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Old 02-12-2013, 02:26 PM   #1 
zombielicious13
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Not sure what is wrong

Hello all -

I've been fish sitting my friend's betta for a little over a month now and I'm not sure what could be wrong with it. When I first got 'Shark', his 1.77 gallon tank was only half full with the filter running (this filter is made for a 6 gallon tank - it was part of a kit). My friend said she fed Shark by throwing something like 20 pellets in at a time. I knew nothing about fish and stupidly just took her word on how to take care of him (she did own a living creature after all). Over the next couple of days, the tank started smelling HORRID. I did a TON of research on bettas and finally figured out it was likely due to stress and high levels of ammonia. I did a 100% water change on the tank, bought a small heater, and put pantyhose over the bottom of the filter (Shark's fins are all torn up from being sucked into the filter). I've been doing small water changes every day or two, with a 50% water change once a week and a 50% water change plus gravel clean once a week. I also started feeding him only 3 pellets of food, twice a day...with the occasional treat of bloodworms or daphnia. From observing him over the last four weeks, I've noticed that he tends to stay at the top of the tank and is VERY lethargic. I've tried feeding him cooked peas, thinking that maybe he's constipated, but he wants nothing to do with them. He also tends to take HUGE gulps of air and is very skinny, despite eating. He has no real place to hide in his tank. There was only one decoration and one plant when I got him. I added an extra plant, but had to take out the other decoration recently due to paint peeling. Any clue what could be wrong with him? She is coming back to get him soon and I would at least like to TRY and make him better before she gets him. She has the mentality to just dump the fish and get another if it dies.

I tested the water parameters a couple of days ago; ammonia and nitrites were both at 0 and nitrates were over 0, but under 5.0 ppm.

I know that was a lot!! SORRY! I'm just concerned and have NO clue what to do at this point.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:28 PM   #2 
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On a side note...I did so much research that I fell in love with betta and bought one of my own...so the picture you see as my avatar is actually my fish, not hers. I'm currently fishless cycling a 29 gallon for 'Rico' and I plan on adding four corydoras.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:36 PM   #3 
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Is there a heater in the tank? That could explain why he is lethargic.

When you give the fish back, please explain to her the proper ways of fish-keeping. It'd be horrible if the fish died because your friend wasn't taking good care of it after you did.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:44 PM   #4 
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Originally Posted by Crowntails View Post
Is there a heater in the tank? That could explain why he is lethargic.

When you give the fish back, please explain to her the proper ways of fish-keeping. It'd be horrible if the fish died because your friend wasn't taking good care of it after you did.

Yes, I went and bought a heater for his tank the week after I got him.

I'm definitely going to let her know. Hopefully she listens!
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #5 
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Great to hear!

Hmm, what are your water perimeters like (ph, ammonia, nirite, etc.)? Is he laying on the ground?
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:26 PM   #6 
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I tested the water parameters a couple of days ago; ammonia and nitrites were both at 0 and nitrates were over 0, but under 5.0 ppm.


He stays at the top of the tank.

I was reading on another site that water that is too warm could cause lethargy and gasping at the surface. The heater keeps the water between 78-82 (I can't keep a stable temp in such a small tank, unfortunately), but since he has never had a heater before being at my house, could this be too warm for him?
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:16 PM   #7 
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It may not be that is to warm, but it could be that you rose up the temperature to fast. You should always gradually raise the temperature so it doesn't cause shock to the animal. About the whole day for it to rise. That could be it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:03 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowntails View Post
It may not be that is to warm, but it could be that you rose up the temperature to fast. You should always gradually raise the temperature so it doesn't cause shock to the animal. About the whole day for it to rise. That could be it.
Well, the heater has been in there for about a month now...I added some stress coat to his water when I changed it today...he seems to be moving around some more. He's actually resting on the bottom of the tank now. He's flaring now too, pitifully, but flaring none the less.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:47 PM   #9 
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it might be because the heater varying the water temp too much, if the water temp changes more than 1-2 degrees an hour every hour that would stress him out, its okay if the water is 78 and slowly difts to 79 after 2 hours then to 80 after 2 hours.

But if its going, 78, 80, 79, 81, every hour, then it can be stressful
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:13 PM   #10 
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How are you doing water changes?
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