I had a betta a few years ago who was the most active and happiest fish I've ever seen. He enjoyed hide-and-seek, watched me work at my desk, and constantly swam around his 5 gallon tank. He was a strong swimmer, a big eater, and lived a relatively good, long life.
A few months ago, I decided to pick up betta-keeping again, expecting similar results. I re-did all my research again to make sure I gave him the best environment, but he's a weak, lethargic little dude. I don't know if I've done something wrong, or if he's old, it's his personality... you name it.
Here's Odahviing's tank specifications:
- 5 gallon, carbon filtered tank (I have to turn the filter way, way down, because he has a hard time swimming in any sort of current, so the filter is more of a dribble).
- Heat maintained around 76-78 °F (24-26 °C).
- Decor: 2 moss balls, 1 zebra plant and 1 madagascar lace plant (my plants thrive and I make sure to remove spent leaves), 1 fake log, black sand substrate at the bottom.
- 25-50% water change every 2-3 weeks, treated with conditioner. I test pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc. levels generally each change. All are appropriate, except ammonia is slightly higher than 0 (just barely).
- Fed betta pellets 2 times a day; 3 pellets before noon and 2 pellets past noon.
About a month ago, I moved him to my desk, where I spend a lot of my time when I'm home. He seemed to get a little more chipper, being closer to the action, but only a little bit. He spends more and more of his time lying still in the plant leaves, since they're big enough to support him, or sitting at the bottom of the tank. He does occasionally take a lap or two around the tank, and still enjoys chasing falling food pellets (he prefers chasing them to the bottom than to eating them at the top). He does eat less now, and much slower.
Maybe I'm a paranoid fish owner, but I'm always worried he's sick and/or dying. Any advice on why my fish is so slow, weak, and lethargic? Is he just really lazy?