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Old 04-01-2011, 05:41 PM   #1 
LonelyPilgrim
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Unhappy Betta lying lopsided on bottom; is it too late?

My crowntail betta is three months old. I've been increasingly worried about him for several weeks, since he has been lying on the bottom of his bowl more and more and eating less and less. He has lost color and in general languished. I have not known what to do, but didn't want to bug the forum because it seemed like a lot of people had similar complaints.

I came home this evening to find him lying on the bottom lopsided, flopping his fins feebly and unable to swim at all. The food flakes I gave him this morning are untouched on the surface. Is he dying? Is it too late? This sounds to be like swim bladder disease, though I know nothing about that. Is there anything I can do?

He lives in a one-gallon bowl and I change his water at least once a week, using the two-bowl system (whereby I keep a bowl of treated water at hand and switch him between them when the water gets dirty). I know a gallon bowl is barely adequate, but I am a poor graduate student with limited means.

Help?
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:00 PM   #2 
PewPewPew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LonelyPilgrim View Post
My crowntail betta is three months old. I've been increasingly worried about him for several weeks, since he has been lying on the bottom of his bowl more and more and eating less and less. He has lost color and in general languished. I have not known what to do, but didn't want to bug the forum because it seemed like a lot of people had similar complaints.

I came home this evening to find him lying on the bottom lopsided, flopping his fins feebly and unable to swim at all. The food flakes I gave him this morning are untouched on the surface. Is he dying? Is it too late? This sounds to be like swim bladder disease, though I know nothing about that. Is there anything I can do?

He lives in a one-gallon bowl and I change his water at least once a week, using the two-bowl system (whereby I keep a bowl of treated water at hand and switch him between them when the water gets dirty). I know a gallon bowl is barely adequate, but I am a poor graduate student with limited means.

Help?
If you have been only changing out his water once a week, that is a HUGE issue in and of itself. Waiting two days for a water change isnt good, let alone seven. Please fill out the information in the sticky at the top of this forum.

A gallon bowl is fine, but it needs regular water changes, properly treated water, and a heater.

When you fill out the info, we will be better able to help you. Also, pictures are a great thing which will help us help you.

Please do a 100% water change RIGHT NOW. Use that water that you have had sitting. I assume this means you dont have conditioner? (Get this, its a couple bucks. Im broke and in college too, ha.)

Put him in his cup (gently) with the old tank's water. Put it somewhere dark and warm. Remove the old, dirty water and scald the tank with hot water to rinse it out. Soap is never to touch anything you use for the tank. If it ever has been cleaned with soap, this might be why he is sick.
Add back in the water that you said aside. Is this water room temp, like the tank? (You need a heater for a betta, btw. Period..) If so, add it back in. Now, bob/float the cup in the new water. Add in a little bit of the new tank's water every 5 minutes for about 10-15 minutes.

Once finished, carefully dump out almost all the water from the cup. Then, while trying to not let any of the gross, old water back in, put the betta in gently.

I cant assess if he will live based on what you have given me, but I do know that the water changes were far too little and that can bring on a lot of issues. Btw- a betta needs to live in water that is 76-82'. Anything under is stressfull and can sicken them, especially when the water isnt good. Try to keep him either near a warm heat source or put a heating pad on low under his bowl. If you do this, you will need to (HAVE TO!) use some sort of thermometer to make sure its not too hot. Warming his tank may help.

I hope he perks up.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:16 PM   #3 
LonelyPilgrim
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Thanks for the speedy response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
If you have been only changing out his water once a week, that is a HUGE issue in and of itself. Waiting two days for a water change isnt good, let alone seven. Please fill out the information in the sticky at the top of this forum.
I don't understand ...? Fill out what? I clicked the yellow sticky and have read all that information, but where is the thing I fill out? I promise I'm not dense; I have somehow made it to graduate school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
When you fill out the info, we will be better able to help you. Also, pictures are a great thing which will help us help you.
I'll post some in just a moment, but I thought a quick response to this was warranted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
A gallon bowl is fine, but it needs regular water changes, properly treated water, and a heater.

