I have blue betta (named Martin) which I have now had for 12 days. The first week I had him he was very happy, beautiful, swimming around a lot, made a bubble nest on day 6. He was in a 1 gallon tank, feeding him beta pellets (2 in morning, 1 at night, he eats them right away), pwc (50% every other day). Water temp was about 25 degrees C (76F?) due to warm summer weather. Tank had cave plus 1 silk plant.
On day 7, based on recos from this forum, I switched him to a 5 gallon tank. Still lots of swimming, seemed happy, fins seemed to be getting bigger, loved to display them, very responsive. Tank had same cave and silk plant, new gravel plus a few plastic plants that I added.
On day 9, the house temperature dropped (onset of fall weather) and so the tank temp also dropped to about 21C (70F). I added a heater to the tank, Tetra 100W submersible, preset to 78F, but it only seems to increase the water temp by about 1 degree. (Tank has no filter - was planning on doing 50% pwc 2ce/week and 100% every 2 weeks). Tank is now 22C, 73F.
On day 10, Martin was lying on bottom of tank, fairly unresponsive unless I tapped on the side, would go to the top to breathe and for food (he is still eating, 3 pellets/day, this has not changed throughout). I did a 50% water change (water at same temp), this seemed to perk him up a bit for a little while, but not as happy as before.
Days 11 and 12, Martin is staying at top of tank, just floating, hardly swimming, rarely going to his cave, seems to like to stay right under the light (maybe this is the warmest place?). Light is turned off at night. The thermometer reads only 22C (73F), even though it is right beside the heater. This about the same as house temperature. Also, I removed the plastic plants so he just has his cave and one silk plant. He swims close to me at feeding time, but his movements are minimal.
1. The heater doesn't seem to be working, not warming tank to 78F which it is supposed to be preset to work at. Is it probably broken (just bought it) or do I need to create water movement to get it to work properly?
2. When Martin does swim, he only seems to be moving his tiny side fins. I fear he could have torn his fins on the plastic plants (which is why I removed them.) How can I tell the difference between clamped fins and torn fins?
3. Should I do another water change to see if that helps him? My husband says he has probably just had too many changes and I should let him get use to all these new changes for a few days.
4. I do own a filter (which I am not using). It is an aqua-tech 5-15 power filter. I can't find a sponge filter at a store (only have a Walmart & Zellers nearby). Should I try using the filter and baffling it?
5. Could he be depressed from taking away his bubble nest so soon after he made it?
Last edited by heatherp; 09-19-2011 at 10:29 AM.
Reason: added another question
1. a heater is supposed to gradually increase, instead of BANG 78 degrees - as that can cause death or severe stress in fish. Water movement is not needed in a heater to work.
2. clamped fins, will look like his fins are "stuck together". his dorsal fin, would be like a "stick" rather than a "flow" (if that makes any sense). This is usually a sign of being sick. torn fins will be jagged, or missing. Keeping the water clean in this case helps keep away fin rot.
3. He eats, he breaths, he does move a little. I would not do a water change just yet... too many can be stressful and some bettas, like my poor Dusk, cannot even handle a simple water change and may get stressed or even die from it.
4. my friend used her filter to get her betta to move. He did fine afterwards. But another betta, did not like the filter, and would hide. I suggest trying it. You can also get an adjustable filter, which are a little more priced but definitely worth it! this would be an online buy if neither store has it.
5. Bettas don't get depressed from a destroyed nest. He'll make another one, especially when he feels better.
Are there any other signs? Any hard breathing, any physical signs like a wound, or sores, or cloudy eyes, etc? Unplug the heater, and leave it in th tank for a day. Replug in, and see if it works. If it doesn't.... Try turning the heater up to 80 (bettas can stand up to more than that, but 80 will determine this), and see if the heat increases even a single degree. If it does, then your heater is "weak" basically. If it doesn't, try it on 83 degrees, and see if it increases.
I suggest only increasing it to 80 degrees and wait a day. then increase if it doesn't work. If in fact nothing changes, return the heater and get a new one. My brands are top fin, and tetra. However I personally have had ONE tetra heater not work for me, brand new.
Your heater is definitely not working since it's been in the tank several days. You should return it, or at the very least get a new one. I have seen a lot of bad reviews for Tetra heaters, although I have one that has never malfunctioned. I think mine is the same as yours, it's pre-programmed at 78 and can't be changed. Bettas need warm water, so you need to do something and quickly, I just put a heater in my betta's 10g tank myself since it's getting colder outside.
