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Old 08-19-2012, 02:24 AM   #1 
kissablepenguin
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Exclamation URGENT! 3 Sick Bettas Mystery, Help!

Hello everyone,

I've used this forum in the past so religiously and it's done wonderful things to help me out. Unfortunately, I'm running into some problems with my little buddies and I haven't been able to find much that's helpful to our specific predicament.

I have four betta fish. The oldest is over a year old. I've kept bettas for years and have never run into a single problem until now. Please, they are not suffering from being poorly cared for. They each have 2 and 10 gallon tanks with filtration and aeration. Since they have become sickly, they receive 90-100% water changes at weekly intervals. During cleanings, no chemical products are used only very hot, boiling water and cold water on ornaments, tanks, and gravel. They are fed an alternating diet of freeze dried blood worms, frozen blood worms, betta flakes, and betta pellets. Their tanks are not currently heated due to the summer heat keeping them warm, though they have heaters. I'm sorry I don't have specifics on the water parameters, however, I took samples fro my aquariums in to the local pet store which performed extensive tests that assured me my water parameters were well within a healthy range so PLEASE someone tell me why my babies are getting SICK?!

FISH 1)

The oldest of my bettas is a male, Baby Bruce. He's suffered chronic fin rot. In the past he's been treated with Maracyn and Maracyn Two which seemed to do the trick the first few times. Since, he has consistently been dosed with aquarium salt. The third time, he also presented with protruding eyes, swollen belly, and pine-coning. I assumed it was most likely due to either constipation and or a compromised swim bladder. I fed him less often, and in smaller portions to see if it helped. I also treated him for the pine-coning and swollen eyes with the remaining Maracyn and Maracyn Two I had. I talked to a veterinarian who suggested using a syringe to remove the edema in his chest (fluid if swim bladder issues and or poop if constipation?!) Which I refused. He has since then been getting a little better on his own just by leaving his body to naturally get rid of the waste. Here's the weird part, he makes REALLY big poops every so often. His excrement is round and bulbous, nearly the size of his head! He functions much better not having a hard time swimming and keeping himself from tilting over, as I'm sure any of us would. But in a few days, he just bloats right back up again. I've tried the cooked and skinned pea method with him several times and though he doesn't object to eating his veggies it doesn't do too much to solve the problem of his bloating, and please someone tell me what can be done about his fin rot !? I've heard that the continued use of aquarium salt can be hurtful, though I'm not sure it would be wise to halt its use if it's helping at all to prevent him from getting more fin rot. Additionally and more recently, I've noticed that besides all of these issues taking a toll on him, he's really lethargic. I emptied half the water in his two gallon tank in order to make it easier for him to surface for air. His abdomen seems to have a strange bend in it as well as he struggles to swim. I figured a smaller and more controlled environment would probably be best. I'm not sure if this is due to the lack of fins he's had or yet another symptom of something I have yet to diagnose.

FISH 2)
My second fish, Opal is seeming to develop similar symptoms to the first fish. The only apparent issues so far have been the fin rot, and constipation as well as hiding behind ornaments and significantly less swim activity. I ruled out a dysfunctional swim bladder because I don't believe he's had any balance issues. I've watched him closely and though he does spend significantly more time moping around at the bottom of his tank he isn't having bouncy issues. For the past couple weeks I've been sticking to the aquarium salt, which he's also had pretty consistently for the last few months in order to prevent fin rot. How is it these little guys still get fin rot despite the aquarium salt?! I don't want him to develop similar problems to Bruce, HELP!

FISH 3)
I had never had a single problem with Amethyst until a few months ago. He once during a water change charged out of his container and onto the bathroom floor. (YUCK!) The poor little guy! Lesson learned, always put a lid on the bettas tank. Whatever he picked up on the bathroom floor changed him. Immediately after I scooped him up and plopped him into his fresh tank he was very frazzled. As expected. Just to be safe I treated him for the next week with Maracyn. Besides being scared some scales on his lower abdomen fell off on both sides. It appears that he has bald patches almost on his body. No, they are not sores and they are not growths or Fugus either. The missing scales that fell off simply revealed an almost translucent body, much resembling his color. He used to be rambunctious, swimming all over the place and hyper all the time. Is it just age or did jumping out of the tank permanently change him? It's been a few months and his scales haven't grown back. His fins are constantly clamped and he tries to hide at the bottom of the tank under his decor. I'm really worried about him but I want to be careful not to over medicate any of my fish. Especially if I can't figure out what's wrong with them.

Thanks in advance for any/all responses. I love this forum for always being so significantly helpful!

