Trying To Improve Betta's Living Conditions While Waiting For Larger Tank

13Tskhmaster
  • #1
I'm so scared I just doomed my betta fish. I gave him a small piece of this morning, and I wanted to give him a pea for good measure. Unfortunately, he let the pea fall to the bottom of his tank. He did this with several other pieces, and I knew all this would do is create .

To try and stop this, I did the only thing I could: a full tank cleaning (1-gallon). Why a full one? I was told earlier in this thread to switch Gill to tap water because the Stop & Shop Spring Water I've been using lacks essential nutrients and minerals.

Before putting Gill back in his tank, I waited for the tap water to become room temperature (like his old water), and I treated it with and Seachem (two drops of each, as instructed by a Seachem worker). I waited over an hour for these to set, and I even put some of Gill's old tank water back in with him.

Once in his freshly-cleaned tank, Gill darted curiously from side to side for a short while. However, he started showing worse swim bladder symptoms: floating on his side, inability to stay at the tank bottom as desired, et cetera...

I'm so scared to leave my fish, but I have to go to work. All I've been doing is trying to help Gill while I wait for his new tank to arrive, but I'm so scared he'll die before then. I've been told the heater I purchased, which is suitable for 2.5-gallon tanks and smaller, would be overkill to put in his 1-gallon tank for now because it is it is 20 watts...

Should I go back to fasting my betta fish? He just let another piece of pea fall to the bottom of his tank. I'm so scared because everything I'm trying to do to help this fish seems to just make him worse! I feel like such a horrible person right now and could really use some advice. Thank you.
 
tunafax
  • #2
A few things.

20w heater is ok for 1 gallon, maybe you can set it a degree lower if you see it heating too fast. I have 25w in my 1 gallon qt tanks all the time

If you feel nerveous, a plastic shoe box frlm the dollar stoee wilm make a great tenp home for your betta.
 
Rylan
  • #3
I'm so scared I just doomed my betta fish. I gave him a small piece of this morning, and I wanted to give him a pea for good measure. Unfortunately, he let the pea fall to the bottom of his tank. He did this with several other pieces, and I knew all this would do is create .

To try and stop this, I did the only thing I could: a full tank cleaning (1-gallon). Why a full one? I was told earlier in this thread to switch Gill to tap water because the Stop & Shop Spring Water I've been using lacks essential nutrients and minerals.

Before putting Gill back in his tank, I waited for the tap water to become room temperature (like his old water), and I treated it with and Seachem (two drops of each, as instructed by a Seachem worker). I waited over an hour for these to set, and I even put some of Gill's old tank water back in with him.

Once in his freshly-cleaned tank, Gill darted curiously from side to side for a short while. However, he started showing worse swim bladder symptoms: floating on his side, inability to stay at the tank bottom as desired, et cetera...

I'm so scared to leave my fish, but I have to go to work. All I've been doing is trying to help Gill while I wait for his new tank to arrive, but I'm so scared he'll die before then. I've been told the heater I purchased, which is suitable for 2.5-gallon tanks and smaller, would be overkill to put in his 1-gallon tank for now because it is it is 20 watts...

Should I go back to fasting my betta fish? He just let another piece of pea fall to the bottom of his tank. I'm so scared because everything I'm trying to do to help this fish seems to just make him worse! I feel like such a horrible person right now and could really use some advice. Thank you.
How far away is your new tank? I’m unsure of how to heat a tank that small. I’d follow the advice above

As for the peas for easing what might be swim bladder disorder: Have you tried daphnia? I heard it’s a better alternative to the pea since Betta are carnivorous. I know peas work for some but maybe he’ll more readily take daphnia from you?

As for the Spring Water, I’ve been heavily researching this the past few days there shouldn’t really have been anything wrong with it as long as it wasn’t reverse osmosis purified or distilled water. I’m not sure everyone always realizes that there’s a differnence. I’m in a situation where my tap is unsafe for fish so I’m have to look into Spring Water instead. If I had water from the tap I could use, I would. Have you tested your tap water to see what’s in it vs your spring water you were using?

Also, to avoid the water getting dirtied quickly by uneaten food, a simple turkey baster is your best friend so you can immediately remove what he doesn’t eat.
 
