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Discussion Starter #1
Our 10 ½ month old betta named Happy has suddenly become very lethargic. He’s mostly hanging out at the top of the tank, right next to where the water comes out of the filter.

When he does swim, he kind of just swims around the filter – looks like he’s trying to hide.
It’s hard to tell but there doesn’t appear to be any physical change in him – although it’s possible there’s an indentation on the top of his head.

He is responding to feedings and perks up for them. As for water changes, last weekend we changed the water about 60-70%. Yesterday 11/20 we replaced 25% additional water with some warmer water as the temperature was close to 73 degrees Fahrenheit and we wanted to warm it up a bit.

Water temperature now appears to be fine (74.7 degrees). Water seems to have a film on it but that's been there previously.

However, this filter - Aqueon MiniBow Small - which was changed last Saturday may have been in upside down. This has just been corrected.

I am having trouble getting clear pictures because of the spot he’s in.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

-Rob


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 2.5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? 74.7
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Aqueon Pro Betta Formula
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice a day, 2 pellets each time

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every other week
What percentage of water did you change? 25-50%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dip out
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Essentials Complete Water Filter

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 to 0.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0 to less than 20
pH: 7.2 Neutral
Hardness (GH): 75 to 150, closer to 150
Alkalinity (KH): Moderate around 80

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Thursday 11/19
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Can’t really tell, possible small divot on top of his head. He may have had what looked to be a string hanging off him towards the back a couple of days ago but it is gone.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? “Happy” is still eating but has suddenly become very lethargic over the past 48 hours. He’s hanging out mostly at the top of the tank, right next to where the water comes out of the filter.
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? Yes, a couple of lethargic episodes possibly Ick and was treated
How long have you owned your Betta? 10 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not that we know of
 

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Hi! Thank you for filling out the form, it's helpful :)

What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner?
This is referring to a water conditioner such as Seachem Prime, which is used at 2 drops per gallon. The advantage with Prime is that it locks down ammonia for a short time.

Water seems to have a film on it but that's been there previously.
You want to do more frequent water changes. This information below is copied from a site article;
1-4gal with a filter
Twice weekly-1-50% water only and 1-50% with substrate cleaning by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.


Can you obtain a heater? I've copied this from another site article;
Bettas are tropical fish, this means that they should be kept in tropical temperatures. A good temperature for bettas is from around 76F to 82F. Many do just fine when summer temperature hits the 90s. A good betta environment should have as little temperature fluctuations are possible. With large fluctuations (especially on the cooler side) bettas may go into temperature shock. (think of it like a really sudden painful brain freeze o_O)
In cold water (room temperature water is usually considered too cold for bettas) bettas will become lethargic and sickly.
Heaters
In the majority of cases, heaters are an integral part of fish keeping. They help maintain a stable water temperature and prevent fluctuations.
A standard 25w adjustable heater works well in tanks 5 gallons (<20 Litres) and under


Also I would change his food - this is a quote from one of the site's experts @RussellTheShihTzu and the Aqueon Pro isn't recommended;
These are good pelleted food: NorthFin Betta Bits, Fluval Bug Bites for Medium Fish, New Life Spectrum, Omega One, Aqueon Betta and Aqueon Color, but not Aqueon Pro. My favorite food can only be found online it's Devour Grain Free Carnivore Crumbles.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Are the minerals retained in the filtered water? Is it distilled or RO water?

Aqueon Betta Pro isn't recommended because its first two ingredients and three out of five are fillers: Wheat, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Fish Meal, Krill Meal, Pea Protein. As carnivores Betta do best when fed when the first ingredients are whole fish or whole fish meal.

Can you post a photo from above? Four pellets per day is probably not quite enough and the photo would help determine that.

A one-gallon water change and vacuum per week would work fine for a three-gallon. However, as the substrate, where all the gunk gathers, hasn't been vacuumed you will need to clean it. You can either do a 100% water change and thoroughly rinse the substrate; or, you can push the plastic end of a gravel vac PYTHON Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit for Aquariums, Medium - Chewy.com down into the substrate and vacuum that area until water runs clean. Then move to another area. It might take several vacuum and refills to get the substrate clean.

The above is if the substrate other than sand. If it's sand, you will need to either remove and rinse or stir and vacuum or dip out until any stirring only shows clear water.

This is the long way of saying there are three potential issues:

1. No minerals or trace elements in the water;
2. Lack of nutrition and not being fed enough per day;
3. Reaction to water parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are the minerals retained in the filtered water? Is it distilled or RO water?

