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Old 11-23-2011, 06:08 PM   #1 
KingTriton
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Really sudden odd behavior.

We have a betta at work. They had the betta before I started there. He's in a small (less than half gallon) tank. I know that bettas should be in bigger tanks. I tried to tell everyone this, but they all thought I was just being too obsessive (since I tend to be obsessive about animal related things). Anyway, I took him home for the holiday weekend. I put him in the small plastic cup he originally came in. He seemed fine in the car. I got him home, filled his tank back up, and put him in it. Now, the water I filled the tank with was conditioned properly. It had been sitting for a long time, no different than how his water is normally changed. I put him back in the tank along with some of the old water that was in his cup with him.

He seemed fine at first. I turned off the light and closed the room door so my cat didn't get him. Well, I turned the light on and he freaked out. Then I accidentally dropped a bottle against the tank which was loud and scared him. He's been down at the bottom being very still, just sort of moving his fins every now and then. The very back of his spine right before his back fin looks a little curved, like an S shape and I don't remember that before. Before he came home with me, he seemed completely normal, fairly active, swam completely normal. He's normally a pig, but he didn't want any food. I went back to check on him around an hour later and he was floating near the top. I dropped a piece of food near hikm. He took about a minute, but then ate it. He then swam slowly to the other side of the tank and got a big gulp of air, but it's like he had to bend his head up in a strange way to breath the air in...like swalling the air in gulps. Then he began to sink back down vertically, back end down. Then he sort of moved his fins really quickly to right himself and went back to the bottom. What could be wrong? I think either going in and out of the car and house might have caused some sort of temp change. Maybe he was injured when I was putting him back in the tank. I'm really worried!
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:38 PM   #2 
inkrealm
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he may be acting weird because of all the changes and loud noises and sudden bright light and banging...
when my fish gets spooked he does the same...
noises against the glass are massively magnified... if it was loud to you, it was HUGE to him, and then even HUGER because he's so tiny, AND has no idea what's going on in this strange new place...
likewise when it's pitch dark and someone suddenly shines a huge bright light in your face it hurts right? same for him I suspect ^-^;
give him the night alone and see how he is tomorrow... and try to adjust him to light gradually, ie start with lamps far away and get closer, till the light is right near him, then maybe try the overhead.. just think how you'd feel about the light and your eyes... or wait till day time when it's light in the room if there are windows. etc.

bettas also commonly act delusional when first woken up, and generally sleep during the night and wake during the day just like you... they may also take naps~ so if it was dark, he may have been sleeping...

do you condition your water?
also is your water and the office's water on the same water system? ie wells, city water, etc.

my fish also gulps air more dramatically when he's stressed or has been hiding at the bottom of his tank...



oops- also the being very still at the bottom thing barely moving his fins every now and again... that's just his "stealth mode", he thinks there's danger so he stands very very VERY still and holds his breath to avoid being spotted. just like you would if someone were after you ^-^; just give him his space ^-^ be REALLY quite around him, and no sudden movements/lights. he'll probably take awhile to chill back out. it also depends on his personality and temperament.


basic rule of thumb: Betta fish are more intelligent than other fish. and though I've never had other fish and cannot speak for them, I know that Betta Fish have personalities, facial recognition, thought processes, and yes, emotions. though some have issues believing that.. >->
so basically think how you would feel if you were as tiny as him, had no idea where you were, what was going on, what all these new things were, and think how you'd feel, and more than likely that's how he's feeling. ^-^; I'm not saying they have emotions to the extreme, but they do feel fear, confusion, frustration, sulkiness, stress, panic, etc.

Last edited by inkrealm; 11-23-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:47 PM   #3 
KingTriton
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I don't know, this is just weird. His body is sort of in an s shape. He can't fain out his rear fin at all. It's like he's struggling to move it. To stay at the top, he has to really use his left and right fins to stay up there. They're moving so fast! It's like his back is hurt or something. He dind't look that way earlier today.

