Hello, first let me apologize for my ignorance. I got this betta fish about 2 months ago that was a "centerpiece" at a fundraiser, always being under the impression they are easy to care for. My mom had one when I was a child that stayed in a clear vase and he fed off of the roots of a plant.
Since I got my betta (I named him Mr. B. My niece wanted me to name him Baby Burrito Fish, so Mr. B for short), I bought in a 2.5 gallon filtered tank. I have been doing 25% water changes every week, and changing the filter as well, and adding water conditioner. I keep my house at 75 at night, 80 during the day, with no heater in the tank. Mr. B had been eating, but he usually hung out on one side of the tank, either at the top or on the bottom. I rarely saw him swim around unless I fed him.
Last week, on Wednesday, I left to go on a short vacation. I fed him before I left. I returned today, Sunday, and found him hanging out head-first in gravel right between an artificial log and artificial plant. When I touched the side of the tank, he fluttered and fell over upside down. His breathing is labored, and when his gills open they are very red inside. His long, back fin (I think it's called the caudal fin) is gone, however I believe it's because he had it up against an artificial plant and was probably trying to swim, which caused it to rub against the plant. All of his other fins seem fine. He appears pale, but his eyes look fine. I tried to bring him to the top of the tank to take some air but he would not...then he sunk head first back down to the gravel, and then fell over onto his side, where he now lays. He only tries to move if I touch him, and even then it's only a little flutter.
I don't see any spots on him, or any sort of fuzzy or velvet looking things. He's not bloated either. I picked up some BettaFix as recommended by an employee at the store, but she admitted that she didn't know what was wrong and hoped that this would help.
Does anyone have any idea what this could be? I read through some other threads, but none of them seem to match what Mr. B is displaying.
What size is your tank? 2.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? unsure - house is kept between 75 and 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? no
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None, one live plant and artificials
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Dried blood worms, about 4
How often do you feed your betta fish? every other 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? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner
Have you tested your water? No :\
If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Pale
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He lays on the bottom, however he lands, and has labored breathing. He doesn't try to move unless he's touched
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today, but I was on vacation for 5 days
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I added a teaspoon of Bettafix today
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him about 2 months ago, so I"ll say he is 2 months old.
OK. Just wait. Are his gills red? I suspect Ammonia Poisoning. You really need to do more water changes. I suggest 1 50% and 1 100% per week. In a tank that small, ammonia would build up to quickly. I also want you to get a heater to make the temperature warm and stable. They are tropical fish. For right now, I would like you to do a 80% water change with conditioner, and see what happens. Don't do a 100% if your Betta seems stressed. Don't use Bettafix at ALL. It could harm his Labyrinth Organ. Don't use Melafix either. You also need a thermometer. As for his fins, clean water should fix it. I'm sorry if I sound strict, I just can't stand it if a Betta is sick. Please update after you have tried a water change. Also don't always feed Freeze-Dried Bloodworms. It is a treat, and I suggest New Life Spectrum. It is the best pellets of them all IMO.
Last edited by LebronTheBetta; 07-08-2012 at 10:06 PM.
Okay, I don't know much about bettas but I do know that they need heat. Maybe getting a heater for the tank would be a good investment. He might be a little cold in there. Bettas need the water to be at a constant 78-80 degrees.
Secondly, I noticed you feed the little guy exclusively on freeze dried blood worms. I do know that bettas will get constipated from eating enough freeze dried foods, due to them having a lack of moisture in them, and sometimes if they don't pass the waste, it will go rancid in their bodies and cause septicemia or something like that.
Try getting a food like Hikari Bio-Gold betta pellets. It has more moisture content and thus, won't be likely to cause constipation. Feed him about 3-4 pellets daily. Better than the pellets are the frozen foods. Even better yet are live foods but keeping live food cultures might not be your thing.
I would also go and grab one of those Freshwater Master Test kits by API. It has everything you need to test the water and is simple and easy to do. That way you'll be able to know when things like Nitrites and Ammonia are too high.
Lastly, what kind of water conditioner do you use? I recommend the API or Top Fin ones as they are great and removing the chlorine and heavy metals that can make a betta sick.
Last edited by TheCrabbyTabby; 07-08-2012 at 10:07 PM.
Thanks for the replies! I am not offended that you were strict, Lebron, I feel terrible that he seems to be suffering. Yes, his gills are red. I will try the 80% water change.
CrabbyTabby, I had been feeding him Omega One pellets, but he stopped eating them weeks ago and would spit them out. He still refuses to eat them, only the freeze-dried blood worms (which are Top Fin brand). I have been using Aqueon water conditioner, which came with my tank. It's just about out so I will try one of the other brands.
I'll do the water change now and let you all know what happens... thanks!
Well then, try frozen or live foods ( if you can get live foods that is). Frozen foods can be found in the freezer displays of most LFS and chain pet stores. Just thaw a cube (they come in a tray of small cubes) and offer him a bit of the thawed worms or brine shrimp or what ever kind of frozen food you bought. Some bettas are just that persnickety when it comes to eating I guess.
Unfortunately Mr. B died at some point last night Poor little guy. I had just done the 25% water change a week ago, before I left on vacation. And, honestly, I wasn't doing any water changes for a couple of weeks after I got him because I didn't know, and he was doing better back then. Oh well. I guess fish and I just don't fit.
Thanks for trying to help!
I do believe you were right about ammonia poisoning. I'm thinking he was far along in the process, he wasn't even trying to do anything but breathe on the bottom. I never saw red streaks on his body though.
Maybe I'm not ready for bettas - I'll take a break from fish ownership, and start out with some easier swimmers and see how that goes!
I take comfort in knowing he did like his new home initially, he had made at least 2 bubble nests!
I'm sorry to break it to you but, Bettas don't make Bubblenests because they are happy or right water conditions. They make it out of instinct. It's like marking territory. It means he knew that it was his territory, though! Easier swimmers? What do you mean?