What could be wrong with my Betta?

danajs

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Hi all,

My tank is fully cycled, with ammonia 0.0, nitrite 0.0 and pH 7-8. Temperature is 26.

I change about 20-25% of the water every week, using Tetra AquaSafe and Tetra SafeStart.

The tank is planted with Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, Staurogyne Repens, Vallisneria Torta and RotaIa Rotundifolia. I also have a few moss balls and some Salvinia floating on top. I dose with Tropica Premium Nutrition once a week.

I lost a Betta about 6 weeks ago for a reason which I cannot figure out. He was fine one day and then overnight turned pale and had clamped fins. I moved him to a hospital tank and was advised by my local fish store to use Interpet aquarium salt, but he died within hours of adding some (I followed the instructions on the box exactly).

I deep cleaned his tank and a couple of weeks later replaced him with a new Betta, who I have now had for 3 weeks. Over the last couple of days, although he hasn’t gone pale, his fins are now clamped and very rigid looking and he’s hiding away all the time (he still seems interested in food). When he does come out, I can’t see any obvious signs of disease or fungus, so am a bit stumped. But something clearly isn’t right.

What could be wrong with him? Is it possible I have too many plants in the tank (he still has lots of swimming room)? Could it be the plant fertiliser?

He has 3 Pygmy Cory tank mates and some Amano Shrimp, all of which are very happy and active.

As soon as he comes out again, I’ll grab a photo for you.
 
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danajs

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CaptainBarnicles

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Hi there, clamped fins are usually a sign of stress. He's probably not happy with his environment(although I doubt it's because you've got too many plants, plants are good!) or his water quality. How big is his tank? What is the flow like? For now I would do a big water change and see what he's like after... It may also be that there's other fish in with him, bettas are much better living solitary as there are super territorial
 
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danajs

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Hi there, clamped fins are usually a sign of stress. He's probably not happy with his environment(although I doubt it's because you've got too many plants, plants are good!) or his water quality. How big is his tank? What is the flow like? For now I would do a big water change and see what he's like after... It may also be that there's other fish in with him, bettas are much better living solitary as there are super territorial
It’s a 20l tank he’s in and the flow is low - it’s a trickle filter, so is dripping down at the back of the tank instead of spray bar forcing it forwards over the surface of the water (I made the error with my first ever betta a few years ago). I also have an airstone in the back corner.

I’m going to see if a family member will take the Corys on, see if that cheers him up and hopefully keep the Amanos as my little clean up crew. Failing that, I do have a shrimp only tank currently cycling (it’s been set up 2 weeks now), so I could move them over there if I still see no improvement.
 

hansgruber7

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How long did you have the first betta who died? Did you add anything in the weeks before he died? Or change anything? Do you have anything in your aquarium that could be leeching toxins? Do you have a full picture of your aquarium? Your fish definitely looks stressed/sick but it's hard to say what it could be.
 
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danajs

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How long did you have the first betta who died? Did you add anything in the weeks before he died? Or change anything? Do you have anything in your aquarium that could be leeching toxins? Do you have a full picture of your aquarium? Your fish definitely looks stressed/sick but it's hard to say what it could be.
My first Betta I had for a few years before he died. I then got my second Betta and set up a new, larger, tank for him (he lived in the first Betta’s tank until the new tank was cycled). Once I moved him over to the new tank, he was in there about 4 weeks before he died (he went almost white and kept his fins clamped). The only thing I’d changed before I noticed him go pale was I’d switched from my Tetra products (as mentioned in my original post) to Aquadip. When I noticed him go downhill, I changed back to Tetra and did a few small water changes over a few days to see if that was the issue. Now my current Betta I’ve had for about 3 weeks. Other than the tank and plants (all of which, except the moss balls are from Tropica), the only thing I’ve changed is the food - it’s only the Betta that eats the new food, as the Shrimp and Corys get different food. I’m cautious not to use any chemicals around the tank, especially as I have an air pump on it. For it to happen to two Bettas in a row suggests it’s something I’m doing, but I can’t figure it out especially when the Corys and Shrimp are fine. Could it be the food?!
 

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danajs

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So since my previous message my Betta has now died ? I fished him out and had a really good look at his body, but nothing obvious. His fins were very rigid to feel - I feel like like they might have snapped if I was forceful with them. I had him on a bit of tissue and noticed a yellow patch form from around his gills (like something oozed out of him). Could this be a clue?
 

CaptainBarnicles

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Sorry for your loss ☹️

I can't think of anything particularly if your tank was cycled, you're doing regular water changes and there's no way any contaminates has been introduced... ??‍♀️ Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along to help you out
 

hansgruber7

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It sounds to me like there is some kind of infection, pathogen, or parasite that both of your bettas had. It's possible that's what your first betta had and it was passed on to each betta after, since the second betta was in the tank the first betta died in. It's hard to say what it could be, but that seems to be the most likely possibility, since it doesn't seem to be a water quality issue. I would be careful about adding another fish in the near future. Depending on what it was, it can be difficult to ensure it's gone. Maybe just let it stay a shrimp tank for the time being.
 

carligraceee

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So since my previous message my Betta has now died ? I fished him out and had a really good look at his body, but nothing obvious. His fins were very rigid to feel - I feel like like they might have snapped if I was forceful with them. I had him on a bit of tissue and noticed a yellow patch form from around his gills (like something oozed out of him). Could this be a clue?
Goodness I am so sorry for your loss. I hope we can figure out what this is.

It sounds to me like a pathogen in the water. If your fish is stressed, they cannot fight off usually easy things to fight off. @Colin_T knows a lot about diseases on this forum.

Clamped fins mean stress but by your picture, I see you mean he has stiff tail fins. This is a sign of fin rot which is very common in long finned fish. Still a pathogen in your water, could be from the water provider.
 

Colin_T

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This has nothing to do with aquarium plants.

Clamped fins are usually caused by poor water quality or something in the water that is irritating the fish. It can also be caused by fungus, bacteria or protozoan infections, although this is very uncommon and normally only one fin is affected and it turns cream/ white.

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Is the water temperature actually 26C, as measured by a thermometer in the water?

If the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are fine, then you need to look at other things that might be getting into the water. You mention plant fertiliser. What kind, how much do you add and how often do you add it?

CaptainBarnicles is looking in the right direction.
Do you have buckets specifically for the fish tank?
Does anyone else use these fish buckets for anything besides the fish?
Do you use disinfectant wipes or hand sanitiser?
Does anyone use paint, perfume, deodorant, hair spray, or any other aerosol/ smoke in the room?
Do you have anything like moisturising cream, perfume or other chemicals on your skin?

What sort of filter do you have and how often and how do you clean it?
 
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danajs

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Hi all, I’m so sorry for the slow reply - I wasn’t receiving any notifications and thought it had all gone quiet! I’ll try my best to respond to each comment I’ve missed comment by comment, to save writing an entire essay ?
 

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