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Old 02-07-2010, 02:50 PM   #1 
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Exclamation help with listless fish

Hi :)

My nephew moved in with a betta in a dirty tank. I started reading this forum and decided to get a new tank (2.5 gallon, now I wish it was even bigger), with a very quiet filter and a mini heater (for 2-5 gallon tanks, but I don't think it works that great). I've been feeding Betta Gold (2-3 pellets twice a day). The tank is a constant 78-80 degrees.

The fish appears to be totally health (I've been reading about all the common problems and he doesn't appear to have any). He's been very active, eating well, being a clown and overall just a very happy fish.

Today was one week since I set up his tank, so I did a 100% water change. I tried to be careful, but two things may have happened. First, I may have added just a little bit more of the water conditioner than I was supposed to (it said 1 tsp per gallon, and I had already prepared 3 gallon jugs with 3 tsp). When I measured out the conditioner, a few extra drops spilled in, so I'm not sure if that is super bad or not). The other thing is that I waited for the water to get warm before putting him back in the clean tank, and I think it was only at 74-76 when I put him in, not the usual 78. I also had some difficulty getting him back into the tank. I had to chase him with the net a bit, so I think he got a bit scared.

Anyway, so now he's in his tank and it's 78 degrees and he won't move. Every once in a while he swims around a bit and goes for air, but then he either settles on the bottom of the tank or floats around the top and doesn't move. I tried giving him a couple of pellets but he won't eat.

So.... I'm thinking:

1) I should do another 100% water change (maybe there's too much conditioner in the water?) or maybe something got into the water (I don't see how since I was trying to be very careful).

2) Maybe the fish is just in shock and it's going to take a while for him to get back to his old self?

3) Maybe he just got too cold and he needs some time to recover?

It just seemed like the transition to the clean tank was stressful to him. I feel like I need to figure something else out besides trying to chase him around with the net. Maybe I just really shocked him, or even hurt him? I didn't like get him between the net and the side of the cup or anything, but I'm just so worried that maybe somehow he got hurt when I didn't realize.

Hopefully it's just shock and he'll be okay in a little while. If anyone is reading this, please give me a suggestion.

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Old 02-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #2 
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I had the exact same problem wiht my fish about two weeks ago. I did a 100% water change and I though everything would be all well, well the next day my fish was having the same symptoms you described. (I use bowl buddies as my water conditioner). I wasn't really sure what made my fish do this, but what I did was I gave him a salt bath, completely re-cleaned his tank, and gave him bettafix for a week and now he is completely better. And do you float your fish before you release him in eh tank after a cleaning or do you just put him back in it?
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:04 PM   #3 
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I just put him back in the water. Hmmm, I didn't realize maybe I should have floated him in. Can you explain how to do this? I usually just net him and put him in a cup with his old water, and then net him and put him back as soon as I change the water. I guess that's too fast, huh?

When I bought this tank last week, I used some store bought "drinking water" to use as the water. This week I just used my regular tap water. Thing is, before when he was in the dirty tank, he was in regular tap water (treated, of course) and was fine, so I don't see how that could be a problem...but maybe so?
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:08 PM   #4 
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Seems like your doing just about everything right....only thing I could think of is that you shocked him a bit if you didn't accumulate him properly back to the new water. You should float him in a cup for 15 minutes or so, pour out a little water, add some tank water, wait 10 more minutes, and repeat. Do that a couple more times, then release him into the tank. This should always be done whenever you remove him for a water change.
A couple extra drops of water conditioner never hurt, so your fine there.
The shock from the drinking water to the tap is probably what did it, especially if you just tossed him in.....the drinking water is really unnecessary anyway, treated tap water should be just fine.

Turn off his light for now and/or wrap a towel around his tank to help minimize stress and leave him be for a bit. If hes still acting the same after a day or two, give him a salt bath and add a little Aquarium salt to his tank(1 Teaspoon should be enough). Make sure the salt is fully dissolved before adding it to the tank or giving him the salt bath

However, if your going to do do 100% water changes, you can remove the don't need it unless your interested in cycling your tank.
If you'd rather not got through the hassle of cycling, you'll need to preform 100% changes 2-3 times per week in a 2.5 gallon.

But thumbs up for doing research and getting him a better home ;) Goodness knows that most wouldn't even think twice about leaving him in a dirty little bowl, so cookies for you :)
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:34 PM   #5 
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Thanks so much for all your help! :)

I just got back with some aquarium salt, so I'm prepared to give the salt bath if it comes to it. I've got the tank in a calm state now, and hopefully that will help.

Seems like he will vigorously swim around for a few seconds, coming to the top for air, and then just float listlessly back down to the bottom and not move for a it takes everything he's got to go up for air and then he just can't move anymore. :(

I hope things get better for him. I hate the thought of reprimanding my nephew for his lack of care, and then I have the fish a week and I kill it. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help!
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:05 PM   #6 
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No problem! :)

If hes having trouble going up for air, lower the water level so he doesn't have to work as hard. Later on, if you have any, try enticing him with some bloodworms(frozen or freeze-dried, be sure to let freeze-dried sit in some tank water for 10-15 minutes to re-hydrate before feeding). Apart from that, just keep his tank dark and quiet and wait... hopefully he'll perk up soon! Best of luck!
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:16 PM   #7 
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Does he seem bloated at all? Is he breathing rapidly or stressed out? Hopefully it's just the water temp. change during the water replacement.

What kind of water conditioner are you using? My conditioner (Prime) is one drop per gallon. 1 tsp. just seems like an awful lot. Just curious as to which one needs that much.

As for the heater, do yourself a favor and get a 25 watt submersible that you can adjust the temperature on. The best recommended is the Visitherm Stealth brand but they're a bit expensive. You can find some a little cheaper online at Amazon, Petco, Big Al's online. That way you can set it to the temp you want and not have to worry about fluctuations. When changing the water, get the tap water up to the same temp that the tank is, add your conditioner and that should be fine.

Does he have a soft plant or a cave to hide in? Bettas love to feel secure and that could be adding to his stress level.

Oh and welcome to the forum :)
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:54 PM   #8 
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Netting the bettas can really stress them out. It's better to try to "train" them to swim into a cup willingly. That's what I try to do with mine when I'm moving them from place to place. There's a thread on it that I could try to find for you if you're interested.

Alternatively you could try cycling your tank, which would allow you to just siphon off about a gallon at a time and let him keep swimming in the 1.5 gallon still there. That eliminates the strain of being moved from place to place entirely, which is also what I prefer to do.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #9 
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I started a new thread because my fish is dead :( :( :(
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:41 PM   #10 
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Oh, no! I'm sorry to hear that!
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