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Old 06-04-2011, 05:13 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Lethargic Betta

Hi! I'm new to Betta fish ownership as I purchased my first from Petsmart yesterday.

Duke, the fish, seemed fine when I brought him home and put him in the aquarium but later in the day and for most of today he's been a bit lethargic and won't eat. I've cleaned his aquarium, changed the water, and all of that but I really think he's a little cold but the man at Petsmart said that he would be fine at room temperature. I put him under a translucent window so he will get the warmth from the sunlight but won't be exposed directly to the rays (it gets pretty hot here in Alabama!) Will that be okay for the fish?

Thanks guys!
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:57 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum and sorry you are having problems so early...

Need some more information...

What size is the tank, water temp, filter, live plants, additives used, type of food much and what kind of dechlorinator are you using....

Do you have a thermometer to check the water temp-its also important to monitor the water temp for water changes to keep the water within a couple of degrees between new and old and always use dechlorinator with new water added to the fish....

How did you acclimate him to your water when you first got him....

Its not uncommon for some Betta to have an adjustment period....sometimes it can take a week or two before they settle and eat and settle into a larger space as well...since most of their life they have been kept in small containers for grow-out/keeping....

Can you post a pic of both the Betta and setup.....
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:01 PM   #3 
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I am sorry for the poor quality of the images. It was difficult to get a picture where you could actually see him. He's in a .5 gallon aquarium with a plastic plant. The water conditioner is Nutrafin Betta Plus and he is being fed Nutrafin Max color enhancing flakes. This all came in the kit I was sold. I did not know to get a thermometer and I was told not to get a filter. After reading more about Bettas I think I need to get a bigger aquarium. As far as getting him used to the new water, the guy at Petsmart said that the fish would be fine just being put in the new aquarium. The cup he was in was nasty so I cleaned the new aquarium, gavel, and plant in warm water ( I didn't use soap because I didn't think that would be good for him) and transferred him to his new place using a little net, trying to be careful not to hurt it. The water in both the cup and the little aquarium should have been close to the same temperature since they were both around room temp however I'm not sure what the difference was.
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Last edited by DukeTheFish; 06-04-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:43 PM   #4 
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Location: Montreal
thats the same tank i have atm until the 1 gal heated tank comes in. im new to this also. so i just going to mention that regardless if you warm the water to 28 degrees, it will most likely drop down to 20-22 celcius within 24 hrs depending on ambient temp in your house. it took mine 10 days to get used to the tank.

Last edited by nel3; 06-04-2011 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:06 PM   #5 
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Did you add conditioner to the water?
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:52 AM   #6 
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Yes, I do put conditioner in the water. The fish seems to be feeling better now, though. He's moving around and starting to eat again. Maybe it was just the adjustment to the new environment.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:05 AM   #7 
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Location: Washington state
it seems the majority of pet store employees don't really know what they're talking about :/
when you bring home a new fish you should slowly add some of the new water into the cup to let them get used to it. probably shocked him a bit
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:30 AM   #8 
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In such a small tank, you'll likely need to do another water change today. Ammonia levels build up quickly in a half gallon of water.

Nel3 is right that the temperature will drop. Without a heater, it'll likely be a couple of degrees less than room temperature.

The other thing I'd recommend for your fish is a hiding spot. Even just a clean coffee mug on its side. I realize you don't have a lot of space, but your fish will be happier with a hiding spot. I'm not sure how flexible the plastic plant is for him to hide in.

Good luck! :)
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:53 AM   #9 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Originally Posted by DukeTheFish View Post
( I didn't use soap because I didn't think that would be good for him)
Good, never use any soaps to clean his aquarium or anything that will go in his aquarium. Warm water will do just fine to rinse anything.

In such a small tank, you'll need to do very frequent water changes, like 50% a day. It's strange but the larger the tank, the fewer changes you have to do. If you can, you might want to consider upgrading your Duke to a tank that is 2.5 gallons or more someday. In the long run, it's less work for you and Duke will be happier.

Heat is another big issue. With luck, your local Petsmart should have a product like this Zoo Med Betta Bowl Heater.

This is a good heater for a small tank. Bettas come from tropical waters that are very warm so he'll need water temps around 78-80 degrees farenheit (25-26 degrees celsius) to thrive. With warm water, you'll see him start to move around more. Of course, if you plan on getting a bigger tank very soon (next week or so), hold off on the Zoo Med heater and get a nice 50w one.

I would definitely suggest also that you use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime. It's advertised to detoxify ammonia, which you may have more of since it's a small tank with no filter. It also will detoxify other things like heavy metals that can harm Duke. Prime may seem expensive at first but it's highly concentrated which means it will last a long time.

You said the NutraFin flakes were part of the kit you were sold? Then you haven't bought him food yet? I'd suggest pellets as they are easier to feed and won't mess up the water as much as flakes. There are several brands to choose from, too. Only feed him maybe 2 pellets about 3 times a day or he'll overeat. Bettas are little piggies when it comes to food.

You're on your way to being a great betta owner. Duke is lucky to have you. And welcome to the forum.

One more thing: Get a thermometer so you can monitor the temperature. Water can heat up pretty fast so you want to make sure Duke's water isn't getting to warm there by the window. Even indirect sunlight can warm up pretty fast.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:02 AM   #10 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: New Mexico
i agree with everything above.

he would do best in at the very least a 2 gallon tank. that way you can put in a heater - too cold water makes bettas lethargic, and such a small container makes the temperature fluctuate too much, which is bad for their immune system.

also, in a 2 - 3 gallon tank, you will only have to do one 100% water change, and one 50% water change once a week. with the tank he is in, you will have to change the water every single day.

i also would recommend Prime as a high quality water conditioner. it removes not only chlorine, but also ammonia, and also detoxifies nitrates and nitrites. it's a really good one.

above all - take the advice from petstore employees with a grain of salt. they usually don't know what they are talking about. i learned the hard way.
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