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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello.

I purchased a betta yesterday afternoon. He has been in his new home for nearly 24 hours.He periodically swims down to the bottom of the tank and appears to scavenging for food, but then quickly darts back up to the surface. I have put a few betta food pellets and bloodworms in there, but he has refused to touch them and instead looks for food in the rocks.

Does anybody know what might be going on and how I can help him? I just want the little guy to be happy and enjoy his new home!

also, I am new here so I’m not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question. Please let me know if it isn’t!

Thank you!
 

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Hi!
Be sure and remove the food he hasn't eaten, a previously unused turkey baster works well. If you have substrate you'll want to vacuum that.

Are the pellets sinking? I got a new boy a couple weeks ago and had to ensure the pellets sank where he could see them on the floor of the tank, and he then scooped those right up. It took a couple of days of that before he learned the surface feeding process.

Does he have a heater? A filter?

These may help;
NorthFin Betta Bits, Fluval Bug Bites, New Life Spectrum, Omega One and Aqueon Betta or Color formula (don't use the Aqueon Betta Pro) are good choices, as other brands are mostly fillers and not very nutritious.

Freeze dried bloodworms are intended to be given infrequently, as a treat now and then but frozen bloodworms are ok to feed more regularly.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi!
Be sure and remove the food he hasn't eaten, a previously unused turkey baster works well. If you have substrate you'll want to vacuum that.

Are the pellets sinking? I got a new boy a couple weeks ago and had to ensure the pellets sank where he could see them on the floor of the tank, and he then scooped those right up. It took a couple of days of that before he learned the surface feeding process.

Does he have a heater? A filter?

These may help;
NorthFin Betta Bits, Fluval Bug Bites, New Life Spectrum, Omega One and Aqueon Betta or Color formula (don't use the Aqueon Betta Pro) are good choices, as other brands are mostly fillers and not very nutritious.

Freeze dried bloodworms are intended to be given infrequently, as a treat now and then but frozen bloodworms are ok to feed more regularly.


Thank you for the quick response! I will go pick up a turkey baster today and fish out the uneaten food. And I will look into those other feeding options. Thank you! The pellets float at the surface and sink after a while. Which brand did you feed your betta if you don’t mind me asking?
Unfortunately the pellets fell in corners where he hasn’t found them, so he hasn’t been able to eat them.
Could I just be overthinking it and getting too protective?
The tank is 3.5 gallons and it has a heater and filter. The temp is coming in around 78 degrees right now
 

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Since you just brought him home, he may be a bit stressed. Some will take a few days to settle in to their new tanks. Keep offering, but don't worry too much. Bettas can go quite a while without eating and be just fine. I wouldn't worry unless he is still refusing after a week.
 

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Hello.

I purchased a betta yesterday afternoon. He has been in his new home for nearly 24 hours.He periodically swims down to the bottom of the tank and appears to scavenging for food, but then quickly darts back up to the surface. I have put a few betta food pellets and bloodworms in there, but he has refused to touch them and instead looks for food in the rocks.

Does anybody know what might be going on and how I can help him? I just want the little guy to be happy and enjoy his new home!

also, I am new here so I’m not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question. Please let me know if it isn’t!

Thank you!
Hi, bettas naturally swim at the surface. They need oxygen. Darting up is maybe because he's just coming up for oxygen. Is he darting near the glass? That's glass surfing, which is caused by boredom and stress. If you want, place some Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea in his tank. That will help ease stress and help him settle! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since you just brought him home, he may be a bit stressed. Some will take a few days to settle in to their new tanks. Keep offering, but don't worry too much. Bettas can go quite a while without eating and be just fine. I wouldn't worry unless he is still refusing after a week.
Thank you for the response!
Hi, bettas naturally swim at the surface. They need oxygen. Darting up is maybe because he's just coming up for oxygen. Is he darting near the glass? That's glass surfing, which is caused by boredom and stress. If you want, place some Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea in his tank. That will help ease stress and help him settle! :)
he doesn’t really dart at the glass, but he does swim up and down the glass a little bit. He seems to be getting better now, I think I was overreacting at first! But i will check out those. He might be a little bit bored. The only issue now is that he won’t eat food from the surface. If I let a pellet fall to the ground he will chase it and eat it. He tries to find food in the rocks too. I somehow need to get him to eat the pellets while they float
 

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I got a new boy a couple weeks ago and had to ensure the pellets sank where he could see them on the floor of the tank, and he then scooped those right up. It took a couple of days of that before he learned the surface feeding process.
Hang in there with him and let him eat off the bottom. I think he'll soon figure out the combination of your hand/fingers and food, and start looking up.

