My betta is sick, lethargic, skinny, not eating

nataliee

Hi guys, I'm coming here because I've gone to every corner of the internet to try and get answers. About a month ago, my betta started refusing food (because he is sick), and I've now tried everything I can think of. I did aquarium salt, which is what I think worsened his condition, I did melafix, I just finished doing kanaplex, I've been doing water changes, and at this point, I can't think of anything else to do. He's very lethargic, skinny, and lost a lot of color. I haven't really ruled out any disease in particular, and think he might be suffering from multiple. I'll put a photo for you to see if you can identify anything, it's from the cup where I tried feeding him, but it's the best photo I can get.

In terms of food, I've tried frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried blood worms, with and without garlic on them, and flakes. I've tried feeding him in his tank, and I've tried feeding him in a small cup with low water level. I can't find any information on how to just get the food into his mouth. I really want to avoid having to euthanize, but it might've reached that point.

I can't check the water parameters because I've been doing water changes. He has a heater, filter, and air stone.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2786.jpg
    IMG_2786.jpg
    105.3 KB · Views: 19

mattgirl

How long had you had this little guy before this started happening? How long has this tank been running?

What size tank does he normally live in? What is the temp in the tank?

Before this started happening how often did you do water changes? How much did you change each time?

I guess I don't understand why doing water changes prevents you from testing the water. Knowing the numbers for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will help us help you. Do you know what the numbers were before he got sick?
 

nataliee

How long had you had this little guy before this started happening? How long has this tank been running?

What size tank does he normally live in? What is the temp in the tank?

Before this started happening how often did you do water changes? How much did you change each time?

I guess I don't understand why doing water changes prevents you from testing the water. Knowing the numbers for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will help us help you. Do you know what the numbers were before he got sick?
I got him August last year, and he’s been in the same tank since I got him, which is 6 gallons, and it usually runs around 75 degrees. I did water changes about once a month, and it varied how much, but I’d say anywhere from 25-50%. He is my first fish since childhood, so I’m kind of learning as I go. I say it’s useless to test because the last two times I tested, all the numbers were zero, and his pH was roughly 7.8, and people have just kind of been rude about it when I said the numbers on other platforms.
I originally thought it was tail rot, but the people at the pet store told me it was just fin nipping. Hence why I did the salt, but after that his condition quickly started to decline.
 

mattgirl

First, Please don't worry about any of us being rude to you. We are all here to help and learn. Rudeness won't be tolerated. :)

The only thing I would have done differently would have been weekly instead of monthly water changes. With just the one little guy in a 6 gallon tank 50% every other week should have been enough though. Strange that you are seeing no nitrates but not unheard of. It is good that both ammonia and nitrites are and have been a constant zero. I normally don't put much stress on seeing nitrates. Seeing them while cycling a tank lets us know we have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria.

Some Bettas have been known to bite off long heavy fins. Unfortunately they have been bred for looks instead of comfort for the fish. Your little guy doesn't look to have excessively long heavy fins but it is still possible he is biting them.

I don't think they are bred for longevity either. Since you've had this little guy for over a year it is possible he is just worn out. The only suggestion I can make at this point is raise the temp a few degrees if you can. I would very gradually raise it up to about 80.

Unfortunately we can't force feed a fish. You can continue offering it but if he doesn't eat pull it back out of there. I have to wonder if he would be interested in live food. Maybe something like brine shrimp. I've never hatched them but I am sure you can figure out how to do it. I have read about it an it seems to be a simple process.

I would stop adding any kind of medication at this point. Since we don't know why he is feeling so bad adding medications may do more harm than good.
 

Rose of Sharon

I agree with all of mattgirl's advice, and that he needs a bit warmer temp. Live foods are really good and may interest him. You can also try a really good pellet to see if he will go for that. I suggest Fluval Bug Bites for bettas. Omega One betta buffet is good, as well as North Fin Betta pellets, Hikari bio gold baby betta pellets and New Life Spectrum. All of these are pretty high in protein and low in fillers.

It is true that once bettas stop eating, it is hard to turn the around. But sometimes persistence on the betta parent's part will produce a good outcome!

I have always found that the best thing for fin rot is pristine water, so small frequent water changes until his fins heal. Adding some Indian almond leaves to the tank helps with the healing process. They give off tannins and will tint the water brown, but bettas love it!

