Hello and welcome. You were speaking with a bot before, I’m a real person, My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 40 years of experience keeping fish. Some additional information may help me determine the best steps for you to take.What kind of fish is this?How big was the original tank (gallons), and how big is the new one?Do you still have the smaller one set up?What types of filters were in both tanks?Thank you.
Hi Anna! Thanks! New to JA.
There’s actually a longer story here. Caring for the classroom fish thrust us into fish care with no experience. The classroom fish was a female betta. Over the course of time observing her in the classroom (before we took her home) I noticed she had steadily declined and had a tumor type growth that grew to the point of weighing her down. She would only swim to the top and then sink down under the weight of the growth. She also had clumpy scales. In preparation for her leaving the school, the teacher had transferred her to a cup for easy transport home and had her 1-1.5 gal fish bowl and marble and 1 small plant and betta food ready to go home.
New to fish care I prepared her bowl once we got home and later realized I didn’t add the water conditioned to her bowl before transferring her back. She died in 2 hours. I felt horrible for what I did and also for killing the classroom pet and realizing my crucial mistake decided we should get a replacement fish for the class.
We went to pet store and chose a male veil tale and chose a 2.5gal tank kit that came with filter and light. I set up the tank and properly conditioned it and waited several hours before introducing Lee to it.
He seemed to do adjust well. But then over the next several days he wasn’t eating. Still to this day he has only water twinge in a two week period. And only 1-2 pellets. I began more research into bettas and everything I read said a 5 gal was a better size. Got the new tank, set up and conditioned and waited 24 hours before introducing Lee. The wanted temp was the same as his 2.5 gal at 78 degrees. By this time of transfer to new larger tank we had had Lee for 2 weeks in the 2.5 gal.
Within hours of being in his new 5 gal tank he turned color, pale and lethargic. I also noticed this morning one of his pectoral fins is clamped.
He spends most of his time resting on the bottom gravel, only coming up for a gulp of air, then goes back to bottom. Attaching photo comparison of his color change.
I added a 10watt heater and now his tank temp is steady at 80. Woke up this morning and his tank is somewhat cloudy. I understand this could be bacteria bloom as I am wishing 24 hours of new tank.
Lee right now 9am 4/5/20
Also both ranks are Top Fin kits with filters.
The only thing I don’t have is an at home water test kit.
I do not have the smaller tank still set up. I see how that would have been wise for an emergency transfer back to an environment he was just in.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m sorry ha you have had so many difficulties. It’s very possible that Lee was sick when you got him - a lot of pet store fish are. However, the symptoms you are seeing are also common with stress. Lee has had several changes in a fairly short period of time.
If Lee was I one of those little containers at he pet store, just being put in a larger tank with a filter would be stressful. If the filter you have is adjustable, try turning it down. In nature, bettas live in shallow, still water. Too much current can stress them. If your filter is not adjustable, try turning it off for just an hour. If Lee improves, you’ll know ye filter was upsetting him. If he doesn’t get better, just turn the filter back on.
You can also add some aquarium salt to the tank - one teaspoon per gallon of water. A little salt can also help fish cope with stress.
I do recommend that you get a test kit. The API Master Test Kit for freshwater is he best. New tanks are especially prone to water problems, and noting makes fish decline faster than that.
Lee doesn’t have symptoms of any specific disease. That makes it impossible to treat with medication. The wrong medication can do more harm than good. So I would test the water , try turning off the filter, and add some salt.Please let me know in a few hours if anything has changed. We’ll proceed from there.
Hi Anna, thank you so much this has been very helpful! I have the filter turned down on the lowest setting. I’ll get to the store today for salt and test kit. I’ll also take a sample of his tank water for the store to test.
I’ll update you later today once I have completed your recommendations. Thanks again!
You’re welcome. I’ll watch for your update.
I turned off the filter about an hour ago. Took a sample of water to the store and there was 0 ammonia and all other levels appropriate (pic of strip).
I purchased the salt and it’s directions say 1 rounded tsp for every 5 gallon. (Pic of directions). Please confirm if you recommend I add more. Also do I just add straight to the water?
I’m glad to hear the water is good. If you look more closely at the salt directions, you’ll see that it says to add a rounded TABLEspoon to 5 gallons, not a TEAspoon. A rounded tablespoon usually amounts to about 4 teaspoons, which is close to the amount I recommended.Did turning off the filter make any difference in his behavior?
So far no changes in his behavior. He’s currently handing around the surface next to the heater.
