Our son (only 2yrs old )got a Betta as a pet from grandma and all was going well until almost 3 weeks ago. We've had "Memo" for about 4 months. He was in a very small 3L tank with a fake plant and gravel. I felt bad for the poor guy after reading they should be in at least a 5 gallon tank with filter and heater... This I didn't know until about a month ago.
So I got him a nice new 5 gallon tank with filter and heater. Now he refuses to eat. Memo was happily blowing bubble nests before I switched his tank and eating all the time. I've tried different types of food... flakes, floating pellets, sinking pellets, brine shrimp, blood worms... you name it. He has turned a bit greyish under his gills and whiteish around his eyes. I've also changed his water and used the proper treatments and nothing seems to help. I even tried putting him back in his old tiny tank to no avail.
Now all he does is sit at the bottom of the tank or up against the intake of the filter to rest. Just tonight I thought we lost him :( But he had buried himself under the plant and wasn't moving until I tried to get him out. Then he started swimming all side ways and wonky like. I also noticed that there were water spots on the under side of the tank cover, like he was trying to jump out. Is he suicidal?
I'm at a complete loss here. What to do???
The tank is s Fluval Spec 5 gallon with filter... not sure of the name... it came with the tank. There is a fake bonsai tree, gravel that was in his last tank, and a rock with some jaba (java??) moss which was also in his other tank and he loved. The new tank filter was too strong so I put a sponge on the end so its fine.
Tank and new tree were both washed with hot water before I put him in it. When I switched him over I put him in a glass with his old tank water and then put in the water treatment to the new one then put Memo in the new tank. I thought I did everything right.
Whenever I changed his water in the old tank it would take him a couple days to start eating again but this has now been 3 weeks without food. How long can they go without eating?
I'm concerned because of the placement of the tank.. the tile is telling me kitchen or bathroom, which are very dangerous places for fish because almost everyone cleans them with soaps and chemicals, and almost everyone sprays these chemicals. The chemicals can then get into your betta's tank. Also if it's too near the stove or you actually use the bathroom to take a shower the heat will cause temp fluctuations. He should be on an interior wall, away from exterior doors, windows, and vents (or other heat sources like showers and ovens). He should also not be in a room where chemicals are sprayed, candles or lit, or anything else of that nature, ever.
I also don't see a heater or a thermometer.. where am I missing this?
If he stops eating after a water change then he was probably shocked. Here is how to do a water change without causing shock and with limited stress:
The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the bowl and use a turkey baster to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. For the 100% you need to remove him - scoop him out with a plastic solo type cup and set aside while you thoroughly rinse the bowl and gravel to remove the debris. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.
Bettas can go a month or so without food.. but he needs to eat soon.. I would go to the store and look for some frozen brine shrimp or blood worms. Dethaw little pellet size chunks and see if he will eat one. You can also look for garlic guard and soak your pellets in it for 10 minutes or so.
Did you acclimate him to the new tank? Meaning, did you let his cup float in his new tank while so the water temperatures could adjust, and then did you slowly add new water to his cup and transfer his water to his tank until there was a 100% exchange? This process should take at least an hour.
Looking at his picture, it looks like he's got velvet. Shine a flashlight on him and see if you see any gold or rust colored "dust" or covering. If so, he's got velvet. Velvet occurs from cold, dirty water conditions, which would lead me to believe he got sick before you put him in his new tank and you just didn't see the symptoms until you moved him. You can use quick cure or a medication specifically for velvet to treat this, along with warm water (above 78 degrees) and dark (cover his tank and keep the light off. Velvet is a photosensitive parasite. Warming up the tank will speed up the life cycle so they'll drop off your fish, the dark will keep them from reproducing and the medication will kill them.
