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Old 05-27-2020, 01:46 AM   #1
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Sick betta, lying in corner of tank

I will post more later, completing the quesitons, but it’s an emergency:

On Sunday, my betta wasn’t eating. He’s in a 5-gallon tank and had been fine, eating normally, as late as maybe Friday afternoon or Saturday afternoon. I usually use a food ring, but the past week I found that he ate more readily if I placed some pellets near him, and kept them near him by moving them back to him with the tip of an aquarium “turkey baster”.

I stupidly tried to prompt him to leave his floating log on Monday, and eat, because I was worried that he wasn’t eating. I believe I caused him a lot of stress doing that. I also was too aggressive with the bater, trying to “suck up” and “move back” the pellets that were headed away towards the filter: I believe I may have squirted water from the baster on to the betta from very close by. I may even have bumped against him with the tip of the baster as I was squirting the water with a collected pellet near him.

Later on Monday, I found him sitting in the corner of the tank under the heater. The temperature is 78 F. I panicked, and did a water change of 1 gallon, using conditioner and spring water. I didn’t heat the water before putting it in the aquarium because it hadn’t been an issue before, and the heater is powerful (more for a 10-gallon tank) but has a digital thermostat so I believe it’s safe.

There were so many things I tried, stupidly, all at once that I can barely remember: I added some artificial plants I had, I vacuumed the gravel. And later than night, last night (Monday night), I was doing some “spot-cleaning” of the tank, and suddenly he “bulleted around” the tank and then started floating on one of the plants in one of the “corners” at water level. I believe he was breathing with his head at the surface of the water.

Now he is back at the bottom of the tank, barely breathing. I tried adding StressGuard (oh, and on Sunday I added a bit of API Betta Fix, perhaps equal to 30 or so drops. Just now I tried breaking out some carbon in a bag (sample I received), and put it in his filter.

I’m pretty sure the water parameters are excellent (EDIT: they are not, apparently: somehow the nitrates and nitrates are high, please see below where I complete the questions)- EXCEPT I did notice maybe a week ago that when I neglected to put gloves on and my fingers accidentally touched the water as I was using the baster, I believe a thin film of dish soap resideue that was still on my hands moved from my hands to the stop of the water. I thought the Purigen might take it out.

The betta lives alone and has been in good health since I adopted him last September. I neglected to ask the person from whom I adopted him how old he was, but he did give me the betta in his original Petco container, so I suspect that he had just purchased the betta. I read that typically the bettas as Petco and the like are about six months old, so my betta might be around 15 or so months old. I’m not sure.

I changed his Purigen to completly new Purigen last night. I did so many things without asking first. I’ve made a huge mistake. There’s a good mobile vet who can come on Saturday, and I’ve made an appointment, but I don’t know that he’ll last that long.

If this is an issue with the soap, then I’m up for setting up a new aquarium and moving him to it: I can order everything on Amazon and hopefully it’ll come within two days.

He looks very deflated and his gills are moving very little. I’ve been leaving his light off for most of the day, and I’ve draped some dark shirts over most of his tank, so he isn’t stress by me, as I’ve caused him so much trouble already.

I can’t think straight, I’m so panicked. Please help. I posted this at first with just all the question unanswered and I’m typing this in a hurry to get it out there. I’ll answer the questions after I press save.

Thanks very much.
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Old 05-27-2020, 02:06 AM   #2
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Oh, a key question is if I buy everything new - a new 5-gallon aquarium with a new filter, new filter media, a new floating log shelter, new artificial plants, a new heater, I can’t just move him there immediately, can I? Spring water and conditoner plus TetraAquasafe just aren’t enough for there to be a properly “ready” tank, surely.

Also, if I’m trying StressGuard, I probably should remove the carbon, shouldn’t I? I thought maybe the carbon would draw out any soap that might still be there.
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Old 05-27-2020, 02:24 AM   #3
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1~What type of fish is afflicted? In addition, please describe what is wrong with the fish to the best of your ability (i.e. cotton like growth, bloated, etc.).

Betta, “deflated”, sitting at bottom of the tank near the heater. Won’t move, gills moving very slightly (barely noticable); no noticeable spots, though it looks like scales are “missing” (smooth in places I hadn’t noticed it was smooth before)

2~What are your tank parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, temp, pH)? Please give exact values.
—- Using the Tetra sticks, will do API in the morning as I’m feeling faint and I’m nauseus and probably need to sleep ASAP:
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrites: 3.0 (I think? hard to read the stick)
- Nitrates: 20-40 (can’t tell)
- Total hardness: 75
- Chlorine: 0
- Total alkalinity: 80 (“moderate”)
- pH - freshwater: 6.8

3~ How large is the tank? How long has the tank been set up?
5 gallons, set up since last September (2019)

4~What type of filtration are you using? Please give the name and number (i.e. Fluval 304) and amount of gph if known.

Marina S10 Slim Filter (5-gallon Marina kit), Aquaclear Biomax and Aquaclear foam

5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are their current sizes?

Just the one male betta

6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? How often do you do this? How much water do you remove at a time?

Yesterday, Monday, 1 gallon. I do it about once a week.

7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them?

about 9 months?

8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.?

Possibly a small amount of soap from my bare hand, maybe 1-2 weeks ago?; BettaFix on Sunday, StressGuard last night and this evening; changed Purigen to a completly new pouch; Stability and Clarity; I use Tetra AquaSafe for Bettas for the spring water I use on each change

9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently?

