I adopted a male betta from some friends that were moving across the United States and couldn't take their pet... Other than that, I know nothing about him, or about how to keep a betta healthy and happy! I am reading up as much as I can on this site and others.
Overall, the poor guy looks sick and miserable. He literally "lays" at the bottom of his bowl. Today I moved him into a new upgraded tank. He now has gravel, a log to swim through and hide in, and a fake plant. Just today, for the first time, I have seen him dart to the top and pop out some bubbles, and then he darts back down and lays almost motionless. I was afraid he was sick, but was advised at the pet store that he may just be depressed (coming from a bowl with nothing in it). I'm still concerned that he floats on his side from time to time, almost motionless. I have had several guests comment on how "dead" he looks because of how he lays at the bottom of the tank. His fins look unhealthy to me, but I don't really know exactly how they should look... They definitely are not fanned out.... Sometimes he darts around the tank wildly, and then immediately stops and lays again. I am attaching a picture. Please, help me be a good betta owner and let me know, if anything, what he needs!
I think I see stress spots and his fins don't look good. Laying on the side is never good.. What kind of water treatment are you using? How big is the tank? How often are you changing the water? Is it heated?
Hi SBetta and welcome to the forum. :) I'm glad you could adopt the little guy. He looks a little on the ill side so I'm guessing your friends didn't change his water very often (probably because the pet store told them not to).
So, rule one: don't listen to pet store employees. A few actually know what they're talking about but the majority don't. Not listening to them will save you some trouble later on, trust me. :)
It will definitely help us if you could answer Callistra's questions. Knowing the size of the tank and how often you change the water can help us pinpoint what may be wrong with him.
He was just in a tiny bowl with no filter... They had him I think maybe 2 or 3 years. Sounds like just more recently he started to go down hill- maybe in the last month or so.
Yesterday we got him a 2.5 gallon tank with filter system, but no heater. From reading on here, I am definitely going to get a thermometer and start monitoring the water, and changing his water frequently.. I feel like I am in full rescue mode because I don't think he is well.... :(
I treated the water with the BettaSafe water conditioner and that's it. That is all he came with.
From watching him, he is more active than he was in the bowl, but it's still not very good. He is swimming more, but it seems spastic to me. He darts around and then lays there randomly from time to time. This morning he is looking worse- like having a hard time breathing and just laying there.
2-3 years? That's quite a while. The average lifespan of a betta is about 1-3 years and many pet store bettas are already 6-12 months old. So his age could definitely be playing a huge factor in this. You are definitely in rescue mode. :( Right now, his symptoms could be from any number of things, from ammonia poisoning, internal bacterial infection, cold water, old age . . . poor guy, he's got a lot on his plate right now when all he wants is to just enjoy his golden years. You're doing a great job with him. If you can, try and get a small ADJUSTABLE 25w heater for his tank to keep him warm. In the meantime, you can wrap towels around the tank to keep as much heat in as possible. The colder the water, the harder it is for him to move around and even just stay alive.
If he struggles to reach the surface to breathe, you can lower the water a few inches to make it easier for him.
I'm hesitant to suggest putting anything in the water right now because I'm really not sure if he has anything that can be treated. But one thing that may help relieve some of his symptoms is epsom salt. You can get this at any drug store or pharmacy, just make sure it's plain magnesium sulfate with no colors or scents. Put in 1 tsp per gallon, predissolved in a bit of tank water. If he has an internal infection, this will help to leech out some of the excess fluids that will build up in his system.
Hopefully this will help. In the meanwhile, warmth, clean water, and lots of love will be best for him.
I don't know anything about BettaSafe conditioner.. I've used Prime and StressCoat. As long as it says it takes out chlorine and heavy metals it should be ok.
Filter is nice so long as the current isn't stress him out and 2.5 is big enough for a heater. A Marineland Visitherm 25w should work for the tank but make sure to test it to see it works before introducing him because if it's defective temps go high fast in that small a container. Also, yu're going to have to adjust the temp SLOWLY. Determine what the ambient room temp keeps the tank and set the thermometer just one degree above (be aware that sometimes these heaters can be a couple or more degrees off so having a thermometer and testing and understanding your setup is crucial). Once you have it established where you need to set it initially at just one degree increase, bring it up one degree ever 24 hours until you get it up to 80F and maintain it there until he's feeling better. You can leave him regularly at 78 or 79.
2.5 uncycled tank needs to be changed 100% every 3-4 days. I would not suggest cycling the tank while he is this ill.
Also make sure in the meantime that your room temp isn't changing. Bettas can adapt to a variety of temps much better than they can SWINGS in temps. It's important to keep them warm, but it's the swings that are really hard on them.. so say you have it set to drop down at night and back up the next day.. that's really bad for them. Also lamps are not good heat sources because again once you switch them off the temp dips.