Question Betta Lethargic at Bottom of Tank

ome8217

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Yesterday, I noticed the coloring of my betta had faded quite a bit, and he was acting rather lethargic. He's always had a big personality and followed me around the tank, zipping around, so this was very strange to me. Today, he's been even more lethargic, moving from one spot at the bottom of the tank to the other. I've noticed he'll come up to get a breath of air every once and a while, and he doesn't seem to struggle while doing so. However, at the bottom of the tank I can see his gills moving, his fins moving, and his mouth opening and closing. I thought maybe ammonia poisoning, but that's not what I'm getting from my test kit currently.

My tank is a 5 gallon, and is planted with the light on for about 10 hours a day. I recently moved, but did my best to keep everything as intact as it could be. I've been moved in for a week and a half now, and only now noticed any issues. All that's in it is a betta a zebra nerite. My betta ate his two pellets this morning, albeit far slower than he typically does.

I didn't test my levels this morning before my water change (weekly water change, about 15-20% of the water), but I checked right now with my API test kit, and the levels of everything came out to 0 ppm (which seems odd, but after a water change and the move not completely unexpected). I've been keeping a close eye on the ammonia specifically, but didn't really think to check it this morning before the change. I'm not really sure how to go about treating or responding to this. I switched to well water so I know there's been a bit of a pH change, but I began introducing the well water last week, so it's not a completely huge shift.

I'm unsure if I should just go ahead and treat with kanaplex as a preliminary, as I fear waiting will lead to worse symptoms. The water change doesn't seem to have made my betta's activity improve at all, and I'm not sure if there's anything else I can do to create an environment less stressful for my betta. I have some stresscoat and kanaplex on hand, so I have options, I'm just worried that waiting will make things worse at this point.

Attached a pic of him from just now, at the bottom of the tank.
 

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SilverLake

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I would hold off on any meds for the moment, for the reason you stated, we don't want anything to get worse. Is there anything wrong with him other then the slow movement, anything with his fins, any spots, any odd coloring other then getting paler?
For the moment I would say do another big water change, ~40-50%
 
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ome8217

ome8217

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SilverLake said:
I would hold off on any meds for the moment, for the reason you stated, we don't want anything to get worse. Is there anything wrong with him other then the slow movement, anything with his fins, any spots, any odd coloring other then getting paler?
For the moment I would say do another big water change, ~40-50%
His fins seem mostly healthy to me, in the past (when I got him) he had pretty bad fin rot on his back fins, but none of that currently. There's a spot on his top fin that looks like it might be a bit torn.
 

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ome8217 said:
His fins seem mostly healthy to me, in the past (when I got him) he had pretty bad fin rot on his back fins, but none of that currently. There's a spot on his top fin that looks like it might be a bit torn.
Huh, that's a little odd then. Is there anything in his tank that he could have caught it on or hurt himself with? Also, does he appear to be bloated at all, and what is his general feeding schedual?
 
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SilverLake said:
Huh, that's a little odd then. Is there anything in his tank that he could have caught it on or hurt himself with? Also, does he appear to be bloated at all, and what is his general feeding schedual?
As far as other things in the tank, no, everything's smooth or a plant. If anything, it's probably from having to handle him during the move.

Appears a bit bloated, but not pineconing. I usually feed him two pellets in the morning and two at night, going one day a week without feeding and once every week or so feeding a bloodworm rather than pellets.
 

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ome8217 said:
As far as other things in the tank, no, everything's smooth or a plant. If anything, it's probably from having to handle him during the move.

Appears a bit bloated, but not pineconing. I usually feed him two pellets in the morning and two at night, going one day a week without feeding and once every week or so feeding a bloodworm rather than pellets.
Ok, just checking, you never know whats in a set up unless you ask. I would try seeing if he'll take a couple bits of shelled pea, if you're using frozen, make sure it's up to room temp through, if you're using fresh make sure to blanch it. This is to possibly help with the slight bloating, as a precautionary step, it wont hurt him any. Are the blood worms frozen, fresh, or freeze dried?
 
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ome8217

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SilverLake said:
Ok, just checking, you never know whats in a set up unless you ask. I would try seeing if he'll take a couple bits of shelled pea, if you're using frozen, make sure it's up to room temp through, if you're using fresh make sure to blanch it. This is to possibly help with the slight bloating, as a precautionary step, it wont hurt him any. Are the blood worms frozen, fresh, or freeze dried?
I don't know if I have any peas on hand but I'll have to check.

Freeze dried.
 

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ome8217 said:
I don't know if I have any peas on hand but I'll have to check.

Freeze dried.
Peas are the common choice. basically you're having him pass a fairly large clump of plant fiber to clean out his guts. Similar to the reason dogs eat grass, especial in the spring, if you've had that experience.

Ok, good, the only risk would be if they were live they might have been a bad batch, carrying some issue.
 
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Yes, he's been constipated before and the pea method has worked in the past. He's just acting so differently from before that has me worried. It seems like he's really having to put effort into breathing, but as I checked the ammonia I'm not really sure.
 
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SilverLake said:
Peas are the common choice. basically you're having him pass a fairly large clump of plant fiber to clean out his guts. Similar to the reason dogs eat grass, especial in the spring, if you've had that experience.

Ok, good, the only risk would be if they were live they might have been a bad batch, carrying some issue.
Pea was a resounding no. I tried placing it into the tank, holding it with tweezers, and I left a piece at the bottom of the tank in case he feels brave, but I couldn't even get him to seem interested by it. I think his food usually floats, unlike the peas, but even when I held it at the top of the tank and he swam up he wasn't interested.
 

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ome8217 said:
Pea was a resounding no. I tried placing it into the tank, holding it with tweezers, and I left a piece at the bottom of the tank in case he feels brave, but I couldn't even get him to seem interested by it. I think his food usually floats, unlike the peas, but even when I held it at the top of the tank and he swam up he wasn't interested.
It needs to be broken up into pieces about the size of his regular pellets. I would try again around his regular feeding time tonight, or if that's already passed, in the morning when hes expecting food. If it isn't floating, you could try holding it on the top of the water with a pair of tweezers, and just agitating the water a bit.
 
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ome8217

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SilverLake said:
It needs to be broken up into pieces about the size of his regular pellets. I would try again around his regular feeding time tonight, or if that's already passed, in the morning when hes expecting food. If it isn't floating, you could try holding it on the top of the water with a pair of tweezers, and just agitating the water a bit.
Woke up to him looking much better and swimming around, and it looks like either he passed it on his own or felt brave enough to nibble on the pieces of pea I left (which he was very interested in this morning when I removed it).

It's insane to me how he's gone from looking as though he was on death's door to being back to his usual self. He's even poking around the tank looking for more to eat. Thank you for your advice!
 

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ome8217 said:
Woke up to him looking much better and swimming around, and it looks like either he passed it on his own or felt brave enough to nibble on the pieces of pea I left (which he was very interested in this morning when I removed it).

It's insane to me how he's gone from looking as though he was on death's door to being back to his usual self. He's even poking around the tank looking for more to eat. Thank you for your advice!
That's awesome!! I'm happy to hear he's doing better. I would still be light on the feeding today, just in case, but if nothing else seems off you can probably go back to normal tomorrow.
 

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