Came back from vacation and my betta has multiple problems!

  • #1
What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gal
How long has the tank been running? Several months
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 74 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) One Betta. Many live plants.

How often do you change the water? Every week to two weeks
How much of the water do you change? 50% or more
What do you use to treat your water? Water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes

What do you use to test the water?

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: -
Nitrite: -
Nitrate: -
pH: -
I cannot test the water because I don't have a kit right now AND I have covid so I can't go out!!

How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day

How much do you feed your fish? 3 pellets, twice a day
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Omega One

Do you feed frozen? No
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? Occasionally as a treat

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Several months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 8 days ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Lethargic, laying around, seemed uninterested in food this morning
Have you started any treatment for the illness? I gave him aquarium salt in the water change?
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Slightly ragged fins, very low energy. Just lays around. Has started staying behind his filter, perfectly still.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.

Hello! I have a beautiful blue halfmoon betta. He is my first betta and I've had him for a few months, in a 10 gallon planted, filtered, and heated tank. Two weeks ago, I left on vacation. It was my first time going on vacation with a pet fish at home, so I purchased him an automatic feeder. However, the feeder seemed to be dispensing too much food, so I taped up the hole a bit so that it would dispense less. Even so, it still seemed too much, but I thought it would be ok if I set it to only dispense once a day. I left on vacation, worried that he would overeat while I was away. I don't plan on repeating this mistake.

A week later, I came back from vacation, and he was in very poor shape. He had obviously overeaten and was bloated, and his fins appeared slightly ragged (he has NEVER had fin issues before!). I gave him a water change, added aquarium salt, and fasted him for a couple days. Soon, he was kicking again! He was eager to eat and would swim around a lot more. However, he had picked up a habit of laying around, and would do it for most of the day. Just laying, not moving. Sometimes on his belly, sometimes on his side. He found a spot behind my filter and he just stays there, completely still. I'm concerned because he was a VERY high energy fish before the overfeeding, and now it's all gone.

This morning I got up to feed him. He usually reacts to my voice and movement, but I had to move around a lot and make a lot of noise. I managed to persuade him to eat two pellets over the course of like 10 minutes, and then he just started laying on the bottom again. It's like he was getting better but now he's getting worse again. It's been hours and he's either laying behind the plants or tucking himself behind the filter.

I'm still not sure what happened to his fins. They were perfect before I left. It's probably fin rot, but is it possible that he got it in just a week? I even changed his water the day before I left on vacation. They don't appear to have gotten any worse. It could have been stress nipping I guess but it doesn't really look like it, aside from one large missing bit.

If it gives any more context, I also just started using a new brand of water conditioner (Jungle Start Right), and I'm a little bit suspicious of it because of the timing.

Obviously the issues are related to the overfeeding of 8 days ago. Am I impatient? Is he just still in the recovery process? Is he maybe constipated? What kind of long-term issues might I expect? Also, does 74 degrees seem.... a little too low? I have an aquarium heater but I might have to buy a new one if that's too cold.


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  • #2
I'm sorry for your troubles and you seem to really care about your fish. I'm sure people here can give you advice that will help.

My only advice is to raise the temperature because 74 is too low for a betta. 78 would be better.

Rose of Sharon
  • #4
First, I am so sorry about your betta baby, and I hope that you get better very soon!!!!

I would do small frequent water changes, like GenF211 recommended.
When doing your changes, keep in mind how much water you change, so you can add back the correct amount of aquarium salt that you took out with the water change. Aquarium salt is only removed by water changes, and you wouldn't want to over dose your fish. I would use aquarium salt for about a 2 week period. The water changes and salt will help any fin issues that he has.

I don't think that the Jungle product caused a problem, but I always recommend using Prime since it holds the toxicity of lower levels of ammonia and nitrite for up to 48 hours, especially if you follow the over dose instructions.

I have heard horrible things about those vacation feeders.

I also agree with otterblue in that he needs a warmer temp. If you get a new heater, a good type to have is an adjustable one. Those preset jobs usually just don't get it warm enough for bettas.

I think that he may still be recovering. Give him a few more days. Also, try soaking his pellets in some garlic juice if you have some to give his immune system a boost. This will help his over all health.

It can't tell for sure from your pic, but do you use botanicals (Indian almond leaves)? The tannins that they produce will reduce stress and help with the healing process.

I would also recommend that you keep his lights dim. Give him a good 14 hours with lights off. And of course, keep a close eye to track levels of bloat. If you see him getting worse, maybe you could post a few more pics, some from above, and some from a side view, if you can get them.

I do hope this helps!!!! Sending you good thoughts!!!!
  • #5
Hi sorry about your betta! Did you do a water change when you got home? If so how much? Did you vacuum the substrate? It’s possible you are having an ammonia spike from all that food but without a test it’s hard to say.

I always recommend Prime also as it neutralizes not only chlorine and chloramines but also ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Do you have someone who can pick up an API water testing kit for you?

How much salt are you using? What kind? I’d use 1 tsp of non-iodized salt per gallon of water, dissolved in tank water first.

If he is bloated I’d fast him a minimum of 24 hours.

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