2 years ago #1
Betta fish
Guest

My betta fish is staying at the bottom of the tank and when I feed him, he looks at the food, struggles to swim to it but then sinks back down. Help? What can I do?? It also curves it's body in a u or c shape and leans against the tank.

Posted on Tropical Fish
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2 years ago #2
thea
Wiz
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First thing to check is the water paramaters. Fish can start swimming strangely when all is not well with their water.

A betta (or any fish for that matter) that is either hanging out at the top or bottom of the tank for large amounts of time is tired out and the most common reasons for that is a struggle with the quality of their water.

Ammonia, nitrite need to be 0-- anything more is toxic and takes its toll on a fish; nitrates should be below 40ppm (under 20 is better) Ph should not be changing rapidly, temperature should be appropriately warmas bettas are tropical fish.

Do you use water conditioner?

Do you have a filter and heater in the tank?

Here is some more on bettas and their needs http://www.myaquariumclub.com/myths-and-truths-about- betta-care-1894.html http://www.myaquariumclub.com/all-about-betta- splendens-1942.html

If you let us know more about his environment we may be able to make more exact suggestions.

For now, I would bet a couple of water changes with tempreature adjusted (to the tank) conditioned water will help him. It make take several depending on how high the toxins are.

If your water has appropriate paramaters there may be soemthing else going on...let us know this too--how old is he and does he have any other physical symptoms.

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2 years ago #3
Betta fish
Guest

well I have a rather small tank and No i don't have a heater or a filter. Mine isn't like those huge tanks that can contain like up to 6 fish or something. And I don't know what is nitrite or ppm.

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2 years ago #4
Betta fish
Guest

He is about 1 years old in human years.

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2 years ago #5
Betta fish
Guest

Also he curves his body in an u shape. he is trying to stay afloat but just sinks back down.

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2 years ago #6
thea
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How small is small and how often do you change his water?

do you use water conditioner?

a betta really does need a heater (they come from Thailand and do not do well in cold water nor water whose temperature varies a lot -- a heater will regulate that)

He may be hanging at the bottom of the tank because he is cold and trying to conserve energy or he is feeling sick. Fish produce ammonia all the time. This makes them feel sick. If you have a big enough tank (3+ gallons) then some bacteria will grow that gets rid of ammonia.

A filter is helpful as it will clean the water and gives more place for good bacteria to grow. Good bacteria will keep your water toxin free.

I feel the heater is not optional. you can do away with having a filter (though I would not suggest it) if you are willing to do large water changes, (how much depends on the size of the tank)

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2 years ago #7
Betta fish
Guest

i'm not the one who changes the tank so I don't really know what his water temperture is.and again, his tank is pretty small. I got him for Christmas and it just came with my other fish ( that died) and then we bought this fish at petsmart and put him in the same tank. I don't think it is the same kind but they are both males.

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2 years ago #8
Betta fish
Guest

about well my dad sometimes regularly changes it maybe a month at a time. Maybe I need to get a bigger tank but I am not sure if it is 3 gallons.

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2 years ago #9
thea
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How many cups of water (or liters or gallons) do you think your tank holds?

If it is rectangular and you do not know the volume can you measure it for me and I will figure it out?

You need to change some water, at this point probably daily. I can tell you how much if you tell me how big it is.

Your fish is living, eating and creating waste in the tank. This needs to be removed somehow otherwise he is living in a toxic soup that gets worse each day. Water changes (and siphoning out waste and leftover food manually -- a turkey baster works well in a small tank) will help.

You need some sort of water conditioner. Tap water contains chlorine and chloramine (and also other toxins) that will kill your fish if you do not remove it -- water conditioner makes the tap water safe for fish. If you do not have any I would suggest Seachem's Prime. You need the smallest of bottles (50ml) as a little goes a long way (1 drop for 2 liters of water)

Lets start with this.

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2 years ago #10
Betta fish
Guest

I have a square tank and I do have water conditioner. My sibling said tha ta 3 gallon tank is not necassary and we just need to change the water. I will try to figure how big the tank is, thanks!

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2 years ago #11
Betta fish
Guest

First what do you mean by how big is it. wigth times length? Oh and volume got it.

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2 years ago #12
Betta fish
Guest

Is it REALLY important that the tank is 3 gallons or more? my dad says that he changes the tank about 1-2 weeks at a time, but no mroe than 2 weeks.

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2 years ago #13
Betta fish
Guest

Looking at the images at the google wearch of 3 gallon square fish tank, I don't think mine is a 3 gallon.

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2 years ago #14
jephil0
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Well, honestly, a 5 gallon tank would be best--not just because the betta has room to swim around, but also for chemistry purposes.

Ammonia is a chemical that we use in cleaners. It is highly poisonous, and when fish "relieve themselves" their waste makes ammonia. Rotting food will make it as well.

In a big fish tank, bacteria grows that will eat the ammonia, and turn it into nitrite, which is also poisonous. Then another kind of bacteria will grow and eat the nitrite and make nitrate, which is not as bad.

