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Old 10-27-2010, 06:37 PM   #1 
shackles2garlands
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Pale, panting, still eating, struggles to the top

Hello,

I am at my wits end on what to do for my poor betta.

He is the only fish, with no live plants, in a 10 gallon tank. I have had him for 4 months, but I adopted him from my brother who had him for at least a year.

When I got him, he was a healthy, and remained healthy for a while, but within the past month and a half, he's been having problems. I've cared for bettas in the past and have never encountered anything of this nature before.

Here are his symptoms:
  • paleness
  • panting (this upsets me the most)
  • struggles to get the surface to eat and breathe (I did lower his water level)
  • usually lies at the bottom of the tank
  • does still eat
  • no bloated tummy, although I have given him two epsom salt bathes, just in case, plus fed him some peas
  • I don't see any sort of fungus, velvet, or ick, besides him growing pale
Here is the (long) list of how I've genuinely tried to help him:
  • frequent water changes (ever 3 days), using Spring water, while treating water with Stress Coat and Stress Zyme
  • PH is perfectly fine, I've tested often
  • Heater at 80
  • Lowered water to half tank
  • Epsom bathes
  • Turned off filter to reduce stress
  • Interacts with him daily in case of depression
  • Have completely broken down the tanks once, washed everything, and set up again (didn't make things better or worse for him)
I have absolutely no idea what to do now. I've tried every suggestion online, including treating for ick and fungus, just in case.

Currently I am just doing the water changes, but not treating (cutting down on chemicals in the water), keeping the filter off, the water at half level, and keeping an eye on the PH.

He is such a trooper. He struggles to the top to eat and breathe, but mostly moves around the tank, lying on the silk plants, on his smooth rock, or inside his little cave.

If he's sick, I genuinely want to help him, but I am at a loss now. I have been at this for well over a month, and feel frustrated at my lack of making things better for him.

Does anyone have any ideas on what to do? I am very open to suggestions.

Thank You

Heidi
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:51 PM   #2 
Lenalee Nilla
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He could just be old. My oldest female is getting close to four years old, she mostly sits at the bottom of her tank, which is now a .5 gallon, and the only time shes active is when her "boyfriend", a male betta, is flaring at her. I accepted shes old, and since then shes been fine. If your betta is old all you can do is try your best to keep him happy and content. it sounds like your doing everything right, but the hting about life is, even if you do everything right, you can still lose.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:11 PM   #3 
shackles2garlands
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Thanks Lenalee, I wondered if maybe he was just growing old. I am so used to getting bettas while they are young, so I know when they're getting on in age. Usually my bettas live a fairly long time though (Pez, probably the betta was I closest to, lived for 5 years). But I have no idea how old he was when my brother got him. I just lowered the water level in his tank so he has less to struggle (but still plenty of room for him to move). I will probably take a few of the silk plants out so he has less to maneuver around.

Depressing. I'll make sure to make him as comfortable as I can.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:42 PM   #4 
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Yes. It sounds like youre doing everything correct.. Like you said..Old age is probably the cause..Just keep doing what youre doing..
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:00 AM   #5 
Adastra
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I think the fact that you jumped on various meds probably contributed to his problem rather than helped it--ich and "fungus" meds, (malachite green and antibiotics) are very very harsh on small sensitive animals like fish. I am of the belief that unless you can identify the problem without a reasonable doubt, you should not medicate--it will likely do more harm than good.

You say you have been testing the pH, but what about the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate? Cleaning your tank probably caused a mini-cycle, meaning that the loss of bacteria causes spikes in ammonia and nitrite until the colony can rebuild. These can be dangerous if you don't watch for them and may have contributed to your betta's condition.

For now, I think he needs a medication break and time to rest in nothing but clean, clean water. I think another part of the problem is the Spring Water. Spring Water lacks vital minerals that contribute to the betta's health and help buffer pH. Some Spring water even has small amounts of chlorine in it. The best thing would probably be to switch over to using tap water with dechlorinator and transitioning him over to that slowly. Another option if your tap water is horrid (i.e. ridiculously high pH, detectable ammonia content) you can get Reverse Osmosis water from any fish or pet specialty store for cheaper than bottled water and RO water is much more consistent because it is completely pure. It is so pure that it lacks any mineral content at all, so you need to get a remineralizing product like Seachem Equilibrium or Kent's RO Right.

What have you been feeding him? It may be helpful to give him more high quality foods like frozen bloodworms, live blackworms, etc. Extra protein should boost his immune system and help him recover faster.
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:05 PM   #6 
JessG
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I agree that the colony of good bacteria that clean the water has probably been disrupted, and most likely, you've got water quality issues that may be complicated by the Spring Water.

I'd absolutely follow Adastra's advice. Get him in clean warm dechlorinated tap water then do frequent as in at least once a day water changes. Test the water. If there's ammonia present, this is probably water quality issues above everything else.
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