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Old 01-17-2013, 02:58 PM   #1 
cadi731
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He's gonna die! D:

I think my betta may be on the verge of death. I woke up this morning, and he was lazing around. Just an hour ago, I noticed he was inside the betta log I got for my first betta (and now passed onto him), lying down. He's never done this, and has usually avoided that log like it was the plague. (Why, I don't know. He usually just never went in it. He likes the terracotta pot I have at the bottom of the tank, though.)

His name is Mr. Bubbles. I didn't really know what to name him, since I had bought him on a whim. But he's always been healthy, and now I'm really worried. He doesn't have fin rot or anything that I can physically see. He bites at his tail a lot, and I know fin rot, so I know he doesn't have it. But he's breathing heavy and being super lazy, which totally isn't him. His filter broke recently, so I'm thinking this might have something to do with it, though I don't know how, as betta fish can live without a filter. My first one went over a year before I got him a real tank with a filter. I don't know if that would be the cause of it, but I guess it would explain a lot.

He was perfectly fine last night, though. He was swimming around and chasing my finger, and just being his normal derpy self, and now he's miserable and looking up at me in his little cup. I don't want to lose him too. :(


Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? Always around 75
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but it broke and I haven't been able to buy a new one yet.
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? None, now. He used to have two Otos, but he decided they looked appetizing.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqua Culture Betta Pellet Food
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets a day, sometimes 3 if an extra falls out.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? About once a month
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Almost all of it. More than 75%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Just the stuff you put in to take out all of the harmful stuff. I can't remember the name.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No, but the ammonia monitor I have says the water is fine.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? The "beard" that comes out when he flares is out, when it normally isn't.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He usually swims around and creeps on me. Now he just sits there and can't seem to stay afloat. He sinks if he's not trying to swim. He's breathing heavy too.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I took him out of his tank and put him in his betta cup he came in with new water, low enough for him to breathe without having to swim far.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None at all. He was healthy when I got him, and has been since.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him for about 4 months. Not sure how old he really is. He isn't very big.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:01 PM   #2 
DiiQue
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It might be your water... once a month 75% water changes are not enough, especially now that your filter broke. Also, the temp is on the cold side for bettas. People here recommend 76-80 degrees.

How does this ammonia monitor of yours work?
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:04 PM   #3 
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First off....75 is too cold for a betta, try 78 and warm him up more
2 pellets a day isn't enough, he should be fed twice a day.
Also 5 gallons isn't enough for 3 fish in a tank, good thing you removed them as it can cause stress and ammonia poisoning.
Cleaning a five gallon once a month is no where NEAR enough. You need to clean it twice a week at least. I am sure he is sick from ammonia poisoning.

I would do a 100% water change right now and get him in a clean environment.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:22 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiiQue View Post
It might be your water... once a month 75% water changes are not enough, especially now that your filter broke. Also, the temp is on the cold side for bettas. People here recommend 76-80 degrees.

How does this ammonia monitor of yours work?
I do more than 75% though. Not sure exactly how much, but I usually leave about an inch of water above an inch of sand, just to make sure the sand stays wet and doesn't get all clumpy and hard to work with. And the filter broke this month, a week or two ago. The temperature, I can't change. The heater I have isn't adjustable, and it's always been at or around 75. On hotter days or days that my room is just hot, it's higher. Other times, it's around 75. He and all of my other bettas that I've had were fine in that temperature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyVictorian View Post
First off....75 is too cold for a betta, try 78 and warm him up more
2 pellets a day isn't enough, he should be fed twice a day.
Also 5 gallons isn't enough for 3 fish in a tank, good thing you removed them as it can cause stress and ammonia poisoning.
Cleaning a five gallon once a month is no where NEAR enough. You need to clean it twice a week at least. I am sure he is sick from ammonia poisoning.

I would do a 100% water change right now and get him in a clean environment.
I want to keep him in his little cup, for now. Just until I see an improvement, so I can better monitor the water and keep it low for him. Once he's doing better, he'll go back in his tank.

People are constantly telling me that 5 pellets a day is too much, so I feed him what he eats. He generally eats two or three every time I feed him more, so I just feed him what I know he'll eat. He gets distracted and swims away, leaving the rest to dirty up his tank.

I think 5 gallons is more than enough for these three. The Otos were really small, and they blended into the tank, so they were hard to see. They were generally there to help keep the algae away, because I've always had an issue with algae, no matter how often I clean the tank. My betta himself is small, or was at the time. He's grown a bit since, but at the time, he was tiny. On this site, I've heard someone mention a rule of one gallon per inch of fish. So, I followed that rule. The Otos were about an inch, if not smaller, and my betta was about two inches. I've been planning on getting a 29 gallon, so I figured it would be fine to at least introduce him to other fish in the 5 gallon. Though it turns out he didn't like sharing and they looked yummy.

