Betta sleeping sickness?

  1. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Having a weird problem with some of my female Bettas but I'm not sure it's actually a disease. The "symptoms" only appear in one Betta at a time, too.

    There are no physical signs of anything wrong, the sufferer just appears to be sleeping, usually at the bottom of the tank, and sometimes nose down. If she moves at all she appears to be sleepwalking and her breath is almost undetectable.

    All water tests have come back 0, 0, ~20 though in one case the comatose girl seemed to wake up after the water change. Sadly that one managed to jump out of the tank that night:(

    Otherwise they just seem to sleep to death.
  2. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    So they die after they show these symptoms?
  3. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes. But not immediately. There seems to be a long time between the symptoms and death, long enough that I can't even say for sure that they're related! It's happened enough times by now though that I think they might be connected.

    The first ones to die were the oldest ones and I can't honestly say they had those symptoms because they were old and I expected them to slow down. If I saw them acting like that I probably attributed it to age.
  4. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    How long between showing this odd symptom and death? How long until they snap out of it? No other issues with them?
  5. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Not entirely sure. Since I started to think there was something happening and began paying attention there have only been 3 fish with those symptoms. The first one died within a few days I think. The second jumped out of the tank the first night after showing symptoms. The third is still alive. She just started yesterday:;dk
  6. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    Very weird! Maybe a virus or bacteria since it's spreading so quickly?

    Have you checked your GH, KH, or pH lately?
  7. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, but I didn't write them down. I think the KH was 3? GH 7? The pH was less than 8 but we'll above 7. I can retest right now if you like!
  8. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    As long as it hasn't been fluctuating, it sounds fine. KH is a little low, but if you're not seeing swings in pH then I don't think that's the issue.
  9. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Nor do I. The KH is actually higher in that tank than the others thanks to a big chunk of Texas Holey Rock (limestone) in there.

    OK, latest results:
    pH: 8.0
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 10 (just did big water change a couple of days ago)
    GH: 5 drops
    KH: 6 drops
  10. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    I'm sorry, I don't know what else it could be! If all of them were getting sick suddenly and at the same time I would guess a chemical contaminant, but since it's slow and not getting them all at once, I would guess a disease.
  11. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    The only other thing I can think of is that I removed a giant marimo moss ball that rotted on the inside and I didn't realize it. I was wondering what the smell was coming from the tank and that was it. Yechh!
  12. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Could it be stress?That'd be my guess.
  13. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    I thought of that but wouldn't it have shown up before now? It didn't start until the oldest girls passed.
  14. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Sounds like you may have found the key.

    Sometimes a change in the dynamics of a tank can alter the behavior of the fish or in your case several fish.
  15. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    And you think that the first deaths were enough to trigger stress-related illness in the remaining girls?
  16. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Stress in fish can be powerful. It's not just a term to describe what a fish is feeling. There are physical changes that take place as well.
    Here is one good article but there are more.

    In the absence of any outward signs of illness (obvious bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections) stress should be considered.
    Of course all this is my own non professional opinion :)

    We are talking about bettas in this thread but changing behavior when the dynamics change can be applied to a wide variety of fish.

    How many times have we read that everything was fine until I added X or until I moved Y.
  17. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Thanks Lucy, that looks like a good article! I'll save that so I can read it again. I know that stress is not a good thing for a fish but what is your opinion on sororities? The stress is higher than if they were kept alone but on the other hand more can be kept if in sorority. Given the number of Bettas available it seems it's a good thing to give as many as possible a good home. Or is it?
  18. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    I try to stay out of that debate but I guess my initial post gave me away ;)
  19. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member


    Yeah, it's a dilemma I struggle with still. I love the look of the tank and my girls are normally healthy and active, plus I feel good that I don't have to walk past all the bettas when I stop at the pet store. Then I wonder if they wouldn't be better off living in somebody's unheated, uncycled bowl vs. my beautiful, warm and cycled, yet stress-inducing sorority.

    I doubt, therefore I am;)
  20. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    If they behaved like one of the nice peaceful species of tetras I'd have a ton of them :)