Mysterious Death In My Betta Sorority

HairyCatFish
  • #1
I'm so upset right now. Disappointed, guilt ridden, mad at myself. I really can't explain exactly what happened. Everything was going fine, then late last night I noticed my Little Red Betta hovering in the back corner of the tank facing the corner.

What was strange is she was facing the corner near the top, head pointed up. (It reminded me of the time my male Betta was unhappy sharing a tank with black neon tetras and wanted out, so I had to get him his own tank).

Feeling concerned I sat and observed the sorority. I noticed the other 4 were casually swimming or just hanging out near the top waiting for food; sometimes together sometimes separately. But Little Red remained alone in the corner. There were no signs of aggression or fighting. Everything else seemed normal.

I fed the tank and everyone ate accept Little Red. She just kept to herself in her corner. After awhile I saw her swimming around the tank normally as I've seen her do before. A bit relieved to see her swimming freely, not being chased or attacked or anything so I thought all is well.

Then she went up for air and that's when I noticed she had white circular discolorations on the left side of her head. And while she was up top resting in the Water Sprite leaves I noticed her breathing unusually heavy, I could see her gills open and close as if gasping for air.

I told my wife it looks like Little Red is sick or something is definitely wrong with her. I thought about removing her and placing her in QT but realizing how late it was and not wanting to stress her more, I told myself I'll do it tomorrow. Besides there were no signs of aggression towards her so she should be til tomorrow. I turned the moonlight on for them and went to bed.

Got up this morning (4 a.m.) went to work. The whole day spent thinking about coming home and how I was going to quarantine and medicate her.

Came home just now and found Little Red floating vertically, head up, inside the Water Sprite leaves. Her fins and her little body looks shredded. It looks like something was nibbling on her especially around the neck. My wife says she turned the light on this morning and saw her swimming around the bottom of the tank. And that's the last time she checked.

Sorry for the long rant. I'm a little distraught, feeling like I've failed. Was she sick? Did they kill Her? Did they kill her because she was sick? Did she die naturally and my baby Pleco chewed her up?? I just don't know.
 
YellowFish13
  • #2
It is possible she was sick, which made her weak. Maybe that is when the bettas started bullying her. Or maybe she died, and then the bettas nipped at her body. Or maybe they did in fact kill her. What size tank?
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
It is possible she was sick, which made her weak. Maybe that is when the bettas started bullying her. Or maybe she died, and then the bettas nipped at her body. Or maybe they did in fact kill her. What size tank?
10 Gallon, heavily planted.

20180820_184209.jpg
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Here's a picture of Little Red just a few days. I'm saddened by her loss. I have taken pictures of her ravaged body and hard to believe it's the same fish

20180820_173922.jpg
 
Iverg1
  • #5
I would definitely place her in quarantine so that she'll get better and the other fish don't get sick. Also I'm sure you probably know this but 20 gallon is the minimum size for a betta sorority. It's not impossible to do in a 10 gallon but it's not idle
 
YellowFish13
  • #6
She died, didn’t she?
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
These are a bit graphic but I feel I must share. Perhaps there is something the experts might notice. Sorry for posting this, it upsets me to see this as well. If it's inappropriate moderators please remove.
 

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goldface
  • #8
I would definitely place her in quarantine so that she'll get better and the other fish don't get sick. Also I'm sure you probably know this but 20 gallon is the minimum size for a betta sorority. It's not impossible to do in a 10 gallon but it's not idle
I believe she is already gone, unfortunately.
 
goldface
  • #9
These are a bit graphic but I feel I must share. Perhaps there is something the experts might notice. Sorry for posting this, it upsets me to see this as well. If it's inappropriate moderators please remove.
It’s easy to naturally assume it were the other bettas. The shredded fins does seem to suggest it, but whether it was before or after her death, is impossible to say.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
She died, didn’t she?
Yes I found her dead, floating in my water sprite leaves.
 
Iverg1
  • #11
Sorry for your loss.
 
YellowFish13
  • #12
As long as you see no aggression, then there simply isn’t much to do. I would recommend a 30% water change.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I would definitely place her in quarantine so that she'll get better and the other fish don't get sick. Also I'm sure you probably know this but 20 gallon is the minimum size for a betta sorority. It's not impossible to do in a 10 gallon but it's not idle
Well I wouldn't exactly say it's impossible, it's been done by others. Though I am planning to upgrade to 20 soon as I can convince my wife to let me put another tank in our already crowded apartment.
Here's some pictures of them all getting along, and the water quality is good and all the plants help.
20180823_164732.jpg
20180823_162905.jpg
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Sorry for your loss.
Thank you very much.

As long as you see no aggression, then there simply isn’t much to do. I would recommend a 30% water change.
I will do that. And NO they aren't behaving aggressively towards each other, this is the calmest I've ever seen them. Why I'm so confused about what happened..
 
goldface
  • #15
My best guess is that you were overfeeding. They appear a bit bloated. I would lighten the feeding.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
My best guess is that you were overfeeding. They appear a bit bloated. I would lighten the feeding.
I think you're looking at my Alpha female, she's the oldest and largest of the group. I think she is swollen with eggs. But yes I do spoil them LOL .
 
