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Old 11-18-2012, 06:58 PM   #1 
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Unhappy Newbies! Sick? Dying? Anything? Nothing?

Our first fish: two Betta, both in small (1/2 gallon?), filtered tanks, aquarium gravel on bottom; fake plant in one, pirate in the other.

Have had for about 26 hours.

Prep: washed out tanks, filled with aerated, luke-warm water, let sit for a day, conditioned, ran filter for a few hours, added fish with most of water he came with.

Result: initially, life as expected, but after 1/2 hour or so, inactivity.

"Lazer", my son's, doesn't have us too worried. He looks OK. He occasionlly drifts and swims back to what is looking to be his favorite spot - along the glass, near the surface.

"Pandora", on the other hand, doesn't look as well. He would be better described as lethargic, lies on the bottom, seems labored in his breathing (greater gill activity, gill innards very visible) with stringy-looking discharge (?) rising from his gills.

We are completely new to fish. Is Pandora adapting? Sick? Dying? Anything we can/should do?
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:51 PM   #2 
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Location: Red River, NM
Are the tanks heated? They are tropical fish and need warm water in the range of 76 to 82 degrees. Room temperature water will compromise their immune system and if they were sick before you got them - as it sounds Pandora possible was, they will deteriorate very quickly in cold water. Also 1/2 gallons are too small for any fish. The general rule for any type of fish is 1 gallon for every inch of fish, so if your fish is 1 1/2 inches long, you should have a minimum of a 1.5 gallon tank. Larger tanks are easier to maintain, keep clean and heat. If you keep your guys in half gallon tanks, even if they are filtered, you are going to need to do a minimum of 4 100% water changes a week, daily if they are sick.
Start by getting a heater and heat up the water slowly until the water reaches 80.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #3 
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Agh! Fish store told us 65*-75*. Don't have heaters, and it is 9:30 pm on Sun. With school, work, and figure skating practice, won't get a heater in for another 24 hours. Any interim solutions?

And we'll look into bigger tanks, too. I have found that these tanks are actually a gallon each, but these fish are definitely bigger than an inch. The kids will definitely like the extra room for more decor (unless that's not a good idea).

Thank you for the advice!
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:52 PM   #4 
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Maybe use a desk lamp over the surface to heat until tomorrow.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:07 PM   #5 
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Thank you! I will try it.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:31 PM   #6 
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Decor is great. Bettas love places to hide, so lots of plants and hidey holes are perfect. When you get any decoration, make sure it passes the pantyhose test. If any part of it causes the pantyhose to snag, it's too sharp for your Bettas fins. This is especially the case with plastic plants, they tend to have a lot of jagged and sharp edges on them that will cause Bettas fins to tear and rip.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #7 
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1 gallon tanks are reasonable, in my opinion. It's when you get below a gallon that there are issues. However, if they aren't filtered you may have trouble maintaining water quality. If you do enough water changes however, you should be fine. I have a 2.5 gallon filtered tank with a submersible preset heater (preset to 78*) and it works out perfectly for me. The inactivity might be due to cold water. Try putting in heaters to see if that increases their activity level. Also, I would recommend getting a liquid test kit so you can monitor your ammonia levels. You want to make sure they don't reach toxic levels in such a small tank, as that will kill your fish.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:30 PM   #8 
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When you added them to the tanks, did you slowly add them - like did you add a little of the tank water to their cup or bag, wait a few minutes and add a little more? It sound slike you had the water ready for awhile but then just added the fish without letting them adjust to the new water.

pandora sounds like he may be sick, which is pretty common, sadly Most of it stems from poor petshop care.

As long as the temp dosen't get TOO cold - like much below 68. they should be OK for 24 hours. I used to live in Alaska and even with a heater the water dropped to 65 in winter which is NOT good for them.

If the tanks are a gallon - that is fine as long as you do 2 weekly water changes. One water change needs to be 100% water change and cleaning out the gravel to remove poop/debris and the other is just removing 50% of the water. However, if you can get them into something larger - they will have more room to swim, more room for decor. You can get a filter, but in my opinion, it's more trouble then it's worth. The current is most likely going to be too strong, and you still need to do the same amount of water changes. However if you go with a 5 gallon tank or larger then you can cycle the tank which in the long run is less water changes for you and safer for the fish. If you don't know about the nitrogen cycle, you should read up on it as it can br deadly to the fish if you don't know what you are doing. I learned that lesson the hard way

As for pandora - you should post someting about him in the disease section. There is a a form in one of those stickies in that section - fill it out as best you can. He should not have a stringy discharge from his gills and the labored breating is worrysome as well. Keep him in a dark, quiet area for now. Maybe put a towel over his tank?

I don't suppose you have aquarium salt (NOT Table salt)? It's supposed to help their gills somehow. If you do have it, add 1 teaspoon per gallon to his tank. Make sure its disolved before adding it to the tank and do ot use it for more then 10-14 days.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 11-18-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:04 AM   #9 
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The aquarium salt helps oxygenate thereby aiding with their labored breathing.
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