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My fish is on a hunger strike.

Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
edited March 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a fish. He is a male betta, a nice dark magenta colour, and his name is Aleister. I bought him back in September to cheer up my dorm room a bit, and he has been consistently good company ever since. He started in a little plastic half-gallon tank, but after a month or so of that, I upgraded him to a slightly less little one-gallon tank with a built-in light and air pump. He has been pretty happy there, for the most part. I condition his water, I keep it at a decent temperature for him (about 72-74; a little low for a betta, but he's used to it), I clean his tank regularly. I fed him a steady diet of little pellets of fish food, which he would eagerly gobble up twice a day, three or four pellets at each feeding.

Here's the problem: he hasn't eaten anything in about a week now. I drop a few pellets in, I go to class, then when I get back they're all still floating on the surface of the water. I try to feed him during the evening; same thing, when I check on him an hour later he hasn't touched a bite. I scoop out the food so it doesn't dissolve into his water, but the next day when I put fresh stuff in, the same thing happens. Prior to this, he used to always devour his food within a few seconds of it hitting the water, so... I'm a little concerned.

Possible contributing factors:
  • I cleaned his tank thoroughly a week ago, refilling it with fresh (treated, room-temperature) water. I've done that plenty before, though, and it's never put him off his feed.
  • A day or two after I changed his water, I took out the plastic plants in his tank and replaced them with a nice real plant. I rinsed the real plant off and pulled the dead bits out of it before I put it in his tank, and he seems to be fine with the plant itself: he still has plenty of room to hide, and he seems to like just kind of resting on one of the fronds of the plant and chilling out.
  • When I cleaned his tank, I broke the little air stone that diffuses the air from his pump. I jury-rigged it mostly back together, but now, instead of the air piped into the bottom of the tank floating up to the bottom in tiny little bubbles, it's floating up in somewhat bigger bubbles, which makes the surface of the water a bit choppier. It's not exactly six foot swells up there, just a little bouncier than what he's used to. Most of the water in the tank is still quite calm, though, it's only the surface that gets somewhat shaky. I've tried turning off the air pump during feedings, but even when his water is dead calm, he won't eat.
  • I thought maybe he was just sick of his food, so I picked up a little container of freeze-dried bloodworms. He doesn't seem to have any interest in them either, though.

So... any advice on what could be up with my Alliefish? He's kind of a big deal to me, and while it may seem silly to get all sentimental over a $5 fish, I would be pretty upset if he died of starvation while under my care.

Kate of Lokys on
I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.

Posts

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    A day or two after I changed his water, I took out the plastic plants in his tank and replaced them with a nice real plant. I rinsed the real plant off and pulled the dead bits out of it before I put it in his tank, and he seems to be fine with the plant itself: he still has plenty of room to hide, and he seems to like just kind of resting on one of the fronds of the plant and chilling out.
    How is the plant looking? He might be munching on it rather then the food you got him. Been a while since I've owned a beta though. Don't remember if they ate plants or not.

    You might want to pick up a bottom feeder so you could leave the pellets in the tank longer. Other then that hit the petstore up and get a new airstone. They should be dirt cheap and it seems that's the only major change that's been made to the environment.

    Is it possible it's getting food from somewhere/someone else? Looking at Wiki, it says they generally eat mosquito larva. It is getting warmer, if you live in a region that has a lot of small insects your fish may be going freerange in his dining options.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    i have a betta chillin' next to me.

    he and this other fish live together in 6 gallon tank, and i've yet to run into problems. with that said... bettas are bettas. you can get a nice and hardy one, or you can get a sickly one.

    i haven't cleaned this big ass tank in like 3+ months, you can barely see into it because of all the algae, but my betta fucking loves it.

    maybe you just got an unhealthy one. i've had three, so i mean... you know, they just go. :/

    i don't pump air or anything into the tank, so i doubt your tank conditions have anything to do with him being sick. they are not hard fish to take care of.

    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
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    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • GihgehlsGihgehls Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Betas are incredibly hardy fish, but they are also extremely lazy. Their natural habitat is a stagnant puddle of muddy water, so your tank might actually be a little too exciting for him. I would try taking out the air pump and instead manually aerating the water every day.

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  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User
    edited March 2008
    First of all, don't worry! Bettas can go for weeks and weeks without eating.

