I Am Failing

Fanatic

Hello, this brings me some uncomfortableness and sadness to write this, but things lately have not been going all that well for me.

My newest betta, the one I just purchased from aquashella two weeks ago has developed a quite sudden and unbeknownst to me case of bloating which appears to be dropsy as far as I can tell. I am dumbfounded to understand why this is happening, as he was just fine and feasting on food just two days ago when now he was caught sitting in the corner struggling to breathe and not wanting to eat at all. I am absolutely clueless, and what is even worse is that I lost an HMPK very similar to this betta about a month ago, and he had a very severe case of dropsy.

I had to do an emergency water change last night when I was supposed to go to bed, but I didn't want to wait later on to do something that I could do right away.

Lately, things haven't been near as enjoyable as they once were, and I have felt like I have been given an enormous burden of work, stress, and confusion as to what is going to happen. One of my hermit crabs had a failure while molting which required me to dig him up in order to save his life, and he is still recovering, and now this happens which adds onto my list. I feel as if everything is going wrong for some unidentified reason, and it is all falling onto me at once. Everyone knows that I am supposedly great with the overall care and diagnosis of most bettas, and I have been for quite some time, but I am not really anything you think I am. The bettas have been dropping left and right for me, but the ones that my brothers are taking care of have been in the same tanks for nearly two years with not one symptom of anything at all through the years, and these bettas have grown to be quite elderly.

I am more than likely going to lose this sickened betta, as I don't have any determination to try to medicate, nor do I have the euthanasia supplies to put him out of any misery. I am probably not going to be replacing this fish, as I think that I need to take a break and think about what I might be doing wrong, or why the fish continue to become sickened as soon as they make contact with my tanks. My other two bettas are alright, but they both have terrible fin quality as they bite them constantly. From this point until a little later in time, I will be answering as many topics in the betta section as I can, as I would like to get more adept in answering questions and covering concerns upon new members.

Thanks.
 

JamieLu

Oh man, I'm sorry to hear that. When it rains it pours for sure. I know it can be really disheartening and make u want to give up but it happens when caring for living things, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm sure ur more knowledgeable then me but ur prob just been having some bad luck, u know how tp care for fish, and what they require and u do ur best at doing so. Some fish are just weaker then others, morw prone to illness no matter what. I wish I could take ur negative feelings away for u and help u more!
 

MD_Plants

I know how you feel. And me owning hundreds of animals, iv felt the same way. But there is always one you you NEED to focus on. Your dealing with living animals. Things happen that are out of your control. There are things you can focus on that you can’t control, or you can focus on how you can use what happened to make sure everything goes better in the future. For example, your hermit crab had a failed molt and you had to dig him up. Well, you saved his life. You did exactly what any other keeper would or could do and that’s all you can do. So in the future, more calcium.

If your keeping up on water changes, keeping pristine quality, a healthy diet, monitoring how there acting is all you can do. your a talented and dedicated fish owner, and not everything can be solved. If you need anything i’m here.
 

Platylover

Awe, I am so sorry. As someone who has had pretty much the same thing regarding splendens, I know it's hard. It wears you down mentally and physically to some point and it is just awful. Taking a break may be a good idea, IMO we all need breaks from this hobby from time to time. Or at least breaks on getting anything new.

I sincerely doubt you are doing anything wrong at all. You are very knowledgeable in fish, not just bettas. But these things unfortunately happen. You are already doing much better than I in general with bettas, for me its about 1/5 that don't get ill for seemingly no reason and pass. I've also had dropsy multiple times in bettas (4 I believe?) and it's so discouraging. All you can do is focus on your fish and try to do your best, but don't forget to care for yourself too.

I believe we all go through points in our life that nothing seems to go right, but they pass. When things seem to be going wrong for no reason, it can really be for no reason within our control.

Don't forget you've got this community here as well. If you need help, even if its just emotional (like this thread), you can always ask and I know most of us will be happy to assist.

I really hope things clear up for you and your fish. It's hard, but I'm sure you can make it through!
 

86 ssinit

Hey it happens. Your keeping the toughest fish in the hobby. 50% of the problems on this board are betta related. I’ve never kept them and have no desire too. Yes it’s time for a break maybe something new. Do you have shrimp? Old betta tank would make a nice rcs tank.
Well your allways a great help here and good luck with your studies.
 

stella1979

Awww, I'm so sorry to hear this Fanatic. We know that you are a fantastic keeper with a heart full of love for the critters under your care... and please don't take this the wrong way, but YOU ARE who we think you are. The care that you have for these creatures is what makes you who you are, not your successes and failures.

