Betta suddenly inactive??

bumbleroyale

Member
Hi, I'm very concerned about my betta, Pluto, and I really need some help.
Yesterday, in the afternoon, my betta started to stay still in his tank, with his nose down and the rest of his body floating up above him, almost vertical. He was breathing fine, moved when I checked on him, and everything I could find on this forum and others suggested that other bettas with the same behavior might just be sleeping. However, it was all of yesterday afternoon, and he's still doing the same this morning. He's also lost a lot of color in his scales, and won't come up for food. I didn't add anything to his tank, didn't drop anything in there, nothing. I have no idea what could be wrong, and I'm afraid that he's dying.

This was how he was before this weekend:


And now he looks likes this. This is also the vertical position that he won't get out of.


There are no signs of ich, fin rot, pop eye, swim bladder issues, or lost scales. That's what has me so perplexed and worried. I'm going to do a partial change on his water while I'm waiting for replies here, and hopefully that might help him? But any advice or answers you have would be really appreciated.
 

SM1199

Member
How old is he?
What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)?
What's the temperature of the tank? (You say it's heated, but what does the thermometer read right now? Heaters can malfunction, even if it still appears to be working)
Did you use any cleaners outside of the tank (as in, anywhere else in the house) recently?
 
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bumbleroyale

Member
SM1199 said:
How old is he?
What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)?
What's the temperature of the tank? (You say it's heated, but what does the thermometer read right now? Heaters can malfunction, even if it still appears to be working)
Did you use any cleaners outside of the tank (as in, anywhere else in the house) recently?
I'm actually waiting on new parameter check stuff to be shipped out to me because I used the last of it about two weeks ago, so I'm not sure, but as of two weeks ago they were almost perfect. I got him about three months ago, and the thermometer says 79 Fahrenheit. And nope, no one in the house has done any cleaning in the room that his tank is in.
 

kallililly1973

Member
What were the actual parameter numbers? We’re you using test strips or an API liquid teat kit?
 

mattgirl

Member
I would be doing much larger water changes in a tank this size. If you are only changing out 20% of the water each week you are leaving 80% of the old water in there. I recommend changing out no less than 50% of the water each week. Personally I would be changing out no less than 75% of it each week. Most things can be prevented by simply keeping the water as fresh and clean as possible. When doing the water changes be sure to both temp match and dechlorinate the new water before pouring it in there.
 

kallililly1973

Member
bumbleroyale said:
Interesting as mattgirl said you should be doing weekly 50-75% WC’s it will also help keep the nitrates lower. What brand of strips are you using that test for ammonia. I didn’t know they had ammonia readings on them.
 
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bumbleroyale

Member
kallililly1973 said:
Interesting as mattgirl said you should be doing weekly 50-75% WC’s it will also help keep the nitrates lower. What brand of strips are you using that test for ammonia. I didn’t know they had ammonia readings on them.
I'll definitely be doing bigger water changes from now on, so long as he survives this. I have API 5 in 1 test strips, and then Tetra EasyStrips Ammonia for the ammonia content. I'd get a current reading right now if I could, but the closest pet store is an hour away, and it'll be about two more days before the ones I bought online will arrive.
 
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bumbleroyale

Member
It's been a few hours. I did a 75% water change with was temperature matched and dechlorinated before being added, made sure to clean any and all debris I could see at the bottom, and checked to make sure my filter was running correctly. Pluto is still face down, and shows no signs of improvement. Again, there are no signs of the normal diseases, and this came on suddenly; he was just fine on Saturday.

Any tips on what else I could do? I really don't want to lose him.
 

mattgirl

Member
bumbleroyale said:
It's been a few hours. I did a 75% water change with was temperature matched and dechlorinated before being added, made sure to clean any and all debris I could see at the bottom, and checked to make sure my filter was running correctly. Pluto is still face down, and shows no signs of improvement. Again, there are no signs of the normal diseases, and this came on suddenly; he was just fine on Saturday.

Any tips on what else I could do? I really don't want to lose him.
I was hoping the water change would perk him up. I hate to even mention it but it is possible the damage has been done and he may not pull through.

I really hope I am wrong.
 

SAM321

Member
Betta normal life expectancy is 36 months and this one looks not less than 24 m.

Have you used the medicine.

I used it and get success with young bettas.

Placing hand in water or some time more than one blood worm a day badly affect bettas
 
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bumbleroyale

Member
SAM321 said:
Betta normal life expectancy is 36 months and this one looks not less than 24 m.

Have you used the medicine.

I used it and get success with young bettas.

