Please Help Max 2.0 Live Longer Than Max

sarthaz
  • #1
I'll add more to this thread as I can get pictures and test results, but I want to start it now to get the ball rolling. I started another thread last week about how many pellets to feed a betta:

Question - How Much To Feed A Hungry Betta?

Max came home with us last Saturday. He was lively and hungry. We fed him anywhere from 4 to 8 1mm pellets a day, and he always wanted more. Per the advice of the forum, I reduced his food down to 2 to 4 pellets a day on Wednesday. Almost immediately, he was sleeping on his side on top of his heater. I slid the heater down a few inches so it wasn't so close to the top of the tank, so he migrated to the bottom of his tank, clenched his fins tight, and by Saturday morning, he had passed. Barely a week.

When I bought him, I had the store test the water, and they said it was good. I had dechlorinated it and added bacteria supplement. When I returned a week later, I had them test the water again. Results were still fine. I got the API Freshwater testing kit to check for myself, but I haven't been able to test yet. There was another male betta who looked strikingly similar to Max, so I brought him home yesterday. Only answer the store could give me was that Max 1.0 was sick when I bought him, but I don't know if I believe that.

I conditioned more water and replaced half of it, let Max 2.0 float in it for 30 minutes to warm up, and then let him loose in his new home. He's decidedly less animated than his predecessor. He mostly hides at the top back left of the tank and doesn't seem interested in food. I put a suction leaf about an inch below the surface, and while he doesn't "sleep" on it, he does "hover" above it. He's only been with us two days, so I don't want to panic, but I fear I'm doing something terribly wrong.

Here's my setup - 3.5 gallon tank, water consistently 78deg, placed in kitchen but away from direct sunlight:

Top Fin 3.5 Gallon Enchant


Aqueon 10W MinI Heater


Top Fin Tap Water Dechlorinator


Top Fin Bacteria Supplement


I'll add some photos when I can, but that's it for now. Would anyone like to chime in with some advice or wisdom? Thank you!
 
KimberlyG
  • #2
Your set up is fine. I have three bettas in that same enclosure. They do as well as the other three in 5 gallon tanks. He is probably getting adjusted to his new environment. It can take a few days. In bringing him home, you should have drip acclimated instead of just acclimating to temperature. Let us know if anything else comes up.
 
Fancyfins
  • #3
I have the same tank also, and my betta was very shy the first few days. He would kinda just sit in his corner, and sulk. He slowly came out after a few days, and now whenever he sees me, he goes right up to the side of the tank and has a staring contest with me. Also, if I stick my finger into his tank, he’ll rub his fins against my finger, and occasionally put his face right next to it. He might just still be warming up to you. I know it took mine a few days to. I’ve had a lot of luck with bettas eating, and I got both of them to eat freeze dried bloodworms on the first day. (The one I had before my current one died, RIP Toby.) But they didn’t eat pellets until about two to three days after I got them. Just give them time to warm up to you, and they’ll get betta. (Get it? Betta? )
 
The Rover
  • #4
Don't worry about him not eating. Bettas could go a month without eating if they had to so don't worry about that. He will eat soon enough. For now, I would focus on making sure he has clean water. Buy yourself an API Master Test Kit so you can test the water yourself so you know what's going on with your tank and making sure it gets cycled as quickly as possible. Also, if you don't have a thermometer I would suggest you buy a digital one. They have them on Amazon for $5 or something like that. That will give you an idea of what the temp is in your tank.

You want to try and keep the temperature between 78-82. Your betta will survive in cooler waters but his immune system will be more compromised and he will be more susceptible to diseases.

So for now just focus on making sure he has clean warm water and he will start eating.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Here's the basic setup:

And here's New Max doing nothing. This is actually a time-lapse of 12 hours, because he never moves!

Note the food on his leaf. I haven't been able to get him to eat, so this afternoon I placed a pellet on the leaf that he hovers on interminably. It's been 6 hours and he still hasn't shown interest in eating it. It's an inch away from his mouth.

Please help
 
TaylorP
  • #6
What a cutie! I'm sure he is just stresses from moving to a new home and is still settling in.
Maybe a nice hidey place would make him feel more safe, he can dart in if something scares him.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks for the positive encouragement, everyone. Still no change in eating or behavior. I used a Master Test Kit and got these results:

pH: 7.0
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
 
toeknee
  • #8
Those readings are troublesome and indicate your tank is not yet cycled. Anything over 0 for ammonia or nitrite is toxic. Read up on the nitrogen cycle to get a better understanding of what's going on. In the mean time keep up on frequent water changes to help Max 2.0 get through the cycle.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Those readings are troublesome and indicate your tank is not yet cycled. Anything over 0 for ammonia or nitrite is toxic.
Is there anything I should be doing to combat this or just wait it out? I did a 33% water change 3 days ago.
 
