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Old 09-11-2015, 06:22 PM   #1
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Question Sick betta - please help

Hi, we have a new betta and he's sluggish, and it could be a bunch of factors, so please help us figure out what to do!

We got him 11 days ago and put him in a 2.5 gal tank with top filter, betta heater, gravel, a couple fake plants, a couple real plants, a decoration, and a couple of snails. The temperature has been varying between about 79 and 84 F. We hoped we had cycled the tank by adding filter floss from another healthy tank, but apparently not.

He seemed fine (see attached photo). We fed him freezedried bloodworms because we hadn't bought betta pellets yet.

The water kept getting cloudy and green. We did partial water changes every other day or so, with tap water treated with Prime, but it kept coming back. On Wednesday, we realized it was because the floss in the filter, exposed to the tank light, had a lot of algae. It was bright, vivid green. We took the floss out. We're still running the filter, and there's still a pouch of filter floss covering the filter intake. We put it there to protect his fins from being sucked into the filter intake. That floss came from the other tank's filter, so we hoped it would help the tank cycle, but the ammonia level has been slowly climbing. Today it was 0.25. Nitrate and nitrite are zero, pH is 7.4.

Tuesday he refused to eat the bloodworms. Wednesday we didn't feed him, figuring he might need a day off. Thursday he refused to eat again, and started to act sluggish, spending most of his time perched on top of the heater so he could keep his mouth close to the surface. Today (Friday) we got betta pellets but he wouldn't eat those either. He's even more sluggish and looks pale, maybe bloated, fins kind of clamped, and his gills look kind of fuzzy and gray. When he swims, he gets around fine, but seems to get exhausted quickly and rushes back to lay on top of the heater. He keeps his mouth at the surface and blows a bubble now and then, but he doesn't seem to be gasping for air.

We just gave him some stresszyme and did about a 20% water change, using water from the other tank (hoping that would help) and a little aquarium salt.

What do you think is wrong with him, and what should we do? We're wondering if he might have an infection (we have the bacterial or the fungal infection treatment but haven't given him any), or constipation from bloodworms, or he's sick from the algae, or the ammonia, or shocked from too many water changes. We have a large bowl we could move him to if needed.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:41 PM   #2
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Update with pic

Here's a pic of him resting on the heater. He won't even move when a snail goes right by his head - he seems to be using the snail as a pillow! Poor guy.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:10 PM   #3
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He looks bloated.

Also you should use fresh, treated water. Treat it before you put it in his tank. Also maybe grab a water conditioner made for bettas. My betta looked like that a day after I brought him home and I started using betta conditioner along with prime in his tank and he bounced back.

The water temp maybe too varied for him as well. Some bettas prefer the cooler end with no fluctuations. And if your filter is disturbing the water too much it could be stressing him out.

There are a lot of things that may be going wrong. I'm guessing stress though. These are just my thoughts from my experiences with having a betta. Someone else may have a better treatment.

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Old 09-11-2015, 10:12 PM   #4
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Also a tank takes a long time to cycle. I'm cycling a tank right now and I've been at it for a month now, even using seeded material. You'll have to do a fish in cycle with him and their are articles on here that will explain how to do that better than I ever could. I defer to the experts on here for cycling.

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Old 09-11-2015, 11:59 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your tips, nkoyko! We'll try the betta conditioner tomorrow and figure out how to cycle the tank properly once he recovers (or if he doesn't ).

If anyone else has suggestions for us, we'd really appreciate that!
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:03 AM   #6
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Good luck with him and I hope he recovers!

If he does pep up with the fresh water and betta conditioner, you could try giving him tiny pieces of pea to help get his bloat down. My bettas love pea and it helps with belly issues. I give pea to my bettas once a week.

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Old 09-12-2015, 12:54 AM   #7
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The 5 degrees is a big difference. I would take it back and get a more reliable one personally.

He may be bloated because of the freeze dried bloodworms. Soak them first.

I would write times down and check him and see if there is an pattern.

I would keep up with the water changes but depending on where he is you may not need the light. The natural light will do the same thing. (That is my personal experience a lot will tell you different but mine are in main areas of the house.)

And depending on how many snails you have that may be why the ammonia is climbing.

I personally would stick the filter and the snails in the other tank and see how the readings are on that for a few days (check his tank too to see if the snails are the cause of the ammonia). If they are good then I would move him into the bigger tank.

Now I am not an expert. And my suggestions may be wrong but if I were you that is what I would do.

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Old 09-12-2015, 12:56 AM   #8
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A lot of people do peas as well. Make sure it is shelled and cooked all the way, you may have to try a few times and take it out if he isn't eating it after a while. There is no need to make your ammonia go up anymore.

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