Plus, when you see him at the surface, give him a pellet.

It won't take long :)
 

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It can take a new Betta several days to several weeks to get used to their new environment. So give him some time to adjust and he should be fine.

I used to wait 24 hours before offering pellets. However, since I've been feeding Grain Free Bug (Black Soldier Fly) Formula I haven't had to do that as they all eat immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update on what’s been going on. There’s some good news and bad news. The good news is, Clifford (my girlfriends name selection) has been eating and swimming around more since I first got him. I discovered that he is so small that he can’t fit the pellets in his mouth. So to feed him I suck the air out of the pellets using a syringe so they sink (he still doesn’t like eating from the surface for some reason) and smash them so they are small enough for his mouth. He’s been doing pretty good the last few days. On Sunday he began flaring at his reflection in the back right corner of the tank. I was considering putting black paper over the back, but I read that bettas can get used to seeing their reflection after a few days and stop flaring. Yesterday he did not flare as much, and instead just swam around the tank like normal. But then today, something changed. All day he’s been laying on the bottom of the tank. He will move to different spots but he hasn’t been swimming like he was before. For the last few hours, he has positioned himself behind the filter and sits there not moving. He has come out for a couple minutes but then goes back behind the filter. I’m not sure what is wrong. Does anybody have any ideas of what could be going on?

I’ve wondered if maybe he is exhausted from flaring so much but I’m not sure if that would cause this.
 

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You'll need to fill out this form. If you don't have a test kit, most pet stores will check water parameters for free.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You'll need to fill out this form. If you don't have a test kit, most pet stores will check water parameters for free.

Housing:
You'll need to fill out this form. If you don't have a test kit, most pet stores will check water parameters for free.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3.5 gallons.
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No, just two moss balls
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Aqueon Color Enhancing Betta Food
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? I started twice a day, then switched to once a day for the last two days. I feed 3 pellets.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? I have not changed the water yet, my siphon does not come in until Friday.
What percentage of water did you change? N/A
What is the source of your water? Tap water.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? N/A
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? None just conditioner. Topfin Betta Water Conditioner.

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.

Ammonia: The test kit I have does not measure this unfortunately.
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm (the Nitrite and Nitrate seem strange to me. Could they really be 0?)
pH: 7.0
Hardness (GH): 180 ppm
Alkalinity (KH): 180 ppm

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Yesterday (December 8)
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? No visible appearance changes.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Hiding behind filter nearly all day. Appears to be sleeping most of the day.
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? No
How long have you owned your Betta? One day short of a week. I got him last Thursday (December 3)
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not that I could tell
 

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Letting a tank run is not cycling. This is the Forum's fish-in cycling tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

You need to get a test that will measure Ammonia. It is the most important parameter to track.

Even though you don't yet have a siphon remove 50% of the water and use a turkey baster to remove any feces or excess food. Ammonia can build up quickly.

Almost forgot: He needs more than three pellets per day. If you can, 2-3 x per day feed him 3-4 pellets. Several smaller meals are much better than one larger meal 1 x per day.
 

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I let the tank run for 24 hours before putting him in there
Letting a tank run is not cycling. This is the Forum's fish-in cycling tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

You need to get a test that will measure Ammonia. It is the most important parameter to track.

Even though you don't yet have a siphon remove 50% of the water and use a turkey baster to remove any feces or excess food. Ammonia can build up quickly.

Almost forgot: He needs more than three pellets per day. If you can, 2-3 x per day feed him 3-4 pellets. Several smaller meals are much better than one larger meal 1 x per day.
Yes, to cycle a tank, you need a little less than a month. My 3.5 cycled for 2 months before I put inhabitants in. Cycling is really important, or like RussellTheShihTzu said, Ammonia will build up and kill the fish. It's important to establish a stable bacteria cycle.

