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Old 06-24-2012, 04:19 PM   #1 
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Betta is hiding in his cave all day

I've had my male Half moon Betta for about 1 year. Up until recently he was in a 1 gallon fish bowl with no heater or filter. I replaced 50% of the water once a week and he seemed fine. I really didn't know anything about Bettas and never bothered to research anything about them until I noticed my Betta's fins looking damaged a few days ago. After lots of research online I figured out how horribly I had been treating my betta and that I caused what is most likely fin rot (I've looked at pictures and am almost positive that is what it is: shrivled fins that are smaller than they were before especially on the tail). I went to my nearest petsmart and purchased a 5 gallon tank with filter, a heater, a thermometer, test strips, and bettafix. I let the tank sit for only about 12 hours as I really didn't want to keep him in the bowl too much longer because he looked awful. I tested the water and although the PH is testing high on the strip test, everything else is perfect and the temp is a stable 80*. I added the recommended dosage of the bettafix yesterday and today along with water conditioner/dechlorinator (it says to add daily)and I slowly introduced him to the new tank using a bag and initially he seemed happy. He checked out the tank and swam around a lot. However, now he is just hiding in his cave and has been doing this for most of the day. Is it because of the new tank or maybe because of the fin rot? I really hope he is okay. He literally hasn't come out of the cave at all in hours and I'm so worried about him! Any advice you can give is much appreciated. I'm new at this so as much as I have researched in the last few days I'm sure I'm doing something wrong!

Edit to add: I forgot to mention he also would not eat today :(

Last edited by ForgetMeNot; 06-24-2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Add info
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:36 PM   #2 
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What size is your tank? 5 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80*
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? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Pellets also bought some dried blood worms but haven't fed them to him yet.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day


How often do you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50% (I know this is wrong, I plan on doing it differently in the future)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Dechlorinator/conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?Yes but used a strip so I don't know the EXACT numbers but I will estimate:

pH:8.0 (Alkaline or High)
Hardness:25 (Very Soft)
Alkalinity: 180 (Ideal)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Shriveled looking fins, tail is smaller than it used to be. White patches on face and there was a slime looking substance on him before I moved him to the new tank.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, sitting in cave all day, not eating.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? about 2-3 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Bettafix recommended dosage
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)?Approx 1 year

*ETA I removed the cave to see how he was doing, and he just kind of layed in the rocks for a few minutes then swam up to the top and ate. I don't know what to think, one minute he acts like he is dying, the next he is swimming around! Please Help!

Last edited by ForgetMeNot; 06-24-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #3 
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Although no one ever responded to my post, I wanted to give you guys an update in case anyone actually did read it. I ended up reading something online stating that BettaFix tends to cause issues with the Betta's Labyrinth organ and can cause labored breathing. Seeing that my fish was having labored breathing I figured this may be what was going on. Well the recommendation to fix this issue was to do a 50% water change, so I did. My fish is like his old self again! His fins still don't look too hot, but as soon as I changed the water Angel (my betta) peaked out of his cave, perked right up, and darted out. He swam all over the tank like he was having a good ol' time!

I'm so happy, I was really worried that he wouldn't make it. I will NEVER use Bettafix again!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:58 PM   #4 
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I didn't know Bettafix caused labored breathing!! My fish had the same problem but I assumed it was ammonia poisoning. I used a water conditioner that also got rid of ammonia and he's at least breathing normally now.

Congratulations that the little guy is better! My betta never hides either unless he's sick. I think hiding is their reflex with they can no longer be aggressive when they are sick, as I'd imagine they wouldn't be much of a competition with other male betta fish in the wild.

Since he was just sick and since he wasn't eating I would recommend some kind of vitamin and appetite boost. The guy at Petco recommended Acurel because it also has aloe vera to help him build his slime coat as well the above two.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:50 PM   #5 
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Unhappy Angel Didn't make it... :'(

I'm sad to say that my Betta "Angel" didn't make it. I spent all weekend trying to save him, spent way too much money and hours and hours trying to figure out what was wrong with him, but nothing worked. He seemed better when I last posted, but I looked at him about an hour later and he seemed to have developed swim bladder as well, he couldn't stay upright and was trying hard to swim but was leaning to one side. So I made yet another trip to Wal-mart's fish department and bought aquarium salt and jungle fungus clear, but when I got home he was nose first in the gravel. He was still breathing so I frantically tried to set him up a quarantine tank. All the measurements were for a 10 gallon tank so I had to pull out the math skills and try to figure out how to measure AS and Fungus Clear for a half gallon quarantine tank while crying (I never thought I'd cry over a fish!) by the time I had it set up and put him in he was dead.

I've decided to bury him, I just can't bring myself to "flush" him. I'm going to clean his tank out and cycle it correctly before adding a new Betta. I want to do it right this time and I don't want to ever watch another Betta suffer like that again.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:09 PM   #6 
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Oh no I'm really sorry!! And I'm sorry you weren't able to get too much helpful feedback until he passed. Crying for a fish is not shameful, those little guys are very vibrant and have personalities!! I've had my betta for just over a year, and he is currently struggling too. But if I lost him, I would definitely be very devastated as well.

In retrospect, I think that it may have been the change in environment/water that caused a sudden spike in the gravity of his illness. From what I've read (not personal experience unfortunately): the two ways that trigger the initial onset of a betta's illness is either a weakened immune system OR a water change (even more for a change of habitat!) because that causes bettas to have extreme stress which in turn lowers their immune system. I think that website recommended very minimal/small percentage (25%?) of water change to avert that. Someone on my thread recommended using a a gravel vacuum so he doesn't even have to change environment. Also, I think you may have been doing what others told me I was doing too, which was overtreating him when he was already in a delicate state.

I apologize for not being able to give this advice sooner, but from your last update I had assumed you betta had been getting better! Good luck when you get your new betta!!

If you think he may have been infected with some disease and it could harm your future betta, try this site (I copy/pasted it earlier in another thread). I find this site very helpful.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:35 AM   #7 
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I'm so sorry for you! I didn't see your post yesterday, and I'm sorry that no-one replied to you. :( And I know how you feel, I've cried over the little buggers as well...and I can't flush them either. They're buried in our flowerbeds... :) Again, I'm so sorry for your loss, and I hope that your next betta experience goes better. :(
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