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Old 06-10-2013, 06:25 PM   #1 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Fish isn't eating/doesn't seem to see food?

I recently bought a new betta fish (about 2 weeks ago) and I have not gotten him to eat even once. I drop food in the tank right above him, and he does not seem to notice it at all. He doesn't react to my finger hovering above him or the food hitting the water. He only reacts once I poke the tip of my finger into the water. At this point, he sees it and darts away. I try to feed him daily, but to no avail and must clean out the food that has sunk to the bottom of the tank.

Today when I fed him, he seemed to notice the pellet and followed it for a while but made to attempt to actually eat it and then it sunk to the bottom.

I would say there was something wrong with his vision, but he sees my hand/finger when it's directly in front of him, just not when it's above him. He doesn't even seem to notice then the food touches his body. What is wrong with him? I'm starting to worry because he hasn't eaten in so long. I got him from Petco, and I doubt he did much eating there before. When I brought him home, I quarantined him in aquarium salt for 10 days due to his moderately tattered fins which I presumed to be fin rot that I wanted to nip at the bud. I have since acclimated him to the salt-free water and he has been in the 5 gallon tank for a few days now.

What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76-78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, though I currently need to purchase new cartridges. The filter is primarily being used to aerate the water right now.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Not besides the filter.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Nothing, currently. I took the 3 marimo balls that are usually in the tank out to quarantine after my last fish died unexpectedly and forgot to put them back in. I'm hesitant to replace them in the tank until I figure out what's wrong with my fish, though.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum Betta Formula pellets (or at least I try to)
How often do you feed your betta fish? I've attempted twice a day since I got him two weeks ago, but he has not taken food even once.

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? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stresscoat + water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No. I'm a college student with a crappy job, so I've been hesitant to buy the test kit.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Not since I've gotten him.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's been pretty lethargic since I bought him. He hangs around the top of his tank pretty much all the time, sometimes resting on the silk plant that's in there. Occasionally it seems that he has difficulty swimming down and staying there. He's an elephant ear betta, so he's a pretty slow swimmer, but he sometimes slowly floats back to the top if he makes it down at all. There is no bloating or tipping over, he just can't seem to swim down. He has been pooping a little, but I'm not sure what it is that he's pooping out. The poop seems healthy, though minimal.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? As soon as a brought him home two weeks ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I had him in aquarium salt for 10 days until a couple of days ago.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He looked like he had very minor fin rot when I brought him home, but he's been treated for it and hasn't gotten any worse in that respect.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I couldn't say. However old petco fish typically are plus two weeks.

Any help would be appreciated. I just don't want to lose another fish this month. :c

If anyone thinks pictures would be helpful, I'd be happy to post them. Just ask.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Iowa
I had one rescue I brought home May 20 that was sick (he's still not totally "right") and he really didn't eat until this past week. But, I think he was scavenging for the pellet bits that sunk to the bottom (the tank was bare bottomed until I knew he was eating food at the surface).

Some things you could try that I've used with picky eaters are:

Garlic soaked pellets, frozen bloodworms I held 1/2 in 1/2 out of an eye dropper and moved around to mimic movement, frozen brine shrimp out of an eye dropper just enough to grab and blowing pellets across the top of the water to mimic movement. All these things have worked in the past for me. I did try everything with my May 20th rescue (Alfie) and he didn't care about any of it. But, one day he started eating the NLS floating above him.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:40 PM   #3 
Join Date: Jan 2013
I'm fairly convinced this is an issue with my fish's vision. Today I was able to get him to eat two pellets by dropping them into the water about 1/2 an inch away from the side of his head. He noticed them quickly but had difficulty righting his body to eat them and didn't seem to be able to see them when they were actually in front of him and missed many times trying to eat pellets. I tried to get him to eat more than the two that he managed to catch, but he kept missing and seems to be rather tired now. Understandably so, as this is the first time he's eaten since I brought him home.

He looks very underweight, and there seems to be a sort of "bend" in his body. The back half of his body is bent slightly and doesn't ever seem to straighten out, even when he's swimming. It looks sort of weak in its movement, and I wonder if this is due to his malnutrition. I'm hoping that with this new method I will be able to get him to start eating slowly and hopefully he will regain strength eventually so that eating isn't such a task for him.

I'm worried, though, as I'm about to go out of town for three weeks, and I don't trust my mom to be able to feed him properly or clean out the left over pellets. I don't know how much longer he's going to be able to go without eating, or that I'll be able to get him to eat again when I return if he's still alive. :(

About his eyes, and why I think this is an issue with his vision: His eyes seem to be angled downward more than most betta's I've seen. He doesn't notice things hovering directly above him, but if it's off to the side a bit, or underwater, he becomes aware of it's presence. For example, I can hold my finger above him and he doesn't notice it, but once I penetrate the surface of the water, he darts away. If it is an issue with his vision and the angle of his eyes, I have a feeling this isn't a problem that I'll be able to fix and I'll have a bit of a special needs fish on my hands. Of course, I bought him from petco for 20 bucks and they're not going to care that they gave me a fish that can't see well enough to eat.

I just hope he makes it while I'm away.
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