I’m getting more concerned about him. You have clean water at the proper temperature. You’ve tried the filter both on and off, with no change. We’ll see if the salt does any good. My concern is that Lee might be an older fish. Some unscrupulous breeders ship their breeding males off to be sold when they reach about two years of age. They want to make a little money on them while they still can. Those fish are often very beautiful and sell quickly, but they don’t do well under the stress of being moved and having to adjust to a new environment because they are actually seniors at that age. Two of the most common changes we see in older bettas are fading color and less energy. You are doing everything right. If you think you’d like to try an actual medication, I’d suggest a very mild one like Bettafix. Melafix could also be used, but at half the recommended dose. Both are safe to use with salt in the tank.I also want to reassure you about the first female fish. Yes, the chlorine on the water probably killed her, but she was dying anyway. With the clumpy scales-indicating fluid retention- and a tumor, she was going to suffer a slow death. The situation probably worked out better for her this way.I would just give Lee a bit more time to adjust. If there’s no improvement by tomorrow, you may want to try a medication.
Hi Anna, thank you for your reassurances and guidance. I just added the salt. The filter is still off. Should I turn it on the low setting?
If he is older/senior how much would this medication really improve his condition and how much more time do we really have with him? I’ve quickly and unexpectedly spent up to $200. The medication looks inexpensive but each little thing is adding up and it’s seemingly endless. Maybe naive of me since new to keeping fish. Is this an expensive hobby? I’m sure it can be with big aquariums and communities of fish to care for. This just seems excessive for 1 betta and maybe I was set up for failure with Lee if he is older and sick.
If having the filter off didn’t help, go ahead and turn it back on on low.Normally, a betta shouldn’t be a big expense. You got unlucky. The medication may not do anything. It works for bacterial infections, and there really aren’t any signs of that.I mentioned it because a lot of people like to feel they are doing all they can.There are still two possibilities. One is that he is elderly. But the other that he is extremely stressed by the changes in his life. If he were mine, I wouldn’t do any additional treatments. With time he may recover. If you just bought him, you might want to notify the pet store that he isn’t doing well. If they have a guarantee, they may replace him if he doesn’t make it.
Thanks Anna, I appreciate your honesty. I have made the store aware of his condition and they do have a 2 week return policy and unfortunately that would have been yesterday as the last day. I just feel like 2 weeks isn’t enough time to give him a fair chance to acclimate and for issues to reveal themselves.
In any event, I appreciate all the time you’ve spent on this with me today. I hope you have a great rest of your Sunday!
You’re welcome, Nikki. I’m sorry to know that what started out to be an act of kindness turned into such an expense for you. I do hope it will turn out Lee is just stressed and he’ll come around in a day or two.
Me too, thanks Anna!
Good morning Anna
Lee seems to have a little more energy this morning. He’s exploring his tank. And is one pectoral fin seems to have unfurled some. And at certain angles it looks as though some of his original red color is returning.
He’s still not interested in food. As of today, he hasn’t eaten in a week. I offer him moistened pellets and blood worms 2x daily but when he doesn’t eat them I remove them from the tank to help keep good water quality.
I also think the lowest filter setting is still annoying him. He has swam near it and it pushes him around some and he dashed off. This maybe another reason he lingers on the opposite side of tank near heater. Any recommendations on quiet and slow filters?
Hope you are staying well!
Good morning Nikki. Thank you for the well wishes. I hope you are staying well, too, during this Covid 19 crisis.
Filters and bettas are a difficult combination. If you use a bigger tank, a filter almost becomes a necessity. I have always kept mine in a two gallon tank with no filter. I do a complete water change once per week. I have 2 of those smaller tanks. One has no fish. I put new water in that one and use one of the little betta tank heaters to warm it to the proper temperature. On cleaning day, I just move the betta into that tank, dump the one the fish has been in, and repeat the process.
Because the filter is stressing Lee, I suggest turning it off. You Can fill a 5 gallon bucket with water and use an aquarium heater to warm it. Then use that water to do a complete water change. With a 5 gallon tank, it may only be necessary every two weeks, but it’s important to test regularly to be sure.
Another option would be to turn off the filter and do partial water changes more often.For example, 25% twice a week. Again, testing is important to make sure the water remains good.
I would recommend trying one of these two methods. It’s very weird that Lee will not eat. You’re doing all you can. If it’s not too difficult to get to a pet store, you could try a different brand, or see if your store carries frozen or live fish foods you could try. If they have them, you usually have to ask.
If you think of anything else, let me know.
Thanks Anna, I sent a new question in since I thought this thread was closed. If you see that just ignore or close it. Thanks
I just saw it. I’ll ask Customer Service to close it.