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Old 01-22-2013, 10:35 AM   #1 
breeglet
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Poor Pascal

I have a doubletail butterfly cambodian betta. He has been with me since Friday. He originally was in my 5g but seemed very stressed out. I have transferred him to my 2g fish bowl but the temp is low - about 73 even with a heater. I am buying a supplementary heater at my LFS today. If he does better with a heat boost I will keep him in the 2g, otherwise he's doing worse in the 2g than in the 5g which worries me and makes me want to put him back.

Water quality is not an issue in my 5g. There is a filter, it is baffled via water bottle method. I am going to get pantyhose to cover over the filter and baffle because I saw him get caught in a whirlpool and he got spun around in the water bottle tunnel vortex of doom. T___T With my old betta that may have been fun for him... but I think Pascal has a fishie anxiety disorder, let me explain.

The water he was kept in at the LFS had anti-bacterial/fungal and anti-stressor meds in it - the standard blue water. I know my 5g is for the most part pristine except perhaps some algae that my snails happily get rid of. It is heavily planted, like a jungle. I once let it go 2 weeks without a water change to test if it was cycled (with quite the ammonia source) and the levels did not rise from 0 across the board - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. 7.6 pH is stable; never wavered. It is a non-toxic machine between the plants and bacterial colonies. Before anyone says that if the nitrate is 0 it is not cycled, remember: plants.

I dose flourish excel (daily), comprehensive (Monday), iron (Wednesday, Friday), and equilibrium (a mineral additive because my water in this region is extremely soft and my snail almost died from the lack of calcium; Once, fraction of initial dose every 3 water changes). This week I will get testing at my LFS that will tell me my KH, but it is usually a stable 6 degrees; I don't know how the equilibrium has affected it since then but know it has more of an effect on GH than anything. I see no reason why my plant care additives would affect Pascal though, seeing as how many aquarists do not have problems with similar set-ups and the water is so, so, so soft and deprived of minerals that it wouldn't have gotten crazy.

Friday: I acclimated him via baggy method - floating him in the tank, adding small amounts of the 5g water over the period of an hour (longer since I was distracted by my laptop during that time). He was spazzing around in the bag in a curious manner at my african dwarf frogs and whenever a bubble so much as popped. It was cute, I was excited that he was so curious but not flaring aggressively at the frogs. I plopped him into the tank, my smaller ADF butter jumped at him and he ran like the dickens. He hid behind plants and stayed in a corner. I did not feed him.

Saturday: He still looked scared, and even seemed stressed. He liked to hang out at the bottom, head-down in the java moss. I would prod him a bit to see if he was stuck or something since it was such a weird position; he would swim away normally. Switched to a better, adjustabled heater. Temp stayed at a stable 82. Sometimes he would go to the top, he ate one pellet but wouldn't eat another. I fed him a bloodworm on a tweezer. I figured he was adjusting.

Sunday: He kept laying on the ground, he laid in a spot where I normally feed my frogs and Butter bit his pretty red tail and I had to thwack at Butter with my tweezers. I returned Butter to the LFS later that night. Pascal stayed hidding behind plants and the filter most of the day, fins clamped. He was always in awkward positions, nearly on his side or what have you. I started to suspect SBD. I applied the water bottle baffle after noticing he was struggling with the current. Looked at different filters on amazon that had a lower flow and had reviews from betta owners. Is there anything you guys would recommend that is budget-friendly and can be used on a 5g?

Monday: I returned home from a nightshift at work at around 7 in the morning. I saw that Pascal had made a couple small bubble nests since Butter was taken out and was excited. Fins still clamped, wouldn't eat. Didn't want to try bloodworms because I know consistently feeding bloodworms spoils them and isn't nutritious. Decided to let him fast for the day. Went home (I live in university dorms) to fetch my 2g fishbowl. Later that night noticed that he is pretty skinny, and has been for a couple days. He got caught in the baffle that night as I was preparing the fish bowl. Fetched him and acclimated him to the bowl the same way I did the 5g. Fins stayed clamped. Played around with the idea of adding epsom salts, have decided against it because he is so skinny. Concluded his odd buoyancy & positions were genetic due to doubletail nature and lack of bloating. It was midnight so I went to bed, temp was at 77.

