Please help. No idea why this is happening to my betta

cpuphantom

Member
Hi. I might be too late. My betta just suddenly became super ill, sank to the bottom and stayed up-side down. He's breathing, and occasionally swims erratically before sinking. Prior to 15 minutes ago he was hanging in the back corner with his mouth on the surface since last night.

No idea what else is wrong. There's not a spot or discoloration on him. The other fish seem fine... but I did just finish ich treatment last week and did lose a few. Any chance of emergency treatment? Thanks.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 15 gallons
How long has the tank been running? 3 years, but I did break it down and convert to a planted tank in June.
Does it have a filter? Yes. Hang on back
Does it have a heater? Yes,
What is the water temperature? 79 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
11 Black Neon Tetras
4 Dwarf Cory's
2 Ottos
at least 1 Assassin, and a bunch of bladder snails.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Every Saturday morning.
How much of the water do you change? Usually 2 gallons, but I just did a 30% Saturday because the neons did have ich
What do you use to treat your water? Tetra AquaSafe Plus
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Mostly just the water... the substrate is Fluval Stratum and completely carpeted with S. repens.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes - for months. fish at all have only been in there for the past 3 weeks.
What do you use to test the water? API 5 n 1 Test Strips, and Liquid test for ammonia
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0.25 maybe.
Nitrite: I'd argue zero, hard to tell on the test strips.
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? once per day
How much do you feed your fish? 5-7 Aqueon Betta Food pellets and whatever flakes he picks off the neons. I did try frozen blood worms Sunday. He didn't really eat them.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Aqueon, Tetra
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? just tried frozen blood worms first time Sunday

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1 week
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? last night
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? It started last night, he was hanging in a corner with his mouth on the surface... I thought maybe he was being shy, he looked fine. Just a few minutes ago I saw him sink to the bottom and remain up-side down... then swimming erratically, and now he's on the bottom again.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no - however, the neons did get ich so I treated with API Lifeline. That ended Friday, hence the 30% water change Saturday.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? yes, before last night he was active and curious and swimming around a lot.
 

Crimson_687

Member
Hey there,

It sounds like your tank is not cycled. Normally you would read nitrate and 0 ppm ammonia. I would dose the tank with seachem prime and do the fish- in cycle. It sounds like your fish has ammonia poisoning. Even though ammonia is currently reading 0.25 it may have spiked at some point and poisoned him. This means his gills are damaged. If you have an air stone put it in the tank, that will help him breathe. Once the tank is stable and parameters are in-check he should recover. Monitor your parameters very carefully until your cycle is over, keep that ammonia down with frequent WCs
 
  • Thread Starter

cpuphantom

Member
I think you are right... I was being fast with the result... after the 5 minutes, it's higher than .25. Like I said, I lost some neons to the ich... and it's a heavily, heavily planted tank so there's a solid chance at least 1 hid and I cannot see it and it's boosting my amonia. I'm doing an emergency water change now.
 

AquaticQueen

Member
3 years is pretty old for betta. His system has probably slowed or maybe this dropsy? Is he bloated?
Your tank is not cycled. I would get some Seachem Prime and do some research on fish in cycles.
Immediately do a 50% water change. I would do 25% every other day until he (hopefully) perks up and starts acting normal. After that, do 50-60% water changes every week. 2 gallons is not enough for that many fish.
I would feed him twice a day feeding 2-3 pellets per meal. Bettas shouldn't eat 5-6 pellets in one meal.
EDIT: I would also fast him for 3 days and then feed him some daphnia.
 

Fishproblem

Member
If you've added all those fish in the last week, that's the cause of the problem. Even if the tank was cycled when you added the stock, the beneficial bacteria colony was only large enough to convert what little ammonia was in the tank prior to the fish being added. When you add fish, the bacteria colony needs some time to catch up to grow to a size that can consume the additional ammonia created by the fish. That's why you should only add a few fish at a time to any tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

cpuphantom

Member
I'll be handing in my aquarium hobbyist card. Admittedly I'd never had that problem before. I grew out the plants (and snails) for almost 3 months while testing water parameters weekly... and added the fish over the course of 3 weeks again checking parameters. I had just checked Saturday. And I figured the insane # of plants I had would handle the fish load. Heck, I started adding the fish because I couldn't keep enough nitrates in there to feed the plants.

I had only bought this betta 8 days ago... The 3 year old betta that was originally in the tank is in another tank and is doing well.

swim in peace, little guy.

 

Crimson_687

Member
cpuphantom said:
I'll be handing in my aquarium hobbyist card. Admittedly I'd never had that problem before. I grew out the plants (and snails) for almost 3 months while testing water parameters weekly... and added the fish over the course of 3 weeks again checking parameters. I had just checked Saturday. And I figured the insane # of plants I had would handle the fish load. Heck, I started adding the fish because I couldn't keep enough nitrates in there to feed the plants.

I had only bought this betta 8 days ago... The 3 year old betta that was originally in the tank is in another tank and is doing well.

swim in peace, little guy.

Don’t give up just yet, you still have the other fish that are counting on you. We all make mistakes in this hobby, but ultimately we learn from these mistakes so we can better the welfare of the animals that are still with us. If you don’t get this tank cycled, your tetras and catfish might not make it. I know it’s tough, but you can get through this. If you need any advice, the forum is here for you
 
  • Thread Starter

cpuphantom

Member
I'm not giving up. I just meant that I feel really bad and am disappointed that I don't know what I thought I did. I'll of course do everything I can to keep the remaining fish happy and healthy.

I ran out and bought Seachem Prime... I'll test the water every day. Any other suggestions though to ensure the tank is cycled?
 

BettaFishObsessed

Member
cpuphantom said:
I'm not giving up. I just meant that I feel really bad and am disappointed that I don't know what I thought I did. I'll of course do everything I can to keep the remaining fish happy and healthy.

I ran out and bought Seachem Prime... I'll test the water every day. Any other suggestions though to ensure the tank is cycled?
If you have another tank, add filter media or gravel from that one to the one you have. The ammonia should go up, then the nitrites, then there will be some nitrates. Then the nitrates will spike, then the ammonia goes down to 0, then the nitrites, then the nitrates go down and your tank is cycled. I also recommend dosing the tank with API Quick Start Nitrifying Bacteria
In the future, add fish one at a time is my advice.
 

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