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Trying to Help the Office Fish

652 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  AlphaTheBetta1991
Our department has an office betta, my boss picked him up a few month ago. I have a betta at home and know something is wrong with him but don't know what. My boss (his owner) is open to suggestion as far as medicine ect.

How many gallons is your tank? 1.5 about
Does it have a filter? no
Does it have a heater? no
What temperature is your tank? room?
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? Betta bio-gold
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 4-5 pellets 1x/day

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? 1x/week
What percentage of water did you change?100%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dump out water, rinse and wipe bowl and ornaments
What additives do you use? Boss using bottled water, no additives

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: ?
Nitrite: ?
Nitrate ?
pH? Probably 7 since bottled water?
Hardness (GH)?
Alkalinity (KH)?

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 1 month ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Swims sideways and seems crumpled and bent up, when you look at him from above he's in an "s" shape. Fins appear to be clamped. Won't flare to a mirror.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Floating on side as if dead, laying on bottom all day or burying his head all day. Seems to be gasping. Hardly moves, when he does swim he doesn't seem to be able to control his direction or orientation.
Is your Betta still eating? I occasionally see him pick at one pellet out of the pinch given, but most of it ends up sinking to the bottom.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Got permission to do a 50% water change and added some aquarium salt which always gives my betta a boost. Seemed to help him right himself for a few days but he's back to being bent up and gasping.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Not sure.
How long have you owned your Betta? Been in the office about 4 months?
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Unsure.


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In a tank that small with no filter, you should be adding something like Prime and probably changing the water daily. You also need a heater. Somewhere more experience can tell you how to treat the damage already done.
Are those real seashells?
I read once that they should not be used in freshwater tanks due to particulars or calcium going into the tank or something to the effect it might raise the pH. Cant remember.

Hope for experienced members to help out, keep checking back.
When he's fed is the excess food that falls to the bottom removed? Could we see a full picture of the tank?

It looks like he's tail biting to me, which in some bettas can be a normal thing but I feel like it's probably stress related in yours. How many changes to the tank is your boss willing to make? You need a heater, and I'm not sure if they make reliable ones for such small tanks. If possible see if your boss will upgrade to a 2.5 gallon because I know there's a lot more options. When feeding only feed one pellet at a time and remove any fallen food with a turkey baster. For water changes stop using bottled water and stop doing 100% changes. Your boss needs to get a bottle of Seachem Prime and put 2 drops per gallon into the tank. During water changes do about 50%, siphon out the gross stuff at the bottom, don't rinse any decor, and use tap water treated with Prime. Get the tap water as close to the tank temperature as you can (thermometer needed). Do at least 3 water changes a week and treat the tank with Prime daily.
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First-- get a heater. Then get a filter. That alone should perk him up.

Next, get a turkey baster. After every feeding, take out uneaten food. You can also get a gravel vac, but I'm not sure there's any for a tank that small. Do only 50% water changes 1x a week.

I'd recommend getting a water conditioner like Prime. It removes harmful chemicals in the water & locks up Ammonia. Also invest in a API Master Test Kit.
Maybe you could find a kit with everything included (they even have conditioner sometimes) and show that to your boss. I think that would be your best bet to get the fish situated quickly. . petco has free shipping and a sale...just search for bundles.

Yeah you could piece and part something out, but I think when people dump a fish in a tiny bowl trying to convince them to get 10 different things is harder than just "BOOM, get this."
After all the above like filter, heater etc I would try a little aquarium salt to, great for keeping fish healthy and really perks them up.
I'd recommend getting a water conditioner like Prime. It removes harmful chemicals in the water & locks up Ammonia
Prime only locks up ammonia for 24 to 48 hours max,

I read once that they should not be used in freshwater tanks due to particulars or calcium going into the tank or something to the effect it might raise the pH
I do not recommend putting shells in a freshwater aquarium.
If you have very soft acidic water, the shells may be useful to add some calcium, They will dissolve, slowly, in freshwater though, which ruins the shells and raises the pH and hardness of your water.

What additives do you use? Boss using bottled water, no additives
Most bottled water is NOT fish safe, Spring water can vary in composition, in terms of minerals and pH, again creating an unstable environment. Bottled water can even be chlorinated. Combine this with the instability and you're better off using dechlorinated tap water in most cases.
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I agree with everyone else, get him a heater, filter, water conditioner etc. Even if you have to go out with your boss and get the things that he needs.

I remember a few months back, the office where I work wanted to get a Betta, since they seem to be "sit and leave" type of fish...and since my boss knew I had them, he pulled me aside and we spent an hour discussing what they'd need. He wrote everything down, including names of two stores, to give to his boss...they decided against it since no one in the office has that amount of free time in the day to look after a Betta.
Maybe you could give him a 2.5 gallon aquarium as a gift. I know the 2.5 gallon Minibow works well. You can find it in Petco or Amazon pretty cheap. Sea shells shouldn't be used in freshwater aquriums since it affects the water and plus if it is sharp it can ruin the betta's fins and possibly scales.
I agree with everyone else, a heater, thermometer, and filter in a 2.5 would be best. He's probably suffering from a lack of WC in that small bowl. Tap water is better than bottled, it has minerals in it that bettas need. Just add 2 drops of prime per gallon.
SO I talked with my boss and offered to get the fish what it needed, she asked if I wanted him and I accepted. She said it would be "a huge relief". I'm taking him home tonight, I'll at least pick up a heater but I'm not sure what tank ect. I'll be able to give him some treated water so hopefully that will help. Thank you all for the suggestions!
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You're awesome- thanks for stepping up. Hope the boss remembers your kindness
I've been occasionally been reading this thread. Good job OP!
Update on office fish, seems to be doing better although still having a lot of problems swimming straight. Eating about 4 pellets a day. I have aquarium salt, melafix, and water conditioner in his 1 gal with a heater and thermometer. Performing 80% water changes daily in the bare bottom hospital bowl/tank with a siphon. Have a hammock he's spending a lot of time on, and a moss ball he seems to like hiding by.

I'm glad to have him but wasn't expecting him, so his permanent tank is still being shipped here. I'm planning on adding media from the filter of my year-long established betta tank to cycle the new tank faster.

Is there anything else I can do for the little guy? He seems terrified most of the time and just today didn't run away from my fingers dropping a pellet in.

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