My betta hasn't eaten for almost 3 weeks. Please Help!

auntieraeApril 6, 2007

I have been reading the postings for other's fish, I have a fish that won't eat also! "Curley". He was fine for 4 months, until we left him with house sitter for two days and she must have over fed him w/dryed blood worms, plus she dropped the A.C. down and he has not eaten since! (almost 3 wks) I have moved his bowl to a small room and keep the room temp. 80 degrees. So as not to stress him,I have been doing partical water changes with a turkey baster and treated water everyday! I have started adding 1/8 of a teaspoon of epson salt to one gallon of prepared water, and I have been giving him baby food peas with a tooth pick! Temp 78 to 80 degrees. I have also NOW prepared a 10 gallon tank with live plants, gravel and added a product called cylce for the culture! I am letting the water season wtih a bio wheel filter, its been runnging for 4 days now! He is still in a small 2 qt. bowl and I am trying to get him to eat before putting him in the tank! He has had some good energy when I talk to him, but otherwise, he is laying on the bottom or hanging at the top depressed! He stares closely at a small dried blood worm or the peas, but won't eat it! I don't know if he is sick & I should try an antibiotic,or he's just depressed. I didn't want to put him in the tank until he snaps out of it, but maybe I should Please help! 4 days on the tank might not be enough time. PLEASE respond to me and I can tell you more! Thank you so much for any help.


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I think you are on the right track by providing him with a planted fish tank, with a filter, cycled, and heated. Once in there, I would then cease tinkering with the conditions and wait. Continual tweaking causes stress.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 12:47PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

Try some live brine shrimp [turn off filter]. Sometimes live food triggers their hunting instincts. Plus it's good for them.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 11:12PM
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Thank you for your help with my Curley guy! I got him live black worms and WOW, does he ever go for them! You were right about bringing out his hunting skills! But of course now he is spoiled and that is all he will eat! Oh well, he is eating....
I cycled his 10 gal. tank for 6 weeks then put him in when the water was perfect, and it was a joy to watch the first day and how free he acted! He seems happy, but I have noticed after about 10 days now that his fins are shredding! What is causing this? ? ? ? The temp. of the tank is 80 degrees, he has the larger gravel that is rounded, and there are live plants but couldn't find java fern! Please help this the SHREDDING fins!

Thank you,

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 2:44PM
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Sounds like a bacterial infection. There are a variety of meds out there, including Tetracycline, Sulfa, Erythromyacin, Frurazone Green,....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Did the tank have fish in it when you cycled it? If not, then the tank is not really cycled, and that is what is happening with your fish. You'll need to do 50% water changes 2 or 3 times a week in order to keep the ammonia levels down, and be sure to monitor your water stats. Your local fish store can test the water for you.

Your betta should make it through the cycle if you keep up with the water changes, but the water quality might do bad things to his fins.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:35PM
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I have found that bettas are extremely Fussy fish. I think that what ever bettas prefer to eat is where they were raised or captured. I have owned several bettas in my life. They are a great fish to have and they do require alot of care, planted tanks and in my eyes should be treated like any other fish in a tank with a filter ect. It drives me crazy seeing them in those cups floating only in 0unces of water. Most bettas i have had would only eat the freeze dried tubiflex worms. Some occasionally would eat flakes or those ( im my eyes) waste of money pellets "specifically made for bettas". But occasionally ide get a betta that would refuse to eat like yours, probably sick of eating the same thing or what ever. day i was thinking about what i could feed them that was live and in my area that was easy to find. watching them "Hunt" is really fun! And then it hit me....Mosquito larva! ALL Fish love them. I often feed them to my comunity tank fish and when i had bettas, them too. The fish absolutely love them. Give them only a few at a time to assure all of them get eaten as its not so pleasant having mosquitoes in your house. They make their change only in a few days to an adult. So its important that you keep the buggers in a container that has a lid on it or take what you need and then throw the rest on dry ground to kill them off. I always keep a fine mesh fish net on hand and walk up in the wooded area in my property where there is some standing water and scoop some out. I rinse them under my tap water and place them in a ziplock baggie with some water. I use a plastic spoon and scoop out a few at a time and slowly drop them in the tank. All my fish know when i have the mosquito larva and they know where to wait for them. my rasboras, neons, glo-lites ect go bonkers for them. they even try to jump out of the water for them. Its really fun to watch. so if someone wants to save some money we all have this pest lurking someplace in still water and they are free! and not to mention, theres a few less mosquitoes flying around! melissa

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 11:34AM
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Just some additional thoughts. What is the outlet from the bio wheel filter.. ie the flow. Too high a flow can ravage their fins tissue which is a single cell thin. (I use sponge to slow it down or silk plants attached to outlet).

