 neon tetras for the girlfriend. I have filtration and do water changes at least once a week. I find this is still stressing the fish out and I should do twice a week...I say this to make you aware of just how important water changes+filtration are.
 
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Tainum

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Asomeone said:
You say you started off with a 1-gallon tank. Was there any filtration method for the tank? While the nitrates were elevated, they weren't necessarily high for Freshwater tanks. I question what your ammonia was in the tank since the fish died. If you didn't have any filtration method or anything moving the water that was a problem. If you also weren't performing more regular water changes...since it was such a small tank...It's likely ammonia spiked and the fish died. it's possible there was something preexisting, there always is that soon after intro. But since there was nothing in the tank to facilitate biological removal of waste I'd vote for that as the most likely reason for death.
Just to build off this I built a 2.5 gallon nano tank with plants and 4 neon tetras for the girlfriend. I have filtration and do water changes at least once a week. I find this is still stressing the fish out and I should do twice a week...I say this to make you aware of just how important water changes+filtration are.
Yes, it has a filter. I should've emphasized more than the part where I only mentioned washing the filter. I performed water cycles once a week as well as cleaning the filter and the housing for the filter completely.
 

Asomeone

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Alrighty. Great! youre diligent in your cleanings. Just my 2cents I wouldn't wash the entire housing. Just clean out sponges, biomedia, chemical, etc. no sense in cleaning the housing that contains BB if you dont have to. While you cleaned the filter did you use tank water or tap water?
 
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Tainum

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Asomeone said:
Alrighty. Great! youre diligent in your cleanings. Just my 2cents I wouldn't wash the entire housing. Just clean out sponges, biomedia, chemical, etc. no sense in cleaning the housing that contains BB if you dont have to. While you cleaned the filter did you use tank water or tap water?
I used tap water to clean the filter. I cleaned the housing because I noticed where the water was coming out had built some green and orange coloring. The green didn't bother me as much as the orange did, as I don't think anything beneficial would grow in a fish tank to be beneficial. After using tap water to cycle everything, I would use the water conditioner and do a thorough mixing in the water with it to be sure it was mixed in enough then place the betta back in.

as I don't think anything beneficial would grow in a fish tank to be orange*
 

mattgirl

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Welcome to Fishlore....

I am sorry to hear that you got off to a rocky start and lost your fish.

I have a feeling a 1 gallon uncycled tank was the main reason this happened. With that small amount of water ammonia would have built up fairly quick. The extra food in the gravel would have added to the build up of ammonia too.

Should you decide to get another fish you need to be changing out no less than 50% of the water at the very least every third day. I am thinking you were testing the water with test strips thus the reason for no ammonia reading.

You may want to read up on the nitrogen cycle and see how important it is.

I will suggest you get a bigger tank before you get another fish though.
 
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Tainum

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mattgirl said:
Welcome to Fishlore....

I am sorry to hear that you got off to a rocky start and lost your fish.

I have a feeling a 1 gallon uncycled tank was the main reason this happened. With that small amount of water ammonia would have built up fairly quick. The extra food in the gravel would have added to the build up of ammonia too.

Should you decide to get another fish you need to be changing out no less than 50% of the water at the very least every third day. I am thinking you were testing the water with test strips thus the reason for no ammonia reading.

You may want to read up on the nitrogen cycle and see how important it is.

I will suggest you get a bigger tank before you get another fish though.
I was cycling the water, once a week as well as using a water filter.
 

mattgirl

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Tainum said:
I was cycling the water, once a week as well as using a water filter.
I am not sure exactly what you mean by cycling the water. I am thinking you mean you were doing water changes.

Once a week in a 1 gallon uncycled tank is not enough to keep the ammonia level down. On top of that you said there was left over pellets on the bottom. They too were adding ammonia to the water. I have to think the fin rot was caused by elevated ammonia levels.
 

Asomeone

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Tainum said:
I was cycling the water, once a week as well as using a water filter.
I think you are thinking cycling and water changes are the same thing. Cycling implies a buildup of BB and a lowering of levels. Water changes are just simple changes of water.
Nevermind ^^ covered this :delete this.
 

smee82

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By cycling the water im guessing your talking about water changes not the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is what helps keep the water non toxic for your fish
 

Noroomforshoe

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What do you mean by cycling the tank once a week? you dont cycle a tank once a week thats not how it works? I am very curious to know what you were doing!

Next time, do not use bettafix or mellafix products with bettas or other anabantoid fish "cories, bettas, gourami, paradise fish..." It is not medicine, it is a tonic made of oil that can coat the labrynth organ and prevent labrynth fish from breathing. The company made the dilluted betta fix because they knew that it wasnt good for bettas.

Blood worm are good food, but best for 2-3 times a week tops. It is a lot of protein for a fish that doesnt get much exercise. consider new life spectrum betta pellets or new life spectra thera Plus A, the over 3-4 days a week. Thoroughly unthaw frozen foods, and thoroughly soak freeze-dried foods.
 
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Tainum

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Noroomforshoe said:
What do you mean by cycling the tank once a week? you dont cycle a tank once a week thats not how it works? I am very curious to know what you were doing!