But, when you have a little tank, it's hard to get this process to work. If you have a tiny tank and no filter, it is almost certainly not working. So then you have to change water all the time to get the ammonia out. If you don't, it will eventually kill your fish.

Did you get any Christmas money? Walmart.com has both a 5 gallon or 10 gallon starter kit you could get for about $25-$27. It will come with everything you need except the heater.

It *is* possible to buy a heater for very small tanks, but they cost more than the regular ones, and you will still have to change your water at least once a week (you should really probably be doing it a lot more frequently).

Hope that helps!

Jonathan

p.s. "ppm" stands for "parts per million." That's the way chemicals in water are measured.

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2 years ago #15
Betta fish
Guest

Thanks that really helped! So if you don't want to get a bigger tank then you just have to clean the small one more frequent?

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2 years ago #16
thea
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That's right.

The thing is in a bigger tank (and frankly if your tank is at least 3 gallons this will happen) you will grow bacteria that keeps the tank water non toxic. It takes about a month to do this.

If your tank is smaller this will not happen and then you will have to change water frequently to keep it safe.

At the beginning, when you first get fish you have to change water frequently to keep ammonia down while your bacteria is growing and then after it does grow and you develop this bacteria, start only changing water once a week.

In a smaller tank this will not happen so you continue to be solely responsible for keeping water safe with water changes.

You will not know if your tank is cycled without testing it. Many pet stores will do that for you for free if you can take a sample once in a while.

When they tell you you have 0 ammonia 0 nitrties and 0 nitrates then you can start changing water only once a week.

BTW a 3 gallon tank has the dimensions 16" x 8"x 10"

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2 years ago #17
Betta fish
Guest

Thanks a lot! that also helped. Thanks for all the info guys. so maybe clean the tank 3-5 days?

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2 years ago #18
thea
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Much more frequently. That's why I wanted to know how big your tank was. Smaller tank, more frequent water change. Larger tank, less.

A one gallon tank may need daily or twice daily water changes, a 20 gallon tank (that I know you don't have) with one betta perhaps once every two or three weeks!! (My 10 gallon with one betta only need a water change every two weeks when I first got him--now I do every week just to keep the water fresh)

Its hard to tell you much without knowing how much ammonia he produces. Sorry.

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2 years ago #19
Betta fish
Guest

my dad says it's half a gallon and my betta fish still seems to struggle to swim he is swimming vertically and tipping over, then sinks down to the bottom again. What's the problem?
It still is sinking down. when I cleaned the tank.Should I give it some time?
Is this normal? My fish is STILL hangign at the bottom of the tank exept he seems to swim a tiny bit better. even when I put him in the changing cup he also did the same thing.

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2 years ago #20
Betta fish
Guest

HELLO? ARE YOU THERE?

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2 years ago #21
thea
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With a half a gallon tank you need to be doing water changes several times a day.

Really you need to get him out of there. A half gallon does not give him enough space to swim and does not have enough volume to dilute the waste and ammonia he produces daily.

Basically he is swimming in his own waste.

You should never change all the water in a tank. It is highly stessful for a fish and how are you removing him? With his fancy fins its unclear how you would do it without hurting him.

If he is to have any chance of surviving he needs a 3 gallon tank with a gentle filter and heater and water changes of 25% once a week.

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2 years ago #22
betta fish
Guest

Thea, can you have a 1 gallon tank? cause my other beta lived just fine in that tank. Because if I had any chance of persauding my parents to buy me one, I would do it. my dad picks him up or scoops him by the cup. then we put him in a cup until the tank is cleaned. My fish is swimming OK now, not that well, but he is tipping over a sometimes. my dad says that it came for a betta fish. Its SOOOOOOO hard trying to persuade my parents. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOO HARD. Now my betta swims fine exept he tipps over. IS THIS ALL BECAUSE OF THE SMALL TANK THING? it is impossible to persuade my parents.

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2 years ago #23
melissavee
Platinum Member
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I really hope you can convince your parents to get your fish a bigger tank, 3 gal tanks equipped with a filter can be cheap at walmart, and pet stores even sell small heaters made specifically for bettas that are less expensive. Part of being a responsible fish owner is being able to give your fish a proper habitat. Right now his quality of life could be much better, but i am glad you are asking questions and you obviously care

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2 years ago #24
betta fish
Guest

Thanks thea and melissavee, I'll try. Maybe I can ask my dad for one for Chinese New Year. If I had enough mody, I would buy that 3 gallon tank.

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2 years ago #25
thea
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Petco is having their $1/gallon sale right now (till the end of jan) -- a 3 or 5 gallon would be great for him and he will love you for it!!

Also try your local freecycle. Sometimes people give full tank set ups (hood, filter and heater) on there -- mine has at least one a month.

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2 years ago #26
betta fish
Guest

Thea, we bought a heater for teh fish but when he swims, the end of his tail seems to be tipping himself over.

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2 years ago #27
betta fish
Guest

He didn't make it. sigh

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2 years ago #28
thea
Wiz
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Oh I'm so sorry betta fish. Ammonia is a horrible thing, any amount is toxic for fish and even if they don't show it right away, eventually it takes his toll.

I cannot imagine how horrible you feel. My sympathies.

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