Help! New, with sick Betta.

LZ Floyd

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HI folks, found your site while surfing for some answers about our sick fish.  I'm new to Bettas and the one I'm writing about belongs to my wife who isn't currently here.

This morning, I found the Betta in distress floating on it's side at the surface of the water; actually I thought it had expired until seeing some gill movement.  The fish was in a 1/2 gallon, tallish flower vase filled with tap water conditioned with Nutrafin Aqua Plus conditioner.  Apparently the water was two weeks old.

I changed out the water completely (new bowl and conditioned tap water) to see if it would help.  The setup has been moved to a room where the temperature is 74+ degrees to get the water temp warmed and regulated.

Since this morning the fish has shown some, albeit little, improvement; but, I've not raised his clinical status above "grave."  The fish, for the most part, will only float at the side of the bowl at the water's surface.  The only indication that it's alive is gill movement.  Occasionally it will dart around for a short time before floating to the surface again.

After the water warmed a bit, the fish became somewhat livelier and would eat (surprisingly).  Though it will chase food, it seems to wobble when moving through the water (if it doesn't completely rotate to one side) - kind of like the tail wagging the dog.  The underside of this bright blue fish is losing color and turning silver, and the tail looks like that seen in some of the "fin rot" pictures I saw earlier today while surfing.

Though it doesn't appear the fish will make it through the night, I'm looking for any suggestions you might have, cause you never know.
 

Peter243243

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I think it's suffocating try more surface area and a larger tank half a gallon is cramped for any fish.
 

chickadee

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I am sending the link for a Betta Care Guide that may be of help eventually but you may be right about this betta.  He needs surface area and warmer water.  The problem is that the warmer the water, the less oxygen it can hold.  So we have a bit of a problem.  Bettas need to be in about 80 degree water Fahrenheit/27 degree Celsius water and it needs to be filtered and cycled through what we call the Nitrogen Cycle.  The myth of Bettas being able to live in bowls and vases is just that, a myth.  They die slow and horrible deaths of ammonia poisoning in their own wastes. 

I would say that if the water was about 2 weeks old your betta is dying of ammonia poisoning from the build up of ammonia in the water and suffocation from the small surface area and lack of water movement in the vase.  He needed at the very least an airstone with an airpump to constantly pump air into the water and water changes every other day of about half of his water.  He may also be overfed.  He should not be getting more than about 3 pellets twice a day or 6 bloodworms twice a day.  Flake food is wasted on bettas, their mouths are not made to eat it and they can starve trying to shovel it in. 

Here is the link for the Betta Care Guide:



We have a Betta Board under the Freshwater Fish Species Specific category if you would like to visit.  There is a lot of information there to help learn about keeping bettas and how some of our members have dealt with problems that have arisen with their fish.  We are very fond of our bettas here and would welcome the opportunity to try to help you with this little one.  He really needs to be warm and have clean water which sounds like you did try to provide him.  I hope that this will get him through until you can read some of the other things he needs and see if you can provide them.  I hope you will keep us informed of his progress and if you would like join us on the Betta board and contribute with comments, questions, or simply browse through if that is more to your liking.

I do want to welcome you to Fishlore.com and hope that you can enjoy your time with us.  It is a good place to come to be with people who love their fish and want to help those who are trying to care for theirs.  Please let us know if we can be of help with anything else.

I am also sending the link to the article about the Nitrogen Cycle to help you understand what is happening to the betta:

https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Rose
 
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LZ Floyd

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Thanks Peter and Chickadee.  When I changed the Betta's water, I put it in a 5-inch tall, 10-inch diameter fish bowl.  Along with doubling the surface area, it will give him a bit more room than the vase.  If he (for now I'll call the fish a he) makes it through this critical period, we'll get him some better digs.

Prior to your responses, I was looking through the threads and ran across the Betta Care Guide.  The discussion on food and constipation may have led to one answer: he may be constipated; word has it he's been eating a lot.  Anyhow, I've just gone out and gotten some frozen peas, dethawed one, cut the skin away, and fed the little guy a couple of small pieces.  The fish went after the pea chunks - a bit wobbly, but he went after them.

Though he's not in the kind of tank I'd like to see him in, he is in a better place than he was when I found him this morning.  And he does seem to be responding to it.  Maybe, with a little TLC, he'll come around and we'll get him into a healthier environment.  If not, I tried.  I'll post tomorrow on how the little guy does.  And I thank you for your help.
 

chickadee

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I want to thank you for your concern. At least you care enough to be trying. I am glad he is eating the pea, you would be surprised at the miracles I have seen that little treatment work .

Please do keep us informed. We really do care.

