ohwellmaybenot asked in PetsFish · 9 years ago

My new betta acts weird and 'floats' near the top all the time?

I just got a new betta and he is in a 5 gallon tank. He seems to hang out and 'float' at the top all the time and I don't see him exploring much, even though there are some live plants and a skull cave for him to go into. (My previous betta LOVED the cave).

He just seems bored and not very active. Maybe it's because he is new and not comfortable yet?

ALSO, I got a feeding ring to help keep the tank cleaner but the pellets all stick to the sides and I haven't seen him eat once out of it, so I don't know if he is even eating. The flakes float for a little bit but then sink anyway. I don't even know if he can see the food because he doesn't venture around much.

Should I just get rid of the ring?

I feel bad for him and I want him to be fun & active.


He looks quite healthy, and young too.

I purchased him at PetSmart. My last betta, Ketchup, I had for aobut 5 years, which is an extremely long time for a betta.

Update 2:

Okay, I must clarify. He does not have swim bladder. He's not actually "floating". I guess I shouldn't have worded it that way. He is just chillin' at the top. NOT floating. I guess I am just not used to it because my other betta was always swimming around or at hanging out in his cave or near the bottom.

Sorry, ya'll!

7 Answers

  • That
    Lv 6
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Edit-This may sound weird, but bear w/me: can he swim down? Sometimes bettas will appear to be spending an abnormally long amount of time @ the surface & it's not until you see them try to swim down that you realize they can't or can't w/o a lot of difficulty. If this is the case, it's still SB. If he can my guess is it's a cold water or water change change frequency issue. And if he was just scaring you w/o reason, then I'm glad that's all it is!

    1) Food: Their stomach is the size of their eye so feed 2-3 pieces of food/day & fast 1 day/wk. Flakes, pellets & freeze dried food have lots of filler they can't digest that can cause bloating issues in sensitive & old bettas. If you feed pellets soak them in water before feeding or they'll expand in his stomach & can cause digestive issues. Frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae & glassworms are much more nutritious & easier to digest. & are @ Petco/PetSmart, for $4-5/slab/bubble pack. And yes, get rid of the feeding ring: it's liekly either polluting his water & making him ill or affecting his SB or he's overeating, which is also an SB cause.

    2) Constipation: Get a frozen pea (w/o salt as an ingredient since it retains water), put it in a cup w/water, microwave it for 2 min., deshell it, then feed some of the innards on a toothpick. If she's better a few hours to a day later she was constipated.

    3) Bettas are tropical fish & need water @ a steady 78 degrees. Cooler temps. cause color loss, clamped fins, lethargy, digestive issues, loss of appetite, stress, illness &/or death. 1-gallon (7.5 or 10 watt heater @ PetSmart and PetCo), 2.5-3 gallons: 25 watt heater (@ most pet stores), 5 gallons: 50 watt heater (@ most pet stores).

    4) Water changes remove ammonia, which is toxic & forms in water from uneaten food, waste, his breathing. It's colorless & odorless so you can't tell if the water's ok by seeing if it "looks clean." For uncycled 100% water change tanks: 1 gallon: change 100% of the water (& rinse off plants, gravel, take the fish out, etc.) every other day; 2.5-3 gallons 2-3 times/week; 5 gallons 1-2 x's/week. Many people say not to change all the water but w/uncycled tanks you MUST; otherwise the toxic ammonia levels continually rise; since you're leaving some water in @/every water change the % of ammonia in the water also rises each time. Any Ammonia is enough to stress, sicken or kill fish, so none is the only ok amount. If it's cycled, change 10-25% of the water (the exact amount is determined by your tank's water test kit results) & vacuum 1/3 of the gravel 1x/week.

    5) Some develop it @ the end of their lifespan.

    6) SB can be caused by bacteria due to cold or bad water quality. Kanaplex/Kanamycin is best for infections & easiest on fish so order it online (Ebay's less $ but ask about exp. date before ordering). For now get Jungle Fungus Eliminator or Clear @ PetCo/PetSmart. If you can't find either get Maracyn 1 and 2 (yes, both, since each only treats one type of infection) @ any pet store. Maracyns are recommended least because they've been so overused they often don't treat current infections. Do a 100% water change before adding the med if his tank is not cycled; if it's cycled take out the carbon since its removes meds & do a 10-25% water change (the amt. you change weekly). Treat daily for 3 days (do a 100% water change each day before adding meds for uncycled tanks; follow package instructions for cycled tanks). Retreat if necessary for another 3 days. Wait 20 minutes after doing a water change before adding meds, sooner dilutes them.

    SB can be permanent. If it is, he's not in pain or suffering even if it bothers you & it won't kill him. It's unpredictable: he may have a few good days/week or a few good hours/day or have it for good. Make sure you have a few items she can anchor herself under if he wants so he can feel secure even if he can't really swim.

    Source(s): I'm not an expert but have been rescuing sick, injured, old, handicapped bettas from Wal-Mart, PetSmart, etc. for five years. Because most vets don't do much with fish I had to learn through research & experience. I've gotten pretty good at diagnosing things because I've seen most betta health issues at this point.
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  • 9 years ago

    Bettas don't need a heater or a 10 gallon tank, a 5 gal is just fine for him, so don't worry about that, they adjust very well to their surroundings. He's prrobably just stressed. Bettas are also EXTREMELY pick eaters, try getting rid of the ring. Don't feed him for 2 or 3 days and add about 2 teaspoons or so of aquarium salt to help kill any parasites he may secretly haveand it will help with the stress of being in a new tank. Feed him any kind of really smelly fish food. Bettas are almost like sharks in that they have the most amazing sense of smell. Try Spectrum brand small fish sinking pellets. They are awfully stinky and a little bit goes a long way, but this will help him perk up and brighten his colors too. Although not necessary, a heater is a good idea. Work it up a degree every day starting at whatever you keep your house temp at until you reach 80 degrees. Keep it there. This is also good for your plants and they should flourish.

    Source(s): long time betta owner and breeder
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  • 9 years ago

    It's pretty normal for a brand new pet betta to act like that. He's probably just getting used to his home, give home some time. If his behavior continues for a week or two more, then you may start to be concerned. For now though, I bet he is just fine:)

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  • 9 years ago

    Some do seem to be less active than others. Maybe he's getting used to his new home? Have you watched him at different times of the day/night? It's possible he could be sick, but keep an eye on him.

    You say he's not eating the pellets or flake food? Try breaking the flake pieces (if they're large) into tinier pieces. My betta gets picky like that, and tires of food after a while. If that fails, I guess you could try bloodworms. Where did you get him? Petsmart or walmart feeds them pellets, but perhaps he was fed frozen foods.

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  • 9 years ago

    I have two bettas, a male and female. They are in a divided 5 gallon tank. The male tends to hang around near the surface and isn't too active. The female likes to hang out in her rock and is a bit more active.

    I think every fish is a little different. The best thing is to watch him closely and make sure he is not ill. I would get rid of the ring. Feed him only a tiny bit of food at a time. And any he doesn't eat after a few minutes should be removed or skimmed out.

    And betta's don't deserve to live in anything smaller than a five or ten gallon tank. It's cruel to make them live in a little jar or bottle.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    i have had a few, and they only need like less than a 1 gallon talk (may be it is too make space). they often like to chose a place and stay there. another thing is they only need to be fed like every other day to once a week and often will not eat off the ground or on the sides, so i would find something that matches that.

    it could also be contributed to the new enviroment, whenever i changed my fiches tank it would get comfused and stay in one plce, sometimes ut, sometimes hidden

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    i had one and they usually are diseased and sick when they're sold

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