The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Perking up a tired Betta

This was written in response to someone who had their fish for a year and now found him extremely lethargic. Mine did this - resting on the bottom and only coming up to eat now and again - after a few months. However, a friend's betta is still active and making bubble nests with gusto, so to some extent I think it depends on the fish's personality.

However here are some ideas:

  • Have you owned him for over a year? He was probably adult when you got him, so it could be he is reaching the end of his life.
  • If they don't have a flare buddy, change the scenery. This can include adding a mirror or some printouts of bettas to stimulate him. I find that those fish which most closely match him have the best effect - a photo of him is best!
  • In hot weather many don't do a lot. In fact I just bought an apple snail as a companion for mine, which has livened things up slightly - more action(!) So things have gone from sluggish to merely lazy :-)
  • My old betta was actually happier without the disruption of water changes, so I changed my regime to a 50-70% change once every two weeks or so.
  • Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, so do you have any other fish tanks? If you pop him in there in a breeding net cage (to keep him separate) then he might perk up a bit at the new surroundings. Be careful when catching - I'd actually use a cup or jar rather than a net.
  • If he is actually ill (finrot etc) I would recommend meth blue for a few days, as long as he is the only thing in the tank and you don't have filter bacteria that you care about (presumably not as you do so many water changes).
  • You can also buy a product called Bettafix or Bettamax which I believe is a very dilute version of meth blue, i.e. the right proportions for use in a small tank. I haven't been able to find this product in the UK however.
All of these things helped mine as he got elderly. Of course, your mileage may vary!

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