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Old 08-02-2011, 09:31 AM   #1 
dmtj
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fish barely moving, hanging out on bottom of tank.

We changed the water yesterday to see if that would help, and at first she seemed a little more active but by morning she was back at the bottom of the tank. After reading here that they need to get to the top to breathe air, I scooped her out into her little tank-change tank in just a few inches of (her own) water this morning, thinking that would help her get to the surface to breathe better. Again, at first she seemed to be more active and was coming to the surface to breathe but now she seems to be having trouble even doing that. She hasn't eaten in 2-3 days.

I read a lot on here yesterday about betta care and feel like I am learning too late (maybe) to help this fish! (Roberta is about 1.5 years old; my daughter's afterschool babysitter passed her to us about 2 months ago when she moved, and has been helping my daughter care for her, so I am late to the game...and babysitter is on vacation this month.)

So I don't have a thermometer (though ambient temp here is in the mid-80's, so she has to be plenty warm.) I don't have a water tester for ammonia or pH. I don't have aquarium salts. I do have water conditioner that has been used for all the water changes. I don't have different food to try. (She seemed more interested in her food pellet today and swam over to it but didn't eat it.) I can get some of that stuff, but won't get a chance to probably until tomorrow.

I can tell you her color still flares when she moves. She doesn't seem to have any skin changes. She doesn't look bloated. She does look a little off balance when she swims, and the day before she was just hanging out at the bottom, she spent a lot of time on a slant, with her tail lower than her head. All of her fins are a lot smaller than the pictures on this site, but they have been since we got her, so I don't think she has bitten herself or rotted.

I guess my question for now is whether to keep her in the few inches of water or move her back into her bigger tank? I know (from reading here) that we should change out the water again tonight since she's only in a little bit of water, and I can use the freshly conditioned water that's in her bigger tank to do that, since it will be the same temp.

I am afraid she is likely to die regardless of what I do now; I just want to do the best possible thing for her in the next few days.

Deb
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:03 PM   #2 
copperarabian
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Try to find a way to keep her warmer, and adding some tannins(you could buy black water extract if you don't have almond leaves) to help keep her more relaxed. Aquarium salt can also help with keeping infections away when her immune system is down :(

Could you fill this out? It will help to organize your information and any new information you might have.
Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:48 PM   #3 
dmtj
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Thank you so much for helping. I filled out the form questions below. I think she looks a little better today (see description at the bottom under fish behavior.)

I have 3 specific questions which I'll put at the bottom:

Housing
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? don't know. Room temp here today was between 82 and 86.
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? no
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Wardley Betta food (pellets)
How often do you feed your betta fish? one pellet daily


Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? had been every 1-2 weeks. Changed yesterday and then moved her to her little tank-change tank. Did a 50%-change of that water today.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? close to 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top fin Betta Water Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I don't have tester.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? appearance seems OK. She still has energy to flare when she sees her reflection.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? she stopped eating about 3 days ago and was spending most of her time sleeping or hanging out at the bottom of her tank. On the second day she seemed to be spending a lot of time slanted (tail lower than head). On the 3rd day (yesterday) she seemed like it was taking a lot of work for her to get to the top. She actually looks better today. She is still in her little bucket with just 1.5-2 inches of water, and still spending most of her time on the bottom, but she is swimming more and seems to have more energy. I did a 50% change on that water tonight (after 24 hours).
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)? I think she is about 1.5 years old, but we have only had her about 2 months (see original post)

These are my questions:
1) could shock or stress be contributing to this. She had a pretty stressful day around the time that this started, where my 5 yo daughter decided to put her tank under the bed and play music for her on a toy that lights up and plays music.

2) also thinking about stress, could she be freaked out by being able to see through all 4 sides of her aquarium? Previously 1 side was against a wall. Should I move it back?

