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Old 11-11-2011, 09:54 PM   #1 
MorningGlory
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Question Lethargy, Clamped Fins, Not Eating

Housing
What size is your tank? 5.5 gallons.
What temperature is your tank? Was 70 for the past few days (I first bought a thermometer on Tuesday) and since the heater arrived, has gone up to 74.
Does your tank have a filter? No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Now it is.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily, two to three pellets at each feeding time.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Historically, 100% no less than every two weeks, but I plan to do 100% weekly in addition to 25% partial 3 times a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? See above.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner.

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

Yes, but with strips. I bought them before I read that the liquid test is more accurate.

Ammonia:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH:8-8.5
Hardness: 180 ppm
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Unchanged.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Much more lethargic, clamped fins, does not come to surface to get food.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? When I did a 100% water change about a week or week and a half ago. I used a net (had not yet read how stressful it is in comparison to using a cup) to transfer him. He was very agitated and frantic while he was in the smaller, 1 gallon bowl he previously lived in, and ever since I put him back in the 5.5 gallon, he has stayed near the bottom and barely eats.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I bought a heater to increase the temperature after reading about the required temperature and water conditioner.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that I know of.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I have no idea. I adopted him from some other college students to whom he had been passed on from a few graduating students.




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I had hoped that he would become more active with a higher temperature, but so far, no luck. What worries me is that his behavior in a tank of temperature 70 (I did not own a thermometer, but I have not adjusted the heat in my room all month) before the last 100% water change was more healthy. He was swimming around, sleeping near the top on his favorite leaf, eating like a little piggy. Unfortunately, he seems much more frightened of me, and rather than taking his cues for feeding time from the sight of my hand, he hides. But he also does not come up to the top except to breathe and does not notice the pellets, so he has eaten perhaps 2 or 3 pellets in the last 72 hours.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:13 PM   #2 
Myates
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Poor guy.. any chance on being able to upload a picture for us to see?

Normally, I would say it's temp related, and it could well be as he is adjusting to the new temp. But I'm more inclined to say it's due to possibly too much water changes. Hopefully the heater will get it up to at least 76, 78-80 preferable.

You can actually have too clean of water with these guys. For your size tank, unfiltered it is recommended to do 1 50% per week, with once a month 100%, siphoning regularly as well.

Wondering if he is older, and with age isn't tolerating as much.. hmm..

When you last did your water change, how did you acclimate him to the new water? If not done carefully, could cause him to stress and go into shock.

Does his new tank have plenty of plants and a cave of sorts to hide in? Sometimes going from a smaller tank to a larger one can be quite stressful on them, and some actually prefer smaller tanks. You may have to give him time to adjust, or add in a lot more silk plants and a cave to make him feel a little more secure.

Those are just some of the possibilities as to why he is acting the way he is. If you see any other signs of illnesses let us know. I wish you luck, keep us updated.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:30 PM   #3 
MorningGlory
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I just want to state first that everything I have been doing wrong, I did before discovering this website! I feel proper chagrin and everything!

My understanding of "acclimation" consisted of allowing new water to reach room temperature before putting him back in the tank, so I did not do anything to guarantee chemistry acclimation. If it helps, I have been getting water from the exact same faucet, using the exact same bucket for the last month.

As for making sure he has plenty of places to relax and hide, I am working on that. I ordered some Maylasian driftwood online, I am going to borrow a few coffee mugs from the cafeteria and soak them in hot water to sanitize them, and I want to buy some low maintenance plants. I am waiting on that until I learn more about what lighting is required and whether or not a regular desk lamp will be sufficient for a low-light plant.

I bought him the 5.5 a month and a half ago. He did take a little time to get used to the space, but he grew comfortable enough to spend more time swimming around. He grew lethargic as the weather grew colder about 3 weeks ago, and when I realized this, I kept my window closed constantly. The room temperature increased and so did his activity.

One more thing: The water has become strangely cloudy since I added the heater (an Elite Mini Submersible 25W) this afternoon...