Today: Woke up at 7am to check on him. Laying on floor, looking miserable. Temp is 73. Going to LFS today for a supplementary heater, will see if he perks up. Will also be buying plants to add in there, to turn it into a jungle like my 5g. Will see if he perks up after all of that. Java moss, anubia, java fern or a crypt maybe, some duckweed. Will veggie wrap the top of the bowl for heat retention at Oldfishlady's suggestion. Am leaving within the hour to do all of this. Will somehow find time to read textbooks... My schoolwork has suffered since getting Pascal, I'm so worried about him...

I fell in love with Pascal a couple weeks ago since I first saw him at my LFS. All of this preparation of my 5g has been for him! I bought this 5g around Christmas specifically for a betta/frog/snail planted setup, and even before that had spent months looking into planted aquariums and betta/frog/snail requirements. I was going to slowly save up money for it all to happen, but then my dad gave me $100 and my mom gave me $100 and so I got the tank. Cocoa (the other frog) never bothers him, gives him a lot of space and does not bully him like Butter did. I was so excited but now am an anxious mess. :T

I don't think he is ill from SBD. I don't think he has any bacterial/fungal infections because he does not really show any signs externally. He is very skinny, I toy around with the idea of parasites, but Cocoa is perfectly healthy and fine in the 5g, as is Ruthie the snail. 99.9% positive my 5g is therefore pristine. I am inching towards the conclusion that he is depressed and suffers from fishie anxiety disorder (if that even exists; in other words I think he is just very stress-prone). I am hoping that he will perk up in his 2g, in which I will then house him from then on out. The 5g I will try with another betta I fell in love with at the LFS, but only after Pascal recovers because I don't know if I'll want to put him back in the 5g if the 2g doesn't perk him up.


I tried to explain everything as best as I possibly can even without that stock questionnaire, because I think this situation is better explained as a narrative. But here is a rundown of basics that maybe I didn't answer:

The water has been nearly 30-40% changed over the course of a week. Wednesday was a 20% change with the introduction of the frogs and snail. Friday was another 20% change with the introduction of Pascal. My NH3/NO2/NO3's never ever ever rise above 0, so it's not like that was an issue. But anything bad that could have been in there was pretty diluted by the time Pascal entered the tank.

There is no air stone (plants), he seems kind of pale.

Here are pictures of Pascal I took when he was still in the 5g:

Pascal 1

Pascal 2

This is Pascal on Friday when he was first acclimating in the baggy.

This is my 5g.

This is my tank model.

This is the conditioner I use.

There are the pellets I tried to use.

Bloodworms are frozen cubes.

Can't really think of anything else I'm forgetting. Looking for opinions. If illness suspected, I would prefer suggestions for medications over AQ salt because the salt will kill off the plants I buy today.

Oh and for inquiring minds, if the road becomes clear and everything becomes better and I get another betta for my 5g: rest assured I will be buying another tank/bowl of some kind for QT purposes.

Off to the LFS now.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #2 
Hollthulhu
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I am sadly not experienced, but I do wish you the best of luck with Pascal.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:06 AM   #3 
Laki
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Holy crap that's a long story!! Okay. I will ignore the parameters, hopefully someone with more knowledge will help you with that.

After he warms up he should unclamp.
Pre mix 1 tsp epsom salt per gallon (plain unfragranced kind from pharmacy) and add it to his next water change - if he is in the 2g still, pre mix it so it has no crystals left and then use that and acclimate him to it.
Epsom salt should help alleviate his discomfort from any swim bladdar issues. Hikari pellets have a high wheat content I think, which would explain his lethargy. Bettas are carnivores. A good trusted pellet are Omega One Betta Buffet pellets and New Life Spectrum pellets and Aqueon pellets.

