Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mjschill 06-10-2008 11:05 PM

Sick betta fish
Hey everyone, this is my first post so sorry for my newbie-ness...

I have had two bettas, for about a year now. They have been in separate tanks and I have performed the same routines on both. However, now my female betta is acting rather weird. She hasnt eatten in maybe 3-4 weeks, and is very sluggish. A film has been forming on the surface of the water. The film is kind of like a clear gel, with white speckles. I have done frequent water changes with the betta, and the film just forms over and over again. I thought maybe it was dust, but the two bettas are sitting right next to each other, and my male betta is fine.

I have tried things such as Betta Remedy, aquarium salts, stress coats, different water conditioners, and i tried different food in hopes she was just bored with the old stuff, but nothing has worked.

I got the female betta a new tank with a filter, and she is still sluggish. She is actually now just resting on the gravel on the bottom of the tank? Any ideas?

1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) - about a gallon
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? fresh
3. How long the aquarium has been set up? going on a year for the old one / 2 days for the new one
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) - 1 female betta
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? no
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? room temp
7. What make/model filter are you using? in the old one there was none / the new one has just an air pump and under gravel filter
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? no
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? yes but not much
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? for the old tank, 3 days ago, and half of the tank... the new tank just got fresh water
11. How often do you perform water changes? about once a week
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? every other night, pellets and flakes
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? in the old tank it was just the normal ceiling light whenever i was in the room, the new tank has a small light bulb on the tank.
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? sluggish fish, wont eat, and film on top of water
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. pH is 7.0, low ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? test strips
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? 2 days ago, dont understand the last part of the question.

Cody 06-10-2008 11:39 PM

The fil on top of the tank is most likely a sign of a bacterial bloom. Since the betta has just been introduced to a tank that is only 2 days old, yu are going through a cycle. This can be very poisonious to the fish, and daily water changes should be done in order to "keep it safe."

Oh, and what are your exact nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia? You said low to all of them. For 'trates, that is fine, but ammonia and 'trites should always be zero. This is toxic. Oh, and you should invest in a liquid test kit. Strips are very unreliable. API has a good all-in-one kit you can get for around 20 dollars.

You also need a heater. The temperature has to stay constant at 78 degrees or more, and room temperature isnt enough. This is why she is lethargic.

About eating, this is strange. I would think because she is in a new tank, but you said 3-4weeks? Does she look bloated at all?

iamntbatman 06-11-2008 01:13 AM

Actually, I'm guessing that the fish might also be lethargic because of low oxygen content in the water because of poor oxygen exchange caused by whatever film it is accumulating at the surface.

Do you have any type of filtration? At the very least, I would go out and buy a small air pump, a bit of tubing and a cheap airstone. Whatever the film is, it's not good for your fish and you should try to figure out what the source of it is.

What medications have you recently used on the tank, exactly? If you could give the names of the products that would help. A couple of products (Melafix/Bettafix comes to mind) are actually an oil, and using too much can cause a film buildup at the water's surface that can essentially eliminate effective oxygen exchange. Have you used any sort of cleaners on any of the decorations in the tank? What sorts of decorations are you using? You might have something that's causing the film buildup.

Have you noticed the fish gasping at the surface? When oxygen levels in the water are low, bettas will take in atmospheric oxygen from the air into their labyrinth organ. If the layer of film is really thick, the fish might not be able to do this and thus could be suffocating.

Right away, though, you should do a water change and do what you can to remove the film from the surface while we try to figure out what's causing the film buildup in the first place. While it's certainly possible that the buildup is just protein buildup from excess food or fish waste, since the aquarium's only been up and running for two days it's making me think there's some other source for your problem.

mjschill 06-11-2008 01:37 PM

Let me clear up some of the confusion with the betta tank. It was kept in the same 1gallon tank for a year. It had no filter, and I did frequent water changes with it. It was in this tank that the film started and kept growing back.

When I bought the new tank, I let it run for a day, adding water conditioner and a pH setter to set the water to 7.0. I dont have a heater but I will start looking to invest in one.

As for the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates... I used test strips again and it just said they were low. The ammonia one was at the lowest possible level so I am assuming it is low to none. The same with the nitrites and nitrates. I will also invest in a liquid tester.

With the eatting situation... she doesnt look bloated at all. She used to get rather excited when it was feeding time, now she just comes up to the top, maybe nudge it or sometimes she eats it and spits it up. But yeah she hasnt eaten in maybe 3-4 weeks.

With filtration, I have an under gravel filter in the new tank. It is run off of an air pump.

Medicines - I have tried something called Bettafix/Remedy, and something called Betta Revive (its a black liquid in a small fish like container). I havent used any cleaners on my decorations, and those are just plastic plants.

I havent noticed the fish gasping for air at all either. She just sits on the gravel then swims up to grab air and goes right back down. She doesnt look like she has a problem swimming either.

MisticAllie314 06-12-2008 09:42 PM

think u need a heater asap... thats prolly why she is sluggish. Bettas should be at 76-80...u can get an under gravel one for cheap. You did i good thing by getting the filter but your baby needs a heater to. Having the water at this temp will keep her happy, healthy, energized, and strengthen her immunity. So i suggest you get one asap =)

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