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Old 10-21-2012, 09:40 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Betta very lethargic and not eating

My son got a Betta for his birthday We purchased at PetSmart, and they don't seem very helpful, we get a different answer about everything everytime we go in there. I am going to answer the questions here, and if anyone can help I would appreciate it. He is a red betta, and he has been very active until the last couple days. he has become very lethargic, and is not eating at all. He hangs out in his (plastic) plant and doesn't seem to want to swim around at all. he is hanging out at the bottom if he isn't in the plant. He is in a small tank, no filter, no heater, according to PetSmart employees that wasn't necessary, but I am beginning to wonder. Now that it is cooler in the house maybe it is affecting him. Please help!

What size is your tank? 0.5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? room temp, prob around 70 degrees?
Does your tank have a filter? no
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

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

How often do you perform a water change? 1x a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 80%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Betta plus tap water neutralizer

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? no
If so, what are the following parameters?

Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? doesn't fan out
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? lethargic, not eating, hanging out at the bottom
When did you start noticing the symptoms? yesterday (10/20/12)
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No i don't know what to do. i changed the water today, but haven't noticed any change
Does your fish have any history of being ill? we have only had him about a month and he has not been ill in that time
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have no idea
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:45 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: You tell me.
Get a heater immediately. Bettas are tropical and need 78 degree F water. Try to do water changes as often as possible. That tank is pretty small. I would upgrade to maybe a 2.5 gallon minimum (bout $30 at Petsmart). As for heaters I would go for a Marina 10 watt also at Petsmart.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:17 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Yes you need a heater and a bigger tank cause your size of tank would be hard to heat without over heating the water. Bettas are not going to be active in colder water and its not good for their health. Also for a tank your size you need way many more water changes then you are doing since ammonia will build up fast and that is poison to your fish. For a half a gallon you need to change the water and 100 percent of it if not everyday them every other day. Good luck !
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:54 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Red River, NM
Here is a helpful link on how often you should change the water in different size tanks. Keep in mind it DOES NOT have your tank size on it as most people here agree that 1 gallon is the absolute minimum for a betta:

Also, check for signs of illness - if you take a flashlight to your fish and notice any gold or rust colored film or dust looking stuff on your fish, he has velvet and needs medication. Also, if you notice any white patches, then he has ick and also needs medication. These parasite/diseases thrive in cold and dirty water, so a heater and very clean water are essential to help your fish recover.

I was naive about Bettas too and had mine in a half gallon, she got very sick and I almost lost her. I now have her in a 5 gallon with live plants, a filter, heater, and a pineapple home to hide in and she is extremely happy.

Last edited by sainthogan; 10-21-2012 at 10:55 PM. Reason: wrong link
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:07 AM   #5 
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He does have a small white patch on his back. what type of medicine is the most recommended for that and where should I get it. I am going today to see what I can find in the way of a larger tank with heater and filter. I wish I had researched rather than just taking an employees word for it. Thank you all for your help. Not sure how to post a pic, but I took a couple and will try shortly. Have to get the kiddos ready for school.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:13 AM   #6 
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Location: Calgary, AB
It sounds like your fish might have ich, most pet stores, but especially Petsmart, will have something for that. I find Petcetera to be extremely unhelpful because they weren't even carrying the most basic betta medication that I needed for treating my sick betta, Rocky. Luckily, I found it at Petsmart and am now treating him with it along with 75% water changes every other day. I'm thinking to also go try and find a 10W heater like the one's mentioned here, although our apartment stays pretty warm, even at night, people have recommended for me to get a heater. My poor little guy has a case of fin rot, and I'm trying my hardest to clear it up. He just got his second dose of Betta Fix today, hopefully he starts responding to the treatment and I can get him to eat again.
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