Sudden Death Of Brand New Betta

  1. Z

    Zebo New Member Member

    Hi guys, so I bought a male halfmoon betta fish on Saturday from Petco. He seemed pretty good--fins still intact, his all-red coloring was very vibrant, no cataracts, and a good level of energy, considering the small cup he was in. He also looked young. He clicked with me. So I took him home. When I put him in my 10 gallon tank I did some water tests. Ammonia tested at 0.5 ppm. That was strange, because before this betta, the tank was empty for months--the only living things in it were plants--and the tank is a couple years old so it is obviously cycled (nitrites 0). So anyways, after seeing the ammonia I did a 50% water change (with distilled water, the general hardness was insanely high, although that also cut down my KH to almost 0 despite having crushed coral in the tank) and brought the ammonia down to 0.25 ppm. Then I did one again the next day but ammonia stayed at 0.25 ppm. Okay then, I figured I'd do another water change soon and treat the water with Prime, which I still have to buy. Throughout the past couple days, the betta seemed to be okay. He wasn't very excited or erratic, but he didn't seem sickly either, although he did sleep on the bottom of the tank during the day on a few occasions. And he was eating. He wasn't super excited to eat, but he ate without any issues. Then today, after just three days of having him, I got home from work and found him dead--nose down in the gravel, wedged between a java fern and the glass in the front left corner of my tank. I was bummed. I hadn't even settled on a name for him yet. He was a beautiful fish. But I figured that there was no sense in dwelling on it, so I scooped him out and tested my parameters. Here they are:

    GH 60
    KH somewhere between 0 and 40, closer to 0
    pH 6.5
    Nitrites 0
    Nitrates 20
    Ammonia 0.25
    Phosphates 0.5

    I also found this metallic flaky looking stuff around his gills when inspecting his body. I would have attached a picture of it but for some reason the image upload keeps failing. If I can get it to work I will post it later. Could he have been sick right off the bat? Maybe it was velvet disease? Or was it something I did? Was ammonia too high? Did I do water changes too quickly/drastically? Did the change in hardness kill him? And how the h*** is there ammonia, nitrates and phosphates in my tank when I didn't even have fish in it for months?? So many questions, I'm so confused. Can you guys help me out?
     
  2. FishFish221

    FishFish221 Well Known Member Member

  3. tunafax

    tunafax Well Known Member Member

    Im very sorry to hear that. :(

    Your tank could have those parameters for 2 pretty common reasons - live plants or your tap water. They dont sound bad enough to kill the fish so quickly.

    My first guess is parameter shock. Going from that nasty Petco water into a fresh tank may have done the poor guy in and he never recovered. :(

    It doesn't sound like velvet from what youre describing - but it could be all sorts of illnesses that don't have obvious symptoms. I mean it's Petco.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Z

    Zebo New Member Member

    The tank is heated to 79 degrees and is filtered by a medium Hikari bacto-surge sponge filter. And there was ammonia present in the tank right just an hour or two after I put him in it, so there must have been ammonia in there for at least a while leading up to that point, while there was no fish in there. I figured maybe that decaying plant matter would be a source of ammonia. Unless there indeed was no ammonia and putting him in there made the ammonia spike that quickly? I honestly do not know, I'm still learning with all this aquaria business.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Z

    Zebo New Member Member

    It was really unfortunate :( I was looking forward to having him.
    You raise a good point though. It is petco. I think it likely at least had something to with the poor living conditions at the store. I'm going to bring him back and hopefully get my money back. Then I'll probably just get all my fish at LFS's from now on. Although I'm unsure if living conditions for bettas are just pi**-poor in all fish shops across the board.

    I do have live plants in my aquarium--a decent amount of decay, too. Although I haven't extensively tested my tap water thus far. I was hoping to get red cherry shrimp to clean up the dead plant matter, which may be contributing to ammonia, but I can't put them into a tank with these parameters. So as you can see I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
     
  6. Willard The Betta Fish

    Willard The Betta Fish New Member Member

    R.i.p. Little red dude :(
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Z

    Zebo New Member Member

    RIP does anyone know how I can "re-start" a cycling process and get my parameters under control? I doubt 0.25 ppm of ammonia would have killed him that quickly, but I'd like to take that factor out of the equation entirely for next time I put a new friend in there.