Help! Betta fish swimming at top of tank only

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Hello,

We have had our Betta fish for about 2 years. She has always been pretty active and swims around in her tank. We have it heated at 78 degrees and change the water about once a month. The past few days I noticed she was only staying towards the top of the tank. Then, the other night she jumped out of her tank! She was out for about 10-15 minutes. We put her back in and did a 25% water change and then did a complete water change yesterday. She is swimming around but seems somewhat lethargic. She still only swims on the top of the water and will sleep next to the heater a lot of the time. I ordered aquarium salt and a testing kit which will be here soon (with Covid, can't leave the house).

I'm not sure what else to do. My Fiance thinks her fins are jagged and maybe starting to decay so maybe fin rot? I don't really see it. I've scoured the internet looking for a solution and no one seems to have the same solution. Help!
 

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mrsP

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Yes, that's fin rot. Daily 50% water changes, indian almond leaf into water, and then important question: is that vase your bettas tank? How much water is in there? And what are parameters, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates?
 

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Hi there, welcome to fishlore

I don't want to be too harsh but I think the effects of living in a bowl are catching up to her? Water changes once a month are not enough for a fish in a small container.

It does seem she has some rot on her fins, are you using a dechlorinator? If yes I would start with daily 40% water changes to boost her immunity :)
 
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Thank you for both your quick replies. It is a 2.1 gallon bowl. We are using a water conditioner, the same we have always used. I will change the water daily until we see improvement. I have never tested the water before but ordered a testing kit that we should have in the next few days.

Would you recommend using the aquarium salt I ordered also? We should be getting that soon.
 

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I've never personally used salt in freshwater tank. Usually daily water changes are best you can do to your fish if there's this type of problem. And after everything is eventually back to normal, I would continue to do them twice a week, since it takes just minutes with tank that size. Also adding more live plants might help, they help keeping water quality better, and adding fish more hiding places, and producing oxygen. If you want to use salt, perhaps as dips?
 

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Bflags said:
Thank you for both your quick replies. It is a 2.1 gallon bowl. We are using a water conditioner, the same we have always used. I will change the water daily until we see improvement. I have never tested the water before but ordered a testing kit that we should have in the next few days.

Would you recommend using the aquarium salt I ordered also? We should be getting that soon.
Ok, great! When the kit comes test and let us know.
With daily changes of water she should heal and get more activity.

Maybe consider getting a larger tank too? 2 gallons isn't the best for a betta long term and you will need to get a filter too :)

Salt never hurts but personally I don't think salt is needed for this :)
 
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Ok, I went and bought a 5.5 gallon tank and a moss ball and additional plant. Filled it up and added appropriate amount of conditioner. It's a little warm so waiting for it to cool down. How long should I wait to put the Betta in? I don't have a clear plastic bag, I saw another method was to put it in a plastic cup and let it float in water for a bit? Suggestions?
 

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Great! You can float him in a cup for 30 minutes then let her swim into the new tank, and while she is floating I encourage you to read this - Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

You will need to complete 30% water changes everyday since you haven't cycled the tank. Water changes will essentially clease the water by removing wastes which are toxic to your fish. Once your tank is cycled the wastes are not toxic so you can do one 50% water change weekly :)
 
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Ok, she's all set up. Water had been changed once, I'll keep doing it. I had to slow the current down from the filter by using a plastic cup and then some of the filter material. But she seems to be ok so far. Thanks for everyone's help.
 

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Not to be rude or anything, but is there a reason why the water level is so low? You could probably raise it an inch or two.
 

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Hugooo said:
Not to be rude or anything, but is there a reason why the water level is so low? You could probably raise it an inch or two.
Low water levels is actually recommended for Bettas since they go to the surface every 5mins & have a labyrinth organ.. its encouraged to leave space so bettas wont have to struggle swimming so far up :) .

your is pefectly fine how it is! Its great you gave him the proper home to swim and thrive in! As said above, you will need to cycle tour tank, you will have to do the Fish-In cycle which will require lots of water changes . Do you have Prime water conditioner? Its the best water conditioner because it helps bind toxic levels of Ammonia/Nitrite and keeps the water safe for fish!
 

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Is the fin rot getting any better? Try to insert some pictures. In the meantime, do more research on fin rot. Here is the link to Fishlore's info about fin rot.
 
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Thanks for your help. She seems to be a bit more active. But still spending most of her time at the water line. Here are some photos.
 

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Aww, poor thing. Do you have a water test kit? If not, I highly recommend getting the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, which tests for all of the most important aspects of water. You can get it on or places like here the link to a thread with another fishkeeper experiencing fin rot on his betta. There are many good tips listed on there that should help you treat your fish. Good luck!
 
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So I received the testing kit. I've been doing 30% water changes everyday. I tested a 7.6 PH level, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites. How will I know when I no longer need to do daily water changes?
 

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