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Old 08-03-2010, 11:18 PM   #1 
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Lincoln's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Sick Betta? Help!

Hi there,

Me and my fiancée recently decided to purchase a Betta fish, and needless to say we've fallen madly in love with the little guy...

We are very new to this whole thing, and despite our lack of experience, our love of our new fish has put us in the position of having to learn alot within a short amount of time...

So, heres whats up...any help/advice would be much appreciated..there is so much contradictory information on the web, and we hope that you all can help us out so our little "Tiepolo" (as we call him) can continue to live happily...


-We bought Tiepolo two weeks ago (July 24th). We purchased a 1 gallon 'bowl' for him (I know, bad move), brought him home and placed him in the bowl with the water he came in (small jar), plus tap water which had stood for 2 days (as recommended by pet store staff).

-4 days later, we did his first water change. We used a portion of the water he was in at the time (standing tap water + original jar water), and the rest of the water we used was water filtered using a Brita drinking water filter. We used a 25% original water, 75% Brita filtered water ratio for the two water types. We also added some gravel, and the proper amount of aquarium salt/dissolving time for the size of his bowl.

-On August 1st, we once again changed the water, with a 50/50 ratio of old water/new Brita filtered water.

For the last few days (beginning a couple of days before his 2nd water change) Tiepolo has not been his normal energetic self. He is lethargic and his fins are not radiant or fanned out. There also seems to be a bit whitening under his head that does not seem to be bacterial in nature.

We realize we will need a bigger aquarium for him, and from what we have gathered from the web we know that we should be conditioning his water for chlorine. The temperature is fine, but we have yet to determine what the PH level is currently...

I guess what we want to know is how do we get him back to health? Should we gradually re-acclimate him to properly conditioned water? And if so, what is the water ratio/timeframe for his re-introducton? Could this have been a result of the sudden addition of the aquarium salt to his bowl?

He still eats heartily, so all things considered....


(and sorry for the noob-itis...Please believe i throughly read the faq, but still have these specific questions!)

Last edited by Lincoln; 08-03-2010 at 11:21 PM. Reason: content
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:22 AM   #2 
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Location: Tampa, FL
First off, welcome to the betta forums. You'll learn so much here. :) We can't wait to see pictures of your fish in his new home.

A 2.5 gallon tank is ideal at minimum. You'll need a heater, bettas are tropical fish and need to be kept between 76-82 degrees. I use the Hydor Theos 25w heater and I love it. Adjustable. Perfect. He's probably just lethargic from the water shock and not being heated.

Also, bettas like hidey-holes. Like little cave things to hide in. I hear you can use ceramic coffee mugs, just make sure you treat it with vinegar first and if the cup changes after the vinegar soaking, its not safe for the tank. They also like silk or material plants. Plastic could hurt their delicate fins. You can try dragging a pair of panty hose over the plant and if the hose snag, its not safe for Mr. Fish.

My betta whitened slightly under his head as well, just his scale things pale-ing out a little bit. I hear its normal for bettas to be lighter on their underside. Aquarium salt shouldn't be used longer than 10 days. Its only used to reduce stress on the fish and help with electrolytes and such. But anymore than that can be damaging to their... liver? One of those organs. If you use it too much and your betta catches parasites, they'll be resistant to the salt already in the tank.

Bettas will adjust to the PH. Regardless of a water filter you should get a water conditioner to remove heavy metals and chlorine from the water. Someone else can help you with the time frame of acclimation. I'm still trying to get that part down. x_x; But you'll need water conditioner.

Hope I helped a little, someone else can help you with acclimating. :)
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:50 AM   #3 
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Welcome to the forum!!

First off YOU NEED TO USE WATER CONDITIONER. This is an absolute must. I recommend Prime made by Seachem - VERY good stuff. Seem a little expensive but will last a very long time since you only use 2 drops/gallon.

Next, in a bowl that small you need to be doing 100% water changes in addition to the partial water changes. I would recommend doing 100% every other day. They are swimming in their own toilet so the ammonia builds up very fast in a small container and needs to be cleaned 100% with hot water to get it all out. The ammonia WILL stress out the fish, cause ammonia burn, and lead to illness.

At this point, I would start doing the water changes, BUY WATER CONDITIONER, and add 1 tbsp. of dissolved AQ salt if you feel the need to medicate him. I don't let my water sit overnight because I have cats and they would get into it, but you don't need to let it sit for two days. You can, but it's not necessary.

In the future, everything else that Ajones said sounds good. Definitely needs a heater and possibly a larger tank (Walmart has a great 5 gallon whole kit with filter for $30).

Let us know if you have any other questions!
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:27 AM   #4 
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Great advice! Thanks so can be sure that we will be returning to this forum, it seems very active and the folks round here seem really dedicated to their bettas!

Tiepolo seems in much higher spirits today, and I really think it was due to the temperature of the water. I had tested it yesterday and it seemed much colder to the touch than it does today. His fins are fanning again and he's back to his old self.

We will be investing in a larger tank (5 gal from Wal Mart, hopefully) with heater and small filter, and also purchasing some water conditioner. We hope to do this on Friday at latest.

But for now he seems great! Thanks for all your help, we will be back with more questions im sure!

Oh, and here he is:

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Old 08-04-2010, 04:57 PM   #5 
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Awesome betta! Hope he'll enjoy his new future home! Glad to hear hes back in good shape as well =)
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:59 PM   #6 
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Hello and welcome to the4 forum. Tequila is very pretty!
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:51 AM   #7 
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Originally Posted by dramaqueen View Post
Tequila is very pretty!

his name is Tiepolo Tequila would be a funny name too
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:55 AM   #8 
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Off topic, sorry. I have a tequila rose coffee mug in Blade's tank. xD
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:00 PM   #9 
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lol! Sorry, I thought it was Tequila!!
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