    Bettas naturally live in rice paddies; hardly a puddle, really. They like shallow water, as they actually get their oxygen from the surface through what's called a labyrinth organ, not through their gills. Therefore, you really don't need to oxygenate the water, and in fact, many bettas dislike having their water disturbed, as their long fins make it difficult to swim. Take out the bubbler entirely for awhile and see if he feels better. You may also contemplate switching him to a larger tank to give you more time between water changes. The rule for bettas is one water change per (number of gallons in the tank) weeks, so with a one gallon tank, you should be changing his water every week.

    Don't get a bottom feeder; a one gallon tank is only barely big enough for the betta, and adding in another fish will make it dangerously overcrowded.

    Bettas don't eat plants unless they're starving, which is why those peace lily + betta combinations that were so popular for ages are quite cruel.

    Another possibility is that your betta is sick. The most common betta illness is columnaris, which is a bacterial infection. Look at your betta: does he have what looks like fluff or fuzz around his head or gills? How about on his body or fins? If he does, he's probably got columnaris; fortunately, it's easy to treat. Go to a petstore and pick up Jungle Fungus Clear. You'll have to break the tablets to get them to the right dosage for your small tank. If he's not fuzzy, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight on him. If you see goldish specks, he's got something called velvet. If he has bumps, he's got ich. All of these can be treated cheaply.

  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited March 2008
    Aleister is a pretty tough little guy - I've had him since September, and he's never had a problem. His colour is always good, his fins are full and tear-free, and there's no evidence of any sort of infection.

    For now, I'll turn off his little air filter, and just let him, you know, be cool.

    Tomorrow, though, I will put him in his new tank.

    I am a helpless sucker for this fish, so when I walked into Wal-Mart today looking for a good DS game, I walked out an hour later with a new 3 gallon tank with filter, a small heater, a bag of fresh gravel, and three nice fake plants. I have everything set up now, I just need to wait until tomorrow for the water to reach a comfortable temperature. (I'm going to set it for about 75F now, just a bit above his current tank temperature, then I'll increase it gradually over the next day or two until it reaches 80F).

    Thanks for the advice and reassurance, all. Intellectually, I know bettas are about the easiest fish in the world to take care of; most people keep them in tiny plastic jars and they do OK. But this is *my* betta, and I want only the best for him.

    I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.
  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User
    edited March 2008
    I'm sure he'll love his new tank. :)

    Just so you know, if you're doing 100% water changes every three weeks (with a three gallon tank), he doesn't need a filter. I don't know how much you know about fish-keeping, but basically, the filter is for tanks that have a bacterial cycle that keeps the ammonia from building up in the tank. Three gallons is a bit too small to cycle properly, so you might as well leave the filter out, change the water every three weeks, and let Aleister enjoy his space without pesky currents.

  • Grim OutlookGrim Outlook Registered User
    edited March 2008
    man this exact same thing happened to my betta a while ago

    usually when i dropped the pellets in he would come up and eat them right away, but one day i noticed that pellets from previous days were still floating at the top of the bowl.

    this actually went on for quite some time and my fish, which had once been a really nice deep purple with full fins started to look like he had aged considerably.

    around the same time he had stopped eating i had moved him into a bigger tank with different plants and stuff, in his old bowl he would swim around and stuff but in this one he would just stay at the bottom.

    he died several days after

    i asked the people at the pet store and apparently stress can really do a number on bettas
    enough to make them stop eating i guess.

  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I cleaned his tank thoroughly a week ago, refilling it with fresh (treated, room-temperature) water. I've done that plenty before, though, and it's never put him off his feed.

    Never, ever change all of the water in a fishbowl or tank unless it’s a tiny thing that can only be cleaned that way. Every time you do you’re screwing with all of the bacteria and chemicals that create your fishes ecosystem. Try never swapping more than 20% of the water at a time. Stuff like this really stresses fish out, which makes them sick. Get a little gravel siphon to clean the gunk from the bottom of the tank and just siphon things clean a few times a week.

  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User
    edited March 2008
    supabeast wrote: »
    I cleaned his tank thoroughly a week ago, refilling it with fresh (treated, room-temperature) water. I've done that plenty before, though, and it's never put him off his feed.

    Never, ever change all of the water in a fishbowl or tank unless it’s a tiny thing that can only be cleaned that way. Every time you do you’re screwing with all of the bacteria and chemicals that create your fishes ecosystem. Try never swapping more than 20% of the water at a time. Stuff like this really stresses fish out, which makes them sick. Get a little gravel siphon to clean the gunk from the bottom of the tank and just siphon things clean a few times a week.

    Not true with a tank too small to have a bacteria cycle, which 1 gallon definitely is.

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