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Old 01-05-2013, 09:35 PM   #1 
Demysta
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A very sudden and concerning change in my betta's behaviour?

My little fish Alpha is at it again with his second illness. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had finished treating Alpha for fin rot and had cured him of it and encouraged some fin growth in him. Until today, he had been a very happy and healthy fish who was always attentive and eager to do a trick or two for some food. Well, just a few days ago I had to transport him back to my apartment (I brought him back to my hometown for the holidays so I could care for him), and on Wednesday I had brought him back to my apartment and put him successfully back into his tank. I had redecorated his tank and decked it with silk plants and a new decoration so he could hide more easily and have a more natural looking home. For the first hour, he was very stressed, but he had immediately perked up and fallen in love with his new home.
This morning when I woke up, he was like a totally different fish. Usually when I approach his tank, he takes notice immediately and swims up to me to beg for food, but today he took no notice of me at all. Since this morning, he has barely moved from one large red plant he likes to sleep on, and it seems like he can't see me anymore. I approach the tank, and he doesn't move an inch or even look in my direction. I dropped food for him, but he hasn't even touched any of it or looks like he can see any of it. He wasn't like this at all yesterday and I really don't know whats up with him. He's been very lethargic and when he swims, its like he swims in a circle without really seeing where he's going.

Here's some more info for you guys:

Housing
What size is your tank? 4 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 76
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
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Dried bloodworms as a treat, and frozen carnivore fish food as a staple
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Once every 5-7 days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Nutrafin aquaplus water conditioner

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, doesn't take notice of me or food dropped into the tank, doesn't seem like he sees very well
When did you start noticing the symptoms? this morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, he's had fin rot
How old is your fish (approximately)? taking into account he was probably a few months old at the pet shop, I'd say 7-8 months?


Any idea whats up? I'm afraid he could possibly be falling ill from something
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:45 PM   #2 
callistra
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So he's been back in the tank since Wed.. so he was fine Thursday and Friday?

How come the tank is so cool? 78-80 is ideal. He's on the chilly side. How are you monitoring temp?

What color is his poop? Can you see any other physical changes in his appearance other than being lethargic?

When you acclimate after a water change or you introduced him back to his tank how do you do this?
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:51 PM   #3 
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He was perfectly fine the other days, yes. And I'm sorry I didn't mention it before, but I did acclimate him for a few minutes before putting him into the tank! I do have a heater for his tank which is SUPPOSED to keep his water at a steady 78 degrees, but my room is not fully heated. I only have a space heater in my room which I can only keep on while I'm in my room for an extended period of time. The coldness in my room is probably why my fish's water can't go up to the 78 degrees its supposed to be at, even with a heater. My area isn't good for petstores, so the only heater sold for 2-10 gallon tanks is the one I have in his tank atm. :(
And now that you mentioned it... I haven't seen him poop in the last couple of days. His poop looked fine on Wednesday.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:16 PM   #4 
AyalaCookiejar
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Does he react to water movement?
Sometimes bettas can get depressed when their decor is switched around, but due to his normal behavior shortly after you moved him, this is probably not the case. How did you acclimate him? Is his new water from a different source as the water he was in before?

You say that you don't think he can see very well. I have a blind Betta so I may be able to help with this. Symptoms I noticed were that he was not reacting to my finger and was lethargic and would not eat. I also started noticing that he ran face first into tank decorations. He will still react to water movement but not my finger. Try blowing on the water surface or wiggling your finger or an object in the tank. The final thing that made me sure my fish could not see was that he ate when I aided him with finding his food.

I would guess that my bettas blindness was caused by genetics and it came on gradually rather than suddenly, so this may not be the case with yours. I don't know what would cause sudden blindness. My Betta is a crown tail and they are generally more sensitive to many things. I have also heard that blindness is genetic in fish with the opaque coloring.

If he does not react to surface water movement, he's probably got something else going on. My bettas appetite was fine but his ability to find his food was not. If he tries to "snap" at bubbles on the water surface, that could also be a sign.

Edit: also, too cool of water can cause lethargy. I suggest that you get an adjustable heater if your room temp fluctuates when it's warm/cold outside. I had to order mine online, because I also don't have much for pet stores in my area. And I would also test the water for ammonia and also nitrites and nitrates if you have a filter. If you don't have a test kit, try a partial water change and see if he perks up.. I would suggest that you do invest in a liquid test kit, though, and always check your parameters every time you notice any strange behavior.

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 01-05-2013 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:27 PM   #5 
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I did acclimate him, and yes, the water is from a different source, considering I had to transport him from the mainland to Vancouver Island. It does not seem like he's stressed or anything, he's just very slow to react today.

And I tried doing what you suggested, and it does seem like he reacts to water movement, but he's still hesitant to move around a lot. As for my finger or face, he doesn't seem like he recognizes me because he does flare right away at me if he's near, which is something he's never done before, or if he's further back in the tank he just won't notice me at all. :/ I dropped a piece of food just by his head near the surface of the water a few minutes ago, and he seemed like he looked up in its direction but he did not bother to even touch it or nip at the water, which is peculiar. He is usually one of those bettas with a voracious appetite. He hasn't touched a speck of food all day.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:35 PM   #6 
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You can get a 25w adjustable heater for a tank that size. I would suggest investing in one and buying it online if you can't get it locally. For that size, I like Jager and Marineland Visitherm. Make sure you give the heater a thorough test run in separate container with thermometer for 24 hours to make sure it will hold temp properly before you introduce it to your fish.

I don't think it's shock if he was fine for 2 days and then got lethargic. He may be stressed however by the water source change.. depending on how different it is.

Is he clamped? Can you share photos or a video?

You said you put in new dechor? Are you sure it's aquarium safe? Did you rinse and/or soak it thoroughly before you put it in the tank?

I would start with doing a series of 50% water changes today and then again tomorrow. If he's still like this he may need medication.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:41 PM   #7 
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One reason I asked about the water source is because a pH change could be stressful, if there was one.
I thought my blind Betta was ignoring his food when he literally had no idea it was there. I had to get the food to touch his lips (literally) so he could find it.
I've been feeding him using a wooden skewer to move the food in front of his face. He went from "ignoring" the food to attacking the food AND the skewer (he latched on to the end of the skewer so hard last night that I jumped and pulled the skewer out of the water while he was still attached! 0_0 he fell off onto my other bettas tank but then flipped back into the water, haha.)

It took me two weeks to figure out for sure he was blind. But I agree that you should start doing water changes and see if anything changes.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:55 PM   #8 
Demysta
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I'll do a 50% water change shortly, then. I'll keep you all posted if there is any change by the morning. Thanks guys.

And here are a couple pictures of him. The first picture is the general location he's stayed around all day. He doesn't like to venture far from that leaf on that red silk plant. He's been resting on that or floating near it all day without moving around too much.
Second picture was me trying to coax him near me by lightly tapping on the tank. And again, he still stays near the general area of the plant and investigated the tapping for a second then swam away, hence the blurriness.

His top fin as far as I can tell looks like its a little clamped. Maybe you were right on the heat thing, callistra.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:53 AM   #9 
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Update: it looks like my fish has become less lethargic, however, there is still some bad news. There are now bloody red spots on his anal fin. Very large ones, too. There is nothing sharp in his tank to cause him to rip his fins (my redecorating was to ensure nothing ripped his fins), and these have only happened within the last two hours. Now I'm really concerned. Will post a picture whenever he can stand still enough for me to snap a good shot.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:58 AM   #10 
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A bacterial infection?

I'd wait for Callistras response on that.
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