Post Mortem Opinions On My Fish

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by PascalKrypt, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    I knew I jinxed myself when I was patting myself on the back last night that thing had gone great with my first bettas. Sigh.

    This morning I made my rounds, they were all being their usual selves. 2 minutes later I walked the same round backwards and one of my female bettas was dead on its side on the floor. I was so surprised I poked her with a net to make sure.

    I've attached some photos, including one of her a few days after I got her, hope people can help me figure what went wrong, I have not a clue. She was in a 3 gallon dirted, planted QT tank, with 50% water change every 3-4 days. I bought her from a breeder two weeks ago. Just tested the water, 0/0/5. I did a water check before every water change, no sign of ammonia or nitrite. PH 7.2. Temp 75-76. She looks pristine, no sign of any marks. Her fins weren't even clamped when I found her, no trace of blood or inflammation in eyes or fins or gills. I see no bloating either. She was still eating late last night (live white mosquito larvae). Cannot really say that she has been particularly lethargic either - she was never super active, but swam around mostly inspecting the surface (hanging below it at an angle though, and eyeballing it. Assumed she was hunting, but perhaps it was something else? Did not notice rapid breathing but I didn't really look for it either). She was a little bit more calm last two days than before.. but still swam around, so not complete lethargy.
    The thing I can think of that seemed off is that I had a different female in her tank behind a divider for two days about 5 days ago, because the tank the new girl would be going into was unexpectedly mini-cycling. The first day she was spunky and they were flaring at one another (I added a bunch more plants to give them some peace). The second day though the new girl was hanging at an angle below the surface much like the female who died did, but with her fins completely clamped and she wouldn't move. Water parameters were fine (I immediately checked) so I figured I would just move her to a separate container with 50% daily changes. She has recovered a little - no longer clamped fins - but is still lethargic and rests in the plants just below the surface all the time. She wouldn't eat the day before yesterday, but yesterday ate a little.

    Now I'm thinking, I jumped to the conclusion that something was wrong with the one female, but it seems that something was in the QT instead, that killed the other female who never showed any symptoms of it? In that case it seems to be I accidentally introduced some kind of poison? Except there isn't anything in the tank, it is in a heated room with moderate led lighting, only has some dirt (maybe a tenth of an inch) and a bunch of plants including java ferns, duckweed, water lettuce and anarchis. It can't be problems with the source water either, as it is naturally chlorine-free and I use it without conditioner in all of my non-specialised tanks, never had any problems with it.
    The dirt was from my garden, I use it in all my tanks without problems.
    The only things possibly problematic would be the plastic divider (but it was built for aquariums?) and the tank itself, which I bought in a garage sale. I bought them in a set though, thoroughly rinsed them, and have been using them as QTs for a while. A pair of gourami lives in another for longer and the female has actually healed from the fin rot she had when I got her. Same set-up with the same ingredients.
    Except for the java fern. I bought it from another aquarist, have a whole QT full of the stuff elsewhere. It's was soaking in that QT for a little over a week, and I rinsed it well before adding it. Another plant from that bunch was added the same day to a tank housing a male betta, he seems perfectly fine and busy blowing a bubble nest.

    I'm just at a loss...

    Attached Files:

  2. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    Do you put anything from a bottle or jar in the water (other than fish food)?
  3. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    First pic shows breeding tube .
    Could she have been blocked up ?
  4. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Oh, you mean like this stoned egg thing that I have heard about? I guess it is possible, the woman I bought her from said she had bred with her once before, and she was now somewhere between a year and a year and a half old. If so, crud. I actually have males with bubbles nests that could have taken care of the problem...
    Is there any way to see this coming? I don't have enough experience with the egg tube to know what it is supposed to look like, but I thought it was normal for it to be visible like that?

    Nope, only dried daphnia and micropellets that I feed her other than the live food, which comes from my own colonies. None of this stuff was exclusive to her tank, either. Only non-natural thing introduced was the plastic divider with suction cups... I guess I'll thoroughly, thoroughly rinse and soak it for the time being.

    I've checked on the new girl who spent two days in the tank. As I said, she is still lethargic rested on driftplants with her nose against the surface. Her breathing is normal though, neither rapid nor slow. Her fins look a little less clamped than in the past two days. She won't swim out when she sees me though, nor when I lift the tank lid. Edit: there is one bit of poop of her on the tank floor, so she is still passing food normally. It looks ordinary, solid and black.
  5. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    No fertilizers or anything for the plants?
  6. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Nope, I added nothing. No conditioner, no prime, no ferts, no ammonia. Only water changes with tap water. Well, and the tiny bit of water that came with the live food from its colony tank.
    That being said, I obviously have no way of knowing what the original owner of the plants did with their tank, but the plants were sold as trimmings from a healthy tank. Moreover it has been some three weeks since they were removed from that tank and have been rinsed and soaked in renewed water several times over that period. Could something have stuck to them over that time? I'm a little sceptic about this possibility though, as the seller seemed like someone who had a tank of several years going (just single family display tank, nothing fancy with expensive equipment) and kept an unchanged regime. They weren't having any trouble far as I could tell.

