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Old 12-11-2012, 12:48 AM   #1 
trueblu8
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Sick new betta jumped ship...

What can you feed a betta when you're trying to nurse him back to health? I have a betta that I recently rescued from Petsmart that wouldn't eat pellets. I should've known it was a bad sign when I saw 4 uneaten pellets in his cup but I still brought him home. Well I got him in some fresh water but he still wouldn't touch a pellet when I gave it to him so I started hand feeding him frozen bloodworms one at a time. He ate them. Anyhow the next day I think it was when I went for a nap and when I got back I found he had jumped ship and was on the floor covered in dust. I immediately brought him to the bathroom and under a steady stream of lukewarm water tried to get as much dust off him as possible. For the first day he was breathing rather heavily. More alarming was that he would no longer eat bloodworms. Luckily I got him to eat some frozen brine shrimp that I fed him one by one. Even a few of those he would spit out. Now he's not eating again. I don't know what to do. He seems to be on the verge of being able to make a recovery but won't eat again. What can I do to get him to eat?

I have just read about keeping the temps up and adding salt. Will that help with his appetite? I've got him in one of those plastic containers they give you at Chinese restaurants when you order a large soup. I have been debating whether to throw him into one of my tanks. I haven't done so yet because I wasn't sure if this would stress him out further and make feeding more difficult.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:04 AM   #2 
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How long does he go between eating? and how often are you trying to feed him? How long have you had him?

Sometimes it takes a while for betta's to get used to their new surroundings. They can survive up to three weeks without eating. I bet he probably wasnt used to being fed every day at petsmart either, generally speaking they dont take the best care of their betta's.

If he's otherwise active and healthy looking I'd just take it as a sign that he still needs to get used to his new home. And if he is acting normal I would go ahead and stick him into a tank as long as it isnt shared (just in case he really is sick)
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:17 AM   #3 
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I'm lucky if I can get him to eat one or two brine shrimp a day now since he jumped ship. Before he was at least eating a few blood worms. I try to feed him a couple times a day. I've had him for about four or five days now. He has lost a portion of his tail that I guess got dried out or damaged by dust before I was able to rescue him. He's looking pretty weak. I know he needs to eat more substantially if he is to survive.

I do have a ten gallon with just a couple shrimp in it that I can put him in. I'm just worried that it may shock him or that it will be harder for me to feed him in there.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:47 AM   #4 
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If you are worried I would leave him where he is.
I honestly think he is still getting used to his new surroundings. I've had a few that take over a week to eat anything after they arrive at my house. You are atleast able to get him to eat a little which is good.
I wouldnt worry too much unless he stops eating at all for over a week.
Someone else might give better advice, but IME this is nothing to worry about, some fish just have less appetite than others. I have a blue CT that wouldnt eat at all for a week when I got him and now, a month later, still only eats maybe a pellet a day, one or two times a week he'll eat maybe 3-4, he's otherwise active and acts just fine
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:56 AM   #5 
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Thanks for the excellent advice.

Should I be doing anything else for disease prevention considering the weakened state he's in besides changing the water? I have thought about adding a drop of methylene blue or some salt. Do you think it's necessary?

He does have a little white line along one of his eyes. I don't know if it could be fungus or what. I don't remember if it was there before. It might be nothing. I will try to post some pics tomorrow.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:34 AM   #6 
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Just found this thread which seems to be relevant. Here is a post from it.

"He probably just starved himself to death. Bettas don't need much acclimation. IMHO, he didn't eat because of the strange foods and tank size. Most Bettas are imported from Southeast Asia where they were raised in ponds mostly eating live foods. Sometimes, they wouldn't even eat the frozen blood worms. When the tank is too big and the fish doesn't know what to look for, it'll be harder to get him acquainted to the new foods. When the fish won't eat, you should keep him in a smaller container where he can easily see the food all the time. After he got used to the foods and to you feeding him, you can move him into the big tank. Then he'll also associate you with food and when he sees you he'll just come right up to eat. We've had problem like yours and this has worked for us."

Also something I just realized. He did like some live brine shrimp that I gave him the other day so I think I will get some more of those tomorrow and see how he does with them. I might try the soaking of a pellet in garlic oil as well.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:12 AM   #7 
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Well somewhat good news. He did eat a blood worm this morning, but no more than that, just a single blood worm. I think I will still pick him up the live brine shrimp later though. This guy is one picky eater. I'm hoping that if I am able to nurse him back to health he won't be so picky anymore. Poor guy he's been through a lot.

Holy smokes he went for another blood worm. Yes.

And now he went for a third one. I'm ecstatic.

Last edited by trueblu8; 12-11-2012 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:34 AM   #8 
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Wow. A fourth one.

Looks like he's on the road to recovery. What a resilient fish.

Five? This is getting a bit ridiculous now. I don't want to overfeed him so I'm cutting him off till later. Lol.

Last edited by trueblu8; 12-11-2012 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:47 AM   #9 
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See! I told you its nothing to worry about. Well it shouldn't be anything if he's ate 5 blood worms.
That first reply you posted does have a little relevance to it. But everyone on this site has differing opinions. It's not like there is only 1 way to raise and care for a betta.
I'm glad he's eating. If he keeps it up I'd try pellets again in a day or two, and soaking them in garlic juice if he refuses to eat plain ones
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:11 PM   #10 
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If he's picky on pellets try New Life Spectrum Betta. It has garlic and they tend to be good even for picky eaters. Garlic juice soak works too but it can leach nutrients so it's not the best choice long-term.

I'd be careful and relax on the blood worm feeding a bit.. If he's been fasting a long time that must protein in his diet all of a sudden could be a shock to his system. You don't want him to end up constipated.
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