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Old 08-14-2010, 06:06 PM   #1 
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Somewhere in the US.
New Betta-- Lethargic (?) And Not Eating

Hi everybody.
I'm really sorry if this topic has already been answered multiple times. I was trying to read around but in the end I just go confused.

I am a brand new betta owner. All my life, I've had pets...just not any fish. I'm moving into an on-campus apartment this year and I wanted to get a fish so I read into it and got things for a betta and two days ago I bought Hibari at Petsmart.

I did everything I was supposed to, with the waiting and the drops in the water before putting him in and then did that as carefully as I could. For the first twenty four hours, he did great, swimming back and forth and moving around quite a bit.

This morning I woke up and he was just floating in this upper back left corner. Because I am completely paranoid, I assumed he was dead...he wasn't, but the thing is that he honestly hasn't moved around much since except when I was checking on him and jostled the water when I took off his lid. He was over in the upper back right hand corner for a couple of minutes while I worked out, but he was in the same place the next time I looked over and hasn't really moved since (except, as I said, when I have moved the water...and in those cases he swam to the bottom and back up).

I am insanely worried. I am not entirely sure if I should be...he appears to be breathing and he moves normally when he IS moving, but...I just want to be a really good fish mom.

I came on here this afternoon to see if it was an emergency and decided the meantime it would be great to join so I could have the support in case poor little Hibari is okay/lives and something worse happens later.

Anyway, after doing some reading, I went to his tank, turned off his light, and covered his tank in a towel to make sure he wasnít stressed. Then I headed off to Petsmart again to buy testing strips (even though the man who helped me said betta didnít need that), a small heater, and a thermometer. The minute I got home, I stuck the thermometer sticker to the side of the tank and tested the water.

What size is your tank? 2.5 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? The thermometer sticker has a yellow line next to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a dark blue line next to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No, but I have a heater in case it ends up I need one.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I have been giving him small amounts of Nutrafin Max, but he has yet to eat any of it (another thing Iím worried might be causing this because the flakes have sunk to the bottom of the tank so I donít really know how to take them out). I have another brand called Betta Bio-Gold (Hikari) (and it's a pellet rather than a flake) that my mom wants me to start giving him in case he would eat that instead, but the back of it says it can take betta up to five days to start eating a new food and I donít want to reset the cycle and have him starve longer if thatís the issue.
How often do you feed your betta fish? I feed him when I wake up (8 AM-9 AM) and a little bit before I go to bed (10 PM), but not lots because he hasnít been eating any of it.

How often do you perform a water change? Heís only been in the tank for two days.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? I plan to change roughly a cup (as in, something I would drink out of) every week.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I placed in five drops of Prime (Seachem) when I was getting the water ready.

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

Ammonia: ?
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Not exactly sure, the strip looked slightly darker than 0 but slightly lighter than 20.
pH: 6.5
Hardness: General is, once again, iffy because the strip looked slightly darker than 0 and slightly lighter than 30. Carbonate is 40.
Alkalinity: ?

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? It has not
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Was swimming around quite frequently, now just floats near the top in the same corner unless disturbed.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning around 7:30 when I woke up and thought he was dead.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Not exactly, but have turned off light and put towel over tank to keep from stressing him and have tested parameters, placed thermometer on tank, and bought small heater just in case.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I donít suppose so.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I bought him two days.

I would also like to say that the tank has a filter/biowheel. I think that the current from the biowheel is kind of strong, but that had not been bothering Hibari previously. In fact, he seemed to enjoy swimming around in the current and looking out that side of the tank. He has three plants (plastic because I read that if a plant gets sick, it could harm the fish and I am not confident that I could keep both healthy as of yet) and I do plan to get him a little hidey-hole once I get him to school. I also have a mirror that is for exercise/to relieve boredom, but I did not want to use it when he first got in the tank and now Iím afraid to overexert him.

Once again, I apologize if this question has been answered multiple times or if Iíve done something unintelligent to harm my fish. I really am very worried and will do whatever it takes to make sure heís happy and healthy.

Thank you all so much for reading this (very overly long) post and, in advance, for your help.
StrawChan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....

