Dying Betta - Old Or Bad Husbandry Help

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Aquilist, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. AquilistWell Known MemberMember


    What is the water volume of the tank? 3 gallons
    How long has the tank been running? 1 year
    Does it have a filter? yes
    Does it have a heater? yes
    What is the water temperature? 26 degrees Celcius (78 Fahrenheit)
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
    1 Crowntail Betta,
    Java Moss
    Baby Tears

    How often do you change the water? Weekly
    How much of the water do you change? 3-4 litres (20-25%)
    What do you use to treat your water? AquaOne Water Conditioner
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Empty bottom

    *Parameters - Very Important
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? No, fish in cycle
    What do you use to test the water? API Ammonia, Internet Nitrite
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: Unknown, but weekly water changes and moderately planted tank
    pH: 8.4

    How often do you feed your fish? once daily
    How much do you feed your fish? Either a tiny pinch of pellets, or 4 bloodworms
    What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetra
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Yes, Occasionally frozen bloodworms.

    Illness & Symptoms
    How long have you had this fish? A bit over a year
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? a couple of weeks
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Gasping, lying on ground, pineconing
    Have you started any treatment for the illness? Epsom salts and malachite green
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
    How has its behaviour and appearance changed, if at all? It's no longer active and interested in the world, it's fatigued and weak, it's scales are slightly raised (dropsy,) it's tail is ragged (has had chronic fin rot for a few months, but wasn't affected by it)

    Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

    I've had my pet store crowntail for over a year. He had dropsy a few weeks ago but using Epsom salts and a bit of malachite green, the symptoms eased and he was himself for a few days. Anyway, supposedly he wasn't better like I thought he was; he's been lying on the floor, breathing heavily, and started showing symptoms of pineconing again.

    I've added Epsom salts again (around 1/8 a teaspoon to his 3-gallon tank.)

    He was fine for a year, he was a fully grown adult when I got him.
    I've calculated this means he's only around 2.5 years old... not very old for a betta fish.
    So, he's been fine for a year and suddenly I think he's dying.

    He struggles to swim, might swim up to the top but quickly freezes up and floats back to the ground. He breaths very heavily.
    He was a pet store betta, so does he just have terrible genetics, or is it my fault that he's dying?

    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: Unknown but weekly water changes and planted tank.
    Temp: 26 Celcius (78 Fahrenheit)
  2. BryWell Known MemberMember

    Could be bad genetics mixed with the roughness of an fish in cycle. My first betta was a Walmart betta, cringe but I fell in love, he was a beautiful healthy Crowntail. He lived about six months, blew me a huge bubble nest (the entire top of his five gallon) before passing. No sign of illness or anything.
    It sounds like your guy just doesn't have the best immune system, on top of being a pet store betta. Poor guy :(
    I can't help much with sickness, as I've been blessed to not have too much run in with it.

  3. AquilistWell Known MemberMember

    Oh, Ok.
    Sorry about your Crowntail. He would've had the greatest life possible for a Walmart betta! Much better than a bowl.
    I'll give him the best care he can get for the time being.
    Afterwards, I'll either properly cycle the tank, or have a small break from fish.
    Depends on how I feel, I suppose.

  4. AquilistWell Known MemberMember

    Ok, Update: He's pineconing has furthered, although he is now resting on a baby tears leaf near the surface, as opposed to flopping on the ground as he was.
    I'm still deciding between continuing fish keeping or stopping. Any ideas?
  5. BryWell Known MemberMember

    Well if the tank has been set up a year, I would think it'd be cycled. If in doubt you can buy some Tetra Safe Start and get that bacteria going!
    Fishkeeping is in my blood, I couldn't stop if I wanted to. I'm sorry you've had a rough start, but it gets so much better and is super rewarding!
  6. AquilistWell Known MemberMember

    I would love to continue keeping bettas, but I'm so worried I'll keep on messing up and cause their deaths.

    I was considering separating an 18 gallon with acrylic pieces (with small holes drilled into them) to provide a larger water volume and keep 3 bettas in it? Each betta would get their own 6-gallon tank, with a joined water source. I'm aware that this makes parameters and water chemistry easier?
    However, this would cause the spread of diseases, quite rapidly.
    Would this be a simpler way to keep fish, as opposed to a singular 5-gallon, or should I focus on learning the logistics with a small tank?

    I'm not planning on doing this until after my current betta is either a) passed or unlikely b) better.
  7. BryWell Known MemberMember

    As someone with a 5,20,37, and 55 I will tell you bigger is easier to keep steady parameters. My 55 is a breeze. 20 is pretty easy too. My 5 is a bit stubborn and I have to watch it a bit more.
    If possible, get the 18, divide it. Either paint dividers (with fish safe paint) or lots of plants so they can't see their neighbors through it. And keep the 3 as a quarantine type tank before adding them to the neighborhood. :) As it does increase risk of disease sharing water. So a small quarantine isn't a bad idea.
    I really hope your little one pulls through. I wish I could help more with him....
  8. AquilistWell Known MemberMember

    No problem, you've helped so much.
    I'll definitely keep the 3 gallons.
    I'm not giving up on him, yet, though I have low hopes.

    I think I'll probably wait a month or two, and get the 18 gallon. I'll use black acrylic as dividers, with a sponge filter in 2 or 3 of the compartments, as well as plants.
    I'll definitely only get healthy fish for this one, and cycle without fish beforehand.
    Would fish flakes work for creating ammonia? Or should I get pure ammonia?
    Only males, yes? Something about getting eggbound?

    Thank you so much, you've been a huge help!
    I'm definitely doing everything properly from now on, no skimping on cycles, and probably a maximum of one nano tank at a time... they just don't work out for me.
  9. BryWell Known MemberMember

    You're totally welcome! Just keep an eye on the 3's parameters.
    Look into Tetra Safe Start, really. After you set up the tank, you dump it in. After a couple days it's usually ready for fish. The bottle is literally full of the good bacteria, they just need time to settle and multiply in the tank. I know a lot of people have used fish food successfully. :)
    Nano tanks are beautiful, but they are a bit harder to keep balanced. I feel like you've really done everything you can and that's admirable. I really don't feel like I've helped much, but I'm glad you feel like I have. :D
  10. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    It's treatable but you would need prescription antibiotics.

  11. JamieLuValued MemberMember

    I just wanted to say i dont think u did anythin wrong, and seemed like even with the fish in cycle this probably would have happened. Some fish in general just arent very hardy and are more prone to problems. Good job for u trying to help and givin him a good life!
  12. AquilistWell Known MemberMember

    Dropsy? I had treated it 3 weeks ago with epsom salts, but it's come back. Does this person ship antibiotics?

    Thank you, it means a lot.
    I hope he has had a pretty good life, far better than a betta in a bowl, at least.
    I think in the future if I get bettas again, I'll try to find an Australian breeder, not a chain pet store.