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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
My sweet little female crowntail has had clamped fins all week. Yesterday she became listless and hides or lays at the bottom of the tank. What should I do? She's precious to me and I don't have any idea what could be wrong.

Here are the details:
  1. Female crowntail
  2. less than a year old
  3. 16 gallon tank
  4. Lives alone
  5. Heated to 78/79
  6. Filtered tank
  7. Airstone
  8. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites
  9. No fin rot or white patches
Changes:
  1. Tank mate of one cory cat passed away suddenly nearly a month ago. She ate him before I could find the corpse...
  2. Almost introduced another female betta -- they didn't like each other while the new one was in a cup so I never released her. This would have been 12/23. They both flared like crazy
  3. Neighboring tank male betta passed away. I think they could see each other. This was on 12/30

What I've tried:
  1. Partial water change last night. siphoned gravel.
  2. 1 day of fasting
  3. Added stress guard
I have several medications on hand... but I just don't see any symptoms so I don't want to start treating when I just have no idea what's wrong with my little gem.

I'd really appreciate any insight!!!! Thank you so much!
 

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Hello,
My sweet little female crowntail has had clamped fins all week. Yesterday she became listless and hides or lays at the bottom of the tank. What should I do? She's precious to me and I don't have any idea what could be wrong.

Here are the details:
  1. Female crowntail
  2. less than a year old
  3. 16 gallon tank
  4. Lives alone
  5. Heated to 78/79
  6. Filtered tank
  7. Airstone
  8. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites
  9. No fin rot or white patches
Changes:
  1. Tank mate of one cory cat passed away suddenly nearly a month ago. She ate him before I could find the corpse...
  2. Almost introduced another female betta -- they didn't like each other while the new one was in a cup so I never released her. This would have been 12/23. They both flared like crazy
  3. Neighboring tank male betta passed away. I think they could see each other. This was on 12/30

What I've tried:
  1. Partial water change last night. siphoned gravel.
  2. 1 day of fasting
  3. Added stress guard
I have several medications on hand... but I just don't see any symptoms so I don't want to start treating when I just have no idea what's wrong with my little gem.

I'd really appreciate any insight!!!! Thank you so much!
Although you have provided us with a good amount of information, i do have to ask you to fill out this form.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Of course! Here it is:

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 16 gallon
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78/79
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? ultra fresh shrimp delight betta pro and hikari daphnia
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? freeze-dried Daphnia
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? once a night. a 5-8 pellets or a sprinkle of daphnia. occasional blood worm

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? I try to change 20% once or twice a month. Two weeks ago I changed 25%. Prior to that it was an almost full change in October due to moving.
What percentage of water did you change? Usually around 3 gallons
What is the source of your water? city tap water and adding conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? vacuum substrate
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? I use API Stress Coat and API proper pH 7.0

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: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.0
Hardness (GH):This I do not know
Alkalinity (KH): This I do not know

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 1 week ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? clamped fins
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? listless. resting a lot
Is your Betta still eating? yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? only via water change
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? none
How long have you owned your Betta? about a year
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? she was tiny and pale and had a swim bladder problem very early on

I'm sorry I can't great great pictures. She's tiny and afraid of my phone
 

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Hi,
Sorry your girl isn’t feeling well. I have a couple of questions that may be helpful.

Did you fully cycle your tank after the move? if so, how?

Is there a particular reason you add Proper Ph? I’ve never altered my Ph with chemicals so I’m just unsure the reason. Obviously you’re looking to give her the perfect Ph, but I’m curious if the Ph is wildly fluctuating and you are just trying to control this. Domestic Bettas can handle a good range of Ph but it needs to stay consistent.

Do you know what neighboring tank mates passed from or their symptoms? Same with the Cory - did you notice any signs with him/her before passing?

