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Old 07-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Betta out of sorts

Probably like many new uninitiated betta owners I foolishly began reading up on the care of bettas after buying one at the beginning of May (rather weakly under pressure from my child). Had I known what I know now I would not have ventured down this path. But I have and now after 2 months of being pleased that our betta seemed happy (right down to making bubbles) I have become quite attached to him and am at a loss at what to do as he now is definitely out of sorts.

I am currently living in rural central America and apart from betta pellets, methylene blue and "anticloro" liquid I have no access to other foods or products.

My setup is decidedly minimalist due to the fact that my situation is not permanent and that there is no aquarium/pet shop in my town; so it consists of:

3litre tank with aquarium gravel. I looked at the artificial plants but reckoned that they would tear his fins and as the source for my fish was the local supermarket/department store there were no tank decoration supplies. In fact I had to source the largest vase I could find as the supermarket only sold super grand tanks with filter etc incorporated (>$200) or small shallow plastic ones). I wish I could adorn his home better.

So until this week -
- for the past 2 months he has been in a 3lt tank which has had 100% water (24hour standing) changes every 2-3 days.

-he would delight in tank water changes by swimming exhuberantly around when returned to the new water. It was then I would give him a short spell in front of mirror.

-he has been fed pellets twice a day and always poops whilst he is feeding.

-he was always lively when I entered the room and would swim merrily about his space. He would also flare up when my finger came close to the tank.

-he has made numerous bubble nests.

Three days ago (tues) I cleaned his tank which had gone about 6 days without cleaning - we were away for a long weekend and he missed 4 feeds but ate well Sun night, mon, and tues morning. After Tues:-

-he spent the next 2 days moping at the bottom of his tank
-fins flattened
-he showed no interest in food
-he showed no interest in my comings and goings
-he has not pooped.

I looked closely at him to see if I could detect any evidence of ailment or fungus but nothing is there. Yesterday and today (fri) I have had him in a smaller container (with methylene blue added) so that he doesn't have far to swim up to get air. Current status:-

-He seems to be a bit better reacting to my finger with a partial flare-up -attacking a pellet but ultimately spitting it out.
-He completely ignores any pea pieces that I have dropped into the water.
-still hasn't pooped.
-hangs in the far corner of his reduced space
-definitely watching me

I suspect he might be constipated but how can I interest him in eating the pea pieces (which sink to the tank bottom and get ignored there too). He has eaten pea before. I realise that I should have fed peas weekly as well as fasted him weekly and this might have been avoided.

Could any of you with a wealth of experience make some suggestions that can help restore my betta to his old self.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:40 PM   #2 
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first off you should never do 100% water changes. that big of change is thowing away benificial bacteria needed for the tank and it could shock the fish. Its rather better to to 25% every couple few days.
i dont have experience with the methylene blue so i dont know if its that.
i would keep encouraging him to eat the pea he could be constipated from suddentley not eating for 4 days then having to eat again.
and you probly heard this but, it would help if you get a heater and bigger tank. even though you dont have petstores near by, it is still efficient to order of the net.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:05 PM   #3 
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Location: Boston, MA
Meatpuppet- this tank is less than 1 gallon, so there really isn't anywhere for the beneficial bacteria to build up. 100% water changes are fine, although 50% every other day would probably be better, as he won't have to deal with the stress of being removed from his home.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend using the meth blue unless you know for a fact that something's wrong that can be treated with it. It's quite overused in the fish business and is pretty powerful, it can do more harm than good.

He's probably just recovering from the change in routine. I'd return him to his bigger bowl and do 50% water changes every day (leave him in the vase). He'd also really appreciate somewhere to hide. You can use a small terra cotta pot for gardening as a cave. Just make sure you rinse it thoroughly without soap first.

I'm sure you heard this, but you're going to want a bigger tank in the long run for him to stay healthy. I'd recommend looking online for a kit you can order. There are lots of great online fish stores that should ship to you.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:15 AM   #4 
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betta out of sorts

Thanks for the responses.

okiemavis - I will implement the 50% every day regime. I have stopped the MB and will look for a terracotta pot or similar.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:26 PM   #5 
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I'd try it's a good supply store and they ship worldwide. I know shipping might be pricey but if you preorder some supplies like frequently needed medications, filter inserts, etc. then you could choose the slowest, and cheapest, shipping option since you don't need them ASAP.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:18 PM   #6 
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betta out of sorts

Thanks ErinBBC : I am checking that out now.

I havent posted for a bit but I have been researching info in many other places. I can report an update in that as of two days ago he has been eating live mosquitoes and morsels of pea but absolutely rejecting soaked betta pellets. Obviously DISGUSTING TUCKER. Today he consumed some pea followed by 3 UNsoaked pellets (he is on restrictions) which were not spat out. So things have improved. He is also displaying aggressive behaviour to his reflection.

Okiemavis : I understand the preferences of 50% changes minimising stress but by doing 100% changes I get to wash the gravel and sides of the tank which for a small tank with no cycling I have interpreted to be important to remove potential bacteria etc. Any comments on this or modification suggestions are most welcome.

Oh, and in the closest thing to a garden centre in my town there is not a single terracotta pot. There is a nursery well out of town which I am not currently mobile to visit at present (company use of vehicle takes precedence over private). I did buy some PVC pipe joints (ie angles and T-junctions) -- any comments/opinions on PVC in their habitat?

Thanks again for your interest and replies.
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