If he's swimming sideways, that's an indicator of a swim bladder disorder, that can occur from several different things, including shock from improper acclimation to new water parameters. You can use regular, unscented epsom salts to treat this. Generally 1 tsp per gallon if you're going to treat him directly in the tank, you can add up to 3 tsp per gallon, but do it gradually. You can also cup him, and float him in his tank to help ease his stress, and slowly do a water exchange so that eventually the water in his cup equals 3 tsp per gallon. This will also help treat his popeye, which can indicate an internal infection that is causing swelling. This can be from stress, poor water conditions, shock from improper water acclimation, internal parasites, etc.
Jumping can be for many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is distress, either from poor water conditions or an illness causing irritation. When my female had velvet, she liked to rest almost completely out of the water. But then later, she jumped out of her tank chasing a fruit fly. She still tries to jump to chase food.
What temperature is your tank? The other thing I see is that you need lots and lots more hiding places. Sometime big open spaces can be stressful to a Betta, especially if he was used to cramped quarters, adding more plants and decorations will help this.
Also, bubble nests are not a sign of health or happiness, simply a sign of breeding readiness. Many, many years ago, my best friend's sister had a Betta in an 8oz cup, he could hardly move in it. She hardly ever changed the water, it was so murky you could only see a blob. And his fins and tail were so clamped, they looked like strings, yet, he had a huge bubble nest that overflowed his cup. In the rare occasion that she changed his water, he immediately built a new nest that again overflowed the cup, but it was obvious it wasn't well, and he only lived a few months.
I'm afraid he may be beyond repair. Today he was laying on his side all day and then floating head down tail up t the bottom of the tank.
The heater is in the back of the tank with the filter pump (aesthetics I guess)... I can take it out but the water temp is currently 76. the thermometer is one of the sticky ones on the side of the tank not in picture view. I haven't done as gradual an introduction to new water as described but he always seemed fine before. The tank is in the kitchen but not by a window or stove. I don't spray the walls... just wipe with damp cloths and mild cleaners because we have small children.
We've only had the tank for 3 weeks and I've done 2 full water changes and 2 partial changes (about 30%??). I always take out the leftover food, which has been quite often lately. The water is clean. I don't have the means to check the ammonia, nitrates... etc. The water conditioner is Seachem made specifically for bettas... gets rid of amonia, chlorine and so on.
The temperature should be warmer. The stick on thermometers aren't very reliable. I have one right next to an internal one, and the stick on one can be off by up to 5 degrees. Right now it reads 70, while the internal one says 78. Over the summer when it was hot out, it read 84 while the internal one said 78. Get an internal thermometer and find out what the real water temperature is.
You shouldn't keep him in a place that gets any cleaners at all. The fumes get into the air and fall into his tank.
I agree that you need an in tank thermometer. The stick ons are not accurate and you can't do safe water changes without it because you can't match temp.
First step, increase water changes as outlined above.. you need to do so asap if you want to save him. You're not doing enough water changes.. here is information about cycling..
Cycling will take up to 2 months. you need to be testing daily with a reliable drops kit for ammonia and nitrite and doing an extra 50% change any time you see either. In addition to this a weekly 50% with siphon is needed to remove poop and other debris from the gravel. It is not enough to just scoop water off the top ever.
First you will see ammonia, then nitrite. Eventually, hopefully, you will see ammonia fall and stay at 0 even after a week of no water changes, and finally nitrite. At this point you will be left with only nitrates after a full week of no changes and these can be kept <20ppm by weekly 50% change with siphon.
Also, there is a concern with the filter in tanks of this size, but you will have to tell us what filter you have and how you maintain it.. Most filters designed for these small tanks also have fatal flaws that will not allow the biofilter to establish in them as well. You should never replace all filter media at once. You should only replace one type of filter media within a month, and the best filters have 3 different types of media. However, most of these small only contain one type of media that needs to be replaced monthly due to it containing carbon. Every time you replace all the media at once you wipe out most of your biofiler and basically start your cycle over again. The surface area available to grow this biofilter is also usually completely inadequate to support the load of the fish.
So basically he is likely suffering ammonia/nitrite poising from lack of attention during cycling, and maybe chemical poisoning from the cleaners. The popeye is consistent with this as well.