Please do a 100% water change RIGHT NOW. Use that water that you have had sitting. I assume this means you dont have conditioner? (Get this, its a couple bucks. Im broke and in college too, ha.)
I did a full water change last night, and yes, I have been using conditioner all along, and I never use soap on either of his bowls or anything that touches them. The water is clean. I have a thermometer, and while I don't have a heater, I keep the bowl in the warmest part of my apartment, and the thermometer consistently reads about 75 degrees.

(The cost of keeping my apartment heated even when I'm not here is probably more than the cost of a heater, but I didn't know how to heat this size bowl. I bought a little "betta heater" at the pet store, but it's a gadget that's supposed to rest under a pebbly substrate, and I don't have that. I couldn't get the thing to lie flat, so I haven't used it, and tried the keep-my-heat turned up method instead.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
Put him in his cup (gently) with the old tank's water. Put it somewhere dark and warm. Remove the old, dirty water and scald the tank with hot water to rinse it out. Soap is never to touch anything you use for the tank. If it ever has been cleaned with soap, this might be why he is sick.
Add back in the water that you said aside. Is this water room temp, like the tank? (You need a heater for a betta, btw. Period..) If so, add it back in. Now, bob/float the cup in the new water. Add in a little bit of the new tank's water every 5 minutes for about 10-15 minutes.

Once finished, carefully dump out almost all the water from the cup. Then, while trying to not let any of the gross, old water back in, put the betta in gently.

I cant assess if he will live based on what you have given me, but I do know that the water changes were far too little and that can bring on a lot of issues. Btw- a betta needs to live in water that is 76-82'. Anything under is stressfull and can sicken them, especially when the water isnt good. Try to keep him either near a warm heat source or put a heating pad on low under his bowl. If you do this, you will need to (HAVE TO!) use some sort of thermometer to make sure its not too hot. Warming his tank may help.

I hope he perks up.
So should I still do all of this even though the water is clean? Tell me about this sticky thing and I will fill it out post haste.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:21 PM   #4 
LonelyPilgrim
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Re: Water change

P.S. I said I change the water AT LEAST once a week. I typically change it once every three days or so.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #5 
PewPewPew
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This:
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)?


That way, I wouldnt have had to ask the temp, if heated, if conditioned, etc.


Pics as an afterthought. Theyre just good to add in general.

Yes, do another change. You cannot wait a week to change out his water. Even if it looks clean, the ammonia builds up fast. You should change it each day 100%, at the very very most every other day 100%.

The temp is still low, but it isnt awful.

From what you described, there can be a lot of things wrong. Its possible that more frequent changes will help him, as long as he can manage to pull through.

Also, did you properly acclimate him as stated? You need to do it that way, or else it will shock his system.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:23 PM   #6 
PewPewPew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LonelyPilgrim View Post
P.S. I said I change the water AT LEAST once a week. I typically change it once every three days or so.
Every three days or so is still not great in that sized tank. (Yes, Ive tested this) And no need to get nit picky, I am trying to help you, and fussing over details that you did not state initially isnt helping either of us.

I'd love to help you out, and Im hoping your fish pulls through.

Please be specific with your information, as this will allow better communication as well as perhaps a better diagnosis.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #7 
LonelyPilgrim
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Hey no, I'm not being snippy. I greatly appreciate the help.

By the way, I just turned his bowl so I could take a picture of him, and it startled him and he swam to the top and blew some bubbles -- briefly, then he rapidly sank to the bottom again and is lying there. So at least he's still capable of swimming; he just clearly doesn't feel (or look) well.