The water is conditioned. I used water from work to fill his tank...I bottled it at work and it was sitting there with him for several days.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:53 PM   #4 
inkrealm
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also bettas almost always love human company ^-^
so feel free to do stuff in the room he's in, just go about your regular stuff. but try to be quiet, no super loud sounds, definitely none while directly at his tank x3 and no sudden movements towards him when you're right at his tank if you're interacting with him. he'll be shy at first but he'll keep watching you and eventually learn you're not a threat ^-^ remember they like to sleep at night though, ;D


edit: so you let the chlorine evaporate you mean? I'd look into some Prime... it's great and lasts ages... but I've heard sitting it out works okay as long as you wait days, so I guess...
my boy does that when he's stressed too... but I don't recall the back thing ( unless you just mean standing still, moving his fins super fast, and lifting his head to get air, because in that case he may still just be in the stealth mindset.. ) but if the back itself seems to have taken on a funny shape... how did you transfer him? I guess he might have hurt his spine.... is there any chance you could get a picture?..... when he swims how does it look? can you get him to follow food or your finger across the surface of the water and watch?

Last edited by inkrealm; 11-23-2011 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:04 PM   #5 
KingTriton
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I put water conditioner drop in the water a while ago and the gallon jug has just been sitting there for days. That's what I always do when I change his water and he's always been fine. I dind't just sit the water out to evaporate chlorine. It has actual conditioner in the water.

I dumped him from the cup to the tank. I'm worried something happened then. He hates being transfered back and forth. I didn't dump him from up high, just right at that water level. Looking back, I should have maybe submerged the cup into his tank or something, but the tank is so little that it's hard to get him back in any other way. I worry he was struggling to not get dumped out and twisting and stuff and he hurt himself...or, well, I hurt him I suppose. I feel so terrible, not only because I think he's in pain, but because I don't know what I'll do when I have to take him back on Monday. Even if he's still with us, I don't feel comfortable transfering him again right now if he doesn't go back to normal.

He's not really following my finger or food. He used to get really excited when he saw someone and he always wanted food. He's just sort of staring straight ahead, sitting towards the bottom. His body isn't actually resting on the bottom though, like his abdomen is not resting on the rocks. Just the bottom of his bottoms fins.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:07 PM   #6 
KingTriton
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I looked up some info and it says it could be swim bladder disorder, but that woudln't occur so suddenly like this. He was in his little cup swimming all around like normal on the car ride home, so I don't see what else could have happened besides an injury.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:31 PM   #7 
inkrealm
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ahhh, okay haha, I missed that part. ^-^;


you shouldn't beat yourself up too much... Betta fish are always a learning process... and they're so tiny accidents are easy to make, especially transferring ones and such... an easy transfer is very rare.. it is a good idea to submerge it first, but I still don't think you should count it as your fault... ^-^; I also can't imagine getting a cup into a smaller-than-half-gallon tank, so I'm not sure there was any other way any how...
are 2.5 gallons and critter keepers out of the question?... they aren't too massively expensive... and they'd give you enough space to submerge him rather than having to dump him...
staring streight ahead still isn't an absolutely bad sign... since there's not much you can do if it is an injury, as hard as it is, I'd just lower the water a bit if need be, make sure it's good and fresh, and give him a little space... Bettas can do some pretty ridiculous things both when stressed and when simply wanting attention.... I know a few times mine has made me think he's deathly ill, then met me in the morning with that "oops sorry mom" face. <T^T> I guess basically as lame an answer as it is, there really isn't much else you can do for him but keep his water clean and let him get a good night's rest...
maybe you'll be lucky and it will turn out to be stress after all... without seeing his back, all the attitude bits at least, sound like they could just as easily be a stressed betta... I agree it doesn't sound like swim bladder... generally they have trouble staying down and instead float ( often on their side ), and they're notably swollen in the abdomen... ( they have little bumps on their side right before their tail, and when they get SBD they become notably larger on one or both sides ) It doesn't sound like swim bladder to me...
try not to guilt yourself and stress out... if it is an injury, it wasn't your fault.. you're doing all you can, and even if that isn't a lot, its all to be done and the fact that you did that is what counts.. sometimes things just happen, especially with betta fish... it's definitely sad... but we can't beat ourselves up for it and doing so won't accomplish anything... many times it's out of our hands anyway... if there is anything we notice we did wrong, all we can do is take the lesson from it and not do it again...

