Is my Betta sick or just a rock-potato?
I have a new question to tackle, I hope someone has a clue what's going on:
I've had Renoir, a dark blue male Betta, for nearly a year now, he gets along beautifully with my Chinese algae eater and, other than mild curiosity, ignores my danios. My concern is he doesn't seem to like swimming! At night, he goes to his favorite rock, spreads his fins out on the rock, and curls up to go to sleep. When he's awake, he drifts around the tank near the bottom, sometimes stopping to, again, spread his fins out on a rock, shell, or any other smooth surface to rest (he looks a lot like that statue of The Little Mermaid) and watch the danios play tag or the snails slide up and down the glass. The only time he shows any animation is mealtimes, and then the most movement he can muster is to drift languidly to the top and inspect the offerings, eat, then drift off to find something else to prop his fins on. He's been doing this from the day I got him! He doesn't appear to be in any distress or even any discomfort, he always sits upright, never on his side, never carelessly as if he was sick, and he never gets pushed around by the current from the filtration system (although he hates the bubbler and I had to turn it off at his insistence). The man who sold Renoir to me said that the fish never showed even the slightest interest in his neighbor (a red male Betta with a nasty temper and habit of flaring his fins at any movement), and spent most of his time perched on the bottom with his fins spread out, so I know this isn't a new thing.
Is there something wrong with him or is he just lazy?
What size is this tank? How long has it been set up? What temperature do you maintain in this tank?
The tank is a metric so it works out to around 9 gallons, and I keep the temperature at around 75 F. The tank has been set up since I moved to this apartment last year, so it's been running for 11 months. He does swim, just not a whole lot and not all that fast, and seems to enjoy taking "breaks". Does that help?
It could be that the lower temp is making him lethargic. IMHO bettas shouldn't be kept in temps any lower than 78. I keep my betta temp at 80, minimum. You might try SLOWLY bumping the temp to at least 78 and see if that doesn't help his activity level. It's aslo possible that he's getting more than he should to eat. How much do you feed him daily? Too much food and low temps could very well account for this behavior. Also, the frantic zippiness of the danios is what could also causing your betta to hang out at the bottom. Bettas aren't fond of constantly moving fast fish.
Just a heads up-due to your stocking in that tank, it's not going to work out long term. The adult size of a CAE will never work out in a 9gl, not to mention that they are known for becoming aggressive as they mature. I predict problems for your betta if he's kept with the CAE.
Have a look at the CAE profile:
Renoir and the danios get a very tiny pinch of flake food in the morning and a few crumbled up dried blood-worms at night, so it's not like they eat a lot. I do plan on coming up with something larger and more suitable for them within the year. The danios are a very, very new addition and their frantic energy hasn't altered the Betta's behavior. In fact, I was rather shocked when I first put them in the tank, he tried to chase them to get a closer look, the last time he moved that much was when the store curator tried to catch him to bag him up for me (even the curator was astounded that Renoir could muster that much speed). Wouldn't bumping the temperature up cause the CAE to become more aggressive? So far, he's just plain shy and he's the biggest thing in the tank (about 12cm long) so the last thing I need is him to go offensive.
I agree with Aunt Kymmie's post. I would suggest that you upgrade the danios and CAE to a larger tank and leave the betta in the 9 gal.
The fact that you are feeding only flake food and bloodworms could be a problem. Most tropical fish flakes contain too much vegetable matter for bettas, which are carnivorous. Try feeding him a pellet formulated for bettas- that should give him a more balanced diet and possibly improve his energy level. Of course, this might not be possible with the danios, which is another good reason to separate them.
I will say though, that this may just be his personality. I have one betta who is very similar and has been for the year and a half that I have had him. He has very long fins, which I think contributes to this behavior. Hope this helps ;)
Hmm, sounds like I better do something about Stanford (the CAE), he's shy, but if he doesn't like something he throws a mother of a tantrum (my tank used to be planted until I installed a rock-formation that he didn't approve of. The CAE went berserk and ripped all my plants up by the roots and shredded the leaves, he cooled right off when I took the thing out). If Renoir isn't getting the right food that would explain a lot - if he sees me, he peels his carefully arranged fins off his rock and swims to the top to beg. I'll try the temp thing and get some Betta food and see what happens. Maybe he's just a lazy boy, but I sure don't want him to be uncomfortable! Thanks!
Oh, and before I forget, what size tank would you recommend I get for the CAE and danios?
A 20g long would be very nice. Of course, bigger is better still. Both the CAE and danios would also appreciate a decent amount of water movement (which your betta would not much like).
Yeah, he really hates the bubbler, but everyone else goes into happy-hyper-ultra-crazy mode when that's on, maybe I better get him a nice little 5 gal all for himself with a low-flow filter. Ok, if I can get away with 20g long until the CAE gets bigger, that's what I'll do. Thanks!
Oh, and good news! I got special Betta food, started bumping the water temp up, added another inch of water, and started feeding Renoir and the Crew (danios) separately (since Renoir loves me, he swims up to the front of the tank when I open the hood so I drop the food directly into his mouth, after that, I give the Crew their flakes at the back of the tank). So now Renoir is much more energetic, he doesn't spend nearly as much time propping his fins up, and I even saw him playing tag with the danios. YAY! He still curls up to sleep, but I think that's just him.
That's not too uncommon. I've had several bettas that were sort of layabouts when "sleeping." Good to hear that his energy levels are up while awake, though!
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