As for the current situation... Idk if this will help but please know that many of us have been where you are, myself included. From my own failures, I learned that for me, it was a good thing to take a step back, a break... until the frustration and sadness about my own failures lessened and the eagerness to do better was exciting again.

If there is anything I can do to help you through this, then I am glad to do it bud. Please know that many consider you a credit to the hobby and remind yourself of that when you're feeling down.
 

toosie

Hey Fanatic, I'm sorry to hear things are rough, but please don't look at this as a failure, or get down on yourself for what is happening. The best fish keeper loses fish. That doesn't mean they have failed. Not that failure in itself is such a bad thing...if you fail at something, at least it means you tried something. The only people who can never fail in life are those who never try anything.

Having said that though, you have peaked my curiosity. You say your brothers tanks are doing well. And you say that this is the second betta with these symptoms in a month. Were they both using this tank setup?

This might be a bit off the wall, but what decor do you have in this tank? We seem to be coming across some ornaments that may be causing some fish issues. Have you explored this avenue? It might not be anything at all that you are doing wrong.

I would strip anything plastic out of his tank and do a large water change and add some new activated carbon, and then possibly add a little aquarium salt. It might help draw excess fluid out. But if he us too sick, and if that doesn't work, I would clean the tank but keep the filter media and try again without any decor except for a moss ball or two or other real plant. If all goes well...pitch the decor.

And if I have rambled on endlessly and it turns out you have already eliminated all these things, well then, hopefully you have found me somewhat entertaining.

Anyways chin up. There may be other things responsible.
 

Fanatic

Thanks, this means a lot and I know that everyone just wants to make sure that I am feeling confident, and I appreciate you for that.

Hey Fanatic, I'm sorry to hear things are rough, but please don't look at this as a failure, or get down on yourself for what is happening. The best fish keeper loses fish. That doesn't mean they have failed. Not that failure in itself is such a bad thing...if you fail at something, at least it means you tried something. The only people who can never fail in life are those who never try anything.

Having said that though, you have peaked my curiosity. You say your brothers tanks are doing well. And you say that this is the second betta with these symptoms in a month. Were they both using this tank setup?

This might be a bit off the wall, but what decor do you have in this tank? We seem to be coming across some ornaments that may be causing some fish issues. Have you explored this avenue? It might not be anything at all that you are doing wrong.

I would strip anything plastic out of his tank and do a large water change and add some new activated carbon, and then possibly add a little aquarium salt. It might help draw excess fluid out. But if he us too sick, and if that doesn't work, I would clean the tank but keep the filter media and try again without any decor except for a moss ball or two or other real plant. If all goes well...pitch the decor.

And if I have rambled on endlessly and it turns out you have already eliminated all these things, well then, hopefully you have found me somewhat entertaining.

Anyways chin up. There may be other things responsible.

Yes, this tank was set up for both of them, but I tore it apart after the first loss and cleaned everything including replacing the substrate with pool sand.

I have silk plants in this tank, they were originally very tall plants which I trimmed down and superglued the stems to lava rock bases for support.
My filter only has sponges with bacteria on them as I don't have carbon on hand nor have I used it for quite some time, but I could get some if needed.

I am unsure if the decor could cause anything, but the current plants are fading and starting to deteriorate in some areas, as well as old BBA that has cemented itself on some of the leaves.

It seems like a waste to throw away such great looking plants to spend money on more, but if this is what would possibly be the cause of the issues then I am all for it.
I cannot do live plants whatsoever, and I have tried doing them when I had the proper lighting, substrate amendments, and fertilizer, but they melt and die within roughly a month of purchase, it's aggravating.

I would need to use advanced CO2 just to keep a simple anubias alive, even those plants die pretty quick in any of my tanks, except for my community which I think the bioload provides a lot of nutrients for it.

So are you saying I should try another betta in a tank without the silk plants, and if he does alright for a while I could get some new ones and put them in?
 

toosie

Thanks, this means a lot and I know that everyone just wants to make sure that I am feeling confident, and I appreciate you for that.



Yes, this tank was set up for both of them, but I tore it apart after the first loss and cleaned everything including replacing the substrate with pool sand.

I have silk plants in this tank, they were originally very tall plants which I trimmed down and superglued the stems to lava rock bases for support.
My filter only has sponges with bacteria on them as I don't have carbon on hand nor have I used it for quite some time, but I could get some if needed.

