Betta just died!

Tayler

I have a 6 gallon planted tank with one betta fish. I have had it set up since December
2020, (yes I cycled it before adding my betta). Before I moved my betta to the 6 gallon tank I had him in a 2 gallon tank (yes I know that 2 gallons is too small for a betta) for about 9 months.

The tank has dwarf water lettuce, duckweed, some driftwood, sand, a heater, filter, Java fern, anubias, pennywort, moneywort, a bit of ohko stones, and a bit of Java moss.

I did a 40% water change two days ago because my ammonia was at 0.25. I usually do water changes every 2 weeks, and I test my water every week. whenever I test that tanks water the ammonia is always at 0ppm.

I also feed him frozen brine shrimp once a week, frozen bloodworms once a week, skip one day of feeding, and then on the other says I feed him fluval bug bites once a day.

Yesterday morning, I noticed my betta was at the bottom of the tank and looking a bit pale. I figured since it was the morning he was just resting at the bottom because he does that sometimes. At around 2:30 I decided to check my water parameters because my betta was looking more pale and was at the bottom of the tank.

My water parameters were the following:
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 0ppm
Ammonia 8ppm!

I immediately added some ammonia neutralizer and moved my betta to my 2 gallon quarantine tank (it’s cycled). The parameter for that tank were ammonia: 0ppm, and nitrate 0ppm.

My betta was getting worse and was breathing very heavily at the bottom of the tank. At around 6:30pm yesterday evening he died. I understand he probably died from ammonia poisoning, but how would my ammonia spike so high? My tank is cycled and the day before he died I fed him 5 fluval bug bite pellets.
Also I have had my betta for about 1 year and 2 months. The people at the store said he was 1years old when I got him.
I would like to get another betta in maybe 3months, but I would like to know why my ammonia spiked so high. Any replies are appreciated. Thank you.
 

GuppyOverlord11

I'm no water param expert, but the only thing I could think of is maybe some plants were decaying? I don't know. Sorry about your betta!
 
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Tayler

I'm no water param expert, but the only thing I could think of is maybe some plants were decaying? I don't know. Sorry about your betta!
Thanks for the quick reply. Anything helps!
 
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Crimson_687

I would say test your tap water. There could be ammonia unaccounted for, and while it's not common to happen, tap water parameters can change. If your tap has chloramines these will break down into ammonia
 
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Tayler

I would say test your tap water. There could be ammonia unaccounted for, and while it's not common to happen, tap water parameters can change. If your tap has chloramines these will break down into ammonia
Ok, that could be possible. If I use water conditioner on my water won’t it get rid of the chloramines? I will test the ammonia of my tap water when I get home.
 
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Crimson_687

Ok, that could be possible. If I use water conditioner on my water won’t it get rid of the chloramines? I will test the ammonia of my tap water when I get home.
I'm not well-versed in this, but from what I understand it depends on the dechlorinator. Some will only break the chemical bond between chlorine and ammonia, leaving the ammonia behind. Others can bind to ammonia to convert it into less harmful ammonium and raises pH in the process. Others (like seachem prime) claim to bind to the ammonia to detoxify it for (x) amount of time, allowing the filter to remove it, though it is debated if these actually work. Letting your tap water age will allow the chlorine to evaporate from it but not ammonia.

Where I live tap always uses chloramine, except for March every year where they switch to chlorine to help clean the system. During this time of year the tap smells lightly of chlorine and I need to use more water conditioner than usual and aging my tap water makes it more stable. While I highly doubt this, it is possible that this happened to you and it was chlorine, not the ammonia, that killed your betta. The ammonia spike may have come from dead microorganisms in the tank, though I do not know if their collective death would be enough to raise ammonia to 8 ppm.
 
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Tayler

I'm not well-versed in this, but from what I understand it depends on the dechlorinator. Some will only break the chemical bond between chlorine and ammonia, leaving the ammonia behind. Others can bind to ammonia to convert it into less harmful ammonium and raises pH in the process. Others (like seachem prime) claim to bind to the ammonia to detoxify it for (x) amount of time, allowing the filter to remove it, though it is debated if these actually work. Letting your tap water age will allow the chlorine to evaporate from it but not ammonia.

Where I live tap always uses chloramine, except for March every year where they switch to chlorine to help clean the system. During this time of year the tap smells lightly of chlorine and I need to use more water conditioner than usual and aging my tap water makes it more stable. While I highly doubt this, it is possible that this happened to you and it was chlorine, not the ammonia, that killed your betta. The ammonia spike may have come from dead microorganisms in the tank, though I do not know if their collective death would be enough to raise ammonia to 8 ppm.
Ok, I guess it may be possible that the ammonia spike is from the dead microorganisms in the tank. I will do some further research on my tap water. I tested my tap water and the ammonia was at 0.25ppm.
 
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StickyFishy

I'm not well-versed in this, but from what I understand it depends on the dechlorinator. Some will only break the chemical bond between chlorine and ammonia, leaving the ammonia behind. Others can bind to ammonia to convert it into less harmful ammonium and raises pH in the process. Others (like seachem prime) claim to bind to the ammonia to detoxify it for (x) amount of time, allowing the filter to remove it, though it is debated if these actually work. Letting your tap water age will allow the chlorine to evaporate from it but not ammonia.

Where I live tap always uses chloramine, except for March every year where they switch to chlorine to help clean the system. During this time of year the tap smells lightly of chlorine and I need to use more water conditioner than usual and aging my tap water makes it more stable. While I highly doubt this, it is possible that this happened to you and it was chlorine, not the ammonia, that killed your betta. The ammonia spike may have come from dead microorganisms in the tank, though I do not know if their collective death would be enough to raise ammonia to 8 ppm.
How do you age tap water? How long does it need to sit out for before adding it to the tank?
 
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Crimson_687

How do you age tap water? How long does it need to sit out for before adding it to the tank?
24-48 hours is more than adequate. You may see bubbles form in the water. During this time you can also adjust the water temp to the same as your tank
 
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