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ChemMon1 03-02-2008 05:41 PM

Emergency Betta Help - - PLEASE!
I'm the first to admit I'm not a fish person, but I've had my Betta, Glub for almost three years and he's obviously having a severe problem the last couple of days.

Background: We're located in Lincoln, NE and about a month and a half ago, on the literally coldest night of the winter (ground temps down to -15F), my husband accidentally turned off our house furnace. I woke up the next morning to a house that was under 50F and an otherwise unresponsive Betta. I was fully and utterly convinced he was dead. For the last 3 years, he's been in a simple 2 gallon tank, no bubbler, no heater and he's been just fine. I did some quick research and found out Bettas become listless and lethargic in "cold" water temps. I went to petco, bought a 2.5 gallon tank with bubbler, and a small tank water heater. Since, his tank has been kept at a constant ~78F and he's been doing fantastically.

The other day, I noticed he wasn't moving as much as he usually does (he's often very active and LOVES the reflective sides of his tank... he loves to show his reflection who's boss ). In fact, he's not eating, doesn't swim and lays, often times on his side or completely upside down, along with bottom of his tank, much as he was behaving after my husband's faux pas. Admittingly, I've been busy with midterms so his water's not been changed in about two weeks. So I immediately changed his water (probably didn't help stressing him out now that I think about it) and there's been no change in his condition.

I ALWAYS use betta water conditioner and, frankly, I don't know what else to do for the little guy. I know it's possible he caught something when his water temp went so low a month and a half ago, but why would his condition better and then worsen seemingly overnight?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm worried that if he doesn't start swimming around that he might be smothered (Betta's NEED to breathe surface air occasionally, correct?). He moves around a bit if I move the tank, but as soon as the movement subsides, he floats back down to the bottom of the tank.

HELP HELP HELP! Attached is a picture of Glub. There aren't any visible problems (no lesions, not bumps indicating a swim bladder problem or any tumors) from what I can tell. He's always looked the same and I haven't noticed any physical changes in the three years I've had him.

ChemMon1 03-02-2008 05:47 PM


I don't know why my attachment won't add. It's proper size and file extension, but it won't post. And of course, I can't figure out how to enable HTML, so, here's a link to my photobucket account. Hopefully you can see it.

Thanks so much for your help.

Flashygrrl 03-02-2008 05:59 PM

See if you can quickly get a liquid testing kit, do the tests and post the parameters asap. We can't tell you much until we know those particular details :(

ChemMon1 03-02-2008 07:00 PM

Water test
Okay, luckily PetCo wasn't yet closed, so I got some testing strips:
Nitrate ~10ppm
Nitrite ~0ppm
hardness 425 (Lincoln, NE is notorious for extremely hard water)
alkalinity ~200ppm

Okay, obviously, my pH is too high. I'll go buy some pH fix tomorrow (good thing I'm a chemist :-) ) and that should take care both the pH and the alkalinity. Should I bother fixing the hardness? I don't understand how any of these parameters could immediately cause such a negative response overnight. The lady I spoke to at PetCo (has had bettas for a good majority of her life) said most Bettas life expectancy is only 3-4 years. Could it be that Glub's just too old?

I also bought some BettaFix just to be careful.

Falina 03-02-2008 07:56 PM

Please don't add chermicals to change the ph. They lead to instabilities which can severely stress and even kill the fish. There are more natural ways to lower ph but I don't think it's necessary here. Your betta has been living in this water for 3 years and has clearly adapted well to it. To change it now would just be adding insult to injury.

It would be good to know your amonia reading. A liquid test is much better than the strips if you decide to get one.

Bettas are often between 1-2 years old when they are sold in pet stores. Old age is entirely possible.

I know you have been busy lately, but try to keep you water maintanence up to date. Twice weekly water changes of 25% should keep your water in good condition.

Well done for taking the time to research, upgrade his home and buy a heater etc. You have definitely made him more comfortable.

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