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Betta died after 6 days. Warning: photos of deceased fishy 😣


Crystal_Marie
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Hi all. So I’m a newbie fish keeper and after cycling my tank for a month I had stable parameters of pH 7.4, Ammonia and Nitrites at 0 and Nitrates at 10-20. Temp set at 80-82. 9gal fluval flex. I placed sponges over the pump to slow the flow but still have some moment. Tank is planted. 
today our female betta died. She had been refusing the food (Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets) but was seeming to eat the copepods in the tank and was interested in the “Dial a treat” dried food. 
I checked the parameters this morning after we removed her. It’s still pH 7.4, Ammonia/Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10-20, temp 82. We also have a nerite snail in the tank but it went inside the cave decoration and never came out. I’m going to investigate if it’s still alive once I change the water.

My question is, what could’ve killed our fishy? She had “zoomies” yesterday according to my husband so she wasn’t lethargic. I noticed she looked a bit bloated and was getting white under her chest/belly area. I worked 12 hr shifts the last two days so I couldn’t do any interventions. My plan was to buy fish medicines today but it was too late. I have included pics of her from last Wednesday and then today. 
 

Also, what should I do to make sure the tank doesn’t have any infection in it? Should I remove the carbon filter and dose the tank with medicine after a complete water change? I’d hate to start from scratch but understand if that’s what needs to happen. Thank you so much for your help!

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@Crystal_Marie I'm very sorry you lost your betta girl. Contrary to popular belief I don't think bettas are "easy" fish to keep AT ALL. I have 5 tanks with thriving fish and couldn't keep a betta alive, so I've stopped trying. Not telling you to, just my personal experience- plus I get attached to them and it's just not a good situation for me. Please don't beat yourself up- especially if you got your betta 6 days ago- likelyhood was, damage already done. There are many reasons she could have been bloated, constipation, dropsy (probably not likely but possible), swim bladder issue (but you don't report she had a swimming issue). The death was fast and your water parameters and temp are good so I don't think it was you. There are several people here who are excellent fish keepers and have betta problems- just search the forum for sick/dying/dead betta and you will get so many threads.

My recommendation is this, do some water changes, test some more- get your FISH FIRST AID KIT stocked- I cannot stress how much you should have basic medications on hand- emergencies NEVER happen in the middle of the day when the stores are open and you cannot wait on shipments from an online store when a fish is sick. You probably wouldn't have been able to save your fish friend this time- but trust me when I tell you it will be a big relief to know you have stuff on hand if when you try again you can help them right away. 

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@xXInkedPhoenixX thank you for your kind words. I think I took this harder than my kids. I knew it was a strong possibility based on what I read about “making it passed the first week.” 😔 she was only here a short time but was such a fun little fish. 
mom concerned now that if she had a contagious illness that my tank is now contaminated. Do you think putting meds in the empty tank will help? I want to make sure my filter media and good bacteria aren’t completely destroyed. 
also, my daughter said she’d rather do a community tank when we eventually restart. I had already order supplies for a quarantine tank in hopes of setting it up to add some tank mates. Sushi was so small in our tank that we were hopeful there would be plenty of room for a shrimp or small schooling fish. I guess it’s back to the drawing board 😔

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I totally get it, I get attached too and you just want the best for them and feel helpless because of it all when you don't know whats going on. Bettas have wonderful personalities and are great fish- it's just a shame they are so fussy to keep IMO.

I scrapped all my plans for a betta tank and did a community tank instead and it's been much more enjoyable and a bit more stress free though I've had a couple illnesses run through my tank. Like you I have a fluval flex 9. In it I currently have 5 male Endlers (which were my replacement for a betta- as a group they are lively, entertaining and fun to watch- they are still all individuals and I can tell them apart. They are more hardy than betta. Then I have 5 Ember tetras (adding more have a couple in QT), a Nerite snail and a Hillstream Loach. This has been a fun tank since. 

I can't keep shrimp but they'd be fun (I must have copper in my water)- don't put them in until the tank is much more mature. 

Watch that Flex, I've had issues (which is why I think my tank got sick a couple of times)- check the pump often, make sure it stays free of debris. Mine broke so I have an aftermarket one with variable flow (which is better than the stock one). I also have a coop nano sponge for back up. It's been good since. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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Here's my tank today, just did some daily maintenance (can see my Hillstream sucked to the right side and my embers and endlers playing. 

Don't bother medicating an empty tank. Give it a rest for a couple weeks or if you want to be super safe- 4 weeks, my suspicion is your tank will be fine. If you plan on doing the coop med trio then you could start sooner rather than later anyway when you add new fish. Just don't do too many at once and crash your tank. One species at a time and have a small QT for your next batch of fish. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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In the postmortem the scales look a little pineconed to me, so it might have been dropsy -- in such a short amount of time it is absolutely not your fault. You did everything right and provided a safe, clean home for this little betta. I'm so sorry it ended this way. It's always horrible to lose a pet, even one that hasn't been with you for very long. 😞

I agree with @xXInkedPhoenixX and leave the tank empty for awhile. I'm a little bit nutty and probably would medicate the tank to be absolutely safe, then ensure the cycle is still going by adding ammonia and water testing. I'm so sorry this happened to you as your first experience with fish. I hope you try again with another fish and have better luck with them.

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