Sad Betta? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Sad Betta?

We wanted to take on the challenge of a smaller planted tank a little over a year ago now and naturally we had to go with one of the most beautiful fish on the market as the occupant for our new 8 gallon tank! Buying a betta from the pet store was our first mistake, when we got him his fins were already slightly tattered from fin biting and he had signs of a tumor we didn't catch while we were in the store. Since then we've made a lot of small changes over time to keep adjusting it to try and make Hokkaido (our male betta) happy thinking that as long as we reduced the stress factors he would stop fin biting.

When we first got him it worked for a bit and he took to making bubble nests every week when the water was changes but this only happened for about a month before he started to devolve back to the issue we have now. He barely moves, staying at the back top of the tank unless we come up to it in which case he races forward to look back at us. Hes never flared his fins before like previous bettas I've had in the past but has always come to greet us (mainly wanting food) but we have tried mirror exercises and other "games" proposed on the internet to keep him occupied he just isn't interested in participating. His fin biting habits have always remained consistent but never become fin rot and sometimes start to heal before he comes back to the area. Unfortunately from what I've been able to find we aren't able to do much about the tumor.

The tank itself is a spacious planted 8 gallon with an array of plants mainly being different mosses (Christmas, flame, and marimo balls) as well as other taller plants to use for shelter and occasionally overflow frog bit from our community tank. Its filtered with a topfin silent stream power filter with an adjustable flow that stays on the lowest flow. Until the begging of this month it had a heater that kept the tank at 80 degrees but it recently malfunctioned and was removed and now the water is staying at room temperature without any issues. A couple of months ago we added two upside down catfish to the tank to see how he would react to some tank mates with his background of non-aggressive behavior and he showed minimal interest at first but about a week later just started ignoring them, now they can swim all around him at feeding time and he doesn't even seem to know they're there and will continue on his typical routine. We feed him a mixture of betta pellets/ betta flakes/ live blackworms (his favorite) / and the occasional freeze dried blood worm treat. The catfish eat tropical flakes as we've had a hard time getting them to take live food or algae wafers that the pet store recommended but in all other cases they are thriving in the tank. We still do regular 20% water changes and keep water parameters in check.

Naturally I'm just really concerned that I'm missing something that is causing this depressing behavior and wanted to look for help. If there ia anything else i could try to get him more interested in his environment and to stop fin biting please let me know!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 07:49 PM
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Please fill out this form and provide photos. Even if you have answered some of the questions in your original post, this form makes it easy for us to reference the most important information. Thank you.

https://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-f...our-betta.html

FWIW, fish do not get "sad." If they are not acting normally there is something wrong either with them or their environment.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 8 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Not Currently (malfunctioned)
What temperature is your tank? 75
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Moss ball/plants
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? Yes two upside down catfish

Food:
What food brand do you use? Omega one for pellets/ Nutrafin max for flakes/ Eastern Aquatics live ordered blackworms/ Hikari freeze dried blood worms
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Both
Freeze dried? Occasional treat
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Once a day (4-6 pellets OR small pinch of flakes OR 4-5 live blackworms)

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Always do water changes once a week on fridays or saturdays
What percentage of water did you change? I take 3 gallons out of the 8 gallon tank
What is the source of your water? RO water bought from earthfare in bulk for aquariums
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? No conditioners but previous once a month addition of flourish until addition of root tabs

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water *before* the regular water change; not after one.

**Will need to go buy more testing kits**
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH: 7 -7.5
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Since Purchase
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Tumor on head grown slightly
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Went from hiding to active to hiding again
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? No
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Symptoms are always prevalent
How long have you owned your Betta? Little over a year
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes - signs of tumor growth and fin wear
Attached Images
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Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 02-14-2019 at 07:42 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 12:54 AM
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Hi and welcome

I am no expert, but a few things struck me, when reading your posts and looking at your photos.

Your heater broke down, and you say your tank is now a steady 75.

Are you sure about that? I heated tanks can dip lower at night, if the room temperature drops too, and temperature fluctuations could easily contribute to inactivity.

You are not currently using a test kit or water conditioner. That may be fine. I went for years without using either. But it may NOT be fine. Depending on the quality of your water supply, you may have water parameters that are not ideal. And they may be drifting further out of whack. Without testing, you won’t know.

Your tank is very attractive, but there is a huge amount of empty space in the middle, with lots of low planting and little surface cover. It is also taller than it is wide, and I am guessing that you are using a strong light to penetrate that water depth to grow the mosses? That may not give the Betta the plant cover security he needs.
@RussellTheShihTzu has decades of extensive Betta experience and often says that Betta are most comfortable in v heavily planted tanks, where they have so much cover that you can’t immediately see the Betta.

Hope that helps.

70litre tank: (Kham) mature setup; betta, purple rasboras, 2 nerites, amano and wood shrimp. Heavily planted.
22litre cube tank: (Valentine); betta, 2 amano. Heavily planted.
57litre cube tank: (No Name); betta, ember tetras, 2 amano, 1 nerite, heavily planted.
200litre tank; (Valentine), honey gourami, cherry barbs, green neons, kuhli loaches, otocinclus, 4 nerite, pond snails and 1 assassin doing his thing. Heavily planted.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Hey bluesamphire!

Thanks for your reply,

The temperature in the one bedroom apartment i live in is very easy to maintain since its very small and I never change the average temp (both hot and cool are set on the same thing to adjust as needed to 75) because i have several other tanks that also need to stay at a constant temperature but arent really as picky.