Tetra betta food (pellets, brine shrimp clusters; more often Wardley betta food (pellets)
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:25 AM   #4
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Easy answer: did u test the water on your home? Teste before conditioner to see if parameters will be good only using the conditioner. I figured out that I need to use as twice as it says in the bottle in my region because the tap water is not safe even for humans.
And ppl at my home still cooking with tapwater and asking why they stressed and feeling nausea...
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by fishingBuds View Post
Easy answer: did u test the water on your home? Teste before conditioner to see if parameters will be good only using the conditioner. I figured out that I need to use as twice as it says in the bottle in my region because the tap water is not safe even for humans.
And ppl at my home still cooking with tapwater and asking why they stressed and feeling nausea...
Thanks. I use only bottled spring water. I don't think there's much of a chlorine issue...?
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:43 AM   #6
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If u use the prepared water for bettas, water parameters should not be a concern, it can probably be genetic issues, diseases or depression, i constantly train my betta, which lives in a 3g tank for a month now, to know when is the feeding time. Sometimes I feed him 2 times a day, I play with him with my finger sometimes.
He has an amazon sword plant friend where he likes to rest and no hide spots or anything, he is doing fine just in this little tank with no filters,heater, nothing. Snails only, 2 of them.
I do 1 water change every 2 weeks and water always good, he is always creating new nests and never demonstrated any type of bad behavior.
No gill issues btw, and my tank position is close to my window so he have a natural light "timer".

When u have a aquarium u have to simulate life, if u don't, life won't thrive.

I hope you can take information from this...

Edit: don't touch your fish, dont try to move him around, don't try to feed him by yourself, its going to make him stressed and die

Edit2: I was a betta breeder and I never used filters or heaters in the male tanks, try to give him different types of food. I have 3 different types of food for mine plus the blood worms ( he loves it and eat every single one when I drop it, and he already know how they look (thats impressive hahaha)
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:26 PM   #7
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Just a note: I removed the carbon and added 1/2 cap for StressGuard and three good squirts of API BettaFix. I'm keeping his light off and the tank mostly covered. He's still in the corner, exactly as he was last night. I added some flakes to his feeding ring, since he hasn't had them in a while.

I'm just hoping he hangs on so the vet can see him Saturday. I'm hoping she'll know what's wrong and tell me what to do, or that humane euthanization (clove oil, I supposed) is appropriate.

I was going to do the API testing kit to get the numbers, but I've already stressed him enough this morning, I think. I'll do it in the afternoon.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:34 PM   #8
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Flakes are not the best option for betta, try tropical granules tetra mini for bettas

Sometimes, if you have a filter for a 5g tank, the fish can be stressed by the sound and vibration that it is causing, check again the temperature and location of your tank as well.

API should do the job if it is a disease


Don't feel bad if it turns to euthanasia moment, life is death,dig and put it under a plant so he can have purpose on nature again (it sucks to kill an animal but your efforts will only make it less painfull at the end)
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:38 PM   #9
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Flakes are not the best option for betta, try the one in the picture

Sometimes, if you have a filter for a 5g tank, the fish can be stressed by the sound and vibration that it is causing, check again the temperature and location of your tank as well.

API should do the job if it is a disease


Don't feel bad if it turns to euthanasia moment, life is death,dig and put it under a plant so he can have purpose on nature again (it sucks to kill an animal but your efforts will only make it less painfull at the end)
Thanks. There doesn't seem to be any more vibration from the filter than normal (i.e., the last several months), but there is some construction going on outside, but it's not that loud, so I'm not sure if that's what stressing him out at this point. I really think it was my screw-up of bothering him when he was hiding in his log.

I'm tempted to put him in a filterless tank (a new one) with betta water to see if that does the trick, but he's already so stressed. I think I'll wait for the vet at this point.

I normally feed him those Tetra pellets and brine shrimp granules (they're in the same Tetra cylinder), so I was giving him flakes int he hopes that they'll drive down to him and he can eat them there. I was thinking of trying a peeled green pea, as I have some unsalted peas in cans.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:44 PM   #10
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Thats my "tank" for this betta while I'm preparing a bigger tank, he's doing OK since I got himClick image for larger version

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Old 05-27-2020, 03:31 PM   #11
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Look for swim bladder disease
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:49 PM   #12
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Look for swim bladder disease
Thanks. Looked it up. I think it's very likely: I was probably overfeeding him. He hasn't been eating for at least two days, so I'm going to give him a frozen pea perhaps tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday. I vacuumed out the food lying at the bottom of the tank. Will continue with the StressGuard as well.

Thanks very much.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:10 PM   #13
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I did the API tests just now, and I'm worried that the StressGuard and/or the BettaAid (or maybe the soap residue which may or may not still be there are affecting the readings):

Ammonia: 0 PPM

Nitrite: 0 PPM

Nitrate: 0 PPM

pH: 7.6

High pH: 7.4


I ordered a new, 10-gallon tank kit (Marina again) that I'm going to cycle and remove my betta to, assuming he survives up to that point.

I increased the temperature to 80 degrees F, from 78 degrees, F, but my two conventional thermometers both read just 78 F, hours after I increased the temperature to 80F (it's one of those Cobalt 50W heaters. I ordered a Hygger heater that can be stuck against the glass on its side so that I can lower the water level, so it's not so hard for him to swim up for air (I've already lowered it to just over the Cobalt heater).

I noticed that he was a bit mobile, placing himself vertically against the glass next to the heater, as opposed to being in his usual place for the last few days, which is right below the heater. I had to turn on the lights to see that, and as soon as he noticed me, he swam back to his spot under the heater.

I have frozen peas ready, and Epsom salt in case I need to do a laxative bath, but right now, I'm not feeling like bothering: I just used the "baster" to fill up all the vials for the API tests. I'm hoping the increased heat helps him eliminate more easily.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks very much.
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