Lethargic Betta

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LeticiaM

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HI everyone!! If you could help with my sick Betta, I would so grateful!

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallon
How long has the tank been running? Fall 2018
Does it have a filter? Yes, modified Aqueon
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78-80
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) one female Betta, handful of ramshorns

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 50%
What do you use to treat your water? I have well water, but still treat with Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? No, but that was over a year ago
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:0.25 (always is on all my tanks...seachem alert on 2 of my other tanks read 0...don’t have one on this tank)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate:5
pH:8.2

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1-2x daily, 6 days a week, one fasting day
How much do you feed your fish? 2 pre-soaked omega one pellets a.m. , small bit of bug bites p.m., with one -two of those feedings thawed frozen brine shrimp instead
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Omega one, Nutrafin
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Frozen as treats

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Adopted Aug 2018-14 months ago, previous family had her 6 months, not sure how old she was they first got her
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Wednesday-4 days ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Seems weak, trouble swimming, hiding, clamped fins, hanging out at the top of the tank quietly.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Fasted Friday, Saturday. Water change today again (last one Wednesday), added large IAL
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?see above, no pineconing, no areas of obvious damage, doesn’t appear bloated. Looking down into tank, body appears different shape than normal? hard to describe. twists body, but can straighten. Mostly just stays quietly near surface, but can swim very fast when startled. Normally would greet anyone near the tank, does not swim over anymore.

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)

This fish is my 11-year old son’s fish. I feed her if he doesn’t get a chance, but mostly he does it. He always soaks food- pellets (two only) or bug bites -prior to feeding. If the tank light goes off before she is fed, sometimes she won’t get her night time feeding...between 1-3 times weekly this may happen.
Wednesday I did her regular 50% water change, and noticed after I restarted her filter, she didn’t like the water flow, it seemed to blow her around, this normally doesn’t happen. I had taken out some of the water lettuce though, so then I moved it around, and put some under the filter to buffer the flow. My son fed her Wednesday pm and Thursday am.

I went to feed her Thursday pm and she took a long time to notice me and want to come over for food. She was hanging out behind the filter, which she never does. She eventually came over and ate, but seemed to look like she could not swim down. She was staying at the top of the tank.

No food offered all day Friday, Saturday. She either hangs listlessly, barely moving at the top of the tank in the water lettuce roots, or darts quickly to another spot in the tank. She is not rubbing on anything. She is maybe more alert than Thursday, but barely. She is very difficult to photograph as she is dark blue and the substrate, and the background of the tank is dark. I tried to video her from the top of the tank and her head looks very strange...skinny maybe? The area right in front her gills maybe looks square and rest of her body skinny??

Then I started to worry we were underfeeding her and she is weak, so I fed her thawed frozen bbs this morning and tonight, which she ate when I brought them to her.
I changed 50% of her water today and added an IAL.

I am not sure what to do at this point...feed her normally because she is weak??
Fast longer because it’s swim bladder?
If it’s just a swim bladder issue do they hide and act lethargic?
I changed 50% in another Betta tank the same day and that one is fine.

Thank you for reading this far!! Any help you could give would be wonderful!!

Here are two videos of her swimming...


And a picture of her tank

DB3CE537-2BD7-4FC1-98B7-0175ADEEC08C.jpeg


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Thank you again!

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PascalKrypt

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Strange, on the first video he seems to be swimming using just her pectorals, not moving the tail at all. That would doubtlessly cost a lot of energy. In the second video indeed his caudal region is curled weirdly. Though I have also seen other, healthy bettas who do something similar and it does not seem to bother them.
Either way it seems to be some kind of problem with the tail... Based on your info he is between 2,5 and 3 years old, possibly older. Hm. Could be age-related maybe?

Since he has trouble swimming I would lower the water level in the tank to about half (or as low as the filter allows) so he has an easier time getting to the surface for air.
I wish I had some better ideas for you, but I don't unfortunately. You could try putting some tannins in his water, bettas tend to like/relax with that and it can help mildly with bacterial problems. If he were mine, I would dose the tank with esha 2000, not sure if you have access to that, but I tend to do that when my bettas seem vaguely unwell and I can't pinpoint a source, sometimes it makes the problem go away.

Hope someone comes along with better ideas!
 
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LeticiaM

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Thank you PascalKrypt ! I didn’t realize until I rewatched her in the video, that she is not moving her tail at all, you are right!!

I didn’t drop the water level, I find that her filter creates pretty turbulent water when the water level is even more than 1/2” below the output. She actually stays at the surface fine, it’s going down that she has an issue with. She has been using her large IAL as a hammock since it was floating horizontal at the surface of the water for days. It has dropped now, but she has a floating Betta log, and I have added a Betta hammock as well.

I have been feeding her normally twice daily and she is eating what is offered. Monday when I went to feed her, she actually came swimming over to me! She was using her tail, not completely normal, but much improved from last week. This morning she could swim down half the height of the tank to catch missed food. Could an injury cause this? A injured muscle somehow? Her fins are still clamped, but she’s not getting worse .

I don’t have access to Esha 2000, unfortunately :(

Thank you for your help!
 

PascalKrypt

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Let's hope that she stays on the mend! Though it seems to be a motor issue, I doubt it is an external injury. Muscle problems.. maybe. I would have said neurological to be a better contender but if she is getting better, who knows. Just keep her pampered since it seems to be working :)

I have a betta that also has a tendency to curl her tail like that, but it is only when she is inspecting the tank wall and she shows no abnormalities in movement, behaviour, growth, personality, etc. I always assumed it was just a little quirk, like people who intertwine their fingers when they are talking. Maybe it is related to some sort of motor trait after all.
 
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