Even though you have just had him for a couple of days I would go ahead and make a water change of about 50%

Unplug the filter and go ahead and add the heater, you want to maintain a stable water temp in the 76-80F range.

Give the bottom a little stir to get the debris up in the water column and use a clean cup and dip out half the water while he is still in the tank, replace with like temp dechlorinated water and plug the filter and heater back in. The water should clear up in an hour or two, monitor the temp

All the uneaten food can decay and foul the tank pretty fast.
Make sure and wash your hands before and after working with the tank/fish to avoid any lotions, oils etc...from getting in the tank

I would hold off feeding him for a few days unless he perks up and begs for some food.
Oldfishlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2010, 07:16 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: TX
My sister and i had got bettas. Her bettas name was luie. We got our fish some flake food but luie was very pickey and wouldent eat it. So we got some pelets and he would eat those. He might just be a pickey eater. I have never had a fish who took days to start eating.

Are you at school the rest of the day or away from your fish? It could just be that he is sleaping during the times you are around him (early in the morning or at night)

I recomend doing water changes 50% one week the 100% the next then another 50% ect. Only doing about cup sized water changes every week isn't very efishant for a 2.5g. If you did a cup size amout like every or evey other day i think that would be fine.

He may just be tired from all the excitment of the day he was brought home and put in a new tank.

Also betta fish tend to be on the botem of there tanks (laying on there side or upright) when found dead. Not floting.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:32 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Somewhere in the US.
Thanks for all the advice guys.

I moved him out to the kitchen so I could change his water and he started moving around. I'm not sure if this has to do with the fact that his filter is no longer plugged in or because there is more oxygen (since he appears to be surfacing for it more often now). The lid I got appears to have airholes, but on another look just now I'm not entirely sure about it.

I still plan to do the cleaning, at least to get the food off the bottom of his tank, and plug in his heater. Right now I'm just watching him and he has been swimming like he was yesterday (though he is pausing a little more). I'm thinking I will leave the filter off tonight (obviously that will mean changing the water more often) to see if that has anything to do with it and going to a different pet store early Monday to see if I can find a tank lid that will allow him to breathe. I'll have to keep the lid on this one when I'm not around though, on the offchance one of the cats takes an interest.

No, I'm not in classes. Not until next Monday, so I've been checking up on him frequently.

Thank you for the advice on how often and how much to change. That was something I really needed. And I will try the pellets with him as soon as I get the cleaning done since for now I just want to make sure he's doing okay. And thanks for the heads up on the dead thing. Hopefully I won't have any first hand experience with that soon.

Thank you so so much for the quick and extremely helpful responses!
StrawChan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2010, 08:12 PM   #5 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
In my experience-dead betta can be either floating or on the bottom...depending on what/why they died...however...this isn't going to happen to your Betta...must have positive thoughts.....right......

Regular tank cleaning-provided that the fish is not over fed and uneaten food removed after feeding

To maintain quality water to prevent most health and fin problems

Without a filter on a 2.5g-twice weekly-1-50% and 1-100%

With filter running 24/7-twice weekly 50%-with one of the twice weekly water changes need to include the substrate cleaning/vacuuming

Filter cleaning-filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water 1-2 times a month with a water change and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off, you want the filter media to look dirty..this is the good bacteria

You need to either keep the filter running or remove it-when the filter is off for more than 6 hours the good bacteria will die and when you turn it back on it can flood the tank with deadly ammonia

On a 2.5g tank- if the Betta seems to do better without the filter-I would remove it, it is not needed, a filter can help reduce the amount of water changes due to cycling (nitrogen cycle) and can give you a bit of wiggle room so to speak.

Adding live plants can also help maintain the water quality from their active growth using the ammonia for food before it become harmful to the fish

Anytime you see a behavior change in the Betta, make a 50% water only change to rule out the environment as the cause.

Freshwater fish thrive in fresh water....kinda like fresh air for us...

Most important...enjoy your Betta and have sounds complicated now, but it really isn' will get easier and become habit over time...

Enjoy and we love to see pics of your Betta and set up...
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