I am unsure if the decor could cause anything, but the current plants are fading and starting to deteriorate in some areas, as well as old BBA that has cemented itself on some of the leaves.

It seems like a waste to throw away such great looking plants to spend money on more, but if this is what would possibly be the cause of the issues then I am all for it.
I cannot do live plants whatsoever, and I have tried doing them when I had the proper lighting, substrate amendments, and fertilizer, but they melt and die within roughly a month of purchase, it's aggravating.

I would need to use advanced CO2 just to keep a simple anubias alive, even those plants die pretty quick in any of my tanks, except for my community which I think the bioload provides a lot of nutrients for it.

So are you saying I should try another betta in a tank without the silk plants, and if he does alright for a while I could get some new ones and put them in?
You know what...I would! And marimo moss balls are great for low light. No co2. You should try one. Bettas love rolling them around if you find smallish ones, so they can be a source of entertainment for them too! They help with water quality and they are super easy. You can google their care, but make sure you buy marimo moss balls. Have a look around google and learn up on them. If you need help with some links, let me know.

Also...you're sure your water has everything it needs? Your brother doesn't have anything that leaches a few minerals, does he? GH/KH of course tells that tale. If you have never tested for those, maybe it's something else you want to look into. Do tests on the tap water and on his tank, and see if everything there looks close to the same. Maybe he has a rock or something that has been doing him a favor, unbeknownst to you...

I don't know what all you have tried, so I apologize if I'm just shooting darts at things you've already explored.

Edit:
Also Fanatic, if there are any wires in the silk plants you chose, those can be a real issue. If not...any plastic portions that hold leaves could be suspect in my books.
 

Fanatic

You know what...I would! And marimo moss balls are great for low light. No co2. You should try one. Bettas love rolling them around if you find smallish ones, so they can be a source of entertainment for them too! They help with water quality and they are super easy. You can google their care, but make sure you buy marimo moss balls. Have a look around google and learn up on them. If you need help with some links, let me know.

Also...you're sure your water has everything it needs? Your brother doesn't have anything that leaches a few minerals, does he? GH/KH of course tells that tale. If you have never tested for those, maybe it's something else you want to look into. Do tests on the tap water and on his tank, and see if everything there looks close to the same. Maybe he has a rock or something that has been doing him a favor, unbeknownst to you...

I don't know what all you have tried, so I apologize if I'm just shooting darts at things you've already explored.

Edit:
Also Fanatic, if there are any wires in the silk plants you chose, those can be a real issue. If not...any plastic portions that hold leaves could be suspect in my books.

I actually have a moss ball, it's been in multiple tanks since August and it is about three inches wide.

My brother's betta tank is a ten gallon divided, and it has two purple silk plants, a couple different ornaments, and one piece of lava rock, so I don't think he has any type of water chemistry advantage.
I can't figure out for the life of me how to test the GH/KH as our water is super soft because my parents use salt softener to prevent the appliances from breaking down quicker due to hard water calcification.

I am probably going to just purge all of the current plants and start over, even though that'll cost me, but it's better than letting these fish die to an unknown cause to their illnesses.

You've been a great detective so far, thank you!
 

stella1979

Hey Fanatic, I just had a thought... Do you have a Micheal's craft store nearby? They regularly have 50-60% off of silk plants, plus, there is a standing coupon for 40% off of a single item... always. I just got a some for my gecko at 50% off and they don't look bad, PLUS, the single bunch I got for less than $3 had about a dozen stems in it, while 3-4 stems are enough to really fill out a 5 gallon tank I'm using. It was one bunch with all those stems attached to the cone/pic bottom, but upon standing in the store looking at it, I remembered your advice I found way back when about using hot glue on exposed metal. So, I cut 'em apart and did just that.

See, you are a credit to the hobby, and you are who you appear to be here... an animal lover that wants to help other animal lovers. You saved me some pennies and helped me know how to be budget minded while keeping things safe for my new little buddy.
 

Dawn Michele

HI Fanatic!!! Sorry thing's aren't going well for you right now. Keep your head up and IM sure everything will work out for you and your fishies. I think your a wonderful, knowledgeable fish keeper!!! You do a great job helping everyone on here!!! We are all here for you!!!
 

toosie

I can't figure out for the life of me how to test the GH/KH as our water is super soft because my parents use salt softener to prevent the appliances from breaking down quicker due to hard water calcification.

