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Old 01-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: US
Question Long adjustment to new home, or something else?

There's so much great information in this community, but I can't seem to find anything to match what I'm seeing. I used to keep bettas and found I missed their quirkiness, so I decided to get back into keeping one.

I brought home a new betta the beginning of this week, and just haven't seen him perk up at all. I set up the tank the day before getting him, and made sure the water temperature and conditions were all good first.

He has been lethargic and not eating since he came home without change, but my water conditions deteriorated quickly after his addition and I am working hard to keep on top of that, I'm not sure of the cause or if it is related to my boy. I used the drip method to acclimate him to the tank water over the course of 2 hours before transfering him to the tank, minus any icky cup water, I'm at a loss but am worried. He's a pale bodied half-moon male with deep purple along the base of his fins.

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

What size is your tank? 14g
What temperature is your tank? 81F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
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 (Live plant)

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I have Betta Pellets and free dried Bloodworm treat as a treat
How often do you feed your betta fish? Been trying 1 pellet daily, but I can't entice him to eat. Tried a bloodworm treat too but nothing.


How often do you perform a water change? This is a new tank setup, as of five days ago, planning on 50% water changes every week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? New tank so I haven't established a full regiment, planning on 20 - 50% changes each week.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I used a water conditioner with a slime coat stress aid when I set up the tank.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:0.25 ppm (New tank so monitoring this really close)
Alkalinity: 40

Yesterday evening I found the water to be very smelly and a bit cloudy, like a bacterial bloom, the ammonia level had risen as well. I was surprised by this after only 5 days and one fish, but did a 50% water change to bring it to 0.25 ppm and will try to do another water change today.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? No change in appearance in the few days I've had him, but he has some bulges on both sides along his spine near the end of the body, can't decide if this is normal or a tumor/lympho condition. I'll try to capture some good pictures of him later.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's been lethargic since I got him, alternating between lazing on the bottom, or floating at the surface. He doesn't use his caudal fin for propulsion at all, instead he rapidly pulls himself around with his pectorals and uses the pelvic fins for steering and braking. I've never seen a fish swim this way and I rarely see him move his caudal fin at all. He has never flaired at all, even when I introduce a mirror in front of him.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? He's been this way since I got him, he was so handsome I wanted to give him a better life but he hasn't shown any improvement since I brought him home.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I added aq salt to the water with a 50% change yesterday 1/2 tsp per gallon

Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's a new addition to the family, so I don't know.

How old is your fish (approximately)? New from store. I've kept bettas in the past who lasted 4 to 5 years but they never remained so lifeless after getting their new accommodations.
Liberty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2012, 04:00 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum and sorry you are having problems......

He may have been sick to start and then as odd as this may sound...the space and water movement may be part of the problems....

I would place him in a small container that can either be safely heated to maintain temp in the 77-78F range or floated in the heated tank for a few days to get him acclimated a bit more and maybe even treated...If he came in one of the small temporary cups these work great for QT-but be sure and attach it to the side so it doesn't sink or get knocked around by the filter....We need to get him well so you can get him acclimated to what sounds like an awesome tank-but you may have to do this in steps

Sometimes the long heavy fin males have never been in space larger than half gallon-more often smaller and rarely with water movement-while it makes us feel better to place them in a larger tank-often this can be really stressful for them in the beginning...not all Bettas-but some can-especially if they are already compromised to start and it sounds like your was....sometimes they have to be acclimated to the space in steps and some never tolerate water movement-especially the long heavy fin males-this is a domesticated species with un-natural long heavy fins and when grown-out in small spaces without water movement they may not have muscle/strength to carry these fins for long before it really stresses them and further compromises the immune response.....

Good that the tank has live plants, however, some species of plants are not tolerant of salt and the salt can end up killing the plants that further compromise water quality.

What species and number of live plants, type of substrate and how deep, type of lights-age of bulbs, kelvin, watts and photoperiod...Most live plant failure are related to improper lights when its not related to non-aquatic plants or improper planting....I say this because you have ammonia-generally the plants will use this ammonia up pretty fast unless they are compromised in some way......

What kind of testing products are you using and brand of dechlorinator and have you tested your source water without any additive to rule out the source water as a shouldn't have any smell in the water...

The bulges on his side may be part of his normal anatomy-called the caudal peduncle.....

Can you post a pic.....
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:47 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Thank you Oldfishlady,

I took your advice, and he's floating in his cup in the top of the tank. He actually did seem happier when I had blocked off view of the space around him, swimming more actively and surface breathing more often, so maybe he is agoraphobic and will adjust with time and care.

The plant was a small Argentinian Sword, I pulled that out for the time being, I was at the low end of it's light tolerance (two 15 watt Incandescent bulbs) my water was a little too hard for it, and it wasn't what I really wanted. Hopefully this weekend I will have time to go to the LFS and get some nice looking water sprite or a similar floating plant. In the meantime there are ornaments for hiding as well.

I have 2 inches of gravel substrate, with an under gravel filter tray, no bubblers hooked up to it though.

For water testing I am using API freshwater liquid tests for all the Nitrogen and pH, the hardness I just have Tetra dip strips for the time being. I am using Aqueon water conditioner. My tap water is 0 ppm ammonia so it's something in the tank. I did a 20% water change tonight and it's looking much clearer and smelling cleaner, continuing with aq. salt treatment.

I shall see what a few days bring. He still won't eat and that concerns me since I know he hasn't eaten in 4 days, and who knows how long before that.
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Liberty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2012, 12:08 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
What a pretty fella...nice find....we need to get him well so we can enjoy his

Echinodorus argentinensis-this is a nice sword plant and it will stay smaller than the amazon sword so it is more suited for smaller tanks....Be sure you plant it so its crown is slightly above the substrate and it will do better for you and it is a bit more tolerant to salt too.....and tolerate lower light a bit better....since you removed it from the tank-I would place it in a container of water in a sunny window to keep it alive until you get proper lights-the water hardness is fine too-mine do fine in my harder water and my KH/GH is over 300.....
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:13 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: US
It's been a few weeks now, and wanted to come thank you for the advice.
My betta finally started eating several days ago. I moved him to a 2.5 gallon set up and he seems far happier, maybe someday he can live in the 14g setup I got for him. He's a whole new fish. He's finally flaring and devouring food with a vengeance, he barely lets it hit the water and always is looking at me for more.

It helped to know there was this community of experts who gave me the hope to keep up with his intensive care needs and have the patience not to give up and see him through whatever may have been ailing him.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:27 PM   #6 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Your welcome...and good to hear is is better and WoW....he looks great...really colored up and filled out in the short time...good job on your part......
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