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Betta Fish Concerns

Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaannothing else was going on.Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I have Betta Fish. He is...incredibly special to me. I need some help and advice.

Two weeks ago he got sick and had was floating due to a bladder infection. I was horribly worried, but he got better, after I changed his water and gave him some stuff for stress. I kept changing his water and keeping him in something shallow, and he eventually was able to poop again and has been okay. He seemed really weak at first so I kept him in shallow water so he wouldn't have to worry about being able to reach the surface and breathe. He recovered and was soon zipping around again.

Now, something else is going on.

He just kind of sits, nose pointed up to the surface. He eats. But that's about all he does. I've noticed he doesn't really use his tail anymore, just sits on the end of his body and his tail trails across the floor of his tank. He uses his little front fins to propel himself up to breathe and to eat.

I'm pretty worried that he might have injured himself somehow, or got some internal bruising or something that's damaged his ability to use his tail fins. He doesn't seem to want to move all that much. Even when he poops, he just does it in the same corner he sits in.

It might be he's just still in recovery. He still greets me in the mornings and eats his food every day. I really love this little guy, he's been my roommate for 2 years now. Any experience or advise is appreciated.

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Posts

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Here are some pages that list various Betta diseases.

    What sort of tank do you keep it in? Is it just a little bowl, or something with a filter / moving water?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    I've changed his water three times this week and moved him into a smaller tank. Five by five cube, about halfway full.

    He got a little fungal spot on his face at the same time this week :-( but I've been giving him Pimafix and it's been disappearing.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    You oughtn't change the water that often, since the modifications in temperature / ph can be stressful to the fishy.

    You might think about upgrading him to a tank with a filter in it. The water quality is vastly superior to that of a goldfish bowl.

    You said you've had him for two years. He still ought to have plenty of life left in him. Has anything else changed recently? Major temperature shifts or anything?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Not really. He got sick 2 weeks ago, like I said in my first post. I moved him out so he could recover, and he did, and I gradually increased the depth of his water to ensure he was strong enough before I put him back in his big tank (a larger five gallon tank with plants and a cave and bamboo).

    Come to think of it, I don't actually remember WHY I moved him back out of his big tank, other than that he seemed to be just sitting in one corner again and it seemed odd. Usually he dances and shit. Sticks his nose in the roots of the bamboo. Makes bubble nests. Those kindsa things.

    After he got really sick I became severely protective of him because I thought he was gonna die and I got all emotional about it.

    Used to have a filter on his tank but he kept getting caught on the intake pipe for the water and D: so I decided that wasn't a good idea. Also it seemed like constantly swimming against the filter was wearing the poor little guy out, like being in a hamster wheel.

    There has been some weirdo temp shifts because of the early 'spring' in the area and the apartment building controls the heat, but nothing that off. Basically normal.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    If he's having a problem with the filter, you might try replacing it with a little bubble stone to offer some aeration. Bettas can breathe through their gills in addition to breathing air through their labyrinth organ. You might try oxygenating the water more.

    It could be that he's listless and unmoving due to the water being cold. You can get water heaters for 5 gallon tanks that will keep the temperature consistent.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Thinking about this some more.

    - if he had a bladder infection, you might thinking about getting a different kind of food.

    - From your description, it seems like he might be bored. Though, I've no idea why he would suddenly be bored if he's been fine for two years. I'd suggest moving him back into the 5 gallon tank, put a heater in there to ensure that the water is warm, put in an air stone to get some oxygen in the water, and maybe modify the tank layout a bit to give him some stimulation.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    It sounds like he has, or had, swim bladder. Stop feeding him flake-dry-pellets and start feeding him little cut up peas. Hand feed him if you need to. Well, if he's not sick anymore you don't need to, but I'd recommend soaking his food in a bit of water before feeding it to him.

    Changing the water super often when he's sick is actually fine as long as the water has been dechlorinated and treated. It's better than using old water. The PH of fresh brand new water and everything will almost always be better. The reason that you don't change the water 100% daily in your normal tank is because 1. you're lazy (Which is fine) 2. Because you dont want your good bacteria that helps cycle your tank to die when exposed to air/your filter to fuck up because there's no water.

