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Old 01-30-2013, 10:44 PM   #1 
Oopie
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Sick Baby Betta

I am a first-time fish owner who bought one of the "Baby Bettas" from the petstore for my son. Based on the instructions and information I received there, I have her in what I now know are less-than-ideal conditions. I immediately decided I needed to get her a larger tank with filter, heater, etc... but the employee said since she is a baby and so small, I should wait until she is bigger to do such a big move. Since she was doing well, I followed his advice. We have had her for 6 weeks, and up until now, she has been very active, responsive to us, and flaring her fins. Over the past couple of days, she is staying still for the most part, staying against the tank at the top and not swimming much. When she does swim, it looks normal. Her color looks faded and gray in places. Her fins look clamped and she is not flaring at all. However, she immediately responds at feeding time and eats every bit of food enthusiastically. My questions: 1. I would love to get her into a bigger tank with filter and heater, etc.. Is that safe to do at her size and while she is sick or should I leave her in the tank she is used to until she is well? 2. I now know that YES, she needs a heater!! What kind of heater can I use in a 1.5 Gal round tank or should I immediately transition her to a larger tank 3. Since she is a Baby Betta and so small, I wasn't sure if the salt treatments or medications for possible illnesses would be safe for her?? I would truly appreciate any help-- I realize I was given very poor advice on betta care, and now that I have found this site, I want to help her if at all possible. THANKS!!!

Housing
What size is your tank? 1.5 Gal round
What temperature is your tank? 74 (yikes!!)
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Crushed betta food flakes. She is so small she can't eat the micro-pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once to twice a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 x/week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner as instructed on bottle

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? See above
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? See above
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? I did a complete water change with conditioner
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Bought as a "Baby Betta" 6 weeks ago. She is only about 1 1/2 inches long.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:00 PM   #2 
AyalaCookiejar
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I would get a heater ASAP... Baby bettas actually need to be warmer than adults, more around the 80-82 degrees. It sounds like she's stressed... This may be due to the temp but it could be other factors. You should also be doing 2 water changes a week, I'd do a 50% and an 80% with a vacuum so that you don't need to remove her... This should reduce stress. A 25watt adjustable heater should work for that size but increase the temp over a few days, then you can use the 25 watt in a tank up to 7 gallons.

Can I ask what the light schedule is? Does she have tank or room lights and how long do you leave them on?
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:01 PM   #3 
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First off, I would work on getting her temperature up ASAP. The clamping and lethargy could be because of the temperature. Is she breathing heavily? Do her scales look raised at all? What you can do is this: get the larger tank and heater (you don't need a filter unless you want to cycle) and try to acclimate her. Put her in a large container and float her in the larger tank with the warmer clean water and add small amounts of water to the container every 15 minutes for up to 2 hours and try to transition her into the tank.
If you want a slightly larger tank, I'd go with the 5 gallon. They're usually not expensive, and they're easy to care for: just have to do 1 25-50% and 1 100% water change a week, plus its easier to monitor temperature in those. I have a Marineland Visitherm Heater and it is AMAZING! You can adjust the temperature easily, and the heat stays no matter how cold your room might get.

Hope I helped you out! All I think she needs is a higher temperature. Since it is winter, I would strongly suggest you get her into 78 degree water.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:09 PM   #4 
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Thank you for your quick reply! Her tank is one of the round ones with a removable lid with an LED light. I turn her light on when I get up in the morning, then after her evening feeding, I turn if off (around 8:00 or 8:30 usually). She is in the dark the rest of the night. I would say it averages 12 hours on/12 hours off.
I will get a heater tomorrow asap; however, should I get one that will work for this small round bowl, or do you think it is safe to go ahead and move her to a new 5 Gal aquarium with a heater for that? I don't want to stress her any more than necessary, but I am surely anxious now to move her to a bigger filtered aquarium. After reading everything, I'm completely amazed we have had her for 6 weeks without her having any of these issues.
With the gray colored areas and the clamped fins and the hovering, do you think she may also have an actual illness like a bacteria or something??
Thank you!
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:14 PM   #5 
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You could move her, I mean she is young and will grow, and a 5 gallon is a good size for a betta fish once fully grown. Its much easier to manage cleaning and temperature in that size anyways. You could go ahead and do that, just be sure to acclimate her for roughly two hours. :) You could float her in a large cup, or a small plastic container while she's acclimating, and every 15 minutes I'd add a bit of the warm tank water into the container she's in so she can slowly let her system adjust. Only safe way to do it with a fish that young. Just be sure to ensure the room is dark and warm while acclimating to reduce stress as much as possible.

