Betta Glass surfing, hiding & rubbing?

CrayonandMarker

So, I do not think this is an emergency, but I decided to use the emergency template regardless seeing that I didn't want to forget important information.

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 7.5 Gal (with plants, rocks and substrate about 5 gallons of water)
How long has the tank been running? Approx 6 weeks (Betta in for about 9 days)
Does it have a filter? Yes, QuietFlow 10 Internal Shrimp Filter
Does it have a heater? Yes, 50watt Aqueon preset one, house it pretty warm so it stays reliably at 77f
What is the water temperature? 77degrees farenheint
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.). 1 Fantail Betta, 1 Blue Mystery Snail, a couple of pond snail hitch-hikers

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 10-15%. 2x a week
How much of the water do you change? 10- 15 % 2x a week, generally do a gentle top up about once a week as well.
What do you use to treat your water? Prime (but since this behavior, I have added API stress coat too, but I underdosed and not at the same time)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Do not vacuum often, 2x since starting the tank. My floor is Aqueon Plant & Shrimp Aquarium Substrate with 1/3 of the tank sand.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes, cycled with Fluval Cycle and Dr. Tim's Ammonia Chloride.
What do you use to test the water? API Master Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5ppm (Nitrates so low because I have a clump of Pothos growing out of the tank.
pH: 7.4

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 2x day
How much do you feed your fish? One serving of BettaMin by Tera in the morning (it is in a package that measures) two flakes of Omega Tropical Flakes in early evening. 2 Omega Bloodworms (presoaked in tank water) Once a week (instead of the BettaMin). 2 Tertra Baby shrimp Pieces once a week. (instead of the BettaMin). I also throw in some bottom feeder pellets for the snail (2 or 3) every other day.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? See above
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? The baby shrimp and blood worms are dry. I soak the worms in tank water for about 4 minutes first.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? He is new about 9 days
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Glass surfing since I got him, Plant hiding, rubbing a few days but it has become more frequent the last three days. Crazy swim just once tonight.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? He has been glass surfing since I got him, changing the lights has reduced but not eliminated it. He does not flare when glass surfing though, but he will when presented with a mirror.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? API Stress coat and a 1/6 does of Bettafix yesterday and today.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? He was at the shop in the cup a while, I checked him out twice. I didn't get him the first two times because I wanted my tank to be fully cycled for at least 2 weeks and completely stable. He has some ammonia burn on his fins (edge of the caudal and anal) and some fin rot on the underside of his dorsal fin that is worrisome but definitely not the worse I have seen. He had a few ammonia marks on his face but they have cleared up.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Today he swam really erratically for a moment. Like almost how fish swim when sezuiring except it was clear he had control. Sometimes he also dives bombs in the Wentili and just hangs there for a bit suspended in a dive position, which is also weird but only happens a few times per day and very briefly.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

Got the Betta (Solomon) on December 20th (I think). Acclimated him for an extra-long time because I know my LFS sometimes uses a water softener (tsk tsk) and I didn't want him in shock. So I floated the bag and slowly added water for about an 75-90 minutes. He had trouble swimming at first because of the cup but was quickly doing well. Super active for a fantail. Always had this weird swimming pattern that reminds me of flamenco dancing. He was glass surfing but that seemed normal enough for being new. After about 3 days when he didn't cut it out, and was acting exhausted and sometimes breathing heavy I added desk lamps surrounding the outside of the tank to reduce mirror effects and ended up taping yellow construction paper on the sides. That reduced it loads but didn't stop it. Tested water 2x a day. Ammonia stayed at zero, Nitrite 0, Nitrates jumped up to about 20 ppm at one point so I did a 25% change and threw the Pothos in, didn't have another problem.