Next time, do not use bettafix or mellafix products with bettas or other anabantoid fish "cories, bettas, gourami, paradise fish..." It is not medicine, it is a tonic made of oil that can coat the labrynth organ and prevent labrynth fish from breathing. The company made the dilluted betta fix because they knew that it wasnt good for bettas.

Blood worm are good food, but best for 2-3 times a week tops. It is a lot of protein for a fish that doesnt get much exercise. consider new life spectrum betta pellets or new life spectra thera Plus A, the over 3-4 days a week. Thoroughly unthaw frozen foods, and thoroughly soak freeze-dried foods.
By water cycling I mean that I was removing the betta from the tank, dumping most of the tank water, refilling it with proper temperature tap water, and adding the API water conditioner. I didn't want to dump all of the water because I knew atleast something about basic fish care not to completely scrub everything clean, it would be removing nitrates. Am I wrong for doing this? I apologise if my lingo differs from yours, that's just how ive always understood it, but I seen some of the other comments about it differing.

mattgirl said:
I am not sure exactly what you mean by cycling the water. I am thinking you mean you were doing water changes.

Once a week in a 1 gallon uncycled tank is not enough to keep the ammonia level down. On top of that you said there was left over pellets on the bottom. They too were adding ammonia to the water. I have to think the fin rot was caused by elevated ammonia levels.
I would not leave the food unattended. I did initially in the first week of owning the fish but read that it isn't healthy because of that reason. I used the siphon to remove any uneaten food. I also stopped using the pellets and switched to bloodworms since then.
 

ChristianYK

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What are your ammonia levels? Also, do not use tap water to clean the filter. Take out some tank water and rinse the filter cartridge there. I think the chlorine in the tap water kills the bacteria built up in the filter, correct me if I'm wrong. A 1 gallon tank is very small and will require frequent water changes.
 

Leilio

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Beneficial bacteria grow in your tank by attaching to decorations, gravels, and house themselves in your filter. They are necessary because the tank needs ammonia reducing beneficial bacteria to reduce toxic ammonia to nitrate, and other beneficial bacteria that have the ability to reduce nitrite to nitrate. Then you perform a water change to remove the nitrate and replenish the tank of necessary microelements. This forum is great to learn about the nitrogen cycle and how to establish one. Just my two cents.
 

Cazrea

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As many mentioned, water cycling is not the same as water changing. I do understand how you can mix up the two, as I've experienced people use cycling as a term for switching out. It's not the same in the aquarium hobby. When you say a cycle, that means if the tank has an established beneficial bacteria colony. It can take 6 weeks for a tank to establish this cycle, provided you're feeding the tank or do a fish in cycle which is what many beginners don't mean to do. Beneficial Bacteria dies when exposed to chlorine, and by cleaning your filter with tap water, you essentially stopped the nitrogen cycle process and restart again.

In fish cycling is a notorious killer of fish in the hobby, especially in a small tank where buildup of ammonia is quick. Once a week change for one gallon means that there is a likely a buildup of ammonia in the tank. Your fish creates ammonia by producing waste, and while bettas don't make as much, it still built up with that amount of water changes. Any amount of ammonia can be dangerous if exposed to it for a prolonged period of time, and having a test to read that is very important.

Consider this: Let's say your betta generates 1ppm of ammonia every week in that 1 gallon tank. First week passes and he's made 1ppm of ammonia. You remove 60% of that, there is still 40% or 0.4ppm. 0.4ppm would come up as a trace amount in test kits, a slightly greener tinge but could be passed off as 0ppm since kits reflect 0.5ppm. It's almost there, though! To make it worse, you've cleaned the filter with tap water that has chlorine, so there is little chance for the beneficial bacteria that consumes the ammonia to survive and consume it to make it safer for your betta for the next week.

Second week, your tank hits 0.5ppm within the first couple of days. If you had a test, you'd be able to read that now and this is usually when people do water changes to keep it down. However, no changes were made and by the end of the 2nd week your fish produces another 1ppm, now there's a total of 1.4ppm in the tank. Let's say you remove 60% again, you'll still have around 0.56ppm in the tank. On the second week, you're maintaining a dangerous level of ammonia present in the tank that can impact your fish's health. His mood changed to reflect that build up because he's uncomfortable in his environment, and possibly an internal issue already brewing.

At the start of the third week, you'll have 1.56ppm and removing 60% will leave you 0.624ppm. At the start of the 4th week, you'll have 1.624ppm of ammonia. The fatal number for ammonia is at 2ppm. 1.624ppm is pretty high, and is a cause for concern even for a short amount of exposure.

It's a good thing you followed it up with a 100% water change when you noticed the fin rot, and while he was getting better, remember that his immune system has been compromised already due to the prolonged and growing ammonia exposure. It's possible he had other internal issues, not just fin rot, because of what happened, and that's what likely got to him.

A death of a pet, especially one you've cared for and tried to work it out, is difficult. It's very important to learn about the nitrogen cycle in the tank, as it can avoid all of this in the future. Hopefully this experience doesn't discourage you from trying, and serve as a learning for both you and your kid.
 
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