betta sits on bottom of tank and won't eat.

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by CheekyPanda, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    Hi. I just got a betta yesterday. I got him because he looked sick and I wanted to try to save him. He sat on the bottom of his cup when I got him. He only moved if I picked up the cup. I had to set up a new tank for him. It is not cycled. It is a five gallon filled halfway, just added prime treated water last night.
    Last night he looked dead. I honestly could not tell. No gill movement. Only clue was some eye movement and if I almost touched him he would slowly swim away.
    He is a little better right now. He was swimming for a little while but he is back in the corner on the bottom. Oh, and he lists to the side and his spine is bent. He struggles to swim and then drops. I think he has swim bladder disease though I'm not sure if there's any thing I can do about it.
    I've thought maybe I should improvise a filter to get a Bio filter started and to give the water some circulation and oxygen. He has a hard time making it to the top. I worry about lowering too much because I have a heater in there. How many inches should it be?
    I also want to feed him to keep up his energy because it is so hard for him to swim. He tries so hard. I wonder if I should find out what the store was feeding him and try that. Or blood worms at the end of a dropper wiggled around. Maybe soak his food in garlic juice? I've also read that I can feed him bits of pea for constipation, but he doesn't look bloated or anything. I asked to see when he was last fed. Its been three days.
    Is there anything I can do for him? I don't want to do too much. He stresses easily and just being left alone seems to have done him some good but I cant stand just sitting here and doing nothing either.

    Oh, and I think he is a double half moon. I've read these fish are bad to have swim bladder problems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  2. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

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    Poor fella!

    You have to have enough water to meet the minimum water level on the heater.

    Try baby brine shrimp if you can get ahold of it. My new guy just finally took some New Life Spectrum pellets last night after ignoring food for a couple days.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    I have the heater sitting horizontally. Not enough water to put it vertically. I will probably go to petsmart a little later for supplies. Do you think it would hurt to put a sponge filter in the tank? I think it needs a little water movement but not too much seeing as it's already hard for him to swim. He was resting on a leaf a little while ago. I hope he stays on the leaves so he doesn't have to swim so far for air.
    Another thing, I hate how it's impossible to get an ammonia reading when your water has chloramines. That would be good to know. I guess I'll just have to do water changes often and hope that it's enough.

    Oh, no access to live bbs. Will wiggling worms out the end of a dropper work? It did for an angelfish once but this guy is kind of skittish. Will also try what store was feeding him. Will garlic help or hurt?
     
  4. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

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    Garlic should help, yes. The worms might, but my new guy won't eat unless he thinks I'm a safe distance away. I have to drop the food on the surface and get out of his space.

    Add a drop or two of Prime, wait 24 hours, then test. Honestly, if you're using a good water conditioner, chloramines should not be an issue.

    A small sponge filter may help, but when you're still trying to get him eating...I don't know. It tends to blow the food around. :/
     
  5. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    Yeah, he might be one of the ones who wants his space. He's probably really scared. I didn't help things. I thought it would be okay to use my hand to put him in the tank. He flipped out and thrashed around in the cup and ran into a bunch of stuff in the aquarium. I thought it would be okay because I used to have a betta that would let me pick him up. This one's wild and scared though. Yes. It was a bad idea. Also, I can turn off the pump long enough to feed. Or if the flow is too strong i can abandon the idea. If only there was a device that would move frozen brine shrimp around in enticing ways.
     
  6. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

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    I knooooww....

    but the juice from the thawed shrimp might serve as an appetite enhancer...
     
