New Baby Betta- Concerned About Health?

alexbaker736

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I got a baby betta boy recently, his name is Kenny. He seems to be around 5-7 weeks old. I’m a little concerned about his health, he’s been very lethargic and has spent much of his time at the bottom of his tank. His fins are mostly clamped, even when swimming. He swims pretty slowly as well.

Before someone gets on my case about buying a baby betta from PetCo, please know that I’m an experienced fish owner. While this is my first baby betta, it’s not my first betta.

Some things that worry me:
-Clamped fins
-Lethargy
-Slow swimming
-Sitting at the top and bottom of his tank
-White spots behind both his gills
-Red coloration to his gills
-(Seemingly) dimmer coloration in scales
-Red eyes (all my past bettas have had yellow or gray eyes)

I have an Aqueon 1 gallon tank right now. I’ve modified the LED light because it was too bright for him (when I turned it on before he wouldn’t go into the middle of the tank, now that it’s dimmer he does). I don’t use the filter really at all because of the current, but I turn it on for about 15-30 minutes a day just to keep the water fresh. I’ve put a homemade baffle on it made out of a cut up undershirt using some (clean) rubber bands to keep it secure in order reduce stress when the filter is on. I feed him dried bloodworms, about 1 fourth 2-3 times a day. He’s got a live plant and a Marimo ball in his tank with him, and plenty of places to hide. I’m getting a heater and a thermometer soon, buying one when I first got him completely slipped my mind. I’ve printed out a little background to put behind his tank, don’t know if that makes a difference.

Another thing that’s really worrying me is that he jumped out of the bowl he came in. When I was transferring him from PetCo container he came in, he flopped on top of the net and jumped off, falling onto my carpeted floor. I was able to scoop him up with my fingers and drop him into his tank (fingers were probably not the best plan, but I just wanted to get him off the floor as soon as possible). I really should have just dumped him in, but his little bowl was filled with poop or old food. Whatever it was, it was bad and I didn’t want it in my tank. I feel like that drop might have really hurt him, since bettas are already fragile fish.

Does anyone have an idea what might be going on? Could it just be stress? If more info is needed, just ask. I’ll attach a few pictures of him (the last one was taken before I dimmed his LED).

Additionally, if anyone knows what kind of betta he is based off the pics, let me know!



 

Demeter32

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Sorry no one's replied yet. I just saw your post today.

Did you cycle the tank before putting him/her in? You should be keeping the filter on 24/7. The filter is where the beneficial bacteria live and the ammonia and nitrites are only broken down when water passes through the media. If the flow is simply too strong then you should be doing at least every other day 50% water changes. Poor water quality would lead to the clamped fins.

I hope you plan to upgrade his tank size. 1gal is no home for any species of fish, there just ins't enough space and smaller tanks are less stable than larger ones. Rather than buying a heater, I'd buy a 5 or even 10gal kit, it should come with a heater, thermometer and filter.

Body wise the betta doesn't look too bad. He is probably acting slow because there isn't a heater. Bettas prefer warm water around 78-82F. I would not be feeding dried blood worms though. They are known to cause bloating and swim bladder issue, plus they should only be fed as a treat. Omega one mini pellets are what I feed my juvenile bettas, they have no problem eating them. Frozen brine shrimp are also a favorite for bettas.

As for fin type, I can tell you it is nothing fancy like a HM or delta. The uneven/toothed edges indicate veiltail. A CT would already have long rays. Also, don't be too surprised if the "boy" is actually a girl. Petco should not even bother trying to sex their baby bettas, I bought two and both were miss labeled.
 

Colin_T

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The fish is definitely stressed in the first 2 pictures, he's not a happy camper.

Fish landing on the floor can kill them but sometimes it does nothing to them. Landing on carpet is much better than concrete. If he landed on his head then there might be problems. I found a dry male Betta on the floor in the shop. I was about to throw it in the bin when it gasped. I put it back in a tank and 2 hours later it was fine. So they are usually fine after jumping out as long as they don't damage themselves when they hit the ground.

If his fins are still clamped now, and the water quality is good, then I would think it has a protozoan infection. But we need more info from the OP. So when you get a chance, please update us on the situation.
 
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alexbaker736

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Update!

He’s doing much better. I got him some dried baby shrimp to eat instead of bloodworms (I still feed him bloodworms every now and again for the variety), I got a heater so his tank is now around 75-80 Fahrenheit at all times. I also researched the plant that’s in his tank and took it out since it generally wouldn’t live in the same environment as a betta and was dying from the water temperature (I’ll be getting him a betta plant soon). I added a second Marimo ball to help with the water quality since I don’t have a filter. I added one of those betta hammoc leaf things (a plastic leaf that suction cups to the side of the bowl) to provide some shade as well as a place for him to sleep aside from the rocks on his tank now that the plant is gone.

Currently, he’s no longer clamping his fins and he’s swimming around much more. I don’t have any pictures that are too recent, but I’ve attached some from a few days ago.

I’m confident the problem was stress, possibly bloating, I was just concerned because I’ve never worked with baby betta before.

Thank you for all your help in replies— I’ll be sure to update when he’s further along in growth. I’m fairly certain he’s either a male veil tail or a male roundtail. There’s no sign of any ovaries, and his fins are getting much much bigger.
 

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Colin_T

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definitely looking much better :)

Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) is a good plant for Bettas. You can plant it or let it float on the surface.
 

NickAu

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You are not feeding that fish correctly, Dried shrimp are rubbish and need to be soaked till soft before feeding.
Blood worms are ok as a treat.

You need to get some quality pellets like New Life Spectrum for bettas, 4 pellets a day is more than enough.

Currently, he’s no longer clamping his fins and he’s swimming around much more. I don’t have any pictures that are too recent, but I’ve attached some from a few days ago.
If those photos are from a few days ago then nothing much has changed

Can you please answer the following questions.

How big is the tank?
Has it got a heater? What is it set to?
Has it got a filter?
How strong is the current?
Is it cycled?
How often do you change water?
How much water do you change?
Do you vacuum the substrate?
What additives or chemicals do you use? Eg De Chlorinator?
Do you use tap or bottled water? If bottled water please give us the brand.
Do you have a water test kit?
Can you tell us the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
When you clean the tank can you tell us exactly what you do.
What do you feed him? how much? how often?
Any tank mates? What sort how many?
How long have you had the Betta?
Has he got a history of illness?
Any plants or decorations? Please give details?
Can you provide a close up photo of the fish?
Can you provide a photo of the tank?
 
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alexbaker736

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You are not feeding that fish correctly, Dried shrimp are rubbish and need to be soaked till soft before feeding.
Blood worms are ok as a treat.

You need to get some quality pellets like New Life Spectrum for bettas, 4 pellets a day is more than enough.



If those photos are from a few days ago then nothing much has changed

Can you please answer the following questions.

How big is the tank?
Has it got a heater? What is it set to?
Has it got a filter?
How strong is the current?
Is it cycled?
How often do you change water?
How much water do you change?
Do you vacuum the substrate?
What additives or chemicals do you use? Eg De Chlorinator?
Do you use tap or bottled water? If bottled water please give us the brand.
Do you have a water test kit?
Can you tell us the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
When you clean the tank can you tell us exactly what you do.
What do you feed him? how much? how often?
Any tank mates? What sort how many?
How long have you had the Betta?
Has he got a history of illness?
Any plants or decorations? Please give details?
Can you provide a close up photo of the fish?
Can you provide a photo of the tank?
The tank is 1 gallon, I’ll be getting him a 2.5 or a 3 gallon once he gets bigger. I’ve read that tanks that are too big stress fish out.

He’s got a heater, it stays at 75-80F at all times.

It used to have a filter, but the current was way too strong for him. It stressed him out and eventually he gave up on swimming altogether. I’ll be putting it back in when he’s not as small.

I do 25-50% water changes every 2-3 days, depending on the apparent water quality.

I vacuum the substrate every other time I clean the tank to maintain healthy bacteria in the substrate (not sure if that’s entirely smart, correct me if not).

I use a standard Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus water conditioner, 5mg per water change.

I use warm tap water, which is made safe after about an hour of being with the conditioner.

I do not have a water test kit.

The first thing I do is unplug everything, then scoop the fish out of his tank with the little bowl he came in. Then I take out all of the things in his tank, place them on a towel and begin siphoning the gravel. When that’s all done, I do a 25%-50% water change. First I take out the water, then I clean the hidey hole he has (it usually gets covered in slime/algae), then I put everything back in to the tank, add the conditioner, and then add the water. I let it sit for about an hour to an hour and a half, then I put my fish back in.

I generally feed him (depending on the size) one half to a full freeze dried crushed up baby brine shrimp, and sometimes a part of a bloodworm. I do this twice a day, once when I wake up and once before I go to bed.

No tank mates, unless you count the Marimo balls or the java fern.

I’ve had him for about 3 weeks.

He hasn’t had a history of illness that I know of. I’ve got a nagging suspicion that he has dropsy, but I think that’s just anxiety over my last fish having died of it (completely new tank, new substrate, new hidey hole, everything is new for my current fish). He seems a little bloated, from what people are saying it might just be the food I’m giving him. Since he’s showing no other symptoms, I’m sure he’s fine.

Currently he has two small Marimo balls that hang out at the bottom of the tank to help out with water quality. He also has a live java fern that I just added today (his old plant died because it was unsuitable for bettas). He has a fake log for hiding, and a betta hammock (plastic leaf that suction cups to the side of the tank). Now that I’ve got the java fern I’ll be removing it, though. I also have a picture of some plants taped to the wall behind his tank, purely for aesthetic purposes. I’ve got the heater and the thermometer suction cupped to the side of his tank. The LED light is slightly modified to reduce the brightness which was way too much for him at first.

Like I said, I’ll be updating his tank size once he reaches adulthood. I plan on going for 2.5gal Aqueon, since I’ve had it before and it was a good quality tank. Are there other affordable ones I could find at PetCo of similar size that might be better?

If there’s anything you think I can do to ensure his health and happiness, please let me know!

https://i.imgur.com/HjOCmvk.jpg
https:[URL='https://i.imgur.com/4rdM5z9.jpg']//i.imgur.com/4rdM5z9.jpg[/URL]
 

NickAu

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then scoop the fish out of his tank with the little bowl he came in
You do not need to do this it stresses the fish too much.

I generally feed him (depending on the size) one half to a full freeze dried crushed up baby brine shrimp, and sometimes a part of a bloodworm. I do this twice a day, once when I wake up and once before I go to bed
That is a very unhealthy diet, You should be feeding him a high grade Betta pellet and give him frozen as a treat.

I’ve got a nagging suspicion that he has dropsy,
I doubt that, Can you provide close up photos of the fish.

I plan on going for 2.5gal Aqueon,
My coffee cup is bigger than that. 5 gallon would be good 10 gallon is great. In my opinion anything under 5 gallon should be banned as inhumane.

If there’s anything you think I can do to ensure his health and happiness, please let me know!
More Plants.


Something like this would be perfect.

This is my cube.
 

Colin_T

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Your fish does NOT have dropsy. If he stops feeding, swells up like a balloon, his scales stick out sideways from his body and he does stringy white poop, then he has dropsy. But right now he's fine.

Big tanks do not stress fish out. Empty tanks (tanks without any plants or ornaments) stress fish out and tanks without a backing are more stressful to them. Imagine living in a glass house with windows all round and no furniture, that's an empty tank. Plants and ornaments give the fish hiding places and make them feel more secure.

Keep the plastic leaf with the suction cup and move it up so it is sitting on the surface. Bettas naturally sit under floating plants so by moving the leaf to the surface it will be like a floating plant.

Get yourself some Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thallictroides). It's a floating plant but you can also plant it in the gravel. It is tough and easy to grow and Bettas love it. Just be sure to rinse any plants well with running water before you put them in the tank. And check them for snails.

Leave the fish in the container when you do a water change. Get yourself a gravel cleaner similar to the one in the following link. Just get a basic model gravel cleaner and use it to clean the gravel and remove some water when you do water changes.
http://www.about-goldfish.com/aquarium-cleaning.html

Gravel clean the substrate, move ornament, gravel clean under it, then put ornament back. Once you have drained out about half the tank, stop cleaning and refill with dechlorinated water.
 

NickAu

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Get some floating plants, Water sprite and or Riccia.

This is the way Bettas like to sleep.


I had to sneak up on the fish and use a flash to take that.
 
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alexbaker736

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You do not need to do this it stresses the fish too much.


That is a very unhealthy diet, You should be feeding him a high grade Betta pellet and give him frozen as a treat.


I doubt that, Can you provide close up photos of the fish.


My coffee cup is bigger than that. 5 gallon would be good 10 gallon is great. In my opinion anything under 5 gallon should be banned as inhumane.



More Plants.


Something like this would be perfect.

This is my cube.
I don’t want to be cleaning the tank with him in there is the thing. I had planned on buying betta pellets when I first got him, but a both a betta breeder (at least that’s what he said he was) and a store employee suggested I get brine shrimp and bloodworms instead. All my previous bettas have had 2.5-3 gallon tanks and they survived 1.5-2 years as adults, and I’ve read that 2.5-3 gallon tanks are a minimum from multiple sources. I don’t have the funds, space, or time to be cleaning out a five or ten gallon tank, and for a fish as small as mine I think that it should be fine. Thank you for your help :) I’ll definitely look into getting him more plants, better food, and a bigger tank!
 

Colin_T

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Why don't you want to clean the tank with the fish in it?

If you use a gravel cleaner the fish can swim around while you clean the substrate and drain some water, then you top the tank up. And cleaning a small tank takes the same time as a bigger tank, you just use more water :)
 

Demeter32

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I'd never remove the fish when doing a water change, no point IMO. They are just fine being left in the tank and as others stated, it is less stressful than being removed each time. In my little 3.4gal that also contains a betta I use a small gravel vacuum and remove half the water then refill it, the betta doesn't mind the slightest bit.

All my previous bettas have had 2.5-3 gallon tanks and they survived 1.5-2 years as adults, and I’ve read that 2.5-3 gallon tanks are a minimum from multiple sources. I don’t have the funds, space, or time to be cleaning out a five or ten gallon tank, and for a fish as small as mine I think that it should be fine
You really should get him at least a slightly larger tank, your fish will grow up before you know it and need more space. I can't imaging keeping a 2-3in fish in a 1gal tank. 1.5-2 years is actually still young for bettas. 3-5 years is average but they can live longer. As you've stated, you already know that 2.5gals is the minimum but for fish bigger is better. It takes a whopping 15 minutes to do a thorough cleaning in my planted 10gal. Bigger tanks means more volume of water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates to be spread out, meaning the levels will be far more stable in the long run. If something were to go wrong in a tiny tank you would have a very limited amount of time to fix that problem before it effects the fish, whereas a larger tank is more forgiving.
 

NickAu

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. I had planned on buying betta pellets when I first got him, but a both a betta breeder (at least that’s what he said he was) and a store employee suggested I get brine shrimp and bloodworms instead.
Ignore them, they haven't got a fricking clue what they are talking about, I would suggest New Life Spectrum Betta pellets.
 
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