3) water conditioner -- is it bad if you accidentally add too much water conditioner? Or does it just neutralize the chlorine and the extra sort of disappears? We measured in the cap rather than the little measuring cup so it wasn't exact. It's supposed to be 5ml per gallon. If I should ditch that water and recondition I will.

Thanks,
Deb
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:58 PM   #4 
Worrier90
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I'd also appreciate a little insight on this... my fish I'm babysitting is doing almost exactly the same thing, and has gone through the recent stress of being moved to a temporary home.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:42 PM   #5 
Meg8556
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Hi. I'm sorry your fish is sick. I'm not a huge expert but I know that the more experienced fish caregivers are going to tell you that a 1 gallon tank should have a 100% water change every 2-3 days. That isn't relevant at this point as the fish is already sick but good to know for the future. Also if you upgrade to a 2 or 3 gallon tank you won't have to do quite as many water changes. I have a 3 gallon eclipse and do one 100% change and one 50% change a week. I don't think the fact that she can see all four sides of her tank is necessarily stressing her out but I am going to recommend that the tank be placed somewhere where your 5 year old cannot take it and bring it under her bed. I know she had the best of intentions though. Again, it would be impossible for her to lift my 3 gallon tank and maybe it can be placed somewhere where everyone in the family can admire, but not move it. : ) I know you said you are going to the store tomorrow so I highly recommend buying a thermometer that is glass and suctions to the inside of the tank (way better than the strips that stick on the outside), a hydor (I think that is the brand name) mini heater, and the test strips (there is a 6 strip teat for nitrite, nitrate, hardness, ph, etc. and another for ammonia). You might want to get some aquarium salt too. The water conditioner I use is called Stress Coat and I think it's great. I was told on the forum that you really can't od on the water conditioner unless you add like half the bottle. Also, remember to use tap water, not bottled or distilled for your water changes.

I have a feeling that the experts are going to say the fish either has swim bladder. I'm not an expert on here though. They'll also let you know which meds to give her (that you can buy at the pet store tomorrow too) and hopefully the fish will get better.

Good luck and sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:56 AM   #6 
Sakura8
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Hi Deb and welcome to the forum.

Clean water, clean water, clean water. It will do wonders for her. Meg is right on all counts. In a 1 gallon tank, the minimum is 100% every other day for water changes. Ammonia builds up awfully fast. If you upgrade to a larger tank, you can heat it. Heat is good.

Is she bloated at all? Does she have trouble swimming up to get air, like literally can barely manage it? A fish with swim bladder problems will be unable to rise or to sink. If rising, they will have to flap their little pelvic fins like mad and they may end up sinking anyway before they get air. If it's floaty, they will flap like mad to get down but just bounce right up again like a balloon on water. It doesn't sound like your girl has swim bladder problems but if you could clarify her symptoms, that would help a lot.

For now, since you can't get aquarium salts, the best thing is to keep her in her smaller tank with a lowered water level. Change the water every day for the next several days. Offer her food but if she doesn't eat it, remove it after 10 minutes or so. Keep her as warm as possible and in a dimly lit room.

Hopefully this will help her shrug off her ammonia poisoning.

Also, what kind of water conditioner are you using? With most of them, it's okay to overdose a bit. If you can, pick up Stress Coat, it will really help you out. And yes, definitely keep her as stress-free as possible.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:27 AM   #7 
Hisaki Yuki001
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What the other two members said above is correct. Like I would suggest, in anything less than 2.5 gallons, I would do a 100% water change every day regardless of weather or not she's sick. Adding the conditioner shouldn't bother her at all.

I would also get a thermometer like meg 8556 said. This will let you know exactly what temp her water is and will help you determine what temperature the new water is when replacing it. If possible, until you get one, I would suggest once you do a water change, fill up an extra container at the same time that would have enough water in it for your next water change and treat it with conditioner. This will allow the temperature of the water to reach room temperature for your next water change. I would do this each day, as you do water changes unless you get a bigger tank. Bettas like their water at about 80-82F. If it goes above or around 90F, it's too high and can be dangerous.

