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Old 08-20-2013, 10:17 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2013
New betta is not doing well! Any suggestions?

Please help if you can :(. I just brought home a delta tail male betta from Petco. I used a water conditioner on my well water, waited three-four hours, and then added the betta and the water from his tiny cup into the new container. Since then he has been:

-listless-no interest in food
-either perched at the top of the tank or just sitting on the bottom
-when he's perched at the top, his tail droops down
-seems to be breathing heavily

I currently have him in a small terrarium, less than a gallon with sand on the bottom to see if he has an bowel movements. I don't think it's swim bladder disease because he has no bloating or arched spine. Aside from getting a Ph kit, which I intend to do tomorrow, would it be worth getting an airstone for that small of space?

I'm afraid to invest in a large tank with a heater, filter, etc. until I know he's doing better. Is it wiser to wait and use this smaller space as a hospital bowl?

I do currently have a female next to him in the same room using the same water who is a lot more active and flaring etc. After reading the forums, I was afraid it was the water quality so I did a 30 % partial water change using distilled water that had been in the same room as the fish.

If anyone can help me it would be extremely amazing :(. I should mention when he was in his stupidly-small cup at the store, he was at the top of the cup with his tail drooping down. I thought he might have just needed more room to perk up, but he's still very listless in a bigger container.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:25 PM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Do not use distilled water.
DO NOT share ANYTHING between(water, the net, container etc..) him and your female betta it looks like he has some kind of infection.
I think that terrarium, less than a gallon is ok for him for now .
Does his tail has black discoloration ? One of the symptoms for the fin rot is when tail droops down. Heavy breathing can be due that he is just sick. Sometimes heavy breathing can be due to the gill flukes. But i think he is just weak .
Do you have aquarium salt? I would try to treat him with aquarium salt . The salt is antibacterial . You can pre mix 1tsp/gall of the aquarium salt and make sure it dissolved and do 50% water change today. Do the same tomorrow. Then pre mix 2 tsp/gall and do full water change. See if it helps.
For the water changes if your other betta in the same size ,which is a little smaller than 1 gall do full water change about every 3 days.
See this link about water changes...
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:29 PM   #3 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Keep eye on him and see if there is any new behavior or visual symptoms on the body, i guess tomorrow , it so late or early i don't know.

And also when you use aq salt , fish might produce excess of the slime coat which will also protect from the infection.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:36 AM   #4 
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Thanks Anhel for getting back to me :). I'm going to head to the petstore and get some aquarium salt. I'll definitely make sure to keep him separate from my female. Aside from aquarium salt and a Ph kit, I'm going to pick up a thermometer to make sure the sluggishness is not caused by coldness.

As for today:
-he is just floating at the top of the tank in a corner and breathing
-no noticeable discoloration on his body or fins
-tail still drooping slightly
-no bowel movement as of yet

Would it be wise to fast him for another day and possibly try the boiled, shelled pea just to be safe?
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:02 AM   #5 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Philadelphia
is it looks like he can't hold himself upright and swimming on one side?
Do you have he has buoyancy problem?
Is he bloated?
Yes observe him to make sure he pooped and see if it white , broken white, clear stringy, wormy color to rule out if he might have internal parasites
If he has any of that symptoms that i mentioned then you might need Epsom salt. It still good if you bought the aquarium salt though. It always good to have both salts on hands(First aid kit) if you have a betta.
So if you think he has bouncy problem or bloated, or if he didn't pooped for long time he might be constipated then you will need Epsom salt. Epsom salt you can usually buy at any pharmacy department. Please make sure it just pure 100% unscented Epsom salt without any additives.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:47 AM   #6 
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He is not bloated and his spine is not arched in anyway. His tank/bowl seems to be at about 70-71 F. I think I might move him closer to the window or at least open it to see if that can gradually warm up the water a bit.

He seems to be perking up a little bit. I dig go out and a buy a silk plant so he can rest on it (they were out of betta hammocks). Is it possible he might just be depressed? Aside from being inactive and either being on the bottom or top of the tank, he doesn't have many symptoms.

