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Old 09-17-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
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Betta laying on bottom, but otherwise healthy?

I have a female betta in a 5 gallon tank; I have had her for approximately six months. She is in with an oto and two small community fish (I think they're called harlequin tets) but the tank is not overcrowded and the water is clean/changed frequently.

She spends a great deal of time laying on her stomach on the bottom of the tank, or sometimes laying in the java moss on the bottom with her nose in the moss and her tail in the air. This is not usual behavior for her; it started about 2-3 weeks ago.

I have looked her over for any kind of ich, parasite, etc, but can see nothing wrong. She is fairly active, swimming around and going to the surface and eating. She does not have clamped fins or in any way look sick or ragged. The only thing that makes me worry is that, when she is not swimming, she is laying on the bottom.

I have tried not feeding her for a couple of days, thinking it was overfeeding pressing on her swim bladder, but that didn't make a difference. I have also tried changing her diet to no avail. Can anyone make a suggestion as to what's wrong with her and how I can treat her?

Thanks!
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
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I have 4 female betta's, and 4 male betta's, and they all do that on occassion. They would actually much prefer to lay on a strong wide plant leaf, or partially submerged log that is close to the surface. Remember that betta's are used to extreamly slow current, and don't like being anywhere that has much moving water. Try giving her a stagnet area, possibly even an upside down cheap clay pot from home depot that rests close to the surface, and give it some cover to keep the current still on top of the pot, I bet you'll find she likes that better.

I am a little concerned about her tail being up in the air. I've seen my bully do that sometimes, but that was because she was in the current and was desperately trying to sleep. Right now she chills under the heater because there are a ton of plants shielding the front, and water moves over top the heater.

Another thought is that female betta's can actually be slightly social in groups of 3 or more. They form a deffinate class, with a matriarch leading the pack (hence my bully). You just need to make sure that all the fish are around the same size at introduction, and watch them close and have a "time out" breeder box available if one gets a little rough. That seemed to brighten the moods of my betta's considerably, especially the boys that were in tanks pressed up against the glass of the girls aquarium.
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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I actually have a large sorority tank at home with tons of bettas (My last count was 12 females in a 35 gallon). Except for a few tail nips in the beginning, they get along very well. And you are right, they are some of the laziest fish I've ever seen! I have floating moss in both my tanks and they will wedge themselves on it, just under the surface, and occasionally lift their heads to get a breath. Lazy, lazy, lazy!

That's just not what it seems like with my single lady here. She actually starved out the other girls I had originally put in there with her, so if it is "loneliness," it was of her own doing. And like you said, it is the way she is laying that is worrisome. Plus, she has plenty of plants and nice places to chill, so I'm wondering why she is choosing the hard gravel on the bottom.

I have heard of bettas getting "depression" but would have no idea of how to treat it.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:04 PM   #4
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Have any male betta's? You could try putting one of them in a breeder in the tank with her. I had a 20 with some dime angels and 3 betta's with two of those 1 gallons with angels in there presser right against the glass of the 20. The females would swim back and forth just taunting the boys for the longest time. If it is depression, maybe a man would help!

I'm glad to hear that you have a community tank of betta's. It kills me every time I walk into a pet store to buy a female betta and the clerk tries to sell me a 1 gallon tank for her. I just can't get it through their head the the girls don't kill each other!

Now I know it's different because I only had 3 betta's, so fewer targets, but our bully almost killed our Julliett before I quarantined the bully. Then Julliett would mossy by the time out tank just to piss off the bully. God I love betta's.
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