HELP!! Betta Swimming Erratically & Laying at Bottom of Tank

JHR323

Please Help --

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 8 Gallons
How long has the tank been running? 2 Month
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) (1) Betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Once a week
How much of the water do you change? About 30%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? No, I used Tetra Safestart Plus and it worked well
What do you use to test the water? API Master Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10- 20 PPM
pH: 8.2 - this is the consistent pH of the tank

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1-2 times daily
How much do you feed your fish? 4 hikari bio-gold pellets, Fluval Betta Bites, some FD daphnia & FD Bloodworms from time to time. I always soak his pellts before feeding to him for quite a while.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Hikari & Fluval
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? FD

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 2 Months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 1 day
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Laying at bottom of tank, and swimming erratically, seems to be gasping
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Yes, fins are ragged, swimming erratically, laying at bottom of tank.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) I did a water change yesterday, more than normal - probably closer to 50%. Afterwards I noticed his fins looked like they were starting mild fin rot. My plan was to start doing more frequent water changes. When I woke up this morning, he was laying at the bottom of the tank (I thought he was dead), but then did swim but very erratically. His fins look worse this morning yesterday. Pictures below. The photo with (2) pictures shows how he normally looks when healthy, and the second picture shows how his fins looked yesterday. The (1) photo is how he looks today.

Medicines I have on hand if needed: API General Cure, Metro Plex, Focus (binder) & Paraguard
 

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OiFisho

Ok, don't panic about the laying at the bottom of the tank, that has nothing to do with fin rot. To stop that, get a betta hammock and put food over it every time you feed him. This will then train your fish to lay on the hammock. Nothing bad has happened (To me) when my betta layed on the ground. As for the panicky swimming, it's probably stress from something. It's always good to put aquarium salt for anything in a freshwater tank. I put it in when my fish aren't sick! I've never had to deal with fin rot before so this is all the advice I can give.
 
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N13

Ok, don't panic about the laying at the bottom of the tank, that has nothing to do with fin rot. To stop that, get a betta hammock and put food over it every time you feed him. This will then train your fish to lay on the hammock. Nothing bad has happened (To me) when my betta layed on the ground. As for the panicky swimming, it's probably stress. It's always good to put aquarium salt for anything in a freshwater tank. I put it in when my fish aren't sick! I've never had to deal with fin rot before so this is all the advice I can give.
Agreed.
 
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jkkgron2

Laying on the bottom is a sign of stress. Maybe because of fin rot, maybe because of something else. It’s hard to say until the fin rot is gone. For now I would do daily 25% water changes, and add in some Indian almond leaves. The tannins from the leaves will turn the water color light yellow or brown, but the tannins the leaves leach also have beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help against fin rot.
 
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OiFisho

Laying on the bottom is a sign of stress. Maybe because of fin rot, maybe because of something else. It’s hard to say until the fin rot is gone. For now I would do daily 25% water changes, and add in some Indian almond leaves. The tannins from the leaves will turn the water color light yellow or brown, but the tannins the leaves leach also have beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help against fin rot.
If it keeps laying on the bottom of the tank after the fin rot is gone it's probably just tired, if the erratic swimming doesn't stop something else is bothering it.

One thing I am 99% sure on is it's stressed about something now.
 
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jkkgron2

If it keeps laying on the bottom of the tank after the fin rot is gone it's probably just tired, if the erratic swimming doesn't stop something else is bothering it.
If there wasn’t any erratic swimming I’d say it was just tired, but those two things combined make me think something else is going on.
 
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OiFisho

If there wasn’t any erratic swimming I’d say it was just tired, but those two things combined make me think something else is going on.
I never knew laying on the bottom of the tank was a sign of stress in bettas until now. I just assumed it was just being a betta. But, with this new found knowledge I'd have to agree. JHR323 how long have you had him? I only ask because you sounded panicked about the laying at the bottom of the tank which is fairly normal for bettas. If he's new it's almost definitely the store's fault for selling you a betta with fin rot. Also, is there anything that might've stressed your betta other than fin rot? I know moving tanks is a big stress causer for fish. If you have a dog or cat it might be afraid of those.

