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Discussion Starter #1
Just tonight I noticed my Red Tailed Shark (named Toothless) acting odd, they're swimming in quick circles and on the turn they're hitting the curved side of the tank which is what caught my attention. Their tail is still bright red but the front half of their body looks like it's fading to a grey while half their body is still black and I believe the ramming the side of the tank is flashing. They're missing a few scales on their side as well, and moving very quick and erratic with their fins flared out.
I've had them for almost a year now and this is the first time they've acted strangely. They've been kept in a 5 gallon tank the whole time and now that they've doubled in size (they were maybe 1.5 inches long when I got them) I've been planning to get them a much bigger tank. Usually they are kept with ghost shrimp but my last two died while I was away on vacation in October.


 

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When were you planning on upgrading? He needs a bigger tank ASAP. He should have been in a bigger tank the whole time unfortunately. Sharks can be fairly aggressive and territorial and it looks like he's stressed out currently, likely due to lack of swimming space. They do swim fast and love longer homes. I had one in my 45 and it still wasn't enough space if I was honest with myself.

By keeping him in a smaller tank, you've stunted his growth and I wouldn't be surprised if he's aging prematurely. By stunting growth, you may not see it so obviously on the outside but definitely on the insides: organs will be smooshed together which can create heart troubles and swim bladder issues. I can already see that your boy is not as streamlined as he should be, his body is taller and shorter whereas it should be longer and leaner.

First though, let's check your water quality. Can you fill out this form anyway so we have it all in one place please? http://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-fish-diseases-emergencies/612810-please-read-before-posting-fill-out-form-so-we-can-best-help-your-betta.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? Uusually between 80.2 and 80.8
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No tankmates currently; previously shrimp

Food:
What food brand do you use? Omega One
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Sinking Shrimp Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 1-2 Pellets daily

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Roughly once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 25%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Spot clean with a turkey baster (used for tanks only)
What additives do you use? API Stress coat and a pinch of Aquarium Salt

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.
I still need to go and get my water tested to answer this, hopefully will have time today or tomorrow to go :C

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Last night
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Last night the front half of his body was faded to a grey however it's back to a solid black this morning.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Was flashing last night to the point of slamming inot tank walls and had all fins flared out constantly, today he seems much better with just occasional flashing.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I added a minimal dose of Melafix last night since I had some just as a precautionary measure.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No prior history with me.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? I've had him a few months short of a year and when I got him he was incredibly small and hit tail and body color were very pale which I guessed was the stress of being in a pet store tank with at least a dozen other sharks. He's since grown and his tail has been really bright ever since the end of the first month with me.
 

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So...any change?

Tail being bright doesn't always mean that the fish isn't stressed, it's just a good indicator most of the time is all. But they can be stressed and show it in different ways. Like in a Betta fish, sometimes just the chin goes grey while the rest of his colors are fine and then other times the whole fish goes pale and dull grey. It's all levels of stress and the different personalities of each fish. It acts the same for other fish as well.

Regardless, you still need to get that fish into a much larger tank as soon as you can. That tank and that food quantity is just too little. He should be getting much more food than that on a daily basis. Adding dried seaweed and high quality wafers will help his diet. Also using frozen foods like blood worms or tubifex worms will be appreciated as he needs some proteins in there too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
His color has returned to normal and the flashing has stopped from what I've seen. He's currently swimming laps around his tank and weaving through his decor like he did before I noticed the rapid flashing and color change.

I am going to get him into a bigger tank as soon as I can. Space is and has been an issue for a while but that should all be changing very soon! Thank you for the diet recommendations as well! I'll be sure to at least pick up some seaweed wafers and check out what my local store has for frozen foods.
 

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Sounds good! He'd be really happy in a nice 33 gallon long or a 55 :-D I understand the space issue, but for future notice, try not to buy a large fish if you can't get space for it right away. I don't mean to berate you since you likely know now, but it can really hurt the fish if they spend too long in a space too small for them. I know it's so hard to resist sometimes lol, all the big fish are so cute! But alas, as fish keepers, we must strive to give them the best environment for them that we can! ^_^
 
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