For every fish I have had in a 5 gallon, I've cleaned it once a month, and they were perfectly fine. Then again, the filter always worked then, which again leads me to think it may have something to do with this.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:28 PM   #5 
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I have a 5 gallon cycled tank and I can tell you MYSELF that it's not fine. You still have to clean the tank even cycled once a week and remove all debris from the gravel.

5 gallons is also no matter what too small for three fish because of the waste they produce not because of space. 10 gallons in minimum for more than one fish in a tank. With 3 fish and only once a month tank cleaning it's not a surprise to me your fish is close to death. Dirty and overstocked tanks breed disease and stressed immune systems from those conditions opens them up to just about anything.

It seems your other two betta died in this 5 gallon correct? Did you have the same cleaning schedule for them as well? If so I think this shows 2 betta, possibly 3 since it seems the one you moved into the 5 gallon afterwards died as well that the cleaning schedule isn't working as it seems all fish got sick and died in the 5 gallon.

Last edited by LadyVictorian; 01-17-2013 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:38 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyVictorian View Post
I have a 5 gallon cycled tank and I can tell you MYSELF that it's not fine. You still have to clean the tank even cycled once a week and remove all debris from the gravel.

5 gallons is also no matter what too small for three fish because of the waste they produce not because of space. 10 gallons in minimum for more than one fish in a tank. With 3 fish and only once a month tank cleaning it's not a surprise to me your fish is close to death. Dirty and overstocked tanks breed disease and stressed immune systems from those conditions opens them up to just about anything.

It seems your other two betta died in this 5 gallon correct? Did you have the same cleaning schedule for them as well? If so I think this shows 2 betta, possibly 3 since it seems the one you moved into the 5 gallon afterwards died as well that the cleaning schedule isn't working as it seems all fish got sick and died in the 5 gallon.
I have sand in the tank, which I use a turkey baster to remove the debris with, so I don't have to do a water change to get rid of it.

Either way, the Otos are no longer in the tank with him, and haven't been for months. They lasted maybe one month.

Not the same 5 gallon, but yes, a 5 gallon. The first two betta fish were in a long rectangle 5 gallon, and this one is in a hex. But, this is the first time the fish has gotten sick like this. The first one had lived in that 5 gallon for about two years before he came down with something. I tried everything I could to save him, but it didn't work. The second one lasted about a year in the 5 gallon with the same schedule before he died AFTER a water change. I had him in his betta cup, acclimating to the water after the water change, but his cup tipped over, he fell out into the water, went into shock, and died.

This schedule has worked for years, and isn't the cause of this, so please stop telling me it is when I know it isn't. My other two bettas, and this one, have lived happy, healthy lives.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:47 PM   #7 
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I'm simply stating, a 5 gallon even cycled needs to be cleaned 1 a week at least. Do you test your water to know your prams are safe? Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite? I would say if you did you may be surprised how dirty your water turns out after a month.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:49 PM   #8 
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Sounds like ammonia poisoning with the gasping.. your ammonia monitor must not be working properly.

Cadi, I'm sorry to hear your little guy is ill.. lets see if we can correct some problems and try to get him healthy.

75 is a bit low, as others have said - your heater should keep it at around 78 if it is preset, if it's keeping it lower than that you may want to get one with a higher wattage, or one that is adjustable to keep it warmer. 75 isn't going to kill him.. in the long run he could have immune issues, slower metabolism, etc due to being exposed to cold water for a long period of time. If you can, get a 50w heater and try to get the temp up to help keep him healthier as he ages.

It's not the size of the tank that you have to consider when stocking it.. partly is, but you have to consider the bio load you are placing into the tank with the fish you have. Granted, a betta doesn't give off a lot of the bad stuff, namely because he doesn't use his gills as the average fish does. So it cuts back on the ammonia, etc. But it does add up. A 5 gallon though.. that's iffy.. I personally don't think having what you have in there is too much - people divide 5 gallons between 2 bettas as it is.. people divide 6 gallons for 3 bettas. So there really is no difference in it, just slightly more ammonia with other fish, which can be fixed with proper water changes.

Also keep in mind, solitary fish like male bettas can feel trapped if in a smaller tank such as a 5 gallon with other fish.. even if the other fish are small.

I am doubtful your betta at the otos.. otos are very finicky in their care and food - majority of them are wild caught, and need extra care - an established tank with a ton of live plants, with supplements of raw veggies.. they are small so they are constantly eating and need a live/veggie food source all the time to keep up their metabolism/health. Most people who get them don't realize how fragile they can be.. the tanks needed should be well established with a good filter and have been cycled for some time. Groups of 4+ are better for them.. less you run the risk of stress that could lower immune system. Tank size.. recommended is 20g, but for 3-4 of them 10g would be minimum as long as it's heavily planted.
Most likely they died due to improper water conditions and not enough food and your betta just had a snack of them after they had died.