Also, they can handle lots of salt during treatment, and adding 1/2 to one teaspoon per 10 gallon helps to keep them (my experience) free(er) from bacteria. It needs to be added slowly over time though. They have been so inbred that they are not at all as hardy as when I was younger and in my opinion need extra care. Plus the way they are shipped in a few teaspoon of water so on, they arrive highly stressed in medicated water.

So, prone to bacteria. I have found that salt water dips, (aquarium salt of course) each day and fresh water changes helps a lot. I rescued bettas (ok did one more lately) and use to use meds but the salt water workes best even with the extremely hard to rid flexibar columinaris (which looks like stringy fungus but is bacterial). Or you can use a gram positive and gram negative med plus the salt. Use your hospital tank so as not to hurt plants, bio load.

Take out all plants, salt treatment will kill. Use soft silk (large leaves better as they like to sit on or hide under when asleep).. Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per gallon for hospital tank, then each day tank him out with tub (plastic container and cover so he won't jump).. I lower lights place towel over container, (inside of larger incase he does jump) Then I slowly dribble additional salted water for a soak, while I clean his main tank. I have had fish recover nicely from this, but it took some work. Melefix will help with healing tissue after bacteria gone. I have found they can handle much larger salt loads, but am hesitant to suggest this, just watch for stress, ie frantic swimming. And go slow slow slow. Then reverse with his fresh (adjust to match) clean tank water until equal and gentle place him back in. I never use nets just cup them gently in containers.

(there are pros and cons on salt but I've used it since I was a kid many decades ago, per Dr. Innes and no problems and much help. Has to be used properly though).


from a forum

The simple answer is that bettas do not like much salt in their water. Bettas will tolerate a certain amount of salt in their water; however, there is a limit. Salt will change the flow of water due to a change in the concentration. All fish will tolerate salt to some degree, but when there's too much they will dehydrate due to water flowing out of the creature. Saltwater fish have kidneys that allow them to expel excess salt while retaining their water. Freshwater fish do the opposite - they expel water because of the concentration gradient.

When using salt, you should use it for specific problems or needs. If you don't know when it's right, do some research. For example, notes that:

"Salt puts electrolytes in the water that stimulate production of the mucus coating that protects fish from infection. At the same time, it alters the chemical balance of the water, usually increasing the pH. Salt also helps inhibit bacterial growth at least the kind that seem to cause algal blooms in freshwater aquariums."

Salt assists in the healing of injuries, promotes formation of slime coating, improves gill function, reduces the buildup of nitrite (useful when setting up new tanks: 1/2 ounce of salt per gallon), and is effective against some parasites. However, it is a double-edged sword; there are also some downfalls. For example, some plants and fish species cannot tolorate salt. This yet another reason you should do a little research before treating a problem. It is NOT advised to use salt with scaleless fish, particularly cordydoras. These species are particularly sensitive to salt, and even a small amount can harm them. Also, tetras are fairly sensitive to salt.

More useful information regarding salt:
Salt in a Freshwater Aquarium

Re: feeding, in nature when animals are really sick they often don't eat, much as people don't. The body is working immune system wise to repair and has more resources then you can imagine. But since you mentioned that he came alive with worms seems he might have been finicky (as they often are at first).

Remember their stomachs are as small as their eyes. It is easy to overfeed, esp with dry food as it swells inside when wet. A small amount will do it. I feed a few pinchs of flake, chaning types for variety (live brine shrimp when I can find them, and Hakiri sterilized blood worms, as the live and non Hakiri always caused bacterial problems with any fish that ate them. They are grown in sewage like conditions and freezing does not kill the nasty bacterial or parasites. Hence Hakiri is three times sterilized (forgive my bad spelling). I feed a bit of vegetable matter in late afternoon to provide a purging of earlier meaty meal.)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 3:14PM
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Try live foods, they'll poke at him and bug him, so he'll eat them. Also try moving him into the tank, he may be happier plus because he has such a small bowl (I would say no smaller that a gallon) he may have got amonia poisoning. In that case a large, clean tank would help heal him. Also if you have floating pellets, put one or two in the bowl or tank, and just let them sit there (floating onces should't sink) then he wont feel presured and might just eat it out of curiosity. Hope this helps! Also if there is a fsat current in your tank or bowl, turn of what ever makes it, this might relax the betta.

Hope this helps! :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 1:17AM
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