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Old 11-30-2012, 10:03 PM   #1 
Loki22
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Unhappy Betta sick please help!

So for the last 2 days my betta has been acting strange, he swims but does not use his back fins. and now he's just laying on the bottom, still breathing tho. i did 50 percent water change. and since he's been laying on the bottom i just turned the filter off. well heres a pict.

Housing
What size is your tank? 5.5 gall
What temperature is your tank? 72
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 1 snail

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New life Spectrum Betta formula
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2-3 pellets once a day everyday

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? every 3 weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 10-20 percent
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime water conditioner and aquarium salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
no because my stick tests are deffective, going to petco to get it tested
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? extended scales not flaring
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? he is not swiming around anymore, lays on the bottom of the tank
When did you start noticing the symptoms? wensday 28th 2 days ago, thought he would get better after a water change, but now he seems worse
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? none, waiting apon comments
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no iv only had him about 3 weeks
How old is your fish (approximately)? no idea, 3 weeks since i bought him from the pet store
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:18 PM   #2 
whatsupyall
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You might want to consider doing more water changes per month. I'd recommend at least once per week at 50%. In addition, increase temperature to 80-ish Fahrenheit. See how that go.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #3 
Loki22
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even with the filter? i thought that was one of the important things when having a filter is to not have to change the water every week and stress the betta out. and i thought building up the good bacteria would help to turn the nitrite into nitrate? im confused now... thats all iv ever been told.
what wattage heater should i get for my 5.5 gal, the one i have in there now is a 15 watt.

since the last post i have moved him into a tuperware cup, that sits in the tank but tilted so fresh water can move into the container. so that he can be closer to the surface without having to work as hard. he actually did eat 3 pellets as well. he seems much more comfortable this way.

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:35 PM   #4 
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heres another pict
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:45 PM   #5 
whatsupyall
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Oh right, with a filter you might want to do PWC still, but probably at 20% weekly. I'm confident the low temperature is causing him to be less active. I'm not sure if this matters much, but I keep my water around 6 inches high only. And be sure to have a cover as most bettas love jumping out of their home. If all else fails, I definitely would try re-homing him into a plain tank with just the basic needs: water, tank, heater, and possibly filter. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:58 PM   #6 
shellieca
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Having a filter helps keep the water clean however there are minerals that need to be replenished, Ph needs to stay stable, nitrates will build up and so on. Plus a smaller volume of water such as a 5.5 will especially need weekly water changes because smaller volumes of water tend to be harder to keep stable. Also you have a snail correct? I don't know what kind it is but most are big waste producers which means water changes with a good vacuum once a week is very important. I personally do weekly 50% water changes on all 5 of my tanks which includes a 5.5. The water temp should be 76-80 because Bettas are tropical fish. If you go to a pet store they'll usually have a variety of heaters & they're marked for the size of a tank they're rated for, get an adjustable one. Also IMO you should only use Aq salt when treating for something specific. Lastly invest in a liquid water test kit, more expensive up front but will save you money in the long run & much more accurate than strips which is typically what Petsmart & Petco use.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:11 AM   #7 
Loki22
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Thanks for the replys. The snail is a mystery snail or other name is apple, it is yellow. Also the heater is for a 5-10 gal tank but I will try to getting a new one and investing in liquid test kit. Should I do another 50% water change?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:12 AM   #8 
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Quote:
even with the filter? i thought that was one of the important things when having a filter is to not have to change the water every week and stress the betta out. and i thought building up the good bacteria would help to turn the nitrite into nitrate? im confused now... thats all iv ever been told.
what wattage heater should i get for my 5.5 gal, the one i have in there now is a 15 watt.
You still have to change the water every wekk but not nearly as much. The only way to remove the nitrAtes is via water change. It's also the only way to remove the excess food and poop that accumulates on the substrate.