toeknee
  • #10
Seachem prime is a great dechlorinater to have that most people use. It also temporarily binds to ammonia making it non-toxic to fish. It lasts about 24 hours in the tank so would need to be dosed everyday until ammonia reading are gone. I would do 20% water changes every day or every other day until the cycle is finished. In the ideal cycling process you will first see ammonia levels rise up then fall back to zero, followed by nitrite levels rising then falling back to zero. Then nitrate levels begin to rise and you do water changes to control that number. If your tank is cycling properly then in theory you should be seeing ammonia levels going down and nitrite levels going up, shortly after nitrite levels should fall and then you'll see nitrates which indicate your cycle is finished. In the mean time water changes and seachem prime can help keep ammonia and nitrites down. every time you remove water during he cycle you're taking out nitrite and ammonia. Then you replace it with dechlorinated water that has no ammonia/nitrite so it dilutes the current levels of each in your tank.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Seachem prime is a great dechlorinater to have that most people use. It also temporarily binds to ammonia making it non-toxic to fish. It lasts about 24 hours in the tank so would need to be dosed everyday until ammonia reading are gone. I would do 20% water changes every day or every other day until the cycle is finished. In the ideal cycling process you will first see ammonia levels rise up then fall back to zero, followed by nitrite levels rising then falling back to zero. Then nitrate levels begin to rise and you do water changes to control that number. If your tank is cycling properly then in theory you should be seeing ammonia levels going down and nitrite levels going up, shortly after nitrite levels should fall and then you'll see nitrates which indicate your cycle is finished. In the mean time water changes and seachem prime can help keep ammonia and nitrites down. every time you remove water during he cycle you're taking out nitrite and ammonia. Then you replace it with dechlorinated water that has no ammonia/nitrite so it dilutes the current levels of each in your tank.

Thank you for the help. I have Tetra AquaSafe and TopFin Dechorinator on hand. Can I use one of those instead?

Also, I used the TopFin Bacteria Supplement when staring this tank and on my first water change, but I've been reading today that this isn't necessarily the right thing to do. Should I discontinue that?

Finally, I have a gravel vacuum because I noticed a build-up of uneaten food. I'm intimidated by it, but I'm thinking I use it to remove the water when I do my changes?
 
toeknee
  • #12
those dechlorinators will work fine for water changes, they just don't detoxify ammonia like prime does which isn't a big deal as long as you're keeping up on water changes. The bacteria supplement is used to give your tank a boost in growing beneficial bacteria that detoxifies or "eats" ammonia/nitrites. Using it won't hurt anything and should help speed things up. I know some bacteria boosters are made to have the whole bottle dumped in the tank, I'm not exactly sure how yours should be used but adding it won't hurt. You should remove uneaten food with your vac. Food breaking down actually creates ammonia, so does fish waste. Once you have nitrates in your tank ammonia and nitrites are broken down to be safe for your fish so the water is balanced. Until you have nitrate you just have basically manually remove them through water changes. You will forever have to manually remove nitrates in your tank but nitrates under certain levels are completely safe for fish. If you slack on water changes then nitrate levels can rise to become toxic.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
those dechlorinators will work fine for water changes, they just don't detoxify ammonia like prime does which isn't a big deal as long as you're keeping up on water changes. The bacteria supplement is used to give your tank a boost in growing beneficial bacteria that detoxifies or "eats" ammonia/nitrites. Using it won't hurt anything and should help speed things up. I know some bacteria boosters are made to have the whole bottle dumped in the tank, I'm not exactly sure how yours should be used but adding it won't hurt. You should remove uneaten food with your vac. Food breaking down actually creates ammonia, so does fish waste. Once you have nitrates in your tank ammonia and nitrites are broken down to be safe for your fish so the water is balanced. Until you have nitrate you just have basically manually remove them through water changes. You will forever have to manually remove nitrates in your tank but nitrates under certain levels are completely safe for fish. If you slack on water changes then nitrate levels can rise to become toxic.

This all makes sense. Thank you. I just changed out 20-25% using dechlorinated + bacteria supplement water. I also used the vac, which is awesome btw. Little man seemed really interested in it. It's the most I've seen him move since I brought him home. He's still not eating, but baby steps I guess.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I tried giving him a small scoop of freeze dried blood worms. He swam right up to them and stared at them for a few minutes and then swam away.
 

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sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Tested water again today
pH: 6.6
Ammonia: 0.25
Nitrite: 0.25
Nitrate: 0
 
cchassie
  • #16
I know it's really hard to think he's not thriving, but if it makes you feel any better my better, Po, really hates freeze dried blood worms. He likes his pellets and he likes the frozen brine shrimp gummies they sell at lfs, petco and petsmart.

I hope he starts to acclimate and become his perky self.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Thanks. We're on Day 5, and he still hasn't eaten.
 
KimberlyG
  • #18
Try frozen blood worms. We have to get this guy eating. I don't have a good opinion of those freeze dried blood worms so I won't comment. I'm sure some people have luck with them.
Fish can go a while without eating, but you have no idea how long he was not eating at the store. If you have fresh garlic, squeeze some of that into the container you are thawing the blood worms in. Please keep us updated.
 
The Rover
  • #19
Stop with the frozen blood worms. Just make sure to have some high quality betta pellets. Omega One makes a good one. You need to get your tank cycled. I would go and buy some Seachem Prime so the fish is protected until your tank is cycled. Keep adding the bottled bacteria to help speed up the cycle.

You should do 50% wc daily until the tank is cycled.

And stop worrying about him eating. He will in time. He’s fine not eating. Leave the lights off outside of making sure you get your your wc’s done. He’ll eat eventually.

Also, make sure you are removing the uneaten food. That will produce ammonia which you absolutely don’t need right now.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Thank you for the continued advice, everyone. I changed half the water today and retested. Results appear a little better, but it's so hard to tell.

pH: 6.8
Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25
Nitrite: Between 0 and 0.25
Nitrate: Definitely 0

I've ordered the Seachem Prime but am using Top Fin's conditioner until it shows up.

Today I tried another pellet, and he actually attempted to eat it as it sank, but I think he missed and didn't try again. I have a Betta Dial-a-Treat, so I dropped a few Mysis in, and he stared at them for forever before finally nibbling on a couple. Possible progress ...
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Another water change (seachem prime this time), and I think the Ammonia and Nitrites are now at 0. Still no nitrate production or pellet consumption.
 
sarthaz
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
And he’s gone
 
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