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Old 10-25-2010, 05:00 PM   #1 
AmyLou21
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Unhappy Is my betta poorly or is he adjusting?

Hey folks!
I got my gorgeous betta 3 days ago - he is in a 13 litre (approx. 3.5 US gallons) tank with an undergravel air pump driven filter and a 25 watt heater that has an in-built thermostat. There is also a silk plant in the tank and he is fed TetraBetta flake food.

When I first put him into the tank he was swimming around fine, but for the past 2 days he just sits on the bottom of the tank, very listless and it's worrying me! When I put food in he will swim up and eat it, and every now and then he will swim around the tank.

I noticed the other day that the temp of the tank (I have a strip thermometer) was about 21 degress C (about 71 deg F) even though the heater was set to 26 deg C - so I put it down to the fact that it is so bloody cold in my flat. I have no turned the heater up and the thermometer is reading 24-25 deg C. However Hikaru is still listless!

I was planning on doing a 50% water change tomorrow to see if that helps - unfortunately I can't give any parameters as I don't have a testing kit yet, am going to buy one tomorrow. Another thing is I have noticed pale yellow parts on his face and head - I'm not sure if this is velvet or if it is his natural irridescence???

Can anybody help me with this - I would very much appreciate any advice! Am also going to the shop where I bought him from tomorrow to ask for advice and to pick up testing kit and salt!

Thanks in advance guys - and hopefully my little Hikaru will be ok
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:07 PM   #2 
Adastra
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I think your heater is defective and stopped working. He is lethargic because he is very cold and needs temperatures of 78-83 degrees to be comfortable, healthy, and active. I would return the heater to the store and exchange it for another one--make sure that the heater you buy has an adjustable temperature dial so that you know it is a quality product and you will be able to slowly change the temperature of the water.

What you're seeing isn't velvet, don't worry. Velvet looks like yellow crusty granules in between the scales and isn't particularly shiny.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:16 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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How much and how often are your water changes?
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:29 PM   #4 
AmyLou21
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Hi there and thanks for your replies!

Adastra - since I have adjusted the thermostat on the heater the temp has risen to 24-26 deg C (76-78) - so do you think the heater is faulty or is it because the ambient room temp is so low (I live in England and it is absolutely freezing here at the mo - my flat is like an ice box!). Is the latter, would it be worth me getting a slightly bigger heater, say 50 watt? The one I have at the mo has an adjustable temp switch.

Oldfishlady - I've only had him 3 days but was aiming for 25-50% changes twice per week, using 'TapSafe' treatment with every change and 'Filter Start' once per month.

Thanks very much for your help guys! :)
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:33 PM   #5 
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I figured you had it set higher--is the "strip" thermometer you're talking about one of the sticker ones on the outside of the tank? If so, you're not getting an accurate reading on the temp inside the tank, just the temperature of whatever the tank is made of. :) Good to see that it's responding to being adjusted, try to turn it up slowly so that you avoid shocking him, only a degree every couple of hours would be best, until it's around 78-80 degrees F. Hopefully he'll perk up.

Do you have a liquid test kit? If you're planning on filtering and cycling your tank, I recommend relying on your test readings for water changes until the tank is cycled. Basically, while the tank is cycling you want the ammonia and/or nitrite to stay right at .25ppm, and no higher. Once the tank is cycled, then you would only need to do 50% changes once a week.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:44 PM   #6 
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The heater is now on the highest setting the thermostat will allow (30 deg C - and I've done this over the course of the day), and yes it is one of the 'sticky' on the outside thermometers - I've ordered an internal one off of ebay so hopefully should give a better reading! I'm just worried that the temp will drop too low during the night - do you think a bigger heater would help?

I thought I had already run a two week fishless cycle using Interpet's 'Filter Start' BEFORE I got my fish. The air-pump driven undergravel filter runs continuously. I don't have any kind of test kit at the moment - I'm going out to buy one tomorrow (I'm a student so my funds are limited!) - hopefully that will help with my water changes!

I really hope he does perk up as I'm really worried!
Thank you!
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #7 
JessG
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If it were me, I'd do a 50% water change every day for a week and see if he doesn't start feeling better. How much are you feeding him?

If the flakes are decomposing in the tank, your ammonia might have spiked without you knowing.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:00 PM   #8 
AmyLou21
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I am only feeding him a small pinch of flake once per day, was also thinking of getting some freeze dried bloodworms as a treat? I'm hoping that the test kit will shed some light on things!

Thanks for all of your replies ppl...very kind!!!
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:10 PM   #9 
Adastra
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Yeah, a liquid master test kit like this one: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...fm?pcatid=4454 is a wonderful tool for figuring out a maintenance schedule and maintaining a proper balance in your tank. Without a test kit, you won't be able to tell whether or not your tank ever completed the cycle.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #10 
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Yeah, that's what I'm worried about too. Also, I'm not sure if you ever introduced an ammonia source for the start of the cycle, so the food and fish may be the first source of ammonia for the tank. If that's the case, your ammonia levels are probably a lot higher than what you might think.

To be on the safe side, and save the fishy, I'd do frequent water changes for a couple of days and see if he's not feeling better.

I'm also not sure how many flakes to feed. I was way overfeeding at first, even though I thought I wasn't, and my ammonia spiked horribly. I had no idea.
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