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Old 08-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #1 
Em0112
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Odd water change behavior?

I've been lurking around here for quite awhile picking up tips for my betta, who I got back in March. Thanks to the info on here, he appeared to be happy and healthy. The last couple times I have done water changes, however, he's started acting strange. Whenever I add fresh water, he goes from swimming merrily around to hiding in his cave or under a plant, fins clamped, not moving at all. He stays like this for about a day and then goes back to his usual self. I use tap water with Prime (2-3 drops per gallon) and make sure the temperature of the new water is the same as the old stuff, so I've ruled out those two major issues. I worry because I've had the little guy for almost 6 months and he's only started doing this within the last week or two. Anyone have any ideas what might be causing this? Should I be concerned for his health, or is it maybe just a weird behavior thing? Thanks in advance for anything anybody has to offer.

Quick rundown of my tank setup, in case this info helps: He's in a 3 gallon filtered heated tank. Heater keeps him at a steady 79-80*F, and I've baffled the filter by rubber-banding a piece of filter sponge under the outflow. I have one live java fern in there and the rest of the plants are silk. No other fish in the tank. I usually do one 50% and one 100% water change each week.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:57 PM   #2 
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Welcome to the forums!

Hmm.. my guess is there is too big of a change in parameters with the new water that he isn't agreeing with. Your local water company could have messed around a bit with the water supply recently and your guy is noticing the change.

What my tip would be is stop with the 100% each week- if the tank is filtered and you have a live plant there is no need for the 100%, as you are resetting the tank's own mini cycle it has going on each time. If you want to continue you can remove the filter since the java fern doesn't need all that work, in fact, make sure it's not buried in the substrate. A tank that size does not need a filter, a betta and the plant do not need it either. So you can remove the filter and continue with the water changes you have been doing, but I would actually cut it down to only 1 100% per week since the plant will clean the water enough not to need the 50% and it would be better for the plant not to be doing the 50%.

If you keep the filter in then you can cut it back to 1 50% per week with vacuuming of the substrate once (during the 50%) every other week, that way you aren't over cleaning for the plant (the plant will use the waste of the fish as fert, and it will use the nitrates for nutrition (lowered nitrates will lead to blackened leaves)).

When doing the 50%, go ahead and take him out like you do the 100%s and then reintroduce him, acclimating him to the new temp and water chemistry by removing about 25-30% of the water from the cup (toss it out) and replace with equal amount from the tank every 5-10 minutes for roughly 25 minutes while he is floating in the tank. That will help keep him from going into shock with the new water chemistry.

Basically cleaning a filtered tank with a plant as much as you are is making it almost too sterile and causing deficiencies in nutrients for both fish and plant. New water comes in with a whole new chemistry and it may be throwing him off.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:25 PM   #3 
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Thanks for the response! I'm going to try taking the filter out and going down to the 100% change once a week, along with acclimating him slower in his cup like you suggested. He's due for the change tomorrow (skipped the 50% this week because I feared for his little life...) so we'll see how it goes!
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:06 PM   #4 
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Good luck, let us know. Also if there are any other changes to him, such as gasping or losing color, tilting, etc. Just to be on the safe side that we aren't missing something else that could be wrong.
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:04 AM   #5 
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Location: Texas.. where else IS there.. lol
during the summer many water companies up the chloramines. I use prime and you can just add extra.. and it takes care of any excess chloramines. I'd do water tests and see what is going on in your tank with ammonia and nitrites. If your ammonis and nitrites are getting high then you may need a 90% change to get them back under control. do what needs to be done to keep the tank water where it needs to be. forget percentages and how often. Just do what needs to be done when it needs done. I've changed water on fry till late in the night then got up early the next day to do it again before work to get water conditons back. Ammonia can go from 0 to 1-2 overnight. Quickest way to kill fish.. especiallfy fry is ammonia.

Do you have a water softener? If so you want to bypass the softener for your water. Many people lose fish after changing water with that stuff. Not sure the chemistry behind it.. but happens enough it is not a fluke.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:47 AM   #6 
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Myates - I haven't noticed any other changes. Aside from the time he's hunkered down at the bottom, he looks and acts normal.

Basement Bettas - No water softener here. I do have one of the API liquid test kits, though I admittedly don't test as much as I probably should. How often should I be doing it?
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:47 PM   #7 
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Unfortunately not much luck here. I added a few extra drops of Prime and added the new tank water gradually into his cup while he floated in the tank. As soon as I let him out of the cup, down he went, and he's been huddled under a plant for the last couple hours...
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:14 AM   #8 
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He may just not like the water changes and that is his way of "running away and hiding" and telling you. As long as he isn't physically hurting or showing signs of distress such as the gasping, tilting, etc then I would just keep an eye on him and hope he gets over it and learns that everything is fine when it happens. Possibly give him a piece of treat afterward to associate something good with it.
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:08 PM   #9 
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I hope that's the case. I just thought it was weird because he's been dealing with me doing water changes for months and was never like this. But better a fraidy fish than a sick fish!
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:30 AM   #10 
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Location: Texas.. where else IS there.. lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by Em0112 View Post

Basement Bettas - No water softener here. I do have one of the API liquid test kits, though I admittedly don't test as much as I probably should. How often should I be doing it?
I'd test ammonia and nitrite daily till you see what is going on. Do a few days then repost findings.

I do them before every water change. So.. for nuts like me I do 6 ammonia and nitrite tests every night. I do ph, tds, gh and kh on every batch of water I create. But it allows me to stay on top of stuff. If I get a spike I start looking for the cause.
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