I am very worried over my betta, Apollo, who has not been eating for the last two and a half weeks. I've only had him for about 6 weeks and he was purchased as a replacement to another betta who also stopped eating after having been fine for nearly a year and eventually passed away.
I'm not sure what the problem may be. The thing that really worries me is that this is the second fish I've had this problem with and I really just don't know what I could be doing wrong with them.
His environment should be fine - he is in a 5 gallon tank that stays around 76-79 degrees with a heater on, there is a filter and I do regular partial water changes and use water conditioner and aquarium salt for him, he's got several live plans and a betta leaf hammock and a castle and a bridge to hide in. The parameters in the tank are fine, I test it with an API master test kit. I've tried turning the filter off for him, I've tried leaving the light off, changing the light color. No changes seem to interest or bother him, he still won't eat.
I have tried nearly everything there is to feed him. When I first got him he was eating a variety of foods but mostly peas, freeze dried blood worms, and pellets. He eventually stopped eating all of those. I've tried frozen blood worm cubes, frozen mosquito larva cubes, frozen brine shrimp cubes, dried mysis shrimp, dried daphina, gold fish flakes, and the three foods he seemed to enjoy eating before (peas, blood worms, and betta pellets). He won't eat anything and in fact pays very little attention at all to food that gets dropped into the tank. That's really weird for a betta, of course, and this one in particular used to jump for food when I would go to feed him, so him not reacting at all really makes me sad and worried. The one thing I haven't tried is live food. I can't seem to find any stores where I can purchase live food so I am currently growing my own brine shrimp (sea monkeys) which just hatched 3 days ago to try those with him once they're a little bigger.
Physically, the fish appears to be fine. He swims around quite a lot and is very active. He does not have any of the physical symptoms of any disease, infections, etc, that I know of. No fin rot or ick or anything like that, I've read and read about all the health issues with bettas just to see if maybe something's wrong with him but nothing seems to match what appears to be a relatively healthy fish that has no appetite at all.
If anyone has any ideas, explanations, theories, etc., I would love to hear them. I figured the last betta that stopped eating had just gotten old (I had bought him from walmart, he was obviously full grown when I got him and I have no idea how long he'd sat on one of their shelves). I suppose that might be the case with this one as he was full grown already, too. I got him from PetSmart (he's a veil tale) and a lot of the other bettas they had were clearly still young since they were very small, but he wasn't. I just want him to be happy so please help if you can.
Do not use aquarium salt as a common additive. This can cause severe problems with the labyrinth organ, and damage other organs as well. All surface breathers an scaleless fish and amphibians should not be exposed to long term use of aquarium salt. That would be the immediate red flag... THOUGH for most fish it acts as a preventative measure, helping to boost the immune system and such... For our lovely long finned air-breathers it can cause very bad damage and eventually lead to death or chronic problems needing special care.
Try weaning him off of the aquarium salt (every water change do not add the aquarium salt). In the meantime offer him thawed foods, live foods, and/or pellets soaked in garlic juice.
Do not feed peas. It can cause a blockage in the digestive track.... Peas are used for omnivores and herbivores, while Betta fish are carnivores... Obtaining their veggies through the stomach contents of their prey. I know people on here will say "well I used peas and Mr. Bubbles is fine" but not only is every single betta different, but the diet is all wrong and could cause problems unseen to the eye until it is too late.
If you have any other questions, we could definitely help
Well the salt was only added in the tank with both of the fish I discuss in my post AFTER I believed they might be ill in some way since they would not eat. So while you may be right about them not needing salt constantly, I can promise you that I only put it in as a response to a problem and that it is indeed NOT the cause of this problem since the problem occurred before the salt was added. In addition to that, I have not added salt in the last two water changes I've done with him and that has also made no difference at all in his appetite.
As far as peas are concerned, he ate a lot more than just peas before he started refusing to eat anything at all. Also, the other fish that I had before that did the same thing never had peas as I didn't hear of them being a food source until after he stopped eating. If you are implying that eating them may have made him sick, then please tell me how to fix that. Epsom salt bath? Something else? I really appreciate your advice, but I really want a solution and there doesn't appear to be one. He hasn't actually consumed a pea (or anything) in three weeks so I don't know that eating peas is the problem... because he's not eating them.
This is a long shot, BUT it happened to me so it could be something to think about. You said he doesn't really react to you much. Does he seem to notice your finger or anything waved in front of his face? Does he react to water movement if you wiggle your finger or some other object in the water? Does he ever come up to the surface and look like he is "gasping" for air (or possibly look like he is snapping for food)?