Since you're going to the store anyway, you can pick up some frozen daphnia too. Some find these help with constipation and bloating. Plus it's an alternative healthy food source.

Also, your 5g planted tank is amazing!!! Did you say there are 2 ADF's in there too?

For a filter, you could try the whisper 10 (not 10i). That's what I run on my 5g and I love it because it has adjustable valve for water output and lots of room inside the cartridge for multiple sponges which add to the BB count.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #4 
breeglet
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Hollthulu & Laki, thank you for your responses. :)

I just got back from my LFS with a heater that is preset to 78, the tetra HT10. I have some pantyhose to put over my 5g filter to cover the openings of the baffle & intake, and also to see if it reduces the flow a bit. If not, then I will be investing in another filter.

Thank you for the compliment on my 5g. :) There used to be two frogs, now there is only Cocoa (goodbye Butter - he was white (definitely not an african clawed, he has webbed front feet) and so Cocoa and Butter was the obvious choice for names). There is also Ruthie the tiger nerite snail. And... a couple itty bitty pond snails that snuck in on my plants, they have not managed to explode since I'm careful about overfeeding. I kind of like them anyways, they nab the algae off of the plants that Ruthie is too big to clean.

I am now installing the heater and new plants - a java fern, an anubia, and java moss. By the end of the week I'll make a second trip home to grab my old desk lamp with the clamp... yank another compact fluorescent from the LFS.

I am hesitant to treat for SBD because he is not bloated, in any case he is emaciated. You don't give laxatives to a human who is emaciated, it can kill them from dehydration and malnutrition. I can't imagine what it would do to a stressed out fish...

I'm going to nab Pascal into a baggy and float him in my 5g so at the very least he warms up while the new heater is fixing up the 2g. Plus it gives me better room to add plants and take out the old heater without him being in the line of fire.

Thank you for the pellet suggestion. :) I'm going to buy those.

Just put the pantyhose over the 5g filter and the flow was reduced by a LOT.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:04 PM   #5 
Laki
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Hi! Thanks for clearing up about his emaciation. I overlooked that I think.
Perhaps pick up those listed foods (just one or two is fine along with the bloodworms) and feed him 3 or 4 small meals a day (a "meal" of 2 pellets).
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:25 PM   #6 
breeglet
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Here is the new bowl in all its planted glory.

Where can I find those pellet brands? They aren't sold at my LFS.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:45 PM   #7 
Stone
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I can understand you situation, these fishies can be nerve wracking at time. Our blue veiltail named spoiled brat (this is the story of how he got his name)we had him for a week or so and we were upgrading tanks and getting more bettas so we moved him from his tank that was next to my girlfriend and put him in a new tank in a diffrent spot and he was no longer next to her. He basically hid in that tank he would be behind the heater or the filter and we would only see him dart around here and there fins always clamped(in his old tank he would greet you when he saw you and was constantly blowing bubble nests) water was fine good temp and so he did this for about 2 weeks we were getting worried about him, we had set up a new 10 gal and had it cycling next to my girlfriend which we were going to divide so we put him in that tank and in less than 2 hours his fins were unclamped and he got back to blowing his bubble nests, seems he likes my girlfriend and did not like being moved away from her.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:47 PM   #8 
breeglet
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Out of the bag and straight to the floor... Heater stops at 76. Adding back the betta bowl heater to see if it helps... Realized I forgot to buy duckweed for the top. I see these pellets you suggested have issues with sinking, how is that managed?

Stone: Do you have any suggestions? :(
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:48 PM   #9 
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those pellets are at like petco or petsmart if all else fails the interwebs
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #10 
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our fishies usually gobble them up before they sink, maybe only feed a pellet at a time wait for him to eat the one before dropping the next in.
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