After she ate the Cory, how did she look? Act? Was she bloated and did you withhold food after since that is a very large meal.

i know she’s eating but possibly is not getting enough nutritious foods. She looks to be malnourished but it may be the photos. Given that a staple of her consists of Freeze Dried Daphnia, I would withhold this (all freeze dried) since it is more of a treat for only occasionally. Maybe once or twice a week. If you can, I’d recommend only pellets for the time being and splitting her meals up to 2 or ideally 3 times a day with just the pellets. Since she very small, I would give her 3-4 pellets 3 times a day. Although, I’m not sure how large the pellets are with that particular brand, but assuming small since you give up to 8 during a feeding (too many IMO).

Also, I would up your water changes on a regular schedule moving forward to once a week 25-40%. Since she lives with snails, they poop a lot and bettas poop a ton. Even though her tank is on the larger side, this should always be adhered too.

if you wouldn’t mind taking a photo of her entire tank, that will be helpful.

i also recommend a water change today. 40%. If you have any Indian Almond leaves or tannin releasing botanicals, add those. First, I’d like to see what your cycling looked like. Timeline? Bottled bacteria? Pre-seeded media that was wet your entire journey moving? I know this is a lot of questions, but all should be taken into account to see what’s going on with your Princess 🥰.


Thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the quick reply.

No, I did not fully cycle my tank with the move as I left the tank filled with 3-5 gallons of water with the fish inside. I moved about 10 minutes away - so I drained, we loaded, we set up the aquarium table and I got the tanks refilled. It would have been under an hour total. More like a large water change. The parameters were OK once reset and I haven't had any ammonia come up.

I add the proper pH just to try and cover my bases. That way I know it's consistent.

The albino cory in the tank with her used to surface and eat food together most nights. I'd see him sucking on algae here and there. And then he just wasn't. I couldn't find him for a few days. When I did find him, he was laying on the bottom with fin rot. I tapped the glass and he swam away. I never saw him again. I looked for him for days and couldn't find him. When I did a water change, I found what appeared to be his spine and some other pieces. My betta, Yue, seemed totally fine at that time. He died and she ate him probably early December.

I will change her feeding routine! She was teeny tiny when I brought her home -- that's why I brought her home. Her colors have developed but she hasn't grown much.

I will also start changing her water more often. She does not live with snails -- she is completely alone in the tank. I've attached a tank picture for you
 

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I totally understand. I have a beautiful CT I took home on a whim one day. She was a runt and very teeny tiny. So, I completely understand think it’s great you took her home. But to be honest, I’m not sure your lil girl is a crowntail. Not that it matters at all, and of course it’s hard to tell with her fins clamped.

Ok, so just a quick move. Did you put her in a cup during the move or actually keep her inside the tank? I might just be reading this wrong.

I’m sorry, I thought your suction cup was a snail foot! Don’t mind me.

Let’s get to your girl now, I think improving her diet is number one. It’s great she’s eating. Also, the increased water changes are a must. You could consider taking one of her plants out to give her a little more space. Also, as far as aeration, in a 16 gallon, you can really turn the bubbler up. As long as she has room to swim and places where she can go and isn’t getting pushed around, it’s better for her.

This a question to go out to forum members/mods @Feanor @indjo should she be QT’d since the Cory did die in the tank? And allow her tank to go through some heavier water changes? She was only changing twice a month. Just in case he died of something disease related? It’s been a month, but she’s been unwell for a week and she did eat him at some point?

Like my question above, it may be necessary to set up a small QT tank for her so you can keep an eye on her closer. Let’s see what the Mod’s recommend.

Could you take a reading of your tap water straight from the tap? I’m mostly focused on the Ph, but you could test the other parameters as well. Does her tank stay at 7. A slight fluctuation is normal through the day, I just don’t know if adding the Proper Ph is necessary. There are more natural ways to lower Ph since I’m thinking your source is too high.

Thanks!
 

