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Old 11-19-2011, 10:06 AM   #1 
heatherp
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Toronto
lethargic clamped betta

I've had my betta (Kai) for only 4 days. After the first 2 days, he has seemed to go downhill. His top fin is completely clamped and the tip of the bottom fin is clamped. He mostly sits on the bottom, coming up for air. He does eat his food (pellets, one in morning, one at night).

My husband suggests that he is probably just stressed and I should just wait it out and not make any changes. I did a 10% water change today (first water change at all since I got the fish).

5 gallon tank
filtered, (cycled), heated (76-78F)
ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, 0
feeding betta pellets (one morning, one night)
using chlorine/chloramine remover
tank water 78 (it seems to drop a few degrees overnight as our house gets cold, down to 60, and the heater says it only increases water T by maximum 15F)
tank has gravel, fake plants, hidey cave

He does seem to have one white spot on one gill. Could he have ick?

He opens his mouth a lot, like a big yawn. (not sure if this is relevant)

If I increase the temp of the tank, worried that this might increase the amount of temp fluctuation between night and day.

This filter has been in there for 2 months as is past being changed. If I take it out, would this remove the "good" bacteria in the tank? Or could an old filter be the cause of the problem?

I have read about adding salt. If this is suggested, can I use "all natural sea salt"? It has no iodine in it.

btw - I had one betta before 2 months ago and it died about 5 days after I put it in this same tank.

Overall, wondering if is could just be stress and I should wait it out a few days before trying anything. And then, if no improvement, or if he continues to go downhill, then what should I try? Also, I understand that increasing the water temp is good, but what if this causes overnight water temp fluctuations?

Thanks,
Heather

Last edited by heatherp; 11-19-2011 at 10:06 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:29 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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How did you acclimate him to the new tank when you first got him.....

He may be stressed-sometimes when a Betta that has been kept in small containers all their life and then placed in a larger container along with water movement...it can really stress them and this in turn can compromise the immune response and you will see secondary issues...you may want to turn off the filter, lower the water level and make small volume water changes for the next 2-3 days and see if this will perk him up.....if not he may need a treatment...

Don't worry about the nitrogen cycle-by your numbers the tank isn't cycled anyway unless you have a lot of live plants in the tank....even with it running for the couple of months-unless it had some type of ammonia source any beneficial bacteria would not have colonized due to limited food source....
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:33 PM   #3 
heatherp
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When I first got him, I let the bag float in the tank for about an hour. Then I added some tank water to the bag (about 50%) and let that sit for another half hour. Then I added the fish to the 5gallon tank, used a net so no water from the bag went into tank.

Should I increase the heat to 80F, even though the heater doesn't seem to be able to maintain this overnight when the house temperature drops?

Also, I was adding fish food regularly during the 2 months when I was cycling the tank (which I was told was a good source of ammonia). I didn't test the parameters though.

Last edited by heatherp; 11-19-2011 at 04:38 PM. Reason: new info
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:45 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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Sounds like you properly acclimated him and I wouldn't go too high on the temp at this point...76-78F is good.....

True that adding fish food can provide a food source as it decomps for the beneficial bacteria, however, it also can for bad bacteria too.....by your water pram numbers the tank isn't cycled....you should have nitrate of at least 5-10ppm without any ammonia, nitrite spikes-unless you have lots of live plants or a pH 6 or lower....
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Old 11-19-2011, 06:19 PM   #5 
heatherp
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I'd say the nitrate level is probably 5-10. I am just using the test strips and I did sense that the nitrate test was very slightly pinker than 0, but not pink enough to be 20, so I said the reading was 0, but 10ish might be more accurate.

Also, when I was cycling the tank, I had 1 live plant in there for a few weeks (corkscrew grass), but it died before I got the fish, so I think that was probably an ammonia source too (while it was dying!) to help with the cycling.

The filter is a real cheapy, filter from walmart, with a sponge on the bottom half and charcoal/gravel mix for the upper half. It's a bubbler. While I was cycling I had it on lots of bubbles but before I brought my fish into the tank I really slowed the bubbles down so it just gives off 1 or 2 bubbles every second. I feel like there is very little current in the tank, but I do realize they are very susceptible to any current.

My fish likes the spot right under the filter to lie on the bottom, so maybe that is an indication that it isn't liking the current.

Last edited by heatherp; 11-19-2011 at 06:25 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:22 AM   #6 
heatherp
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Thanks so much for your help, Oldfishlady!

Seems like he is getting better. I removed the filter, lowered the water level to about 5" (he liked that for sure, for the first day he lay on the silk plant which was now near the the surface), and have been doing 25% water changes twice daily. I didn't touch the thermometer but I guess since the water level is lower it is keeping the water warmer, it is now consistently at 81F, 24h/day.

Kai is swimming around, colour has improved, and he is using his fins, though they are still a bit clamped.

Once a fish fins have clamped, will they ever go back to how they were before?
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:13 PM   #7 
Oldfishlady
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Good to hear you are seeing some improvement....the fins should un-clamp once he is well or feeling better.....
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