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Old 08-24-2012, 01:21 AM   #1 
notsabrina's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: California
Unhappy Potentially sick guy

  • What size is your tank?
    5 gallon
  • What temperature is your tank?
    Currently 80+ F
  • Does your tank have a filter?
  • Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
  • Is your tank heated?
  • What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

  • What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
    Top Fin Color Enhancing pellets, Aqueon freeze dried blood worms
  • How often do you feed your betta fish?
    2-3 pellets 1-2 times per day, occasionally freeze dried blood worms


  • How often do you perform a water change?
    I've had this tank for 9 days and the betta for 8. I've performed 3 water changes since then, the first being 50%, second 25%, and third (today) 50%
  • What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
  • What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
    Water conditioner

Water Parameters:
  • Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
    I have not tested the water. I plan on buying a pH kit tomorrow afternoon.


Symptoms and Treatment
  • How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
    His appearance looks normal; scales are bright and finnage looks good
  • How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
    The last 4 days Caviar has been very lethargic and lazy. He's always on the bottom of the tank, hiding behind plants/rocks/caves. When he started building his first bubble nest 2 days ago it seemed like he was going back to being happy. But today his laziness came back. I figured it was due to the poop and debris on the gravel floor, so I did a 50% water change.
  • When did you start noticing the symptoms?
    3-4 days ago.
  • Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
  • Does your fish have any history of being ill?
  • How old is your fish (approximately)?

Caviar's behavior has been very weird. When I first got him he was so happy, swimming everywhere and spreading his fins. He looked like he was flying! As of lately, it seems like he's unhappy because all he does is stay at the bottom of the tank. He's constantly hiding behind his rocks, underneath his plants, and in his ceramic log. On Tuesday he built his first bubble nest for 2 days straight and it was huge! I was starting to think his sluggish ways were coming to an end, but today he's back to laying on the floor. He hardly ever flares at his reflection and just runs away when the mirror is in front of him. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to buy a pH kit and maybe aquarium salt and stress coat to see if the water conditions are causing him to act this way. I've performed 3 25-50% water changes in the last 9 days, and the water temp never goes below 80 degrees.

If you guys can help me diagnose this problem it'd mean so much! This is my first betta and I'm trying so hard to make sure he won't die. Right now he's in his usual corner laying underneath some plants.

Some other odd behavior I've noticed him doing:
  • Swimming towards the glass moving his head left to right like he's trying to escape the tank
  • Opens and closes his mouth, then occasionally opens his mouth very wide in unison with his gills opening also
  • His gills look like they're working "too" hard
Also, the tank is uncycled.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:46 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia!
If you can manage it, take a water sample to your LFS and ask them to test it for you.

There's a few things this could be so here's a sort of checklist of those:

- chemistry shock
- disease
- ammonia/nitrite exposure

Bettas can - if acclimated properly - adjust to a wide range of pH levels and also fairly high pH levels. More important, if your budget is limited, is to get tests for ammonia and nitrites, as these are things that can make fish very sick in a very short amount of time, and so it's best to watch those pretty carefully with a new tank.

Many bettas go into a kind of shock when introduced to new tanks, for various reasons - usually that the water chemistry is quite different to that which they've become used to. Keeping the water clean is important, as under the stress of moving/new water/etc, they can become more susceptible to disease.

But it seems you're on top of that, and taking pretty good care of him - I am thinking it's probably a mild case of chemistry shock, and he should pick up sooner or later. Some Stress Guard is a good idea, I add some to all my new fish's tank for a week or so, and have never had trouble with them settling in.

It -could- be the beginnings of disease - have you got a flashlight? Shine that on your fish and see if he's got a 'gold' sort of metallic glitter to him under that light, just to check for velvet.

It also sounds like he's glass surfing - the thing where he swims like he's trying to escape - which some fish do when stressed, or trying to kill the betta in the 'mirror' of the glass, or because they're bored and need some plants to explore or something - or because the water isn't right, or they're itchy.

The 'yawning' thing is what fish do when expelling ammonia from their gills. It's natural, but if he's doing it all the time and frequently, it might be something irritating him.

So best check for velvet -- and then get that water tested - take a sample of tap water AND tank water. It could be that your water supply has a naturally high level of ammonia, or something. Could be your tank trying to cycle and putting out loads of nitrites (though your frequent wc's should have taken care of that..) Anyway, once you casn see what the water's doing, you can make whatever changes are necessary.

If he hasn't got velvet, and the water comes back all kinds of perfectly normal and acceptable, that's when to look into things like gill flukes.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:30 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: California
Hey Aus, thanks for replying! This morning when I woke up he was in the process of rebuilding another bubble nest, as the one he worked on for two days had to go during the water change. So far he's spending some time at the surface, chillin' on his betta bed and every so often diving down to hide at the bottom. Maybe this could be a good sign?

As for the pH levels, I'm definitely investing in a pH kit today and stress coat like you advised. I've noticed a pattern: I perform water changes every 2-3 days whenever Caviar starts to appear lazy. I'm gonna get some aquarium salt too.

When you mentioned velvet you actually scared me. He does have "gold glitter" around his mouth, and you don't need a flashlight in order to see that. I figured it was the color enhancing pellets bringing out his possibly golden scales, but with the introduction of his new tank, the disease could have just gotten worse. Makes sense.

I'm including pictures I've taken of Caviar in the past where you can see the gold around his mouth. I'm praying it is not velvet. :( If it is, I've kept the LED light off.

Taken at the pet store

Taken when we introduced him to his new tank.

Taken now with flash.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Haverhill, MA
Very odd, because a friend of mine is experiencing the same issues, just not swimming staying at the bottom, or hiding, and she told me the same thing, water changes reg scheduled, and she uses Bottled water, in the 1 gal jug, and w/ the only thing she did differently is buy a Spongebob Pineapple to give him a hiding spot, now he won't come out..odd. I told her the same thing, test the water, but with bottled water could there be an issue????
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:31 AM   #5 
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Location: Haverhill, MA
And in this case, there is a heater, as well, and a filter and the tank is a 2.5 minibow..
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:47 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: California

I'm not sure what could be wrong with your friend's betta. But today after I purchase the pH kit, aquarium salt, and stress coat I'll keep this thread updated with any behavioral changes.

I'm starting to think that my betta Caviar may not have Velvet because I was reading a thread started by user bettachic and it seems like the gold on her betta is identical to mine, and many users identified that as NOT being velvet.

Here are some pictures that bettachic posted of her betta's non-velvet mouth.

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Old 08-24-2012, 12:06 PM   #7 
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Location: Haverhill, MA
Ok, thanks, and I will update if I find out anything else as well..:)
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