My CT stopped eating for two weeks and he was a very hungry guy usually. I could not figure out for the life of me why he would not eat.. Until I eventually noticed that he stopped reacting to my finger and he began to run face first into decor. He is still active on his own, but he is completely blind and will only eat when I aid him in finding his food (I literally have to get it to touch his lips and he often snaps at it a few times and misses). I believe this may be genetic. I have also read somewhere that fish with the "opaque" gene are prone to genetic blindness.
I know this is really unlikely, but it is a possibility. Otherwise, not eating can be a symptom of pretty much all diseases so its really difficult to pinpoint the cause with no other symptoms :/
Your temp swings of 76-79 is a problem. Do you know why it's swinging like this? What are you using to monitor temps? He should be away from exterior doors, windows and any vents. Placement in these locations will always result in swings.
You can't use AQ with live plants. It will kill them.
What color is his poop?
You say he's very active.. is he rubbing/dart/flashing on anything? Is he swimming wildly in a zig zag type pattern?
Peas are definitely not a food source for bettas. They can be really hard on his digestive tract. Anything freeze dried should be soaked for 10 minutes before feeding. Blood worms should only be fed 1 once a week as a treat. Frozen foods should be dethawed and broken up into pellet size chunks and not have huge chunks or cubs thrown in. Pellets should have the first two or three ingredients as whole fish, not fishmeal and even worse would be wheat. What pellets do you have?
He can definitely see me and other things. He used to not mind see my fingers near the glass. Now it scares him. I have no idea why that's the case.
He is active, although he's become less so in the last week or so. This is the same thing that happened with the first betta. He stopped eating but was perfectly normal - i.e. still swam all around the tank, hung out on his little hammock, reacted to me entering the room, etc. Then he stopped being active towards the end. This one is mostly hanging out in between the leaves in his plants. Neither betta would/will flare at a mirror anymore (and the current fish was previously very aggressive as I have mentioned), stimulants do not seem to phase him aside from the fact that he's terrified of my hands being near the tank glass.
The temperature varies like that because I live in a house that is not heated often (and I live in California, so we have rather warm days and pretty chilly nights). I have not found a heater than keeps the temperature extremely consistent. Some that can be set to be consistent seem like they will be too powerful for a 5 gallon tank.
There really isn't more information that what I've already said. I think the only thing that I haven't mentioned is that in the summer I added a small amount of tetra algae control because the room he is in is very sunny. I also occasionally add API's liquid plant fertilizer. I added stress coat every time I change the water. He is in a tank with two corys. He doesn't mind them at all, he has never paid them much attention.
I don't have any extremely recent pictures, but I have not had him for long and these were taken when he stopped eating.
Agree with needing more info about the above. In a 5 gallon fully cycled tank you need a weekly 50% change, including cleaning gravel with vac, turkey baster, or stir/dip method (clean around rooted plants).. may need couple changes with the cory.. If it's not fully cycled then you need more. Imho, any time you want to run a filter and not do weekly 100% changes you should own a drops kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and be able to test to make sure your water quality is ok.
Also just to add.. he's lost color and is clamped. That's a sign of stress, but beyond that could be anything.
In a 5 gallon tank you can use a 50w adjustable heater and that will keep things about 15 degrees above room temp. If it's dropping below that then you could use a digital space heater to keep his room warmer or just not let your house drop so low. Personally, I like Aqueon Pro (black ones not glass regular line which are sub par), Jager and Marineland Visitherm. I would give anything you purchase a 24 hour test run in similar size container with thermometer to make sure it's working properly.
I wouldn't keep corys in anything less than 10g and some get really huge and require much larger than that..What kind of cory do you have?
I do 50% water changes weekly. If I get really busy (I am a student also working 30 hours a week) I do 75% water changes every 2 weeks. I have a gravel vacuum, so the cleaning is thorough at the very least. I also have a master test kit, the water parameters are all fine. I let the tank soak in boiling water for an hour and then vacuumed the gravel several times over before I filled the tank and added the new fish after the other one passed.
The corys are albino, I've had them for nearly a year now and they've stayed about the same size as when I bought them. I've been thinking about grabbing a 10 gallon tank simply because I don't think this betta will last much longer if I can't figure out what's wrong and after having two that I've gotten attached to and spent a lot of money trying really hard to take care of, I'd rather get a bigger tank and have some guppies which I have had much more success with. I don't have the money for that right now, though, and I'm hoping I can figure out what to do with poor little Apollo so that he doesn't die.
Also, thanks to you all for actually answering me. I posted my original post on three other forums and got nothing.