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Old 02-04-2013, 04:16 PM   #1 
NewFish
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Unhappy What's wrong with her?

Our family is new at caring for fish. We have had furry friends but this is the first attempt at fish. We tried to do some research before we got her but finding reliable sources of info were difficult. SO the setup we got was a tiny female betta with red on the fins and a one gallon tank to sit on my daughter's desk. We have a filter that runs all the time. We have a 10W heater but we don't leave it on all the time because the water was getting over 85 degrees. I plug the heater in as I notice the water cooling and then unplug it. Since we have the filter running, we do weekly 100% water changes and add water conditioner each time. We have smooth glass rocks and 2 small artificial plants in the tank. The fish is very small so she can hide in these plants. The problem is we rarely see her eat and she just lies at the bottom of the tank most of the time. We have had her about 6 weeks. Her color looks the same and her fins look ok from what I can tell with my low level of knowledge. Every once in awhile she will shoot around the tank really quickly and go to the top and then she settles back at the bottom. A couple times we have thoughts she was dead because she is so inactive. I have tried to read online but of course any site you look at can tell you different things. I have no idea what is wrong with this girl. We tried feeding her pellets but she would spit them out, as if they were too big for her to swallow. Now we have a flake food and we never see her eat. Do any of you experienced fish folks have suggestions on what to do for her?
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:15 PM   #2 
sainthogan
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Temperature fluctuations will cause stress for your fish. Stress, will cause the symptoms you are seeing. It will also compromise their immune systems, and can cause death. You need a heater that will maintain the water at a consistent level between 76 and 82. A one degree fluctuation is ok, but constantly going back and forth between cold and hot temperatures (even if it's gradual) is very unhealthy for your fish.
When she shoots around the tank, does it look like she's scratching against the decor? Take a flashlight and see if you see any gold or rust colored dust or coating on her. If so, she has Velvet and needs to be treated asap.
FYI - a bigger tank is easier to heat properly, and needs less water changes, for a 1 gallon bowl, even with a filter (although, you don't really need one for that size), you need to change the water at least twice a week - 1 50% change and 1 100% change for optimum health. If she has velvet, you're going to need to do daily water changes with the medication - also, you're going to need a consistent water temperature.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:55 PM   #3 
cliffordsmom
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From what you've said, it sounds like she's probably stressed out. Are her fins clamped too?

For stress issues, I recommend AQ Salt and API's Stress Coat+. You can find them at most pet stores for a pretty reasonable price.

Do you notice any other symptoms, like changes in physical appearance?

Also, are your artificial plants plastic or silk?
When I started keeping bettas I didn't know that plastic plants were bad for their fins- they shred them to pieces!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:39 PM   #4 
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I don't see any rust colored spots on her. We just got back home and she was head first in the rocks at the bottom. I thought she was dead but when we pointed the flashlight on her and gently tapped the glass she moved around. I feel so helpless because I am not sure what is causing this or what to do and I feel like I am just watching this poor fish slowly die. It almost seems like she can't move well. I have changed the water but nothing seems to improve her condition. Would stress come on after she has been in the same environment for 6 weeks? As for the plants, the are plastic. I hadn't heard or read that those were bad but if I change them now, will she get any better. I notice some black spots on her body but nothing on her fins. They are still bright red. At the base of her fin where it attaches to her body, she has a silverish color there. Honestly this is the most I have studied her so I can't be sure that she didn't have those spots before.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:50 PM   #5 
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If her head is in the rocks, she's too cold.

I've heard a lot about how 1 gallon tanks are hard to heat, but I have my betta in a 1 gallon tank and I heat it with a 50 watt Aqueon Submersible heater. It works perfectly, despite the size of the tank. However, it is fairly tall (9") and at least 7" of it must be kept under water. Depending on the dimensions of your tank, you may be able to put it underwater completely horizontally. I paid about 30 bucks for it at Petco, but I saw it at Fred Meyer for 23 dollars about two days ago.

If you do get your fish a heater, make sure you acclimate her properly. If you don't know how to do this already, you should have no trouble finding directions on this site.

If you haven't noticed any tears in her fins, the plants probably are not the problem. My best guess is that the constant temperature fluctuation is stressing her out and you need to get a heater that will maintain a stable, warm temperature.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:14 PM   #6 
NewFish
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The temperature varies by about 4 degrees at most. Is that enough to stress a fish to this degree? The heater we are using is supposed to be for tanks less than 5 gallons but it gets very hot if left unattended. But with the filter and lid on, the temperature will maintain pretty well once the heater is off. Her fins do look clamped - her dorsal fin looks more like one spike sticking out of her back as opposed to a fan. Does this all sound like stress? How long can she survive if we can't get her to eat?
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #7 
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That all sounds like stress to me. Bettas can go a fairly long time without eating. I knew someone who had a betta who only fed it every week or two. (Obviously this is not the way to care for a betta, but it did in fact survive until their child dumped a handful of goldfish crackers into its tank)

The heater that I use is adjustable and automatically shuts off when it reaches the temperature it's set to, keeping my bowl between 79-80 at all times. A constant 4 degree temperature change is enough to stress your fish out, as was stated earlier in the thread.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:24 PM   #8 
sainthogan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFish View Post
The temperature varies by about 4 degrees at most. Is that enough to stress a fish to this degree? The heater we are using is supposed to be for tanks less than 5 gallons but it gets very hot if left unattended. But with the filter and lid on, the temperature will maintain pretty well once the heater is off. Her fins do look clamped - her dorsal fin looks more like one spike sticking out of her back as opposed to a fan. Does this all sound like stress? How long can she survive if we can't get her to eat?

Yes, that is enough to stress a fish. The temperature shouldn't fluctuate more than a degree. If it's going up and down all day long, that will cause extreme stress. This sounds like extreme stress to me. A fish can go a week or 2 with out food, but under extreme stress, possibly less.

Generally, when changing the temperature to go to a higher, it is advised to only do up to 5 degrees a day in one direction, with only a 1 degree change per hour. It sounds like with your tank, it could change by 8 degrees or more a day going back and forth - again, that is more than enough to stress your fish.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:25 PM   #9 
Saphira101
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More info is needed:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233

Also, a picture would help.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:38 PM   #10 
NewFish
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The heater we have is not adjustable. It submerges into the tank but is supposed to cut off when it reaches a preset temp. The temp has dropped 3 degrees since it was turned off about a day ago, according to the thermometer on the tank. Can she tolerate the temp staying in the 85 degree range or is that way too hot?

So at this point, do I try a new heater or get a bigger tank for the heater I have? To cure her stress, do I just need to get the temp stable? Should I keep changing her water 100%?
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