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Old 01-18-2011, 10:45 PM   #1 
Oddsock
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Fishy near death!

Hello everyone,

This is my first post because I finally decided to actively seek some outside help for a problem my girlfriend's betta fish is having.

We got Gulpy, a male betta fish, maybe a month ago. We put him in a glass tank a little larger than a gallon (the aquarium was a Christmas gift and had no measurements on the box and there were no instructions), some pebbles, and a fake plant. The plant and pebbles were all washed in tap water thoroughly before they were placed in the aquarium and the tank itself was washed out before it was used.

We have been using distilled water bought in plastic one-gallon containers from the supermarket to fill his tank. Because of this we didn't not think we needed the water conditioner we bought just in case. We also feed him little pellets that are specially for betta fish.

Since we got him we have never seen him eat, he hardly moves, his fins have started to turn black (from being a pale blue) and he has started losing his color. Today I saw him tucked in a corner, his gills being the only things moving. We've changed out his water several times and washed the pebbles and plant, but to no avail.

He's obviously sickly and I'm afraid he's going to die soon. A few times I have felt his water and it seems cold. When I add some hot water he swims around a little bit, but no grand, long-term changes in his behavior have come about.

Please, what can we do to save him? This is our first time raising a betta fish and I feel horrible for making such a pretty creature so miserable.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:59 PM   #2 
Feral
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Three things occur to me immediately-
He should probably be getting complete water changes once a day in as gallon container. Bettas have a comfort range of roughly 76 to 84 degrees farenheit (someone correct me if I'm off here) and bettas need mineralized water as I found out after killing my second Betta and making the first one very ill. I'd recommend tap water treated with a dechlorinator/chelating chemical (to precipitate toxic metals) from Tetra or Jungle designed to treat water specifically for aquariums and a heater to keep the water temp in range.

Good look with your new guy!

Last edited by Feral; 01-18-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:06 PM   #3 
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Feral pretty much covered it all. You should never add warm water to try and heat your boy up. They can go into shock from temps that fluctuate too quickly. I hope you can perk him up!
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:14 PM   #4 
Oddsock
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Geez, I read that they have a temp range of 65-75. I really hope I'm not a whole 10 degrees off because that's killer. I was also informed that we only had to change his water once a week. Once a day seems very frequent but if it saves him we'll do it by all means.

Thank you for the tip about the water too, we figured that instead of using mineral-filled water and then using something to clean it we'd just get water without any minerals. We had no idea they NEEDED some of those minerals. I'll inform my girlfriend immediately so in the morning this can be taken care of. Thanks so much guys.

Anything we need to do with the diet or Epsom salt or anything like that?
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:18 PM   #5 
Malvolti
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Feral covered it pretty much.

Fish pull some of their nutrients straight from the water, with distilled water these nutrients are missing and will make the fish sick. Tap or well water are the only sources that still have all the minerals intact. Even filtered water can cause problems.

For a conditioner, you said you already have one, I recommend Prime by seachem. It quite literally does everything you need it to and only uses 2 drops per gallon. Easily one of the most economical conditioners on the market.

The generally accepted temperature range for a Betta is 76 to 82, the recommended is 78 to 80. Adding HOT water to warm the tank up is a bad idea since it can send the fish into shock. However adding WARM water isn't a bad idea, just try and do it slowly.

Another method for warming a tank if you can't get a heater right away is to use an electric heating pad or blanket. Just place the tank on top (make sure it's stable) and adjust the thermostat until it is maintaining the tank in the recommended range. You'll want to dial the heat up slowly though so it reaches temp over the course of an hour or so.

In any tank 1-3 gallons you should do full water changes every 3 days, in 1 gallons more frequent changes are recommended but not mandatory. Otherwise the ammonia levels start to reach toxic levels for the fish regardless of the color of the water.

After that the Betta SHOULD perk up.

Last edited by Malvolti; 01-18-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:52 PM   #6 
Oddsock
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Thanks so much guys. Today we replaced Gulpy's water with conditioned tap water and he seemed to perk up immediately, but he still is not eating. We have yet to get a heater but I put my girlfriend on it so hopefully she will get one tomorrow. If not, I will, this fish is not going to die. Would water slightly too cold kill his appetite?
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:05 PM   #7 
Feral
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddsock View Post
Thanks so much guys. Today we replaced Gulpy's water with conditioned tap water and he seemed to perk up immediately, but he still is not eating. We have yet to get a heater but I put my girlfriend on it so hopefully she will get one tomorrow. If not, I will, this fish is not going to die. Would water slightly too cold kill his appetite?
Quite possibly, but then too it would also slow his metabolic rate to where he wouldn't burn off his fat and muscle tissue so quickly. Not saying it's good, but it's not ENTIRELY grim either. If he's tolerated it this long...
Some of the things I've read about these fish surviving on this board

Last edited by Feral; 01-19-2011 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:25 PM   #8 
Malvolti
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When you say "Not eating" how is he not eating? Is he not at all interested in the food or does he just chew it and spit it out?

If he's not showing any interest in the food try other kinds of food. especially frozen food (pet stores have freezers in the fish section full of it). He may not realize it IS food so he's not trying. You can also try buying some Garlic, crushing it smushing dome of your food with it. This can often intrigue a betta enough for them to chow down.

If your Betta is grabbing and spitting the food back out he may not be able to swallow it. Even specially designed betta pellets can be too large for some Bettas to swallow. Try cutting, crushing the pellets or try to find something smaller.

The other possibility is he's being picky. Sick or new Bettas can be some of the biggest Divas you'll ever meet. You could try 100 different foods and the one they'll eat is the most expensive food you had to drive days to get. I've had the most luck with Hikari Bio-gold Betta Pellets (also come in a micro-pellet variety). I've also used Aqueon Betta food to good success. The one thing I've never seen any Betta turn down is Frozen food (not freeze dried) as noted above.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:14 PM   #9 
Oddsock
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He's not even paying attention to the food. We'll buy some different brands and see if he eats those. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:18 PM   #10 
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and if that doesn't work, try frozen bloddworms. (thaw them out in a glass of hot water) he will sure eat those.
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