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Old 09-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Unhappy What's wrong with my fish?

What size is your tank? 1 gallon bowl
What temperature is your tank? 74-78
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? there are two betta in the bowl with a divider.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day.

How often do you perform a water change? Roughly every two weeks.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 75%-90%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner. I also put a little bit of the old water back in so it's not too much of a shock to their systems.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? No.

If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How old is your fish (approximately)? Between 2-3 years. I wasn't the original owner, so I don't know for sure.
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He looks mostly the same, but his fins look a bit ragged. They used to have a very smooth, symmetrical shape, but now they look uneven. His right fin also appears to have a tiny hole in it, but I'm unsure if it's really a hole or just the way his fins split off. However, I never noticed it before now. He is a red fish, so that makes it difficult to tell if he's actually injured.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Enjorlas (Enjy) keeps lying at the bottom of the bowl. If I get near him, he swims over to me. When I put my finger up to his face he swims backwards as fast as possible, but if I put my finger an inch or so away from him he swims directly towards it. He's still eating very well. He's blowing bubbles, but not nearly as many as he was.

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Roughly a week ago. I've only just noticed the ragged fins in the past few days.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
No. I'm not sure what's wrong with him, or if anything is at all.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?
Not that I'm aware of.

A few other things:
I recently moved. During the move, the fish travelled in the car and stayed in hotel rooms. It seemed like they were fine with it, except that I had to take the heater out during car travel. Now I'm in a different state, which means I've been using different water to fill up their bowl with. I've been generous with the condition and tried to only do partial water changes the first three weeks because I didn't want to upset their systems. I keep the fish in my dorm room, which is often dark because I'm not in during the day. I've almost wondered if the darkness is making Enjy think he should "sleep" more and made him lethargic. The bowl is on a shelf with a few other items. I didn't know if the lack of a view would upset either fish at all. Javert (the other betta in the bowl) is extremely happy and content, but Enjy seems very letharic. I've considered the possibility of fin rot, but if it is, it's too early on to know for sure, I think. What's wrong with him? What should I do?
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:25 AM   #2 
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Location: Rhode Island
Firstly, I just want to say that 1 gallon is too small for two fish. I know stores may say otherwise, but it's not healthy for them.

Second, water changes every other week? What you're doing is poisoning your fish with their own ammonia. It's kind of like living in a 4 foot by 4 foot room, you've got a toilet and you can use it but it only flushes properly maybe every two weeks. After a while....yeah that's not very nice, huh? So is it possible that you can maybe get another 1 gallon bowl so they each at least have one gallon to themselves? This is the first step in helping them.

Second, for an unfiltered 1 gallon, you need to do 100% water changes at LEAST twice a week, if not three times a week. Is the reason they are in bowls is because you travel a lot? Or was that just a thing that happened recently?

The reason that moving with Betta's or fish is difficult is because water is different everywhere. pH is different, the hardness of the water, the softness of it, what buffers it has in it and sometimes even water has ammonia in it or nitrites. Those are bad for fish in general. So if they aren't acclimated carefully to new water, it can hurt them.

It's like if you went to an entirely different country and started to drink their water and eat all their food, first your digestive system wouldn't feel good and you'd probably end up sick. That's a bit like what your boy's are feeling. But I'm glad you were only doing partial water changes.

Really the biggest thing here is getting them each their own 1 gallon's or more if you can handle it. And then do at least 2 water changes a week, they can be only half if you want but you NEEEEEEED to do more water changes. Not only is the ammonia going to poison them but also fish get minerals from water, just the same way we do. Eventually those minerals run out so you need to replenish them by taking out/adding water.

Does that all make sense?
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:12 PM   #3 
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Well, I got them from a friend. She'd had them for about two years and was taking awful care of them. Their bowl sat in the window, she rarely cleaned it, and she fed them maybe once a week. Obviously they're very hardy fish to have made it through that. When I got them, I kept the bowl they were in because I travel between home and school a good bit and don't have the room or a way to transport anything bigger. I was gradual in upping their feeding right off because I had read that too much food compared to what they'd had could harm them. I've had them about five months and I've added a small heater that goes under the rocks and some plastic plants.

I originally intended to clean their bowl more often, but every time I cleaned it they would get very upset. They'd get lethargic and pouty and would sometimes refuse to eat, so I decided to clean it less often so as not to stress them so much.

I feel as if it might not have so much to do with their water considering they survived in much worse conditions for so long and thrived in basically the same conditions. Also, I've been in this state for about three weeks, which means they've been in the water here roughly that long. Enjy was very happy and doing well up until last week. I'm not ruling out what you said, I'm just adding a little more information in case that affects anyone's thoughts on it.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:29 PM   #4 
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Just because they've survived in those conditions does not mean they are thriving is all. I am glad that you're taking care of them now and they are getting better care for sure

To reduce their stress during water changes put them in a solid colored cup and cover them so it's completely dark in there. The darkness has a calming effect and will help them stay less stressed. Stress is still inevitable for any amounts of moving for any fish though so you're going to have to deal with that. What they're living in, although better than before, is still not healthy.
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fin rot, help betta fish, lethargic betta, sick betta?

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