Possibly Sick Betta

Ondrea Culp

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I'm SO afraid I'm now going to have to go back & relive my last Betta fish's demise experience. I've had Blue now for 3 months got him May 26th at PetSmart same place I got my first betta Flash. I had had Flash approx. 4 months when he began his illness ending in his death in March. Now Blue is starting to act in much the same manner as Flash did. He's still in a 10g Aqueon heated, filtered, live planted tank. I've been very careful NOT to over feed him, but something is NOT right. He's swimming in very "jerky" motions, staying mainly over to only one side of the tank & mainly at the top. -After he has swam a bit kinda of frantically he sort of pants. I do pwc every 7-12 days about 45-55%. He has one tank mate (large Mystery snail) that he's been w/since the beginning that he seems crazy about - wraps himself around Finn and literally "snuggles" w/ him. Blue has also been wrapping himself around the heater & intake apparatus that hangs down from my filter. Flash never did that. I waited 2 1/2 months after doing a thorough cleaning on my tank to get Blue after Flash passed away. I do API water testing about every other day that have been indicating good parameters. I feed Fluval Bug Bites/New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets - small/Hikari tropical micro pellets/ occasional frozen brine shrimp and blood worms (just as treats) No flakes. Water temp on one side of tank is consistently 79.7 degrees (the side he mainly stays on) but the opposite side runs 78.4 degrees. Please can anyone tell me if I'm just being an obsessive "worry wort" or is this odd behaviour?
 

Salem

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No that definitely is odd behaviour. It would help if you could fill out the sick fish template.

My first thought would be ammonia but if the tank is cycled that shouldnt be popping up. You said you did a thorough cleaning before you got Blue but didn't mention cycling the tank. Did you have him in there to start the cycle?

My second thought is some sort of illness but we need more info to determine what that could be.

My last thought however is that possibly you just got incredibly unlucky. Bettas are incredibly inbred and often have a lot of hidden issues. It's unlikely but possible.
 

e_watson09

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Do you know what your water parameters are? My first worry is water quality. Second would be illness, does he have any visible signs of illness tho? Bloated, slime coat, cloudy eyes, etc?
 

CheshireKat

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swimming in very "jerky" motions
wraps himself around Finn and literally "snuggles" w/ him. Blue has also been wrapping himself around the heater & intake apparatus that hangs down from my filter
I wonder if he's flashing. Can you take photos or even better, videos, of these behaviors? I'd like to see.
As already mentioned, please post your test results.

I'm wondering if he has a parasite, such as flukes. Does he seem to rub, brush, or flick against things? The "hugging", "snuggling," and "wrapping around" things may be him trying to get relief if they're irritating him.
 
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Ondrea Culp

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After doing a thorough cleaning I let the tank re-cycle for almost 2 months. All API water parameters were spot on before adding Blue. He & the snail have been great up until just recently. Finn the snail is still acting perfectly normal.
currently just now checked:
Ammonia: 0 - 0.25
Ph: 7.0
NItrite: 0
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
I"m sorry I don't know what "flashing" is & I don't know how to post pics/videos. I don't see any abnormalities on his body & have no idea what flukes are or what they look like. I was told my first betta Flash most likely had a congenital defect causing or adding to his demise. I really can't believe I'd be THAT unlucky to get another betta w/ the same issues.
Thanks for helping me figure this out.
 

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How did you re-cycle the tank? The presence of ammonia at all in the tank is concerning and implies something may be a bit off.

Flashing is basically the fish being itchy- swimming erratically, rubbing against things. It can be a sign of parasites, water quality, etc. Here is an article about the more common illnesses and what to look for. Flukes are teensy tiny flatworms that are present in a lot of aquariums and are harmless on their own. In certain conditions however they become destructive- such as poor water conditions, stress, overcrowding, etc.

Also though I doubt its the case if you got the bettas from the same store or from a store in the same area they could have come from the same breeder. Most petstore bettas as I mentioned are very inbred- most are prone to tumors and scoliosis, dragonscales often grow over the eyes and blind the fish, and I've even seen fry born completely mangled. I would not be surprised if this betta also had some sort of problem but it would be unlikely that you would have them both die of the same thing.
 

CheshireKat

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Yeah, if you have ammonia, which it seems you're not certain about, something is definitely going on. Ammonia in your tank after it's ready been cycled means that something changed that affected the nitrogen cycle. If you do have ammonia, he could be reacting to it. But you have a range, so it really tells me nothing.