Placing hand in water or some time more than one blood worm a day badly affect bettas
I called the nearest pet store, and they don't have this medicine. I only get my hands in the tank about once a week to do the water changes, and he only gets a blood worm once every three or four days. Thank you for the information, though. I will be sure to get and keep some of this medicine on hand now.

mattgirl said:
I was hoping the water change would perk him up. I hate to even mention it but it is possible the damage has been done and he may not pull through.

I really hope I am wrong.
I hope so too But thank you for your help. Even though this sucks, it's nice to know that people are so willing to help someone else
 

PascalKrypt

Member
First of all, sorry OP about the depressing situation.

Does his current colour look washed out on the photo because of lighting or does he actually look paler?

Just to rule out things going wrong in the future, on top of the water change schedule that has been touched on, may I ask what you feed him and how often?
Do you vacuum his tank every once in a while? 55ppm nitrates is a lot in a tank that houses only a single betta, especially when you were doing weekly changes (even if they were small).

SAM321 said:
Betta normal life expectancy is 36 months and this one looks not less than 24 m.

Have you used the medicine.

I used it and get success with young bettas.

Placing hand in water or some time more than one blood worm a day badly affect bettas
I'm sorry but the "normal life expectancy" of a betta is not 1.5 years, that is completely nonsense.
With good care and most of all good genetics, a betta should be able to live to 5 years (and if you are lucky, far beyond).
With the current state of most betta's genetics, around 3 years is perhaps more realistic.
But any betta that dies before 2, 2.5 years of age most certainly did not die of 'old age'.
 
  • Thread Starter

bumbleroyale

Member
PascalKrypt said:
First of all, sorry OP about the depressing situation.

Does his current colour look washed out on the photo because of lighting or does he actually look paler?

Just to rule out things going wrong in the future, on top of the water change schedule that has been touched on, may I ask what you feed him and how often?
Do you vacuum his tank every once in a while? 55ppm nitrates is a lot in a tank that houses only a single betta, especially when you were doing weekly changes (even if they were small).


I'm sorry but the "normal life expectancy" of a betta is not 1.5 years, that is completely nonsense.
With good care and most of all good genetics, a betta should be able to live to 5 years (and if you are lucky, far beyond).
With the current state of most betta's genetics, around 3 years is perhaps more realistic.
But any betta that dies before 2, 2.5 years of age most certainly did not die of 'old age'.
Thanks for the condolences. He is definitely paler. I posted both photos so that the color difference could be seen. He's lost almost all his color, to the point that he's more white than he was when I initially bought him.

I feed him five of the really small betta pellets once a day, in the morning. About once every three or four days, I feed him a dried bloodworm instead of the pellets. I read a piece of advice on here to occasionally give him a few tiny pieces of cut up, frozen (and thawed), de-skinned pea. I've done that twice now, with two weeks in between. It has been about six days since the last time I gave him the pea pieces.

I do vacuum his tank. I have some fluffy greenish stuff that sits on the bottom of the tank that I posted previously about and was told it was called "detritus" and to simply vacuum it sometimes. Here's that posting.

I also thought that it was about 5 years for a healthy betta, and was planning on having him for the rest of the time that I'm in college. This is only my third betta (first was a rescue from terrible living conditions & kept him for 2 years which, considering what I rescued him from, was much longer than I expected him to survive, then the second had something wrong with her labyrinth lung & she died within two days of getting her) and so I'm glad to know that I at least had that information correct.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
SAM321 said:
Edit, I'm sorry. That was totally my blunder. I don't know why my brain was somehow converting hours in day (24 + 12 = 1.5) instead of months in a year (36 = 3x12).
Sorry!
 

SAM321

Member
PascalKrypt said:
36 months = 1.5 years. Is this new maths!!

Betta life is theoretically can go above 36 months, however, it is not common to observe as after 30 months mostly betta get fragile and minor mishap is mostly fatal.
bumbleroyale said:
I will recommend to move betta in another bowl while cleaning. In my view putting hand in Betta tank affects betta's health
 

mattgirl

Member
SAM321 said:
36 months = 1.5 years. Is this new maths!!

Betta life is theoretically can go above 36 months, however, it is not common to observe as after 30 months mostly betta get fragile and minor mishap is mostly fatal.

I will recommend to move betta in another bowl while cleaning. In my view putting hand in Betta tank affects betta's health
I really have to disagree with this. As long as ones hands are clean, putting them in the tank should cause no problems whatsoever. Netting and moving fish is more stressful on them than cleaning around them.
 