He started "playing" in the fairly short Wendtili more and more, swooping under, weaving in and out. (I found it odd because I have some decent sized swords that would make more sense to play in. Watched it carefully, might be flashing a bit, the behavior got more frequent and it appeared he was rubbing his dorsal fin and perhaps chin on the clay shrimp substrate. I am nervous with meds so I drastically underdosed him on Bettafix. No signs of overt disease. It is tough because he has been coloring up a bit, his ammonia burns on his face have improved, and he has gotten more blue shimmer, I don't think I see ick, or velvet but he does have a bit of paler skin under his chin with a couple of flecks, I don't think it is ich or fungus, but he is new to me and I don't know for sure. He was rubbing the plants frequently so I put in a little API stress coat in. (about 2ml) Shortly after he started swimming like crazy fish glass surfing is weird circles, diving in and out of the wentili, obviously in control but erratic. Hanging out at the top. [Also noticed the snail climbing near the water surface , then releasing back down which was also weird as he usually stays on the bottom half of the tank]. Immediately tested the water 0/0/5ppm/ 7.4 temp was normal. Topped up the tank anyway with a bit of conditioned water (stuck with API since I gave him stress coat earlier and I didn't want to mix) Turn off the lights. He is calmer, something is obviously not okay and my husband loves this fish in a way he has never loved my fish and finally understands my hobby, although I love all my fish this guy is special and I need to fix him up.

FYI- My tank has very little current, the filter is gentle and I have a very gentle air stone to add in circulation, my tank is lightly planted and has driftwood, There are plenty of toys and two places to hide.
 

bcsay720

Sorry to hear about your betta. It seems like he was fairly damaged when you got him, he's going to take a while to heal up. It's good that his burns are clearing up. The fin rot will likely take about 2 weeks to fully heal.

Your water seems to be fine, and my mystery snails started acting very differently when fish were added to the tank than when it was just invertabrates. It's been 1.5 months since the addition of fish, and they're finally starting to resume normal behavior, so I wouldn't worry about your snail too much.

Does your betta have enough plants that he can feel safe in? Bettas like open swimming, but also like secluded areas where they can rest. Amazon swords can be sort of sparse compared to bushier tall plants like wisteria or hornwort. He definitely seems stressed, so extra cover may help.

I can't say much for his erratic swimming besides that it's bad. Has he done it again since the first time he did it? Is he paying attention to you or your husband? Lack of interest in their owners and surroundings is one of the first signs that something worse may be occurring, from my own experience, since they can actually bond with their owners. Of course, if he's been stressed the whole time, he may have never paid any mind to you. Healthy bettas, however, are very reactive to their owners' voices, so if he's not, that should be a sign.

It feels as if there's a lot occurring in your tank. I would separate the betta from the snails if you can to finish up treating him, because bettas often need pretty strong meds that could likely hurt your snails. I also find bettas very hard to treat and have only successfully treated one betta myself back to health. Hopefully someone can help out here for meds advice.

I would bump up your water changes to 50% every few days and refrain from topping off so the meds you add don't get diluted. Treat the water only with Prime and choose maybe one medicine to use so you don't accidentally hurt your cycle or hurt your betta's labyrinth organ.

Also, your betta seems to be eating a lot. Reduce feeding to once a day. This will help with water quality and will ensure your betta doesn't develop constipation (which can lead to a whole host of other future problems).

I hope this helps!
 
Upvote 0

Fishstery

I agree with the above about feeding less. However, glass surfing and darting around the tank aren't necessarily anything to worry about. Bettas are inquisitive fish and in my experience the "smarter more personable" fish tend to do this sometimes I believe out of boredom. They are really quirky and often then will lay in plants in extremely awkward positions. Nothing about the swimming is cause for concern. What does concern me is the rubbing. Watch some videos on fish "flashing" and let us know if that is what your betta is doing. It is a symptom of a parasitic issue. As for the fin rot, I would try clean warm water for another week and keep a close eye on whether the rot is getting worse, better, or staying the same. If it gets worse or stays the same then I would suggest removal to a hospital tank and treating with meds. You are doing a good job taking care of him, keep in mind you just recently got him and not in the best condition, it will take a few weeks for him to heal up and become more comfortable in his new home.
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

Thank you both for the help. As far as the "flashing" I have had fish flash before (I had honey gouramis with gill flukes a while back that I treated 2/3 successfully for and lost one). I honestly cannot tell if he is flashing or "playing" in the plants, I am leaning towards playing since he doesn't seem to try to rub on anything else. However, it is really hard to tell.

Bcsay: What you said about plants makes sense. Tomorrow I am going to remove one of the larger rocks and fill the back left corner with some stem plants stolen from one of my other tanks. Perhaps he really loves plants and these are the only ones he can really play in. I am not sure about the water changes though. I have really hard water here and I use almond leaves and adler cones in my tank. The reason I do my water changes so gently is to make sure I don't throw off the PH. I generally remove the 10% condition the replacement water and then add it very slowly throughout the day (I have an extra heater and I throw it in the water bucket to keep the temp stable. Each time I walk past the tank I add a bit back. I am nervous that 50% changes would shock the fishy. I could do a 10% daily if it seems necessary but my parameters are really good. I also reduced the light and ordered some floaters. I want to be able to use my plant lights, but realized he needs more shady options.


