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126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently moved from a house to an apartment in another city, and after hearing how gross the local city water was (my friend had it tested and found high amounts of cadmium and fecal matter.... yuck!) I opted to buy filtered water from the store. It was Primo brand, the kind you can walk in and refill for $0.39/gal. I ran out of betta primer, so I bought what I could find locally - Tetra brand betta water conditioner.

I noticed that once I set the tank up again (with all plants and decor exactly where they used to be,) my fish has been very interested in this one section in the front of the tank. He swims down and either nibbles some sand, or digs in it with his face. I gave the tank a thorough clean when I saw that behavior, thinking maybe there were unseen food bits in the sand he was smelling out, but the behavior has persisted. He also keeps going down to my short sagittarium plant in the section and winding all around it.
I tried to get up close to see what exactly he was doing, but when I approach the tank he just swims to the surface expecting food. He only does it when I'm across the room and not moving.

All that googling suggested was he was trying to hide, but that doesn't make any sense at all because I have a large log decoration that he likes to go inside of.

Overall, I notice he is not quite as active as he was before the move. Before the move, he was patrolling his tank constantly and even flaring at his reflection, now he has more relaxed/droopy fins and swims more slowly.

How many gallons is your tank? 5 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? Currently 77.5. I admit I have a cheapo heater that is seeming to struggle with the apartment AC - at home, the temperature was usually 79-82

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None

What food brand do you use? Hikari Betta Bio-Gold
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried or frozen? Frozen brine shrimp, only once a week or when he looks constipated
Live? None
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Once to three times a day, 4 to 6 pellets at once. I try to look at his belly and judge how much to give him based off of that.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform water changes? I would do about a 15% water change once a week, when I would do a thorough clean of the sand with a turkey baster. Two days ago I did the 95% water change with the new water source, as mentioned above.

What percentage of water did you change? ^^
What additives do you use? I was using Aqueon brand betta primer, I ran out and bought Tetra brand betta conditioner on short notice.

What brand name of 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.

Ammonia: Unknown
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: ≥ 8.4 (ordered some Indian Almond Leaves to try to bring that down)
Hardness (GH): Very hard (according to my test strips)
Alkalinity (KH): High (according to my test strips)

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Immediately after the betta was moved into his tank, following the move from my house + an hour ride in the car + a few hours before I had all the supplies ready to move him from his quarantine carrier tank.

How has your Betta’s appearance changed? No change
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Described in beginning of post
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, he always wants to eat!
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? No, besides giving some brine shrimp to bring down the belly a little

Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Not since I've had him, but I've only had him a month.

How long have you owned your Betta? ^^
Was he or she a rescue? No
Was he or she ill when bought or given? No

5,613 Posts
I'm not sure about the playing in the sand behavior; I've never heard of that. The lethargy could be caused by the different water and/or the temperature changes. I'd keep an eye on him, look for parasites (maybe scratching in the sand and on the plant?), and try to get the temperature up to what he's used to.

I don't have experience outside of tap water, but someone else may be able to suggest what to do about the water source.

126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just retested the water with more accurate numbers - found the number scale for my test kit.

Nitrate: 0 to 10
Nitrite: 0
Total hardness: 300+
Total alkalinity: 300+
pH: 7.2 to 7.4
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