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Old 08-20-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
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My bettas keep dying...

I've kept bettas for years and haven't seen anything like this. I have a 20 long planted community aquarium in which my centerpiece is usually a male betta. My male betta died unexpectedly with no warning signs. I'd had him for about 6 months. I got another one. He died in a week. Again, no signs, he was just dead one morning. So this time I got 5 female bettas. Within 3 days they started dying about 1 every 1-2 days. Only one is left and she is dying, the only one to show actual symptoms. She's lethargic, her mouth and face are white, and she flits from place to place instead of swimming.

Only the bettas in the tank are dying, no other fish. The parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10. I change the water about 40 percent every 7-10 days. My tanks are immaculate. I haven't done anything different, I haven't added or removed anything. I can't think of anything it could be, especially anything affecting bettas only. I have bettas in other tanks that are fine. The two male bettas came from one lfs, the female bettas from another. And there's no chance for predation or bullying, the other fish are smaller and passive.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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try doing a big water change, like 90%, dose prime to dechlor, and then run a new batch of carbon in your filter for a few days.

Do you have any driftwood in the tank?
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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Probably my biggest question is what are you keeping with these bettas? Bettas aren't too quick and its very possible that they are being harassed. Even little guys like danios can do a fish in, given the right circumstances.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Yes, I have some branchy driftwood in the tank, and it is fairly heavily planted. I have done many 40% water changes and filter media changes during this time, and I only use Prime. I've sat and observed the tank many times and there is no aggression in the tank whatsoever. The tank mates are 7-8 microrasboras (barely 1/2"), 5 dwarf banded barbs (very shy 1" fish), 3 pygmy corycats, a few otocinclus, and 3 amano shrimp. Nothing at all is harassing the bettas in any way. If anything, the male bettas may have eaten a few microrasboras. The bettas, even the females, are by far the largest and most outgoing fish in the tank. Also, the other fish mostly stay low in the tank in the plants, while the bettas are top-dwellers.

Any ideas appreciated. Although I guess I shouldn't try any more bettas...I sure would like to know why though. I have another tank, a 7 gallon nano with 3 females, that is doing fine. I miss having bettas in this 20 long, but I'm afraid to put another one in it.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:48 PM   #5
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What are you feeding them? Bettas need meaty foods to thrive....could that be it??? What is the temp in the tank? Do you have a heater?
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nippy Fish View Post
I've kept bettas for years and haven't seen anything like this. I have a 20 long planted community aquarium in which my centerpiece is usually a male betta. My male betta died unexpectedly with no warning signs. I'd had him for about 6 months. I got another one. He died in a week. Again, no signs, he was just dead one morning. So this time I got 5 female bettas. Within 3 days they started dying about 1 every 1-2 days. Only one is left and she is dying, the only one to show actual symptoms. She's lethargic, her mouth and face are white, and she flits from place to place instead of swimming.

Only the bettas in the tank are dying, no other fish. The parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10. I change the water about 40 percent every 7-10 days. My tanks are immaculate. I haven't done anything different, I haven't added or removed anything. I can't think of anything it could be, especially anything affecting bettas only. I have bettas in other tanks that are fine. The two male bettas came from one lfs, the female bettas from another. And there's no chance for predation or bullying, the other fish are smaller and passive.

Any ideas?
I was just notified that there is another Nippyfish out there so I thought I would pop by to check it out and what do you know… here you are. Seriously, what are the chances of two betta lovers going by Nippyfish located just a few miles apart who haunt the same web forum? Weird!

Anyway, I would start by considering what may be different about the betta from the other fish. Most obviously, they are anabantids. Could there be something about their Labyrinth organ that could be the issue? What sort of chemicals are you treating the water with? Mention everything you use, including medicine, salt and dechlorinators.

Could there be anything in the atmosphere they are breathing near the tank? Cleaning chemicals, air freshener, etc? Bettas are slow swimmers but if they were being attacked you would see the result of that I would think. Hmm. So the fish that have died… they show no sign of the white around the mouth and head that your current fish is showing?

Another distinct betta trait is that they will put anything in their mouth. Could there be a plant, worm, snail, or some other thing in the tank they are eating and getting sick from?

Any changes in the betta you have since your last post?

Regards,
The Other Nippyfish.
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