  7. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    Thanks. He has figured out that he can rest in plants and is swimming around the tank a bit now. I gave him a couple of blood worms last night because he showed no interest in flake food. I'm not even sure he recognized it as food. They fell past his face but then he looked down and slurped them up surprisingly quickly. Will feeding him help? Does anyone know how much to feed him? I have read anywhere from 2 pellets a day to 12 but I think I must have read that wrong. I would guess 4 but I don't like guessing. Also, how many blood worms at a time if I am feeding twice a day? That's okay, right?
    Also, I had problems changing water last night. I had to unplug the heater because the water level is so low. It got really cold in there while I was waiting for the heater to acclimate and all that stuff. I also got the water too cold that I put back in. I can tell he was cold because he just sat there and looked dead again. How do I avoid this? Perhaps I could move the heater lower but then it would almost be on the bottom of the tank with not very much water covering it. There's got to be a better way. I tried sticking the thermometer under the tap but it was hard to read and it stayed on the same temp forever.
    When does swim he still has trouble. He'll swim against the glass for a little while like he's trying to get out. Then he'll go up for air. Sometimes he doesn't make it, but he keeps swimming like he could if he just kept going up. Then he sinks again or makes his way to a plant and rests. Is the swim bladder disease permanent? Is there anything I can do to help him get past it?
    Thanks again
     
  8. Terra

    TerraWell Known MemberMember

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    I wouldn't be hard on yourself about scaring him by picking him up. Everything I've read says you should move them from cup to tank with your hand rather than a net, because their fins get ripped so easily.

    Bettas can breathe in water too. They need access to surface air stay healthy, but they can breathe in both. The heater is too important to keep off, and less water will lead to worse water conditions in an uncycled tank. I'd put more water in there, at least fill it half way.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    It is halfway. Still too low for a filter though. I keep hoping he'll get better at swimming so I can fill the tank up. Got some pellets I'm going to try tonight. Do you think I should try a pea tomorrow? How many bloodworms and how many pellets at a time? I will feed him twice a day. Thanks for reassuring me. I think he's going to be okay at this point. He just has some swimming issues. Oh, should I be changing the water 50% every day? Will it hurt to put the heater at the bottom of the tank so I don't have to turn it off to do water changes?
    Thanks
     
  10. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

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    It will only hurt him if he sits on it unknowingly and gets burnt.

    For now, 50% changes a day would be good. Go ahead and try the pea, too. It can help with such issues, oddly enough. I don't think it sounds like swimbladder issues as much as out-and-out weakness. What pellets are they? If they're good quality (such as New Life Spectrum or Omega One) he'll only need a couple, whereas if it's a lower-quality food he will need more to get decent nutrition but at the same time could end up bloating or having other digestive issues.

    As for the bloodworms, I'd say one per feeding tops simply because it's such a rich food. It's basically a treat (though it is helpful to get them eating!)

    As far as the water, get a bucket and get it as close to the tank water as you can by touch comparison if the thermometer isn't doing the job (I think you can use a candy thermometer...) and have it ready before you remove the old water. Then you can put it straight in and won't have to turn off the heater.

    For other tips, see my post here:
    https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/freshwater-beginners/141827-female-male-betta.html
     
  11. silverwolf33333

    silverwolf33333Valued MemberMember

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    WAIT! the tanks not cycled! take him out if you want him to live! check the ammonia, it could be ammonia poisoning. put him in a cycled tank, or at least a container til its cycles. make sure you know how to cycle tanks
     
  12. silverwolf33333

    silverwolf33333Valued MemberMember

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    or you just bought a sick fish.
     
  13. Gordinian

    GordinianWell Known MemberMember

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    Putting the betta into an uncycled container would be worse than a heated 5 gallon (even if it's halfway filled).

    How often do you do water changes, and how much water are you taking out? Do you have anything to test the parameters? If you can, try to get the API liquid master test kit so you can monitor the cycle better.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    I got him omega one pellets. No nls pellets here.
    I would like to put a filter in and have it cycling, but I haven't been able to find one short enough.
    50% changes but it didn't go well last time so I was reluctant to last night. Its been a day and a half. I need to do it now.
    I have a test kit, but I have chloramines in my tap water so it throws the ammonia test off. It always looks like it has ammonia. I put a seachem ammonia alert on the side but it had mixed reviews on amazon so I'm not sure I can trust it. Regular water changes seem to be the way to go. I just don't like stressing him out.
    Oh, and he could be a she. I noticed one of the sick fish I was looking at had a different top on it next time I went to the pet store. This fish's fins are pretty short for a male's. Oh well, needed help anyway.
    Oh, and how much pea do I feed?
     