Aqueon Betta Pro isn't recommended because its first two ingredients and three out of five are fillers: Wheat, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Fish Meal, Krill Meal, Pea Protein. As carnivores Betta do best when fed when the first ingredients are whole fish or whole fish meal.

Can you post a photo from above? Four pellets per day is probably not quite enough and the photo would help determine that.

A one-gallon water change and vacuum would work fine for a three-gallon. However, as the substrate, where all the gunk gathers, hasn't been vacuumed you will need to clean it. You can either do a 100% water change and thoroughly rinse the substrate; or, you can push the plastic end of a gravel vac PYTHON Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit for Aquariums, Medium - Chewy.com down into the substrate and vacuum that area until water runs clean. Then move to another area. It might take several vacuum and refills to get the substrate clean.

The above is if the substrate other than sand. If it's sand, you will need to either remove and rinse or stir and vacuum or dip out until any stirring only shows clear water.

This is the long way of saying there are three potential issues:

1. No minerals or trace elements in the water;
2. Lack of nutrition by not being fed enough per day;
3. Reaction to water parameters.
Thank you for this information. With the fish acting lethargic, how would I avoid stressing him out too much by doing another water change and the vacuuming? I don't want to take him out of the tank and move him elsewhere temporarily, right?

The water is tap.

I will try and get a better picture but it's been tough to do so since he's mostly in one spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi everyone,
I was just able to take some pictures of Happy. It looks like something is hanging below him - two small round circles. Can anyone identify this? Poop?

Any further advice is appreciated!

Rob
 

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Mr Garvey, male rose tail; A-aron, male betta, no-name; and male P. Clarkii rayfish
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You don’t need to take him out of his tank for water changes. In fact, it’s less stressful to keep him IN while changing the water. Also, as MBPoppy stated above, Betta are tropical fish and require a temperature closer to 80 degrees. Can you get an adjustable heater? The cooler conditions you have him in are quite possibly contributing to his lethargy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi! Has that odd thing hanging from him fallen off yet ?
Yes. But no overall improvement. In fact, I thought we just lost him as he was on his side in the plastic area where the filter water comes out of. But when I lifted off the tank top, he flopped back to life. However, he's right now just at the top of the tank, barely moving :(
 

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Yes. But no overall improvement. In fact, I thought we just lost him as he was on his side in the plastic area where the filter water comes out of. But when I lifted off the tank top, he flopped back to life. However, he's right now just at the top of the tank, barely moving :(
Yes. But no overall improvement. In fact, I thought we just lost him as he was on his side in the plastic area where the filter water comes out of. But when I lifted off the tank top, he flopped back to life. However, he's right now just at the top of the tank, barely moving :(
It's been years away from the betta world for me. I agree with the temp being warmer. Cooler water makes them more prone to disease. and will move about slower. Could be the start of constipation. Try feeding mashed peas 4-5 once a week without the outer skin. Mine thought the peas were a treat. If he doesn't have tank mates could be just bored. Try panda or pygmy cory's as they are very docile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update: The fish is still very lethargic, stays in one spot most of the day, underneath the filter. Will occasionally respond to voice - and still seems to want to eat, that's when he's most active when he knows he's about to be fed.

Tried not feeding him for 48 hours, but that didn't seem to help.

Trying Melafix - at 20% dilution to align with Bettafix - but no real change.

(All of this going on since Thursday)

But if you can, please take a look at this pictures we just took. Almost looks like pimples on his head area. Is this a clue about something? What are these raised bumps? And how can they be treated if at all?

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi everyone. Original parameters below.

Please see attached photos. I haven't been able to get such a good close up of our betta named Happy (10 months old) until just now.

We noticed extreme sluggishness 10 days ago. Since then we've tried treating for constipation - including today with an Epsom salt bath, tried feeding him daphnia (but he did not want to eat it) and are running a course of Melafix. He was responsive to food but that has declined.

Nothing seems to make him better. But he's still with us as of right now...

Any clues in the attached photos? Appears to be some white scale on his fins and scales. Does this look like any illness/condition? Thank you!

