R.I.P. Luigi and Snowy - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bay Shore, NY
Posts: 562
R.I.P. Luigi and Snowy

If Luigi and Snowy made a book about their life stories it would be titled 101 Noob Mistakes You Never Thought of Making. First, they survived my misunderstanding of filters. When I started using tetra 3i filters in my 1 gallon tank set up I thought I only had to do 50% water changes once a week and 100% once a month. I now realize that is the WC schedule for a 10 gallon tank. Then I didn't realize there would be a big difference between my Grandma's tap water and the tap water in my apartment. There wasnít a big difference in pH between my campus (in CT) water and Grandmaís house (in Western Long Island). I didnít think there be a big difference in pH between my Grandmaís water and my apartment (Eastern Long Island). Luigi was a brownish color for a while until he adjusted to the higher pH. I'm willing to bet money that Luigi will be the whimpiest betta I ever own.

On top of that, I was one of those people who didn't realize tropical fish need warm water so my tanks had no heaters when I moved out on my own. My grad housing allowed us to control the thermostat, so the rooms were 80 degrees because none of my house mates liked being cold. I was paying for the heat bill while I was at my Grandmaís house, so the room with my fish was kept at 80 degrees because I still didnít like being cold. The landlord of my building has no intention of keeping the apartments 80 degrees because he doesnít care that I donít like being cold. So the tank water temperature dropped to 68 degrees for 48 hours because thatís how long it took for me to buy heaters. So...Yeah...Luigi and Snowy cheated death many times in the past. They lived long enough to be upgraded to 5 gallon cycled tanks with heater, filter, thermometer, hiding places, plants, and proper lighting thanks to the info I've found on this site.

Everything was going well since the tank upgrade, but Snowy started to look a little off. Snowy got his name because he was all white when I brought him home from the pet store. After three days in my tank water he went from white to greenish blue mix. Throughout his life his shades would change but always have either a green or blue hue. So I didnít worry much when he changed to a reddish-purple in mid November because he changed colors so often in the past. Then the reddish purple became a reddish-brown in mid December and I started to really watch Snowy a bit more. He was swimming around, resting on one of his favorite plants, digging under the little bridge in the front center of the tank, and hiding in his Urn as usual. So I figured I was being paranoid because Luigi would turn brownish when he was stressed.

Luigiís bloating problem became constant in early December. I already fasted both fish each Sunday and stopped using freeze dried bloodworms as treats, so the only other thing I could think of was decreasing the number of pellets (NLS Small Fish Formula) I fed him at each feeding. When I decreased the number of pellets to 2 at each feeding I knew something was wrong because he was still bloated but passing poop. I tried to move him to a hospital tank to treat him with Epsom salt and he did poop a bit the first two days so I thought he would get better. Unfortunately, by Christmas Eve he wasn't pooping anymore or eating and he still looked swollen. It was kind of obvious the grim reaper was sick of losing to us but I was armed with Epsom salt.

Sometime around December 20th, I realized the unease I had when Snowy changed to his new color was not paranoia. Snowy wasn't doing much swimming and would rarely come out of his urn. By the 22nd I knew he wasnít eating because I saw pellets in his sand. When I sat down and really watched Snowy I noticed that he had popeye in his right eye and was swimming fine but he curl into a half-moon shape when he was still. All his parameters were still good according to my API liquid tests so I couldnít blame poor water quality for his listlessness or popeye and dirty water doesnít bend spine. It was possible that he damaged himself on decor while he was swimming under his bridge or next to his urn since they are both heaver than him; But that only explained the spinal damage. Since I was already treating Luigi for bloat and Snowy could un-curve his spine and swim normally when he felt like it, I left Snowy in his tank and figured I would get some type of answer if I Googled ďbent spineĒ later.

Christmas day was so busy I forgot to do the 100% water change on the 25th and there was a sudden ammonia spike in Luigiís hospital tank. Since Luigi has always been super sensitive to ammonia levels and I wasn't filtering the one gallon while doing a treatment, the ammonia gave Luigi an ammonia burn on his face and mild fin rot. I did debate treating him in his 5 gallon tank with aquarium salt to try and reverse the damage of my 1 gallon Epsom salt treatment, but it seemed kind of cruel to acclimate him to a second salt in his condition. So I changed the dirty Epsom salt water for clean salt free water for a few days to detox him.

Four days later, Luigi may have been alive and breathing without gasping, but all he was doing was lying on his side until he needed air. I also noticed he was having trouble laying flat on his side and made a check mark shape with his tail on the bottom of the tank and upper body floating a bit. It seemed selfish to continue treating an illness I was only making worse when the treatment wasn't working well before my mistake. I had to come to terms with the fact that Luigiís problem was bigger than one missed water change and would need more than Epsom or aquarium salt to fix. Trying to treat Luigi further would only continue to increase his suffering.

In Snowyís case, Google did not give him good news either. Iím prepared for fin rot, popeye, ick, velvet, and (in theory) dropsy, so I figured I would be able to treat Snowy once I figured out which one of the above he had. After much reading the only disease that explained all the symptoms Snowy experienced for about a month was Mycobacterium Marinum which is the bacteria that causes Fish TB (some info about it is here, here, and here). In a nutshell Fish TB can be given from fish to humans, the medicine for it would be difficult to find, The treatment would take as long as 3 months, and the treatment is painful with a low survival rate. I couldnít consider treating a disease that endangers my own health and puts the sick fish through 3 months of stress and pain. I wonder if Luigi caught TB as well since I used the same cleaning tools for both tanks. I also wonder how Luigi and/or Snowy caught it in the first pace but Iíll never know.

It was kinder to Snowy and Luigi to end their suffering sooner than to let their suffering continue because I didnít want to say good bye. They were both euthanized on December 29th, 2011.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
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I'm sorry about Luigi and Snowy.
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