I hope he bounces back and gets better! He's a pretty little guy!!! :)
 

nataliee

I agree with all of mattgirl's advice, and that he needs a bit warmer temp. Live foods are really good and may interest him. You can also try a really good pellet to see if he will go for that. I suggest Fluval Bug Bites for bettas. Omega One betta buffet is good, as well as North Fin Betta pellets, Hikari bio gold baby betta pellets and New Life Spectrum. All of these are pretty high in protein and low in fillers.

It is true that once bettas stop eating, it is hard to turn the around. But sometimes persistence on the betta parent's part will produce a good outcome!

I have always found that the best thing for fin rot is pristine water, so small frequent water changes until his fins heal. Adding some Indian almond leaves to the tank helps with the healing process. They give off tannins and will tint the water brown, but bettas love it!

I hope he bounces back and gets better! He's a pretty little guy!!! :)
Should I continue to take him out of the tank for feeding time or is that causing too much stress? I’m also worried because it has been over or about a month since he’s eaten and that’s probably caused a lot of internal problem (?). He doesn’t even respond when the food is in front of his face.
 

Rose of Sharon

It is probably a bit stressful for him to be moved to the cup. So sorry that he isn't eating at all! It's very frustrating when they won't eat, no matter what you try. The reason that I like the Fluval Bug Bites is because they are slow sinking granules, and sometimes bettas like to hunt, so they see them sinking and can swim after them. But if he isn't eating or moving, I am not sure that anything will help very much. You can always try to feed him using a pair of tweezers; that way, you will be able to move the food around in front of him in a controled way, and see if he will take a bite that way.

Is there a way for you to lower the water level in the tank? That way, if he needs air, he doesn't have that far to swim.

Can you post a couple of pics of him from above and from the side?
 

nataliee

It is probably a bit stressful for him to be moved to the cup. So sorry that he isn't eating at all! It's very frustrating when they won't eat, no matter what you try. The reason that I like the Fluval Bug Bites is because they are slow sinking granules, and sometimes bettas like to hunt, so they see them sinking and can swim after them. But if he isn't eating or moving, I am not sure that anything will help very much. You can always try to feed him using a pair of tweezers; that way, you will be able to move the food around in front of him in a controled way, and see if he will take a bite that way.

Is there a way for you to lower the water level in the tank? That way, if he needs air, he doesn't have that far to swim.

Can you post a couple of pics of him from above and from the side?
I appreciate you taking the time, but he actually passed away this morning. I even put in the Indian almond leaves last night, too. Thanks for all of your advice, though.
 

Bgreen82

I’m sorry to hear about your loss:(
It doesn’t make it easier but sometimes we can do all the right things and still lose them. Personally, I don’t think it ever gets easier. The biggest downside of this wonderful hobby.
 

Rose of Sharon

So sorry nataliee!!! :( I know that you did your best for him!!!
 

mattgirl

I appreciate you taking the time, but he actually passed away this morning. I even put in the Indian almond leaves last night, too. Thanks for all of your advice, though.
I am sorry to hear this. :( I know you did your best for him. Sadly even when we do every thing just right we can still lose them. I hope this won't prevent you from getting another little guy. I know you got to enjoy his company for over a year. You are a very good fish Mom so feel sure you will give another one a very good life.

The only thing I would do different is change out half the water at the very least every other week (although every week wouldn't be too much) and would raise the temp up closer to 80.
 

evonner

This is a sad thread. I have been facing the same issue with my Betta (Stewart). Today he is still alive but not eating and hiding on the bottom of the tank. I did some reading on a "stressed betta". I am letting him rest. I test the water everyday and do water changes. I causally moved some things around in his tank today, so that he has more places to hide. He is in a 10 gallon fully cycled tank. His tank has a heater, thermometer, live plans, a couple of fake ones, a big hiding rock and some other things that I added for him to hide. I noticed that he stays on one side of his tank. He has a over the tank filter and a bio sponge filter powered by a pump that I can adjust the flow rate. Each are on the opposites sides of the tank. So I was looking at his tank and saw the the side he wont go to is the side that his over the tank filter is on. Its adjustable. but as I was watching. I could see how the current was moving his advance plants. So I used the hack of a baffle made out of a water bottle. Now, I wait and see if that helped.
 

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom