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Old 11-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2012
Betta not eating

Hi —

My betta Archie hasn't been eating for a couple of days. And I've just noticed that he just hangs out near his hammock at the top of the water column. He was pretty active, but nowadays, he's not moving as much, but I didn't really notice, since I get home after 6, and his light's not on (we switch his light to the blue LED around 5 to control algae growth).

He lives in a 5 gallon tank, and I've been adding 5 drops a day everyday of the Macro/Micro Nutrient fert from And every so often (maybe alternate days) I'd add some liquid CO2 via Flourish Excel.

I thought it might be the weather, so I raised the temp on his heater to 80ish (the theo heater has a dial that goes from 79 to 83, but in between are just dots). I also did a 50% water change. I checked the ammonia with a strip, and it's at the ideal level.

I've also noticed that some of the banana lilies' leaves are turning yellow, but I thought it was just natural that that happened.

Found some snails in there, probably hitchhikers from one of the plant packages I bought, but I don't think that hurt any, as they've been showing up for a couple of weeks now, and he's only been acting this way since Thursday or so.

I've only had him for about 8 months, bought him from Petco.

Let me know if this is cause for concern.

This is him hanging out on the hammock. He seems to be doing it more now than usual.

What size is your tank?
5 gallons
What temperature is your tank?
Approximately 79 degrees
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?

Snails that have tagged along one of the plant packages, plants

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Top Fin Betta pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Twice a day, about 3 pellets each. At least once a week, I'll skip a feeding or 2.

How often do you perform a water change?

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
50% o 75%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Stability, Prime, and I've been using drops of ferts, 5 drops a day. Stopped it now, though. I've used Algaefix or something like that for algae, but since I switched bulbs, haven't used it.

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

Not sure, but according to the strip, it's in the ideal level
Nitrite: Unknown
Alkalinity: Unknown

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?

Well, he's not moving around as much, so maybe his fins aren't as flowing/flowy.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?

He doesn't patrol the tank as much. He used to flare a bit, inspecting every inch of tank. Now he just hangs around, using the plants to support his tail or fins.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Thursday morning, when he wouldn't eat. He'd usually follow the cylinder of betta pellets when I'd show it to him, then eat the food almost immediately when they drop.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Haven't really. Just did a 50% water change.
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
No real history. Some of his fins might have curled a bit, but I read that might have been genetic.
How old is your fish (approximately)
He's only been with me for a little under 8 months, don't know how old he was when I got him from Petco

Last edited by Patr1ck; 11-03-2012 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:26 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Nothing really sticks out with your husbandry as far as a cause for the behavior change, other than maybe the algae fix chemical-some fish can have problems with it. The water movement can sometimes be a stress factor-especially with the Long heavy fin males.

As males mature its not uncommon for them to be less active, however, they usually will still eat and respond to you.

What I would recommend at this point, make some 50% water only changes for a couple of days and turn the filter off for awhile and see if that will perk him up and get him eating. Do ypu have access to live mosquito larva, if so, offer a few rinsed and see if that will stimulate his feeding response.

Since you have lots of active growing live plants-they can function as the filter and IMO/E filters are optional for this species-especially in planted tanks.

As for your algae issue-often this can be caused by the wrong lights and photoperiod. With planted tanks it all about balance-with the driving force being the lights-With the wrong color temp bulbs, old bulbs and photoperiod the plants can't use them for photosynthesis and no matter how much ferts you add the plant can't use it-but the algae can...

What kind of lights are you using, age of bulbs, kelvin, watts and photoperiod.

Lovely tank and Betta by the way....
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:54 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2012
Thanks for the recommendations.

I don't think it's the filter, though. I've had it on for all the time he's been in there, which is maybe 5 months. He seems to enjoy it. He used to dart around under the water current, almost like he was body-surfing underneath it. When the novelty of it wore off, he'd just hang out near it at times. I saw him this morning, on one of the plants, facing the filter. Just chilling.

The light is now a 15W Coralife full-spectrum bulb. I have a Finnex cliplight that was 25W, and that really seemed to make him active in the morning. He'd start patrolling, and flaring all around the tank.

I'll do a 50% water change. Don't have access to mosquito larvae, but I do have frozen bloodworms. I'll thaw a cube and see if he'll eat that in the morning.

By the way, he seems even less active now. He hasn't really moved from the position I took the picture of this morning. It's kinda sad, even when I change lights (just to see if that'd perk him up), he didn't even swim around.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2012

I turned off the filer as an experiment yesterday. This is with the 50% water change. I checked in on Archie afterwards, and he had changed positions and was looking (forlornly, I thought) at where the water outtake would have been coming from. He stayed that way most of the night and this morning. I turned the filter back on, at its lowest setting (it's kinda hard to adjust it exactly, because you just have to judge by the water flow). He's been marginally more active than Friday or yesterday, but still hasn't eaten. When I say marginally, of course, that just means he hangs out at different spots in the tank, and not just on the hammock under the shade of the lily pad.

I'm thawing out a cube of frozen bloodworm for a feed tonight, but I don't have high hopes for a bite.

I e-mailed the fertilizer people, and they say they've never had a prob., but then they think this is the smallest tank that they've heard of using their product. They recommended alternating days of dosing or 3 times a week. I've stopped dosing altogether right now, and will see if things improve.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:48 PM   #5 
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Look how pale he's gotten.

Especially the bottom half of the body.He used to be a lot richer red.

And now, he hangs out at the bottom, sometimes at a weird angle (nose down, tail higher up) and he seems to be struggling to get up for air, at least it seems that way. He takes a little longer to go up to the surface.

Is there anything I can do? How long does he have? It's really saddening to see him deteriorate. And it happened so quickly.
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