The first step of cycling your tank is easy. You will need to set up your tank like normal, with all the decor and gravel in. Don't put them in after you cycle, because it's best to let bacteria grow on that too.
The second step is to let some Ammonia in. I like to just let some flakes dissolve in the water (if I have no filter media on hand). The easiest way is to put fish poop in and old filters so the bacteria there can transfer into your tank.
Then, I like to put in some beneficial bacteria in everyday. You can find them everywhere, and basically they're like "starter colonies".
After you've set it up, you need to wait. Add in 1-2 flakes every day and a few drops of bacteria. Wait at least 2 months before you get a fish.

Since you already have your betta, get a testing kit and do a fish-in cycling. Fish-in cycle is basically the same thing, except you have to be really careful and precise, or else you'll kill your pet. It will take a longer time, because you can't add as many flakes in. Add 1 big flake/2 pellets in per day. You'll have to make sure your betta doesn't eat it before it can dissolve though, lol. Add a little more beneficial bacteria then you would without a fish so you can cycle faster and prevent an ammonia outbreak that can actually kill your betta. Don't put more than the instructions though. I've never tried fish-in cycling before, so keep me updated! Hope this helps and your betta will be feeling better in no time :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Letting a tank run is not cycling. This is the Forum's fish-in cycling tutorial CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

You need to get a test that will measure Ammonia. It is the most important parameter to track.

Even though you don't yet have a siphon remove 50% of the water and use a turkey baster to remove any feces or excess food. Ammonia can build up quickly.

Almost forgot: He needs more than three pellets per day. If you can, 2-3 x per day feed him 3-4 pellets. Several smaller meals are much better than one larger meal 1 x per day.
That makes sense, thank you for showing me that. I ordered the conditioner that is recommended and also an ammonia test.
Tonight, I will do 50% water change using my turkey baster. In a few days once I get the siphon, I will get all the crud out of the rocks that is likely spiking up the ammonia. After the 50% change tonight, should I expect any improvement on his activity? Or are there other things that could happen like increased stress levels?

I will start feeding him more, thank you for telling me that!

I really appreciate everyone’s help!
 

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That makes sense, thank you for showing me that. I ordered the conditioner that is recommended and also an ammonia test.
Tonight, I will do 50% water change using my turkey baster. In a few days once I get the siphon, I will get all the crud out of the rocks that is likely spiking up the ammonia. After the 50% change tonight, should I expect any improvement on his activity? Or are there other things that could happen like increased stress levels?

I will start feeding him more, thank you for telling me that!

I really appreciate everyone’s help!
You'd probably remove some ammonia, so I think he'd perk up for sure. But, make sure you leave a little to start the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, to cycle a tank, you need a little less than a month. My 3.5 cycled for 2 months before I put inhabitants in. Cycling is really important, or like RussellTheShihTzu said, Ammonia will build up and kill the fish. It's important to establish a stable bacteria cycle.

The first step of cycling your tank is easy. You will need to set up your tank like normal, with all the decor and gravel in. Don't put them in after you cycle, because it's best to let bacteria grow on that too.
The second step is to let some Ammonia in. I like to just let some flakes dissolve in the water (if I have no filter media on hand). The easiest way is to put fish poop in and old filters so the bacteria there can transfer into your tank.
Then, I like to put in some beneficial bacteria in everyday. You can find them everywhere, and basically they're like "starter colonies".
After you've set it up, you need to wait. Add in 1-2 flakes every day and a few drops of bacteria. Wait at least 2 months before you get a fish.

Since you already have your betta, get a testing kit and do a fish-in cycling. Fish-in cycle is basically the same thing, except you have to be really careful and precise, or else you'll kill your pet. It will take a longer time, because you can't add as many flakes in. Add 1 big flake/2 pellets in per day. You'll have to make sure your betta doesn't eat it before it can dissolve though, lol. Add a little more beneficial bacteria then you would without a fish so you can cycle faster and prevent an ammonia outbreak that can actually kill your betta. Don't put more than the instructions though. I've never tried fish-in cycling before, so keep me updated! Hope this helps and your betta will be feeling better in no time :)
Wow I had no idea I needed to do all that before adding a betta in. Now I feel bad for the little guy!

I will follow the instructions you listed and do my best to get him feeling better. Thank you for taking the time to help me and my little guy!
 
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