Rose
 
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LZ Floyd

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HI folks.  Well, he survived the night.   ;D  He's moving through the water without being wobbly, and is remaining upright.   He seems in control of his fins and has built himself a sizable area of bubbles at the water's surface, something that I've read is part of a Betta's nesting behavior.  According to Mrs. Floyd, he's at his baseline behavior.  This is one resilient fish.  It's amazing what changing his water, throwing in some small pieces of green pea, and time did to help bring him out of his dying state.

Now it's time to get him into a new environment.

First, the Betta's name is Gainsborough (GB).  Mrs. Floyd named him, he's Mrs. Floyd's fish.  This is her second Betta, the first lived more than a year and was cared for in a manner similar to that of GB.  My only involvement came yesterday when I found GB dying in his water.  I do have some experience keeping a ten-gallon tank with fresh water fish; but I never kept, and know little about Bettas.  Neither of us thought GB was in any danger.  But, because of the event with GB yesterday, Mrs. Floyd, who doesn't really have a lot of time to invest in this hobby, wants to get him into a better tank with the necessary life-support devices, and I agreed to help out.

I'll spend some time lurking on the forum today to get some ideas on how to proceed with this.  I'm sure that what little I remember about the hobby is outdated, and I'll need to get some equipment ideas.  I think GB will be okay until we've acquired a tank (hopefully this weekend) and have gone through the tank-conditioning process. 

Thank you for your helpful responses.  I know Mrs. Floyd is grateful, as well as GB. 
 

chickadee

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The easy way to get the necessities is to get a kit like at Walmart. The Marineland Hex 5 tanks there have run about $29.95 for a year and they include everything but the gravel, plants, decorations, and heater. You will need to get a bottle of dechlorinator. (Prime or Amquel or StressCoat will work during the process called the Nitrogen Cycle) The tank will probably come with enough to start the tank but you will need some for mixing water for water changes. It would be my recommendation to get a new plastic bucket to mix water in as you cannot use anything that has been used with detergent. Then you have a clean one just for the new water and can use any bucket for the water you are taking out of the tank to change. I also have a really cheap set of plastic measuring spoons and a measuring 1 cup size that belong just to the fish, they are never washed with dish soap and only rinsed in dechlored water. It is important for some things to be measured and on the dechlorinator it is wasteful to try to guess, costs a lot. He will be a different fish when he has a heated and filtered tank and may even change color on you. It has been known to happen.

Oh, and the bubbles, they are a "thank you"; they build them when they are happy. He was probably so thrilled that you gave him that attention yesterday that he wanted to show his appreciation.

Welcome, Gainsbourough! I do believe that you have the honor of having the longest name on the Betta Board! We will probably do like your dad did and call you GB. Mr. Floyd and Mrs. Floyd are sure going to surprise you! Thank you for joining us. Keep us informed of how you are doing.

Thank you for letting us know how things are progressing. I would really appreciate getting progress reports. He sounds like a little trooper.

Rose
 
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LZ Floyd

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chickadee said:
The easy way to get the necessities is to get a kit like at Walmart.  The Marineland Hex 5 tanks there have run about $29.95 for a year and they include everything but the gravel, plants, decorations, and heater.  You will need to get a bottle of dechlorinator.  (Prime or Amquel or StressCoat will work during the process called the Nitrogen Cycle)  The tank will probably come with enough to start the tank but you will need some for mixing water for water changes.  It would be my recommendation to get a new plastic bucket to mix water in as you cannot use anything that has been used with detergent.  Then you have a clean one just for the new water and can use any bucket for the water you are taking out of the tank to change.  I also have a really cheap set of plastic measuring spoons and a measuring 1 cup size that belong just to the fish, they are never washed with dish soap and only rinsed in dechlored water.  It is important for some things to be measured and on the dechlorinator it is wasteful to try to guess, costs a lot.  He will be a different fish when he has a heated and filtered tank and may even change color on you.  It has been known to happen.

Oh, and the bubbles, they are a "thank you"; they build them when they are happy.  He was probably so thrilled that you gave him that attention yesterday that he wanted to show his appreciation.   

Welcome, Gainsbourough!  I do believe that you have the honor of having the longest name on the Betta Board!  We will probably do like your dad did and call you GB.  Mr. Floyd and Mrs. Floyd are sure going to surprise you!  Thank you for joining us.  Keep us informed of how you are doing.

Thank you for letting us know how things are progressing.  I would really appreciate getting progress reports.  He sounds like a little trooper.

Rose
Thanks Rose!  We've moved ourselves (along with your last post) over to the Betta Fish forum.  See everyone over there.
 

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