I was told my first betta Flash most likely had a congenital defect causing or adding to his demise. I really can't believe I'd be THAT unlucky to get another betta w/ the same issues.
I agree that it's unlikely that your betta has the same issue as your previous one unless maybe they're from the same breeder or store supplier.
However, unlikely doesn't mean impossible. I've had 3 dogs in a row get cancer; the first was lung (she was 12 years old so getting sick wasn't a surprise), the second I think might've been anal cancer (he was only 6 and that happened way too fast, had to be put down), and the third was brain cancer (she was 6 or 7, survived on meds for a year before needing to be euthanized). Honestly, we suspect the well water, which only the animals drink. I had put down my chinchilla due to a rare and fluke illness, and earlier this year had to put down another dog due to very sudden twisting of intestines that were beyond repair; he also bad arthritis and bad genetics that his sister is now experiencing. They're only 4.
So yeah, I've experienced enough first-hand coincidences and strangeness and seriously unluckiness that I definitely don't think it's impossible. But I do feel something else is probably happening here.

Next to the "post reply" button, there's "upload a file." For videos, I think you have to upload to your personal gallery on here or you could upload on another site like YouTube and post the link.
You can look up videos of bettas and fish flashing.
 
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Ondrea Culp

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I'm really confused about my Ammonia test results. My husband says without a doubt it's at 0. I can't tell if it's 0 or 0.25. the color is SO close. Just now I found him completely wrapped around Finn the snail again @ the bottom of the tank. It's kind of weird, but he's done this since I got him. He was much smaller @ time of purchase & he's grown nicely. He's very pretty. He's not a voracious eater by any stretch of the imagination. I give him a wide variety of fish food none of it being flakes but he just doesn't go crazy over it like a lot of the YouTube betta fish feedings I have viewed. Other than the jerky type of swimming and his affection for wrapping his body around certain objects he doesn't seem to act weird or sick.
Sorry but when I hit the upload button and choose the video I wanted it said it was too large and it wouldn't attach it.
 

CheshireKat

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My husband says without a doubt it's at 0. I can't tell if it's 0 or 0.25. the color is SO close
You're not the only one that has problems reading them. I've read about people running around in different lighting trying to figure out what color the results are.

give him a wide variety of fish food none of it being flakes but he just doesn't go crazy over it like a lot of the YouTube betta fish feedings I have viewed.
Have you tried Fluval Bug Bites? Mine are greedy, unpicky eaters so I have it pretty easy with them, but all my fish love Bug Bites. He might just not be a piggy, which is a good thing in my opinion! I had a betta who tried to eat my fingers, she was so eager for food (like she wasn't well fed :rolleyes.

Other than the jerky type of swimming and his affection for wrapping his body around certain objects he doesn't seem to act weird or sick.
Fish with flukes don't really seem to act sick or be affected, they just seem discomforted and irritated by them.
There are some things you can try if you're worried and think it's worth it:
  • Aquarium salt baths, follow the directions on the packaging. I have Fritz A+ Aquarium Salt and it says to dissolved 1/2 cup of salt per gallon (I'd do this in a separate container) for external parasites. This is pry the gentlest option but catching your betta out might be stressful for him... Or you. (I only was able to do one bath to treat fungus on my new platy before the little jerk would not let me catch her again. But the fungus was reduced in that first bath.)
  • Seachem Paraguard, which can treat bacterial issues, fungus, viruses, and external parasites according to Seachem. I've used this for a few things. It's not an antibiotic so isn't contributing to bacteria and such becoming immune to antibiotics, but it has been effective for my mild needs. I've used it with snails and live plants in main tanks without any issues. You can also do hour-long baths. Requires dosing daily until improvement is seen.
  • API General Cure. Contains Metronidazole and Praziquantel, but anti-parasites and the former is also used for some becteria. I had a platy start to hide near thr substrate, be disinterested in food, and after a week or two, started flashing; I suspected flukes so I treated the tank with GC and that took care of the problem. I've used this with fry, snails, and live plants with the filter running without issues and several big fish YouTube channels use it or its ingredients in their quarantine programs.
Again, these are just possible options if you feel like something needs to be done and not a definitive diagnosis or recommendation. Maybe he's just a quirky fish.
 
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