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Old 07-31-2013, 05:04 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Bad water change? Lethargic fish

Hello all,

I apologize this turned into a bit of a long novel, just wanted to get all the information I had out there. Hoping this story has a happy ending!

My friend has been keeping her betta at my apartment the past 2 weeks while she moves and changed his water for the first time today. She left not long after she cleaned the tank and a few hours later I took a look at her fish and he was lethargic and bobbing vertically in the corner of his tank, fins pinned to his side. At first I feared he was dead and tapped the glass, he twitched for a moment then continued to float there. This is very strange behavior since he normally is extremely active and will react and get excited when people simply put their face near his tank. He also ALWAYS stays on his leaf hammock if he's not swimming around, so his pouting in a corner is very odd.

I left him for awhile longer not sure if I should do anything or not (his owner isn't here and is asleep) and didn't want to stress him out farther. But then he started floating up sideways, had dulled significantly in color, and getting a glazed look in his eye. I had been in the room with my friend when she was doing the water change and remember hearing the sink going and saying she was doing a full water change. Thinking she may have just used tap water I got my own betta's 'Vacation Home' (the small cup you originally buy them in) and scooped him out with enough water to fill about 20% of the cup. I filled the rest up with the distilled water I use with my betta. He layed on the bottom of the cup for awhile but after a few minutes he started swimming to the top every now and then. It's been about an hour and now his fins are no longer pinned and he is swimming around a bit. He still rests on the bottom and his swimming is a little off but he does look me at least. He still is NOT a happy betta right now that's for sure.

Was it okay that I moved him? Is something else possibly wrong? I don't have anything to test the water with me. He has lost a lot of color in the past couple hours and if I look close he has a 'film' over his coat. Could it all be from using tap water? He was perfectly fine pre-water change. I'd like to do anything I can to help the little guy, he's a happy little dude (would also be nice to not be accused of killing my friends fish while trying to save him ^^;).

Last edited by Ibanez; 07-31-2013 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:23 AM   #2 
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Also if this helps; not sure on most of these since my friend has been caring for the fish mostly:

What size is your tank? 1.5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? Not sure
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? Ridin' solo

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Blood worms, pellets, swatted nats we find in the apartment
How often do you feed your betta fish? Almost every day with one or two days skipped per week

How often do you perform a water change? This was the first one
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? This was a full water change
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Not sure

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Dulled color, lethargic, vertical floating (no longer doing this one)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Yes, less active and rests on the bottom of his container now
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A couple hours ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, changed into a smaller container with new distilled water
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Got at the pet store a couple weeks back
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:27 AM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Bakersfield, CA
I would text her or something and be like hey this what's up and this is what I've done to try and help him.

Tap water is what you're supposed to use for their water. Distilled water doesn't have the minerals they need. Maybe she forgot to add the water conditioner and the chemicals in the water got to him? In that case what you did by adding the distilled to some tank water may have helped by diluting the chemicals.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:58 AM   #4 
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Message has been left already.

She doesn't have water conditioner here. She used that blue bottled betta water last time which makes me think she used straight tap water, could be wrong though! I mix the distilled water with tap water I let sit out for a week but didn't have any on me so just mixed distilled in. He looks better so hoping that's all that was wrong. Thanks for replying (:
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:57 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Colorado
Definitely use a water conditioner next time, you can get them for $2-$3 and they work pretty effectively.

Also with the next water change make sure that the temperature of the water he came out of and the water he goes into are as close as you can get them - don't want to shock the poor guy :)
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:45 PM   #6 
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Now that the tank has sat over night you can probably pull out half the water and fill it with distilled and reacclimate him to his tank tonight if he's still improving.

I'm glad he's doing better and I would definitely mention a water conditioner to your friend next time you talk to her. She'll save money in the long run using tap water and conditioner versus buying that bottles betta water.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:30 PM   #7 
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Forgot to add the update!

After further investigation I touched the water in the tank and it was incredibly warm! Didn't even THINK of temperature at the time. She must have not payed attention to which faucet she turned on. Waited a day and added distilled water to his tank, making sure the water was also a good temperature. Just bought water conditioner too.

He is back in his tank and contently blowing a bubble nest now (:
His owner if very happy he is back to normal.

Thanks for all the help!
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