Another thing you could do is add Un-iodized sea salt to the water as well. This method is really controversial, but since I've used it I've never had any problems. I ussaully use 1/4 teaspoon of un-idozed sea salt dissolved in warm water before adding it to my tanks for my tanks around 1gal-2.5 gallons. If you do this make sure it has NO IODINE in it as this can harm your little girl. Salt will help her if she has any infection or cuts or damage on her body or fins. It should also help fend off any bacteria or other types of disease that she may be prone to in her tank.

If you start taking care of her like this and she doesn't seem to improve, it may be something more severe. If this happens I would suggest possibly getting Betta Revive, not to be mistaken for Betta Fix which only helps with open sores. Betta Revive treats a wide range of infections from bacterial to fungal and Protozoan diseases. When using this med I usually dose by one to two drops fir anything under a gallon. It's one drop for 16 ounces. Also, everytime you give a Betta tank's a dose with this, make sure you do a 100% water change before you add the next dose.

Also, if you don't see any improvement, please update us asap. I wish you luck...^_^

Last edited by Hisaki Yuki001; 08-03-2011 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #8 
dmtj
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Thanks for your advice. I was optimistic yesterday, but this morning she looked worse. Her water looked dirty (I only changed 50% yesterday) so I changed it again this morning -- this time close to 100%. For change water, I am still using the water I treated 2 nights ago that's in her 1-gallon tank so it's the same temperature (she's in her little tank, in about 2 inches of water. I don't think she can swim well enough to be back in the regular tank yet.) The weather did cool off overnight so temp might have been playing a role. But she's been in cooler water before (has never had a tank heater in her former home or ours) so I still think she's sick too.

Sakura8 -- she is variable in how well she is swimming. She is spending most of her time sitting on the bottom, and when I first woke up this morning, she was floating on a slant (tail lower than head) and did look like she was using her little side fins like mad when she tried to get to the top. But then she can still swim pretty fast when she is bothered (like when I changed her water) and in that case is in regular position (not slanted.) After the water change, she looked worse (lying on the bottom, slightly tilted to the right, and breathing heavily) but then after 20-30 min was breathing more calmly and not tilted anymore. She is going to have a very quiet day today. I left the lights dim in the room and put her little tank back over by the wall. I didn't feed her this morning because she looked too stressed and weak.

I still think her skin looks fine -- I don't see any spots or cuts or anything.

We're going to Petco today and I'm going to get a thermometer, heater, Stress Coat, and water tester. What else? Aquarium salts or Betta Revive?

Deb
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:52 AM   #9 
youlovegnats
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Aquarium salt and Maracyn would be good to have on hand. I'm not sure how effective betta revive is... since it has methylene blue in it I'm thinking it's more of a preventative than actual medicine.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:03 AM   #10 
Sakura8
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Hi Deb, it sounds like your girl doesn't have super serious swim bladder issues which is really good news. I would be very worried if she was floating on her side or standing on her tail, both are signs of some serious SBD issues. Is she bloated at all?

Your girl may have been a bit shocked after her water change which might have been why she was breathing hard and laying on the bottom. Sometimes the initial switch from dirty water to clean water does that. With the 100% changes, if you get the temp roughly the same, it shouldn't be an issue.

I agree with youlovegnats, it's a great idea to have aquarium salt and Maracyn-II on hand at all times. Getting some frozen bloodworms is a good idea, too. Another thing you may want to pick up is epsom salts at your local drugstore. Plain ol' epsom salts with no scents or colors or anything. Since she is having buoyancy issues, putting her in an epsom salt solution will be more beneficial than aquarium salt at this point. The dosage is 1 tsp per gallon to start with, pre-dissolve the epsom salts in some tank water before pouring in. You'll continue this treatment for 10 days, doing the daily water changes and redoing the salt.

Hope this helps and keep us posted.
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