Sorry, I forgot! You've had it for 2 months!
 
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JHR323

Ok, don't panic about the laying at the bottom of the tank, that has nothing to do with fin rot. To stop that, get a betta hammock and put food over it every time you feed him. This will then train your fish to lay on the hammock. Nothing bad has happened (To me) when my betta layed on the ground. As for the panicky swimming, it's probably stress from something. It's always good to put aquarium salt for anything in a freshwater tank. I put it in when my fish aren't sick! I've never had to deal with fin rot before so this is all the advice I can give.
Thank you for your help so quickly! I really appreciate it. I do have (2) betta hammocks in the tank, but he's never use them. They've been in there for about a month. Out of curiosity, how does feeding them on the hammock help?
 
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OiFisho

Thank you for your help so quickly! I really appreciate it. I do have (2) betta hammocks in the tank, but he's never use them. They've been in there for about a month. Out of curiosity, how does feeding them on the hammock help?
No idea! I just followed the directions on the box mine came in and it worked! Also, it matters how deep you put it in, my old betta, Alfredo, would sleep with half of his body out of water! Which then I would, kick him off and then lower the hammock. Moral of the story, put the betta hammock just below the water line to wear the fish can swim upright on it, and also lay down without being out of the water.
I also learned to put the hammock inches below the water line from the directions!

Theory: The betta goes to get the food right over the hammock, because the hammock is so high your betta brushes against it! After using all that energy digesting food, your betta thinks "Huh, this is comfy! Might as well just sleep here!" And then sleeps there! No need to thank me!
 
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JHR323

I never knew laying on the bottom of the tank was a sign of stress in bettas until now. I just assumed it was just being a betta. But, with this new found knowledge I'd have to agree. JHR323 how long have you had him? I only ask because you sounded panicked about the laying at the bottom of the tank which is fairly normal for bettas. If he's new it's almost definitely the store's fault for selling you a betta with fin rot. Also, is there anything that might've stressed your betta other than fin rot? I know moving tanks is a big stress causer for fish. If you have a dog or cat it might be afraid of those.

Sorry, I forgot! You've had it for 2 months!
No worries! I threw a lot of at you all. The laying at the bottom of the tank is not normal behavior for him which is why I totally was freaking out.

Now that everyone who has so kindly responded here has mentioned that this is probably due to stress, I'm thinking it may be the betta mirror we got for him. We used it yesterday in his tank for the first time. We've used a mirror on the outside of his tank before to give him exercise and to flare a bit, but not on the inside of his tank. I wonder if that in combination with the fit rot is really just stressing the poor guy out. We'll definitely not put the mirror in again.
 
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OiFisho

No worries! I threw a lot of at you all. The laying at the bottom of the tank is not normal behavior for him which is why I totally was freaking out.

Now that everyone who has so kindly responded here has mentioned that this is probably due to stress, I'm thinking it may be the betta mirror we got for him. We used it yesterday in his tank for the first time. We've used a mirror on the outside of his tank before to give him exercise and to flare a bit, but not on the inside of his tank. I wonder if that in combination with the fit rot is really just stressing the poor guy out. We'll definitely not put the mirror in again.
The mirror is healthy but you should wait for the fin rot to go away before putting it in again.
 
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JHR323

I picked up both API Aquarium Salt & IALs. I dosed for aquarium salt, and he seems to be doing better. No longer swimming erratically and acting more like his usual self. He was interested in eating as well.

Should I also add in the IAL? Thanks!
 
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jkkgron2

I picked up both API Aquarium Salt & IALs. I dosed for aquarium salt, and he seems to be doing better. No longer swimming erratically and acting more like his usual self. He was interested in eating as well.