    How old is he? Does he have a bit of grey around his gills?

    Swim Bladder is essentially air trapped in his bladder, it's what makes them float, what makes them shitty at swimming. It's caused by their food having air trapped in them and tons of other stuff, it's a very common fish illness. You can do stuff to avoid it, but some species of fish are just super prone to it. It sucks. If you're really super wanting to and KNOW it's swim bladder, you can do this thing where you squeeze the air out, but I really recommend you don't do it if you don't know exactly what you're doing. But hey, if he's pooping, he doesn't have swim bladder anymore. he is probably just recovering. Give him some time. Sometimes fish are kinda never the same though. What are his poops like? Do they have air trapped in them?

    There are things you can do for your filter, too. There's something called a spray bar which evens out the flow so it's not one hard jet they're fighting against. There are also a few really nice tanks that are kinda specifically geared towards bettas, like there's a new fluval nano one that's about 2.5 gallons with a nice filter and there's a dymax iq3 that is sort of the same deal. But it sounds like you have your own? Keep the filter on. Or point the flow towards the side of the tank/the wall, break it up somehow so it doesn't disturb him, or get a spray bar like I said. Make sure you have the filter on though. Do you have any gravel in the tank?

    Also yeah a heater.

  • Nova_CNova_C Sniff Sniff Snorf Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Frequent water changes are hard on a fish. They're very stressful and rapid changes in water parameters (Temp, pH, quality, etc) are much more deadly to a fish than simple poor quality water (Depending on the quality, of course). I would definitely get a filter for the tank, but get one that doesn't do much current. I used to have a betta in a 5 gallon Fluval Chi that had a very gentle water current that didn't bother the betta at all (I still have the tank packed away, but sold the betta and my 55 gallon aquarium when I moved up north). I would definitely ease up on the water changes. Unless you have a very specific reason to do a big change, never change more than 50% of the water at a time. If you do get a little filter for your tank, water changes should be about 25% - 30% weekly. A single betta in a 5 gallon is a pretty low bioload.

    In terms of what may be causing the betta's behavior (Or lack thereof), I'm not sure. I've never seen a betta just sort of sit in one place except to feed. One thing to note is that even though a lot of people keep bettas in small containers and think it's fine, it's really not. A five gallon is a good size for a single betta, but I wouldn't go any smaller than that.

    Note: This is the Fluval Chi. It's a really charming little aquarium:

    015561105064C.jpg

    (Ignore the goldfish in the tank. 5 gallon is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too small for goldfish)

    EDIT: The forums at www.aquahobby.com are great for information and I would ask there, but be patient. The board has been very quiet lately.

    Nova_C on
    My blog: www.jonathanirons.net
    My Twitter: IronBorealis
    Be advised, I'm not the best at keeping either updated. >.>
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Spoke to a duder at the local pet shop today. He talked a good game.

    Likely my little guy has some bacterial infection how he's got his tail fin closed up. Doing a discrete mixture of pimafix and melafix. Also got the aquarium salt. Hoping to move him back into his big tank at some point tonight or tomorrow.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Kochikens wrote: »
    Swim Bladder is essentially air trapped in his bladder, it's what makes them float, what makes them shitty at swimming. It's caused by their food having air trapped in them and tons of other stuff, it's a very common fish illness.

    Some brands of floating pellet food are designed to have a little air bubble in the center. One time I was curious and cracked open some pellets, and found them to be hollow.

    This explained why my fish kept getting air trapped in them.

    If your fishy is prone to getting swim bladder, you might seek out a better brand of food that doesn’t have air bubbled manufactured into the pellets. Cut up peas are a great alternative.

    If you really want to spoil your fish, you can get frozen foods like bloodworms or tiny shrimp. They’re usually healthier, and don’t have bubbles in them. I’ve used these foods for other fish, and can’t quite remember if I ever fed them to a betta. But, hey, everything likes shrimp.

    Definitely agree with Nova_C about the larger tank. The fact that pet stores are allowed to keep betas in those little plastic containers pissed me off to no end.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Also got the aquarium salt.

    Be careful with how much you use. I'd suggest only using it in the 5 gallon tank, with some sort of filter / aeration running at the time.

