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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Betta People,

I'm brand new to Betta ownership. A friend got me a male Betta as a gift. My son named it "Power Fish." I received it in January. It's in a large vase that I'm guessing is around 1.5 gallons which came with some live plants that are rooted in this sort of mossy/cotton ball like material. I've had him around 2 months now. For the past month I've seen increased lethargy. He sleeps/hides almost all day (not sure if he's more active at night). Just yesterday after doing a water change I noticed that his fins appear more stiff than normal. It seems to be affecting his swimming in that he's using his side fins almost exclusively.

I've looked at this site a lot since I've become a Betta owner and am guessing the water temp is one issue (but have been reluctant to heat vase b/c of small size). I'm open to getting a bigger home for him -- up to 2 or 2.5 gallons. I'm also wondering if you see signs of "Velvet" disease, as I THINK his color has faded a bit. I'm just not sure. I'm also wondering if I should get rid of the material that the plants are rooted in. I could buy some sand instead, or some smooth rocks. I also have some driftwood which I've heard is recommended? I have Epsom salts here at home too if you think that would help. I'm a newbie and need some advice from the experts. See my answers below. Thanks so much.


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Housing: Large vase
How many gallons is your tank? Not sure
Does it have a filter? No, but does have live plants
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? 69-70 degrees depending on ambient temp
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? Hikari® Betta Bio-Gold®
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 2-3 pellets, 1x/day, in morning

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? 1x/week, 25-50% changes

What percentage of water did you change? 25-50%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? I use a baster to suck up stuff from bottom of vase.

What additives do you use? Water Conditioner: Kordon: NovAqua

Water Parameters: NO IDEA
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:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Lethargic for past 2-3 weeks, fins seemed clamped or stiff since after water change yesterday.

How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Fins look stiff.

How has your Betta’s behavior changed? For past 3 weeks has been sleeping/hiding under leaves on bottom of tank for most of day. Starting to dart around the tank like a crazy fish more than usual. Just last night after the water change I noticed stiffer fins. And he's seeming to not be able to use his long flowy fins as much and they don't unfold as much as they used to. They are "flowy" any more. They seem sort of stuck in one position. He seems to be using his side fins exclusively.

Is your Betta still eating? Yes. Anytime I feed him he'll eat.

Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I'm waiting to hear from the experts. Ready to go to the Pet Store ASAP.

Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No

How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? Since Jan 2016. He was a gift from a friend.

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

NOTE: EMBED YOUR PHOTOS INSTEAD OF LINKING. Click on "Go Advanced" and then on the paper clip in the toolbar.
 

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He doesn't look sick to me.
Shine a flashlight on him and look for goldish dust if you're worried about velvet. It'll look like he's rolled around in pollen.

Personally, I think he's just cold or feeling exposed. He doesn't have stress stripes, which is good, but 69-70 degrees is too cold. Their ideal range is around 78-80
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, Engel.

Do you recommend a heater for the type of vase he's in now?

And how would I safely acclimate him to the heater? (I'm worried he's in too small a space for a heater which is why I'll be looking at some larger homes for him today).

Glad to hear he doesn't look sickly to you.

Thanks again!
 

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I can't really see how big the vase is.
I don't have a planted tank and I currently know nothing about aquarium plants, so I'm not sure whether or not a heater would damage your plant or not. One of my tanks is just under 2 gallons, and it's extremely easy to keep heated with a small submersible heater. You could try it in the current tank, but it might damage your plant. The smaller the tank, the harder it is to keep the temperature balanced.

If you have the money and space for it, I'd get a new tank and heater. An adjustable one if you can. Warm water does wonders on a betta's health. It also keeps their immune system in shape, so if he does have a small case of something internal, it will help him fight it off.

It isn't the one I currently use, but a lot of people on here have suggested
http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Submersible-Glass-Aquarium-Heater/dp/B0006JLPG8
I'll probably upgrade to it myself soon. Having the freedom to adjust the temperature is an easier way to keep your fish healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again, Engel. I bought a 2.6 gal tank & bought a heater. After 3 days he was a new fish. It was def a temperature issue. And it's great to see him swimming all day long instead of sleeping all day long. I'll post a pic of his new house soon.
 
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