  15. Gordinian

    GordinianWell Known MemberMember

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    Do you use a dechlorinater? Like Prime? They remove chlorine and chloramine in water, which are bad for fish anyways, and are a must.
     
  16. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

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    Whoops! You're not using a dechlorinator that removes chloramines? Get yourself some Prime!
     
  17. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    No, no. I've been using prime at up to a double dose since I'm worried about the chloramines/ammonia in our tap water. It's just that the prime doesn't actually remove the chloramines, I think it converts it into chlorine and ammonia, then I think it removes the chlorine and converts the ammonia into ammonium. The ammonia is still there, just in a form that is less toxic for fish. This is how it works if I'm understanding it right. That is why when you use, say the api ammonia test even if you've treated your chloriminated water it still detects ammonia. It is really a pain because I cannot use my ammonia test and get an accurate reading. All it tests for is total ammonia. I miss just having plain chlorinated water. No ammonia to have to worry about and the tests were always accurate. I wouldn't have known any of this except I decided to use all my tests when I got them out of curiosity. When I tested my prime treated water I was really surprised to see 1 ppm of ammonia. Scared the out of me. That's almost not even safe to drink, so I did a lot of research and this is what I found out.
     
  18. Magoo

    MagooFishlore VIPMember

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    Just wait 24 hours after using prime and then test and you will get an accurate reading on your testing if you are using the api master test kit. Keep using prime it's the best conditioner out there in my opinion
     
  19. Gordinian

    GordinianWell Known MemberMember

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    From what I understand, if you dechlorinate with Prime, you aren't supposed to test your water for at least 24 hours because it can give you false readings on your ammonia
     
  20. OP
    OP
    CheekyPanda

    CheekyPandaValued MemberMember

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    Oh, and back to fishy. I felt bad for him being weak, so I fed him three pellets tonight. The pellets look really itsy so I didn't think it would hurt. I hope it wasn't too much. About an hour or two later he had a big poop and part of it kind of looked like an undigested pellet which kind of scares me. He tried to eat it. I think it's just a fish thing. Should I be feeding pellets?
    I also did a 50% water change. He swam around for a while afterwards but now he's been resting in a plant for a while. I was really surprised how much junk had built up in the water. There was all kinds of scuzzy white stuff on the bottom which stirred up into the water as I vacuumed. There is also a film on top which is almost impossible to remove. I worry about this as he is a labyrinth fish. I wonder if my room is just that dusty because I have not fed him that much.
    I've thought about maybe getting a breeder box (is that what it's called?) and putting him in it so I can run the filter, but when he does actually swim he seems so happy having the room and stuff to swim around in. It is full of plastic plants, which I know aren't the best, but so far his fins seem intact. He spends most of his time resting in them, which I think is a great improvement over lying on the bottom all the time.
    I think he is sick because of the trouble he has swimming, and how when he falls down he is curled up. The first day of this I was so stressed because every time I saw this I thought he was dying. Even when he swims if you looks at him from the top he has a very slight curve in his spine. More distressing is how his top seems longer than his bottom, so he is curved and his tail always hangs down. It's almost like he can't even move it. Sometimes he just drags himself along the ground. If I can get a good picture of him swimming I'll show you.
    I think I will feed him peas for his next meal. Is half a pea too much? If he won't take it can I soak it in garlic and how do I do that? Can I microwave it in aquarium water to cook it? I'm still surprised betta fish will actually eat peas.
    Sorry if my writing is too long. I have a hard time keeping things brief.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
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