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Old 12-12-2011, 09:42 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Unhappy Betta isn't doing well :( Please help...

So I've had my betta for about a year and a half, maybe two years (I can't really remember exactly when I got him) and lately.. he just hasn't been doing so good. I don't really know what's wrong or what to do, so let me first say what's happened and then I will post all extra info.

So he was doing just fine, and it was feeding day. I used to always feed him 4-6 pellets every few days, no one ever told me to do it differently so I thought it was fine and it always had been. Well the next day he was floating around. He seemed to be well, like he didn't seem sick or lethargic he was just floating. I assumed this was swim bladder disease, went online to read up on what to do and saw I should fast him for 3 days then on the fourth day feed him a pea. Well on the fourth day he was no longer floating but seemed kind of tired, I'm assuming because he hadn't eaten. I tried to feed him a pea but he ignored it, tried to feed him pellets and he ignored those too. The next day he was still lethargic and I got him to eat two pellets. Well then the day after that he was floating again! I didn't know what to do, I couldn't feed him again because he seemed really tired and unable to get food. What made matters worse was the heat broke in our apartment, and the house dropped to 46 degrees, so even with the heater on in his tank, the heat in his tank dropped to around 72 when it's normally like 76-78. I went to stay with my parents Saturday and Sunday because of the heat not working and wrapped his tank in blankets to keep some sort of heat for him. When I came back last night, I decided to do a water change for him (I had just done one a week prior), and after he was now laying at the bottom. It seems like his coloring has faded -- normally he has a red patch on his head but it turned a sort of dull brown, his body is white with pinkish undertones but now it looks completely white. He has no energy it seems and could barely swim up. I sat by him for almost 2 hours watching him and finally he started to swim up to the top. He went by a tower I put in his tank and would swim a ways then stop and fall onto it, then swim a ways and stop. It seemed like he had no energy to even hover in the tank, he kept sinking. He went up to the top, and I got him to eat just one pellet, he wouldn't eat any more. This morning he seems to be floating again, though not as bad as when he originally had. Just the top of his head floats at the top of the tank and he seems to have issues swimming and turning. His body seems weak now.

Sorry that is a lot. I'm just really really concerned about him, I love him to bits and want to do whatever I can.

What size is your tank? 3 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76-78
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 4-6 pellets every few days, now just try to feed him 1-2 every day or two


How often do you perform a water change? Once a month or more (I know I should do it more, I have just recently started doing weekly)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 75%
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?
No -- and I can't do it for a while because I don't have a car or a pet store anywhere nearby

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - colors seem dull
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - very lethargic, seems to be feeling unwell
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - little less than a week ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - tried to feed a pea, but wouldn't eat it so I fed him pellets
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - No
How old is your fish (approximately)? - 1.5-2 years
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:31 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Detroit, Mi
feeding is usually like 2 pellets twice a day, and some people will have one day of fasting.

Peas are bad, unless someone from this site that really knows their stuff tells you to, never feed your betta peas.

any idea if he's pooping ok?
Could you get us some pictures in case we can see something?

other things... I would go ahead and turn his heater up to where the minimum temp is 78. And lower the water level so he can more easily reach the surface to breathe. Maybe also get some frozen glassworms, bloodworms or daphina, and see if he'll eat them better. (defrost them first of course)

That's about all i can think of at the moment. Since he's so weak just get him eating again before we worry about trying to medicate unless someone comes along to say different. I just didn't want this post to hang here another hour before someone got you started.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:43 AM   #3 
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Okay, thanks for the reply. Glad he didn't eat the pea then, since they aren't good for him.. I should've double checked on other sites before trying that.

I will just keep trying to feed him 1-2 pellets a day and see if he gets better and will raise the temp so it stays warm for him. I'll get a picture later tonight.. I'm at school all day today.

Thanks for the reply though, it means a lot!
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Welcome to the site, sorry to hear your little guy isn't doing so well..

For now I would go ahead and place him in a smaller container or QT tank and float it (taped or jimmied to the side) in his home tank to keep him warm. - use a lid or seran wrap taped over the top of it (with holes!) so he won't jump, and the humidity the serane wrap creates will help his labyrinth organ.

Go ahead and use 1 tsp of Epsom Salt (found in most stores with a pharmacy such as Walmart for relatively cheap), per gallon, make sure to dissolve it prior to adding your guy in it.. along with his water conditioner and you will want to do daily 100% water changes during treatment.

To make the water changes easier, if you have a gallon jug around that holds water- you can fill it up with tap water and mix in the salt and water conditioner in there and use that to fill up his QT container.

It sounds like a mix of lack of proper water conditions and over feeding at once-

You already fasted him, so that isn't needed- the Epsom is very mild and he can stay in there long term- but if he is having problems with his swim bladder then the Epsom should help him in a matter of days. After he is swimming normally you can then return him to his home tank.

In a 3 gal unfiltered you will be wanting to do 1 50% and 1 100% water change per week- the 100% is important for cleaning out the substrate. You may possibly get away with doing a 100% water change every 4-5 days since it is a 3 gallon. But I wouldn't go longer then that.

For feeding, as mentioned above, 2-3 pellets per meal, twice daily will give him enough nutrition without over/under feeding him and risking bloating. If possible, frozen foods such as blood worms, daphnia or brine shrimp are excellent to feed along with the pellets as meal supplements.

Correct, peas are meant to be for goldfish who are constipated... the peas giving them the fiber they need to expel. Some people have used peas with success, but it's more in the line of the body wanting to rid itself of the pea so while pushing to do so, it pushes out blockage. But, you are risking the betta becoming blocked by the pea, as they cannot digest the roughage in that form and their intestines are not created to handle such forms of food- they get their roughage from inside the stomachs of their live prey, or with our domesticated ones.. in the form of pellets that have the correct combination of nutrition.

Keep us updated on how he is doing over the next few days, the Epsom and clean water should help quite a bit- and when the picture is posted, it might give us a more clear ideal of what is going on.

Last edited by Myates; 12-12-2011 at 02:45 PM.
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betta, floating, sbd, sick, sinking

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