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Old 01-09-2012, 12:45 PM   #1 
UhohCheerio
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Floating on his side on the top of the tank?

Alphie is a 2 year old betta who lives in a 1 gallon bowl in my office. He was fine and healthy on Friday (from my observations). I changed his water on Friday, using distilled water and water conditioner, and when I came back into the office today, his fins look somewhat tattered and he's basically just floating on his side on the top of the bowl. If I tap the bowl, he'll swim around a little (normally) and then go back to floating at the top. Coloring is fine but his fins do look a little funny.

I immediately changed his water and he's now less on his side and more appropriately upright, but he still looks sickly and isn't really swimming, just hanging at the top of the bowl. He did eat one pellet after the one change.

Is it time to say play Taps and cover his bowl so he can have privacy in his last moments or is there something else to do? I'll pick up some aquarium salt tonight.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:50 PM   #2 
Ajones108
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Two years is quite a long time to own a betta in my experience. If you've had him for 2 years and you do water changes with distilled water and water conditioner, he sounds like he's been pretty taken care of. I do have a few questions though. Is the bowl heated, and how frequent do you do water changes? How do you carry out your water changes? Does he look bloated at all? Are his scales sticking out? Once I have a little bit more information maybe I can steer you in the right direction. :)
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:13 PM   #3 
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How much of a change do you do with this bowl? Is there any chance that there was temperature dips in the office over the weekend? I assume the bowl is not being heated and swings with room temps.. What is the temperature of his bowl?

If he perked up after a water change there may have been something wrong with the last water you put in for whatever reason.

I would suggest getting your water tested for ammonia unless you just did a 100% change. Your local store may do it for free or you can buy a drops kit and do it yourself.

I don't think there's much else you can do unless you want to invest in a larger bowl and a heater. Bettas really need a heater (unless they are being kept in a room which is constant 80 degrees plus) and bettas living in small bowls with no heat and have to deal with regular room temperature swings are prone to being and don't live nearly as long as ones that have stable heated envionments.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:20 PM   #4 
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From what you described, it sounds more like a swim bladder issue or bloating. How much do you feed him and how often?
I'd fast his for 2-3 days, holding off on the AQ salt as this will worsen bloating and/or swim bladder problems.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:59 PM   #5 
UhohCheerio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajones108 View Post
Two years is quite a long time to own a betta in my experience. If you've had him for 2 years and you do water changes with distilled water and water conditioner, he sounds like he's been pretty taken care of. I do have a few questions though. Is the bowl heated, and how frequent do you do water changes? How do you carry out your water changes? Does he look bloated at all? Are his scales sticking out? Once I have a little bit more information maybe I can steer you in the right direction. :)
His bowl is not heated. When I do the water changes once a week, I scoop him up in a plastic cup and then thoroughly wash out the bowl, his plant and gravel with hot water and then refill the bowl with water that has been sitting in a jug at least overnight, so that it's room temperature. No signs of bloat or scales sticking out. He eats Aqueon betta food, 4-5 pellets twice a day and fasting on Sat/Sun.

When I changed his water on Friday, I used conditioned Hinckley Springs distilled water from the grocery store (typically I use conditioned tap water). Is it possible that would have hurt him? I changed his bowl again about 5 hours ago (back to tap water) and he's looking better but still doing some of his dead fish routine.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #6 
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You really shouldn't be using distilled water. It's not good for them.
I'd just use regular tap water with conditioner, as this provides them with some minerals they need from the water (iron and such). So do a 100% change with just tap.
He really should be in a heated bowl, as bettas are tropical fish and need temps of 76-82F to be healthy. Water temperature is always cooler than room temp by 4-5 degrees. So whatever your room is set at, it'll be 4-5 degrees cooler in the tank. I'd get a heater if you can.
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:18 AM   #7 
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Thanks youlovegnats, I couldn't remember if it was distilled water or just RO water that loses its minerals. /failChemistrystudent

I do know there is a product on the petstore shelf that replenishes the lost minerals in the water that are taken out from reverse osmosis but wasn't sure about distilled water. If the OP does want to use distilled water, I would recommend buying this product, and giving the little guy a couple drops. As for the name of the product, it escapes me. /failagain

If you want to help him out a little more, I would up your amount of water changes. Once a week for a one gallon bowl could cause a higher ammonia level which is hard on a fish. If his condition improves, I would bump him up to at least a 2-gallon bowl, and if you decide to heat his water, I have two of these heaters and I like them for my smaller tanks. However, some members of the site do not like these heaters, due to them not having temperature controls. The two that I have heat my water between 78-80 and we keep our apartment at 72. (Link courtesy of amazon.com, you one-stop shop for worldwide betta supplies)

http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-HEATER-A...6186930&sr=8-2
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #8 
UhohCheerio
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This morning, Alphie is back to acting totally normal - eating, swimming around, chilling under his plant leaves. His fins are a mess though, all tattered and shredded looking. I'm going to do 100% water changes every day this week. Should I also add aquarium salt to help with the fin damage?

I don't typically use distilled water, but I did on Friday because it's what I had on hand. I have learned my lesson! Thanks for the link to the heater - I'll look into it and a larger bowl.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:51 PM   #9 
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Vita Chem is what you're looking for I think..but maybe not what you're thinking of. I mean there are some trace elements conditioners but I don't know that is good for bettas as their natural enviorment is very low on minerals.

My 4-5 y.o. guy has been in RO water his whole life so I can't say RO is bad. I prefer it greatly. Distilled water takes EVERYTHING out.

Aquarium salt for the fins would be a plan. Or you can also use API Stress Coat (dechlorinator) at the full 1ml per gallon to help repair his fins.
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