Jenoli42
  • #4
if you're worried about the betta not eating the peas, just scoop them out with a net after 15 mins.

your betta may have reacted badly to the complete water change. having stable parameter like pH, gH, kH & temp is better than suddenly changing them. did you acclimate your fish to the new water for a while or test the parameters before putting the fish back? the best of us has done too much to change our fish environment only to make it worse so don't beat yourself up but also pause & do research before making big changes ... I learned that the hard way.

in terms of swim bladder, I'm sorry I can't really help much except to say it's best to know the underlying reasons why it got swim bladder.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I am unable to purchase testing equipment at this time. That said, I tried acclimating Gill to the tank before putting him in it with the time I had.

Gill's 2.5-gallon tank will arrive on Friday. I purchased an Aqueon; how should I prep it once it arrives so I don't mess anything up?

Gill is already living in the tap water I put in; I have been researching bettas like crazy since he first got swim bladder, and I keep reading it is better. What should I use in the new tank? How much Seachem Prime and Stability should I use?

What about feeding and fasting? Gill has apparently stabilized (my parents gave me an update since I'm at work), but he is back to staying only at the surface. Daphnia is not easily obtained for me, but it's not that he isn't eating the pea. When I fed him one this morning, he missed a lot of the pieces. He did get one in his mouth, but it kept coming back out. He would chase after it and get it in his mouth again, but he would eventually give up and let it sink.

Another reason I changed Gill's water is I thought I noticed some slight fin rot (hard to tell because he is a crown tail)...
 
GrayGray4231
  • #6
Could you post a pic of him?
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
When I get home, I will. His color is still good, and he is not "pineconing" or anything like that. Physically, he seems fine, aside from what I've mentioned.
 
GrayGray4231
  • #8
Ok
 
Rylan
  • #9
I am unable to purchase testing equipment at this time. That said, I tried acclimating Gill to the tank before putting him in it with the time I had.

Gill's 2.5-gallon tank will arrive on Friday. I purchased an Aqueon; how should I prep it once it arrives so I don't mess anything up?

Gill is already living in the tap water I put in; I have been researching bettas like crazy since he first got swim bladder, and I keep reading it is better. What should I use in the new tank? How much Seachem Prime and Stability should I use?

What about feeding and fasting? Gill has apparently stabilized (my parents gave me an update since I'm at work), but he is back to staying only at the surface. Daphnia is not easily obtained for me, but it's not that he isn't eating the pea. When I fed him one this morning, he missed a lot of the pieces. He did get one in his mouth, but it kept coming back out. He would chase after it and get it in his mouth again, but he would eventually give up and let it sink.

Another reason I changed Gill's water is I thought I noticed some slight fin rot (hard to tell because he is a crown tail)...
Tap water is best if you can use it. Some people’s tap water has things that can’t be taken out with dechlorinator. That’s unusual, but it does happen sometimes, so spring water is the next best thing in that scenario if you have nothing else.

If the tank is brand new you can rinse it with warm water and wipe out down with a white vinegar solution.

If it’s a used tank, I would disinfect with something like hydrogen peroxide. Another option is that you can you use a 1:19 bleach solution as well but make sure you rinse very thoroughly. I like hydrogen peroxide because if any is left over it after the rinse it breaks down into harmless compounds.

If he is bloated due to having been overfed. Fasting for a few days should help. It sounds like he doesn’t like the pea. Maybe after a couple days of fasting he’ll swallow it. You could try soaking the pea in garlic juice too to make it more likely he’ll actually eat it.

Just rinse everything you put in the tank thoroughly and make sure the filter flow isn’t too strong for him. There are ways to damper it, if it’s too strong. I don’t use stability though I do remember they have some detailed directions for that one on their site. I prefer Tetra Safestart, but for the prime 1ml (one cap thread) should be okay. Especially since you will be doing a fish-in nitrogen cycle.

There’s a YouTube channel called Lifewithpets which walks you through how to set up a Betta tank correctly

The test kit doesn’t have to be fancy. The test strips may not be as accurate but they’re better than nothing. Amazon has them for cheaper than the pet store usually.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I checked on Gill. He is at the surface and looks at me inquisitively (turns to face me) when I get close to him. He is now favoring the left side of his tank, near the filter, which makes me worry he could somehow be sucked in...That said, I'm not sure how powerful the filter is, nor how I could adjust it. It doesn't seem like it is generating that strong of a current, but I could be wrong. Should I turn the filter off and save it for Gill's new tank?

