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Betta is Listless, Lying on Bottom of Tank, Ignores Food

SpiderMonkey47

Registered Member
About two years ago, I was gifted a male betta by a student. The betta hadn't been very well cared for, but I got him into a 5-gal tank with a filter and heater. He has snail buddies, a plant, and some assorted decorations. He had been very active and playful, and seemed overall in good health.

About a month ago, my apartment flooded and we had to move to a temporary apartment while repairs were made. Since we've been in the new place, Astraeus has been doing nothing but lying in the bottom of his tank -- usually in a corner if he can. I thought maybe I overfed him, but after a two-day fast, I gave him a soaked betta pellet, and he refused to eat.

My partner suggested he might be bored in his new location (he's in the kitchen instead of in the living room here), but he ignores any new toys we put in the tank and he flees and hides instead of flaring if we offer him a mirror. (Previously, he always would flare for a few minutes before swimming away satisfied.)

After reading about swim bladder issues (and potentially dropsy?), I gave him a bath in Epsom salt tonight. (Bath with 1 tbsp Epsom salt for 15 minutes, then recovery tank for 5 minutes, then back into his normal tank.) He was doing a little better immediately after -- swimming a small amount, though he was still sinking pretty consistently, and he did poop a bit -- but now he's back to lying on the bottom and hiding in the corner.

Testing the water, it's at:

Temp: 80-82 degrees F

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrites: 0ppm

Nitrates: 30 ppm

pH: 7.8 (which is slightly high, but actually lower than it normally is)

I took some pictures after the Epsom bath -- it's kind of difficult for me to tell if he's actually pineconing and how bad the swelling/bloating is.

I'd really appreciate some advice on what steps to take next!

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Rbishop

...and over the edge.
Staff member
Are those readings from a good liquid test kit?
 

OrionGirl

No freelancing!
Most bettas only live for 3-5 years...Honestly, what you are describing is more a symptom of old age than anything else.
 

myswtsins

Global Moderator
Staff member
Sorry to hear of your betta's troubles. It certainly looks like pineconing in the last picture. Unfortunately that could be a sign of SO many things and usually the fish does not bounce back. With that stated though, I had a goldfish that was super pineconed all winter long and recovered 100% by this spring. All I did was add a very minimal amount of salt to try to help drain some fluids.

Since he did better after the bath I would suggest adding the epsom salt right to the main tank. Google will tell you the correct dosage, I can never remember and have to look it up myself.

Try soaking a de shelled pea in some garlic and offering that. The pea will help if there is any constipation and the garlic will entice his appetite plus it's a nature immunity booster.
 

SpiderMonkey47

Registered Member
Sorry to hear of your betta's troubles. It certainly looks like pineconing in the last picture. Unfortunately that could be a sign of SO many things and usually the fish does not bounce back. With that stated though, I had a goldfish that was super pineconed all winter long and recovered 100% by this spring. All I did was add a very minimal amount of salt to try to help drain some fluids.

Since he did better after the bath I would suggest adding the epsom salt right to the main tank. Google will tell you the correct dosage, I can never remember and have to look it up myself.

Try soaking a de shelled pea in some garlic and offering that. The pea will help if there is any constipation and the garlic will entice his appetite plus it's a nature immunity booster.
Garlic! I was planning to try the pea treatment tonight, so it's great to know that addition.

I'd been worried about adding Epsom salt straight to the tank because of the snails, but I may just have to remove them anyway.
 

myswtsins

Global Moderator
Staff member
Yeah, snails are tough so I would just remove them to another container while treating and the plant just to be safe. Keep Mr. Betta as comfy as possible in his usual tank and treat him there.
 

Kevin Wall

AC Members
I notice my beta's are always more active when I keep a female in a separate container but right next to the male's tank.
 
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