Betta Fish Care  
Go Back   Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care > Betta Fish Care
Check out the eBook Betta Fish Care Made Easy
betta fish
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-27-2013, 11:17 PM   #1 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New York City
Lethargy, Old Age, or Expiring?

Hi All,

First off this site has done wonders for my knowledge base and raising my little guy Buster.. he'd be dead if it wasn't for you guys..

Anyway a little over a month ago he started getting progressively lethargic (to an extreme) and limiting his movements to only when feeding. Really almost no swimming. He resides entirely at the waterline, in a near vertical position resting his face in the corner of the tank.

Considering he's probably about 2.. is this just old age? is he sick (and needs help?) or he's just on his way out. This kind of lethargy just seems strange, but he still eats.. I defer to the betta geniuses on the forum. I was concerned with his pH.. but a constant ph of 6 doesn't seem to be much of an issue as long as it doesn't modulate.

please any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


What size is your tank? - 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 80-82 sometimes peaks at 84
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes a small airstone
Is your tank heated? yes adjustable heater as well as an external thermometer and a in-water thermometer inside the tank
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I feed him 4 pellets Hikari Betta bio-gold every morning except once a week. I feed him peas when he's having buoyancy issues
How often do you feed your betta fish?

How often do you perform a water change? Approx once a week - 20%
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? approx 1/4 of the water
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I add stress coat to a gallon jug and let it sit overnight, pour in 24 hours later. Check temp the difference in temp before pouring in is never more that +- 2 degrees.

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 6
Hardness: -
Alkalinity: -

Tank is planted (a couple of nubias and a moss ball) and has had a small piece of driftwood in it since its inception. My water has a ph of 8 out of the tap. I can only guess the driftwood and plants are crashing the pH. I am averse to removing the driftwood/plants as I've heard that Bettas can get used to low PH's and a rapidly changing PH can hurt them. I added a crushed oak almond leaf about 3 weeks ago (about 3 weeks into his descent of lethargy .

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He has clamped fins. Color is muted. Face is pale.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Stays in corner of the tank at water surface. Extremely lethargic. Lays face into tank corner and rests almost vertically. Almost no movement unless I take the top of the tank then he starts swimming. He does not go to the bottom almost ever. He doesn't see the food easily.. Would track my finger constantly.. can't do it much anymore. Will always eat. He does not seem stressed or gasping.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? I
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have been adding AQ salt with each water change, which I've done more water changes than usual to slowly raise the PH just a bit. It has still not risen above despite a gallon of fresh ph 8 water going in every other day for a week.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's been fine for almost 9 months..
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have had him for a year.. but he's about 2+ years old.
beddini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 07:25 AM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New York City
Deprecating this thread, will restart in proper forum.


beddini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2013, 09:26 AM   #3 
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canada
This seems like a complicated issue, as the answers to some of these questions appear to be on the right track.

If your Betta seems to be 2 + years old he may be on his last legs. The symptoms you report are not uncommon when Bettas are feeling their age. Especially since you might not know the full history of him, if he had a hard life before you got him. Stresses in life don't just cause situational symptoms for life forms, they can reduce the overall life expectancy of a being. If your Betta was in a petshop, in poor conditions etc for a portion of his life, he may not live as long as other fish who have grown up in optimal conditions.

Do you use any chemicals in your tank to adjust PH or are you just using stress coat?

Be careful using too much chemical in a 5 gallon tank, levels can become unsafe quickly. I have been researching a lot about chemical free tanks, and Prime by Seachem is recommended to remove chloramine safely since this does not easily evaporate from tap water.

Temperature of your tank seems too high, try lowering it to a maximum of 80. Correct me if I am wrong someone, but Bettas seem to do better in the lower to mid range of the tropics (77-81 respectively). Raising the temperature of a tank to treat an illness is one thing, but having it consistently high can be detrimental.

I'd like to suggest a 20%-50% water change as I don't know the status of chemicals in your tank, and use Prime by Seachem in place of what you normally use. Also, your increased rate of water changes may be killing the bacteria in your tank and unbalancing the system. See if you can Post a picture of your Master Testers kit results so we can see if anything might need attention.

Water hardness is also something to check. Usually Softener pillows are soaked in the solution and then placed in the change water to soften it before adding it to the tank. Do NOT add a softener pillow to the filter or tank directly.

Also, is your tank filtered or are you using water changes as a means of removing nitrites/nitrates?

I would not remove the plants or driftwood as this can upset the bacterial balance in the tank too much since it is a 5 gallon.

You can always take a sample of your tank water to your LFS and have them test it more comprehensively for you.

I hope this gives you some things to consider, I am sorry I can't offer more in depth advice :(
Silverrealm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2013, 06:35 PM   #4 
Join Date: Dec 2011
This is how my Ichiru was acting. If it is old age the maybe try lowering the water levels or put him in a shallower tank. Or controversially make sure he has a place to perch where he can get to the surface quicker for air.

Also I've heard peas are bad for bettas??? Is this correct? I mean really that wouldn't cause his symptoms I don't think.

Hope this helps~!
ChibiShishou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #5 
callistra's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
He's not old.

Temp swings are a problem. Do you know why it's swinging like that? He should be a constant temp between 78-80F and you should be using an in tank thermometer to monitor it.

There's something wrong with your water tests.. what test kit are you using? How long has the tank been set up? Do you have live plants? This does not make sense for your tank size and water change schedule.

I would not let the water sit unless you know and have tested an unstable ph out of your tap. Siphon out half the water, then fill up your jugs, add conditioner, shake it up a bit and immediately add it to the tank before it cools off.

How long have you been adding aquarium salt? How much have you been adding and how often do you add it?

Hikari isn't a good pellet and feeding peas regularly can permanently mess up their digestive tract. You should look for a good quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week.
callistra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2013, 11:21 PM   #6 
New Member
LyraDove's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
One observation; possibly, the driftwood is slowly rotting and producing wood alcohol (methanol). In mammals, this compound is often fatal, causing liver failure. A small amount could effect your little fish.
LyraDove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #7 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New York City
Hey Gang,

thanks for your responses.. I answered your questions in the proper forum here: (I moved the thread in the beginning as it was in the wrong place)

please respond over there!


beddini is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #8 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New York City
This thread is closed within this forum.. please follow it over here:

beddini is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sudden Lethargy CarmanDirda Betta Fish Diseases and Emergencies 5 02-24-2012 01:32 AM
A bubblenest for one, lethargy for the other Rjb5584 Betta Fish Care 1 10-06-2011 07:40 PM
Lethargy Shellyx3 Betta Fish Diseases and Emergencies 14 10-01-2010 02:20 PM
Lethargy Eolith Betta Fish Diseases and Emergencies 6 06-10-2010 07:00 PM
Lethargy? metalbetta Betta Fish Care 5 06-03-2010 12:26 AM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:56 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.