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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-05-2009, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Betta Not Eating: Distressed or Sick?

I just purchased/rescued a betta from walmart. He appeared healthy and active in his little container. I have him in a 5 gallon aquarium, the water is conditioned and is filtered. the tank is heated to about 78-80 degrees. He is presently not eating, an it has not been just over a week. He will not eat pellets or freeze dried blood worms. I have not tried the peas, or soaking the others in garlic juice as he will not go near any food. Up until today he was swimming around, but now settles at the bottom and tries to hide, rarely surfacing for air. I became concerned that he might be dying, though I understand they can go for quite some time without eating. There are no physical signs of sickness. He now does not flare his fins and doesn't get react to his reflection. I have noticed that the filter does create a bit of a current in the tank.

As I was concerned he was not getting enough oxygen, I was able to get him into his original cup which is now floating in the tank. this has seemed to allow him better access to the surface for air which he does more frequently now. However, I am still greatly concerned as he is clearly not happy and not eating. Any advice on what the problem may be and what I should do? Strangely enough he is looking a bit better in the cup than he did sitting at the bottom of the tank (he now at least floats or swims and comes up for air). Should I try turning off the filter and releasing him in the tank as the current may be too strong?
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-06-2009, 12:37 PM
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Well, first off, it's not unusual for them to go a week or two without food at first. I actually had one betta that went a month without eating anything! I kept trying and one day he decided to eat, haha.

Is the tank cycled or are you doing full water changes?

The filter might be too strong, yeah. Bettas don't like strong currents (although some enjoy playing in them!). What kind of filter do you have? Some of them can be turned down. If you're running something like a Whisper filter, consider replacing it with a smaller, quieter filter. One intended for 5-gallons would be perfect (a lot of 5-gallons come with filters rated for 10-gallons). The Azoo Palm filters (I think that's what they're called!) are pretty good for small tanks.

If you think lack of oxygen is the problem, make sure there are plenty of decorations in the main tank. That way he can rest on them if needed . Also try live plants: they'll provide oxygen, hiding places, and resting spots. They'll even help out your tank's cycle. I'd recommend sticking to small, hardy species like java ferns, water sprite, and anubius nana.

What brand of pellets are you feeding? Popular brands tend to be HBH Betta Bites, Hikari Betta Bio-Gold, and Atison's. I would try those. You could also try frozen foods (freeze-dried foods are actually rather unhealthy and should be given as treats only, you don't want him to get used to eating them) such as brine shrimp and mysis shrimp. As a last resort, you could also try live bloodworms, blackworms, brine shrimp, pinhead crickets, fruit flies, and/or earthworms. I say last resort because most people don't want to feed those foods all the time. If you don't mind, go for it .

If none of those ideas work you might just have to wait and see what happens. It's not uncommon for bettas to be ill when you buy them so you may end up having to treat him for something.




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