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Discussion Starter #1
We have a betta, Charmet Dan Anderson, who has been with us for about a year. He's been great. Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed he appears to be getting smaller. Noticeably smaller -- his entire body. And over the past couple days, he's stayed at the bottom of the small aquarium, barely eating, barely swimming. He's sick, clearly. I sent a friend to Petsmart just now for aquarium salt and bettafix (recommended by woman I spoke with on the phone but now I'm reconsidering after reading reviews on that). Doesn't appear to be fin rot, though. I've looked. He's just... tiny.

I don't know exactly what to do immediately. I did change his water, 100%. I acclimated him slowly back in. He has a small tank, which I'm now learning is less than ideal (probably fits about five cups of water, along with rocks and fake plant), no filtration, and no heater. After reading here, I realize that that's not good. We'll change that.

But immediately, to help him, what are the initial steps I should take? Please help if you can; my six-year old is waiting and watching and worried, as am I. Thanks in advance for your insight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He's struggling. The woman at pet store ASSURED me that the aquarium salt was a bad idea in such a small aquarium. I have used the bettafix (last night). He's at the bottom, still, and seems no better. I have bought a new aquarium with filtration and heater, but i can't move him until he's stable, I'm guessing. It's the most pitiful thing.. ever. I've pretty well sucked as a betta caregiver.

Here are the answers:

Housing
What size is your tank? .5 gal
What temperature is your tank? 75
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3 pellets every other day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Lately, not often :< Last time was a month ago
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? N/a

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He is smaller
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sitting on bottom. Not eating. Seems to be straining, gills moving quickly
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Bettafix (drops last night)
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1.5 year
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pic of C. Dan Anderson Attached

Think I did it right; pic is nonetheless blurry, but I pray it helps. I'm at a loss, and I think (s)he's suffering. I did notice, as i went to take the pic, that Dan races to the top to grab some air, then back down to bottom. That's all though. Nothing new to report. My thanks, again.
 

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Try doing a weekly water change of 25% with gravel siphoning (siphons are generally 12 dollars for a decent one), a bucket will be needed. This'll keep ammonia down.

Can you get a heater? he might perk up with the water being 78 degrees :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just got a heater and new, 3.5 gallon aquarium today. Do you think I should get the new aquarium set up now? I've been cleaning gravel to prepare it. I am a bit concerned that the heater may be overpowering for the tiny environment he's currently in. Thank you for the reply! And never, ever again will I let such time go by between water changes. I can definitely give the syphoning a try.
 

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You are right that the 3.5 will be better. and the heater will be overpowering for a .5 Set up the tank first, testing the heater too. Acclimate him as if he were new... floating in a bag, or cup, and adding the tank water to his cup/bag :)

I accidentally read 5 gallons :lol: for a 0.5 it would be every day, or every 2 days needed because they can get sick from ammonia poisoning!! in the 3.5, it can be every week. He might be feeling sick because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you much. I've got the 3.5 gallon set up with filter and heater, which is working. Added recommended amt of water conditioner and turned on filter. Now just waiting. Everything I sees says to wait 24 hours to let the aquarium stabilize. I'm cool with doing that but weighing the options: transition to bigger, heated aquarium sooner or wait for full 24 hours and hope for the best?

Also, should I be doing something with salt? And do I keep up the bettafix. I'm sorry for endless questions.
 

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I don't use bettafix. You don't need it especially for ammonia burns. It'll just make it more irritable. Salt, don't use that either. Clean water and good food!

24 hours is fine, usually by then the bubbles are gone. But I have added bettas to just-set-up-an-hour-ago tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So you're pretty convinced that this was/is an ammonia issue? That's my last question (at least for the next hour, I promise!)
 

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I'm pretty sure it is. Shiloh, Shadow, Georgie, Suzi, Sarah -breathes in- Reggie, Riddle, Admiral, Marge, Tina, Zebra and Rose all had ammonia burns, plus other bettas I've had too, including a newbie, LaLa and Misteltoe have minor ammonia burns.

A 0.5 can get so much more ammonia in it because of the small space. That and cold water can lower the immune system, making him susceptible to diseases and parasites. I clean my 1 gallons every other day, unless they need every day cleaning via the burned ones, rotted ones, ich ones.
 

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Here are the answers:

Housing
What size is your tank? .5 gal
What temperature is your tank? 75 ** little cool for a betta. get closer to 80*
Does your tank have a filter? No ** needs one, especially with lack of water changes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No ** not needed as bettas are air breathers and too much water movement is a stressor.
Is your tank heated? No ** needs to be
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets ** hopefully these are a high quality..
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3 pellets every other day ** depending on the size of you pellet that is really not enough. A 1mm size pellet my adults get 4-5 twice a day. With smaller .5mm pellets they get closer to 30 per feeding. I prefer the smaller pellets as they do not cause the bloat the larger ones do. Probably not enough nutrition going into him.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Lately, not often :< Last time was a month ago ** This is a big no no. Your tank should be siphoned down a good 50% at LEAST twice a week. Stick a bottle of ammonia under your nose and imagine breathing that 24/7 for a month. You'd look like crap too if you didn't keel over. And a sponge filter will help too. You will need to establish some bacteria in the sponge and it will take several weeks to cycle. During that time you need to test the water and keep the ammonia at ZERO.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% **good.. but once a month not enough. you will have ammonia at unacceptable levels in just a few days. Everything you put in that tanks stays in that tank till removed.. siphoning and water changes.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Conditioner ** what kind? not all are created equal.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? N/a
** these are needed. You have to know the complete picture to know what needs changed. Get drops.. the strips just are not accurate enough.
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He is smaller ** half starved
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sitting on bottom. Not eating. Seems to be straining, gills moving quickly ** possible ammonia poisioning
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Bettafix (drops last night)** what is this supposed to be treating?
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1.5 year
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey, I totally hear you on this. I've made mistakes with this fish (big ones) and I get that. I feel terrible about it. I'm trying my best to make it right.

Today I'm moving him into his new, heater, filtered aquarium. Will do it slowly. I appreciate everyone's input. I'm stopping bettafix (as to what it was supposed to treat, woman at petsmart was sure he had internal parasites).

And I'll get a drop kit for testing water perimeters. And feed more -- I was told 3-4 pellets every other day. And flakes from time to time. I'll bump it up a bit.

Realizing that I've probably poisoned this fish to near death is a rotten feeling.
 

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Um, yeah the lady who "thought" he had internal parasites... is his poop stringy, like a thread or a clear hair, with broken poo on it? That's how I learned my one female got parasites and I'm using Jungle Fizz Tabs as "bettafix" or anything with "fix" at the end doesn't pinpoint the problem, and can cause more problems.

Flakes are not needed. At all. Ever. they cause bloat, they are not as nutritionous for bettas. I feed mine about 4 pellets daily :) for my older or littler ones they get 2 in the morning, 2 at night to avoid bloat or overfeeding all at once.

I will say he looks a lot like my Admiral did (pic attached) He was not well fed, his water wasn't very clean and he had clamped fins, he was mal-nutritioned to a point I thought he would whither away and die. They told me he wouldn't make it so he was dirt cheap for me to get. I tried all the same.

If in case parasites COULD be present (my question of how, and how long you've had him) Jungle fiz tabs are awesome, made for 10 gallons per tab (so divide into 5, and plop 1/5 in)
 

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