Last edited by inkrealm; 11-23-2011 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:20 PM   #8 
KingTriton
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Thanks.

Well, I do want to get him a bigger tank. I was planning on using the fact that I took him home this weekend as an excuse to bring him back in with a nice, bigger tank. The other person that had been taking care of him was sort of offended and really argumentative when I brought up that he should be in a much bigger tank. They were also just using tap water for him, but he had been fine. I started using the conditioned water several months ago. She told me to be careful since I had told them that I had bad luck with bettas in the past (well, they died because I wasn't aware of water conditions...I believed what the pet store told me). I learned from that. I've kept other fish and had them for many years. Anyway, I feel like even if it wasn't my fault at all, she'll find some way to blame me for it, like it was me conditioning his water that did it or something.

I care more about him than what my co-worker will say. I just don't know. I just checked him and he's the same. I hope I wake up tomorrow and he's better. I'm glad he ate 1 piece of food earlier though. I know they can go awhile without eating, but surely eating something must be a good thing. If he was completely in shock and ready to go any moment he probably wouldn't eat, right? I hope he doesn't have a long, drawn out painful deterioriation. Maybe he'll live and just be an injured guy from now on.

I'm just asking myself why I agreed to take him home. I should have known something like this would happen!
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:41 AM   #9 
inkrealm
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erk. I'm glad to hear the tap didn't do too much damage... maybe your water system doesn't use much chlorine.... it's good it's out of his system now though...
I'm very sorry to hear about your loss of your previous guys... I wish pet stores would actually take some interest in the animals they're selling... I'm a little shocked on that one seeing as it would have been a money opportunity for them.... I guess they could have easily not even known the stuff existed with the way they handle them though.... :/ it really gets me what those guys get away with and how little people get upset over it when it involves amphibians and reptiles and fish rather than puppies. <T^T>
I always wandered how bettas compare to other fish... not in which is better but differences-wise if there are any... the only fish I kept before I began with bettas were when I was still way too young to really study them...
I understand what you mean about the other caretaker though... they can be vicious, especially if they get determined that they know what they're talking about... :/

you're right in assuming that the eating was a good sign. if a fish is dangerously stressed he won't be interested in eating... I suspect you could tell just by looking at him too if it's a comfort though ^-^ when a fish is about to go into shock it will ( usually ) begin turning white. most times if you notice right away and leave though, he'll be back to normal in maybe an hour.
I do wish the best for him tomorrow..
and yes, there are lots of bettas on these forums who have been disfigured, born with issues and/or deformities due to genetics, and various other problems who live happy lives. ^-^ so there's still a chance for him ^-^ if it does come up you might try posting in the forums asking about fish with injured spines specifically; I bet someone here has dealt with one, and they'd probably have some great suggestions.
I hope everything works out well for both the fish and you; bettas can be pretty tough fighters.. maybe whatever happened, he'll get the hang of it, and be taking care of himself by the time she sees him again... injury or no injury, he's still moving, eating, and showing no signs of internal bleeding, so I'd say he's got a decent shot. ^-^

Last edited by inkrealm; 11-24-2011 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #10 
KingTriton
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Update: This morning his "personality" seems more normal, but swimming is still awkward. This morning he was sort of resting toward the bottom of the tank, but in a different spot than he had been all of last night. I put food in and he immediately swam up and ate it. He swam around quite a bit. His swimming is just awkward, as if it's strained. He sort of followed my finger too and was looking at me sort of like he normally does.

Oh, and it seems like he can't open his rear fin. He can' spread it. I can see him moving it, like he's trying to open it to help him swim or propel, but it just sort of pulses, won't actually open up big like normal.

And unfortunately, I think most pet stores employ people that don't know a lot about proper animal care. Half the time, the employees appear to be high school students.They're definitely not experts. The fact that the pet stores sell tiny little bowls an vases to house bettas in just show that they often don't truly care about the welfare or proper care of the animals. I'm mainly talking about chain pet stores, and this is just my experience.

Last edited by KingTriton; 11-24-2011 at 09:15 AM.
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