[quote=PewPewPew;636392]This:
Housing
What size is your tank? One bowl, the one I try to keep him in most of the time, is a gallon; the other one is half a gallon. I've been thinking of buying an identical gallon bowl.
What temperature is your tank? About 75 degrees.
Does your tank have a filter? No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No; it's just a fish in a bowl.
Is your tank heated? No, but I may try the heating pad like you mentioned. I have been supposing all this time that he was cold; he seemed to be doing better when we had some nice spring days and my apartment got nice and hot during the day.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Just a lonely fish in a lonely bowl in a lonely grad student's lonely apartment.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I have two types of flakes and two types of pellets -- TetraBetta floating mini-pellets and Aqueon pellets that don't float; and Omega One Betta Buffet flakes, and TetraMin Tropical Flakes. When he was feeling better, he loved the Betta Buffet flakes. He would immediately gobble them up, and it was fun to see. He never seemed to like any of the pellets much. A few days ago, I would still see him occasionally swim up and take a nibble, but he's been eating less and less. Now he just lies there at the bottom... doesn't even swim up.
How often do you feed your betta fish? I initially was feeding him twice a day as indicated on the food; and he seemed to be eating it all. Now I've decreased to once a day and then once every other day, and he doesn't seem to be eating any of it....

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? About every 3 days.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? All of it. I haven't been doing the acclimating as suggested. This is where I have failed him, I guess.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? It's API Betta Water Conditoner.

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

I haven't tested it.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His colors have faded and gotten duller. He looks sad.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He just lies at the bottom of the bowl most of the time, along the far edge. I suspect it's warmer there? He only takes off swimming when I scare him. He can really swim when I try to grab him with the net (which, correct me if I'm wrong, I figured would be less traumatic than dumping him?).
When did you start noticing the symptoms? The week before spring break; so three weeks ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have been giving him more frequent water changes; which, given my method, or lack thereof, may have hurt him more than it helped, I guess.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 3 months. He was a Christmas/New Year's present.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
Yes, do another change. You cannot wait a week to change out his water. Even if it looks clean, the ammonia builds up fast. You should change it each day 100%, at the very very most every other day 100%.
As I said, I don't wait every day. I will do my best to do it this often, and do it right.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:10 PM   #8 
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[quote=LonelyPilgrim;636427]Hey no, I'm not being snippy. I greatly appreciate the help.

By the way, I just turned his bowl so I could take a picture of him, and it startled him and he swam to the top and blew some bubbles -- briefly, then he rapidly sank to the bottom again and is lying there. So at least he's still capable of swimming; he just clearly doesn't feel (or look) well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
This:
Housing
What size is your tank? One bowl, the one I try to keep him in most of the time, is a gallon; the other one is half a gallon. I've been thinking of buying an identical gallon bowl.
For the same (or within a few bucks) you can get a bigger bowl, like a two gallon. Actually, for that price, you can go to lots of stores and purchase a Rubbermaid (or any other *quality) brand's clear storage tubs to house your betta. You can get a 5 gallon one for less than a glass bowl, which is easier to heat and needs less frequent changes. Lots of members do this until/if/when they are waiting for a more permanent home.
What temperature is your tank? About 75 degrees.
Does your tank have a filter? No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No; it's just a fish in a bowl.
You can buy these anywhere, really. You can have one in a fish bowl just fine, theyre actually fun for fish to play in :)
Is your tank heated? No, but I may try the heating pad like you mentioned. I have been supposing all this time that he was cold; he seemed to be doing better when we had some nice spring days and my apartment got nice and hot during the day.
Yes, bettas like temps 76-82'. Even 76 is a bit low. Temps fluxuate throughout the day, too, unless regulated by a heater, which is stressful for them. I'd advise you to try that heater...even if it means you need to get a little bit of gravel or marbles. They sell baggies of marbles at walmarts and craft stores for a few bucks C:
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Just a lonely fish in a lonely bowl in a lonely grad student's lonely apartment.

You've got us now. We'll be your frans.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I have two types of flakes and two types of pellets -- TetraBetta floating mini-pellets and Aqueon pellets that don't float; and Omega One Betta Buffet flakes, and TetraMin Tropical Flakes. When he was feeling better, he loved the Betta Buffet flakes. He would immediately gobble them up, and it was fun to see. He never seemed to like any of the pellets much. A few days ago, I would still see him occasionally swim up and take a nibble, but he's been eating less and less. Now he just lies there at the bottom... doesn't even swim up.

