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Old 01-16-2013, 10:39 AM   #1 
lela
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sleepy fish ?....

We've had our fish for 3.5 years - got at a local pet store. Lives alone in a gallon sized tank with silk plants. no heater or pump - we use well water - we change water weekly 100%. Always healthy, lots of bubbles, ate well, interactive and responsive --- until last week.

I thought he was dead - some research indicates he is "sleeping" at the bottom of tank or on leaves of plant toward the top. He was not moving at all. every now and then he comes up for air. and sometimes he swims like a crazed fish, spiraling and zig zagging for a few seconds than back to sleep - almost abruptly. Sleeps on side, upside down, all sorts of peculiar positions. He's never done this. I can't get his attention to come to eat (very different than normal)

I don't see anything different on his body or fins ... besides fin rot once during our first year together - he has been healthy.

is there anything we do for him? I appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:03 AM   #2 
Sena Hansler
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Hold on... Explain "spiralling".... To me when a fish spirals, it's much like a football when thrown properly... And that is usually a sign of organ failure or damage!

What temperature is the tank? With a 1 gallon tank it technically should be cleaned every 2-3 three days to lower ammonia, which with ammonia it can cause a good number of problems. Though unseen during his 3.5 years - now that he is an old man he will definitely start to feel it! As for the temperature, since I've had old and young fish I found when they are older they are more lazy... More calm. At this point I make sure the temperature is at 78-80, because anything lower ends up slowing down the metabolism - which is commonly seen in slow, lethargic young bettas. In an older betta, it could cause sickness.

Also, one thing you may need to check... Look down at him, from the top of the tank and see if his scales are raised - in case the "spiralling" you mentioned and what I think are the same thing, he could have dropsy which is another sign of organs failing.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:11 AM   #3 
OmegaHaze
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The tank temp. will effect him alot. My betta fish hates the cold and becomes very lethargic and will only go up to eat and get some air and then goes back to sleep but after adding a heater he was so much happier and alert i recomend a small heater.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #4 
lela
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thank you so much for your reply!
Spiral: as part of crazy swimming he looked liked like he was twirling up from the bottom of the tank to the top for air ... like a kid in a tutu. than started swimming crazy - and landed back on the bottom on his side to sleep. I've only seen the spiral once.
heat: we keep the house warm and his home is close to the house heater.
I looked down at him as you suggested, and I do not see scales raised, or any other signs... but clearly something is going on, He is not right.
Could he just be old? I just changed water 2 days ago and will do so again tomorrow (I set the water out for 24 hours)...
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:28 AM   #5 
Sena Hansler
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The spiralling, is exactly what I think... Something internally may have quit or is quitting. BUT, since he is about 4-5 (never know how old they are in the store) he is definitely an old man! Some old fish, will go out peacefully.. Shiloh did. He slept at the top of the water more, and I knew he would pass away from age soon... And I was right. Others, don't like to go out without either a fight, or something going wrong. Example: For people, some elderly people pass away peacefully while others get terribly sick.

He could pass away soon, just so you do not get shocked when he dies. But it's from age! :) Keep him as comfortable as possible, still offer him his food, and keep up on the water changes... Try not to remove him from the tank. Instead, use a turkey baster to get the gunk from the bottom... And use a cup to gently remove water, and re-add water. That'll lower stress.
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