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Old 02-02-2013, 04:57 PM   #1 
SaveMyFish
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Exclamation Please help save my son's first pet

Hi folks,

Obviously I'm quite new here and am having a bit of a problem, despite reading thru a ton of information on various websites, I still have no idea what's wrong with Pookie, my son's first pet.

Pookie is a male blue crowntail betta. We bought him a 6 days ago with very little idea what we needed except what the man at Petsmart told us, which as it turns out, is pretty far from accurate.

Despite having lived in that little tiny tupperware bowl for god knows how long, Pookie seemed to be okay when we saved him from another day inside of that little container. We purchased a 1 gallon tank with filter, gravel, water treatment drops, and a couple different types of betta food. All of the equipment was cleaned well (with no soap) and Pookie was transferred into his new home ASAP.

We fed him that night but he would not eat...assuming he had already been fed that day, we tried again the next day, and the next. At this point, six days in, he still has not eaten anything other than a very small piece of thawed pea.

We have changed water several times, each time being aware of the temp of the old and new, and purchased a submersible tank heater and external sticky thermometer. Yet with each passing day, Pookie becomes less energetic and still refuses to eat. He has taken to hiding behind the filter and heater and just sitting there.

He does not seem to have any of the more common illnesses (fin rot, ich) or anything else I've read about since we brought we Pookie home.

He is my 2 1/2 year old's first pet and I'd hate to see him lose it so quickly. Is there something I'm missing? Does anyone have some recommendations on other things we can try to help him out?

Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated by me, my wife, my son, and Pookie.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:04 PM   #2 
NorthernLights
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What temp is the water? Those stick-on-the-outside thermometers are not very accurate, but what does it say? Also, what kind of heater do you have.

Please do not try to feed him more peas. That generally does not work.

There is a sticky at the top of this forum with some questions we ask people to fill in when they post here. I've copied it here for you.

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:22 PM   #3 
SaveMyFish
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Originally Posted by NorthernLights View Post
What temp is the water? Those stick-on-the-outside thermometers are not very accurate, but what does it say? Also, what kind of heater do you have.

Please do not try to feed him more peas. That generally does not work.

There is a sticky at the top of this forum with some questions we ask people to fill in when they post here. I've copied it here for you.
Thanks NorthernLights...I appreciate you taking the time to help us out. Here are the answers to the questions. I did find the sticky here about recommendations, we will buy a test kit, larger tank, and aquarium salt tomorrow. I know it's hard to diagnose a fish you've never seen, via a forum no less, but do you think that will help?

Obviously both my wife nor I have ever had pet fish and we went with the betta because...well, because he's beautiful and we were told bettas were easy to care for. We are both animal lovers and have already become attached to Pookie...we will do whatever is necessary to provide him with whatever he needs.

Housing
What size is your tank? 1G
What temperature is your tank?76F
Does your tank have a filter?Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?Yes
Is your tank heated?Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?Wardley Color Intensifier
How often do you feed your betta fish?we've tried 1 pellet 2x/day but he's not interested. Also tried Tetra Freeze-dried Bloodworms, but also not intersted

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?we have done 1 75% change 3 days ago, and he was put into a full tank of fresh (treated) water on Sunday, I thought we had done another partial change, but apparently not
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?75%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?BettaSafe - Tetra

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Have not tested

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Unchanged
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?total lack of energy and will not eat
When did you start noticing the symptoms?5 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?No
Does your fish have any history of being ill?New pet
How old is your fish (approximately)?Purchased 6 days ago, no idea on age, sorry.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:55 PM   #4 
callistra
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I would turn off the filter. Anything in something that small is only stressing him out and can't actually maintain a biofilter anyway.

How do you acclimate to new water and how do you do a water change?

Wardly is perhaps the worst betta pellet on the market. I would look for a different one - look for one whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish not fish meal or wheat.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:07 PM   #5 
NorthernLights
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hmmm

First off, 76 degrees may be cold. Since the stick-on types aren't very accurate, the real water temp may be different, but Bettas generally do best at 78-80 degrees. Your fish is acting like he may be cold.

Is his tummy looking bloated? Has he pooped any time since you got him?

Yes, a bigger tank is a good idea, but be careful about rushing out to buy things. If you don't get the right kind of stuff, you can spend a lot without much improvement.

If you are headed to PetsMart again, here's a shopping list for some generally better stuff:

Better water conditioners. I'd suggest Prime and also a bottle of StressCoat.

Better food. New Life Spectrum Betta or Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets.

A floating thermometer. Try one of the small glass ones with a suction cup. I think Petsmart stocks a Top Fin version and a Marina brand version.

If you don't have decorations in his tank, pick up some silk plants at the pet store. Make sure they do not contain metal. You might grab a ZooMed Betta Bed leaf hammock, but you will need to remove the metal wire inside before adding to the aquarium. This is a nice item for the fish to rest on near the surface so they can easily breathe if they are tired.

The test kit you will need is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, it;s about $35. It uses liquids. Do not waste your money on paper strip tests.

For a new tank, go with 3-5 gallons. You have many options in that category. Petco also has a 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank that many people on here love. The tricky thing will be filter types. Most kits come with some kind of power filter which you will need to baffle to prevent your betta from being either blown around the tank or even sucked into the intake.