    Over-salted fish are not happy fish.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Kochikens wrote: »
    Swim Bladder is essentially air trapped in his bladder, it's what makes them float, what makes them shitty at swimming. It's caused by their food having air trapped in them and tons of other stuff, it's a very common fish illness.

    Some brands of floating pellet food are designed to have a little air bubble in the center. One time I was curious and cracked open some pellets, and found them to be hollow.

    This explained why my fish kept getting air trapped in them.

    If your fishy is prone to getting swim bladder, you might seek out a better brand of food that doesn’t have air bubbled manufactured into the pellets. Cut up peas are a great alternative.

    If you really want to spoil your fish, you can get frozen foods like bloodworms or tiny shrimp. They’re usually healthier, and don’t have bubbles in them. I’ve used these foods for other fish, and can’t quite remember if I ever fed them to a betta. But, hey, everything likes shrimp.

    Definitely agree with Nova_C about the larger tank. The fact that pet stores are allowed to keep betas in those little plastic containers pissed me off to no end.

    I've been giving him some stuff by Wardley that's brine-shrimp based. It's prettymuch all he eats, actually, which was part of the reason I was so surprised he'd have troubles after so long. (Tried to give him flakes, but he loves crunching up the pellets. Just loves it.)

    Yeah, I find those little containers to be pretty piss-poor, but I wanted to isolate him in case he had trouble swimming or anything.

    Gonna move him back into his main tank pretty soon.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    GL with the treatment! Make sure you keep the water moving in there.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Kochikens wrote: »
    GL with the treatment! Make sure you keep the water moving in there.

    What do you mean?

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    A filter or a bubbler in the hospital tank with him. You dont want the water to be stagnant in there with all that medicine.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Got a filter for his tank. Now I'm just trying to figure out how soon I should try moving him again to get him back in his big tank. Usually if I stick a net in his water he jumps right into it, but he doesn't even respond to the net at the moment. Based on the whole stress/shock thing, I really don't want to move him too quickly.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Make sure the filter doesnt have any carbon in it, by the way. I use my hands for moving my bigger fish, maybe try that? Just make sure you haven't washed with soap or chemicals any time lately and that your hands are relatively clean. If he's not moving a lot just.. scoop him up gently.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    D:

    He's such a tiny little thing. He's like a baby carrot. With a long tail.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Then be super gentle. He'll fit nicely in your palm. I prefer it to nets because fins can get hooked in them and... well, do what you're comfortable with and don't freak out. It'll be fine.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    ok! I...I did it.

    He seemed to know what I was up to.

    He's...he's kinda chillin. Just...sitting at the bottom of his tank. Every couple minutes he flutters up for a breath and then lets himself sink back down to the bottom.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Keep an eye on the water temp, maybe test it if you're really worried. You are a very good fish parent though, it sounds like you're doing everything right! (Also, if you put your hand in the treated water, NOW you can go wash them because that stuff can be brutal)

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Ooh! He's moved up to on top of his cave! The water wasn't deep enough for him to get up there and he was fighting like mad so I added some more clean water and he fought all the way up onto his cave! He's sitting up there now!

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  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Kochikens wrote: »
    Then be super gentle. He'll fit nicely in your palm. I prefer it to nets because fins can get hooked in them and... well, do what you're comfortable with and don't freak out. It'll be fine.

    @Kochikens

    Say, question. I've heard all this stuff about changing only like 50% of the water at a time rather than ever doing a full change.

    What's the best way to do this? Take just out some of the water, I mean.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    AquaSyphon.jpg

    Aquarium Siphon. Pretty cheap at a pet store. Just don't suck up your fish.

    I keep a bucket out with water (Covered, to stop dust/crap from the air falling in) so that the chlorine can evaporate overnight. And then I have another bucket for draining the water in to. Turn off all your filters so that when you drain the tank/clean it the motors dont fuck up. Siphon your water out into the empty bucket. Fill the tank back up with your clean water (Pour against a wall/something to break up the water so you dont hurt your fish) and you are good. Don't use water straight from the tap unless you've used something to treat it. Most people I know use: http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Prime.html

    betta aren't very dirty fish so 50% a week is fine. And yeah, it's true, you generally don't want to do a full change. But when you have a fish in a hospital tank it's different.