A 5 gallon tank, unfiltered, requires 1 50% water change per week, and 1 100% change per month. No need to do more than that to keep it clean.. make sure to siphon the substrate though with your weekly water changes.
Going too long between water changes, and then doing a very large change you are looking at a high risk of shocking your fish and that will kill them. If you go 2+ weeks without changing the water (not recommended) then you would need to do a couple small water changes over a course of a few days to avoid the shock.
Just easier and healthier to do it weekly. How long have you had each fish in the 5 gallon in the past? Most likely they lived half of their normal life span without you realizing it.. just because they don't die within a couple weeks, doesn't mean it's healthy for them, nor will they live their whole lives. Very unwise to clean once a month.. I would seriously look into doing some research on proper care for aquariums and see if that can help you understand the importance of cleaning the tank regularly.. for their health and yours.

As for food.. you will hear many opinions on the matter.. you are not going to get accurate information from people here. I personally feed mine (and I know many others who do the same - namely breeders who keep their stock healthy) anywhere between 10 - 20 pellets a day, between 2-3 meals.. (along with other foods) normal feeding for splendens is whatever they can find, all throughout the day - so we want to try to feed at least twice a day, however much you feel comfortable feeding each meal - whether it's 3 pellets per meal, or 5, etc. I like mine to have a nice, healthy slightly rounded bellies.. gives them lots of energy and I have no health problems from my fish because of proper water changes and diet - been keeping fish for 20yrs, only one case of ich at the beginning.. and here recently an import became ill. Other then that.. healthy as can be fish.

If your way of keeping them has ended up with multiple fish dying, I would look into researching the proper way of water changes. You are here posting in the disease section with a fish that seems to be dying from water quality issues, or even shock from lack thereof if you have recently changed the water.

You posted while I typed - removing the debris you only SEE does not clean the tank.. the debris will go beneath - the waste is leeching chemicals into the tank while it sits there.. as soon as the fish poops/pee.. so removing it stops any future release of ammonia/nitrites, etc but doesn't remove what is already in the water.. what you CAN'T see. It's what you can't see that is the deadly.. I remove poop out of my .33 and .66g containers daily, but I also do 100% water changes every couple days because it adds up regardless if there is waste in there.

Last edited by Myates; 01-17-2013 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:29 PM   #9 
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If the filter is broke, then your cycle has crashed and the bacteria that live in the filter have died off. Without the bacteria to consume the ammonia, now the only way to remove it is via water changes. When the tank was cycled - the bacteria would consume ammonia and nitrite and the final produce is nitrAte which is also deadly to fish but it takes longer to reach the danger zone. With the filter broken and the bacterial gone, the only way to remove the ammonia is via water changes.

I have a 5G as well and have been doing about a 75% water change a week and this is with a filter.

If you go to aqadvisor and plug in the tank size, filter and fish, this is what it says
Quote:
Warning: Oto is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 2 inches.

Recommended water change schedule: 25% per week.
Your aquarium stocking level is 185%.
Your tank is overstocked. Unless you are an experienced aquarist who can meet the maintenance/biological needs of this aquarium, lower stocking levels are recommended


With just one betta with a filter
Your aquarium filtration capacity for above selected species is 456%.
Recommended water change schedule: 8% per week.
Your aquarium stocking level is 80%.

From what I have heard, Aqadvsor tends to be on the conservative side. I don't think one betta would actually put the stocking level of a 5G at 80%..would it?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:45 PM   #10 
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My suggestion is a full water change while he's in his cup. My smaller tanks do fine with the non-adjustable heaters but I keep an eye on them to make sure they actually turn on when they should. I also have a cooking thermometer to take exact temps when my other thermometers are a little off.

Anyways, an adjustable heater does wonders and they really liven up when it's warmer. I had fish fine at 75, but they had fewer problems with it closer to 78.

Everyone's right, you do need to do at least weekly changes with a 5g. A master test kit for fresh water tanks will help greatly with this - checking the ammonia daily to keep an eye on the cycle as it re-establishes itself. If after 5 days it's only at .25, I'd say you could get away with one 50% change weekly. Others might not agree with that, but I let my water tests and the behavior of my fish lead me.

A new filter would be a boost to start building up those good bacteria again, but they'll be in your gravel too so don't do a 100%, just do a 75%.

I know new filters, heaters and whatnot can be pricey, but for fish longevity I feel such sacrifices are well worth it.

While you do your change on the tank though, I'd suggest finding something that has at least a gallon of volume to it to keep your little guy in, and do a 100% change daily - sick fish give off more ammonia. Clean water and his betta log to rest in and maybe one of the tc pots on the bottom so he can hide, but otherwise keep the container clear so you can monitor his food and poops.

I would try feeding him two pellets in the morning and two in the evening. Maybe every once in a while spoil him with 3, but twice a day would be good for him. But only 2-3 per feeding.

For him right now the clean water and some quiet time will help him relax and get better. If you can somehow keep him near a heater or float him in the tank in said container, it'll help keep him warm too.

Sorry if I repeated information, but I find it's really easy to freak out and panic and that can be as bad as not caring enough.
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