I'm not sure what kind of heater you are using. Is is adjustable or a preset kind? What brand and type is it?
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:14 PM   #6 
SaveMyFish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
I would turn off the filter. Anything in something that small is only stressing him out and can't actually maintain a biofilter anyway.

How do you acclimate to new water and how do you do a water change?

Wardly is perhaps the worst betta pellet on the market. I would look for a different one - look for one whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish not fish meal or wheat.
I just turned off the filter, thanks,

For water changes, I use a clean food thermometer to ensure the new water is the same temp as the old, move Pookie to a bowl with the old water I plan to keep, rinse off the gravel and fake grass, add the new water to the tank and then Pookie goes in with the old water.

I'll check out the brands mentioned in the comment below yours first thing in the AM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:22 PM   #7 
SaveMyFish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLights View Post
First off, 76 degrees may be cold. Since the stick-on types aren't very accurate, the real water temp may be different, but Bettas generally do best at 78-80 degrees. Your fish is acting like he may be cold.

Is his tummy looking bloated? Has he pooped any time since you got him?

Yes, a bigger tank is a good idea, but be careful about rushing out to buy things. If you don't get the right kind of stuff, you can spend a lot without much improvement.

If you are headed to PetsMart again, here's a shopping list for some generally better stuff:

Better water conditioners. I'd suggest Prime and also a bottle of StressCoat.

Better food. New Life Spectrum Betta or Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets.

A floating thermometer. Try one of the small glass ones with a suction cup. I think Petsmart stocks a Top Fin version and a Marina brand version.

If you don't have decorations in his tank, pick up some silk plants at the pet store. Make sure they do not contain metal. You might grab a ZooMed Betta Bed leaf hammock, but you will need to remove the metal wire inside before adding to the aquarium. This is a nice item for the fish to rest on near the surface so they can easily breathe if they are tired.

The test kit you will need is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, it;s about $35. It uses liquids. Do not waste your money on paper strip tests.

For a new tank, go with 3-5 gallons. You have many options in that category. Petco also has a 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank that many people on here love. The tricky thing will be filter types. Most kits come with some kind of power filter which you will need to baffle to prevent your betta from being either blown around the tank or even sucked into the intake.

I'm not sure what kind of heater you are using. Is is adjustable or a preset kind? What brand and type is it?
We're done with Petsmart and Petco...we have an amazing pet store in town called Incredible Pets and we plan to check it out when they open tomorrow. I'll be sure to have all this info handy for when we get there. Thank you so much for all the help...I feel like you've given Pookie a fighting chance.

The heater, btw, is a Tetra submersible with an internal thermostat that is supposed to keep it at 78F but it's seems to be closer to 76-77F. We'll plan on a new one since it's not terribly accurate and from what I've seen, it's simply not keeping the water warm enough.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:23 PM   #8 
Nicci Lu
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I feel for you. My husband and I also bought a betta for our 3 year old without knowing anything except what the pet store people told us. This proved grossly inadequate (of course) and he got very sick. But he got better with the help of this forum and there is hope for your new guy. Comb the threads in this forum- there is some truly great advice here. You'll need to take a crash course in Betta Care 101.

I'm hardly an expert in all things betta, but there are a few things I can point out until you get more replies from the experts.

1)It's normal for bettas to be uninterested in food when they are first brought home. I'm not sure what the normal adjustment period is, but they can go for at least 2 weeks without eating. Make sure you take out any uneaten food from the tank ASAP- it will quickly dirty the water in a 1 gallon.

2) 76 degrees is bit low for bettas. 78-80 degrees is the most common recommendation for temperature that I see on this forum.

3) Read this sticky on water change schedules: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=115758

4) Get a water testing kit for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates ASAP. Make sure you get a liquid based test, not the strips. Ammonia can quickly build up in a one gallon and make your betta sick. It is possible that even with adequate water changes you have ammonia in your tap water, like we do. I use Prime water conditioner by Seachem because it detoxes ammonia in your tank- you'll find that Prime is highly recommended.

Last edited by Nicci Lu; 02-02-2013 at 06:24 PM. Reason: I see the experts beat me to it.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:46 PM   #9 
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You wrote that you have an aeration stone? you should remove it if you do; it interferes with the ability of the fish to swim.
As long as he goes up to the top to breathe on a regular basis, I'll bet he'll be OK. Try different foods- frozen treats like bloodworms are awfully hard to resist! Just try a very few at first- they are considered a treat. Mine go into a feeding frenzy with those worms. NONE of my 10 bettas would eat a pellet; they'd sooner starve. I feed a betta flake food, and supplement with freeze-dried treats.
I've had at least 3 new bettas "sulk" for days; no eating. They all perked up after as long as a week. These are complicated little fish, as you are discovering. I started a "stupid betta" stunts thread- someone has a betta that spend hours gazing at his reflection in his thermometer! (I had one get her head stuck in a ridiculously small hole in the decor yesterday; if I hadn't happened to be in the room, she'd be dead.) Cheer up! I'm betting your betta will be much "betta" soon!
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:14 PM   #10 
BeautifulBetta123
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My new betta Jake didn't eat for a week he now is eating but smaller amounts. Your betta is not eating because he possibly hates the pellets because they are of poor quality and have like no nutritional value so try purchase Omega 1 or New Life Spectrum as they are both high quality and fish like them. I would pick up a turkey baster as they are super helpful when it comes to removing uneaten food and acclimating a fish.
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