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Old 12-30-2012, 04:47 PM   #1 
Ganymede
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Excessive flaring/Lethargy

First Drift gets sbd and a fungal infection, and now this :l

Jazz is the newest betta, and ever since I got him he's been acting odd. When the tank light is on he'll start flaring at the back wall (which I have since covered with dark paper). As in, constantly flaring, with no breaks. When the light is off he suddenly becomes extremely lethargic and stays in one spot, not moving even with gentle prodding from a net.

He's also having eating issues - he'll swallow a pellet, chew for a second, then spit it out and repeat the process two or three more times before just leaving it. If I crush the pellets before letting him have it, he'll only eat the pieces that drop and even then he spits most of them out.

Quote:
Housing
What size is your tank? - 10g, separated into two 5g areas
What temperature is your tank? - 77*f
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? - In Jazz's section there's a juvenile bristlenose plecostomus; in the other section there's another betta and a black mystery snail.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? - New Life Spectrum pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? - Twice a day, three pellets each

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? - Twice a week (due to the waste from the pleco and snail)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? - 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? - StressCoat+, plant fertiliser, and a small amount of calcium supplement for the snail

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: The pad turned brown, which isn't on the chart. I did just perform a water change about two hours ago, however.
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.5
Hardness: 75-150
Alkalinity: 180

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - He's a marble, so he's just gotten more blue and yellow on his fins and body. He has torn his fins in a few places, however.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - He'll switch from constantly flaring to being extremely lethargic and unwilling to eat depending on whether or not the tank lights are on.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - It started the day after I bought him, on the 26th.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - I've not started treatment yet, as I don't know what's wrong and my only qt tank is occupied by another betta.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - Unknown. He was one of the few bettas left in the store after the christmas rush, but he was the most active and healthy-looking.
How old is your fish (approximately)? - Judging by his size, I'd say more than 3-4 months old.
Any ideas?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:00 PM   #2 
callistra
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Hey again.. sorry for more trouble.. Didn't the other one have issues with eating as well? How's the other one doing?

Are you not using a drops kit to test for ammonia etc? You said pad so it sounds like you're using strips? These are notoriously inaccurate. Highly suggest getting a good drops kit, however it sounds like your water changes should be ok... I still have to wonder about something getting into the tank since you have a history of bettas perking up out of the tank and then falling back sick once you reintroduce.. The pattern would just be kind odd for a coincidence

First thing I notice is the flaring issue.. he may just have serious adrenal exhaustion from all that flaring. Too much flaring is unhealthy. Have you tried covering the back with some opaque non reflective paper? I find a pattern of some kind works best.. something so he can't see himself and flare.. Being so lethargic that you can even tap him with the net.. kinda scary..

Honestly, I'd get him out too and do the same thing for him you did for the other... but at the same time I'd be looking around for Kanplex by seachem. I wouldn't treat just yet though.. see if the new water and epsoms perk him up like they did for the other one.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:09 PM   #3 
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Drift's doing great, actually. The infection is receding and he's eating normally now, but I'm going to keep him in treatment for at least another week to make sure the swb is really gone.

Everything but the ammonia was a 5n1 test strip; the ammonia was tested via putting a special pad in a sample of the tank water and then waiting 3 minutes. As far as I know neither of the pet stores in my area carry drop kits. There is a fish speciality store way out in a nearby city that I've been meaning to get to, so they might have something.

Jazz is in a different tank than the one Drift's in. Before Jazz the other betta, snail, and pleco were the only inhabitants and none of them ever had any problems (except for nippy tetras, but a neighbour took those when they got too aggressive).

The back of the tank has a picture of a great white breaching on it. He flares at that, but he's also flared at regular white paper, dark paper, and nothing at all. Maybe he just really hates the back tank wall? :l

Unfortunately with Drift in qt I'm out of spare tanks. Is it possible for me to use a large plastic bin or one of the buckets I use for tank changes?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #4 
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Hmm I see.. well..

So the other betta he's living with is acting fine? Then I'd say the tank is fine.

He must see something on the back of the tank wall he doesn't like. There's nothing but a wall behind the tank? No mirror anywhere? I'm guessing it's his reflection against the glass. Finding some way for him to stop seeing it and feel more protected is important if he's getting that bent out of shape. What kind of paper do you use? I have had good results with card stock and construction type paper. The aquarium scape backdrop things tend to make things worse in my experience because of what they're made of makes it almost more reflective. You may also try plastering the back wall with plants so that's all he can see back there.

Plants love epsoms so treating him in the tank for that reason wouldn't be an issue. However, I have no idea how well snails or Pecos tolerate it..

Some people use plastic bins successfully for bettas, but I've always been too scared to because I've seen chem lab tests which show how much plastic can actually leach from those. I've seen bettas take totally nose dives after being placed in some. Some are a lot better than others but you just don't know with what you got until you try.. so I just can't feel comfortable with recommending that even though I know some people do use them. Finding some way to be able to get him away from the stressful wall and into epsoms feels pretty important right now though.. use your best judgement. I'd definitely not use anything that has a strong plastic smell or that's ever touched soap.

Last edited by callistra; 12-30-2012 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:22 PM   #5 
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I'll see if we have any cardstock in the house and cover both the tank and the back wall with it, then. The shark picture is on thick, matte paper, but maybe the shark's disturbing him.

If I need to treat him in the tank then I can probably move the snail and pleco to Drift's currently-unoccupied half of the other tank.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #6 
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That's an idea. The epsoms shouldn't hurt the other betta. Just make sure to acclimate them really well in case the water is different at all..

Just be aware that if you do treat him in the tank with epsoms, while it won't disturb your bb supply or hurt your plants at all, the only way to get the epoms out is a full water change.. they don't evaporate and the filter won't pull them out.

Last edited by callistra; 12-30-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:41 PM   #7 
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Well, good news on the Jazz front - he's started eating now, with real enthusiasm. He's even started to come up to greet me at feeding time like the other three.

I placed a plain cardboard sheet behind the tank, but he was still flaring. I figured it had something to do with the lights, so I removed the light from his half of the aquarium and now he's acting like the other three fish. No more lethargy, either; he's taken to exploring and trying to peek at Tailgate through the divider (no flaring, though).

I guess the lights aggravated him somehow? The others are all fine with light and since the only plant in that tank is on Tailgate's side, I'm okay with leaving him in the dark for the moment.

If he does begin to flare again, I'm getting another small tank and treating him.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:48 AM   #8 
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So glad he's doing better! Bettas have different personalities.. I guess your guy really can't deal with seeing his reflection. You can also try getting lots of silk plants and plastering that back wall so it's all he can see. Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:02 AM   #9 
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I would actually stop the treatment, the fish is doing what Bettas do naturally and that is protect it's area from other males, flaring to excess tires them out very quickly, they go through a chemical change in their bodies, flaring and showing brighter colors is also a way of attracting females.
Your betta has more than likely reaching sexual maturity and as yet does not know how to handle it and is flaring to any movement it see's reflected in it's tank, if he can see himself he will attack the image seen, has he shown any attempts to attack or charge at the back of the tank? if not he will calm down as he gets older.
Hope this helps
Mandy Marine Biologist/vet
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