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Old 06-11-2013, 11:47 PM   #1 
tngirl92's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Macon, GA
Is Betta Bored?

My Mr. P has been acting awfully listless lately. He eats normally and does not seem like he is having any difficulty swimming. He appears the same. Can betta fish get depressed, lonely or bored? The behavior has changed since I moved him from my college dorm to my family home for the summer. At college, we lived in a studio apartment and his tank sat on my desk. I was always there doing my homework and he seemed like he really enjoyed watching me. Myself or my roommate were always home, so it was like he had constant entertainment. Now he lives on my bedroom dresser. I am virtually the only one who goes in my room, and I'm so busy with summer fun, a summer class, and my new job next week that I am hardly ever there. I got him an mystery snail to see if he would enjoy having a tankmate, but he was so rough on the snail that we moved it to my boyfriend's 10 gallon tank today. Mr. P either hovers near the water line or sits on the bottom of the tank. He perks up when I come over to feed him. What's wrong with him? Is it possible that he is bored and lonely? I was thinking about moving him downstairs to the kitchen, where he will see more action during the day. I have four other family members and two cats, but none of them (except the cats) spend time in my room besides me.

Just in case:

What size is your tank? 2.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? No
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? Formerly a small apple/mystery snail, snail was moved today because betta harassed it too much

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One pellets and the occasional freezedried bloodworm
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once or twice a day, between four and six pellets a day

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? 50-75%
What type of additives do you use? Betta Conditioner, API Stress Coat, and Top Fin Bacteria Supplement once a month

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Has not changed
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? The best way I can describe it is sulking and generally looking listless and bored
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No treatment
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Intense bout with gill infection and columnaris when I first got him from Petsmart. About a month and a half ago.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Probably less than a year.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:45 AM   #2 
NeptunesMom's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Iowa
In a 2.5 g you need to up your water changes to at least twice a week. A 2.5 is too small for a mystery snail and betta. If you want to get him a buddy in the future you'll need to up him to a 5 g minimum.

When did he fully get over his gill infection and columnaris? How did you treat those?

He could be stressed from the move, and from the changing attention he is getting. I have heard of people having a lot of success moving their fish into high traffic areas in the house.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:17 PM   #3 
tngirl92's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Macon, GA
I have live plants, and twice a week water changes were really rough on them. What do you suggest in that scenario? Would you filter a tank this small? I have heard varying opinions, and I actually tried one filter, but the current seemed too strong for him and I don't think he appreciated the noise.

Luckily the mystery snail has been rehomed in a 10 gallon, but I don't think having her as a neighbor for about a week would make his behavior change that drastically.

His two infections were fully cleared on April 15th, about two weeks after I got him. Since then, his color has really gotten beautiful and he has built several bubble nests.

I may be upgrading to a 5.5 gallon soon.

Maybe moving him to a higher trafficked area will help him out.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:21 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Red River, NM
You still need to change the water at least twice a week with plants. With my filtered 5 gallon that has live plants, I still have to clean it once a week. You don't need to do a full water change though, so you don't even have to remove him from the tank if that is what you were doing. Just siphon out about 25% to 50% of the water, and pour in the same amount of clean water.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:37 PM   #5 
NeptunesMom's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Iowa
I honestly do not know about the 2.5 g and live plants. I looked at OFL suggestions and it wasn't really clear either. I've only ever had live plants in an unfiltered 10 g. I suppose if your water parameters are staying fine then I wouldn't worry about it. A liquid test kit is the best, but if it's out of the budget you can get a strip test kit for pretty cheap. I think the Mardel 5 in 1 test strip is like $6. I'd test it at least once prior to a water change and see what you're getting for a reading.

My 2.5 g is not filtered. I perform twice weekly water changes, and it's parameters are fine. You could filter a tank that small, but it seems to me most bettas don't like the noise or the water movement.

No, the snail wouldn't have caused his change. Unless the snail brought something into the tank, like a parasite. But, I'd think you'd notice that.

See what happens if you move him.

Oh sainthogan beat me to it. Looks like you have more experience with small planted tanks than I.

Last edited by NeptunesMom; 06-12-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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