I've always kept my betta in a large tank with a filter, heater and lamp and change the water regularly. My living conditions are fine for him I think, but my problem lies with his eating. He has to eat with the filter off, the food I first bought for him was a mix of green and red small pellets and he will only eat the green. Not the red ones. I was running low on that food and since it was purchased in another town I couldn't but the same. So I went to the local store here and bought some frozen bloodworms and he just watches them sink. Did I mention he doesn't sunken food. So I bought another type of which which is very fine and it just spreads over the top of the water and he won't touch it. So the last food available here were some small brown pellets and most of them sink, so he won't eat them. Anyways after this explanation of his fussy eating now comes the problem. I went away for a few weeks and instead of getting someone to come over and feed him I bought a smaller tank with filter and temp stick and gave him to my friend to look after. She said when she had him he was very sulky and just sitting in the bottom and coming up for some food. I just thought this was because he had to go into a smaller tank. When I picked him up we were talking and got distracted and her little boy put his hand in the tank, I'm not sure if he touched the fish or squeezed him, or nothing. But he had like a little fit, and then laid on his side on the bottom. I thought he was gone, but we waited awhile and he was still breathing. So I got a spoon and nudged him a little and he came upright. So I took back home and I think he sloshes around a bit in the car and I put back in his big tank. He didn't eat that night, but was still upright. The next day he was sideways and on the bottom. He's been like that for 5 days and not eating. That's when I started looking online for advice. I read a few articles and think he may have SBD or constipated, whichever. So I took him out and put him in a shallow tank and he came up for air, and he is now upright. So his spine has a little curve in it, which someone suggested could be the sign of constipation. So I've cut up a pea, in tiny pieces and they all sink, and he won't eat sunken food. Someone else suggested grated potato, so I tried that, and it sinks too. He has been in this small dish for only a day and I haven't seen any poo either. I have put one bit of dried food in there a few times through out the day and he ate 3. So after reading all this is there anything I can give him, that floats, to help him get over this? Or should I just keep letting him fast? Any advice would be muchly appreciated.
My first advice is leave him alone. I've killed more than one betta by overdiagnosing and overtreating. Turn off the lamp and keep him in the dark for a few days. If you suspect swim bladder, fast him for a few days and then try the pea, although any fish I've ever seem with swim bladder float (that may not necessarily be the case though). Don't mess with him. Don't change his location, don't tap on his glass and try to get him to move. If he's still alive, I doubt he's injured. He's probably just very stressed and needs peace and quiet to calm down. As for the food, bettas sometimes take a week or two to warm up to new food, but if you stay consistant, your little guy should eventually eat it. Bettas can go a while without food, so don't worry too much if he's not eating.
I hope your fish gets better.
If he does, I would try feeding him one pellet at a time with an eyedropper.
I feed mine the brown Aqueon Betta pellets this way, and he loves it.
You can shoot them out in different directions and he gets to "hunt" them down.
We both enjoy the activity, its kind of a Zen thing.
Great thanks for the advice. I was thinking I would just leave him alone for a bit. But I have him in a busy spot of my house so maybe I'll move the position of the tank until he gets better. Then I'll put him back in his big tank.
Okay, no more peas, no potatoes.. as bettas are insectivores and cannot digest either of those, also there is no nutritional value. Some people use the peas, but their theory is- stuff them full of items they can't digest in hopes that they will push out the food in their intestines since their body is trying to rid of something that shouldn't be in there. As well as sometimes the peas themselves will cause a blockage which could be worse since the body can't digest it. Never heard of potatoes fed to them though.. that could be dangerous.
He was eating and swimming fine when she had him- even if he was lethargic.. so at the time there was no SBD issues. He may of needed a water change, also he may of been stressed from the change of new temp home and new location. Believe it or not, these guys become attached to us and recognize us. Did he have any of his plants or cave in his temp home?
If all of a sudden he couldn't swim right, and has a curved spine- most likely it was the little boy who may have squeezed him and hurt him. Since usually there are other signs of SBD and bloating- he would be bloated (which usually causes SBD), clamped fins, and after a fright he wouldn't all of a sudden get SBD.
Just in case we can put him in some Epsom so that if he has SBD then we can cure him instead of just.. letting him sit in the dark alone..
Place him in a small container that can be floated in his home tank to keep warm.
Keep him in 3-4 inches of water so he can get air easier.
1 teaspoon of unfragranced Epsom Salt (found in pharmacies) per gallon, pre-dissolve it. His regular water conditioner. You will have to do daily 100% water changes, adding in the salt and the conditioner each time. Use an empty water jug to pre-mix it prior to get the measurements correct and easier to do the daily water changes with.
Keep him in that treatment for 10 days, or until he is better.
If it is injury rather then SBD (which I am inclined to think it is- but the Epsom won't harm him), then keep him in the smaller container with less water doing water changes often to keep him comfortable. Unsure if they can recover from a spinal injury- that is all on him, unfortunately.
Keep us updated on how he is doing, let us know if anything changes.
Thank you very much for that last comment. I will try the epsom salt solution and see how that goes. I have read about that, but didn't think to try it. No he didn't have any of his plants or caves with him. I left him with my parents earlier in the year in a tank with no filtered water. And he was sulking in that as well. But I agree with the getting attached to us, I've never noticed it with other fish.
Welcome. Since they tend to live alone (even when they have viewable neighbors), they focus more on us if given the chance. Mostly they just want more food.. they are the labrador retrievers of the fish world I swear- so food oriented lol.. but anyways, they do seem to get happy and energetic when they see us, and think they are being watched. It's what helps us fall in love with them.
Without hiding places, he most definitely wouldn't of felt all that safe and secure being in an open tank and in new surroundings. What would of caused him to be sulky- boy can they be pampered little things!
I can't promise the Epsom Salt will work- but it will either rule out an SBD problem, or fix it. So it's worth a shot for sure.. I wish you luck, and keep us informed.
Well I didn't get around to getting the Epsom salts, all shops here were closed until today. But he seems a lot happier and is moving around more in his shallow tank. He is eating a few bits here n there. But I think I was defiantly over reacting when it came to diagnosing him. I'm changing the water everyday in this little dish, I think he just wants his big tank back n his toys. I have a temp stick in there and it's staying in the right temp, but it is dropping and rising . So I think I'll give him a couple more days and then transfer him back over and see how that goes. Thank you everyone for your advice.
If he is swimming just fine, eating and isn't bloated out, then I would say it's safe to go ahead and put him back into his home tank. Keep an eye on him, if he starts to bloat back up, fast him and let us know so we can make sure to rule out parasites or other issues.
Just a small update for those of you helped me with my strange fish problem. It's kinda got stranger, but he is all better now it seems. When I put him back in his tank he just use to sit about an inch below the surface and sit in between the glass and the heat stick. He could still swim to the bottom and top but didn't. I'd put some food in and he was never that interested in it. So I don't know if he was eating or not. Then I got a small container and sat that in the tank and he loved it! He was coming to the surface to eat and has been moving around like normal. My sister bought me a little breeders cage, so that has been floating on top of his tank this last week and he's coming to the surface more regularly. So I'm not sure what really happened to him. But he seems fine now. So thats the story of my fussy fish. My very odd fish.