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Old 05-01-2013, 04:09 PM   #1 
Kaxen's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Lethargic, laying on the bottom, and unresponsive bettas

Starting last night, Henry was a little lethargic, but I thought it was just him being him because he's not very active to start with, but this morning, Addie is very lethargic, not responding to me tapping on the glass (usually she comes because I tap before feeding her). She is hiding a lot which is very unusual for her. Normally she's swimming around making all the shrimp hide. The shrimp are moving less too.

What size is your tank? 5.5gallon divided.
What temperature is your tank? 78-79 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes. Top Fin Power Filter 10
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 20 red cherry shrimp. The tank is also planted with anacharis, java moss, flame moss, marimo moss, subwassertang, and guppy grass.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tetra Betta Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1 pellet whenever I wake up (9:00-10:00) and one at 7:00pm

How often do you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20-50 percent
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stress Coat+ and Stress Zyme

Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 7.6
Hardness: don't have a test kit for this
Alkalinity: don't have a test kit for this

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Both look about the same. Addie's fins are a bit clamped. Henry's head might be slightly lighter on the bottom, or that might be the lighting angle.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Very lethargic. Staying on bottom except to breathe air at the surface. No reaction to tapping on the glass from Addie (Henry never reacts to tapping the glass). Henry lays a little tilted. Addie is hiding almost constantly. Henry would eat breakfast, but Addie would not.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Henry was more lethargic last night and Addie is lethargic today. Didn't notice the change in the shrimp until today also.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No medications used yet. Did a water change and removed the sponge tied to the filter intake because it was the only new addition. Added it in because I had some berried shrimp and didn't want the babies to get sucked up the filter.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? They both have had fin problems before. Addie from stress and sometimes swimming where she doesn't fit. Henry from nearly never getting fed or water changed when he was in my cousin's care.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had Addie for about a year. Henry, I have no idea. I've had him for about two months and my cousin never told me how long she had him.

Photos of the two:

Henry seems like he is tilting to the side more often. Addie is upright, but she swims up for air more infrequently and has been hidden which is really peculiar for her. I basically couldn't quite coax her out, but she moved a little while I looked back at her after a few minutes.



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Old 05-01-2013, 07:24 PM   #2 
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My first water change was 20% but then I went and do another 50% water change.

Henry was starting to lay almost entirely sideways at times. Addie is not as bad, but she seems to never want to swim up. Henry swims up for air more. Addie also seems to wiggle her belly along the gravel.

The shrimp seem to be getting more active, but there's like some of them just staying put in the corner on the ball of flame moss not even bothering to pick at it like they normally do. The shrimp on Addie's side seem to be going out and about okay now that Addie isn't around to chase them. She's terrible at actually catching them, every time I think she may have murdered all the shrimp, they pop up out of nowhere some hours later.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:15 PM   #3 
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Both of them haven't eaten at all for dinner and breakfast. Addie tried to eat, but spit the food out. I offered her a hikari pellet since I have the small "baby pellet," but she has no interest in those compared to the tetra betta pellets.

This morning, they are less lethargic. Addie is more active than Henry. Addie is prowling around her territory more like she does normally instead of swimming only to get air from the surface.

Henry is still lethargic, but less than yesterday. He still lays almost completely sideways once in a while though.

My dad is convinced there was some kind of contamination on the new sponge since the shrimp are entirely back to normal this morning and the fish are getting better.

I know not eating one day most likely won't kill them, but should I go get bloodworms or something for the bettas to get them to eat? I'm probably going to PetCo sometime to complain about the sponge.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:51 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Midwest
It sounds like some sort of water contamination, you can also have bacterial issues that water testing can't pick up. Maybe your shrimp had a contaminant on them. With the poor swimming-swim bladder issues, parasites can also cause lethargy but is less likely from your description. Try to see what their feces looks like color ect. Bloodworms can make constipation worse. I have been told daphnia are better. I would try doing thorough cleaning of your tank and a couple more 50% water changes. Also I would restrict feeding for a few days. If there's no improvement tou can also add unscented epsom salt if it won't affect your shrimp. If it will you could try doing Epsom salt baths. CVS brand is a good one if you have them locally. Make sure it's pure no added ingredients. I prefer this method over doing the whole tank.

Epsom Salt Bath: In a separate container, prepare water of the same temperature or use water from the betta’s tank and dissolve 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon. Slowly adjust the betta to the water over about 5 minutes--acclimation time is much shorter because the fish shouldn’t be exposed to this amount of Epsom salt for too long--then allow the betta to sit in the bath for 15 minutes. Carefully monitor the betta, and remove him or her if they show signs of distress. Consider changing the water in the betta’s tank during the bath so that the fish will have clean water to recover in. This treatment can be repeated once in the same day, but if repeated, the duration of the bath should be shortened to 5-10 minutes.

Epsom Salt Leave-in Treatment: In a separate container, prepare water of the same temperature, and mix in one tablespoon per five gallons of dissolved Epsom salt. Acclimate the fish to the salted water for at least a half hour. Alternatively, if you used water from the betta’s tank, you can transfer the betta into the water directly and dissolve the salt in another container--slowly adding the dissolved salts to the water over the course of at least a half hour. The duration of this treatment is three to five days--during this time, do water changes as necessary, replacing the dissolved salts as necessary.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:54 PM   #5 
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Ah okay. Thanks for the help!

Looking at them again, Addie is swimming pretty normally now and showing interest in me poking around the tank.

But Henry has been floating vertically in the corner between the thermometer and the leaf hammock and floating vertically while on the anacharis. He's not on the bottom as much but still not acting like he usually does.
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