So far:
-no bowel movements or interest in food

I did move the female closer so he could see her better.

Aside from epsom salt, should I fast him and feed him a pea or keep trying to entice him with food?

Thank you so much for all of your advice so far.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:50 PM   #7 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Philadelphia
I know some people will tell you get the temperature warmer and that that is the reason he is inactive. But i have a few bettas in the office that in the winter live in the 70 * during the weekends when office is closed. So i still think this is not the reason. However some bettas just like some people like warmer then colder. So if you can try to warm him up, not sure how you can do it without the heater though. Keep him in the warmest place. But how about the night time. If the temp during the day is 70-71 then it will lower during the night. So i think you really need the heater. I completely forget about night ....If the temp below 68* it will make him lethargic too.
No bowel movement is another problem. But some bettas don't have it daily or even can have it once in two days so lets wait. If he will not have it you really can put him in Epsom and see if it will help. Epsom works as laxative, very mild on fish and will not harm him at all. There is the same instructions for Epsom as for the aq salt. Just pre mix 1tsp/gall , make sure it dissolved and you can increase the dose with daily water changes up to 3 tsp/gall.
About a pea. Some people recommending it , other not. But if he is refusing to eat he will not eat it anyway. For the constipation buy frozen daphnia . I just bought it for my bettas but didn't feed it yet. People on the forum recommending it for the constipating betta. There is more chance for him to try frozen food than dry food or a pea . You can soak it in the fresh squeezed garlic juice , which might stimulate his appetite.
And if you don't have frozen food ,yes keep trying and remove uneaten food.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #8 
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Thanks Anhel for all your advice so far. I try to keep my fish on the second story of my house because it is far warmer up there than downstairs. But, with summer coming to an end, I will invest in 2 heaters. My male fish is actually doing a lot better. Still somewhat sluggish, starting it's just temperature related. He's focusing a lot more on his environment (trying to attack his reflection). He does swim really in very jerky motions-I think he's still getting used to not being in a cup and he keeps running into the wall. I was able to coax him into eating a bloodworm tonight, so I'm very happy.

Are there any threads discussing reliable heater brands or is there one you would recommend? I'm looking for one I can just strap on the side of a basic tank-I tend to use general glass tanks without all the fixings because they come with mesh lids (I have cats) and I try to get long and shallow tanks instead of short and deep. I'll probably wait until I put him in a more permanent tank, but I'll definitely keep an eye on the temperature tonight and see if it plummets.

Again, thank for all of the previous advice and for equipping me with the ability to treat this little guy. I'm very happy he's doing a little better :)
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:41 PM   #9 
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I would not add aquarium salt (or anything else to the tank) yet.....

Did you acclimate him slowly to the new tank? Or did you just float his cup/bag on the surface, then put him in the tank?

Since he was a new fish, the water he was in at Petco may be VERY different from the water you have at home. So you need to give them time to get used to the new water.

If you followed an acclimation procedure similar to the one below, let us know. There may be something else going on. If you just let him adjust to the temperature (but not the new water chemistry), then he may be lethargic/listless and breathing heavily due to the shock of the new water.

There are many ways to acclimate (introduce) your new fish into the tank. Here is one variation for a brand new fish:
  1. Float his store cup in the tank for about 30 min. (Longer is OK.)
  2. Add a SMALL amount of tank water to the cup. (Several tablespoons, or about 1.5 ounces.)
  3. Let his cup float for about 15 min. (Longer is OK.)
  4. Repeat the above two steps, until at least an hour has passed.
  5. If the cup starts to fill too much, remove a SMALL amount of water from the cup. Discard it.
  6. Gently release him into the tank.
When I bring a new fish home, I acclimate it this way for about 4 hours. I also keep the tank in a darkened location (or cover the back and sides with a towel), as this helps reduce the stress involved in the move.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:12 PM   #10 
Join Date: Jul 2013
You said me was floating at the surface in the pet store? And now still at home? Is he gasping at all? What color are his gills? Could be ammonia burns on his gills from sittin in a cup full of poo for to long.
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