Twitchy betta?

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Aquarium Advice Activist
Apr 24, 2006
Okay , this is weird but I just noticed my moms betta twitches when he swims. I was watching him and he was swimming leisurely back and forth but would twitch his head , (as if he was looking at me saying, "What?" ) He's perfectly healthy but do bettas do this or does he have some kind of twitchy condition? He just jerks his head ... Can anyone help with this, please? :eek:
We didn't think this belonged in unhealthy fish as he just twitches but seems otherwise fine, my apologies.

Leo has just been adopted 1.5 weeks ago, I found him on the back of the shelf at one of my LFS. He was living in less than an inch of water in a 6 oz. drink glass. He just looked at me and that was it, I had to save him. He now resides in a 4.5 gal. by himself with some java moss and a piece of java fern narrow, and a cave that he was scared of at first but now uses.
His water temp is 78, I do a PWC every 2 days of 25% or more, fom the bottom with a gravel vac. My substrate is PFS, I don't disturb it much.

Sometimes he just hangs there in the water in the same shape he had to be in when he lived in a glass. I thought he was dead at least twice, it's like he doesn't know he has more room now but he does swim around the whole tank. And, he twitches! It's not a contortionist type twitch but is definitely noticeable and uncomfortable looking. Does anyone know why he's doing this and can I help him at all?
I haven't checked his water params much since I do alot of PWC's

Just as a footnote he has started making a bubble nest thingy, I thought that meant he was happy, am I wrong? :(
I'd say the bubble nest is a great sign. When you say he "twitches" does it look like he's trying to rub himself against something ? To be safe I'd check your parameters - you'd be surprised how fast ammonia and nitrites build up even with one little fish.

One of my bettas is very "twitchy" - but I call it his "happy dance". He rarely swims in a straight line - he likes dancing better and he DEFINITELY does it more when I'm looking at him. If I sneek a peek from around a corner he swims more "normally".

As for him not using much of the tank - that will change. He's used to being cramped up. It took my betta about a week to fully explore his 2.5G and even now he prefers to stay right up front where he can supervise me as I work (and BEG BEG BEG for more food !).

Test your parameters and give him a good lookover for any spots or blotches. If your parameters are good and he doesn't have anything weird on his skin then I'd say he's just doing his own version of the happy dance.
No he definitely is not tying to rub on anything, It's not even all the time but I will check the water just the same.
He did have 2 salt like flecks that appeared on the tip of 2 fins after a really big water change 3 days after I got him. I treated it with salt as I wasn't sure if it was ich and turned his heater up. They disappeared when the water hit 80 degrees and I started taking less water out but more often.
He eats and doesn't appear to be otherwise unhealthy.
Hm, the spots may have been ich. Sometimes ich is only attached to the gills and not the fins / body making it more difficult to detect. Heat works, but only about 86 degrees so turning it up to 80 would only speed the reproduction of the ich. Do you have any other fish / inverts with him ? If not you might want to try and ich med for 3 days (I THINK that's what I read somewhere - that you need to do 3 days even if the bottle says only 1). Of course if you don't do any water changes during that time you might not need to redose. Read the ich stcky and see what it says - there are alot of good links in there. But if you have inverts or scaleless fish you need to be careful with which med to choose.
He is by himself and I just got an elite filter for him, I will start turning the heat up gradually as well.
there ya go ! the heat alone will cure ich. you just need to leave it at about 86 for two weeks after the last spot is seen, so figure 3 wks total. I'll be thinking about you
Looks like you were right , I got the heat up to 86 late last nite and Leo is not as twitchy this morning, I'll keep my fingers crossed.
cool - just raise it one more degree to 87. Glad Leo is feeling better :) Good job noticing the twitch !
Heat treatment really works for ich. Just be sure to raise the temp slowly and wait 3 wks before you lower it again. When you lower it do it just as slow as you did on the upside (about 1 degree every 12 hrs - maybe a bit slower if you can be that patient)
ok I'll do that, thanks again.

I think he may still end up with his own "happy dance" after this LOL he does swim weird at times, I noticed that right from the start. He's still making bubbles but moved to the other side of the tank with them, maybe too much current on that side with the new filter.
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