  • Thread Starter

bumbleroyale

Member
mattgirl said:
I really have to disagree with this. As long as ones hands are clean, putting them in the tank should cause no problems whatsoever. Netting and moving fish is more stressful on them than cleaning around them.
The same for me. Pluto actually likes to come up and swim around and nibble on my fingers when I'm taking care of my marimo ball and stuff like that. He doesn't mind my hand at all. But he hates being put into a cup or any other container. The few times I've had to do that, he's flared at me in the cup and then pouted the rest of the day when he was back in the tank.
 

SAM321

Member
mattgirl said:
The case in discussion is a 3 gallon aquarium.
It is easy to get the water affected because of size. I would recommend using medical gloves, if using hand in inevitable.

I use a small bowl and get betta in that one without a net and then put it bacl directly after the cleaning.

Keeping a betta healthy is indeed challenging.
 

FinalFins

Member
I use hands every day to maintain all 3 of my aquariums, one of which is a 2.5 and I am usually putting hands in for maintenance and regular cleanings. Netting the fish out for even a little bit is extremely stressful and a stressed fish = ill fish.

Now, say you have dirty hands (such as paint, soap, outside nasties). Then what you said applies.

EDIT- Lets get back to the OP's question, shall we?
 

PascalKrypt

Member
bumbleroyale said:
Thanks for the condolences. He is definitely paler. I posted both photos so that the color difference could be seen. He's lost almost all his color, to the point that he's more white than he was when I initially bought him.

I feed him five of the really small betta pellets once a day, in the morning. About once every three or four days, I feed him a dried bloodworm instead of the pellets. I read a piece of advice on here to occasionally give him a few tiny pieces of cut up, frozen (and thawed), de-skinned pea. I've done that twice now, with two weeks in between. It has been about six days since the last time I gave him the pea pieces.

I do vacuum his tank. I have some fluffy greenish stuff that sits on the bottom of the tank that I posted previously about and was told it was called "detritus" and to simply vacuum it sometimes. Here's that posting.

I also thought that it was about 5 years for a healthy betta, and was planning on having him for the rest of the time that I'm in college. This is only my third betta (first was a rescue from terrible living conditions & kept him for 2 years which, considering what I rescued him from, was much longer than I expected him to survive, then the second had something wrong with her labyrinth lung & she died within two days of getting her) and so I'm glad to know that I at least had that information correct.
SAM321 said:
36 months = 1.5 years. Is this new maths!!

Betta life is theoretically can go above 36 months, however, it is not common to observe as after 30 months mostly betta get fragile and minor mishap is mostly fatal.

I will recommend to move betta in another bowl while cleaning. In my view putting hand in Betta tank affects betta's health
Please don't remove and repost, it can make things really confusing. I correct myself, I'm sorry about that, was sort of having a brainfart there.

I do have to strongly disagree with moving bettas while cleaning. There is absolutely no reason to do this whereas for most people not acutely aware of the risks moving a fish temporary to a contained while cleaning a tank carries a lot of risks of causing shock, such as the bowl cooling off if you take too long, then putting it back without acclimating, or there being remnants of soap or detergent in the bowl you use, etc.

Anyway, back on the betta at hand.
When feeding freeze-dried bloodworms, make sure to soak them beforehand. This isn't what caused your betta to go ill, but is just a general care tip. The dried worms can expand in the stomach when consumed dry, then soak up water afterwards and swell up, causing bloat and in a bad scenario, blockage.

Unfortunately it may be too late for the little guy. I am not a fan of antibiotics but you could try and dose some if you have them on hand. It is quite possible the betta is suffering from an internal infection and I'm afraid he will not last if his condition does not change soon.
My favourite med for such a situation is esha 2000 but I'm guessing you probably don't have (access to) that.
But even with all that, it may still be to late. Such a dramatic and quick development is usually a very bad sign.
 

SAM321

Member
FinalFins said:

Only refering for betta small tanks.

I do need to put my entire arm for my large aquariums as well
 

FinalFins

Member
I would say daily water changes may help him pull through. Maybe some seachem garlic guard in his food as well?
 

FinalFins

Member
SAM321 said:
Only refering for betta small tanks.

I do need to put my entire arm for my large aquariums as well
I am referring to bettas and small tanks the biggest aquarium I own is 20g.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
Oh, on another topic, about that fluff you were worried about - what kind of lighting do you have on your tank and what kind of plants are in there.
What do you dose and what kind of products do you use in your water? Please list everything from conditioner to stabilising products to fertilisers, vitamins. Just everything you are adding aside from water and food.
 

SAM321

Member

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