I made an album so that this thread won't be picture heavy. Thanks for the response and support, and also thanks in advance for any help!

http://www.bettafish.com/album.php?albumid=2960
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #4 
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Good news: The temperature is now between 77 and 78, and he is moving around much more. The fins look better, from what I can tell. It is hard for me to tell the difference in pictures between clamped and healthy at this point. Unfortunately, he still hides when he sees me rather than swimming to the top for food, and pellets remain uneaten even after I have left him alone. How long can he be without food?

Another thing: Should I be worrying about the cloudy water from the new heater?
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:05 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MorningGlory View Post
I just want to state first that everything I have been doing wrong, I did before discovering this website! I feel proper chagrin and everything!
Yay! hehe.. a lot of us have started out using improper care, so don't feel bad. It's great that you are doing all you can for him now, that is what counts :)

My understanding of "acclimation" consisted of allowing new water to reach room temperature before putting him back in the tank, so I did not do anything to guarantee chemistry acclimation. If it helps, I have been getting water from the exact same faucet, using the exact same bucket for the last month.
Normally it's idea to do what you are doing, as well as every so often taking a bit of water out of the cup, and adding in the tank water. Every 5-10 minutes will be fine, you don't have to over do it.

As for making sure he has plenty of places to relax and hide, I am working on that. I ordered some Maylasian driftwood online, I am going to borrow a few coffee mugs from the cafeteria and soak them in hot water to sanitize them, and I want to buy some low maintenance plants. I am waiting on that until I learn more about what lighting is required and whether or not a regular desk lamp will be sufficient for a low-light plant.
Live plants will be great :) Easy ones that require low light, don't even need a filter or substrate are Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, Naja Grass. You can anchor them down/tie them with a rubber band to something heavy on the bottom, like the driftwood, or let some float. They require little in care- perfect for tanks that are smaller, unfiltered and low light.

I bought him the 5.5 a month and a half ago. He did take a little time to get used to the space, but he grew comfortable enough to spend more time swimming around. He grew lethargic as the weather grew colder about 3 weeks ago, and when I realized this, I kept my window closed constantly. The room temperature increased and so did his activity.
It's amazing how much warm water will do for them. Glad you got on the ball with it :) Good catch.

One more thing: The water has become strangely cloudy since I added the heater (an Elite Mini Submersible 25W) this afternoon...
I wish I had an answer to that.. hopefully someone else may know more. You could try doing a 50% water change to see if that helps any.

I made an album so that this thread won't be picture heavy. Thanks for the response and support, and also thanks in advance for any help!
He's so cute!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorningGlory View Post
Good news: The temperature is now between 77 and 78, and he is moving around much more. The fins look better, from what I can tell. It is hard for me to tell the difference in pictures between clamped and healthy at this point. Unfortunately, he still hides when he sees me rather than swimming to the top for food, and pellets remain uneaten even after I have left him alone. How long can he be without food?
Glad the temp is up and he's more active- a good sign. He may need a few more days to adjust, and a few more after you get his new decorations. Don't stress too much about it, eventually he will calm down. If you have Stress Coat, you can add some of that in with him to help soothe him. But it's not necessary.
They can go a ways without food, up to 2+ weeks. I would try the garlic trick, as that often stimulates hunger in them. Just use a jar of garlic, dropping in a pellet or two into the juice right before you feed him; or you can use fresh garlic cloves, squish them up to get juice and with a tiny bit of water soak in a pellet or two right before you feed him. Hopefully that trick will work. If not, we can keep trying different types of food.
But I'm sure he'll eat when he is ready- they are piggies, unless there is something medically wrong with him, he won't starve himself to death.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:13 PM   #6 
MorningGlory
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Interesting! I did not know about the garlic trick. Thanks for all of the advice! Now that I know I don't have to buy an additional light, I can get some anubias and java fern right away, maybe some others.

Happily, he seems to be back to his old self. He is eating, though still a scaredy cat (I tried to show him his reflection since I read that occasional flaring is good stimulation and he just ran away!), he has discovered a new favorite sleeping place behind the heater, and I think he is making a bubble nest...
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