Lethargic, Not Eating And Crazy Darting Behavior Like He Got Spooked But Didn't Help

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by eascusa, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. eascusaNew MemberMember

    I need help guys! Here is some background real quick. I am 42 years old and have had fish all my life. My first beta was when I was 8 years old. So I am not new to fish or betas. Since I have had betas off and on all my life I have seen a lot of things. Right now I have a beta named firefly who lives in a 10 gallon tank with 5 small tetras. (Can't think of their kind at the moment). He has been there since he was a baby and has always got a long very well with them. He is about 2 years old now. He is healthy and happy. I have another beta named Sky who is in a 5.5 gallon tank with only a mystery snail and a cordy albino catfish. He is also healthy and happy. Same age. I got them both around the same time. After two of my other betas finally died of old age. They were both around 5 or 6 years old. Now here is why I am here. About a month and a half ago I decided to get another beta to put in my room next to my Bearded Dragon cage. My Bearded dragon gets bored being in my room and I thought maybe watching a fish might be interesting for her. So, I got a 3.5 gallon tank with filter and heater and bought a young beta I call spooks.It took him about a week to get use to everything and then he seemed to enjoy his tank especially his coconut shell. I also have three small live plants that stay at the top for him to swim and sit on the leaves if he wishes. For about 3 weeks or so everything was fine. Although I am not use to having what I call a "half fish bowl and half aquarium set up". The filter isn't all that because it doesn't have the good bacteria plastic sit in piece and the water is very still which they say betas like but it doesn't get things swirling around so the filter can pick up the poop, extra food and dust. My other aquariums have a cordy fish which helps this while this one doesn't. There seems to be a lot of dust in my room. Most likely from my Bearded dragon who is digging right now. Anyway, and I am not use to the algae blooms that appear so quickly. My other aquariums have snails. So, I took a couple of pest snails I have a few of right now out of a holding container and put them in there to just eat some algae not thinking too much about the waste they themselves leave around. Anyway, I was doing a routine check on my water and the nitrite was really high. At this time though my beta was acting fine. I immediately though cleaned the tank, took out the snails, and put new water in. The tank hasn't had time to get any good bacteria yet anyway and part of the problem and the fish and snail poop was just laying everywhere not going up the filter like it is suppose to. I have to literally stir the water around now for the filter to pick stuff up. (Any advise on this too would be great) So, anyways a couple of days later I noticed my beta not active like he was. And the next day he wouldn't eat. Normally, he loves to eat. I checked his water and its fine. Which is a relief. So, I just gave it some time. Well, it's been over a week now and he still sits on the gravel and does not eat. There is no visible sign of illness however at all. Then I noticed yesterday that he got up to get some air and darted around the tank at top speeds like he was crazy. Almost like his name he just got spooked or something. I thought not much at the time because maybe he did. But I have seen him do it a few more times since. Really bad a minute before I started this thread. He ran into the heater now and is laying slightly on his side like he is caught behind it but he's not. So, most of the time he is lethargic and then flips out. Just once in a while though. I have seen other fish of mine do this in the past but never a beta. Unfortunately, my other fish would start showing other signs of going down hill and eventually die. I do not want that to happen to Spooks. He is truly a beautiful beta. And I feel so bad. I don't know what to do. I don't know what this is. I never did find out what made my other fish that have done that before do it. I usually always know what to do for my betas but I am at a loss with this one because there is no other sign of anything. And his water checks seem normal. I have been making sure it stay's clean. Plus, I have had betas in some pretty crummy water when I was younger and before I knew better and they never did this. So, I don't think it is the water at all. Betas are pretty tough. I have everything else he should need. Like I said I only have had him though for a month and a half or so. I don't really know his personality. But he should be eating and he isn't. Anyone know what's going on here? Advise? Please Help!
  2. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    You said early on in your post that the nitrites are high. Nitrites can cause problems for fish's blood oxygen level, essentially making them feel like they are suffocating. Here is a little reading on that. You can also google "brown blood disease" to learn more.

    Water changes and Prime water conditioner to keep remaining low levels of nitrites detoxified would be advisable.

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  3. eascusaNew MemberMember

    Yes, but I fixed that immediately. It has been good for 2 weeks now. If it had anything to do with that shouldn't he be better by now?

  4. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    If the fish was subjected to nitrite poisoning, I am not sure how long it would take it to recover if organs had been damaged. Nitrites don't usually disappear overnight, so I am unsure of how you immediately fixed it. The tank hasn't cycled yet so ammonia and nitrite levels could be causing him some issues on top of the possible prior damage. Are you using a liquid test kit to determine the levels?

    This is in no way saying that this is absolutely the problem. This is just saying that from the information you have provided, it is worth further looking into.

    I suppose another possible cause is if the bearded dragon's dust is introducing possible toxins into the beta tank...?

    A Turkey baster may help remove waste in a tank this size, or you could use a small tubing to siphon waste off the substrate.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  5. eascusaNew MemberMember

    Thank you for your reply.That is something I wanted to know if he could still be suffering from the high exposure of nitrites. That might be it. Yes, I use a liquid tester for nitrite and ammonia. I only have those two tests though. And according to it it is O.K. The first day I changed all the water. That is probably why it was instantly better and since then I am doing half or little over a half. I have been doing water changes every other day still and put in stress coat. I would do the water change every day but he seems to get upset over it. As far as the dust it is just from potting soil. When she produces eggs I put in some potting soil mixed in with her walnut substrate which doesn't have any dust. I only do this once a year or so when she lays eggs. otherwise she wont lay them and it can cause problems for her. So unless potting soil dust is a problem in which I'm not positive about I don't think its theproblem. I wouldn't think it to be the problem anyway. I was just in there doing another water change and was so frustrated how I couldn't get all the stuff in the gravel. I have a gravel cleaner but it wont work in this little tank. But when you brought up turkey baster which I use all the time to get pest snails out of my tanks I thought, "Wow, why didn't I think of that"! So thanks for that. Thanks for the help.
  6. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    You're welcome.

    To be more clear, and perhaps it is not something of any concern, but I'll throw it our there anyhow, just in case it makes some kind of sense... The bearded dragon produces a toxin that is capable of immobilizing small animals, with venom. Now...my thinking is that, is it possible that some of these secretions, while harmless enough to you, are getting into the substrate you use for the dragon and then inadvertantly a small amount is deposited along with the dust, into the beta tank?

    Maybe it's a big stretch, but I thought it might be worth a thought.
  7. eascusaNew MemberMember

    Hmmmm, I will have to look into this.Thanks
  8. eascusaNew MemberMember

    Can the ammonia in your fish tank still be high even if your nitrites are fine?
  9. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Yes. In an uncycled tank, this is typical when the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrites is not developed yet. In a cycled tank it is still possible when the ammonia bacteria become overwhelmed by an increased bio load and the nitrite bacteria are able to keep up to what is getting converted. It can also happen when there is a level of ammonia in the source water (like with a water change), in which case the bacteria in the tank need time to catch up and get it converted.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  10. eascusaNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone,
    Thanks so much for those who posted. I am very happy to say that with a lot of work I saved my fish. He is now 100% better. It makes me so happy to see him eating again and when he see's me coming over to the glass wanting his food. I really thought I was going to lose him. It took a long time but worth it. Thanks again. If anyone wants to know what I did just let me know and I can write it out.
  11. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Happy to hear the good news! Thank you for the update! Good job!