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Old 07-19-2012, 12:37 PM   #1 
Buglady1104
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New-ish betta lethargic, not eating

I bought my betta at Petsmart about 10 days ago. He seemed just fine until 2 days ago. So here's the requisite background info:

Housing
What size is your tank?5 gal hex
What temperature is your tank?about 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?Not using heater ATM. We're at 80 without it
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?Hikari pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish?2 pellets 3x day

Maintenance
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% (about 2 gal)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?Prime

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

Ammonia:0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:5
pH:8.2
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Coloring, fins, all look normal. (not clamped or frayed) Gills seem to be showing more than when I first got him.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, moves slowly, not eating, alternates between resting on bottom and resting at the top. Also seems to be twitching sometimes.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? So far, I just did his 2nd Partial water change yesterday, and floated a couple of oak leaves, since I had access to some.
Does your fish have any history of being ill?I've only had him for less than 2 weeks. He was perfect until 2 days ago
How old is your fish (approximately)? Don't know. He's obviously not a baby, but as a Petsmart fish, I would guess he is still fairly young.

So, that's it. A lot of laying around, sometimes twitching when he does move around. No eating. And he loved his food! He had learned right away to come when I opened the lid to feed him. I couldn't tell you what his poop looks like, because in a week and a half, I've never seen him do it.

Let's see if I can post a photo of him:


Any ideas as to what's wrong with him? What should I do to help him?
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:17 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and sorry you are having problems....Its hard to say whats going on since nothing really sticks out....My thought is that maybe he is getting stressed/over stimulated or worn out in a sense....

Understanding that most Betta are kept in small containers without filtration/water movement from about 6-8 weeks of age and being placed in a larger container of water with water movement-that he seemed to love in the beginning....He may be tired from over stimulation and this can compromise the immune response......

What I would recommend right now-First double check the temp and make sure it is within range since its hot in your area it might be too hot-Turn off the filter, lower the water level and make some 25-50% daily water changes for a few days, turn off the light, dim lit quiet location, add more oak leaves and offer some mosquito larva rinsed and see if that will perk him up...

If not, he may need a treatment...but I would give him some rest time, live food, tannins, fresh dechlorinated water, low water level without water movement for 3-5 days first and see if that helps....he may just be over stimulated.....
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Old 07-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #3 
Buglady1104
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Thanks for replying, OFL. I was hoping you would see this.

Yes, it's really at least 80 degrees in there. Maybe 82. I have a thermometer in the tank, and the mercury is just about level with the top of the green "comfort zone". (It's not near a window, but it's 82 in the house right now.)

The tank has one of those built in filters with a bio wheel. I have a little sponge in front of the outflow, so the current has been very minimal. If I lower the water level, should I put the wheel down into the tank so the friendly bacteria won't dry out? Or just put it in a separate container with some tank water?
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:03 PM   #4 
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Float it in the tank will be fine and I am sure you already know this...but when you get ready to turn the filter back on-be sure and rinse it out and the filter media before you turn it back on and monitor the prams for a few days since you might have a spike/mini cycle of sorts....or if you have another tank that you could set the filter on and keep running-but that might be hard to do with that type of filter.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #5 
Buglady1104
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He's doing better this morning! I followed OFL's advice and this morning he seems much perkier. He's swimming around and coming to the front of his tank to see me. I dropped in a single food pellet, and he snapped it up with his usual gusto.

I gave him a partial water change, and added a bit more water to start slowly getting it back to the top of the tank. (it's at just over half right now)

Wondering now how long to leave in the oak leaves. Should I keep a couple in there all the time, replacing them as they start to decompose, or just use them as a tonic and remove them later? I tested the pH this morning and it's down from 8.2 to about 7.6. I've read how important a stable pH is, and I'm a little concerned that it will be hard to maintain between water changes and steeping leaves.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #6 
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Good to hear that he has perked up and eating for you today....I would give him at least a week in the oak leaf tannins and partial water changes.

You can use a couple of oak leaves in the tank all the time for a general tonic..
when you use them you need to have your replacement water tanned too...just mix it up the night before or and hour or so before you plan to make the water change.

Usually it takes longer for it to change the pH...so something else might be causing the pH change...like normal degassing

I would make a pH test on your source water now and again in 24h on that same glass of water without any additives- to allow it to degas-then compare numbers and see what you get....also knowing the KH/GH will help to see if you have hard or soft water....

What is your source water...well water, city supplied from the tap...etc....and do you have a water softening unit on the house, if so, if it used salt-you need to bypass that for the Betta...

Prime the only chemical additive used...correct....and what type of testing products are you using....
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:48 PM   #7 
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From the time I purchased my API Master Test kit in early June, my pH has consistently tested at 8.2 until today. That has been true for the water straight out of the faucet as well as my fully cycled little fish tank. (I did a fishless cycle before I got him.) I even tested my neighbor's aquarium water, and hers was the same. This is city tap-water, with no softeners. Not sure what the actual numbers are, but my city's water quality website states that the water is considered "very hard".

I haven't added anything to the water except the Prime, and just since yesterday, the oak leaves.

But hey, my still unnamed "Fishie" is still looking good. He ate another pellet for me. I put a couple of mosquito larvae in there for him, but he's already habituated to looking on the surface for his food, and the larvae quickly squiggled down to the bottom before he noticed them. Hopefully he will find them when they squiggle back up!

Last edited by Buglady1104; 07-20-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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