Also, it sounds like you have a new tank that wasn't cycled. Until the tank cycles you should be doing small partial water changes every few days so you don't get an ammonia build up in the tank, ammonia is toxic to fish. It will make them clamp their fins and swim unnaturally. Bettas are tough little fish, but probably between the cold temps and the ammonia yours is really suffering. I get the impression you are new to fish, you might want to read up on cycling. For now I would suggest you test your water (liquid test kits are more reliable than test strips, but liquid test kits run about $30), but if you don't have a test kit definitely do a 20% water change, WITH a dechlorinator. I assume you are adding dechlorinator to the water? That is a must. Chlorine is also toxic to fish. Do a small water change with a dechlorinator each day for several days, and get a new heater, and hopefully your fish will quickly improve. You could try the filter, but a lot of bettas don't like the currents, and that could stress him further. For now I'd just concentrate on making sure he doesn't have too much ammonia in the tank, and that the water is warm enough.
Your heater is definitely not working since it's been in the tank several days. You should return it, or at the very least get a new one. I have seen a lot of bad reviews for Tetra heaters, although I have one that has never malfunctioned. Bettas need warm water, so you need to do something and quickly, I just put a heater in my betta's 10g tank myself since it's getting colder outside.
Also, it sounds like you have a new tank that wasn't cycled. Until the tank cycles you should be doing small partial water changes every few days so you don't get an ammonia build up in the tank, ammonia is toxic to fish. It will make them clamp their fins and swim unnaturally. Bettas are tough little fish, but probably between the cold temps and the ammonia yours is really suffering. I get the impression you are new to fish, you might want to read up on cycling. For now I would suggest you test your water (liquid test kits are more reliable than test strips, but liquid test kits run about $30), but if you don't have a test kit definitely do a 20% water change, WITH a dechlorinator. I assume you are adding dechlorinator to the water? Chlorine is also toxic to fish. Do a small water change with a dechlorinator each day for several days, and get a new heater, and hopefully your fish will quickly improve.
yeah dechlorinator is a must, no matter the type of fish.
If it's a preset heater and you can't adjust it I'd try getting a new one. :/ I've had heaters of lower wattage able to keep 10 gallons at a higher temp then that. He might be feeling a little cold. If he's not showing any other signs of illness that's all I can think of. And maybe more heavily planting the tank depending on what it looks like now.
Well, my first instinct would be to say that hes cold....if the thermometer is right next to the heater and still reading under 73-ish, then the heater isn't working. I suggest replacing as soon as you can, if it is one of those sorts you can't adjust...or you have simply adjusted it as high as it will go.
I personally like the Marinland(the self-adjustable kind)and Aqueon brands as far as heaters go...I've had good experiences with both.
Lets see, how to explain this....if his fins are clamped, they will look like someone reached in and pinched them together. If they are just torn, they will look....well....torn and ragged; like curtains after a cat took its claws to them.
Adding a filter is totally up to you....If you're interested in Cycling your tank, then go for it....it will take a little more diligence and frequent water changes for the first month or so, as you'll be doing a fish-in cycle, but in the long run it'll cut you're water changes down to about 50% once a week.
If you'd rather not go through the process of cycling, then you can just simply keep up with slightly more frequent water changes.....I'd say one 100% a week on a 5 gallon, with one or two 50%s tossed in there would work perfectly. Though everyone has different opinions on the frequency/amount of water changes....
If you would really like to figure out what sort of water change schedule would work best for you, you can test your water daily for Ammonia using a liquid test kit and preform changes whenever you see any Ammonia...as that is what we're trying to get rid of anyway with water changes in an uncycled tank.
I'd go out and get him a working heater so you can get the temp up and then see how he improves first. After hes in nice, warm water that will eliminate the possibility of him being just cold....and from there you can figure out if there might be something else wrong, and if so you can treat it accordingly.
Here is Admiral. He was a sickly little man, and I tried hard to save him (thank you pet stores... you make bettas so sad looking D: ), but he couldn't make it.. even with getting his colors, and finally eating something. HIS fins are clamped. vs Spartan whose fins are not, but his fin is torn because of an ornament and a frog -.-
It is a preset heater so I can't change it. I will try taking it to the store and exchanging for a new one. Fall/winter weather is coming so my house (and the tank) will get even colder unless I figure this out. (And yes, I am a newbie at fish). I have read a fair bit about cycling so I understand the process. However, it does seem that with a 5 gallon tank I should be able to get by with 2/week 50% changes. I already have a syphon and money is limited right now.
I just did a partial water change and used some warmer water so that increased the temp a little bit, though temporarily.
I'm pretty sure the fins are clamped as they are like rods.
I got into this whole thing thinking that a beta would be an inexpensive pet for my son. I have already spent $50+, including 1 gallon tank and heater from store and 5 gallon tank/syphon/filter bought second hand. I am trying to balance doing "right" by my fish and not having unlimited funds.
However, I never knew that I could get so attached to a fish! They really are lovely, responsive pets and I want Martin to do well and be happy. I have friends with bettas that have "lived" for years in a one gallon tank but when I compare their bettas (lying on bottom of tank floor) with the happy beta that I had (for the first 10 days anyway), I want to provide an environment that will keep my beta to be a happy, responsive fish. Just being (barely?) alive doesn't seem like enough.