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Old 05-19-2013, 07:11 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2013
Betta Acting Weird, help!

I've had my betta for about a year. Up until last week he was in a 3/4 gallon vase with a peace lilly plant in distilled water. His peace lilly died and I was looking to get him a new plant when I stumbled upon this site. I did a little research and decided to upgrade him to a real home. I bought a 4 gallon tank with a filter and lightly planted it. I also got some water conditioner and started using treated tap water. I moved him to his new home 3 days ago but since then he has been acting very odd.

He sits at the bottom of the tank only going up for air occationally. He stopped eating today, and every once in a while he spazzes out and quickly darts back and forth at high speeds like he is running away from something. I think he is sick, but I don't know what to do.

Additional Information:

What size is your tank? 4 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
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? No

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flakes with freeze dried brine shrimp and krill
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day


How often do you perform a water change? Haven't yet in the new tank but 25% weekly in the old one
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API Stress coat +

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No test kit


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Hard to tell, his old container was a vase so there was a lot of distortion, not good for seeing details on him.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, not eating, darts around quickly on occasion
When did you start noticing the symptoms? When he moved to his new home 3 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1 year
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:34 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Ontario, CA
Since you haven't tested the water I'm guessing you don't have a test kit? Do a 50% water change & see if that helps. When a tank is new it has to go,through the nitrogen cycle & I suspect you have a build up of ammonia in your new tank. That's where I'd start. It can 6-8 wks on average to complete a fish IN cycle which is what you are now doing. You should have a liquid water test kit, test the water daily & do a water change if ammonia or nitrites are >.25. Let us know if the water change helps at all. Also some Bettas take a while to adjust to a new home, I had one that stayed mad at me for 3-4 days when I switched his tank. Make sure the filter isn't too strong for him, you can turn it off for an hour or two to see how he behaves. Do you have plants real or silk with a cave or two for him to hide in?

Last edited by shellieca; 05-19-2013 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:44 AM   #3 
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Location: Dartmouth, NS
I'm thinking the change is caused by such a sudden drastic water-tank change. For a year he was getting under-nourished water from the spring without conditioner and heater now suddenly he has a tank 3x larger with a a filter, heater and treated tap water. I think this might have shocked him.

What happens a lot when people with good intentions buy a half dead fish at walmart or whatever and plunk it in a fabulous new clean tank experience is that the fish perks up for a few days and succumbs to the absolute change in living arrangements. It happened to my old VT Lakitu as well when I changed everything in the tank at once.

How did you acclimatize him to the new tank? His darting could be caused by illness or he could have a parasite from the vase which you never noticed before because he couldn't dart. Can you show a pic? Does he have any tiny white dots on his scales/fins?

How easy is it for you to obtain dried indian almond leaf or oak leaf??
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:02 AM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2013
I attached a picture of him hiding under his fake log. He doesn't appear to have any spots on his body or large fins, however when he swims away from me it looks like there might be a white blotch on the backside of his right fin, unfortunately he never is in that position long enough to photograph.

He seems to do a little better when I turn off the filter, he comes out and swims towards the top more. I already reduced the flow of the filter to the minimum amount that lets the biowheel spin, and I put a cut up bottle to divert the flow to the sides, but he still doesn't seem to like the slight current at the top of the tank.

I don't think I acclimated him very well. I had him in a bag with the old water and let it sit for 10 minutes in the new water to adjust him to the new temperature, then I added him to the new tank.

I can probably get an oak leaf, is there any specific kind or any kind of oak will do?
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Overland Park, KS
I had two in a 5 gallon, split. It came with dividers, but they were glass. Because they were always flaring at each other, I made the mess dividers that I saw on the site, as I was afraid of too much stress.
Well, one betta is mad now. Since he can't see the other side, he is pouting. At first, I was afraid he was sick and took him out, to isolate him. The moment I put him in a glass, where he could see the other bettas, he went back to normal. I acclimated him back into the tank and, he went back to pouting.
I am guessing he liked being able to flare at the other guy and, is not happy with the new set up. I am watching him today and, if he still seems unhappy, he's going into his 3 gallon bowl again where, he can see out. I will just use the divider tank for females and the male to be together safely, until they mate.

Man, and I thought I was the moody type! :)
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:01 PM   #6 
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I did at 50% water change, but after a few hours he has taken a turn for the worse, he is now lying on his side at the bottom of his tank. Is there anything else I can try to do for him quickly? it doesn't seem like he is going to last much longer if I don't do something else.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #7 
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I ran out and bought a test kit along with aquarium salt and coppersafe.

My test kit results came up as:

Ph: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The Ph seems extremely high to me, what can I do to lower it safely? I'll be adding in the aquarium salt now to try and help my poor little guy since that seems like a pretty safe thing to do for now.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:00 PM   #8 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
Does your conditioner lower pH??

Driftwood, Indian Almond Leaves, Oak leaves, and Tetra brand black water conditioner all lower the pH. You don't want to do this drastically, it might take a few hours for any of these methods to lower the pH.

Do a water change now and add a little extra conditioner for the time being. I hope he makes it! He's got a real nice look to him.

*eta* Pre dissolve the salt in a separate container since it dissolves a little slow. The salt will harm any live plants and other tank mates if you have any. And mostly, aq salt is used for external issues like cuts, rips and scrapes.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:10 PM   #9 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Midwest
Do you have a smaller tank like a gallon critter carrier to make it easier to surface?You could try Jungle fungus cure (it treats several things) if you have a Walmart in your area they normally sell it. You have to cut the tablet to suit the tank because it's made for 10 gallons. So if you do him in the 4 gallon you need less than half. In a one gallon like a baby aspirin sized piece. Pre-dissolve it in some tank water in cup and add a little at time so as not to shock too much. Maybe every 15 minutes add a little more until you get the full dose.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:21 PM   #10 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Rhode Island
Okay as far as the pH, he will be fine in the 8.2 as long as you acclimated him well enough. But it seems that might not have been the case since you're still a bit new, which is totally fine! Don't worry! We were all there at some point!

You don't have to go out and buy a critter keeper, just lower his water level to about half so he can get to the surface to breathe.

And about the salt and Jungle Fungus cure, don't use both at the same time. Generally for medications just use one at a time for best results and so you don't stress your fish more.

However I see no reason to be using either Coppersafe nor Aquarium salt for time being. Aquarium salt is only for healing external wounds, do not use it over longer periods of time because it can harm their liver/kidneys.

For good acclimation you can keep them floating in the bag in the water, I use a chip clip to keep the bag at the edge of the tank. Every 10 minutes add half a cup of water to the bag for about 30-45 minutes. For more severe changes, up to an hour or hour and a half. <---just for a future reference :)
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