    I thought about it some more and I do think it was something toxic rather than egg problems, because of the other female who got sick after spending less than 48 hours in that tank.
    There are columnaris strains that can kill very quickly without overt symptoms, right? Could it be something like that?
  7. LeahsTankValued MemberMember

    Tap water with no conditioner? Are you on a well? If not, I’d say chlorine poisoning.

    Edit: I now see you have naturally chlorine free water.
  8. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    This sounds more like a water quality issue than disease but there are no good explanations that I can think of at this time.

    Does that tank have silicone joints?

    I think Columnaris is unlikely. People talk about a strain that kills suddenly without any symptoms. I have not found any evidence of its existence yet. If you did have it, it probably would have spread to your other tanks.
  9. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    I tend not to jump to random diseases to explain my problems, but eh. I do very much hope you are right. New girl is improving by the way, she is now actively eating food and swimming around a little. Whatever it was that affected her seems to be slowly lifting/healing in a new tank with small daily water changes.

    Nope, no silicone. The tank is some type of plastic (similar to those critter keepers) and seems to be made out of one piece. Not sure what type of substance but it has the food-safe logo and is specifically designed for keeping animals. Unfortunately I can't read the actual ingraving as it is on the bottom and all three I have are currently full of water.
  10. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah, I figured a 3 gal tank was probably molded as a single piece.

    Is it possible the 50% water changes were stressful? I usually do large % water changes but I pre-heat and pre-treat the water and refill slowly to avoid any potential stress.
  11. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    I also do slow refills for this reason, and make sure to match the temperature. I do recall when I did the last water change (about two days before she died) she swam to the back corner and sat down on the substrate there with her tail towards me, which was really unusual because she (and other bettas I have) always come over to check out the water pouring in, presumably hoping that there will be some live food in there. So whatever was bothering her probably affected her then already. Just find it weird that she showed no obvious outward symptoms other than a slightly reduced energy level and then just dropped dead one minute.

    I left her tank up because I'm still hoping to figure out what caused her death. I'm contemplating popping in a single shrimp or a guppy fry to see if there is really some toxin leaking into the water or that it was something particular to the bettas. Is it possible she harmed herself body slamming against the divider when the other female was in there and I just couldn't see it on the outside? In that cause I would have expected dropsy or pineconing though, but you never know..

    The other female is more active, swimming around now. I can clearly see she has jerky movements when swimming, like tiny spasms. From what I could find googling this and other forums that seems to suggest either poisoning of some kind; water quality or something toxic leaking into the water, or parasites. I'm a little in doubt it is the latter because the poop of both girls looked normal. (Edit: Just to clarify, she is not flashing, just swimming erratically, kind of like a male with long fins would do except she is a short-finned female. As far as I can tell from her behaviour in the shop, she was not like this before I put her in the suspect QT)
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  12. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Thought I would post an update here... it is definitely poisoning of some kind that happened in the QT. The new girl I've written about above is suddenly taking a bizarre turn for the worse. She appeared to be doing better (aside from her jittery swimming) and just now I noticed her flaring at the back side of her tank from across the room. I thought it was a relief since she's been so lethargic, and I walk over to take a better look... she's just flaring and bouncing across the tank, like flashing except there is no rubbing. She's floating off after each slap into a wall, all disoriented and twist and turning on her side, only slowly righting herself. She won't stop flaring either. Breathing is somewhat rapid. I think she is a goner, whatever happened in the QT seems to have caused permanent damage of some sort. She's been ill the whole time, was just not energetic enough until now to show the symptoms, I suppose.

    :( I'm a little depressed over this. I'll end up losing both of them probably and I still do not understand what I did wrong or how I exposed them to something.
  13. PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Whelp little update on this because who doesn't love positive news? New girl is doing a lot better. The bouncing across the tank was a completely misinterpretation on my part. What happened is that I put her in a small (1.5G) emergency tank some anarchis and frequent smaller water changes in the planning. But I felt it was too bare to put her at ease since she was so incredibly stressed and unwell so I ended up floating her container with a cracked open lid in my heavily planted 20G (which was still recovering from a nitrite spike). Well turns out she was just looking for ways to get out of the small container and into that much more attractive looking jungle tank. Even though the lid on the floater was only a crack open, she somehow managed to squeeze through the night of my previous post and I found her among the floating plants in the 20G. Well... I guess this is what they were made to do. I did a full water test on the 20G before pulling her out because she seemed a little more relaxed than before. Nitrite had only faint traces left (between 0 and 0.25) so I decided to just do a partial water change and leave her in there.
    Pleased to report the new tank, despite its not completely perfect water, is proving beneficial. She now has all her fins spread again and though she is not super active, she is moving again normally (the first day in there she was still bouncing around). She is actively hunting for the live food I plop in there. I think I traumatised her though, she doesn't seem to like me at all, haha. There are some tears in her fins (probably from the flailing) so she still has some ways to go and I'm hoping there won't be any secondary issues, but for now I am positive.

    Still no clue on what killed the original betta though.