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Old 03-06-2005, 01:29 AM   #1
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HELP - erratic swimming = non-treatable problem?

Hi all,

I've had a betta for about a week in my tank now. He seems to be swimming rather erratically most of the time and I'm kinda worried for him. My community's fine, but this 2G isnt Whenever I pop in to see him, I always see him swimming rather actively. The only time I see him stop is when I turn off the lights and he starts to sleep. I would have interpreted his actions as "active", but I don't see him building a bubble nest and at times, he swims back and forth in the tank (sorta like when you do pivoting drills in basketball or something) from the same locations. I was reading a site and it wrote:

Erratic Swimming -- Fish is turning in circles. Probably damage to the nervous system. Not much to be done here. Dispose of the fish to limit the spread of causative organism and keep an eye on your other fish.

It's not circling, but pivoting. Don't know if it's the same thing, but I'm worried for him. In terms of eating, he eats actively (immediately after I drop food in), and doesnt have a bloat. Please help!!

Also, ammonia/nitrite both 0. I change around 30% of my tank bi-weekly, so I don't have a nitrate test and thus figure to give u. Also youngish, a few months old. Don't know what other info to give u.
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:07 AM   #2
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If you've had your betta for a week, he may not be settled down yet. It may take another week before he feels comfortable. I had a betta that did seem to take awhile to settle into his new home.

The tank is 2 gallons, right? This is really too small for a betta. It's a shame that they are sold as bowl-type fish. They really do need heat and filtration just like any other fish. Do you have any heat or filtration in this tank?

There are some other possibilities I can think of. One of my bettas swam very erratically when the temperature rose (the heater stuck). If you don't have a heater, then I'm thinking that the temperature is fluctuating. Bettas are very sensitive to temperature fluctuation.

Do you have a pH test? A stable pH is more important than artifically lowering or raising the pH. Another time when I felt my betta was swimming erratically, I did a pH test and discovered that the pH had fallen a little too much (this was an error on my part as I mixed tap and RO water). I gave some specific examples, but in general, water parameters that fluctuate quickly could be to blame.

When you say he seems to calm down when you turn off the light -- are you talking about the tank light or room light? Bettas don't like bright light. Maybe you could move him to a less bright spot of the house or room, or don't use the tank light if it's too bright. The tank may not even need a light. The room light is probably enough.

What kind of decorations do you have in the tank? The betta would like some silk plants to hide and rest in.

If you're able to get him a bigger tank, that would be good for him. I have pictures in my gallery of bettas in 5 gallon tanks. There are some small, 3 to 5 gallon tank kits available, with filtration included, like the Eclipse or Minibow systems. All you add is a heater, gravel, and some silk plants.

Hope this helps a bit!
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:33 AM   #3
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Hi An t-iasg,

Thanks for the advice. I understand the tanks a bit small. I do feel sorry for him. Atm, its the only tank I have for him. Atm, he's 4cm long, so hopefully it's not too overcrowding for him.

Heat: 25W heater
Filtration: sponge filter
My heater's fairly constant. I monitor the temp reguarly, stays around 79-81.

I do have a pH test. I might keep a closer eye on that then. I generally just stick to ammonia and nitrite, and nitrate I don't monitor too much hoping my PWC is enuf to keep it down.

I don't have a light for him specifically. I use the room light, and alter my blinds to let in some light depending on the time of day.

My tank is kinda bare actually. Theres a rock, drift and java moss. I might buy some silks for him then. The bottom is fairly filled up from those 3 I mentioned, but the upper 1/2 of the tank is pretty much empty. I thought keeping it bare would "compensate" for a small tank to give him some room to swim, tho if he needs to hide I'll get him some silks.

I don't get access to those brands where I'm at But I did manage to get a 2nd hand eclipse changing the filter to a sponge, which I use as my "mini" community.

Thanks, I'll try the silks and monitoring pH. Atm, pH is at 7.8
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