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Old 11-30-2011, 08:20 AM   #1 
ErrantWhimsy
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Unhappy Lethargic and won't eat!

I have a male crowntail betta. He is laying at the bottom of the tank, partially on his side, doing nothing more than breathing. I can't get him to swim at all, or eat.

He lives in a 5 gallon heated and filtered tank. It is at 78 degrees at all times. Zero nitrites, under 40 ppm nitrates, what my kit claims is the safe zone.

I left for the long weekend and so he was on a 3 day betta feeder. When I came back, he seemed fine. But it has been about 2 days since he last ate, which is not normal for him at all.

I have had him for about 3 years. He was full sized when I got him at the pet store, which I know means he could be at least 4 or 5 years old, is this just senescence? I can't see any visual cues for sickness on his body, other than holding his fins clamped. No velvet, no rust, no ick, no fin rot.

This is exactly how my female betta acted before she died, so I am really nervous. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:44 AM   #2 
Myates
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Sorry about your little guy :(

Weekend feeders, 3 day feeders, any sort of feeders tend to be bad, and a lot of times, deadly to bettas.. it is actually much safer and better to not feed them (up to 2 weeks) then to use a 3 day feeder. It tends to over feed them since they have no self control, and it fouls up the water very quickly. Sadly, many people, including members here, come home to a dead betta because of the feeders.

Most likely, he ate that 3 day feeder in the first day.. or the water fouled up with whatever was left over (it causes the water to become dangerous very quickly). Nitrates seem very high.. you want 0, or below 20 for the most part. What is the ammonia at?

It sounds as if it is water quality issue... clamped and laying on the bottom.

For now, I would move him to a small QT container with shallow water and just water conditioner in it. Float it in his home tank if possible to keep him warm. Do daily 100% water changes for the next few days.. do daily 50% water changes in his home tank today and tomorrow while he is in QT. Don't worry about feeding him, he will eat when he can.

I'm sorry, wish there was something more to do to help him.. but right now all you can do is offer the clean, warm water and hope his system clears out. It's up to him to fight it.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:58 AM   #3 
ErrantWhimsy
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I just changed about 3/4 of his tank water as a start for your suggestion until I can get a quarantine container. When I did, he made a spirited charge for the surface to breathe, which gives me new hope.

I just retested his water post-replacement, and it is under 20ppm nitrates.

What is the best water conditioner to use for bettas? I feel like maybe changing types (mine is a general tap water conditioner that requires a tiny dose) might help?
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:32 AM   #4 
Myates
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Seachem Prime is one of the favorites around here.. API Stress Coat is good to use, Tetra AquaSafe is good too.

It may help.. but the water change you did alone will help big time.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:27 PM   #5 
ErrantWhimsy
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Update: Today he is showing a tiny bit more spirit. On a sprint for the surface I noticed his tail fins looked really torn. I took the fancy decorations out of his tank and left only the softest plants. He was also looking for a place to rest closer to the surface so I rigged one for him with some creative plant placement a short time ago.

He is still resting at the bottom of the tank most of the time. After I changed the water today he seemed to be breathing very heavily, with his gill membranes actually going in and out. That is probably the most worrisome thing yet. He doesn't seem to be doing it while he is resting, though.

Could water hardness and pH have an effect? Is there a product that would regulate those?

Also, do you put in both Stresscoat and Seachem prime?

Last edited by ErrantWhimsy; 12-01-2011 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #6 
ErrantWhimsy
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I got Seachem Prime and some pH balancer because my new test kit showed that was really high. Within half an hour of the new chemicals, he ate two pellets! First time he has shown interest in food this week.

Myates, you are fantastic.
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