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Old 01-02-2011, 04:17 PM   #1 
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Location: No VA
Similar to SBD but not sure it is...

Carmen (my beautiful girl) has been really, REALLY lethargic for a couple weeks now. After I changed her water 2 weeks ago she started laying on the bottom of the tank. She has to struggle SO hard to get up to the top of the tank for air (it's a 5 gallon, she lives alone). Occasionally I'll catch her laying on her side and sometimes she'll be s-curved. She's pure white and I see no blood trails, no pop-eye, fin rot or bloating... I assume I've overfed her one times too many, but if it were SBD / Constipation, wouldn't she be up and about again? All the levels in her tank are normal except it's REALLY "hard." I've changed the water today, the filter and have made the water temp a little warmer. What could her problem be? What can I do??

I don't want to lose her, I don't want her to suffer and I certainly will NOT flush her.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:32 PM   #2 
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Maybe an epsom salt bath.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:33 PM   #3 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Filling out this form should help us get to the bottom of what's troubling her:

In the meantime, you should lower the water level in her tank so she doesn't have to go as far to reach the surface. Some plants or something else for her to lay on near the surface is also helpful. Something as simple as a thoroughly rinsed coffee mug turned up-side down can give her a nice place to rest near the top.

And don't worry, you're at a betta forum. :) Certainly no one here would ever, ever put their fish through something as horrific as a live flush.. we're smart enough to know that fish can feel pain, and certainly don't deserve to spend their last moments in dark, dirty sewer pipe.

Last edited by Adastra; 01-02-2011 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:44 PM   #4 
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What size is your tank? 5Gal
What temperature is your tank? Right now, possible high 70s (I added warm water). Otherwise the water gets a little chilly.
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, was changed today.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No air stone... no aeration that I know of. Just a running filter.
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? She's alone

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flakes for Betta fish.
How often do you feed your betta fish? For the past two weeks, every two or three days. Before that I fed her twice / thrice a day.


How often do you perform a water change? Every two weeks.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Half
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra's Betta safe tap water purifier solution stuff

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

Ammonia: Safe
Nitrite: Safe
Nitrate: Safe
pH: Safe
Hardness: High
Alkalinity: Safe

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Slight s-curve
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Incredibly Lethargic / swims like a madfish to get to the top for air then will float back down.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Two weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Not yet, scared to give her antibiotics.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? She was lethargic for a couple days after changing the water once before. I then bought that Tetra Betta tap water purifier and she almost instantly got better.
How old is your fish (approximately)? No clue. I have had her for 5 months.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:04 PM   #5 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
She is probably lethargic and having swim bladder problems because her water is cold. You really, really need to get a good reliable heater like this one: because temperature is essentially what drives their entire metabolism. Lower temperatures can slow digestion, circulation, and have a negative impact on the fish's immune system.

Could you give us any more specific readings on your water parameters? Do you know for a fact that your aquarium is cycled? You said you only recently started adding the tetra water conditioner, did you add any form of dechlorinator before you started with this? Does she seem bloated to you?

If the tank is cycled, you will not want to lower the water level too much because you'll starve the bacteria in the filter if the water cannot flow through it properly. You could put her in a plastic container with some small holes in the bottom and latch it onto the side, this way she has the benefit of the filtered five gallon but doesn't have to struggle to reach the top.

You should also consider making some drastic changes to her diet. Flakes don't have a lot of nutritional value and can cause bad cases of bloating and constipation in bettas. A high quality pellet food (Omega One, Atison's, Ken's betta crumbles, New Life Spectrum) supplemented with live and/or frozen food is a much better diet. Freeze-dried foods would only make her worse. Bettas and other fish were not made to digest dry air-filled food. If you use dried foods and especially freeze-dried food, you must fully rehydrate it in tank water first. Frozen and live foods (self cultured or purchased from a reputable source) are always better.

A heater and more frequent water (weekly) water changes should help her perk up quickly. Changing her diet should help keep this from happening again. Do not try to treat her with medication or antibiotics, this will likely only make the situation worse. If you think she's bloated, we can give you information on how to treat the problem using Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).

Last edited by Adastra; 01-02-2011 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:27 PM   #6 
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If she survives this I'll definitely start feeding her better. She hates pellets and the flakes are too big for her to eat all in one bite, but she took to those better.

Would the water temperature affect her being able to swim though? It's almost as if she uses all of her might and energy to get to the top.. I don't want to remove a lot of the water, simply because I don't want to take away the flow (remove the good bacteria like you mentioned).

The water is cycled. She does not look bloated. Before I used the betta specific water purifier, I used the water conditioner that came with the tank (it's a Fluval Chi tank). I've been using the betta conditioner for about two months. I used an instant test kit that tests every water condition, and it all turned out safe except for hardness.

Thank you for all your help!!!
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