Hey guys, I want to apologize in advance for the long post. First of all I'm new to this forum and also new to keeping a fish the RIGHT way, so please forgive me if this is in the wrong place or if I say something stupid, but I think I really need your help right now. Now I know that I haven't been taking good care of my fish at all, and I'm worried that he's getting sick and I really want to turn over a new leaf and make things better for him.
I don't even know where to start. I got Blue this past June and he seemed perfectly healthy when I got him. I put him in this tiny little square bowl that probably only holds a few cups of water, having heard that bettas can live fine in bowls like that. The tank was tiny, of course I had no heater, I didn't know to put conditioner in it (I used filtered tap water), and worst of all I would only change the water once every few weeks. I didn't even know I was doing anthing wrong, because he never showed any signs of sickness or anything and he always had an excellent appetite, but he didn't move around all that much, which I thought just might have been a personality thing. All was well in my mind until last week, about January 7th, when I got home from being out of town and noticed that he hadn't eaten the food my relatives had put in for him (about 4 pellets). I tried again that night and he wasn't interested at all which worried me seeing as he usually gobbles it up, and I noticed that his dorsal fin seemed smaller. Well that inspired me to look on this site, and this is where I found out that I need to save poor little Blue from myself. I looked around on here for a while, and I went and got an Aqueon 2.5 gallon Mini Bow, a thermometer, heater for the tank, and water conditioner, and I've started trying to cycle the tank with the crappy food it came with. As for Blue, I realized that he was probably freezing in about 69 degree water, so I put my nuclear hot desk lamp close to his bowl (ugh, hate that word now.) and covered it so he could get some heat. he warmed up and began eating again, and I thought he was mostly okay, except that I didn't know what to do about his fin, which I'm afraid is fin rot. He seemed better until last night when he started acting very restless after I changed his water 50%, he was swimming aroung one wall and going sideways and stuff really fast. I thought the temp change might have stressed him out (I think he had some faint stress stripes) so I turned the lamp off. I'm worried that he is going to get sick from stress or his fin rot or something, and I also noticed he looks a little pale and just a few of his scales have lightened in color.
I mostly came to ask what you guys think I should do now. Should I let the big tank cycle first, and keep him in the bowl until it does? Should I go ahead and put him in the big tank? Should I treat him for fin rot now in his little one, and how? What can I do for his stress? Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to help him and not risk hurting him anymore. I'll try to post some pics of his current bowl and his bum fin, but please bear with me if I do it wrong
Again, I'm so sorry for the long post. Please tell me anything you think I can do for Blue, and ask anything you need. Thank you so much for reading, and I also hope this can maybe be a lesson to future newbies so they don't make the same mistakes I did
Pics (If I did it right) are his bowl, then him flaring (notice the tiny fin), then a better picture of his bad fin.
Hmmm...others will be along shortly with more help than I can give, but he should probably be going into the bigger tank as soon as possible. I wouldn't really worry about cycling right now...you can do frequent water changes to keep the tank water fresh. Just make sure the water is clean(remove that fish food water) and warm(plug in your heater), and acclimate the fish slowly...which means you add a bit of tank water to the square thing every 10 mins or so for an hour or more. Then you take the fish out and put it in the tank. Do not transfer the water from the square to the tank.
BUT...IDK if you'll need to treat him with anything for fin rot. Rot will sometimes clear on its own in clean, warm water though. Do you have decorations/plants/whatever so your fish will feel safe in the new tank? Going from small to larger can be stressful!
EDIT: ALWAYS use dechlorinator in the water you use. When you change the water in the tank, treat it first.
Last edited by bethyMT; 01-14-2013 at 05:34 PM.
Reason: One more thing
You will have a touble cycling and maintaining a cycle on a 2.5g so put him in!
Don't beat yourself up about it, we all started somewhere. What matters is that you are making progress in improving his life.
I think the reason he was spazzing in the bowl with the heat desk lamp is because bettas so not like a lot of direct light. They come from, and are therefore partial to, shadows and tanned water (which is why I highly recommend going on ebay and buying Indian Almond Leaves)
Adapt him slowly to the 2.5 by floating him in a cup and slowly adding new tank water every 5 minutes for 15 minutes (or longer. I always do 15 mins). Plug the heater in and -if it is adjustable- start with a lower temp first and in a few hours or tomorrow, increase the temp.
Good luck!! (ps, I love your boy, he looks like my first hobby betta Lakitu)
I would forego the cycling part with the 2.5 gallon as it will be a difficult process to cycle anything under 5 gallons. A cycled tank is not necessary, just preferred by some. You can always adhere to a good water change schedule, which is just as good.
For right now, I think the best therapy would just be some warm clean, treated water for the little guy. As recommended above, I would get him some decor and some silk plants to give him something to explore. Please be careful not to get anything sharp or use plastic plants as they can snag fins and make matters worse.
Please keep us updated on his condition and if you can manage a few more pics, we might be able to determine whether or not more aggressive treatment will be needed. I have added below a link for a water change schedule that you should find useful.
I'd second the advice about moving him to the new tank ASAP. Apparently, from what I've read on here, it's quite difficult to establish a cycle in a tank of that size, so you might be better off transferring him immediately, and just keeping up with water changes.
As said above, you need to condition any water your fish will be in prior to him being in it, and he needs warmth.
The possibility of fin rot and treatment suggestions, which others will have advice for much better than I can give, may mean you don't transfer him to the bigger home yet, though I'd go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps it'd be best for him to be in a tank with reliable heating, even if it does mean inconvenience for you, having to change a larger quantity of water more frequently.
If you do end up moving him, make sure you acclimate him to the new tank carefully and slowly, not just dump him in there. bethyMT already covered all that though.
Oh my gosh, thank you all so much, you guys just made my week!
Sorry it took so long to respond, our power went out. Anyways, I don't have any plants or anything other than some gravel in the bottom of the new tank right now, but other than that it's heated, dechlorinated and ready. I took the lamp away from him several hours ago and I just checked on him, and he seems to have settled down a lot. Should I wait until I get some things for him to hide in? (probably tomorrow, its storming and dark and I'm not a good driver lol) And how often should I change the water in the big tank once I get him in? If you need some more pics I can try to get a few, too.
Sorry just saw the cleaning schedule Rosso posted, ignore that part
Also, the heater I have is a 7.5 watt but it isn't adjustable, right now it has the tank at about 76 degrees while this room's air temp is about 69, and I'm planning to get an adjustable heater and some plants that I hope he won't get caught on.
As for decor, you can do it kitchen-style...a clean, soap-free coffee cup on its side and a dessert plate propped up on the side of the tank to make a cave. A few plates and one cup should be enough until you can get other things that are perhaps less ghetto. I have done this many times.
Water changes...hmm...I think the rule is one 50% change and one 100% change each week? IDK for sure, I cycle all my tanks because they're bigger. Make sure the water is the same temp. when you add fresh.
Also, be careful until then with the lamp...although it was too bright, the fish needs something to keep him warm until you get him in the bigger tank. Make sure he doesn't get too cold! The temperature fluctuations really do a number on fish who are already stressed.
You are gonna be just fine. I can tell. Welcome to enlightened bettakeeping!
Ok, that helps a ton, thanks! I've seen some people say that it's bad if the cups have ever had any kind of soap on them, so if that's true I guess I'll have to wait, but if it's ok, I'll rinse some off and get to work
Also with the lamp, I have figured out a way to cover it completely with cloth so that it still gives off heat but not light, and if I can't transfer him tonight I'll do that.
Again, thank you all so much for your help, you have no idea how much I appreciate it and I'm sure Blue does too!