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Old 09-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #1 
KidsCatsBettas
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Question Suddenly spitting food out

Hi! I have a half moon betta in a 2.5 gallon filtered, heated tank (best I can do for the space). Sparkle has been thriving here since February. The tank is cycled.

Very suddenly, after cleaning the tank (details below if you want them), Sparkle isn't eating. A few days ago, I noticed he would take the food in his mouth and then spit it out and let it fall. So I cracked the pellets smaller (they aren't new, its all he's ever eaten) and same result. Today I bought some pellets that aren't really pellets, they are like shavings (API brand). Same result, he's spitting them back out again.

He swims around the tank and will greet me by opening his mouth several times at me, so I think he's hungry. But everything he eats comes right back out again.

Is he sick? Do bettas get mouth sores? Is it related to cleaning the tank? Do I just keep offering, hoping some of it gets into him? Anything else I can do?

Thanks!
Tina

Additional info: I cleaned the tank last Tuesday, ammonia was 0, nitrite was 0, and nitrates were 80 before I cleaned it. Sparkle was in a cup, I vacuumed the gravel and rinsed the fake plants and decoration, and replaced the carbon filter. I wound up replacing 60-70% of the water with conditioned water (Prime conditioner).
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:40 PM   #2 
Laki
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Sounds like tank conditions are good. No worries there, 2.5 is great for size too.

He might just not be feeling hungry. I doubt he's opening his mouth for food, that's a learned behaviour from higher-thinking organisms. He might be stretching his jaw or he could have punctured his mouth on something if there's sharp plants or gravel in the tank. Probably not, but you never know.

His belly isn't swollen, is it?

You could encourage him to eat by introducing a frozen treat like frozen daphnia or bloodworms. Live food is better if you can get your hands on guaranteed organics (a member here had a problem with live blackworms). Catch fruit flies in your house or try to get a colony of mosquito on stagnant water out by your house. You can buy wingless fruit flies now too. These would be ideal because it would entice a betta into eating naturally. Frozen foods still contain all the nutrients.

Until you get insect food, try soaking his pellets in garlic infused water. This is as simple as taking a small sample of water from his tsnk and soaking his pellets for 5 minutes. I don't what it is, but bettas LOVE garlic!
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:49 PM   #3 
marshallsea
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Nitrates at 80ppm? That's way to high . Dangerous. Might be your problem. Increase testing and water changes . Ideally you want nitrates 10-15ppm.

Last edited by marshallsea; 09-22-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:24 PM   #4 
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Rinsing decorations and changing the filter cartridge removed much of the bacteria that consumes ammonia. This bacteria grows on all hard surfaces( decorations , plants, filter.)
I say don't clean things unless it's in old tank water to keep the bacteria alive. Buy a filter sponge for your filter and rinse in old tank water and reuse. Saves a lot of money and bacteria. This didn't cause your nitrate problem since you tested before cleaning, but removing bacteria can cause your tank to have to cycle again.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:45 PM   #5 
KidsCatsBettas
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Thanks! I know the nitrates got out of hand, that's what prompted the massive water change. (Dropped the ball with the chaos of back-to-school and neglected the tank a little.) Everything is now within normal limits. I've had luck with my biological filter set-up in both of my betta tanks. I have a Marina I25 filter and have a piece of filter sponge in the outflow to reduce the spill rate and keep the betta from getting pushed down. I also have a thin piece of filter sponge covering the intake slots to keep the betta from being sucked up. It's worked well to keep the betta safe and gives me a perfect biological filter. So I don't get as nervous about changing the carbon filter. I haven't had my tank uncycle after a filter change. :)

Sparkle doesn't seem to like bloodworms, I've tried them when his appetite was good.

Should I add a little aquarium salt in case Sparkle has a sore in his mouth from something?
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:11 PM   #6 
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You should remove him from the tank and put him in a small hospital tank if you want to monitor him and medicate with salt. However, I wouldn't use salt lightly. You want to make sure he has an injury first, salt is best if not used willy nilly. Try to get your hands on a live insect. A small spider, fruit fly, daphnia, nemotode or other type of organic worm might encourage him to eat.

In the meantime- stick your finger in the tank and watch how he interacts. Or watch for signs of physical injury like twitching or rubbing or excessive stretching.
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