Should I also add in the IAL? Thanks!
I wouldn’t. Sometimes salt and IALs can counteract each other, and he’s because he’s improving with the salt I think you should wait until you stop adding salt.
 
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JHR323

I wouldn’t. Sometimes salt and IALs can counteract each other, and he’s because he’s improving with the salt I think you should wait until you stop adding salt.
Perfect. Will do. Thank you!!
 
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JHR323

Could anyone advise how long I should continue to treat with Aquarium Salt and Daily WCs? Thanks!
 
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OiFisho

Could anyone advise how long I should continue to treat with Aquarium Salt and Daily WCs? Thanks!
Too much salt can be bad for fish, I'd put in like 5 tablespoons. With medicine I'd do 3 days in a row, skip a day, if it's not gone do it for another 3 days. The heat should be risen to 80-82 degrees F.
 
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JHR323

Too much salt can be bad for fish, I'd put in like 5 tablespoons. With medicine I'd do 3 days in a row, skip a day, if it's not gone do it for another 3 days. The heat should be risen to 80-82 degrees F.
I haven't started any medicine. Just doing Daily WCs and Aquarium Salt for now. How long should I continue this until I move on to medicine? Today's the 3rd day of Aquarium Salt Treatment, so I'll give him a rest tomorrow. Thank you!!
 
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OiFisho

I haven't started any medicine. Just doing Daily WCs and Aquarium Salt for now. How long should I continue this until I move on to medicine? Today's the 3rd day of Aquarium Salt Treatment, so I'll give him a rest tomorrow. Thank you!!
I personally don't dp daily water changes when my fish are sick, I do one big water change after it's gone.
Again, still haven't ever dealt with fin rot, this is my ich/other disease method.
 
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JHR323

I personally don't dp daily water changes when my fish are sick, I do one big water change after it's gone.
Again, still haven't ever dealt with fin rot, this is my ich/other disease method.
Noted, OiFisho. Thank you so much for your guidance and advice!!
 
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jkkgron2

I haven't started any medicine. Just doing Daily WCs and Aquarium Salt for now. How long should I continue this until I move on to medicine? Today's the 3rd day of Aquarium Salt Treatment, so I'll give him a rest tomorrow. Thank you!!
I would continue doing daily water changes for about two weeks, and if it’s getting worse after that then use medicine. If it’s getting better or staying the same I wouldn’t use any meds.
 
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OiFisho

I would continue doing daily water changes for about two weeks, and if it’s getting worse after that then use medicine. If it’s getting better or staying the same I wouldn’t use any meds.
Idk, sometimes the meds are really helpful. I'd at least put it after two weeks better or not.
 
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jkkgron2

Idk, sometimes the meds are really helpful. I'd at least put it after two weeks better or not.
For other diseases meds are really helpful, but for finrot meds (unless in a very extreme case) usually cause more harm than good because of stress IMO.
 
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OiFisho

For other diseases meds are really helpful, but for finrot meds (unless in a very extreme case) usually cause more harm than good because of stress IMO.
Ok, I'll take your word for it.
 
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JHR323

I would continue doing daily water changes for about two weeks, and if it’s getting worse after that then use medicine. If it’s getting better or staying the same I wouldn’t use any meds.
Should I keep using the aquarium salt for the two weeks as well? or should I stop using the aquarium salt after a certain point and just do freshwater changes to slowly remove the salt? Thanks!!
 
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jkkgron2

Should I keep using the aquarium salt for the two weeks as well? or should I stop using the aquarium salt after a certain point and just do freshwater changes to slowly remove the salt? Thanks!!
I would. Although at the Week and a half mark I would start slowly removing the salt
 
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JHR323

I would. Although at the Week and a half mark I would start slowly removing the salt
Perfect. Thank you so much!
 
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JHR323

Wondering if I could get opinions on whether or not progress is being made please! Pic posted below. A little over a week into Aquarium Salt Treatment and Daily WCs.
 

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