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Old 12-29-2010, 12:44 PM   #1 
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Miami, FL
Curly fins, lack of appetite, gills normal?

Hi everyone!
i'm brand new here, and I joined to see if i could get some help/support about my betta fish, Dino (aka dynomite!)
i've had him for about 8-9 months, he was a baby shower centerpiece - poor thing! So not having any fish experience, or honestly liking fish, i decided to take him home so that he wouldn't go to the 4-year-old kid at the table that wanted to constantly spin the bowl!

here are some pictures of him: his fins look more and more curled, but basincally he's always been "curly". About 3 weeks ago, we got a cold front here in Miami, FL so i got a thermometer to check if he was warm, and it read 60! so i immediately did a water change to warm it up just a bit and put our pluggable heater in front of his bowl (not too close of course).
here in miami we get 3-4 days of cold weather (50s and 40s) and then it's back up to 70s-80s. We've been going through another "Cold front" and i'm trying to keep him temp in the 70's, but it's hard since he's in a bowl and i dont know if they sell tank heaters for a bit more than half a gallon (10 cups).
so anyway, since the cold arrived, he hasnt been eating much - he looks up at the food interested but just cant get himself to eat it. he looks and looks at it, but only eats one or two of the little shrimp pieces. We've been feeding him bettamin flakes - i know flakes are not good for htem but that's what they gave me at the shower, thats what he had been eating. now i know i should've switched to something better :/
but he always ate the food, just not anymore.

- also, i'm not sure if that White/light color around his face is normal....pelase look at the pictures and let me know what you think!!

- are the gills supposed to be a little dark , esp the one under his chin? (loo at picture)

- does he have fin rot, or is he just curly?
is he not eating because of the disease or because he's cold? or maybe he doesnt like that food anymore?

- i also noticed a white/transparent film, like spiderwebs, around his fins yesterday... is that normal?

please help!! there seem to be so many diferent things that im overwhelmed and dont know whether i should get fungus eliminator, antibiotics, or what!
please look at the pics and help me.

PS - i just bought him this larger bowl this past weekend, because the bowl he came in was small (about 2 pints i would say?). i always conditioned his water, but now that i got this larger bowl, i had to figure outthe math again of hoe many drops of conditioner, and i noticed that i had been putting 8 drops of cond. instead of 16!! it's 8 drops per 1 pint, and that bowl was about 2 pints, not 1!!
but he's survived the last 8 months like that - poor dino :'( so could his fins and all have been because of the nitrate or whatever other things the conditioner is supposed to remove? is that the cause?
i've been putting the correct about of conditioner for this new bowl, but it's only been a couple of days...

please help dino!
thank you very very much
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:04 PM   #2 
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Location: Miami, FL
forgot to mention that i change his water every 5-7 days, 100%.
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:49 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Alright! First of all, your guy's coloration looks normal, and yes the gills are usually darker. So you can relax about that. :)

He does look a little clampy. First thing that comes to mind is ammonia buildup. He's in a rather small tank - I would recommend getting him a 2.5 gallon tank. He'll probably perk up right away with more space. You're not changing the water often enough for the size of the tank right now - you'd have to do partial water changes every other day to keep him in that permanently, and honestly it's not good for you or for the fish. So really the 2.5 with a partial water change twice a week is probably your best bet! If you don't want to change the water that often, if you get him a 2.5 you can put some low-light live plants in there to keep the water clean for you. That works really well for me - I bought a five gallon, stuffed it with easy water plants, and now I can get away with two weeks no changes (if I absolutely have to) with the water still testing clean!

For the food, I suggest you go find some betta pellets - I've used Hikari Betta Bio-Gold, and another brand that starts with a W. I switch pellet types all the time and they gobble them up regardless. If he doesn't want to eat pellets, you can try frozen bloodworms. It looks completely disgusting, but the fish absolutely love them.

Phew. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:54 PM   #4 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Mississauga, Canada
The fish looks more or less fine. It looks like he is holding his fins together (clamping) a little which can be from the cold temperature or from slightly dirty water. In a 1/2 gallon you should look at doing water changes roughly every 3 days.

The cold would also explain the lack of appetite. Get him warmed up to about 76-82 degrees and he'll be back to normal.

PetsMart/PetCo generally sell a heater, I forget the brand, specifically designed to go in small fish bowls like that. If you can't find it in store you may be able to order it online.

Most people might tell you the tank is too small, they recommend anything from 1 gallon to 10 gallons. My philosophy is it doesn't matter as long as you take care of the water and find a heater and the fish looks happy. The bonus of a larger tank is doing fewer and smaller water changes every week. And you get to have more fun decorating it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:08 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Miami, FL
Thank u both, I feel much better now :)
last night I wentto the pet store and bought him a 2.5 gal tank, a heater (good for up to 2.65 gal), and some bloodworms :D
I'll put him in there today and will let u know how he does!
Quick question - before I always did a full water change bc of the bowl size, but now I want to use the same water he has now plus add some: how do I know how much conditioner to add? Do I calculate it based on the amt of water that I'm ADDING?
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:16 AM   #6 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Condition based on what you're adding. A small overdose of conditioner shouldn't kill the fish (depending on the brand) but I prefer to be safe. I just pre-measure my water into 2 litre jugs or 1 gallon tubs. I condition the water there based on the size of the jug and then add the water to the tank. That way you aren't trying to guess or do strange math.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:02 AM   #7 
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Miami, FL
UPDATE: Dino is doing great! He loves his new tank (there are soo many bubbles lol) and his new plant - he's always sleeping on it.
As for the food, he only ate 1 or 2 bloodworms on the first day, and refused them everyday after that. So i got him the Hikari pellets and he eats them :) He still spits them out sometimes. but I think he's just getting used to the new food.
Also, he opens up his tail a little bit sometimes, not all the time, but it's definately better than how he used to be.

Thank you all for the great advice!

I'll post a picture of him soon :)
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