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Old 03-26-2011, 04:53 PM   #1 
jayyne
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My poor little guy

My poor little Helios, who I have had for almost a year, is not doing well. I've never seen him like this. I started to notice he was seeming a bit listless, so I did a water change which usually makes him really frisky. Now he's lying at the bottom of his tank, only swimming to come up for air. I notice he's also sitting vertically in the tank for periods at a time too.
I've got an algae problem, which I've had for quite a while. I try to control it by wiping the sides of the tank down, and taking out the tunnels and things and wiping/rinsing them down too.
The only differences before he started getting ill are: I changed the filter, and one of 2 of the bulbs went out, so there's only 1 bulb on now. Neither of these things seem like they should make any difference.

The only thing I think is, maybe he's just old. How long do bettas live, anyway?


Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gal
What temperature is your tank? 72
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? betta flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? every few weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aqua safe and occasionally algae clear stuff



Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? seems smaller
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? was frisky and displayed his fins a lot, now is listless, lying on the bottom of the tank, struggling to swim to top, also resting in a vertical position
When did you start noticing the symptoms? week and a half ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:46 PM   #2 
vaygirl
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My thoughts would be that you might have nitrate built up in your tank. 25% every couple of weeks might allow too high a concentration. I would do daily 50% water only changes for about a week and a half and then weekly 25% after that.

When say you changed the filter, do you mean the cartridge? This might also cause a spike in chemicals in the tank. The bacteria that change your fish's waste (ammonia) into nitrite and then nitrate typically live on the filter cartridge and in the filter housing in addition to living all over the surfaces of your tank. From now on, don't change the cartridge. They can last a long, long time and don't really need changing until they're falling apart. When you do a water change, if they have gunk built up and the filter flow is slowing down, just take them out and swish them around gently in the dirty tank water you removed.

Since you didn't include water parameters, I'll assume you don't have a test kit. If there's a chance you could invest in one, I would do so. It would allow you to know for sure if chemicals are built up in the tank.

Also, try and get his heat up to 76 or 78 but do it slowly, over a day or two. Cold temps make them listless and more prone to issues.

Is he bloated at all? I know you said he seems smaller, by smaller do you mean he's lost weight? Flakes might not be enough for him. Betta pellets along with flakes would be a good idea.

I hope some of this helps.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:16 PM   #3 
jayyne
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Thank you very much, I did turn his heater up tonight after reading some other posts.
At first he seemed bloated, honestly, but these past couple of days he's just gotten really small. It also might be because he's tucking his fins in.
Good advice on the water changes, I'll start changing it more often. I also took out all his old plants tonight and replaced them with new ones (the old ones were stained with algae, probably won't make a difference but I'm just trying stuff). Right now he's just resting vertically on his new plant.
As for the filter...I don't know if I mean filter or cartridge. My pump thingy has a sea sponge like piece that you never take out, then one that's supposed to be replaced every month or so, even though I don't do it that often. It's like a charcoal filter?
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:19 PM   #4 
jayyne
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Oh, one more question...I do have a container of aquarium salt that I bought when I was trying to use my tank for tropical fish (which was a big mistake, bettas are much easier to keep!). Should I maybe put some aquarium salt in?
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:44 AM   #5 
vaygirl
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They don't have to be changed until they're falling apart. It's just a money sink.

If he's tucking his fins, that's called clamped and it's usually a sign of discomfort or illness or both. You could add a half tsp of aquarium salt per gallon for up to 10 days. Just dissolve the salt in dechlorinated water first, it's easiest when you're doing water changes. Once you've dosed the whole tank, only add in what you've taken out with water changes. So if you take out 2 gallons, add 1 tsp into the two gallons of fresh water you're putting in.

Hopefully heat, clean water and a little salt will help him to get better. I let my 16 gallon tank go without water changes for almost a month a while back when I was sick and the nitrate had built up to 80ppm. Ideal is less then 5 or 10ppm. I learned the hard way that water changes are always, always necessary weekly. No matter how sick I am. :)
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:16 AM   #6 
jayyne
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With the increased heat he's looking lots better this morning, his fins are all splayed out but he's still lounging at the bottom of the tank. He's also swimming a bit wonky, sideways and wiggling his whole body to get to the top...but I'm hopeful. Water change today!!!
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:50 AM   #7 
vaygirl
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If he's still swimming funny, you could lower the water level some so it's easier for him to get to the surface.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #8 
turtle10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayyne View Post
Oh, one more question...I do have a container of aquarium salt that I bought when I was trying to use my tank for tropical fish (which was a big mistake, bettas are much easier to keep!). Should I maybe put some aquarium salt in?
Lol bettas are tropical fish, that is why they need they warm water.

Yes even in a filtered tank weekly water changes are necessary because nothing gets the nitrates out except for a water change.
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:45 PM   #9 
jayyne
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Honestly guys, I don't think he's going to make it. He's lying on the bottom of his tank kind of half curled. It's not looking good for him :( I'm still doing the water changes though just in case he pulls through. He's such a great fish, so friendly! :(
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:47 PM   #10 
jayyne
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And just to make sure I get this right, he's in a 10 gallon, so you're saying I should put 5 teaspoons of salt in? That seems like a lot, but if that's right I'll try it!
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