I am probably going to just purge all of the current plants and start over, even though that'll cost me, but it's better than letting these fish die to an unknown cause to their illnesses.

You've been a great detective so far, thank you!
Well, if the softener water is what you use, you would just use the standard API GH/KH test kit, and test that. But, if your brother has nothing in his tank, and if his substrate is also inert, then you may not want to buy a kit. For curiosity sake, if you wanted, you could take a sample of tap water and some of your brothers water down to your LFS to test. I know they likely only use strips, but it would just be to verify his substrate is inert if you aren't sure. But if you used the same substrate, then there is probably no point in testing.

So that would put me back to the plants. With both betta having the same type of symptoms it's likely worth a shot. It seems more than just a coincidence to me. And I am glad you aren't ready to pack it in just yet.

Let me know how it goes for you! If anything else hits me, I'll throw it past you.
 

Fanatic

I was able to get some clove oil to euthanize him, the dropsy was quite serious this morning and he was having trouble breathing.

He went within seconds of me pouring in the emulsified oil, but I am just glad he doesn’t have to suffer.
 

midna

oh jeez I am so sorry. it's not your fault, but it's super tough to deal with.

maybe you'll find an easier fish to take care of? bettas are totally hit or miss. I switched to endlers and shrimp lol
 

Fanatic

oh jeez I am so sorry. it's not your fault, but it's super tough to deal with.

maybe you'll find an easier fish to take care of? bettas are totally hit or miss. I switched to endlers and shrimp lol

I was really wanting to do african dwarf frogs in my extra 20 long, but I had nowhere to put it, so maybe I will do some in one of my five or ten gallon tanks.
 

toosie

I'm sorry you had to go through that Fanatic. I'd really like to see you try again.
 

Fanatic

I'm sorry you had to go through that Fanatic. I'd really like to see you try again.

I will be thinking it over, but I have two other bettas that I can attend to, maybe it's time for me to try something I haven't in many years.
 

toosie

I will be thinking it over, but I have two other bettas that I can attend to, maybe it's time for me to try something I haven't in many years.
Ah! So you do have success with betta yourself! Sounds like your household has some MTS going on there. And it really sounds like the bad luck was related to this tank. So now I'm even more convinced that it is decor related. When you said you were failing, I thought you meant you were having problems keeping betta in general. Alright, I'm breathing a little easier knowing a little bad luck isn't going to destroy your confidence in yourself. Thumbs up!
 

Fanatic

Ah! So you do have success with betta yourself! Sounds like your household has some MTS going on there. And it really sounds like the bad luck was related to this tank. So now I'm even more convinced that it is decor related. When you said you were failing, I thought you meant you were having problems keeping betta in general. Alright, I'm breathing a little easier knowing a little bad luck isn't going to destroy your confidence in yourself. Thumbs up!

Yes, and now that you had mentioned the plants it seems so obvious that it might be them which are causing the issues, so it may be the best idea to get new plants.
 

toosie

Yes, and now that you had mentioned the plants it seems so obvious that it might be them which are causing the issues, so it may be the best idea to get new plants.
Best of luck to you and whatever your next occupant for that tank may be. I hope your day gets brighter than it began.
 

angelcraze

Awww sorry about your betta Regarding how you are feeling tho, I've certainly been there. I know the feeling of second guessing yourself. But really all we can do is our best. No one has all the answers and knows exactly what to do in every situation. Everything else everyone already said and I agree with it all!

I downsized when I was dealing with callamanus worms, took a break from breeding fish two years ago and still haven't resumed. But I finally have more confidence that I tackled those and that I've done all I could.

Most of us are big animal lovers here, and grateful for all the priceless advice you have to offer.

Keep your head up, you are doing great Those feelings are normal and it will pass and resolve itself soon enough. Hang in there.
 

midna

I was really wanting to do african dwarf frogs in my extra 20 long, but I had nowhere to put it, so maybe I will do some in one of my five or ten gallon tanks.

oh boy, I wouldn't recommend adfs tbh! I love them a lot but i've personally had loads more problems with them than i've had with bettas. I gave up on them after my two got infected and died, plus the two I bought from two different petsmarts died. adfs from pet stores tend to have all kinds of nasty stuff and chytrid is particularly bad. if you do want to try them i'd get them from a hobbyist who owns lots of adfs or even breeds them. that way you know they aren't infected with anything when you get them if the hobbyist has been keeping them for 4+ months without any deaths. I don't know anyone in the area but I could ask!
 

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