And I don't think it is an illness. From the sound of it, she's probably just suffering from cold rather than anything else. If you do notice other weird symptoms, I'd recommend you post about it, but it really doesn't look like she's sick. :) I wouldn't give her a salt treatment or anything. Medicating a fish should only be done if you have a diagnosed illness on your hands.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:28 PM   #6 
AyalaCookiejar
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Five gallons is great. However I would NOT increase her temp more than five degrees in 24 hours. Slower is probably better... Babies are obviously a bit more fragile than adults. If you are sure she is female, she will do a lot better in a larger tank and 5 gallons will be great long term (I'm not saying males should be in smaller tanks, but females tend to be more active with their short fins). If you can get a 5 gallon tank with a filter, I would read up on cycling and likely cycle the filter in a separate bucket. A fish-in cycle might stress a baby too much. Otherwise, just keep up on 2 weekly water changes.

So no, changing her to a new tank shouldn't be a problem but you should be super careful to acclimate very slowly and also decorate the new tank well with caves and tall silk/live plants. A smaller Betta will get more freaked out with wide open spaces - they live in heavily planted areas in the wild.

Edit: also, your light schedule sounds acceptable. 8-12 hours of light a day is good. You could try having the light on for only 8-10 hours.. Idk if babies sleep more but they need darkness to get rest because they can no eyelids, and also some tall plants or something to rest on near the surface so they can get to the air easier. Is she floating uncontrollably or just hovering at the top?

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 01-30-2013 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:28 AM   #7 
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Thanks again to both of you for your help! I think I will transition her to a 5 Gallon aquarium. I have not heard of cycling the filter in a separate bucket, but it makes sense. I will read up more on cycling.
I guess I cannot be for certain she is female since she is so young, but she does have short fins, so that's what I was thinking.
When I change her over, I will do the slow temp changes. I wouldn't have thought to do that--thanks for that great advice.
She is not floating uncontrollably. She is just spending long amounts of time right at the surface with her body plastered against the side of the tank. When I go today, I'm going to buy at least 1 or 2 floating plants that she can rest on.
When I went in this morning and turned on her light, she immediately came around to look at me and waited for her food. As soon as the flakes were dropped in, she shot over there to eat. That is encouraging to me, that she is still eating well. I will keep posting her progress! She is a dark blue color with some red in the fins, except for the gray patches she has now. Hope we can get that beautiful color back. Her name is Skittles.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:58 AM   #8 
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I could be wrong... but you said she spends a lot of time at the top? When my fish does this, he is constipated (Swim bladder disorder). Does she look bloated? Maybe she is eating too much, and I read on here that flakes can make them constipated. What does everyone else think? Maybe a picture would help, if you can get one.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:25 PM   #9 
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OK, I wanted to give an update on Skittles. I am pleased to say she is at a nice comfy 80 degrees now. I also added an extra couple of plants for her to hide in, one silk and one live. I am still very concerned about her appearance, as the gray seems more widespread and there are some red areas. She has always had some red in all of her fins since the day we brought her home, it just appears to be changing. I don't know if this is worrisome or not. This is all very new. She is definitely acting perkier. She is no longer hovering for long periods at the top, plastered against the wall of the tank. She is swimming around a lot more, but sometimes kind of "darty". Still eating VERY heartily. But even though I have seen a few flares of those pretty fins, she is still clamped some. She is so dark-colored that the changes I described aren't very obvious when you just take a look. But with the camera flash, it seems glaring... I am going to try attaching a few pictures. Hard to get good clear pics-- sorry.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:21 PM   #10 
Oopie
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Exclamation Can someone look at my pictures please?

Well, Skittles has started laying on the gravel some again today. She is still swimming around a fair amount and eating very well, but I am getting more worried. Has anyone had a chance to see the update I posted last night with the pics of her? What are the red areas? (Looks like some red around her eyes also) The gray patches? What do I need to try for her?? Thanks for any advice!!
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