My Betta isn't digesting his food?

fredfishy

Small Fish
Dec 11, 2011
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#1
Hello! I brought a betta to bring to college, and one of the betta tanks the local pet store had (it holds about 3 cups of water). At first he was great, always making those little happy bubbles, very lively, and full fins, etc. but the past couple weeks, he's been looking a little down ):

He hasn't been eating his food. Usually he attempts to, but he spits it back out after he gets it in his mouth, and doesn't touch it after that. I've been cutting his food in half to get him to eat, which thankfully, is working! *twirlysmi

He also hasn't been making his happy bubbles anymore, which worries me, and his fins are really flat, like he's scrunching them up. He's also been a little pale at the base of his bottom fin. He's still lively though, and gets really excited whenever I pop over to say hi.

With the research I did, I found that it might because of the little betta bowl he's in, so I ordered him a five gallon tank, with a filter, and heater that keeps it at a constant 78degrees. I'll be home from school on Thursday and get him settled into his new home then.

The past couple days he's started making SOME bubbles, but not as much as he used to. But at least it's an improvement, right? I also noticed that he's been pooping out whole pieces of food, which I haven't noticed before. Since he isn't digesting it, do you think that he's scrunching his fins and slightly pale because he's not getting all of his nutrition? Or should I just wait and see what happens a few days after I get him moved into his five gallon tank?

Any help is appreciated! :)
 

Feb 27, 2009
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#2
Congrats on upgrading your betta to a better home! He'll really appreciate it.

How much and how often are you doing water changes on his 3 cups of water?

He may be suffering from ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning.
 

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Feb 27, 2009
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#4
Where do you put the betta while changing ALL of the water? It would be better to do smaller water changes but more often. If you have no filter in the current set up, I'd do 50% daily water changes, making sure the water is the same temperature and already dechlorinated.
 

fredfishy

Small Fish
Dec 11, 2011
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#5
I scoop him out with a plastic cup, and I'll dump as much water out of the cup as I can (without dumping him back into his tank), so he'll have a just enough to be completely submersed in the water. I have a water conditioner that dechlorinates, and it says to use one drop for every 16oz. of water. When I do 50% water changes, should I just add one drop when I fill it back up? If it is ammonia/nitrate poisoning, will it go away with the frequent water changes? Or is there some sort of treatment I should buy?

What would you recommend for water changes once I have him in the five gallon? I plan on buying a couple live plants for it, as well as some sort of algae eater.
 

Feb 27, 2009
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#6
I scoop him out with a plastic cup, and I'll dump as much water out of the cup as I can (without dumping him back into his tank), so he'll have a just enough to be completely submersed in the water.
Doing a water change like that can be extremely stressful to a fish. It would be better to leave him in his container and siphon off some water and replace it with conditioned water.

I would recommend that you read this 'sticky' from the top of the freshwater beginners' section, especiallay about the nitrogen cycle:

http://www.myfishtank.net/forum/fre...eshwater-beginner-stickies-read-me-first.html

I have a water conditioner that dechlorinates, and it says to use one drop for every 16oz. of water. When I do 50% water changes, should I just add one drop when I fill it back up?
I would make the 16oz of water with one drop and keep it in a sealed bottle. Then you have the water ready and already conditioned to replace the water you need to replace when doing a water change.

If it is ammonia/nitrate poisoning, will it go away with the frequent water changes? Or is there some sort of treatment I should buy?
It would be ammonia and nitrIte poisoning, not nitrAte. The only way to prevent either is by frequent water changes. You need to dilute the waste products he swims in.

What would you recommend for water changes once I have him in the five gallon?
I use Prime as my water conditioner, 2 drops per gallon. The amount of water will depend on how fast the ammonia builds up since you are doing a 'fish-in' cycle.

I plan on buying a couple live plants for it, as well as some sort of algae eater.
Make sure the plants are true aquatic plants before you buy them. Most plants sold at your fish aquarium stores will not be aquatic. They want them to die off over time and you will need to come back in and replace them (my theory, anyway). The most common plants sold that are not suitable for an aquarium are called 'Aqua-fern,' 'Mondo Grass' and any form of bambo (including 'Lucky Bamboo' which isn't really a bamboo plant.

Also, why do you want an algae eater in with the betta? Do you have algae?
 

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fredfishy

Small Fish
Dec 11, 2011
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No, there is not any algae in his container right now, but I thought that with a warmer environment with live plants, it might be something that pops up. Once he's in his new tank, should I wait to see if it develops algae before I buy an algae eater?

And sorry for all the questions! I keep finding out that there's so much to learn! Thank you so much for all of your help, I appreciate it!
 

Feb 27, 2009
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#8
No problem, fredfishy!

I would not add an algae eater fish to a 5 gallon tank, personally. The only fish algae eaters that might be ok would be one of the Otocinclus species. However, they are very sensitive and need a really well established aquarium to live in. I keep 3 different species and would not put them in anything smaller than a 20 gallon. They perfer to be with their own kind and 5 gallons is not enough room to keep a group of 5 or more.

You might opt for a snail or two for algae control if you want to use an animal for that.

The best way to control algae, however, is to not give in a favorable environment. Keep lights on a timer and keep tank clean (less waste = less food for algae)
 

Apr 14, 2008
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#9
I would not add an algae eater fish to a 5 gallon tank, personally.
...
The best way to control algae, however, is to not give it a favorable environment. Keep lights on a timer and keep tank clean (less waste = less food for algae)
Exactly...

I have a 5gal with 1 betta[he's a platinum/orange dalmatian mix and gorgeous even if he is "just" a veiltail] and with just him, I don't get much algae...a little bit of string here and there, but nothing that WCs can't clean. I do WCs on said tank about every two weeks, but it'd be more if I didn't have other fully stocked tanks and this one pretty much takes care of itself.

Not lying, it's a very simple tank and not really "showy"[it's only a 5gal and Lokki[the betta] is what I care about :p ] with rare plant species, but it works! I think it's a good home for a betta! http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd304/pk2_06/DSC03345-1.jpg

Good luck with your new tank and your betta boy! :D We like pictures of tanks/fish, just so you know... :p