Fin Rot: I am watching it closely. The top fin is the same. The bottom ones are starting to color up with streaks of blue so that is a good sign I think. His coloring is why it is so hard to notice if there is ich. He is slowly turning from the bright red to a shimmering light blue. He is turning one scale at a time. I was thinking if it didn't clear up to toss the mystery snail in my neon tetra schooling tank for a bit and dose the betta tank with Kanaplex since it is plant safe. Does that sound like a solid plan?
 
Upvote 0

Fishstery

Thank you both for the help. As far as the "flashing" I have had fish flash before (I had honey gouramis with gill flukes a while back that I treated 2/3 successfully for and lost one). I honestly cannot tell if he is flashing or "playing" in the plants, I am leaning towards playing since he doesn't seem to try to rub on anything else. However, it is really hard to tell.

Bcsay: What you said about plants makes sense. Tomorrow I am going to remove one of the larger rocks and fill the back left corner with some stem plants stolen from one of my other tanks. Perhaps he really loves plants and these are the only ones he can really play in. I am not sure about the water changes though. I have really hard water here and I use almond leaves and adler cones in my tank. The reason I do my water changes so gently is to make sure I don't throw off the PH. I generally remove the 10% condition the replacement water and then add it very slowly throughout the day (I have an extra heater and I throw it in the water bucket to keep the temp stable. Each time I walk past the tank I add a bit back. I am nervous that 50% changes would shock the fishy. I could do a 10% daily if it seems necessary but my parameters are really good. I also reduced the light and ordered some floaters. I want to be able to use my plant lights, but realized he needs more shady options.


Fin Rot: I am watching it closely. The top fin is the same. The bottom ones are starting to color up with streaks of blue so that is a good sign I think. His coloring is why it is so hard to notice if there is ich. He is slowly turning from the bright red to a shimmering light blue. He is turning one scale at a time. I was thinking if it didn't clear up to toss the mystery snail in my neon tetra schooling tank for a bit and dose the betta tank with Kanaplex since it is plant safe. Does that sound like a solid plan?
You're welcome, and seems like you got a pretty good handle on the situation!
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

Here is a video of him doing the plant shimmy shake.
 
Upvote 0

Fishstery

Here is a video of him doing the plant shimmy shake.
It looks like your water flow might actually be too strong for him. Hence the struggle swimming and then laying in the plants to "catch his breath" directly afterwards. Is there another filter that isn't in the video? He's cute though!

Edit: I rewatched the video to me it looks like there's a strong current running in the middle of the tank that is pushing him in the direction of the plants. The video was super helpful for that reason because I think water flow is the problem
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

It looks like your water flow might actually be too strong for him. Hence the struggle swimming and then laying in the plants to "catch his breath" directly afterward. Is there another filter that isn't in the video? He's cute though!

I thought of that but it is really weak. Like it slowly moves the few red root floaters, and barely stirs the pothos roots next to it. He also doesn't use any of the resting places I made him. Here is a pic of the full tank. Also sometimes he rubs his face a bit in the dirt, but not often???

Out of curiosity I just turned off the filter and bubbler and he is still doing the crazy dive-bombing/ playing.

However, since I switched from the tank light to a desk lamp he is not glass surfing as much.

:/

I turned everything back on but I lower the airstone output again. I had raised it when I used bettafix because I heard that can film the water a bit.
 

Attachments

  • S1.jpg
    S1.jpg
    119.2 KB · Views: 12
  • s2.jpg
    s2.jpg
    117.9 KB · Views: 13
  • S3.jpg
    S3.jpg
    180.6 KB · Views: 13
Upvote 0

Fishstery

I thought of that but it is really weak. Like it slowly moves the few red root floaters, and barely stirs the pothos roots next to it. He also doesn't use any of the resting places I made him. Here is a pic of the full tank. Also sometimes he rubs his face a bit in the dirt, but not often???

Out of curiosity I just turned off the filter and bubbler and he is still doing the crazy dive-bombing/ playing.

