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Old 08-30-2010, 04:40 PM   #1 
Sivan
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Help me save Fabio! He looks like he is about to die and he was JUST purchased!

Hello,

Yesterday I bought a crowntail betta from PetSmart and he was beautiful and swimming well, his fins were open and he appeared healthy. I named him Fabio and put him into a freshly cleaned tank with a pH of 7.0, TAP solution, and a few aquarium salt crystals as well as two drops of anti-ick drops. When he first went in he swam happily around the tank and explored. At night he began acting funny.

His fins shut and he stopped flipping his front fins and floated as though he were dead. It scared me until I tapped in front of him and he backed up. He kept doing this and began to sink to the bottom. I thought perhaps he just liked the tight space between a ceramic decoration and wall of the tank or he was sleeping. In the morning his condition remained the same.

I went to classes (I live on a college campus) and came back after lunch to find him laying on his belly against the rocks and not responding when I tapped. I thought he had died until he made a late reaction. About two hours later I returned once more and found him hidden inside the ceramic decoration, inside a tiny nook with just his tail sticking out. I though he was dead. No matter what I did he would not move. I considered that he drowned, as it had seemed he had a hard time breathing prior. I began to move the decoration and he shot out quickly. After that he began to lay, somethings partially on his side, sometimes not, on the bottom. I tested the pH and it was strangely almost 8.0!

I tried fixing the pH but that made him worse. I called the store and the woman said I should not be putting chemicals in the water and his tank is too big. She said that my temperature of 78ish was too warm and he likes cooler temperatures. All I need in the water, she said, is some TAP conditioner. I did this, but feel uneasy.

He is swimming now and flickering his fins but is breathing heavy. He will try to eat but not make an effort. He seems to need to shoot up to the top of the water quickly to breath. I took a video of him and would like to know if his breathing is abnormal or if I am still nervous after his behavior.

Also, he is only staying in that one spot in the video, he won't swim around anywhere right now.

Please help me find what is wrong with Fabio!

Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeAjLYigHHY

Here is a picture when I first got him (its not the best, but he was active then):

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Old 08-30-2010, 05:01 PM   #2 
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Did you use dechlorinator in the fresh tap water that covers both chlorine and chloramines?
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:52 PM   #3 
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The temp is fine. 78 is a good temp. Your tank size is probably fine too. In general the fish store people have NO clue what they're talking about concerning bettas.

They are right in that you shouldn't mess with PH. Just leave it go and the fish will adapt.

I'll leave the rest to Oldfishlady. :D Listen to her! She's wise!
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:44 PM   #4 
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Old Fish Lady: Yes, it says "removes chlorine and detoxifies heavy metals" on the label. I did what the lady in the store said and he has calmed down a bit with the heavy breathing after a few hours. However, while he is becoming more active again he also keeps swimming down to the bottom and resting there then shooting back up for air from time to time. I have turned the pump back on and he seems agitated or unsettled by it.

I did neglect to mention before that when I turned the pump on originally it was fine but by morning it was making very large air bubbles at the surface and covered the entire top area. When I put the pH down, a lot of tiny, foamy, bubbles appeared and and they made a hissing sound when coming to the surface. The color according to the kit was perfect for what the betta needs, but I am afraid it is the kit and the water became too acidic.

Is it safe to have the pump on? The water is currently tap with tap conditioner and some salt. But, Fabio keeps laying on the bottom and it worries me. When we tested the raw tap water's pH the kit said it was close to 8.0. It was very blue and that worried me. But he seems to be doing better except the quick swims to the top to gulp for air.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:52 PM   #5 
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I think perhaps you are adding too many chemicals/changing the water params too much especially in such a short period of time. What size tank was he in? The pH of the water where I live is 8.0 and I do nothing to mess with it and all my fish are fine. They will adjust to whatever the level is (within reason) but you can't mess with it too much.

My advice: put him in a smaller container for now with fresh water with nothing added except de-chlorinater. Nothing else. Make sure it is in a warm enough spot or he will just get more lethargic. I would completely clean your tank and filter and any decorations inside to get rid of any residual chemicals from the stuff you added. Refill it with clean, de-chlorinated water, keep the heat steady, make sure the filter flow is not too strong, and then put him back in and see how he does.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:59 PM   #6 
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I might try that if he still seems the same in the morning. Where I come from we always have to make the pH lower but here in College-Land the fish seems used to the 8.0 water. He is in a tank that is about 2 gallons, but I have now left about an inch to inch and a half of air for him instead of filling it up to the top. I am beginning to feel the pump upset him. it isn't a filter, but an under gravel air pump.

Also, I just noticed he has four black spots on one side, but they look like they can be part of his coloring. I wonder if it is ick. He doesn't have them on his fins though and seems healthy otherwise. I am just worried his breathing will get heavy again or he'll do the playing dead thing and scare me.

He is currently staying by the air pump (which is on) and swimming along the wall. He keeps rubbing against it and backing up and swimming into it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:24 AM   #7 
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UPDATE: Okay this looks bad. I woke up a few minutes ago and saw him floating at the top of the tank, but he was moving fins. Suddenly he starts swimming erratically, as though spooked. He does this a few times, bumping into the side of the tank and then completely stops. I try to feed him, but when he sees the food he tried sucking it in but it pops right out. He tries again to the same pellet and them same thing happens. He tried a last time and just can't seem to get it down. He then started to swim erratically again, but paused at the bottom of the tank without moving again. This strange swimming continues on and off for the few minutes I am watching him. I put in a different food pellet and he attempts to eat it, but when it pops out his mouth he gives up on food entirely. He won't even make and attempt to eat anymore!

Otherwise his condition seems to have greatly improved since yesterday, but if he doesn't eat he'll starve himself.

Should I buy betta water conditioner tablets? My dad saw them in the store and said they looked like those pills that dissolve in water. I never heard of such a thing but maybe they can help.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:18 AM   #8 
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It sounds like a toxic shock type issue to me

Do you know if you have chloramines in your water? if so, you need to find a dechlorinator that covers both if these chemicals not just the chlorine...(if you live in the USA you most likely have both treatment for city water supply)

Chloramines are deadly and will soon kill the fish and do not gas out like chlorine

Leave the pH alone-stop adding that product without a buffer-otherwise he will have a constant pH swing and that too can be deadly for fish
Fish will adapt to hardness and pH of your source water without problems.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:26 AM   #9 
Sivan
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Thank you so much! I am not sure what chloramines are. I do live in the US. What sort of product should I buy? Would the betta water conditioner take care of this problem?

I wonder if he just doesn't like his food. He ate the pellets before he started acting weird, so I did not think it was that. Also, do food pellets expire? I had fed him some from a container that we had in the house that was from my brother's betta who died two years ago. He ate two or three.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:35 AM   #10 
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"Prime" is a good dechlorinator that will cover everything bad in US treated water

Chloramines- this is an ammonia type additive that the US adds to the treated water and is very toxic to fish

Yes, food can expire-once the seal is broken you have 6mo-1yr to use it....the vitamin and minerals are not stable-usually vitC is the first to go, old food usually will not hurt them per se-but you can start to see problems with long term feeding of expired foods, best to buy small amount that can be used up fast. Refrigeration can cause problems too due to moister and dilution of vit and mineral...same as with soaking food in too much water or for too long all the good stuff leaches out and the fish may not get to utilize it for nutrition.
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