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

CheekyPanda

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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 can't 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.
 

Eienna

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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.
 
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CheekyPanda

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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?
 

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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. :/
 
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CheekyPanda

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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.
 

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I knooooww....

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

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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
 

Terra

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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.
 
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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
 

Eienna

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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:
 

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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

or you just bought a sick fish.
 

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silverwolf33333 said:
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
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.
 
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CheekyPanda

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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?
 
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CheekyPanda

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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.
 

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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
 

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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
 
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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.
 

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I'm confused sorry are you running a filter in his tank at the moment? If not then the bb may die and cause the tank to be uncycled. If you are and it's too strong you can baffle it.
 
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CheekyPanda

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No, I just got the tank two days ago when I got the betta. It was one of those times where you see a sick fish and want to save it from that tiny little jar. It is not cycled. I am having to change the water every day. I would like to put a filter on it to try to keep the film and dust from building up on the water and also so I could start cycling it. It is a 5.5 gallon tank filled halfway because he is having so much trouble swimming.
 

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My advise would be look into a foam filter they don't take up too much space and get some tetra safe start. A non filtered non heated tank is not good for him.
 
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He has a heater. I haven't had any luck finding a sponge filter locally. Am considering improvising one. Am scared to use stuff not made for aquarium use. Can't believe our petsmart doesn't have something as simple as that. Will it work in about 5-6 inches of water?

Here is a video. Sorry for the loch ness monster quality.
 

Eienna

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Generally with swim bladder disease, they can't tell which way is up. Kind of like an inner-ear disease in humans. I'm not sure that's the issue there. It actually kind of looks like his back half's weak....possibly from insufficient exercise. Good food (yes, give him the pellets and peas - whether it's swim bladder trouble or not, this will be good for him) and time to heal and strengthen should fix him up...at least as long as he doesn't have something degenerative going on.

Don't cook the pea or you'll destroy some of the nutrition. Stick it in the freezer until it's frozen, then take it out, thaw it, shell it, and soak the inside in garlic juice for a few minutes. Freezing veggies still hurts the nutritional value some, but it's better than cooking.
 
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Can I use garlic juice that comes in a jar of minced garlic?
And is it okay that it looked like he passed a whole pellet? The pellets won't hurt him?
Are the blood worms good for him? How often can I feed?
Up to half a pea okay?
How do you exercise a fish?
 

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CheekyPanda said:
Can I use garlic juice that comes in a jar of minced garlic?
And is it okay that it looked like he passed a whole pellet? The pellets won't hurt him?
Up to half a pea okay?
How do you exercise a fish?
To exercise him see if he will follow your finger. My bettas will all swim around the tanks following mine. if he is trying to swim he may be exercising himself enough, especially if he is acting tired. He was in a cup at the store correct? It may take him some time to build up his strength again since there isn't much room in those cups.
 

silverwolf33333

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CheekyPanda said:
Can I use garlic juice that comes in a jar of minced garlic?
And is it okay that it looked like he passed a whole pellet? The pellets won't hurt him?
Are the blood worms good for him? How often can I feed?
Up to half a pea okay?
How do you exercise a fish?
1)
2)
3) not really, like as a treat, maybe once a week.
4) yes
6) do what corycats suggested.
 
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CheekyPanda

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So they really can get that weak from being in a cup? Is it common? How often should I exercise him?
And the peas. I haven't tried it yet but what do I do if he won't eat it?

Tried the exercise. Used the medicine dropper I feed him with. He chased it a little and every once in a while he'd tag it. Then he lost interest and laid on the bottom of the tank like he was tired. His gills were moving faster. Is that like when people get out of breath?
I'm really thinking he's a she. How big are they when their fins get long?
Oh, and the tank's getting a little swampy smelling. Is that normal?
 

CoryCats

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QUOTE=CheekyPand;1544.2]Tried the exercise. Used the medicine dropper I feed him with. He chased it a little and every once in a while he'd tag it. Then he lost interest and laid on the bottom of the tank like he was tired. His gills were moving faster. Is that like when people get out of breath?
I'm really thinking he's a she. How big are they when their fins get long?
Oh, and the tank's getting a little swampy smelling. Is that normal?[/QUOTE]

Try the pea. I don't know if I'd make him exercise, a little won't hurt but if he gets tired let him rest. It is not normal for if to smell, have you been doing daily water changes? Are his gills always moving fast or just when you were exercising him?
 

silverwolf33333

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CoryCats said:
QUOTE=CheekyPand;1544.2]Tried the exercise. Used the medicine dropper I feed him with. He chased it a little and every once in a while he'd tag it. Then he lost interest and laid on the bottom of the tank like he was tired. His gills were moving faster. Is that like when people get out of breath?
I'm really thinking he's a she. How big are they when their fins get long?
Oh, and the tank's getting a little swampy smelling. Is that normal?
Try the pea. I don't know if I'd make him exercise, a little won't hurt but if he gets tired let him rest. It is not normal for if to smell, have you been doing daily water changes? Are his gills always moving fast or just when you were exercising him?[/QUOTE]

corycats got a point. it will breath like that afterwards, but if its always like that it could be a heath issue. maybe it just needs to settle in. how long have you have your beta?
 

CoryCats

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I don't think he should be breathing like that after exercise unless he's really weak. If he's always doing it you need to check your water parameters, or since he's having trouble swimming (may not be able to surface for air) an air stone.
 
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CheekyPanda

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When he rests they are almost completely still. It's only after he swims. I've been changing the water daily, 50%, and I've only had him for two days, so twice. He's found a grass plant that he seems to like and he sits in it with his nose close to the surface. Every once in a while he'll take a breath. I don't know how often he's supposed to though. It seems rare, but I don't watch him all the time either.
It's not a strong smell. Just kind of musty like it needs to air out. I have the lid on it and it's humid in there.
 