I have used full testing kits in the past regularly but have stopped in the last month due to the package i have getting wet and now all the nitrate and nitrite pads are discolored, I simply haven't had the chance to drive the distance to our nearest pet store to get these and a new heater. But i still have PH testers I use in the meantime.

However, you are correct i do not currently use water conditioners or any other form of additives to my tanks and haven't for as long as I have been in the hobby i just monitor my water and cleaning routine. My source of water is always consistent and in the past tests have always been the same, I have never had anything pop up in this tank specifically that was off and I've tested the RO water before i put it in my tanks several times to make sure it wasn't off balance and its also shown consistent quality as well so I just haven't considered getting full testing strips an emergency at the moment.

Currently we had to take out all of the frogbit because of a ramshorn snail boom spawning in the community tank it originates from and I know first hand even with a good rinse sometimes those things can still sneak past - but usually it has coverage on top. The lighting is just an aqueon full spectrum daylight lamp i dont know the exact wattage off the top of my head but I didnt really buy it to get it to grow the moss at the bottom (that stuff grows regardless) its simply the only bulb we could find that was full spectrum for plant growth that fit the small hood. (a similar one on amazon specs at 8 watts)

Considering your feedback about the plants though I'm going to have to look for more tall options when I find some more plants available, the big ones we have are all i could find locally (that would survive). Are there any you would recommend i look for that i might be able to order? Also recommendations for a better heater would be greatly appreciated!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 07:41 PM
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Do you mineralize the RO water or does it come with minerals added? If it does then my response is moot. However, if it isn't mineralized it could be a lack of minerals in the water and that is all you need.

Also, did you notice this behavior start when the Frogbit was removed?

I rotated your photo for you. Don't know why some of them attach that way.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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No there are no minerals added to the water, I hadnt thought about that! What would be best to try and add some back in? I do have root tabs in there right now for the java fern and water sprite starters I've tried putting in but i imagine that is very different?

His behavior has been like this even before I removed the frogbit, maybe I could try adding more than we already had in there when I sit down to deep clean it out this weekend, there is certainly plenty to spare.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:02 AM
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Hi again, you asked about heaters, water and plants.

I have never used RO water, so won’t interfere with @Russell ’s advice there.

Regarding temperature, I would still advise a thermometer and a heater in any tank, even in steady temperatures like yours. There are several reasons.

Common sense dictates that a tank sitting in a 75 degree room is going to sit at 75 degrees, doesn’t it? But that 75 degrees is the air temp. The tank could be a few degrees lower (air circulation or position by window or under aircon unit) could be causing evaporation which causes cooling (just as air on wet skin has a cooling effect).
Alternatively, the pump and light and position of tank (maybe near a heater?) may well raise the temp by a few degrees. Depends on circs and heat output of lights, of course!

So basically that was a long winded way of saying that your tank may (or may not) be at a different temp than your room’s air temp. Which may (or may not) be comfortable for the inhabitants.

Sorry if that looks like a lecture! 😉

As for plants... (a favourite topic of mine haha!) you can always buy online if you can’t find something locally. Though I don’t know which country you are in. I am in the UK where we are lucky to have wide plant choices and rapid post. I’ve stopped buying from anyone who doesn’t guarantee their plants are snail free.

I also tend to buy plants by mooching around the online stores, picking one I think is pretty and will suit the tank. Then I google it, find care sheets and care vids, and decide if it REALLY suits the tank... hours of fun. But then I am weird. Once decided, I investigate size and cost. And how fast growing...

Would you like a big leafy centrepiece?
Or would you like to continue the delicate fine-leaved theme you have in most of the tank?

Hark at me. I sound like an interior decorator! 😉
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70litre tank: (Kham) mature setup; betta, purple rasboras, 2 nerites, amano and wood shrimp. Heavily planted.
22litre cube tank: (Valentine); betta, 2 amano. Heavily planted.
57litre cube tank: (No Name); betta, ember tetras, 2 amano, 1 nerite, heavily planted.
200litre tank; (Valentine), honey gourami, cherry barbs, green neons, kuhli loaches, otocinclus, 4 nerite, pond snails and 1 assassin doing his thing. Heavily planted.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshiresbreak View Post
No there are no minerals added to the water, I hadnt thought about that! What would be best to try and add some back in? I do have root tabs in there right now for the java fern and water sprite starters I've tried putting in but i imagine that is very different?

His behavior has been like this even before I removed the frogbit, maybe I could try adding more than we already had in there when I sit down to deep clean it out this weekend, there is certainly plenty to spare.
Yes, there are mineralizers for RO water. Apparently, and I have not used RO water but have read about it, you have to mineralize or the fish will not get the essential minerals they need. It can cause a pH crash.

This may help explain it better:

https://www.drsfostersmith.com/fish-...578/4395/4410#

This may have nothing whatsoever to do with his behavior change; just another bit of information to pack in a cluttered mind.

My 59-Year Aquarium and 51-Year Betta Addictions
https://www.bettafish.com/144-journa...addiction.html

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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This has all been really helpful!

So far I have to buy:

-A new heater
-Another thermometer
-More testing strips
-Seachem Equilibrium
-Taller plants

I think keeping the delicate theme would be nice for a tank so narrow and tall but I'm open to anything! Im located in the US, Specifically Eastern Tennessee (real close to the North Carolina border) so its about a 45 minute drive to a pet store around here, we have a petsmart about 20 minutes out but everytime I've been to look for basic supplies they never carry what i need or are just out of stock, a lot of their plants and fish come with a promise of death in the next 48 hours as well with how sickly they look :( I just wait until i can make it out to the local pet store a couple of towns over anymore.
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