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Old 05-28-2013, 08:19 AM   #1 
Karissa
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Location: New York
seems like one of my fish cannot open his mouth to eat

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gal
What temperature is your tank? 74
Does your tank have a filter? yes , sponge filter
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 2 other bettas

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3 pellets per fish a day and i skip one day a week

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? every week, i missed a week tho :(
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? Nutrafin Cycle, stress coat , AQ salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? a bit dull
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? weak and seems unable to open his mouth to eat and seems his gills stay open when he tries to eat
When did you start noticing the symptoms? yesterday

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? did a 90% percent water change, Im too small to lift the tank and change it all. I siphoned out as much water as possible. I took a reading of the water and it did get pretty bad i forget which read too high but i changed the water right then and there.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? im still trying to get the hang of properly caring for them and trying to get a good stable cycle in the tank. ive had my fish for over a year. the other two are able to eat and do move around the tank just one seems to not be doing well at all.
How old is your fish (approximately)? maybe 2 years
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #2 
NorthernLights
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74 degrees is fairly cold for a betta. They really need temps of 78-80. You have a heater in your tank, is it a pre-set one or an adjustable one? Do you have a thermometer in the tank? Or each compartment in the tank? With a 10 gallon different parts of the tank could end up with different temps.

Do you have live plants in your tank? A 10 gallon divided three ways with three fish is a bit over 3 gallons per fish.

What brand and what kind of pellets are you using? Do you soak the pellets in water for bit before you feed them?
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:48 PM   #3 
Karissa
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Heater is preset :/
Each compartment has a thermometer.
No plants, i had just gotten them into the 10 gal about 2 weeks ago. i had them in a 5 gal and was told they needed more.
Pellets are Betta Bio-gold by Hikari. Never soaked pellets before

I just tested the water since the change

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0.25 PPM
Nitrite: 0.25 PPM
Nitrate: 5.0 PPM
pH: 7.2
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

is there something else i can do to get the water right?
what else should i do to help the little guy out?
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:50 PM   #4 
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Yipes!

You've got ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in that water. Is that the clean water you just put in, or the dirty water you just took out?

If that's the clean water, you need something to neutralize the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your water. Prime is a good water conditioner that will neutralize a lot of stuff that other water conditioners do not.

Do you always use aquarium salt? It is hard on their internal organs after 10 days or so.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:02 PM   #5 
Karissa
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I took my water to the Pet store to get it checked out and get as second opinion. the water reading is what it is now i believe because i did a 90% water change, the guy said put some ph up in the tank and test the water daily then bring in another sample in 2 more days. he said he was going to tell me to do a water change but since i just changed it and added the Nutrifin Cycle to give it a day or two.
the only water conditioner i put in is the API stress coat.
thanks for the note on the AQ salt, i thought it was just a thing that should always be in the tank. when is it best to use or not use AQ salt? what is it for?
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:14 PM   #6 
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Do not adjust your Ph your Ph is fine and adjusting it with the fish in the tank could kill him it is best to adjust the Ph outside of the tank and with no fish in the water, even with that being said your Ph is fine and your fish is used to it, I would suspect your fish is sickly because of water quality issues if you just did a 90% water change and those are your readings you need to up the amount of water changes you do
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:37 PM   #7 
Karissa
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yes, i know the water conditions are my fault i missed a week and it got bad. i just want to know if there is anything i can do to help my one fish along and what can i do to help him get to a place where he can open his mouth to eat. when i put the food in the tank he goes for it but he just bumps into the food because he dosent open his mouth. he is pretty weak now, just laying under the filter with his gills flared :/
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:28 PM   #8 
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Ok, try soaking the pellets in water for 10-20 min before feeding him. You may want to break the pellets up once they've soaked so that they are smaller.

Those water readings are definately concerning. You really need to consider getting some Prime water conditioner. Stress Coat+ is a great conditioner (especially for healing fins) but it does not handle ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite. Since you have that stuff already in your water, you need to get something to fix it.

My other major concern is the temp. 74 degrees is cold for a betta. At temps that low, their digestive system and immune system simply don't work as well. His resistance has probably been worn down over time. You can get a 50 watt adjustable heater at Petco or PetsMart for around $30. If you have a good local fish store, you might like a Hydor Theo 50 watt. Keeping your fish warm will be healthier for all your bettas.

Aq salt is used for problems with the outside of your fish. Wounds, ammonia burns, fin rot, etc. It should not be used for more than about 10 days at a time to avoid organ damage.

Hikari Bio-Gold aren't the best pellets, Omega One or New Life Spectrum are generally what is recommended here. Hikari have less fish protein in them and are not as nutritious.

I know its scary and frustrating. I am glad you care about your fish and don't give up hope!
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #9 
Karissa
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I didn't think he would make it through the night but he seems a tiny tad better, he is not worse so that's a good sign. I also purchased a new heater yesterday and the temp is just below 80*. I tested the water this morning a d results have not changed so I did a little over 25% but below 50% water change. The results are

Ammonia:0ppm
Nitrite:0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm- just below 5.0ppm
pH: 7.0

It's been 3 days since he has eaten. Should I put him in a small cup to feed him or should I wait until I see that he is able to move more so that I don't stress him out and exhaust him?
He seems really weak to me and I feel I ought to leave him be until he shows interest in eating. He can't come over to me like the other 2 guys.
I was also thinking I should get one of those breeder nets to have him in the same tank but closer to the surface so he can breath. Thoughts ?
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:06 AM   #10 
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They can go quite a few days without eating. 3 days really isn't too bad. If he seems to have trouble getting to the surface to breathe, putting him in something smaller is a good idea.

I am glad you were able to warm him up. His digestive system will work much better at around 80 degrees. I am also glad you were able to get your water parameters closer to safe levels (still not quite sure what that Nitrate level is about). He probably is very stressed right now, so let him be, but keep a close eye on him.
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