Too many changes? I think I've stressed my fish :(

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Aquaphobia

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My new guy came home with me August 25th and seemed to be settling in well, swimming around and checking things out. I went away for a week and my friend was feeding him. Since coming home I've added some new plants to his setup, done a water change, and tested his water twice (normal) but he's started acting strangely. Mostly hiding at the bottom under plants or hanging listlessly at the top. He rarely eats or shows any interest in things I offer. He has no specific symptoms, just kind of a general malaise.

Any recommendations?
 

Bayster70

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I would keep the lights off for a day becouse that might help with stress and just give him some time


 
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Aquaphobia

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I got the light off his tank though I can still see him in the light from his next door neighbour and the minute I did so he started swimming around! The light is pretty bright but it hasn't bothered the other fish who has the same light. Maybe he just needs more time to settle down. If he really can't handle the lights I'm going to have to give him a different tank with low-light plants.

Thanks!
 

el337

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Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all zero. I don't know what's been happening with my nitrates but they've gone down on all my tanks and are zero on most of them. I tested this tank before I put the fish in and I had zero ammonia and nitrites and 5ppm nitrates (it's been set up and cycled for many months) but the former fishy resident didn't survive the house move. The snails and shrimp were ok though. And then I've been adding new plants to it and I've recently started fertilizing. I think the more rapid plant growth is using up my nitrates. pH is ~7.6, top of the test range but doesn't seem to register on my high-range pH tester.
 

Et tu

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Try some floating plants, or plants that will offer some cover from above, so that he will feel more secure.
 
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Aquaphobia

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I already had riccia and duckweed (where did that come from?!) then added a catappa leaf, and finally a dwarf lily with a surface leaf. He's stayed away from all of them

If he hides under anything he chooses to go to the bottom of the tank and hide under the lowest growing plants.
 
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Aquaphobia

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Well, he was swimming around. Just checked on him and discovered him hiding under a plant at the very bottom of the tank. This in spite of the lights being turned off:-\
 

Witchydesign

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With all your tanks dropping nitrate levels my thought would be your test kit. If you are using the api master kit, you need to beat the heck out of the bottle to get an accurate reading. If your using the strips i would look at getting a liquid test kit, the strips are notoriously bad. Id look at that as a potential issue to be honest.
 
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Aquaphobia

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That's what I thought, but I do get readings on some of my tanks. It's only been since the move and new plants that my levels have been dropping. I tested the tap water here and I get zeroes across the board. I think there was a teensy amount of nitrates in the water at the last place but I don't remember details on that. As for the bottle I do shake it and hammer on it enthusiastically. I also test multiple times if I'm suspicious of a reading. I'm still getting the same readings on the same tank. It's the API Master kit and I just bought it a few months ago. Expiry in 2019.
 

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You said hes next to another tank, have you tried moving him to a more secluded location? The activity from the other tank could be the problem. I have a betta that freaks out next to my big tank, so hes across the room now by himself, much happier.
 
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His 5 gallon is about 4 inches away from a 6 gallon bookshelf tank with a single betta and mystery snail. The 6 gallon has a smaller end panel than his 5 gallon so there's not as much to see and not a lot of action either. There's also a huge plant growing at that end of the 6.

I actually was thinking of moving him into a Spec V and putting him next to my bed away from the other bettas and giving his current tank to the girl who was going to get the Spec. I wanted to be sure it was the light that was bothering him though. That way I can choose only low-light plants for the Spec and use the stock lighting which isn't nearly as bright as the T5HO he has now.
 

Et tu

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Now that is a lucky betta, whose human servant can play musical tanks just for him!
 
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Et tu said:
Now that is a lucky betta, whose human servant can play musical tanks just for him!
LOL! So true...and so sad

Anyway, I took the light off his tank yesterday though he's still got a bit of light from the tank next door. As of this morning he was out of his hiding place at the bottom and swimming around at the surface. Still looking a little listless but better at least. I need to know how long to wait before adding back the light or whether I should just assume it was the light and switch him over to the low-light tank. I'm afraid if I switch the light back on that he'll head right back to the bottom but also worried that if I don't turn the light back on that my plants will suffer.

Is it possible that he has some sort of vision or sensory problem? I've noticed that he has trouble finding his food by sight, or by movement in the water. I've tried disturbing the water near the food and he takes no notice. My other bettas have come flying over from day 1 to see what the commotion is!
 

Bayster70

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I would try turning he light on for a little bit and see what happens


 

Et tu

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He may have some kind of vision issues, have you tried the moonlight on his tank, maybe it is the type of light ( led ) or color spectrum, or kelvin temp. Try a 12/13 watt CF aim it from the side. Could he have been abused by a previous care taker?
 
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Aquaphobia

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Ok, done! He didn't head straight for the bottom at least. If anything he looked a little more lively. Not eating though he acts excited when he sees me.
 

Bayster70

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That's good he seems to be getting better just watch him and make sure things are continuing to get better


 
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I've been through this before with him. He was kind of listless and not eating after I brought him home. Then he got better and was active and eating. Now he's back to this. He seems a little pale but nothing worse and otherwise looks healthy. I just don't know what the trigger is!
 

Bayster70

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Is there things for him to explore? He might just be bored that can also happen and bettas are very curious so a nice choice of plants and other things for them to swim through might help if you don't already have those


 
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