    Kochikens on
  • Binary SquidBinary Squid We all make choices Registered User regular
    A gravel vac works pretty well for regular water changes. You should have one for semi regular cleaning, anyway, so two birds with one stone and all that.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Man. I've just been, like, doing a full clean each month and boiling the gravel on my stove and stuff.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Man. I've just been, like, doing a full clean each month and boiling the gravel on my stove and stuff.

    oh no no no
    you don't ever wanna do that. Read that link about cycling your tank. You want to clean your gravel, but not boil it.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Ah.

    I've been doing this, for, like, 2 years now.

    Ah.

    To be honest, it was always kind of a pain.

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Welp, you still need to change the water quite a bit when you're first cycling your tank and filter. But then it eases up a bit once your filters good bacteria is doing the work of cleaning out stuff for you.

  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    And don't feel too bad, my dad, who had fishtanks his whole life, did the same thing as you once or twice a year. He still doesn't believe me. It's like in ye olde ages when they didn't believe in tiny little invisible bacteria.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Okay, something else.

    Do I run the filter all the time? Or just for a little while every day, or what?

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  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    Filter on all the time. Light on during the day when you're awake, turn it off at night. Fish have sleep cycles too.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    If you are starting up a new tank, or even when you do water changes I would highly recommend putting in a bacteria supplement. Helps to get that healthy bacteria established in your tank.

    parabol
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  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Demerdar wrote: »
    If you are starting up a new tank, or even when you do water changes I would highly recommend putting in a bacteria supplement. Helps to get that healthy bacteria established in your tank.

    Any suggestions on that? All I've dug up is some stuff called Tetra Safe Start.

    My little guy seems to be doing well, although he's still content to sit in one spot on top of his cave. I'm already seeing a marked improvement in his fin coloration and his crown tail is beginning to spread open a little.

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  • Nova_CNova_C Sniff Sniff Snorf Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    In my experience, the only bacteria 'supplement' that wasn't total snake oil was Bio Spira, but I don't think it's sold anymore.

    The best, absolute BEST thing you can do is ask for a bit of used filter media from your pet store. They may give you some. My cycle completed in three days when I did that. The first cycle I ever did took six weeks for comparison.

    Definitely do some reading on the nitrogen cycle. This is the most important part of keeping your aquarium healthy. By doing full cleaning of the rocks and the tank, you restarted your cycle every time, so the water remained toxic. Do some research on betta care as well, just for general knowledge.

    Keeping a fish is one of those things that people see as simple and easy and a good starter pet. The aquarium is supposed to simulate an environment that human's cannot live in. We have no natural knowledge of it whatsoever. It's more complicated than it seems.

    It IS, however, easy. Once you get things rolling, it requires very little effort to maintain.

    One thing to remember: The average lifespan of a tetra in home aquaria is something like 2 years. People think this is pretty good and their fish lived a full healthy life.

    The expected life span of a healthy tetra is over 10 years. Fish die in aquariums because so many people take no time to find out what they're getting into when they buy an aquarium and then when the fish die, well, they were cheap, so what, right? :(

    You really care about your betta, so I know that now that you know there's so much to learn just to get started, you'll dig right in. :) Good luck.

    My blog: www.jonathanirons.net
    My Twitter: IronBorealis
    Be advised, I'm not the best at keeping either updated. >.>
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    be sure to post pics of your baby when he's better!

  • ceresceres Just your problem OoSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    Yes that rule is not just for kitty threads you know

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    Update:

    This morning Fujin began exploring his surroundings again!

    He's always been notoriously camera-shy. I think he sees the lens and thinks its some large predator fish lurking, he usually dashes into his cave, or sometimes flare up to try and scare it up. I'll try and get some decent pics when he becomes his old curious self again.

    I did manage this nice one a couple minutes ago, though.
    Spoiler:

    bqv5944776sm.png
  • KochikensKochikens Lovely-Cuddle-Blanket-Stephen-Fry-Awesomer Registered User regular
    aw yay!!! Sounds like hes doing better, and hes a cute lil scaredy cat.

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