Was the tank set up and running before you got him? If it's only 3 weeks old, that might be part of the problem - it's setting up the nitrogen cycle aka the good bacteria. The tank might of experienced an ammonia or nitrIte spike which can be very unhealthy/deadly for fish depending on how high the levels are. (I was clueless with my first betta and petco told me if I had a filter I never had to change the water - never listen to petshop employees is rule numero uno)

Quote:
5-9gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.
Oldfishlady's guide to the Nitrogen cycle for bettas:

Quote:
The Process:

Once you setup your tank and properly acclimate the Betta.

Your first water change should start on or about day 3 and schedule the second weekly from that point.....

In a 1gal-4gal filtered tank-without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly 50%...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month
*The long term care and established cycle care will be the same on 1-4gal filtered tanks.

In 5gal-10gal filtered without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly for the next 4-6 weeks
Of... 1-50% water only and 1-50% with vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots.
*The 50% with vacuum will be the water change schedule for the life of the system to maintain water quality once the nitrogen cycle has established.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month

*If you have water test kit-base the water only change on: ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater.
With a low bioload often you don't need the second water only-I always recommend it when you don't have test kit to err on the side of caution...its the safety net....

Live plants can change the cycling process as well, however, you have to have enough of the right species of plants that are actively growing.
Not all plants can use enough of the byproducts fast enough to help keep the water safe for the Betta.

Using lots of fast growing stem plants and floating plant you will have a silent cycle. The active plant growth can use the ammonia before conversion and it can take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we look for to tell us cycling stages/completeness.

With enough of the right species plants that are in active growth can also decrease water change needs in 1-4gal filtered tanks to 50% weekly.

*Remember-some additives can change or skew water prams results-
Like some dechlorinator products can change ammonia to ammonium so its not harmful to the Betta-but, live plants and BB can still use it as a food source to colonize.
Some plant foods can cause false readings in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Its not uncommon to have ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the source water
When using test kits-they test at a ppm level (parts per million) so you will always have some ammonia in the water at very low levels that can be used by the beneficial bacteria.

Once the nitrogen cycle has established your water prams should read:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm ideally...You want to keep this under 40ppm
pH-can vary- Betta can adapt to most source water pH without issue and use of chemical to altar the pH should be avoided-except in rare cases...... __________________
What type of filter do you have? if you have one with the disposable cartridges, its best to not throw them out monthly like the manafacturers say to do. The bacteria you want is mostly gonna be living on the cartridge. If you throw it out, you loose most of the bacteria. it's gonna get gross looking but that's what you want it to look like. Just swish it around in OLD tank water when you do the water change and then put it back into the filter. Unless you have an aquaclear or marineland biowheel filter - they are set up a little differently.

72 is a bit chilly for a betta and they can become lethargic and loose color if they are cold. Ideal temps are about 78-82. For a 5 gallon - you want a 25 watt heater since it takes 5 watts to heat up 1 gallon of water. You can do a 50 watt too. I had 50 watts in 5 gallons for a long time but set the temp a little lower then normal so it wouldnt fry my fish. it is best to have an adjustable heater as opposed to those preset ones - especially if its a Tetra preset heater. Mine was 50 watts and it couldnt even heat up 1 gallon to above 73. I like the Hagen elite 25 watts because they are shorter and work well with smaller tanks. Some are too tall.

Edit -apple snails are poop machines :P A master water test kit is a good idea but the instruction above are incasde you do not have the test kit.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 12-01-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:14 AM   #9 
Loki22
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Honestly I don't understand I see people all the time who keep bettas in little bowls with no heat or filtration and they live for years... and when I try to do the right thing I fail..... how does this happen....?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:26 AM   #10 
Loki22
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The tank was set up and running a week before I got him. I added live plants before I got hmm as well. Everything seemed good. And I thought it was time to add him in. I took my time with the tank and did not rush it I thought I would just let it run till I found the beta that I liked. And a week later I did.
I have a gravel vac which I used to do the water change, really easy to use.
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