However, since I switched from the tank light to a desk lamp he is not glass surfing as much.

:/
That's just how it looked to me in the video.. You'd be surprised how easily water flow can make it hard for some betta types to swim. Its like trying to run with a parachute strapped to your back with how flowy their fins are. But, if you really don't think that the water flow is too strong, then perhaps you just have one of those goofy hyperactive disorder bettas, whereas some bettas are just lazy potatoes by nature.

Btw: it looks like his eyes are also red in the photo which if they are thats pretty cool. I dont commonly see red eyes on bettas and with his entire body being red too thats pretty sweet!
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

That's just how it looked to me in the video.. You'd be surprised how easily water flow can make it hard for some betta types to swim. Its like trying to run with a parachute strapped to your back with how flowy their fins are. But, if you really don't think that the water flow is too strong, then perhaps you just have one of those goofy hyperactive disorder bettas, whereas some bettas are just lazy potatoes by nature.

Btw: it looks like his eyes are also red in the photo which if they are thats pretty cool. I dont commonly see red eyes on bettas and with his entire body being red too thats pretty sweet!
I appreciate your help. If the addition of plants does not help tomorrow I will figure out how to lessen the flow and give that a go. He was in such a small cup for so long poor thing. It is not unreasonable to imagine he needs to build up his swimming skills again.

He is a great fish. When I saw him both times at the LFS he was active and fighting for attention. He has such a spark. I drove back in the middle of a snowstorm to get him. He is a cool dude.
 
Upvote 0

bcsay720

I will say that aside from the potential water flow issue (which the addition of the taller, thicker plants will also help), his behavior actually looks normal to me. He just looks excited and curious. That's how my current bettas and bettas of the past have acted if they see me after a long period of time or if something exciting happens (which can be as small as a light turning on).
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

So I followed everyone's advice. I made a baffle, it already had a pre-sponge. I added plants (ugly as sin because I tried to go super fast to not stress him out and aqueoun plant and shrimp substrate is very annoying to work with ( came with the tank i will never buy it again.

Not sure what did it but he is much calmer. I think it was a combo of the two since I added the baffle last night and noticed a small change by this morning, but he was still bombing a lot..


FYI I did notice he reacts poorly to the API stress coat. Its noticeable, so I will not use that again. Never had a problem in my other tanks using it occasionally between water changes. (I Always used prime to treat new water). But even 1ml of API ( so less than half a dose) created a noticeable reaction (crazy circular swimming and glass surfing like mad) maybe he has a allergy to it???

See pic below for changes. A bit ugly but I cared more about fish than asthics.
 

Attachments

  • 20210101_204910.jpg
    20210101_204910.jpg
    183 KB · Views: 14
Upvote 0

bcsay720

So glad he's feeling better. A lot of bettas seem to dislike or react to cheaper commercial products, especially if it's meds-based.
 
Upvote 0

CrayonandMarker

Update:

Solomon is feeling better. The next day I noticed a bit of bloat so I grabbed a chair and watched him closely. It turned out to be a swim bladder issue that was making him extra buoyant and annoying him. I didn't notice right away because he was doing everything in his power to not float (I think floating was aggravating his fin rot since that fin was hard to keep in water in his tiny cup when I bought him). I think he had a touch of the bladder issues when I bought him and overfeeding him made it worse.

He was diving in the plants to "keep him down". He is swimming much better now. I cut back on food and read a bit of speculation that the reason peas are thought to work is that they sink and the "diving motion" helps with the bladder issue. So I fasted him for 1 day and then took a very small portion of frozen brine shrimp and frozen veggies and thawed them and released them through a straw so he would have to dive for them the last 2 days. I also made him flare a couple of times to help things pass. Today he is swimming comfortably near the middle of the tank and seems to be able to control his buoyancy better (still not perfect but a vast improvement). I will continue the very small portions and making him dive for them from now on. I also ordered more floaters (I had plenty in my community tank until my gouramis decided they were tasty). I think this will help keep his top fin "wet" until this is 100% resolved.
 
Upvote 0

bcsay720

That's great to hear! He seems like he's pretty hardy (which not all bettas are), it seems like he will absolutely pull through.
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
2
Views
178
mlydeen
Replies
22
Views
296
Rose of Sharon
Replies
3
Views
289
fallfever
Replies
7
Views
90
LGlassie

New Fish Disease Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom