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Lying on the bottom of the tank

Discussion in 'Betta Splendens' started by tabasco, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. tabasco

    tabasco New Member

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    Hi everyone! I'm new here so please forgive any really stupid question I may ask!

    I often see bettas looking half dead lying in the bottom of their jars in pet shops. Sometimes the pet shops will surrender the fish. I've had a few, they seem to live a few weeks then die suddenly.

    I have one at the moment that is bright as a button, really active, can swim ok but as soon as he stops swimming he is on the bottom sort of bent over. I'm sure you have all seen bettas like him in pet stores.

    My question is a broad one. Why are they lying down on the bottom? Injury? Illness? What would be your best guess?

    Is there any way to help these bettas recover?

    Many thanks in advance for your replies.

     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    When fish are tired or weak they often sink to the bottom and have trouble swimming. The fish become weak due to transporting and shipping them half way round the world, as well as malnutrition and poor water quality.

    The following link has a post (#11) which tells you what happens to tropical aquarium fish that come from Asia. It's pretty long but worth a read if you have some spare time. Bettas are slightly different because they are packed individually but the same general things happen to them.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/unhappy-hiding-pooping-molly.451451/

    If you get the fish into clean water with a nice stable temperature, and feed them lots of good food, they can recover. However, if depends on how much damage has been done to the fish. If significant damage has been done to the fish from poor water quality or general stress, the fish don't recover.

    Feed the fish 3-5 times per day using frozen (but defrosted) foods, live foods and a bit of dry food. Raw or cooked prawn/ shrimp is one of the best foods to condition most fish. Get a prawn and remove the head, shell and gut (long thin black tube in the body). Throw these bits away. Use a pr of scissors to cut the prawn tail into small bits and offer 1 or 2 bits at a time. Feed the fish until it is full then remove any uneaten food.

    Do big (75%) daily water changes and gravel clean the substrate each day to help keep the water clean. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.
     
  3. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fishaholic
    Tank of the Month Winner!

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    Hi and welcome! What size is your tank and do you know of the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle your tank? Do you have a test kit to test your water? I ask these questions because if your tank is not cycled then your fish is more than likely living in high ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates which are toxic to fish. You will need to do as Colin advises and do large water changes daily until the tank cycles. Use Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator as it will temporarily bind the toxic ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to protect the fish. I believe there is a section on the nitrogen cycle on our forum but not sure. It will help to read on it to better understand it. Let us know if you have questions. Good luck!
     
  4. tabasco

    tabasco New Member

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    Colin_T, thank you for your detailed reply. One thing it seems I am doing very wrong is restricting his food intake. I thought when fish were sick it was better to feed less, not more. The two previous bettas I had (similar symptoms and from pet stores lying in their cups not moving) both were doing well on a very small diet of (I'm soooo sorry) one mosquito larvae twice a day. When I increased it after a week and fed them three larvae twice a day they both soon died. I was feeding my other bettas the same larvae and they were fine.

    With the sick betta I have now I am feeding one pellet twice a day. Not nearly enough by the sounds of it. I thought bettas would eat and eat and eat until way over full. The whole 'stomach the size of their eye' thing? Is that true?

    Deanasue - more mistakes I am making... Because he is having difficulty swimming and on the bottom, I have him (again, soooo sorry) in a bucket with three litres of water. I do a 75% water change every day. Interestingly I started adding one litre of water (yes, Primed and with salt to the recommended dose, is that ok?) and one litre of water from my healthiest betta tank, figured it might have some good bacteria in it? The healthy betta tank I'm taking the water from is 50 litres, well planted with filter and just the one betta in it. The sick betta did seem to pick up and was more active when I started adding the water from the healthy betta tank. I hope that was the right thing to do.

    The sick betta has a small piece of Indian almond leaf in with him and some
    elodea to rest on. I can move him to a 30 litre tank today but I don't think he will cope with the water level being more than three to four inches, which will give him about ten litres. I don't have a test kit but can take a sample to the aquarium shop to test. I have Stability, should I add that to his water when moving him to the 30 litre tank?

    Thank you both for your advice. Colin_T, I will read the article you mentioned now, thank you. Sorry for such a long post.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    When fish are sick you want to feed them as much food as they can eat. This extra food helps them build up their energy reserves to help fight off any diseases and to help repair damaged cells in their body.

    If you are starving and sick you don't get better. So you eat lots of food and take lots of vitamins to boost your immune system. The same thing happens to fish, birds, plants and animals. They need extra nutrients to help them repair their body and to help their immune system function better to fight off any diseases. Feeding fish more when they are sick, should help them recover faster.

    Because you are feeding them more you should do lots of big water changes to keep the water cleaner and to reduce any ammonia that might appear in the water from the food and fish waste. Big daily water changes also help dilute disease organisms in the water and that means fewer pathogens that can affect the fish.

    If you have an established tank, then do a 90-100% water change on the small tanks each day and refill them with water from the established aquarium. Remove as much water from the container as possible but leave just a little bit for the fish to sit in. Then fill it up with water from the established tank. Don't handle the fish when you do this, just drain most of the water out and leave the fish in a little puddle, then fill his container back up with the aged water. You can do this twice a day to help keep things really clean. And wipe the inside of the container out every few days if you can.

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    re: the Bettas dying after being fed more. I have never heard of that or had any problems like that. All I can assume is the fish were on the way out and were simply unable to tolerate the mozzie larvae, or the mozzie larvae had something on them (possibly bacteria) that the sick fish were unable to deal with. The other healthier fish were able to tolerate whatever was on the mozzie larvae but it was too much for the sick Bettas.

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    Fish and all animals are opportunistic feeders and eat as much food as they can whenever they find food. This is because they never know when their next meal is. Fish have small stomachs but most fish can actually eat and the stomach stretches and excess food can quickly pass into the intestine where it is broken down and the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
     
  6. tabasco

    tabasco New Member

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    Thank you Colin_T for your advice. I have upped his food, will get some frozen food (thawing it) for him tomorrow. Not sure about the prawn idea, can't imagine getting a small enough piece to feed him. Will move him into the 30 litre tank as well and keep up the daily water changes with aged water. Will let you know how he goes, one way or another. Touch wood, he seems bright, alert, active, and very keen to eat!

    Read your post about aquarium fish transport from Asia. It was an eye opener for me. Have you thought about publishing it? Not sure where, but feel it should be out there for people to read.
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If the fish is still sick, don't move it into a big tank yet because it could have trouble swimming up to the surface to breath. Try to keep the fish in shallow water (about 4inches deep) until it is reasonably healthy and can swim well.

    When you move the fish into a bigger tank (30 litres), you can do a big (75%) water change a couple of times a week until he recovers, then do it once a week. If there is a water quality problem (ammonia or nitrite reading) then do it every day. Smaller containers (5-10 litres) should get a big water change every day.

    If you use a pr of scissors, you can cut really thin slivers of prawn and it's really easy to do. Don't use a knife to cut it because it's hard to do, just a medium sized pr of scissors and just cut little bits off. With some practice you can cut it small enough so neon tetras can eat it.
     

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