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I will also comment on the Cory, most of the times fish suffer from fin rot due to unsanitary tank conditions. It’s most likely due to not enough water changes. Make sure to really get in there with your siphon. I also wonder, is it hard to maneuver around all of those plants? Poop and uneaten food getcaught up in plants and hardscape and of course substrate - what type of substrate is that? Really shake off your plants and siphon up gunk. I also think today while doing a water change, I’d take out her plants, give the substrate a thorough vacuum and shake those plants out in the dirty tank water you took out. And do the same with her tunnels and other hardscape. Clean the glass. Don’t clean the filter yet. You can add some bottled bacteria at the recommended dose in the new water to make sure you have enough beneficial bacteria. In fact, I would add it after any large water change in a non-planted tank. Stability is really good. It’s always a bonus if you add some tannin releasing botanicals to a betta tank. They have a plethora of benefits. You can order them on Amazon and may find them at your lfs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I THINK she is a crowntail -- I'm sorry I don't have very good pictures of her with her tail open. She is keeping her fins so tight together she does look like a different fish :( she was sold as a CT

She and the cory were kept inside the tank during the move. I just had some strong guy friends carefully carry the tank!

I really should pull the suction cup! Totally not your fault ;)

I actually just turned the bubbler down last night. It really throws her around when she swims by it since she's so tiny. it pushes her up and somersaults her. Maybe I can move it to the back of the tank against the wall so it's less disruptive.

I will get tap water readings for the pH! I know nitrites are 0 -- I did have high nitrites (presumably due to the hidden corpse of the cory as once I located and removed it, the tank stabilized)

I will remove plants and do a 50% water change in a couple of hours. It is hard to get around everything so I tend to whack things around and suck underneath them. The substrate is allegedly quartz: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petco...9Sxi1_bjD0UYwhGXIzRoCgaQQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

The filter WAS replaced a month or so ago. It was super nasty. I'll admit.

I definitely have QT tanks available if needed. She is more lively today vs yesterday after a 3 gallon water change. It's really hard to vacuum up dead fish so maybe it's still lingering in there.
 

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Ooo yeah.you definitely don’t want remnants of a dead fish in there. I’m not familiar with this gravel but definitely push the siphon straight down into the gravel, suck up any waste and then allow the gravel will drop out. I’m surprised you didn’t have a nitrite or ammonia spike. It’s good you don’t. Another tip that helps avoid more waste, when feeding pellets, I feed one at a time to make sure my bettas eat it and doesn’t fall to the ground. And if it does, I remove it with tweezers. It helps to have pellets that don’t sink or produce lots of dust. I really like NorthFin Betta Bits and Fluval Bug Bites. They are very nutritious and have little fillers and they float for a bit.

I really think the upped water changes and healthier diet will help. Especially since she perked up after her last water change.

I’m glad you have a QT tank available! It’s always a good thing to have on hand.

Here is a link to the Indian Almond Leaves I use. They produce lots of tannins and may stain your water to a yellowing hue BUT they have amazing antibacterial, antifungal, stress relieving properties. Any betta owner is always a step ahead when these are used because they can prevent and protect your betta from ailments. For me, they are an absolute necessity.

I have one more recommendation, I’d shut your tank lights off for a few days. Bettas do not need light - only live plants do. And of course for us to view the tank. But this may help her relax and sleep and feel better. Just like us sometimes a little rest can do a lot. Plus, after heavy water changes, it can be stressful since you are doing a big cleaning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did ruin my other tank's siphon by pushing it into the substrate that way! It sucked right up and filled the ball -_- not a fan of this substrate.

I'll do better feeding. that's easy to do. I'm sure I've been over feeding.

I also have indian almond leaves! My question is -- when do you remove them? They are also really hard to get out of the tank! I was worried it contributed to biological debris in the tank as they broke down...

My tank also has no lights! There's only the regular lights on in the house in the evening and natural light.
 

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I did ruin my other tank's siphon by pushing it into the substrate that way! It sucked right up and filled the ball -_- not a fan of this substrate.

I'll do better feeding. that's easy to do. I'm sure I've been over feeding.

I also have indian almond leaves! My question is -- when do you remove them? They are also really hard to get out of the tank! I was worried it contributed to biological debris in the tank as they broke down...