Also, link to a short video here




Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 2.5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? 78.4
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? Aqueon Pro Betta Formula
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice a day, 2 pellets each time - but have fasted him for three days now.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every other week
What percentage of water did you change? 25-50%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dip out
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Essentials Complete Water Filter

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 to 0.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0 to less than 20
pH: 7.2 Neutral
Hardness (GH): 75 to 150, closer to 150
Alkalinity (KH): Moderate around 80

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Thursday 11/19
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Can’t really tell, possible small divot on top of his head. He may have had what looked to be a string hanging off him towards the back a couple of days ago but it is gone.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? “Happy” is still eating but has suddenly become very lethargic over the past week. He’s hanging out mostly at the top of the tank, right next to where the water comes out of the filter.
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? Yes, a couple of lethargic episodes possibly Ick and was treated
How long have you owned your Betta? 10 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not that we know of
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Fish the three the things listed below to retain health. Unless and until you take care of Happy's tank cleanliness and nutritional needs he will not improve no matter what you try or what meds you give.

1. Clean water (0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and under 15 Nitrates)
2. A nutritious food as noted by Mbpoppy. Aqueon Betta Pro may well be the worst Betta food on the market. Betta are carnivores and this food has no meat protein.
3. Enough food.

The advice you were given was to help assure your success. Did you switch his food to a more nutritious brand or up the water changes and vacuum as noted by Mbpoppy? Feed him more and more often and completely clean the gravel as instructed in Post #3? If not, his condition is a direct result.

As an aside, I'm also curious as to why you fasted him or did the Epsom Salt bath as he shows no evidence of either bloat or constipation in any of the photos? Did someone here or anywhere else suggest that? As with humans, fasting a sick fish with no contraindications can have a devastating effect in a very short period of time.

If he doesn't look like this from above he is starving. He should not have an indentation between his head and his body.
FishFromAbove.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for chiming in again.

I have not changed out the water in a few days as I have been using Melafix. If you think I should stop that I will but my concern was missing some sort of illness and stopping and starting treatment.

The fasting was done for a couple of days because he appeared bloated. Over the past 48 hours he hasn't really been eating. We tried giving him a couple of pellets and he either stares at them or tries eating but doesn't seem to be able to.

I will get the new food. Someone also suggested daphnia which I tried but he had no interest in it.

Do you think the white patches are anything? Or do you think we should just restart with cleaning everything up, changing the water and trying to get him to eat?

Again thanks.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Water changes are more important than anything else. I know it would seem the meds might be but they're not in that if the water isn't healthy the meds can't do their job. You can use the Melafix full strength as it's just a stronger version of Bettafix. If I'm reading it correctly, a 20% dose wouldn't do him much good. The caveat is the "fix" meds are like putting a band aid on a wound that needs stitches. They are very mild.

Was it frozen Daphnia? Or freeze-dried? Before frozen was my Bettas' main diet I would give ailing fish frozen Bloodworms or 'Mini' Bloodworms. Many would eat that when they wouldn't look at anything else; even other frozen foods. You can also try soaking his food for a few seconds in garlic juice.

I believe if you get that water clean and he starts eating, Happy has a chance. The only way the water changes would stress him is if you did a large water change which caused him to go into parameter shock. It would be gentler to do five half-gallon WC and vacuum over a 10-12 hour period. As aside: It is no longer advised to do 100% water changes. It's believed they are too stressful even for healthy fish.

Here's something I wrote. I think you will be as amazed as I at the number. There are more I probably missed; I need to do more research and update..
.

Oh, and recheck the parameters, please. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Water changes are more important than anything else. I know it would seem the meds might be but they're not in that if the water isn't healthy the meds can't do their job. You can use the Melafix full strength as it's just a stronger version of Bettafix. If I'm reading it correctly, a 20% dose wouldn't do him much good. The caveat is the "fix" meds are like putting a band aid on a wound that needs stitches. They are very mild.

Was it frozen Daphnia? Or freeze-dried? Before frozen was my Bettas' main diet I would give ailing fish frozen Bloodworms or 'Mini' Bloodworms. Many would eat that when they wouldn't look at anything else; even other frozen foods. You can also try soaking his food for a few seconds in garlic juice.

I believe if you get that water clean and he starts eating, Happy has a chance. The only way the water changes would stress him is if you did a large water change which caused him to go into parameter shock. It would be gentler to do five half-gallon WC and vacuum over a 10-12 hour period. As aside: It is no longer advised to do 100% water changes. It's believed they are too stressful even for healthy fish.

Here's something I wrote. I think you will be as amazed as I at the number. There are more I probably missed; I need to do more research and update..
.

Oh, and recheck the parameters, please. Thank you.
Okay, thanks. We'll look to start the water changes today, 1/2 gallon (which is about 20%) vs. 50%. Should these 1/2 gallon changes be done over a 10-12 hour period?
 
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