Stresseed Betta; Need Help

bfernan4

My betta can't calm down. I assume he can see his reflection in glass. He is frantically swimming back and fourth against the glass. He is so stressed I cannot feed him in the tank. He seems to be breathing very heavily. I've tried covering the sides of the tank with paper and cardboard, different light settings, and lining the edges of the tank with plants. I have tested the water, he has a heater and a filter in his own ten gallon. Any ideas on how to calm him or what else could possibly be wrong?
 

Aquaphobia

HI and welcome!

How long have you had him? Does he have any decor or plants in his tank? Maybe some toys would distract him. Or if he's new he may just need to settle in
 

bfernan4

I have had him for a little over a week and a half, but he was totally fine the first week. He has lots of stuff in his tank. I try give him some enrichment. I will attatch a picture.
 

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Mothercrow

How do you feel about brown water? Our stressed-out betta seems to calm down a bit when we added a rooibos tea bag to his water. But rooibos has to be the ONLY ingredient, don't use tea with anything else in it.

FWIW, rooibos tea is supposed to be an attempt to emulate Indian Almond Leaves, which many bettas really enjoy. You can look them up online.
 

CindiL

Welcome to the forum

Do you have a testing kit? Would you test ammonia and nitrites and nitrates in this tank?

Have you done a water change yet and if so how much?

Are you using a bacterial additive to cycle the tank?
 

Aquaphobia

That's a beautiful setup!

I agree that you need to find out what the parameters of his water are. If you don't have a test kit then many pet stores will do it for you. Just be sure to get the actual results and don't let them tell you they're good or bad

Other good sources of tannins are Alder cones and dead oak, beech or magnolia leaves. Make sure they're not sprayed or too close to a busy road!
 

bfernan4

I have tested the water. I am using a bacterial starter, I check the ammonia often. I had to do a 90% water change the other day because root tabs made everything brown and dusty, after this behavior started.
 

bfernan4

I really think it is just his reflection bothering him, but I don't know how to stop it.
 

Aquaphobia

Great! So what are the parameters?
 

goldface

I'm assuming he has his gills and fins flared out and everything, which is a sign of agression? If not, then it's definitely something else.
 

bfernan4

His fins are, but his gills are not.
 

bfernan4

Temp: 78 degrees
pH: 6.5-7
NO3- 20 ppm
NO2-0.5 ppm
Carbonate Hardness- 80
General Hardnes- 0
NH3/NH4+- 0
 

CindiL

Its your nitrites, they are toxic and will cause behavior like that. I only question his behavior on this because he didn't do it the first week. The first thing to always check with fish behavior is your parameters. What bacterial starter are you using?

Do you have Seachem Prime? If so, dose it for the full volume of tank water to detoxify those nitrites. If not, I would pick some up today to use. It can be dosed every 24-48 hours to keep them in a detoxified state. Nitrites prevent O2 uptake and cause something known as brown blood disease which will ultimately kill them.

If you don't have prime, do a water change and pick some up today ok? Also, would you test your tap water for the same parameters and post them back here?

Looks like your using strips for testing? I would highly recommend picking up the API Master Liquid test kit. You can get it for about $20.00 on amazon which is cheaper than most of the pet stores where its closer to $30.00. It will give you hundreds of tests.

Also a GH (general hardness) of 0 is not good for him. It would be beneficial to add in some shells or a piece of cuttlebone to his tank. It will release minerals like calcium and magnesium and will help his overall health.
 

Aquaphobia

Agreed. Nitrites are even more toxic than ammonia so you want to get rid of it ASAP! I would be dosing Prime every day until you can deal with it and figure out where it's coming from.

What test are you using?
 

bfernan4

I'll go get some and use it as soon as I get off from work. I just did a 90% water change he is in a ten gallon, how could have built up that much?! Will it help immediatly when I use it? Will he be alright?
 

bfernan4

I'll go get some and use it as soon as I get off from work. I just did a 90% water change he is in a ten gallon, how could have built up that much?! Will it help immediatly when I use it? Will he be alright?
 

Aquaphobia

If you don't have enough bacteria to "eat" the nitrites then the ammonia just keeps getting turned into nitrites and building up.
 

bfernan4

That quickly? Will the Seachem help immediately?
 

Aquaphobia

Unless it's coming directly your source water, yes! And also yes, Seachem Prime will help immediately
 

CindiL

No, stress coat doesn't detoxify nitrites or ammonia and actually is not recommended for labyrinth organ breathers like bettas or gourami's with the thought being the aloe in it can coat and block up the organ.
 

bfernan4

I just got the seachem prime, can I just add the dosage while the fish is on the tank?
 

bfernan4

I just tested the water with the mew test kit and it says the nitrite is 0.
 

bfernan4

What else could it be?
 

bfernan4

I really think he is seeing his reflection. I tested his water again and it seems to okay. I put some plastic folders briefly on the inside of the tank against the sides and he does not panic in those spots. If reflection is the problem how do I stop him from seeing it? I have tried a thousand different lighting options and covering the sides of the tank from the outside. He is very panicked.
 

Buganjimo

My bettas both did it, one more than the other, I covered his tank with a towel/blanket, and turned off everything except the heater (ie the filter, tank lights, and bedroom lights) don't go in the room either (if possible) he will eventually learn that the 'other betta' he sees is himself. Also my veil tail would see his tail and chase it
 

bfernan4

Putting stuff on the outside of the tank does not help my guy, neither does turning off the lights. How long did it take for yours to calm down? My betta is so stressed, I'm nervous he'll stress himself to death.
 

Buganjimo

It took him a day or two, is the tank the same as it was when you sent the picture? If it isn't can you send one? Mabey add more plants, bettas like to hide
 

bfernan4

He has been like this since Wednesday. He has hiding spots, I hope he doesn't need much more.
 

CindiL

I just noticed something that I missed in the picture, your bamboo can't be fully submersed like that or they'll rot and die. The stems can be in but the leaves have to be up and out of the water. If I have some shorter stalks like that I just tie them to taller ones so the leaves are above the water line.

I'd suggest getting some bacopa plants, they sell them in the tubes at petsmart if you have one near by. They will grow up to the height of the water and are very leafy so will break up his line of sight. You could always get some fake plants also, just make sure they're soft and won't snag his fins.
 

bfernan4

I think the problem is the API root tabs I added. Even though I tried to clean them totally put of the tank, they have turned the water brown again. Is there something in these that could harm him? I have moved him to a crab box with fresh water amd he is still going nuts.
 

CindiL

How many root tabs did you use?
I've never used root tabs with bamboo, it won't need it. Make sure to get those leaves out of the water ok? I'd remove the root tabs depending on how many you used.

Why don't you take a video of him so we can see what you mean?

I'd put him back into his regular, bigger tank.
 

bfernan4

He seems like he is starting calm down some, not 100%. I'll attatch a video from a couple of days ago. I would rather him be in the big tank, but I don't think it is healthy. I feel like his color has dulled since then and the color of his eyes have darkened.
 

bfernan4

I'm not sure that he video will upload. It keeps giving me an error message.
 

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