CoryCats

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If it's after he swims I would stop excersizing him. If he swims on his own OK but I wouldn't make him. I would rest your water just to make sure the smells not from that but with daily water changes it should be OK. It's OK for him to breath from the surface.
 
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Okay. Thanks.
Still wish I could filter it. I don't like the idea of stagnant water.
Will keep up the water changes and hope for the best.
 

Eienna

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Can I use garlic juice that comes in a jar of minced garlic? Yes

And is it okay that it looked like he passed a whole pellet? The pellets won't hurt him? No worries. He probably didn't, and it won't hurt him.

Are the blood worms good for him? How often can I feed? It's a treat food only.

Up to half a pea okay? Probably.

How do you exercise a fish? Right now, I wouldn't. Let him build up a little at a time by raising the water level slowly as he gets better at getting to the surface. Once he's doing that well at full height, you might see about having him move around a little more.

Keep up the water changes...and it might behoove you to test it once in a while...but he'll be OK for now.
 
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I tested the water for ammonia and nitrites last night. I keep getting about .50 ppm on the total ammonia reading (don't worry, I am treating with prime), though the little seachem ammonia alert stays yellow. Keep thinking I might be seeing a tinge of green but I can't tell. Either way he gets a water change this afternoon. I've read some reviews on amazon where people kept saying it didn't work though so I'm not sure if I can trust it.

I got parts to put together a crude sponge filter.

This is a tube from a pack of m&m minis with holes punched in it. I soaked it overnight to try and get the chocolate smell out. Will it be okay?
2013-03-24 12.36.02.jpg

And then I will strap two aquaclear 30 sponges together around it.
2013-03-24 13.00.05.jpg

It will be rather short. Do you guys think it will work?

I also turned the airstone on for a little while last night, but he kept getting curious and trying to swim towards it and then it would suck him up and float him towards the top. It was adorable but he kept doing it and I got worried he'd tire out so I cut it off before I went to sleep.

Also, sometimes he'll swim up to the glass and keep nodding his head back and forth. Is this normal?

Built sponge filter. Only problem; it floats.
 
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Hmmm, no gravel here. Will actually have to buy gravel. What if I dropped some marbles or something down the pipe?
 

Eienna

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Should work fine. Just make sure they're clean. Alternatively, you could drop some steel fishing split shot weights (avoid the lead ones) or one of those plant weights in there. I'd put them in the bottom so it's not top-heavy.
 
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I like that idea. Which ones are fish safe? Just any that are lead free? I thought they all had lead. Don't fish much. Kind of ironic putting them in a fish tank.
 

Eienna

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LOL. I fish, and I keep fish. *shrug* I don't catch and release, though. If what I get's of legal size, I eat it, so I'm not hurting it meaninglessly.

There's lead split shot and there's steel, as far as I can recall (it's been awhile...but I think they came out with steel because of concerns over lead toxicity.) Just avoid the lead ones and you should be fine. Rinse 'em first.
 
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Yeah. I fish rarely but I haven't been in a long time. On the rare occasion I caught a fish I told myself I would bring it home and eat it but I've never been able to bring myself to do so. I know its kind of cruel, but they are so neat to look at before you have to put them back. Probably good that I got an aquarium huh?
I went and looked at the weights, saw some that would've worked well, but put them back because I got scared they'd rust. I'm going to try rocks for now.
I also saw one of those big car wash sponges and I thought I might try it. Is there any way to find out if its safe? I'd seen some DIY videos using them for filters, but they smell funny so I don't know.
Bluejeans has been more lethargic today. He's been resting in his plants most of the time coming out for brief swims. I will try the air stone again tomorrow. He seemed to swim more with it on. I'm scared to run it at night.
 

Eienna

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Don't use the car wash sponges...they may have been manufactured with unsafe chemicals.

Rocks sound best.

He's probably tired out. It'll be a bumpy road for him. Hopefully he hasn't been permanently disabled....
 
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Hopefully not. I keep wondering if maybe his cup was dropped or if it's a birth defect. Can you use that for fish? How do they start out? Are they kept in ponds or started off in aquariums? If it was a pond and a birth defect I don't see how he's made it. I would think he was weak too except he's perfectly capable of using his pectoral fins and wiggle his tail to get along. It's just buoyancy issues. When he slows down and tries to hover like other fish might has back end falls to the ground. When he lies down he cannot keep his balance. He falls to one side, tries to right himself, falls to the other side, does this a few times a settles for where he is. But when he swims or settles in a plant he is usually straight, except his tail pointing down. If his tail didn't sink I think he could swim normally. I almost wonder if I could make him a little fishy wheelchair. Well, I guess float chair would be more accurate. I think I should get some sleep now.
 

Eienna

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You're not crazy.


They most likely start them in small containers for space reasons. I'm leaning toward atrophy in the back end. He can go for a little while but then he gets tired. Of course, without watching him myself it's difficult to say. At least he's getting a decent life with you.
 
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Here are some videos of him swimming. I'm just going to link to my youtube account because so far those are the only videos I've uploaded.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ambersartain/videos?view=0&flow=grid

I got a new heater because the old one was only heating to 76F. Since the new heater is bigger and probably hotter, and I have found him sitting on the heater before, I'm thinking of filling the tank all the way up and making a breeder box to put him in out one of those plastic sterilite containers. That way I can run the heater and the filter and know that he is safe.
 

Eienna

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Yeah, it definitely looks like a weak back end to me. He knows which way is up, which is skewed or absent with swim bladder disease sufferers.

It looks like he's improving. Just keep doing what you're doing. I think 76 is fine for bettas, generally, so you don't need to add the new one right now.
 

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