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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks! I'm new to betta keeping and the forum. I'm hoping that someone will be able to steer me in the right direction, here.

I purchased my first betta on Thursday. A blue halfmoon male. In the little jar at the store, he was active and blowing a large bubble nest. I brought him home and put him into his tank where he was happily exploring his surroundings and chasing his reflection. As of last night, however, he has become fairly listless. He sits on the bottom of the tank most of the time, coming up only to take a breath. I cannot get him to eat much of anything. This is not at all the behavior he had yesterday.

His tank is 2.5 gallons (small, I know, but the largest I can fit in a dorm). His water is heated to 77 degrees during the day and at night. Yesterday and today I fed him Hikari BioGold Betta Pellets and a freeze dried bloodworm. The tank is planted with live plants and he has a little cave to hide in.

I am concerned that I may have gone wrong in the feeding. I tried to feed him only what he could eat in 2 minutes yesterday and today, but that ended up being about 5 pellets (maybe 6) in the morning and at night which was probably way too much. By this morning he was just sitting on the bottom of the tank, stopped blowing bubble nests, and could not be coaxed to eat. The water was incredibly murky, so I did a 100% water change, which was probably an added stress to him but I thought it might be an ammonia problem.

To clear my conscience, I checked the water quality again and everything seems to check out except that the water may be a touch acidic. I moved him to the little plastic jar he was sitting in at the store and am floating it in his tank, just so it is easier for him to get to the top of the tank for air (he seemed to be breathing hard) and he continues to rest on the bottom of the jar.

Anyone have thoughts on how to proceed? I'm concerned about his health and what to do next.

Thanks!
 

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Hmmm... Does he look bloated? And you did acclimate, right?
For the Feeding, 3 pellets a day would be enough. 1 at Morning. 1 at Afternoon. And 1 at Night. For the Bloodworm, 2-3 days a week is best. Freeze-Dried Foods, are known to bloat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He does not look bloated to me, though I have an untrained eye. I have made an attempt to compare his tummy to pictures. I've made every attempt to acclimate him as best I can during each change and made sure to condition the water and see that the temperatures of the 2 waters were the same before I let him swim out.
 

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Can you put up pictures? It would help. Any other symptoms? Or anything else that seems, I don't know, unusual?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Pictures to follow as soon as possible. I may be paranoid but I feel like he may have gotten a little paler. I have truly no idea what that is supposed to look like, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry the picture is not sharp. I gave it a shot. Here is another that shows his tummy a little better.

 

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I feed my Betta about 2 pellets a day and 1 bloodworm a week. If he is bloated, you can feed him one cooked, de-shelled pea to help with constipation. I haven't personally tried this myself, but i have heard it can help.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've actually just given that a try. I gave him the tiniest 1/4 of a pea, which I was glad to see he ate right up. (you can see the remains in the second picture). I'm hoping it will help him out, though he hasn't had a bowel movement yet, which is part of the reason I have him in his little bucket. Thanks so much for the advice though, makes me think I may be on the right track!

P.S. Does he look bloated by the pictures? I'm finding it incredibly hard to tell. Is it possible for him to still be bloated or constipated even though he doesn't look it?
 

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Pet shop bettas are often kept in filthy surroundings and can be a host to all kinds of disease by the time you get them. Any new fish I get goes in a beanie.. a half gallon pickle jar works as dose a soda bottle with the top cut off. My imports get salt in the water to increase slime coat and fed a few days with thawed blood worms mixed with metronidazole to get rid of any internal parasites. For the externals they get a 3 day treatment of Proform-C. It takes care of costia and velvet. Even after this they are never allowed in my barracks.

If he went from the pet shop cup to a nice clean tank and is still laying around he is not feeling good. something inside or outside is weakening him. I don't think he looks bloated. Feed what he can consume in a few minutes. Them check back a bit later. You want a slightly rounded look to him.. Not like he ate a marble. If he does not have the rounded look, a few more pellets are ok. My metallics are bottomless pits. i feed NLS grow even to adults and it can take a gazillion to round up the metallics. The reds however only need a few then they are plump. You can not go by someone telling you so many pellets a day is all you should do. You may starve or over feed YOUR fish that way. Let him tell you what he needs.

What would I do with yours? Even with a shift in pH from shop to your tank should not be stressing him out that much. My first thought with bettas is always velvet.. especially with the lower pH you have. Copper and proform-c are both good for that. If you don't plan to breed acriflavin is good too. That stuff stains and makes the males kinda impotent so I never use on breeding stock. You would need to treat in a different container than a tank as it will stain that too. Any betta owner needs to keep on hand something to treat velvet with as a ph or temperature drop can bring it on quick. I ship with copper in the water to prevent velvet from taking advantage of a fish in the stress of shipping. Salt is also good as it increases slime coat. But, can't use it with the P-C. And you have to watch the use of even salt. Costia used to be eradicated with salt but now has salt resistent variations.
 

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He doesn't seem to be bloated. And I think that the constipation would show.
 

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I agree he doesn't look bloated at all. He just looks like a well fed fish. He is being over fed though. I personally use hikari Betta bio gold and sue to there size I would recommend feeding 2 in the morning and 2 at night. No more than 4 at a feeding time, and no more than 4 daily
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the advice, folks! Today he looks, dare I say, a little more chipper? I went out and got some aquarium salt and am adding it slowly to knock out any chance of parasites. I'll continue to monitor him closely, but things are looking up!

Thanks again!
 

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Just a note on the pea thing - many members don't recommend it. As insectivores, vegetable matter is not a natural food for bettas. Daphnia works better as a laxative. Fasting works well too, and epsom salts help reduce bloat.

Unless he is actually showing signs of disease, I wouldn't bother with the AQ salt. Whilst it is great for sick bettas, you don't want to be using it unnecessarily on healthy ones. :)

Follow Mo's advice on feeding, pre-soak any freeze-dried foods and you'll be fine. :)
 
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