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Old 11-30-2012, 08:16 PM   #1 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Exclamation New betta - erratic swimming, stress stripes

This is a NEW fish. I was at [Petstore] last night. Many bettas were in dark blue water. I asked an employee about this. She took the cup out of my hand, dumped the blue stuff into a bucket, plopped the cup into a nearby fish tank to fill it, and handed me back the cup.

The fish had turned very pale, with dark stress lines, and was gasping and shivering. I decided I didn't care what he looked like, and brought him home. He had stress stripes last night. Around 2am, he was looking better, and was investigating his surroundings. This morning, he looked even better, and had turned a nice blue-and-red color.


Around 6pm tonight, I moved him to his new 3 gal tank. Now, at 9pm, I'm noticing "changes" that concern me.


Housing
What size is your tank? Last night, he was in a 1 gal tank. About three hours ago, I put him into a new 3 gal critter keeper.
What temperature is your tank? Since bringing him home last night, water temp (in both 1gal and 3 gal tanks) has been steady at 80F.
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes - temp has been constant at 80F.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? He is new. I gave him an Aqueon Betta Pellet tonight. He grabbed it, chewed it, and spit it out.
How often do you feed your betta fish? N/A - only got him last night.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? New water yesterday, since who knows what was in that cup! New water again today, when I moved him into his 3 gal tank.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% was done last night, and 100% again this evening.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Gills are extended/opened more than 'normal,' but not as wide as if he was flaring. Rapid breathing. Pale head. Stress stripes.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Swimming is erratic. (Quick, jerky movements forward. Stop and scull in place. Repeat.) He doesn't look like he's having trouble staying down though. It's just fast-forward, stop, fast-forward.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Last night at the petstore. It seemed to get better. But there are new issues occurring after placing him in his new tank.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Have not done anything yet. (Also, I don't have aquarium salt on hand. If salt is needed, would I be able to use non-iodized salt?... I do have Epsom salt, if that's needed.)
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Don't know.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Don't know. But he's smaller than my other two.

Thank you for any advice you can give me! He's a really pretty fish, and I'm hoping he'll be OK!
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:18 PM   #2 
ChoclateBetta
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Ammonia Poisoning.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:20 PM   #3 
ChoclateBetta
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Could stress from pet store.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:35 PM   #4 
AyalaCookiejar
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How did you adjust him to his new tank water? Sometimes your tap waters PH will be different than the water at the pet store. They can adjust to it but it has to be gradually. It could also be ammonia... but the 100% changes will most likely have fixed that.

It could just be stress. Darting randomly is a common symptom of velvet or external parasites. Does it seem like he is 'rubbing' against anything?
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:51 PM   #5 
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Originally Posted by AyalaCookiejar View Post
How did you adjust him to his new tank water? Sometimes your tap waters PH will be different than the water at the pet store. They can adjust to it but it has to be gradually. It could also be ammonia... but the 100% changes will most likely have fixed that.

It could just be stress. Darting randomly is a common symptom of velvet or external parasites. Does it seem like he is 'rubbing' against anything?
I acclimated him to the 1 gal last night, over a period of about 30 minutes. I keep a supply of treated water on hand, and I used that for his 1 gal tank and the acclimation process. (It's the same water that I use for my other 2 bettas, and all three came from the same petstore.) I figured that since the employee had already done an impromptu 100% water change, that acclimating the temperature was more important than the water chemistry.

When I put him into the new 3 gal tank this evening, I just used more of the same on-hand supply of water, and made sure it was the same temp as his 1 gal. I let him float in a cup a bit, then put him into the new tank. I figured that that water in both tanks was from the same place, and it was the same temp, so it shouldn't pose a major shock to his system.

He doesn't appear to be rubbing against anything. It's almost like he's having little seizures. He stares into space, then 'twitches' and fast-forwards, then repeats the process.

I'm HOPING it's just the stress of last night's petstore incident followed by the stress of being in yet another new tank, that's causing this.

I'm thinking that maybe I should have just left him in the 1 gal tank for another day. But I didn't want to risk having ammonia build up in there, so I moved him to his new tank.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 11-30-2012 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:00 PM   #6 
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It may be a little bit of stress from being moved to a new tank, which should subside after a while. My new fish sometimes swims erratically because he is pretty aggressive and is claiming his territory in his new tank.

If it is velvet, there would be what looks like dust on his body that may be a rusty color. Shining a light on it would make him look like he has gold speckles, most of the time. It usually starts near the head and gills. The only other external parasite I know of is ich which looks like white specks on the body. They seem to be the most common cause of darting or erratic swimming.

If you do not see any of the above signs, then do not worry. Just make sure you watch for them. He may calm down if it's nothing serious, which is very possible.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:04 PM   #7 
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Yeah it is difficult to tell at this point if it's anything besides stress. He could just be freaked out by the new environment or seeing his reflection. Who knows what kind of malteatment he endured before - he might be terrified of humans because of past experiences and think they're monsters. So the handling on your end could be scary for him. He probably just needs some time to realize you're the nice person who feeds him.

To keep him calm, I would give him dark and quiet for the next couple of days as much as possible. And maybe hang out near the tank so he can observe you without you looking at him. He'll have to get used to you eventually.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:19 PM   #8 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Yeah it is difficult to tell at this point if it's anything besides stress. He could just be freaked out by the new environment or seeing his reflection. Who knows what kind of malteatment he endured before - he might be terrified of humans because of past experiences and think they're monsters. So the handling on your end could be scary for him. He probably just needs some time to realize you're the nice person who feeds him.

To keep him calm, I would give him dark and quiet for the next couple of days as much as possible. And maybe hang out near the tank so he can observe you without you looking at him. He'll have to get used to you eventually.
No gold speckles when I used the flashlight on him. No white spots that I can see.....

So maybe I'm just freaking out about him while he's freaking out about his new environment? (We're going to be a perfect match, if that's the case. LOL)

I've turned the overhead light off in the room, and I'm sitting at the computer which is across the room from him -- so now we can keep an eye on one another. LOL
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #9 
AyalaCookiejar
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If he has a light in his tank he may be able to see his reflection. Both of my bettas are sort of erratic swimmers. Ones just aggressive and one is always excited to see me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:27 PM   #10 
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Originally Posted by LittleBlueFishlets View Post
.

So maybe I'm just freaking out about him while he's freaking out about his new environment? (We're going to be a perfect match, if that's the case. LOL)

I've turned the overhead light off in the room, and I'm sitting at the computer which is across the room from him -- so now we can keep an eye on one another. LOL
XD Sounds like you're doing everything possible. Giving him lots of cover and hiding spots will help him feel secure too. I'm sure by this time next week he'll be very happy every time you come in the room!
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