My tank also has no lights! There's only the regular lights on in the house in the evening and natural light.
This all sounds great! I just let a leaf float (my male bettas always love to build bubble nests under them. They usually stay floating because of the nest and during water change usually sink. I let any that sink basically decompose but I have live plants and snails that will feed off the microorganisms. In your case, I’d let it float, sink, and maybe replace next water change or the one after. It won’t spoil your water. It will stain it most likely but maybe not. If you run carbon in your filter, I would remove it for the full benefits of ithe tannins. Carbon removes it from your water. Carbon really isn’t necessary anyway unless you treated your tank with meds and need to remove them. You can also just put a small rock over it to keep it from floating.

They shouldn’t be hard to remove at all. I just pull it out with tweezers. Even the ones completely falling apart lift out easily. You can siphon up any debris you are worried about.

You can also use a chopstick or something similar to stir up debris in the substrate and siphon this way, I really like the Python siphon. You can find them super cheap and they work well and last. I’ve bought so many others but the Python is best IMO. If it clogs you just pop the tube off and shake it under water to release what’s clogged. The siphons with pumps always clog up. I never had good luck with them unless I constantly took it apart. Something to look into!

Also, I wouldn’t share equipment between your tanks. Just in case you do. It can transfer disease to other tanks if you have a sick fish, so to be safe, try not to share siphons.

I hope this helps! I’m just about to do a couple water changes myself so I will check back in a bit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you so much for all your help.

Looks like my pH is around 7 out of the tap. I attached a picture. Hard to tell for sure.

Changed 5.5 gallons of water. Removed a plant and a little hidey house. Shook out the plants and moved things around. Turned up the bubbler and put in 5 almond leaves. Ironically I have that exact brand of leaves.
 

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Very nice it looks great! So, I wouldn’t bother with the Ph chemical. Just keep an eye on it to make sure nothing shifts dramatically. Over time, IAL can lower Ph but it takes awhile and with water changes, it shouldn’t be an issue. Monitor it for major fluctuations - I wouldn’t be concerned with minor fluctuations and if it lowers through time with the leaves, that’s ok. I don’t think it will be an issue for you.

Just to be sure, you added some bottled bacteria like Stability, right? Just double checking! With a decent water change and thorough cleaning, you do want to add a little bottled bacteria. Last thing you want to do is crash your cycle. I know your tank has been cycled for quite some time but just to err on the side of caution.

I love those leaves. They always come nicely packaged, clean and in one piece.

See how she does over the next few days. If anything changes with her that you are concerned about or if things progress in the wrong direction, please reach out. Same with any questions you have. Either way, I will look out for any updates you post. I’m very curious and hopeful she'll feel better soon.

I also forgot to mention, with feeding her, just make sure her meals are at least 3 hours apart. Don’t feed her right before her bedtime. Make sure she’s pooping and although she may put on some weight, do not let her get to the point of bloat. A nice full belly after mealtime is great, but if she’s bloated at all, skip a meal and let us know.

Have a great night! Great work today! I’d love to hear how she’s doing tomorrow. Take care!
 

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Hello and welcome!

I can´t pinpoint any specific disease. Clamped fins are usually a warning, however.

So I would, as suggested, up water changes, spot by spot gravel vac and either brew a tea of Indian Almond Leaves for at least 15 min (let cool down and condition; stow leftovers in fridge for next water change) or let a bag of plain, unscented Rooibos Tea float until the tank gets really tanned.

Keep us updated, as soon as anything changes in your opinion - either to good or not so good.
 

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P.S.: Forgot to mention, that sometimes we won ´t know what ´s going on, so can only help with providing optimal water conditions and tannins and see if their immune system is able to take care of whatever the problem is.
You can also try and feed her some real nutritious and fatty food like live or frozen bloodworms. If frozen, cut the cube in half or less, put the rest back into the freezer and remove whatever remains uneaten. It is not a staple diet but can help her remaining or getting strength.
 
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