Unusual Betta Behavior

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by K8lyn, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Last Tuesday I got a Betta fish from petco. Gamma was acting amazingly, very responsive, active, making me bubble nests already...quite a happy guy. This past Friday evening I went home for a day and a half and returned this Sunday afternoon around 4. I fed him immediately and noticed he was not acting like his normal self which made me think he was just upset with me for leaving. All day he has been very unresponsive, sluggish, and laying at the bottom of his tank nudged underneath a decorative rock or his moss ball. At one point he spit out some of his food. His fins which are usually very expressive are clenched. He is not interested in me at all or any stimuli. I'm so concerned he won't make it through the night. I did a 20% water change and I'm planning on doing a full tank change tomorrow morning.Tank: 2.5gal filtered, Decor: rock, moss ball, gravel, hammock leaf


    Does anyone have any suggestions on something I should do. I've become quite attached to Gamma and I'm hoping he pulls through.
     
  2. ashleyb

    ashleybValued MemberMember

    Can you please provide us with your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings? This will make it much easier to help you. Was the tank cycled before you added the Betta? Does he have a heater and if so, how warm is the tank? Are you making sure to treat your tap water with a water conditioner to remove chlorine/chloramine and heavy metals before adding it to the tank?

    Getting a good reading on your water parameters would be your first step in diagnosing any issues. Everyone on here seems to agree with using the API Master Test Kit, as its much more accurate as a liquid reading than with strips. If you don't have access to a kit, are you able to get one? I would continue doing water changes in the meantime, but don't forget to condition the water!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    I can't provide you with any water readings as I don't have any equipment. The water is treated and was cycled. I guess I just don't understand how his condition deteriorated so quickly in a day and a half of my absence. He was doing completely fine for 4 days then this. I am planning on buying a heater tomorrow to see if that helps him. Though I really don't know what else I can do since physically he looks perfect and has no presentable signs of infection or parasites.
     




  4. ashleyb

    ashleybValued MemberMember

    Bettas can become very lethargic when the water isn't warm enough. They prefer water around the 80 degree margin. Would you be able to get a test kit along with the heater? I know it's a lot of money upfront, but the test kit will last you a LONG time with just a Betta. My last test kit lasted me almost an entire year with three tanks!
     
  5. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Yeah the heater is my first suspect of issue considering the water isn't even a week old yet and he is the only fish producing any waste. I don't think I will be getting a test kit considering how often the water will be/is changed and filtered. I would rather rule out other issues before spending money on a test kit as probably harsh as that sounds.
     




  6. ashleyb

    ashleybValued MemberMember

    This is true, but he is also the only fish producing any waste in a VERY small environment. I usually recommend at least 6 gallons minimum for bettas, but that's a discussion for another time. The fact of the matter is smaller tanks are extremely delicate when it comes to chemical spikes, especially ammonia spikes. Ammonia and nitrite poisoning can also describe your betta's unusual behavior. I strongly recommend testing the water.. But it's ultimately your decision!

    How long did you cycle the tank prior to adding him and how did you know it was cycled without testing the water?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    I ran the tank for 14 days prior to adding my betta and I also transplanted some gravel and filter media from a healthy established betta tank during that cycling. I did what I could without a test kit.
     
  8. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    Honestly, getting a test kit is extremely important for a tank that small. They are very prone to ammonia spikes. Ammonia builds up extremely fast in a tank that small, and just because it has a filter doesn't mean it gets rid of ammonia. You can't say your tank is cycled without knowing the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. Test kits(liquid, NOT strips) are an essential item for any fish tank.
    Since you went away and weren't able to monitor him, my thoughts go towards ammonia or nitrite poisoning, which can't be diagnosed without a test kit. I would seriously reconsider your thoughts on a test kit, and if possible upgrade to at least a 5 gallon. Water parameters will be much more stable, and he will love the space.
    Edit: letting it run with no ammonia source killed any BB(beneficial bacteria) there was, so now you are doing a fish in cycle, which makes a test kit that much more important.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Does it sounds like a good idea to transfer him from his tank to the plastic bowl I got him in with fresh conditioned water for the night...so maybe he starts feeling better?
     
  10. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    I wouldn't, it will cause more stress than anything. I would do a 75% water change to get rid of any toxins that could be in the water and leave him in his tank.
     
  11. SabrinaBrook

    SabrinaBrookWell Known MemberMember

    Hi K8lyn,
    Sorry to hear about your betta. A heater will help a lot and make sure you grab a cheap thermostat to read the temperature with. If you plan on doing a full tank change as you said above, make sure the water is warm before you put your betta back in the tank. I use the kitchen kettle and boil some hot water, i then add that to the bucket with some cold water in it too, also adding the water conditioner at the same time and mixing it about. Please don't add hot water to your tank straight from the kettle! Make sure you feel the water with your finger so its not to hot also. If you have your betta in a container while you change the tank, slowly add some of the new water to the container so he gets use to the new water before you add him to the tank. Please also remember to turn your heater off for 10 minutes before you empty the old water out of the tank and leave it off until new water goes in :)
    I was without a test kit for a long time, my fish were suffering because of it. Im not trying to talk you into getting one but they are very beneficial to your fish. As long as you do water changes, treat the water and have a heater your doing the best you can! Check your filter isn't clogged up every now and then too and you should be right. Good luck!
     