Gill struggles to turn around and instead swims backwards to get away from the filter. There are bubbles everywhere, on all sides of the tank, and there have been since this morning. Is this because of the tap water?

I am worried about Gill's fins and his eyes. I could be mistaken, but one looks bigger than the other. I pray it's not pop-eye...I will post pictures as soon as I can.

I read Gill could be at the surface due to lack of oxygen in his water. He could be favoring a spot where oxygen is easy to get and the temperature is warmest. How can I help Gill, if this is the case? I read Seachem products can remove oxygen if overused...

PetSmart told me Gill could be as much as 10 months old because they get their betta fish at 4-6 months. There is no way to know how old Gill was when I got him.

PetSmart also said I could try removing Gill's filter and could safely use the 20-watt heater in his 1-gallon tank without killing him because it shuts off when it reaches a safe temperature. Should I follow this advice? Another reason PetSmart said I should remove the filter is to make space for Gill's heater.
 
GrayGray4231
  • #11
NEVER TAKE ANY ADVICE FROM PETCO!! I recommend that you just turn the filter off over night and see how he reacts to that.

If lack of air is the problem, get him an air pump.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I'm not sure lack of oxygen is the problem at all. I don't see Gill gasping for breath at all; his head is often underwater, save for when he takes little gulps. Swim bladder seems the most likely diagnosis to me based on his behavior and what I have read online while doing research.
 
Rylan
  • #13
The bubbles are nothing to worry about and yes It’s from the water change. I get them at at every water change. I don’t know what kind to filter you have, but is there a possibility you could baffle the flow with a decoration, or piece of aquarium sponge, or even by wrapping fish netting around the intake?

Sponge filters are cheap and safe alternatives to hang on back filters. Perfect for Bettas, they also help with oxygenating the water because they run on an air pump.

I keep heaters in my tanks overrated for my tank size and they do shut off when the temp is right so I wouldn’t really worry about that personally. It’s just that one gallon is really hard to keep stable with any of the water parameters. It’s good you have a new tank on its way. I would try to damper the flow before turning it off entirely.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Gill's current tank is a Top Fin 1-gallon. It is green and completely plastic, if that helps identify it. The filter I use is the one that came with the tank. It has a hollow top, a square body, and a tube at the bottom. Inside are two gray things that look like teabags.
 
Rylan
  • #15
Gill's current tank is a Top Fin 1-gallon. It is green and completely plastic, if that helps identify it. The filter I use is the one that came with the tank. It has a hollow top, a square body, and a tube at the bottom. Inside are two gray things that look like teabags.
Okay. I used to have a similar filter. For that I’d cut some fish net and wrap it around the tube part and secure it with thread or even a zip tie. A pair of unused women’s nylons could work too. I’ve see people do that. I remember the flow out the top being relatively slow but you could get a piece of aquarium sponge to damper on the top side just a bit if needed.
 
GrayGray4231
  • #16
The bubbles are nothing to worry about and yes It’s from the water change. I get them at at every water change. I don’t know what kind to filter you have, but is there a possibility you could baffle the flow with a decoration, or piece of aquarium sponge, or even by wrapping fish netting around the intake?

Sponge filters are cheap and safe alternatives to hang on back filters. Perfect for Bettas, they also help with oxygenating the water because they run on an air pump.

I keep heaters in my tanks overrated for my tank size and they do shut off when the temp is right so I wouldn’t really worry about that personally. It’s just that one gallon is really hard to keep stable with any of the water parameters. It’s good you have a new tank on its way. I would try to damper the flow before turning it off entirely.
Where can you get sponge filters, I have been wanting to try one?
 
Rylan
  • #17
Where can you get sponge filters, I have been wanting to try one?
I’ve been buying mine on amazon. I used this one in a 3.5 gallon tank.
They have a taller version I currently use in a ten. Easy to take care of and very gentle on the Bettas, and they’re completely customizable.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Here are some pictures of Gill. Sorry they are blurry. My phone's camera stinks, and he started swaying quickly from side-to-side whenever I needed a shot...

