Betta Fish Care  
Go Back   Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care > Betta Fish Care
Check out the eBook Betta Fish Care Made Easy
betta fish
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-06-2012, 01:39 AM   #1 
ripit
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
New beta from a blue water pet store specimen cup.

Long story short, I got a betta that looks near dead and starved near to death (showing good signs of initial recovery). So what special care would benefit it and or help bring it back to health. How much to feed (its paper thin right now)?

Thats basically my question but here is the more detailed story if you care to read it.


So my kids have been bugging me for a beta for a long time (I think they liked the idea of the little bowl though I realize that till after I bought it). It was from a chain pet store and on sale for $1 so I just said whatever. I was busy dealing with an inept sales associate and my wife helped them pick one. They argued over which one they liked (the two kids) but finally settled on one. I had briefly looked at them and they didn't look so great but what do you expect from a fish living in a pee cup with what was an obvious overdose of malachite green.

So I get it home and make my first mistake. I let it adjust for a while to the tank temperature by setting the cup in the tank like you would with a bag (1 gal tank for now). I didn't even stop to think, going from the heavily dosed malachite green water to clean water would be a shock. It didn't seem to like it much. In clear water it became obvious that it was in much worse shape than I had noticed before. It was completely grey and looked quite bad. From the top (didn't notice before as the lid to the specimen cup was white) that it was severely anorexic looking. Its body was less than 1/4" thick (maybe 1/5 - 1/6 the thickness of the head). It wouldn't move around and it wouldn't eat. It had very little coloration (almost completely grey with a few minor red highlights). After maybe a day, it started moving around a little. It picked up a little more color. It ate 2 pellets (tiny ones) even though it was given more. Within another day it was eating more. Another day and it will eat as much as I give it (a little more than the bottle recommends as I figure it needs it). It seems pretty lively and reasonably improved, though not what I would call healthy yet (and still very thin). Color was much better but the body has kind of gone grey again (not sure if the color change is an indication of health). Its still a lot better looking color wise than when we got it. Its in a 1 gal with a power filter. The tank was already cycled. It had not had fish in it for weeks but when I cleaned it out there was enough junk in the gravel I'm thinking the bacteria had food and might still be alive. I cleaned it out by filling with conditioned water (using prime) and then emptying a few times to rinse all the loose stuff in the gravel out. No scrubbing or anything, just a few rinses with treated water. According to reports on another forum, this power filter works well in a 3 gal but not quite enough in a 5 gal. Upgrading to a 3 gal is a reasonable possibility in the not too far future (need to put priority on things like a water testing kit first as the local store only uses strips and I have other tanks). It had no heat. My 55 gal stays at about 75 degrees constantly and my 15 gal stays closer to 80 degrees (it has incandescent lights which is why I think it runs hotter). I have never seen the heater turn on on either (I can turn them all the way down and the tanks stay about that temp). We keep the house pretty steady for temp. I will have a 25 watt heater soon (warranty replacement) but I'm thinking that's risky with a plastic tank (maybe if I upgrade to a 3 gal glass one). The 1 gal tank has a decent size piece of wisteria.

So to summarize, had it for a few days, feeding pellets (and a few frozen blood worms once tonight). Was very sick looking, looks improved but not great yet. Its in a cycled? 1 gal with a power filter. No heat but room temp is fairly constant. It's still paper thin.

Is there anything special to help it recover? How much to feed (I'm feeding a little more than the bottle says as I figure it needs to fatten up a little and get plenty of nutrition)? How often/much to change water? I keep reading 50-100% water change every few days in a 1 gal. It has a filter good enough for a 3 gal though. I only changed a little water once and it didn't seem to like it much (maybe just stressed in general). The wisteria is turning brown so I'm guessing there is not much ammonia etc in the tank yet or the plant would be thriving. The plant was fine before I rinsed the tank.


Is there any special care to nurse it back to health
ripit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 06:08 AM   #2 
TheCheese909
Member
 
TheCheese909's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Bernardino, California
Don't worry about cycling your 1 gallon, it's not necessary since you'll be doing water changes twice a week and your filter isn't mandatory either, but there's no harm in using it. When changing the water do about 50% and the next time 100%, do this twice a week.

Don't over feed him, i know you're worried but a Betta's stomach is very small and he will always eat what you put in the tank even if he is full & he can burst his stomach open, which you don't want to do. If you want to feed him the best stuff you can go buy him some frozen Brine Shrimp and frozen Glassworms (mosquito larva). Brine Shrimp is a natural laxative so he shouldn't be fed that more then maybe 3 times a week but Glassworms can be fed much more often and will help fatten him up much quicker.

