2 yr old Betta acting sluggish, gills working hard

amdpayne

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Liam, my 2 year old Betta, is acting sluggish lately. Today he is lingering near the bottom of the tank and doesn't want to move much. His gills seem to be working hard.

His dorsal and tail fins are a little torn/diminished, but he's had that for a while. It doesn't look like fin rot.

I recently moved him. He used to be in softened water, and now he is in (presumably) harder water.

When I moved him, I took him in a large jar of his old tank water. His new tank was filled with new water, and I scrubbed down the inside of the tank and rinsed his gravel. I moved his filter in a container of old tank water. I briefly rinsed it under some running water before I installed it again.

Here are his water stats, based on the API Freshwater Master Test Kit:

10 gal tank
3 live moss balls
pH: closest to 7.6 on the card
Ammonia: 0-0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: closest to 0ppm
Temp: usually ranges between 73-76F

Could his tank pH be doing this? Or is it something about his beneficial bacteria, or...? Please help!

 

TexasDomer

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Did you rinse the filter media in tap water? That will kill your bacteria.

The temp is way too low for him, and that could easily be the cause of the issue. Turn his temp up to 78 - 80 F.
 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
Did you rinse the filter media in tap water? That will kill your bacteria.

The temp is way too low for him, and that could easily be the cause of the issue. Turn his temp up to 78 - 80 F.
I did! Oh no. How do I get him the good bacteria again?!

 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
You'll have to re-cycle the tank.
Right. But um... it's been a while since I've had to cycle a tank, and I've never done it with a fish in while I did. Any tips as to what to do/where to start?

 
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amdpayne

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amdpayne said:
Right. But um... it's been a while since I've had to cycle a tank, and I've never done it with a fish in while I did. Any tips as to what to do/where to start?
TexasDomer said:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/q-a-with-tetra-about-tetra-safestart.58116/

I would use TSS+. Add in the entire bottle, and don't do anything for two weeks.
Thank you! Just got the little 3.38 fl oz bottle. So do I just dump it in the tank with him in there? Don't need to add it with water or anything?

 
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Update: added the whole bottle of TSS+ with him still in tank. Filter still running. Won't do water change for 2 weeks. Guess I'll watch his parameters every couple of days. Hope the little guy starts to feel better!

 

TexasDomer

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Yes, you did it right! Add the entire bottle. Don't do anything for 2 weeks. Don't even test his water! So you're not tempted to do water changes
 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
Yes, you did it right! Add the entire bottle. Don't do anything for 2 weeks. Don't even test his water! So you're not tempted to do water changes
Ok, thank you! I'm afraid he'll pass away before it gets better. He looked very bad this afternoon. I didn't even want to check to see if he was alive or not.. :/ I think he was, but I'm very worried for him.

 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
Did you turn the tank temperature up?
Not yet. It's close to 80F, but not quite there. My heater is very touchy and I was afraid to bump it up and leave it before I went to work, in case I'd overdo it. I'll bump it up tonight. You think that'll help? I hope it does! He's never minded the temp I have him at before.

 

TexasDomer

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Yes, I think it'll help. Maybe not immediately, but it'll be much better for him in the long run. 73 F is way too low, and that can stress him out and make him more susceptible to diseases.
 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
Yes, I think it'll help. Maybe not immediately, but it'll be much better for him in the long run. 73 F is way too low, and that can stress him out and make him more susceptible to diseases.
Interesting. Ok, I'll bump it up tonight. It's usually closer to 76, but I'll see if I can get it to 78-80-ish. Thanks!

 
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amdpayne

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TexasDomer said:
Yes, I think it'll help. Maybe not immediately, but it'll be much better for him in the long run. 73 F is way too low, and that can stress him out and make him more susceptible to diseases.
Thank you for your help. Unfortunately little Liam passed away today, just days after his 2nd birthday (or 2nd anniversary of the day I adopted him). He was a good lad!! I'm just mad at myself that I messed up and caused this to happen.

So now I have another question for you: since I'll be wanting another betta and my tank is good to go (other than it needs to re-cycle), how do I get it to the point of being safe again for another fish? I put the TSS+ in last night, but now there's no fish in there. Is this how I should let the tank stay until 2 weeks is up and I check parameters? As long as ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are at 0, or at close as they can be, that means I'm ready, right? Can I let the tank cycle how it is now, with no fish? Do I need to clean the tank or change the filter or anything since Liam passed away in the current water, or clean the gravel or anything? I'm pretty sure he didn't pass due to a disease, so it should be ok to keep this decor and gravel and water, yeah? Thanks again for all the help!

 

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amdpayne said:
Thank you for your help. Unfortunately little Liam passed away today, just days after his 2nd birthday (or 2nd anniversary of the day I adopted him). He was a good lad!! I'm just mad at myself that I messed up and caused this to happen.

So now I have another question for you: since I'll be wanting another betta and my tank is good to go (other than it needs to re-cycle), how do I get it to the point of being safe again for another fish? I put the TSS+ in last night, but now there's no fish in there. Is this how I should let the tank stay until 2 weeks is up and I check parameters? As long as ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are at 0, or at close as they can be, that means I'm ready, right? Can I let the tank cycle how it is now, with no fish? Do I need to clean the tank or change the filter or anything since Liam passed away in the current water, or clean the gravel or anything? I'm pretty sure he didn't pass due to a disease, so it should be ok to keep this decor and gravel and water, yeah? Thanks again for all the help!
The BB in the bottle of TSS you used is now dead as there's no fish in there to feed the BB the ammonia it needs to live.

Personally I wouldn't keep anything from the tank and I would change the filter pads as you're not cycled anyway but that's just me. I would take everything out and clean it or buy new and start over.

And no, you don't want to keep his water. It's unhealthy to put a fish in water another fish died in.
 
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oldbean said:
The BB in the bottle of TSS you used is now dead as there's no fish in there to feed the BB the ammonia it needs to live.

Personally I wouldn't keep anything from the tank and I would change the filter pads as you're not cycled anyway but that's just me. I would take everything out and clean it or buy new and start over.

And no, you don't want to keep his water. It's unhealthy to put a fish in water another fish died in.
Ok, I'll get new filter media, clean everything, and start again. I'll have to read up on how to cycle a tank again.. it's been years since I've had to.

 

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