Remember he is a crown tail, so it's hard to notice fin rot...
 

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Rylan
  • #19
I see rounded edges in some places which might indicate some regrowth? Perhaps another user can look too. Since it looks like it’s very mild, it should go away as long you’re diligent with keeping the water very clean and warm.

I don’t see Popeye in the photo, but I also can’t see the other eye. There’s a website called Bettaboxx which has a disease guide with very good s of what common Betta illnesses look like and has information on how to treat them.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
BREAKING: I just saw Gill at the bottom of his tank! He was also able to swim almost normally! I'm worried because his left eye looks a little weird, but I was so happy to see him swim around. Turns are still tough, but I saw him do this with what seemed like minimal difficulty!
 
Rylan
  • #21
BREAKING: I just saw Gill at the bottom of his tank! He was also able to swim almost normally! I'm worried because his left eye looks a little weird, but I was so happy to see him swim around. Turns are still tough, but I saw him do this with what seemed like minimal difficulty!
Yay Gill!
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
The eye facing the camera is the concerning one. It just seems a bit rounder than the other one to me for some reason. When Gill goes down, he does it like a diagonal arrow...
 
Rylan
  • #23
Hmm I’m staring that photo down and I can’t see anything too round or abnormal about the eye, but I’d check that bettaboxx website and compare their s. You can see it better than I can.

It sounds and looks like he’s doing pretty okay and like swim bladder issue is starting to go away. Good job!
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Thanks! I hope you're right about that! It's possible my brain is just looking for something to worry about, too...

I just checked Bettabloxx. I hope I am right, but it's not pop-eye.
 
Rylan
  • #25
I always freak myself out about my fish too. Actually, that disease guide actually helped me stop somewhat because it gives a better idea of what all of that looks like. So I don’t sit there staring at my fish wondering if the lint he got stuck to his tail is ich. Haha! The paranoia goes away with a little time. Just a little
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Haha, the things we go through for our pets! I hope the worst is over. I do worry when he goes near the filter, though...
 
Rylan
  • #27
Haha, the things we go through for our pets! I hope the worst is over. I do worry when he goes near the filter, though...
As long as he’s doesn’t look like he’s struggling too hard to swim toward or away from it I think he should be okay. Some Bettas actually like to ride the filter current. But if it looks to you to be better to turn it off or you can't damper the flow then do it. Just another day before new tank day.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
I'm nervous for new tank day...

Gill seems to enjoy floating next to the filter, still at the surface. He only started doing this today, after I changed his tank. While he is still surface-bound, he goes where he pleases. Turns seem tough for him overall, but he doesn't seem to be tilting as he swims anymore (he did this a lot after I put him in the tank this morning).

I have a feeling if Gill could talk, he would ask me why I won't leave him alone for five minutes! The filter doesn't seem any stronger or weaker than usual; I just worry about it because this morning, he got himself under the tube part and was laying sideways against it. He doesn't seem to be doing this anymore; Gill had little trouble getting himself out of that situation, even if swim bladder was making things complicated.

Things seem to be turning around. What should I be doing in preparation for new tank day? What about in terms of feeding/fasting?

Gill is doing great today (I hope/it seems)! He is swimming all over the surface of his tank, and he is no longer remaining motionless in a single corner. He went into his Squidward Tentacles house for the first time in days, and he voluntarily went down to the bottom. He is currently resting against the filter, probably because of all the activity.

From the front, it seems Gill still has a bit of a swollen tummy, and when he swims, he sorta has to lunge forward a bit. Either that, or normal swimming (I think). Turns are much smoother.

Here are some photos of a truly miraculous sight:
 

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Rylan
  • #29
Gill is doing great today (I hope/it seems)! He is swimming all over the surface of his tank, and he is no longer remaining motionless in a single corner. He went into his Squidward Tentacles house for the first time in days, and he voluntarily went down to the bottom. He is currently resting against the filter, probably because of all the activity.

From the front, it seems Gill still has a bit of a swollen tummy, and when he swims, he sorta has to lunge forward a bit. Either that, or normal swimming (I think). Turns are much smoother.

Here are some photos of a truly miraculous sight:
Okay, maybe still try to damper the flow on the filter just in case.