This is strange..
How often do you feed your betta fish? I initially was feeding him twice a day as indicated on the food; and he seemed to be eating it all. Now I've decreased to once a day and then once every other day, and he doesn't seem to be eating any of it....
Bettas can go a while without eating. While its not good that hes sick and wont eat, its not going to hurt him too too bad. Twice a day how much? (Like, lots of flakes? Lots of pellets? Or just a couple?)

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? About every 3 days.

I'd up it, three days is about .5-.7ppm ammonia, which isnt very good. Every two days at 100% is the minimum in a one gallon, every day with a 100% is considered best.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? All of it. I haven't been doing the acclimating as suggested. This is where I have failed him, I guess.
You didnt know, its okay. You know now. This probably isnt what has been hurting him, but might have stressed him.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? It's API Betta Water Conditoner.

Good. With the conditioner, btw- you dont need to let it "sit". However, its good that you do since your water and the replacement can be at the same temp, since until now you didnt acclimate. Keep this up unless you can use the thermometer to get the two temps within a degree, and then acclimate correctly.

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

I haven't tested it.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His colors have faded and gotten duller. He looks sad.

Dull and fading colors is a sign of stress and illness. He might be sad, but youre gonna make him better <3
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He just lies at the bottom of the bowl most of the time, along the far edge. I suspect it's warmer there? He only takes off swimming when I scare him. He can really swim when I try to grab him with the net (which, correct me if I'm wrong, I figured would be less traumatic than dumping him?).
Not necessarily. I dont know what you mean by dumping, but if you can suck him up with his cup by getting behind him, thats good too.
It would be warmest at the top, where the warm water rises to. He's lethargic and going to the side to feel protected. Keep the lights low for him to feel safer.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? The week before spring break; so three weeks ago.

Eek. This has been going on a while? Hmm..
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have been giving him more frequent water changes; which, given my method, or lack thereof, may have hurt him more than it helped, I guess.

Nono, hush. Its alright, again, now you know. More frequent changes are good.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 3 months. He was a Christmas/New Year's present.



As I said, I don't wait every day. I will do my best to do it this often, and do it right.
Good. He could very well perk up just from more frequent changes.

Here's my advice until pictures can be posted:

Change the water preferably each day with the correct method ( C; )
Lower his water level slightly to make it easier for him to come up for air.
Keep the tank as warm as you can while keeping it at a steady, safe temp.
Keep his tank very dark, cover it with a shirt or towel. Keep a place to breathe, though!

If you can get it, Aquarium salt (sold almost everywhere fish stuff is sold, even walmart) is a great thing to own. Its not expensive and you get a lot of it for the price. At 1tsp/gallon is can heal wounds, fight ich (with a few other modifications lol), help ease stress, and much more.

Offer his fav food once a day in a small amount (if flakes). If he wont eat, remove it.

I hope things turn out well for you two. I have a feeling that he might perk back up :3
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #9 
LonelyPilgrim
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Pictures

Operation: Save Ozzy, Part I by LonelyPilgrim, on Flickr

Operation: Save Ozzy, Part II by LonelyPilgrim, on Flickr

Operation: Save Ozzy, Part III by LonelyPilgrim, on Flickr

I am thinking I'll head off to PetSmart and Wal-Mart (as much as I loathe it) for emergency supplies. I'll change him into his smaller bowl before I go.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:48 PM   #10 
LonelyPilgrim
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One slight problem: the lip on this bowl is too narrow to accommodate Ozzy's cup (I assume you mean the one he came in?) or anything else. It will barely accommodate the small 4" net I'm using to scoop him out. The half gallon backup bowl I have has an even narrower lip. So there's no way to put the cup in the bowl. This is the reason I didn't use that method for changing his water all along (I did read the introduction to the form here the first week I got him).

So I guess I will buy a container with a wider lip, to start with? How should I change his water in the meantime?
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