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Old 09-18-2010, 09:38 PM   #1 
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Question Not digesting properly

Hi everyone,

I've had my betta fish for a little over a year now. For the first few months, he ate betta flakes, but he became bored of them and stopped eating them. So, I switched him to betta pellets. At first he wouldn't eat them, but now he eats three every morning and three every night. He had been eating them with no issues for a month, but the past week and a half he doesn't seem to be digesting them properly. Instead of his betta poop being a long, thin thing, the pellets are coming out again whole, wrapped up in goopy stuff. I am really worried that this is hurting him and that he's not getting the proper nutrients. Should I switch his food again?

Also, three weeks ago I switched him from a 1 1/2 gallon tank to a 5 gallon tank. I don't think this is the cause of his digestive problems because the problems didn't start until a week and a half after I switched his tank, but I thought I would mention this too.


What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? About 77 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but I only run it occasionally because the water movement seems to bother my betta
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3 pellets in the morning and 3 at night

How often do you perform a water change? Once a month
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Betta water conditioner

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? No
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? No
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A week and a half ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? A little over a year

Last edited by katiepierce; 09-18-2010 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Added extra information at bottom
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:47 PM   #2 
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I'm new at this. But I crush up my betta's pellets into a dust and give it to him that way.

How do you see your betta's poop? I haven't ever seen his poop. :[ haha sounds weird! But I'm worried he's not pooping.....
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:52 PM   #3 
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He is my first betta so I'm new at this too! :P When I first got him I noticed long, stringy poop. At first it freaked me out, but then I realized it was just poop. But now he takes HOURS to poop, and I can see practically whole pellets coming out almost the same way they went in.

I'm worried about crushing them up because they are already pretty small. Also, I found his flakes made his tank much dirtier because the little bits just floated to the bottom before he could eat them. ):
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:42 PM   #4 
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Well Maybe he's bloated? Not sure! Most people only feed their bettas 2-3 pellets a day so you might be feeding him a bit too much. Maybe try fasting him for 1 or 2 days. Also your temp in your tank is a little low...Bettas usually prefer temps around 78-82 degrees but yours is pretty close so I do not think that is. I saw that you only do 100% water changes every month. Since your cycling your tank you should do 50% water changes I beileve ever week? Please,Correct me if any of this is wrong. I hope I helped a little bit!
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:17 AM   #5 
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I will try doing 50% water changes instead of 100% and more often. Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:27 AM   #6 
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You need to either leave the filter on 24/7 or remove it all together, after about 6 hours without oxygen the good bacteria start to die and the decaying process become ammonia

Look for the DIY filter baffle on this site-if you think the water flow is too strong for him

In a filtered 5g I would do 50% twice weekly to maintain water quality-with one of the twice weekly water changes include substrate cleaning and give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off to maintain a good water flow.

Your water temp is fine IMO/E-I keep mine at 76-78F and spawn at 80F and my Bettas live long, healthy, thriving lives....

Feeding-it is better to feed small frequent feedings instead of large one-two time feeding, especially with the pellets and with the pellets it is also a good idea to have a one time a week fast unless you have live foods like mosquito larva you can feed to help the digestive system
Some soak pellets in tank water or dechlorinated water-however, if you use too much water to soak you can leach out all the vitamins and minerals added

Don't mistake bloat for a full stomach-with bloat you will have other symptom like floating, sinking, lethargic, no appetite along with the bloated stomach and no bowel movements. Sometimes you may see stringy poop as well and this can be due to a fecal plug. Stringy and discolored poop other than the color of the food can be internal parasites, most fish have internal parasite and they usually don't cause any problems unless the fish is weakened from other stressors-like poor water quality, infection, lowered immune response etc........
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:28 PM   #7 
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Thanks for your help!
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