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Old 06-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #1 
Hodor
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Please Help! My betta has become extremely lethargic...

Housing
What size is your tank?
--10 gallons
What temperature is your tank?
--82 F
Does your tank have a filter?
--Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
--No
Is your tank heated?
--Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
-1 platy, 4 endlers, 4 ghost shrimp

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
--BettaMin, Aqueon flakes that he steals, and blood worms occasionally
How often do you feed your betta fish?
--2x a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
--1 a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
--30ish percent
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
--Seachem prime

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.0
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
--He has had possible tail biting for the last few weeks so his tail is shorter
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
--Lethargic, stays in the plants and right near the top, doesn't swim around like he used to. Hasn't eaten the last 2 feeding times.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
--Monday morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
--No
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
--Yes, he had ick and was cured of it a couple weeks ago. His behavior was normal all throughout his episode and treatment though.
How old is your fish (approximately)?
--Got him April 24th



Help please!! My betta is so lethargic... He just stays in his one plant all day and barely moves or breathes at all... He'll swim around occasionally, But not excitedly. The other fish and shrimp don't bother him and vice versa.

My water parameters are perfect and all other fish are acting normal.

One very strange thing happened last week though. I had 2 more platies that both dropped dead overnight with no apparent symptoms the day before. They were my hardy fish that never seemed to be affected by anything. I also checked the parameters and it was 0-0-0. But those two were also my largest fish. From everything I read, this pointed to a rapid drop in oxygen overnight since my tank is very heavily planted with lots of floating plants. My filter was also baffled overnight, so there was barely any surface agitation/air bubbles being pushed in. So my plants, which are constantly growing/taking over my tank probably ate up all the oxygen at night and the biggest fish are affected most by lower oxygen. That was my theory anyway. After that incident, I baffle the filter during the day and let it waterfall in at night, which puts in a considerable amount of bubbles since it's a relatively strong filter.

I've had no fish deaths since then, and I thought everything was going well. And now my betta is acting all weird. I don't think it's an oxygen problem because he breathes at the surface, right?

Something I read though about the plants at night, again, is that if they are absorbing a lot of oxygen at night it can crash the pH. Not sure if that's happening though, I suppose I could wake up really early tomorrow morning and test the pH though to see if it's changed. I would think my other fish would react to the pH drop too, but they seem fine.

I've attached pictures that I just took of him... I'm not too good at reading external signs so I thought maybe you guys could check him out.

What could be the possible reasons for his sudden change in behavior?
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:48 AM   #2 
Hodor
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He passed away overnight... :( I'm at a loss as to what happened... Poor guy
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:12 AM   #3 
Atena
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I am so sorry. :(
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:05 PM   #4 
Hodor
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Thank you. I checked the pH this morning after I found him dead and it was a good deal lower... it was 8.0 before lights out last night and this morning it was between 7.0-7.2. I'm guessing it was the plants. They got really really big.

I did a really big water change, like 75% just incase there was also some unknown chemical that could have gotten into the water, and trimmed down all my plants by like 50% so it's back to the way it used to look when I first put the plants in.

I also found out that my KH was low in my water which can cause pH to be more unstable. I think if my tap water was naturally harder, the plants using extra oxygen at night wouldn't be such a big deal.

So, guys --- be careful if you have a lot of plants, especially floating ones that cover a lot of the surface. It could be dangerous if your water is naturally soft.

Hopefully I've solved my problem by cutting my amount of plant life in half.

It probably wasn't a good idea, but I decided to put my other betta in the 10 gallon. He was in a 2 gallon unfiltered. He seems to really like all the extra space and company.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #5 
SnowySurface
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Do you have a link to the article you read about plants changing the water's pH? I've heard of Indian Almond Leaves affecting the pH when they release tannins into the water, so I don't think it's impossible. But I've never heard of plants changing the pH by using oxygen at night. o.O
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:51 PM   #6 
ao
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throw a small seashell in. It will buffer the water over time, providing you don't do 100% water changes.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:52 AM   #7 
Hodor
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Hi Snowy, I don't have any articles, it's just what I've read from googling and reading up in planted aquarium forums. Mind you, my tank was VERY heavily planted, we're talking about 70% of the surface was covered by floating plants. I also had two very large, very fast growing plants (water sprite and hornwort). So I don't think most people on here would have the same issue as me if they only had a few plants.

As for the pH lowering, I'm not sure if it's because of de-oxygenation or the rise in CO2 at night since the plants stop using CO2 once it's dark. I'm pretty sure it's one of those two based on everything I've read on other forums.

My pH definitely dropped by .8-1.0 overnight though to 7.0 and it goes back up to 8.0 during the day.

Most people's pH won't be that unstable though. My tap water unfortunately has a very low KH, which is bad for keeping pH stable.

I think my tank had something of a perfect storm. I was uneducated about plants and my water parameters (beyond Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate) and I thought the more plants the better, not realizing that all the floating ones and just the large amount of plant matter I had in general, could possibly affect my fish.

Now I know to keep my plants trimmed!
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:54 AM   #8 
Hodor
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aokashi -- is that just like any old shell I can find at the beach? I have a million beaches near me if that's the case, so that would be easy!
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:02 PM   #9 
ao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodor View Post
aokashi -- is that just like any old shell I can find at the beach? I have a million beaches near me if that's the case, so that would be easy!
That should be ok, boil it for a while though. I usually buy the ones intended for hermit crabs. I had a large one in my 1 gallon and it worked great as a buffer, PH stayed stable at 7.2.

Edit: And I had a tonne of plants
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #10 
SnowySurface
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodor View Post
Hi Snowy, I don't have any articles, it's just what I've read from googling and reading up in planted aquarium forums. Mind you, my tank was VERY heavily planted, we're talking about 70% of the surface was covered by floating plants. I also had two very large, very fast growing plants (water sprite and hornwort). So I don't think most people on here would have the same issue as me if they only had a few plants.

As for the pH lowering, I'm not sure if it's because of de-oxygenation or the rise in CO2 at night since the plants stop using CO2 once it's dark. I'm pretty sure it's one of those two based on everything I've read on other forums.

My pH definitely dropped by .8-1.0 overnight though to 7.0 and it goes back up to 8.0 during the day.

Most people's pH won't be that unstable though. My tap water unfortunately has a very low KH, which is bad for keeping pH stable.

I think my tank had something of a perfect storm. I was uneducated about plants and my water parameters (beyond Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate) and I thought the more plants the better, not realizing that all the floating ones and just the large amount of plant matter I had in general, could possibly affect my fish.

Now I know to keep my plants trimmed!
Ok, that makes sense. I asked because I am also new to plants and brought a bunch of anacharis for each of my 5 gallon tanks. I have no idea why I didn't realize this at the time, but I should have taken into account that live plants grow. Now I have 4 2.5-ish foot anacharis plants in each of my 5 gallon tanks. And they are still growing.

So that's why I asked if you read an actual article. I would say about 60% of my tanks are fill with floating anacharis so I may be in the same boat. I usually trim off dead parts of the plant twice a month and clean fallen leaves off my sand once a week. I guess a mix of my plant care schedule and my tap water being a bit hard kept my pH stable.
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