TeamRandrus
  • #17
I wonder if because she was sick she was an easy target. Sometimes bettas will chase and chase and chase, tire one out, and then target they do like to 'play' and 'hunt'

That's how my female looked when my other female got to her- I did the EXACT same thing you did, contemplated QT, went to bed decided to do it the next day, because I saw no signs of visible aggression..same thing.

Sometimes I think they just decide they do not want the other fish in there for some reason

Your betta was beautiful, sorry for the loss! I would really observe them the next few days because the pecking order could be readjusting. Was this the dominant girl before? I wish I knew which thread it was where one where she discussed that after one of her bettas died, she had to go through the whole pecking order series again.
 
TeamRandrus
  • #18
I wonder if because she was sick she was an easy target. Sometimes bettas will chase and chase and chase, tire one out, and then target they do like to 'play' and 'hunt'

That's how my female looked when my other female got to her- I did the EXACT same thing you did, contemplated QT, went to bed decided to do it the next day, because I saw no signs of visible aggression..same thing.

Sometimes I think they just decide they do not want the other fish in there for some reason

Your betta was beautiful, sorry for the loss! I would really observe them the next few days because the pecking order could be readjusting. Was this the dominant girl before? I wish I knew which thread it was where one where she discussed that after one of her bettas died, she had to go through the whole pecking order series again.
 
TeamRandrus
  • #19
Sorry guys- not sure why my post posted so much. Using work computer today! Sorry!!
 
goldface
  • #20
I think you're looking at my Alpha female, she's the oldest and largest of the group. I think she is swollen with eggs. But yes I do spoil them LOL .
She might of had floaty issues from being bloated (if she was bloated). I learned quickly that overfeeding can kill fish very fast.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
I wonder if because she was sick she was an easy target. Sometimes bettas will chase and chase and chase, tire one out, and then target they do like to 'play' and 'hunt'

That's how my female looked when my other female got to her- I did the EXACT same thing you did, contemplated QT, went to bed decided to do it the next day, because I saw no signs of visible aggression..same thing.

Sometimes I think they just decide they do not want the other fish in there for some reason

Your betta was beautiful, sorry for the loss! I would really observe them the next few days because the pecking order could be readjusting. Was this the dominant girl before? I wish I knew which thread it was where one where she discussed that after one of her bettas died, she had to go through the whole pecking order series again.
Thanks for your condolences. I can't believe how much I am filled with regret for not getting her into QT last night. It was late and the thought of chasing her around the tank, netting and moving her just seemed like to much of an ordeal. Figured I would do it right after work, plenty of time to move her, acclimate, treat, etc.. but oh well..

She was at the bottom of the pecking order, one of the runts, definitely the prettiest of them all... My first impression also was that she had been exiled from the group. I did notice the day before that she was spending more time hiding out than usual. It wasn't until I saw her having difficulty breathing that I knew something was wrong.

I'm keeping an eye on them but really they have been behaving well for the past week. Ever since I added the extra plants and cave.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
She might of had floaty issues from being bloated (if she was bloated). I learned quickly that overfeeding can kill fish very fast.
She wasn't bloated, swam ok from what I could tell. Wasn't really eating much The last couple days. The only thing was the heavy breathing and I recall seeing some long stringy poop prior to that....not even sure if it was hers.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
It’s easy to naturally assume it were the other bettas. The shredded fins does seem to suggest it, but whether it was before or after her death, is impossible to say.
That's what's bugging me.. I am assuming they killed her, but if you look at them right now it just doesn't make sense. There is one suspect remaining, the baby Clown Pleco, he is hiding out, haven't seen him since last night. perhaps he was nibbling on her corpse? Kind of expecting him to turn up dead for some reason.
 
goldface
  • #24
That's what's bugging me.. I am assuming they killed her, but if you look at them right now it just doesn't make sense. There is one suspect remaining, the baby Clown Pleco, he is hiding out, haven't seen him since last night. perhaps he was nibbling on her corpse? Kind of expecting him to turn up dead for some reason.
No, it’s not the Clown pleco, if you’re refering to the genus and species Panaqolus maccus. They’re wood-eating plecos. If it was rasping on her body, then it is only after her death, not before.

Clown plecos are notoriously shy. Hiding is what they do.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
No, it’s not the Clown pleco, if you’re refering to the genus and species Panaqolus maccus. They’re wood-eating plecos. If it was rasping on her body, then it is only after her death, not before.

Clown plecos are notoriously shy. Hiding is what they do.
Yes that's what I meant, post mortum, I doubt he could / would do it while she's alive.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
As long as you see no aggression, then there simply isn’t much to do. I would recommend a 30% water change.
I have taken this advice and did a 30% water change yesterday.. I sat and observed the tank all night, they look so calm and peaceful. I'm still beating myself up, blaming myself. The sorority tank just isn't the same anymore without Little Red. She was the prettiest colored Betta in there. I thought about replacing her but I really don't want to add another Betta to this tank.
 
HairyCatFish
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
BTW I've changed my forum name from @HarryNYC to Aquarius_in_nyc in case some of you were wondering.
 
YellowFish13
  • #28
I didn’t know about the pleco! I bet what happened was she died of an illness. Then the pleco sucked on her body, and the other bettas tore up her fins.

You did everything right, sometimes things just happen.

I would not recommend adding another betta. (I know you aren’t really planning on it, though) Because the bettas have already established a pecking order in your aquarium, and another betta could case some serious fighting.
 

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