Came Back From Vacation To Lethargic Betta

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Won, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. WonNew MemberMember

    I came back from a week long vacation to a lethargic betta of 2 weeks in a 10 gallon. He was sick with swim bladder disease when I got him from the store but was very active in the aquarium. I had to fast him prior to vacation time because of the illness and fed him 3 garlic soaked pellets before I left to help the digestive tract. Anyway, the lil guy isn't doing so hot right now and is lying on the floor with his gills moving quite a bit. He can burst some energy to swim up but quickly goes back to the bottom. I plugged in my bubbler just in case it was low-oxygen, but I had two sponge filters constantly running with my baffled HOB. I cycled my tank way before and have 0/0/10 readings. I did a 50% water change anyway and saw no improvement in the betta's condition. What more can I do to help it? Is it just starving? I tried to feed him but he is not interested at all. Thanks for your time.

  2. andychrissytankValued MemberMember

    did you have someone feed him, and did they notice any weird behavior?

  3. Tiffany_e97Valued MemberMember

    The first thing I would immediately do is lower the tank water so it's only a few inches high. This way your betta doesn't have to rush to the surface to get air. Swim bladder almost always has an underlying cause, have you given him any other treatments besides fasting him and the garlic pellets? Does your betta look bloated in any way? Have you seen him defecate at all? Does he looks pale and faded? Anything at all unusual about his appearance?

  4. WonNew MemberMember

    Sadly, no. My dedicated fish-sitter was out for a bit so I decided to risk leaving the betta alone for a week.

    Regarding the few inches of water, how long can I have it like that? Do I just keep replacing the little remaining water? And if so, how often? His belly sized down considerably compared to when I brought him home on the first day (maybe due to the lack of food?). I did not give any other treatments and have not seen any defecation. He is quite pale and is not showing much finnage.
  5. WonNew MemberMember

    I forgot to state that the above betta isn't mine. It's just the same type which would be veiltail and a shade of orange.
  6. Tiffany_e97Valued MemberMember

    I would siphon the water out till about 5 inches remains and you will need to keep the betta at that water level until he improves, it won't hurt him. Since he will be in a considerably less amount of space, more water changes are necessary. I'd say 50% WC everyday to really keep the parameters as nice as possible. When you say he isn't showing much finnage, do you mean his fins are clamped against his body or they have physically rotted off? By the way your describing it, a pale color, laying at the bottom of the tank, refusal to eat, im leaning towards a bacterial infection.
  7. WonNew MemberMember

    His dorsal, caudal, and anal fins are shut if you know what I mean, like it's the opposite of a flaring betta trying to show off its fins and opening them up like a sail. I don't see any signs of fin rot though. If it's a bacterial infection, what would you recommend for treatment? I searched up bacterial infections and found out Bettafix. Do you think it's enough?

    I forgot to mention the food situation. Do I lay off the food or should I push to feed him? I could only feed one pellet after I came back yesterday.
  8. bopsalotWell Known MemberMember

    It's hard to say. Can you post a current picture of the actual betta? Does he have a heater? How long have you had him? Were you gone for one week, or 2 weeks? What is your ph? Is he in treated tap water?

    If he is not eating, then it is not hunger. It could be a great number of things, but I'm glad your nitrogen parameters are stable. Possible internal parasite (I'd maybe try API General Cure for worms/flagellates/hexamita or Prazipro for worms). If that doesn't work, you could try a broad spectrum antibiotic combo like kanamycin/nitrofurazone (Kanaplex/API Furan-2). You could do that in reverse order (antibiotics first, then anti-parasites).

    But I personally don't medicate unless I see clear signs of a specific illness. He's already stressed and clamped, so using meds needlessly may do more harm than good. But if he appears to be dying, it may be worth a try. But systemic bacterial infections are generally hard to treat when the fish won't eat medicated flakes. Check out my questions at the top and see if maybe something's wrong with his set up. Or could it be old age?
  9. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Don't beat yourself up over the vacation thing. A healthy betta should be able to go that long without a problem. I think that there is something else going on with your boy but impossible to tell without pictures of your betta.
  10. WonNew MemberMember


    Poor thing. I turned on the light to get some pictures and it looks worse than I thought. He looks so pale and his scales seem to be raised a bit. Maybe it's dropsy or ich now? :(

    The tank has all the necessary equipment including the heater and filters. I was gone for a week and I had him for two weeks prior. PH is at 7.5 and yeah, tapwater is treated with seachem prime.

    Also Kimberly, I try not to but I shouldn't have gotten him in the first place. I thought two weeks would be enough to have this little guy settle in and be happy, but things got rough.
  11. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    You are right. His scales are raised. This has nothing to do with your vacation. Remember that. Moving on. When we see this we usually treat with kanamycin and nutrafurazone. Do you have any of those stocked in your war chest?
  12. WonNew MemberMember

    Sadly, I do not.
  13. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Okay, the kanamycin is most readily available in Seachem's Kanaplex. The nutrafurazone in API's Furan-2 or Jungle Fungus Clear Fizz Tabs (available at Walmart). Normally we do not treat until we have an idea of what is wrong with the fish, but in a case like this it is very much like throwing darts blindfolded. These two together provide a broad spectrum treatment and it is usually your best hope. The Kanaplex can be hard to find locally. (A lot of local family run fish stores do carry this). Some people start treatment with the nutrafurazone only because of the prevalence of Walmarts.
    I'm sorry your boy is feeling this bad.
  14. Tiffany_e97Valued MemberMember

    Sorry for the late reply, but it looks like you've been pretty much taken care of. If you are not able to find kanamycin or nutrafurazone you can try and source API tetracycline as it treats both gram negative and positive bacteria.

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