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Betta faded and just acting blah


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I’ve had my female betta in a tank with 5 ember tetras a nerite snail and a cobalt goby in a 10 gallon tank for about 4 months. The tank wasn’t a new setup, it was repurposed.

Recently (7-10 days) I’ve noticed my feisty girl isn’t as active. She kind of hangs out in the floating plants or sometimes on the bottom. I’ve also noticed her colors seem washed out/faded. She eats just fine.

I don’t have nitrite or ammonia in the water. I have around 15 ppm nitrate. My water is on the harder side, but not extreme (and it’s never bothered her before).

Is it possible her tank mates are stressing her out? They’ve seemed fine this whole time, but maybe she doesn’t like them 🤷🏻‍♀️. I have the option to take the ember tetras out and put them back in my 20 gallon. Any thoughts?

Forgot to add, no visible wounds. No fin rot, etc. 

Edited by BettaBabe94
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I would run a checklist consisting of the following:

1. Parameters (which I think you’ve done)

2. Check equipment to make sure it’s not malfunctioning 

3. ammonia/ chlorine ( tested when you tested parameters but fluctuates fast in 10’s and under, also I would test the water you use for water changes as it can vary significantly from time to time)

4. Temp/ lighting/ ferts/ water additives 

5. Food (making sure it’s not expired/ has it changed or does she respond better to one then another?)

6. What’s changed since you’ve noticed the change? Is anything different, equipment foods, stock or stock level, etc. 

7. It’s time for adjustments if all this is good i would closely monitor the effected fish as well as the other inhabitants and see if anything is off, I would personally choose option 2 you listed and move the other inhabitants and see if you notice any change, from there it’s time to consider alternatives.

8. Perhaps your water company has added something to your water to combat something like weather effects in your area that is negatively effecting your fish (I say this bc mine just did) perhaps she’s just being moody and something new will respark her activity level such as a mirror or a floating log etc. perhaps there’s been a change above she’s reacting too, or perhaps she’s sick and coming down with something and could use some medication whether it be natural like tannins from leaves or botanicals or medical like the med trio or other (the coop has great articles about this if it gets this far). Lastly depending on what’s in the tank the parameters may be suddenly different then those which she thrived in for example, perhaps the substrate was active and has lost its luster and it’s effecting her, or plants or algae are doing better or worse at there job, perhaps it’s age or as you listed maybe the tankmates are on her nerves

the moral of this long long story is it could be the slightest thing in the world, I’ve always personally found it useful to apply essentially a checklist like you would when shopping for groceries and rule things out one by one so as not to miss anything, this is just my approach and has worked for me in the past countless times, sorry she’s not feeling well, I truly hope something in this helps in some way/ she makes a full recovery and is as good as new, my apologies for the long post…

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@CJs Aquatics

Don’t apologize for long posts, in this type of scenario there is no such thing a too much information lol

1. Yes

2. I have sponge filters and a co-op heater. The heater is relatively new and when I do maintenance I don’t feel any electricity 

3. My water is not the greatest so I do a mix of my water/water from the store/water I get from a reliable family members house (well water but she has a really good filter system). The store water does a good job of balancing the harder water from the other two. 

4. 78 degrees/light on 6-7 hours/a little easy green and a root tab or two once in a while/no water additives besides dechlorinator when I do water changes.

5. Food is fine. She is not and has never been a picky eater lol

6. No negative changes, all changes have been good as far as I know, during the last month my tank has finally started thriving and balancing out. The only thing I’ve done differently is I let the floating plants cover the top instead of taking them out, which is why I think my algae went down. I have two decent sized floating squares where she can get air and I can feed everyone.

7. Ok, I can move the embers, but I’d probably leave the goby.

8. I have well water. Maybe the thawing of the ground and snow could be affecting my water. I think what bothers me more then her low mood is the fact that she’s lost some color. She’s a darker blue with bright red fins and she just looks so dull right now. 

One thing just crossed my mind: she had a really long poop a couple weeks ago. That may be normal but I personally have never seen a betta with poop hanging out of them like a platy. Could it be parasites?


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Short answer - Yes for the most part. 

Explanation: I brought her home on October 22nd. She was with a dwarf crayfish in a 6 gallon tank for about a month until she bullied him to death. Since the beginning of December she has been in the 10 gallon with the embers. I already had the embers, I took them out of my big tank in an attempt to decrease the bio load and help with the major green water problem I had in the 20 gallon. The goby was the only new guy, but I got him around the same time. Animal wise nothing has changed since December.  

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She might have something going on internally. 

I say this because i’ve been dealing with a mystery illness with my bettas. my red veil tail male is nice and active but i’ve notice him getting skinnier (slightly due to my servings) but still not gaining weight even though i’ve been feeding him more. he was also losing color and developed fin rot. today i finally saw him with some stringy brown poop so i’ve gone ahead and given him some general cure. 

i would start with daily water changes because clean water is the best medicine and monitor her. 

without running any test on the actual fish it’s just a guessing game. i would use wavma.org to find an aquatic vet if you’re up for that

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@jwcarlson good thing you were the only one who saw my little melt down. I just got home and she swam up to me. My husband showed me the pic of when he saw her and I could 100% how he thought she was dead. Good news is she’s alive. Bad news is I still don’t know what’s going on with her lol

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There was a post here not long ago lamenting the struggles that bettas can be.  I had one die after a few months.  Several others as well.  I do not anticipate owning another one.  Though my daughter wants one everytime we go to the LFS. 

Glad yours is alive!  Hope she turns it around! 

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