Ok, my crowntail betta, approximately 2 years old (probably a little bit less) has spent the last few days laying at the bottom of his bowl breathing heavily, not responding to food, and rarely surfacing for air
I have a 1 gallon bowl that I change 100% once a week, and add conditioner to prevent chlorine damage, and do 50% changes midway through the week. I have a heater designed for bowls that I keep set to about 79-80 degree F, i do not have a filter and my fish (Sanchez :3) is the only guy in the bowl. He is usually a very active fish, I keep his bowl on my desk and he will usually be swimming around his plant or chilling near the top of the tank but now he just lays on his side at the bottom and I am quite worried about him :\ I have tried finding info online but I am not sure what to believe, some of his symptoms sound a bit like maybe something to do with his swimbladder? How do i determine if this is the problem? and how do I treat it?
Does he look bloated and how is his appetite-always healthy in general?
I would lower the water level by at least half or more so he doesn't have to struggle to reach the surface and cover the top with plastic veggie wrap to help keep the air above the water warm and humid, turn off the light.
You can also add Epsom salt 1tsp/gal along with 100% daily water changes if you think it is swim bladder related (Epsom salt is live plant safe)
I am worried about lowering the water level because my room is below ground level and so gets quite chilly and the heater is not effective if the water is that low. He does not appear bloated and usually has a very healthy appetite, eating 2ish betta pellets twice a day and sometimes more because i get absent minded and can't always remember if he already ate or not lol. I read that some people have purchased a betta treatment at places like walmart which treats a broad spectrum of ailments, might that be worth trying since I really have no idea what is wrong with my poor little guy?
I will post a pic later this evening, gotta run to work now >.<
I don't advocate treating "just because" tossing in different medication for unknown reasons can sometimes cause more problems than it fixes.
IME-treating the symptoms with natural methods has been effective and less harsh-often more water changes is all that is needed-when you see a behavior change the first thing that needs to be ruled out is the environment as the cause-even if you just did a water change earlier in the day or the day before-anything could have happened, you also want to check the water temp to make sure that is not a cause.
Ok, I will try changing the water more fastidiously for a couple of days, I am just worried because I have made no change in his routine, or the way in which I change the water and he has never reacted this way before...I am thinking I will do a 50% water change every day for the next couple of days, how long is it likely to take before I should expect an improvement if that is the cause?
A one gallon tank should really have a 100% change every other day. As long as the new water is very similar to the old (same temp, same source, same additives) and the fish is slowly acclimated over the course of about 20 minutes, he shouldn't be shocked by the change. He has been exposed to a significant amount of toxic ammonia, and he's likely reacting to that now. The most important thing is consistently clean water. You might also consider a treatment like methylene blue--it is good for preventing secondary infections and for ammonia poisoning. If you can find it, it might be helpful and certainly not as risky as those cure-all products that typically end up making things worse.
Clean water being key is definitely the impression I have been getting from the reading I have been doing on this board, I feel bad for the lil guy, I have had him in this bowl for the two years I have had him and always thought that my current water changing schedule was enough, it is what the pamphlet at the pet store said! I changed out all the water in his bowl before I left for work, and now (5 hours later) he does appear slightly more active though still not responsive to food or other stimulus (i read somewhere that bettas get bored/depressed and it reccomended placing a mirror near the bowl on occasion as a sort of boredom fighter...it seemed odd but I figured it could not hurt, he has not shown any interest in the mirror though, usually he will react when he can see his reflection) He is floating more upright at the bottom the bowl, and laying less on his side, still exhibiting obvious difficulty surfacing though...what is the best way to slowly acclimate them to water that has been changed? I never realized this was an issue, I would just aim for a similar water temperature to what had been in the bowl previously and made sure it was definitely not /too/ hot or cold
It's best to be patient and use a thermometer, but when you've been doing water changes for awhile you learn how to judge the water temperature by feel. I usually have a sample of the old water and dip my hand from the old water and then under the faucet a few times and adjust until I can't tell the difference between the two. As for acclimation, you should float the fish's cup in the new water. Every few minutes, pour out a portion of the old water in the cup, and then add some of the new water from the tank to the cup. Do this in small increments over 20 minutes or so, until the cup mostly consists of new water, then you can release him into the tank.
yeah, i've never had trouble matching the temperatures, I will definitely keep in mind the whole acclimating him thing, it cannot hurt...Any other tips for helping him out in the mean time? I hate to see him laying there panting like this, I would lower his water level but I have no reliable way of controlling his bowl temp then and it is already starting to get pretty cold in the evenings where I am, so moving him to a warmer area isn't really feasible
You can lay the heater on its side in the tank if it will fit--if not, you can put something in the tank for him to perch on closer to the surface, not sure what you might have around, but perhaps a coffee mug turned up-side down so that he can rest on the flat part? Get creative, just make sure you use plastic or sealed food-safe ceramic items (don't use any of those art projects you made in college!) that haven't seen soap for awhile and make sure to rinse them really well in hot water.