  12. ashleyb

    ashleybValued MemberMember

    That's very good news! When buying a heater, I'd spend the extra $5 and go with the adjustable heater that you can raise to 80 degrees instead of the preset heaters at 78. I had a Betta that seemed a little "lazy" at times and when I swapped the heater out I was astonished at what a difference two degrees makes for these little guys.

    Can I ask what water conditioner you're using? If you are adamant against buying a liquid test kit at this time, I would at least recommend using Seachem Prime as your conditioner, as it makes tap water safe and simultaneously detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes up to 1ppm for 24 hours. So along with a heater, daily water changes and using Prime as a backup, hopefully you'll be able to get him active again.

    I agree with @Flowingfins. Keep him in his regular habitat for now and do a large water change. Get that temp up to 80 degrees and use Prime during water changes and I'm sure that will make a world of difference for your finned friend.

    Weekly water changes are required for any fish tank. But with a tank that small I would be doing at least twice a week, as you don't have the kit yet to determine if your water is stable.

    However, since is appears as if you're essentially doing a cycle from scratch right now, since there was no ammonia source to keep that beneficial bacteria alive during the two weeks you ran the tank, I would say daily water changes are required at this point. Once you know the tank is actually established and cycled again, I would continue with twice weekly water changes of 20%, due to the size of the tank. I do twice weekly changes in my 6 gallon Betta tank and once weekly on my 10 gallon Betta tank. Others can probably add some commentary to this.

    Please consider buying Seachem Prime tomorrow to help detoxify any ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes in the tank. It acts as a water conditioner as well. You can get the small bottle from Petco for $6 and its extremely concentrated. It would last a great deal of time in a tank that small.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2016
  13. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Okay...I just got done doing a 70% water change using warmish water. Gosh I hope he is feeling better by the morning. I was feeling so bad for him. I have never had a betta before but plenty ofGoldfish and this is so new for me. So tomorrow I will go buy a heater and  . And I will save up for a test kit, which will most likely happen when I get my next paycheck. Tomorrow I will be changing him to a 3 gal tank. Now I know that he needs a weekly water change. Is there any way that as the tank bacteria develops that timeline will lengthen? I really want him to feel his best always is there anything else you guys suggest. I am so grateful you guys are up late for this catastrophe I really appreciate the suggestions.Oh my gosh, Gamma is already being more lively at 1:40AM than I've seen him be all day after this water change. :D
     
  14. ashleyb

    ashleybValued MemberMember

    Weekly water changes are required for any fish tank. But with a tank that small I would be doing at least twice a week, as you don't have the kit yet to determine if your water is stable.

    However, since is appears as if you're essentially doing a cycle from scratch right now, since there was no ammonia source to keep that beneficial bacteria alive during the two weeks you ran the tank, I would say daily water changes are required at this point. Once you know the tank is actually established and cycled again, I would continue with twice weekly water changes of 20%, due to the size of the tank. I do twice weekly changes in my 6 gallon Betta tank and once weekly on my 10 gallon Betta tank. Others can probably add some commentary to this.

    Please consider buying Seachem Prime tomorrow to help detoxify any ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes in the tank. It acts as a water conditioner as well. You can get the small bottle from Petco for $6 and its extremely concentrated. It would last a great deal of time in a tank that small
     
  15. Subha92Valued MemberMember

    It could be a lower temperature issue. It has been observed that the lower temperatures are stressful to Betta. They are also prone to diseases during such conditions. Having a water test kits are really a good idea, but before that i would suggest you to do atleast 80% water change along with Declorinator & Stress Coat. Try to keep your tank warm by keeping the lights on for a little more time.
    Best of Luck
     
  16. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    To help Gamma out, daily water changes will reduce the ammonia and nitrite he's exposed to. It's going to be the best option, even with products, until the cycle establishes.

    To speed up the process, Seachem Prime and Stability. Stability is a bacteria additive that helps with the cycle. It can be used with prime and water changes.

    I've done a fish in cycle with Tetra Safe Start Plus in a heated 2.5 gallon before, but my betta wasn't stressed before hand.
     
  17. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

  18. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Well I changed out the whole tank this morning and let him rest for about 2 hours and tried to feed him and now he won't eat. The water is warm and fresh and I honestly don't know what to do for Gamma any more. He is still very sickly and his color is starting to dull.
     
  19. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Did you add Prime or other water conditioner to the new water?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    K8lyn

    K8lynNew MemberMember

    Yes, the water is conditioned.
     




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