You can alternate between thawed frozen food and pellets during the week. New Life Spectrum is a brand I recommend as it's very nutritional for Bettas. I wouldn't feed more then about 3-4 pellets a day. And as for the frozen food, it comes cubed, you can put it in a little jar and let it thaw out, feed your Betta (i used tweezers for the frozen stuff) roughly the amount (size wise) of the pellets and the rest can be put back in the freezer to be used again the next day or whenever.

Bloodworms shouldn't be fed more then twice a week since they have no nutritional value and is used more as a treat, like candy for us.


Can you provide photos so we can make sure he isn't ill and is only underweight? We may also be able to provide additional information to help you help him.
TheCheese909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 08:56 AM   #3 
OrangeAugust
Member
 
OrangeAugust's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Connecticut
He definitely needs a heater. 75 degrees is below the required temp for bettas. Their water should be between 76 and 82 degrees. If he is sick, it would benefit him much more to have his water temp be at the higher end- around 82. He sounds like he's okay since he's eating, though. He may just be very thin. Either way, he needs warmer water than 75. Even one degree will make a difference
Post some pictures if you can. Yes, their color is often an indicator of their health. They will have faded color if they are sick, and when they get too stressed they can get horizontal stripes called "stress stripes" until they calm down.
I think a filter may be a little much for a one gallon tank. Bettas don't like much of a water current, so filters are fine in larger tanks, but they usually move the water around too much in a small tank. So keep an eye on him to make sure he's not having trouble swimming or anything. I think it would benefit him to be in at least a 3 gallon tank. I doubt your 1 gallon is cycled and if it is, it's hard to keep a stable cycle in a tank that small. Even in a 3 gallon it's not so easy to keep a cycle. I think you'd be better off without the filter and with two water changes per week as TheCheese said.
Post a couple of pictures of him.
OrangeAugust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #4 
ripit
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Click on any image to enlarge. At the bottom of the picture you can click small. medium. large or original to see it bigger.

http://www.pbase.com/richardh/beta&page=all

It seems the grayness can very a lot depending on how it is photographed (and seems to change to a lesser extent pretty quickly as seen to the eye). All these pictures were taken right now. Look at some of the pics that have larger grey areas (with just a slight tint of red in them). When we got him, every bit of him including fins looked grey like that with some patchy slightly red tinted areas. He probably had about 10% of the color he has now. The last pic is of the entire tank.

What can I use as a heater for a 1 gal plastic tank? I have a 25 watt regular glass tube heater on the way already that was a warranty replacement (pretty big for that tank and I'm worried about it melting the plastic tank). If the heat issue is a long term comfort issue then a bigger glass tank with the 25 watt would be an option within the next few weeks. If it is a recovery and immediate health issue then I'll see what I can figure out but could use some suggestions.

As far as the filter, when he was first put in, he could swim around the tank, but if he got close to where the spray bar was going into the water he got pulled down a little (he was strong enough to swim out of it though). I turned the spray bar so that it was hitting the back of the tank instead of directly in the water and turned down the flow to minimum. He now seems to be able to swim around the back without any issues. I would prefer to keep the filter just to buffer any ammonia spikes. The plant should also help reduce ammonia and such.

Speaking of the plant, How much is good? I have tons of wisteria that could be taken from other tanks but it tends to grow like a weed anyway. I would like a decent amount in there as it consumes ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (and extremely heavily planted tank goes through little to no cycle when setup right away with fish). Would the fish like more or less though? I know in one of my tanks where about 1/3 of the tank is overgrown with it, the fish seem to love it and that tank is always perfectly clear and when getting the water tested it is always great despite the tank being a little overstocked (I plan on upgrading to something a little larger).


As far as changing water, don't those big water changes shock the fish? Wouldn't it be better to do smaller water changes more often? If I changed 2 cups per day, that would equate to close to 90% water changed out in a week? Also, is that much of a water change necessary with a filter and live plants that consume ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (in particular when the wisteria grows more unless a lot of plants would be a bad idea). Would 1 cup a day (maybe 44% a week) be enough? I am aware that small tanks don't stay cycled well but I would think the filter and plants would buffer spikes?

Last edited by ripit; 09-06-2012 at 10:49 AM.
ripit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 10:54 AM   #5 
MSG
Member
 
MSG's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Nice pictures

I can tell from the photos you're feeding too many pellets

There's 8 pellets in there that I can see, maybe 2 more behind the filter that are rotten.

