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Old 02-23-2012, 06:33 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Old Age

Hi All, What are the signs of old age in a Betta? My guy has been getting weak. I have moved him to a cup with two inches of water, because he is very weak and having difficulty getting to the top of the tank for air, so he is laying there with his mouth at the top of the water. I am not sure of what to do, I want to make him comfortable, if it is his end. Any advice? Thank you!
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:37 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Hickory, NC (USA)
Generally Bettas live 3-5 years. Fill out the sticky located here Maybe find out how to pep him back up.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:14 AM   #3 
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It's hard to say what is going on without more info, as freemike mentioned, fill out the sticky and post on here so we can see if there may be another underlying issue with his behavior.

Each betta will be different as they age, but typical signs of age is dulling/muting of the color (not to be confused with a sick betta who has become pale), so that the color isn't as bright as it once was. That can happen subtly, or quite significantly over time.
Also they tend to start getting a humpback.. in a sense can look like a salmon.
They can become "bony" in appearance.. and individual scales may look more prominent.
Loss of sight is quite common- not being able to see well, cataracts that look like a white film over the eyes. You can tell if losing sight by him lunging at food and missing, not noticing things outside the tank as often, etc.
Gradual slow in activities.. older bettas tend to lay around most of the day, whereas young ones should be quite active. But it is gradual, if it seems sudden then there is most likely something else going on with your guy.
Older bettas may not show the enthusiasm for food like they used to. They may show less interest in their humans or stop their “wiggle dances” entirely. Their tenacity for flaring may lessen over time as well. A betta that used to put on a show for other males or his own reflection may not display with the gusto he once did.

All of those signs should be gradual, to where you don't notice them happen "all of a sudden"... if one day he is fine, and the next he is showing these sort of signs then that means there is something else wrong with him that isn't age related.

Without more info on care then it's hard to say what is going on. Normally staying at the top like that could be an indicator of water quality issues rather then age.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:25 PM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
More info -- thank you.

What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? in the safe zone, up by 80
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? two cory cats

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? a very large variety
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1-2 x day


How often do you perform a water change? every other week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? approx 3 gallons
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? slime coat, stress coat, alk up, trace elements

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 6.8
Hardness: 120
Alkalinity: can't remember, but it is usually low

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He started leaning against the filter intake thing, which I thought was odd. Then the past two days he stayed out of sight in a cave.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? much quieter, not eating, seems to have trouble breathing
When did you start noticing the symptoms? He started with the intake valve a couple of weeks ago, and I thought that it just his thing. When he disappeared into the cave I figured something was terribly wrong
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I took him out of the tank and put him in a small container with enough water to sustain him...he is weak, so I lowered the water level to make it easy for him to get air. The water came from the tank.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)?1.5 yrs
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