Old man bettas
I just lost the second betta in my responsible fishkeeping career. Both of them exhibited the same symptoms: They would gradually become more lethargic, spending more and more time just sitting around unless foot was being offered. This would go on for weeks or months, and then they would eventually seem to have trouble staying upright while swimming or laying, though they would continue eating... and then finally death. No visible symptoms such as frayed fins, sores, external parasites, etc. The first fish lived in our possession for about two and a half years, this one only a bit over one year. Both were purchased in betta cups from chain stores, so true age is not known and certainly they were not prize specimens properly cared for since birth (though once in my possession they received their own 5.5 or 10 gallon tank, with filtration, heat, and weekly water changes).
I attribute these deaths to the relatively short lifespan of the fish compounded by rough living conditions prior to my care. I do know some people have had bettas survive for much longer, however. I'm curious to see if anyone has any opinions as to whether I should be concerned about these deaths, or whether I am correct in thinking that given the circumstances there's not much else I can or should be doing.
300 gallon mega tank
: build in progress
75 gallon community tank
: tetras, danios, corys, platies, otos, pearl gouramis, bristlenose pleco, assassin snails, red cherry shrimp, bamboo shrimp
70 gallon growout tank: clown loaches, sailfin pleco
60 gallon goldfish tank: fancy goldfish
29 gallon frog tank
: 1 bullfrog
10 gallon and 5.5 gallon betta tanks: 1 male betta each, sometimes snails
I experienced much the same demise of my betta. I bought him from Petco 18 months ago. I knew nothing about fish at that time. For at least 6 months I kept him in a small betta bowl. I changed 1/2 of his water mid week and did a complete water change weekly. no filter no heater :o( I know. Horrible.
Then I found AC.
I moved him into a 5 gal that I cycled rather quickly with him in it. He lived there for a year. For his last 3 months, however, he had become very lethargic. Often laying on the bottom or inside his log or suspended near the heater. In the end, he refused to eat. i finally put him down.
he was quite large when I got him so I suspect he was at least 2 years old at that time.
I purchased a gorgeous new crowntail betta from a fresh shipment at Petco less than a month ago. He was much smaller than any of the other bettas - that's why I got him. I'm hopeful that he wasn't in the system long and wasn't more than a year old and that adding him to a fully cycled tank and feeding him good quality food with weekly water changes will extend his life. So far, he's a little fiireball and a very eager eater. Guess time will tell.
Sorry about your loss by the way. they are very personable little guys and I became quite attached to mine. So did my hubby, who isn't into fish at all.
The symptoms you are describing sound like the traits of a very old Betta reaching the end of his lifespan. It is hard to tell, as most Betta don't come with a birth certificate, and we never know how old they are when we get them. Also, chain store Betta, though wonderful pets, are not exactly bred in prime conditions, with overbreeding and rough housing and treatment before we get them, the usual lifespan of a chain store Betta is roughly three years.
To raise the odds of a Betta living a full long extended lifespan, there are a few things one can do to be sure of optimum health and vitality.
Food, first of all, should be excellent quality, and varied. Never fall for the "cheap" betta pellets because they are a "good deal". Read the ingredients! Find two or three high quality pellets, and rotate them, and chuck the containers, all of them once opened, after four months, and replace with fresh. Also vary the pellets with blood worms, brine shrimp, tubiflex, and an a shelled cooked pea if he seems constipated. Varying pellets and alternate foods will ensure nutrition.
Temp 82 degrees constant as much as possible. This makes for very happy Betta indeed.
Don't forget "Betta enrichment". Betta get bored, some can even get downright depressed, lolling about, lethargic. They are visual creatures, so vary things around his tank all the time, at least once a day place a bizarre unusual item next to the tank for several hours. A bag of chips, a brightly colored purse, a statue, figurines, colored wine glasses............ you name it, as long as it is unusual and brightly colored. Revolve these items regularly, and always take away items that have him flaring angrily and disgruntle him.
Change up the tank. Shift decorations regularly, they can be the same ones, but change the layout. Again Betta get very very bored, and a bored betta will start getting lethargic.
2 10 gallon tanks, 1 20 gallon tank, 1 Fluval Edge, 1 29 gallon tank, and one backyard pond.