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CarolynInPEI January 22nd, 2010 07:33 PM

Need Some Help......
Hi everyone,

I really need some advice, my Betta, Gordon, isn't doing so well. He is not feeling very well at all and I don't know what to do to help him.

I've had him for 3 months now. He was sick a week or two ago, seemed like he was constipated, I treated him by fasting him and then giving him a pea.

He seemed to bounce right back and was back to his energetic and friendly self again.

But since yesterday he's been very different. He just lays at the bottom of the bowl, sometimes he gets up and swims for a bit but just mainly sits there.

I'm very worried...I love the little guy and it's killing me to see him like this. Does anyone have any advice for me and Gordon?


CarolynInPEI January 22nd, 2010 07:36 PM

here's a pic of my gordon....
1 Attachment(s)
here he is......when he was feeling better.

Marcha January 22nd, 2010 07:38 PM

How do you treat the water?
Are you cycling it (partial water changes) or are you replacing all the water?
How often?
Are you using conditioner (de-chlorinator)?
How often do you feed him, and what do you feed him?
How much light is the bowl getting?
How often is the surface of the water stirred?

CarolynInPEI January 23rd, 2010 07:42 AM

[QUOTE=Marcha;876909]How do you treat the water?
Are you cycling it (partial water changes) or are you replacing all the water?
How often?
Are you using conditioner (de-chlorinator)?
How often do you feed him, and what do you feed him?
How much light is the bowl getting?
How often is the surface of the water stirred?[/QUOTE]

Here goes....

I do not treat his water.
I replace all of the water except for 1 cup worth of it.
I do that once a week.
I haven't been using a conditioner.
The bowl gets quite a bit of light, he's on a table near the window.
As for the surface water, it rarely gets stirred. Is that important?

Thank you!

Marcha January 23rd, 2010 01:22 PM

Stirring the surface breaks the surface 'gunk', which gives the water a better chance to reoxyenate. It's just a matter of once or twice a day giving the top inch of the water a little stir. Otherwise a filmy layer can form and prevent any oxygenation. Specially if the bowl is in a brighter spot, where algae (the good and the bad ones) can flourish, and the waste product of these algae will create that filmy layer on the top faster than if the bowl is in a less bright spot.

The conditioner is important, since it removes chlorine and chloramine from the water - both of these are toxic to fish and can decrease their lifespan dramatically. You just need a tiny bit in the water, leave it for about 5 minutes before putting it in the bowl. Any pet supply store will have an aquarium water conditioner. For a small bowl like the one you have, a bottle will last you two or so years. You only need a tiny bit. When you put the dechlorinator in the water, you'll already see a swirling kind of motion happening inside the water, which is the interaction of the conditioner with the nasties in the water.

For the next week or week and a half, replace a cup or two of water of the tank each day. This leaves enough water in the bowl for the good bacteria, and gives enough fresh water for oxygenation and removal of the ickies. See if that perks your fish up again!

You might want to google 'cycling' and 'aquarium' to get a better idea of why to remove only a bit of water at a time, instead of replacing all or most of the water each week.

Melei'sMom January 24th, 2010 05:01 AM

If you can afford it, you might also consider getting a 5 gal tank with heat and gentle filtration. with proper conditioning of the water and a proper heat level, bettas can actully live much longer life spans then most people think they can. Even over 5 years sometimes! Those tiny bowls aren't really a nice place for them to live (compare it to you living in a nice house with heat and fresh air or a little closet with no windows and no heat)

lUvMyLaB<3 January 24th, 2010 06:59 AM

Are there any spots on his fins? Does anyone smoke in your house? What is the air quality in your home? Bettas are air breathers, they breathe at the surface so toxins in your home will affect him. Is he eating betta food? Do you have a thermometer to watch the water temp? When you change the water do you use tap water? Good luck! There are some good forums out there with fish experts to that may help if you google it.

MyBirdIsEvil February 22nd, 2010 11:00 AM

You would probably be better off with an actual filtered tank. Even a 3g would be fine for one betta. The filter will allow the bacteria to cycle and filter toxins out of the water.
In a bowl you will not get much bacteria for filtration because there is no water circulation and those bacteria need quite a bit of oxygen. Your betta does not necessarily need oxygen because they are air breathers, but they can also use their gills like other fish, so circulation will help their health.
If you get a filtered tank do not completely change out the filter media because you will dispose of the beneficial bacteria. Rinse the filter media in tank water when you do a water change and put it back in the filter.

You do definately need water conditioner unless you have well water, because you need to remove the chlorine. This can also be accomplished by aging the water (filling a bowl and letting it sit for 24-48 hrs so the chlorine can dissipate). Never add water directly from the tap without dechlorinator (unless you do know for sure you have well water, in which case you don't have chlorine).

Always make sure the water you add is the same temperature as the tank, or else you can temperature shock your fish.
Temperature btw, should be about 75 or a bit higher, since bettas are tropical fish. They don't do well in lower temperatures for long periods. They also will not be active in low temperatures since they're cold.

As far as your original comment about him laying on the bottom of the bowl, this is pretty common for bored bettas. It does not mean he is ill. Even in a filtered tank a betta will sleep against the intake for the filter and appear to be dead. Bettas need to be mentally stimulated, and you can do this by putting a mirror against the tank for a few minutes a day, which will cause him to attack his reflection and exercise/stimulate him a bit.
Male bettas are not very active fish unless something gets them riled up.

You should be feeding him betta pellets mainly. He only needs about 6 a day (do not feed him until he stops eating and is fat, it's not good for their health and can foul the water in your tank). You can feed a few bloodworms sometimes for a treat, which will give them some good protein.

Does he ever make a bubble nest on top of the tank? This is a sign of them being pretty content. If he never makes a bubble nest he may be stressed or unhappy (though I have noticed some bettas don't make bubble nests, most do.).

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