My concerns with that tank are.....
  • Looks like 3 liter tank or smaller. Couldn't be a gallon.
  • The Fluval spray bar filter is too big for that tank.
  • No lid = might jump out one day and you'll come home to a piece of fish jerky.
  • His color loss is probably from the amount of water he's being sprayed with from the shower bar.
  • No place for him to take a break from the spray bar.
  • If your tank was 2x-3x longer that filter would be perfect.
  • Not much room for a heater in that tank.
  • You don't have enough gravel for one of those flat heat pads.
  1. You may want to get a bigger tank if possible.
  2. Unplug the filter for now & just do water changes.




Good luck.
MSG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 11:28 AM   #6 
ripit
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
I can tell from the photos you're feeding too many pellets

There's 8 pellets in there that I can see, maybe 2 more behind the filter that are rotten.

My concerns with that tank are.....
  • Looks like 3 liter tank or smaller. Couldn't be a gallon.
  • The Fluval spray bar filter is too big for that tank.
  • No lid = might jump out one day and you'll come home to a piece of fish jerky.
  • His color loss is probably from the amount of water he's being sprayed with from the shower bar.
  • No place for him to take a break from the spray bar.
  • If your tank was 2x-3x longer that filter would be perfect.
  • Not much room for a heater in that tank.
  • You don't have enough gravel for one of those flat heat pads.
  1. You may want to get a bigger tank if possible.
  2. Unplug the filter for now & just do water changes.




Good luck.
the tank (and light and filter) were sold as a kit that at least claims to be 1 gal. It's this one.
http://www.tomaquarium.com/prod_details.php?cat=27&p=52

I only bought it as an impulse purchase on sale dirt cheap (its not really big enough for most if any fish). I never liked that it had no lid and it has only been used so far as an emergency quarantine tank (I plan on getting a larger quarantine tank eventually). I bigger tank is quite doable if the fish can hold on a few weeks in this one (I would have probably done it anyway). A 3 gal glass tank should be able to use the heater I already have on the way.


The spray bar is removable. would running a small tube to the bottom of the tank help (since betas don't need the aeration from the filter splashing)?

Yea I need to lighten up on the food. I was trying to make sure plenty was available as it was so skinny. I imagine it will just take time.

So assuming that it gets a bigger tank within a few weeks, what can I do for it now beyond clean water, food and maybe some sort of makeshift heat? I guess thats about all that can be done?


@TheCheese909, thanks for the food recomendations. I have been looking for some New Life Spectrum flakes for my other fish so I can look for their betta pellets too. No luck so far locally so I may just have to mail order. He wouldn't touch brine shrimp (maybe his apatite will change after some recovery). He very much liked blood worms and the atlantis (sergeants) betta pellets though I have no idea if they are good quality.
ripit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #7 
Sapphoira
New Member
 
Sapphoira's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Maryland
From the water and the light and the lack of hidey holes stress could really be factor here as well, as others have noted.
Sapphoira is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 11:53 AM   #8 
OrangeAugust
Member
 
OrangeAugust's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Connecticut
Yeah, he should be okay in his current conditions for a couple of weeks until you get a larger tank.
OrangeAugust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 12:16 PM   #9 
ripit
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
I was already trying to think of something else to put in there as I read that they like hiding places. The only thing I have came up with for such a small tank (just thought of it) is a rock. I might have a small flat rock of suitable size that if I lean it against the back, it will give him something to go behind.
ripit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #10 
Sapphoira
New Member
 
Sapphoira's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Maryland
Quote:
Originally Posted by ripit View Post
I was already trying to think of something else to put in there as I read that they like hiding places. The only thing I have came up with for such a small tank (just thought of it) is a rock. I might have a small flat rock of suitable size that if I lean it against the back, it will give him something to go behind.
You can get foreground silk plants that are very small at petco, also the smallest size of terra cotta pot from any home improvement or gardening store. Floating betta logs are fairly small, I have one in my 2.5 g and it would probably fit at the top of a 1gal, and if the water from your filter were to fall on it instead of on the water it could kind of baffle the flow as well. You could also get a bunch of anacharis at petsmart or an aquarium store, it can be grown floating and until you get a bigger tank you could just float some for extra cover. Even some java moss/ java fern etc. A rock doesn't provide much hiding space, many bettas like to hide in the leaves of plants or go into small dark places, especially when stressed or sleeping. With that setup it's very likely he's not able to sleep very well - which can add to a weakened immune system and overall stress level.

also - anything you do put in there make sure to rinse off thoroughly (if you have bad tap water I would rinse things in treated water, you don't want ANYTHING adding to his stress)
Sapphoira is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A fine specimen of Marbledom Shadyr Betta Pictures 9 08-15-2012 12:16 PM
Beta water Little Wolf Betta Fish Care 3 01-27-2008 06:45 PM
water fot the beta tank?? Fishy_Lady Betta Fish Care 6 11-11-2007 04:07 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.