Gill may not take food from you for the first couple days in the new tank or up to a week, but don’t let that alarm you. They can go a max of 14 days without eating. and since he’s still recovering from the swim bladder issue it might actually do some good for him to fast another day or two. I think you said you fed him yesterday so he should be fine for a few days without food.

It’s a good practice to fast your Betta at least once or twice a week to help keep them from getting constipated and developing swim bladder issues. He only needs an eyeball size portion when you do feed him, once a day on feeding days. Personally I feed my Betta every other day.

When you set your new tank up with new gravel and decorations rinse it all with warm water. If you’re going to use your current deco and gravel don’t rinse those. Let the filter and heater run in it for at least a few hours to remove any leftover debris from the water to be safe and to make sure the water temperature is right. 24 hrs would probably be better if you can manage it.

Acclimate him to the new tank, by first floating him in the water for fifteen min, then every next fifteen minutes add a little water from the new tank to the container you’re floating him in over the course of at least 45min and set him loose in his new home.

I think your current filter should work fine in the new tank and so you could just move that over and not have to restart whatever progress your current nitrogen cycle has made.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Update: Gill alternates between periods of inactivity (sitting by the filter), exploring the entire surface of his tank rather than staying in a single corner, and inquisitively poking at rocks on the bottom of his tank. I am optimistic, but I am still worried, too. Tomorrow is New Tank Day, for one thing. For another, sometimes when Gill swims down, he does so at an angle. His body points down, but he doesn't tip over or anything like he used to. As soon as I start to worry, Gill swims normally again, even below the surface. It's like he is trying to reassure me or something...
 
GrayGray4231
  • #31
Haha, maybe he's playing possum!
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
It's maddening with feeding/fasting. DO YOU HAVE SWIM BLADDER DISORDER OR NOT, YOU SILLY FISH?
 
GrayGray4231
  • #33
Haha, yea. That would annoy me so much!
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
I was inspecting him and realized his tail looked a bit clamped. He then proceeded to flare at me, which he hasn't done since I first got him. Is this a good sign or bad one? The clamping seems more due to resting than sickness, but I could be wrong...

Reference photos:

Gill is getting around his tank much better than he was when I first started posting here! He went from the bottom of his tank (territory he feels he has to reclaim, hence flaring?) to the top with minimal difficulty (it seems). I witnessed him taking a gulp of air, so things seem pretty good right now!
 

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Rylan
  • #35
Looks good to me! It also kind of looks like your Betta has the Marble gene. Which just means he might change colors throughout his life. But I could be wrong. Marble bettas are neat! He looks really good. I don’t see anything in the photos you aren’t already addressing.
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
If we truly are over the worst of this, I can't thank you guys enough for helping me save his life!
 
Rylan
  • #37
If we truly are over the worst of this, I can't thank you guys enough for helping me save his life!
Everybody’s always happy to help here! This forum is the best I’ve ever seen. Never be afraid to ask questions here
 
13Tskhmaster
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Today is new tank day, and Gill is doing great! The tank itself hasn't arrived yet, but my little fish friend is swimming all over the place, both at and below the surface. He flares, makes relatively smooth turns, and seems to move about with minimal difficulty.

Now, I'm worried about three things:

1) Transitioning Gill to his new tank and having a relapse of symptoms.

2) Gill not going up to the surface to get oxygen (an irrational fear based on observed behavior).

3) Feeding Gill and making him sick again.

In regards to worry #3, when should I give Gill more Omega One flakes? It's been two days since his last one...
 
tellin
  • #39
In preparation for New Tank Day, why not call the pet store and ask if they will give you a bit of old media or filter sponge so you can jump start your nitrogen cycle? You'll still have to change your water very frequently since you will be doing a "fish-in cycle" but building up a nice colony of beneficial bacteria will give you some margin for error.
 
Rylan
  • #40
Just make sure to take your time acclimate him to the new tank.

As for the flakes he probably only needs one flake a day when you feed him. You could soak them a bit in tank water first to help reduce the chance of swim bladder issues.

If he seems over the constipation you could give him a little flake today. But don’t worry if he won’t take food from you the first few days while he adjusts to a new environment.

If he’s swimming and active I wouldn’t worry too much about your 2nd worry

They take oxygen from both the water and the surface.
 
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