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Our Betta Fish lives in a container holding a gallon and a half of water. In the container he has a little "rock house" with fish rocks on the bottom of the tank. His water is distilled water at the moment (we heard this is fine for the fish), a change from tap water treated with drops. We recently moved him from a dark room into a well lit room and he just recovered from being bloated.
He recently started acting strangely, only staying at the bottom of his tank and hiding from people (before he was a very social fish). He only came out occasionally where he would spazz out around the tank, eat and then continue hiding. He lays on the floor of the tank and does not move but is still breathing. His front fins were fine but today have clumped together and his back fins are clumped together as well (but they were before the other symptoms of sickness arouse) perhaps he cannot move his back fins? He does make it to the top of the tank for air but then will go right back to laying down on the bottom of the tank. He has slight discoloration and today did not eat his food, so he is reaching loss of appetite.
We read today after doing more research that it is possibly the distilled water that is causing all the stress of the fish because we read that distilled water is terrible for bettas.
Do you think it is just the water or does it seem that the fish has another sickness?
 

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When you say clumped do you mean he has them retracted and doesnt want to open them, or do you mean they seem physically stuck to themselves and can no longer extend?

Distilled can be a problem for the fish yes because it doesnt have the nutrients suspended in the water that fish need to be healthy. However that change would have been a long progressive change from jubilant bright fish to dull and passive one.

Are you able to get a picture of him camping out in his tank for us to see? preferably with a good shot of the fins
 

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I'm certainly not an expert & I hope someone chimes in, but distilled water definitely isn't good for them & loss of color/clamped fins are definitely signs of stress. He'd be better in the tap water w/conditioner.
 

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Discussion Starter #5



Here is one more photo of him not laying down where you can see the fins better. His illness has been progressively getting worse it did not hit him all at once. We do not have access to water treatment until tomorrow or the weekend and I am incredibly concerned for his well being!
 

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I am afraid the pictures havent come through for me so i will go off your assessment of him.
Clamping is indeed a sign of stress, followed by dulled coloration of the fish and finally very obvious stripes running from the fish's gill down to his tail in a horizontal line. if he has that it will be easily visible so don't go squinting for it (I used to often misdiagnose my bettas when it was just their scale shine).

If you have access to a pet store or marine shop some sell a bottled water brand for betta fish. For anyone with access to tap water it is considered a bit of a money waster, but for those with bad water or less access it is a great resource. it has the nutrients they need in the water already.

However an easier and less expensive option for the time being is to swap his water to spring- spring water is natural and still has some of the nutrients in it while distilled is nothing but H2O.

oh and if you like and have the money in future adding IAL to his tank water will release a lot of nutrients that bettas need as well as turn the water a nice tea color. bettas love this and it keeps them happy and chilled out.
 

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Distilled water isn't good for fish (or people) because it lacks the electrolytes (dissolved salts) that are necessary to maintain good health.

If you want to use bottled water, look for "drinking water" or a brand that says something like "Minerals added for flavor." These contain the dissolved salts which living beings require.

Is there a reason that you stopped using tap water? Tap water requires that a Conditioner be added, but it's still cheaper than buying bottled drinking water each week.

Do you know why he became bloated? Generally, there are two reasons:
a) Overfeeding
b) Feeding a high grain/filler food

A betta's stomach is about the size of its eyeball. They don't require a lot of food each day. However, they'll generally eat whatever it put in front of them. Overeating can contribute to bloating issues.

In nature, Bettas eat mostly insects (especially mosquito larvae). They require a diet high in protein. Look at the food container label. If you see lots of words like "meal, gluten, wheat, rice, corn, soybean, potato, rice, etc" - consider switching him to a high-protein pellet. On this forum, two brands are frequently recommended:
- New Life Spectrum Betta pellets
- Omega One Betta Buffet

What's the temperature in the tank? Bettas are tropical fish, and do best at temperatures between about 76-84F, with about 79-80F being considered 'ideal.' For many of us, this means using a heater.

How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change each time? Is there a filter in the tank? A 1.5 gal tank is fine, IMO, provided frequent water changes are done.

His recent behavior, such as hiding a lot, probably results from not feeling well. Most likely, once you correct any issues in his diet or environment, he'll return to his more social behavior.
 
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