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Old 12-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #1 
Melodica's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Alabama, USA
Betta got stuck in filter

I'm fairly new to keeping fish. I bought a 5 gallon tank with the filter and hood, light and all that a couple of months ago and read up on how to begin a tank. I was at Walmart looking at some supplies and took a look at the bettas. One in particular kept swimming around and looking at me as if to say "take me home!" I know some people think you shouldn't buy fish from there, but I saw him and I couldn't resist.

Long story short, he's been living with me in his new tank for about three weeks now. This morning I got up and I couldn't find him! My boyfriend and I looked closer and saw that he was stuck to the bottom of the filter. Luckily he wasn't dead, but the large fin in the back is almost completely gone. Now he's kinda laying at the top on his side and seems to be breathing heavily. If you open the top or put a finger in the tank, he will react and swim around normally and look at you, but he won't eat.

I just want to know what his chances are and what I can do for him to help him heal. I've become very attached to the little guy. It would break my heart if he died. I've completed the information I saw on another thread.

What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None, just him

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tetra BettaMin, occasionally freeze dried blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish? A little of the BettaMin daily, the blood worms maybe once a week.


How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-30%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra BettaSafe

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

Ammonia: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His back fin is mostly gone
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Before he was happy and romping around, always swimming to the side when I came into the room, now he's lying at the top of the tank, sometimes on his side
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning after we got him out of the filter
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? We put some aquarium salt in it and a little more of the BettaSafe. I was also going to do a water change
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that I'm aware of - he seemed perfectly fine before this. Healthy appetite, very active
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have no idea

Thanks for any help or suggestions.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:42 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Make sure he has very clean water (I'd up your water changes to twice a week), and if you have stress coat and/or IAL available add that to the tank. Watch for signs of infection. If you don't already have a hammock near the surface for him, make or buy one.

It's hard to say what his chances are, it depends on how much it damaged him and how long he went without being able to come to the surface for air.

I always recommend against anything but air-driven bubble filters for bettas, these accidents are just too common. But if you can't afford that option be sure to baffle all of your filters and wrap them with pantyhose to make it harder for your fish to get stuck in them.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:17 PM   #3 
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It's a pity on the poor betta fish.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:31 PM   #4 
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Do you have a picture of the damage so that we can see how much of his fin is missing?

Just from what you've said, I'd say that a major reason he's lying on the bottom of the tank is pure stress. He was just sucked up by a filter! Like someone above me said, add a little stress coat (helps replace the slime coat that a fish loses when stressed) to the water; if the tank has had a recent water change, leave it be for now. You don't want to stress him any more. Crank the heat up to 80 degrees and add 1tsp of AS per gallon of water (predissolved).

If he's having a difficult time swimming, it might be best to take the filter out for now while he heals and consider replacing it with something a little less powerful in the long run.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:02 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Alabama, USA
I've included a picture. It's a pitiful sight. :(

He's been wandering around the top of the tank since we freed him from the filter. He's moving around a little more now, but whenever he tries to move far he ends up on his side, I'm guessing because of the loss of most of that fin, but it scares me.

We took the filter out immediately and I don't plan on putting it back in until he's recovered. I'm going to try the pantyhose trick when it is put back in.

I did a partial change earlier today and added aquarium salt. I haven't done a change since last weekend, so it really needed to be done today, especially without the filter in it, but I tried my best not to stress him more.

I just don't want him to suffer or anything. He's such a sweet little guy.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:19 AM   #6 
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Sorry this happened :( just want to add if you have live plants you can't use salt. Also you might want to add a prefilter to avoid a
Repeat. Bettas aren't good swimmers and I've seen this happen quite a bit
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:21 AM   #7 
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Location: Alabama, USA
My sweet boy passed away during the night. I wish there was more I could have done for him. Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions. If I ever decide to get another, I know what to do to avoid this.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:23 AM   #8 
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i am so sorry for your loss
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