Cheers!
KissablePenguin

Last edited by kissablepenguin; 08-19-2012 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:14 AM   #2 
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wow. how awful for you ... I am very sorry for all the trouble you are having.
I am expecting for you to get allot more help than me , shortly.
I have several five gallon tanks and one two gallon. I have live plants in all, eco complete as substrate. I have found that if I do not do two water changes a week fin rot starts to set in, so I would suggest water changes allot more often .
ONe of my guys became lethargic a few days ago ( he has fin rot ) and looked like he had begun to pinecone although no grey belly (?) I freaked as he is really interactive with me , and I would really miss him allot .I started him on Marycin (what I had ) . After a couple days, not much of a change, actually thought he was dead on the bottom twice. Read something about epsom salt on an old post, and within a couple hours of adding one t per gallon (5 ) he began to start swimming around more. I did a small water change today, and added a little more salt, (ep ) and he is becoming way more active. I wish you luck , but I would change at least half of the water, for several days... JMo
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:32 AM   #3 
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I've read that freeze dried and frozen blood worms can contain parasites/bacteria and freeze dried can cause bloating. Bottom line most said to only give freeze dried or frozen bloodworms once a week as a treat only. After one feeding of freeze dried blood worms mine ran into problems thus I have never given them any more of it. On the parasites/bacteria we are talking about internal infections and not external. Many said buy Jungle's Anti-Parasite Food (product they are no longer making), which I did finally find some only to have none of the 4 betta's eat it. Thus I've gone to using Focus and Seachem's medications you can mix with food for internal infections/parasites. I have some frozen brime shrimp that I use to mix medication in, 2 liked it enough to have as meals but the other 2 didn't.
Pea's I've read should not be used on bettas, they say buy frozen Daphnia to use for constipation/bloating.

Fish 1-Baby Bruce you need to use Epsom salt to solve his swim bladder & bloating problems (aquarium salt will only make swim bladder problems worse if I recall right). It works as a laxative and removes excess fluids which causes the bloating. Withholding food a couple of days will help the swim bladder, then feeding 1 pellet twice a day and slowly build up to his normal amount or a little less.
Think I read round curled (like a snail) poop is due to internal parasites which is hard to diagnoise anyway (parasites lead to secondary bacterial infections internally).
With severe swim bladder problems they will bend their bodies to help keep them upright along with using their fins to prop themselves upright next to the aquarium or an object. The bend will go away as they get over the SB problem if the below thread pictures are the type you are talking about. Turned out and internal parasite was part of his problem which he past slowly over 2-3 days in a stool (quit eating a couple of days).
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?p=1147476
Are you sure he has chronic fin rot or is he eating it? I never caught mine eating his tail but about half of it was gone from his doing it. I noticed he would look at his reflection a lot on the glass aquarium side and when I added a background and blocked the sides he left his tail alone. Others said boredom causes them to pick on their tails also and to move things around.

Fish 2-Opal I'm guessing should stop using AS since you have used it 2 weeks. Clean conditioned water is the best remedy for fin rot, thus 100% water changes daily in a hospital tank. AS most have said to only use up to 10 days so that it will keep working with them, if overused it will stop working (kind of like what has happened with people and antibiotics). Adding tannins to the water will help also, yet they can be used all the time but you must acclimate them to it's use since they lower the pH which can cause them to go into shock or kill them if the pH is raised/lowered to fast. I suggest using tannins in all your tanks since it helps keep the fish healthy, reduces stress, etc.

Fish 3-Not sure on, but they can pick up bacteria off the floor. I have one that constantly jumps up in the water when I open the glass lid or it goes after it's food. Guess the other day I had the water level up too high and when it went after it's food it flew out of the tank. Landed in a basket, but flopped out of it and ended up on the floor where dogs/cats sleep before I could get it. For a few days it stopped it's flying act of breaking water, but it's starting to do it a little again so now I try to block the area it's headed for with one hand while feeding with the other hand. I suspect yours is less hyper due to the missing scales. Again I suspect clean water to prevent infection (happened months ago it should be healed) and using Stress Coat to help coat where the scales are missing might be best. Hopefully someone else can help you more on this and the rest.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #4 
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I'm afraid I don't have much advice, or good news. Pineconing usually (like 99% of the time) means the betta has dropsy and that is fatal. Get him out of aquarium salt now, that will only exacerbate his symptoms. For swelling and pineconing and popeye, you want to have him on epsom salt. This can help with built up fluids.

Long term use of aquarium salt can cause kidney failure. This might be what is happening with your boy. Get him into clean water. I'm not sure if you should wait a few days before you start on epsom salt or not. You might want to contact OFL (oldfishlady) or Sakura8.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:30 PM   #5 
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Sorry you are having so much trouble...can you post a pic of each of them and complete the sticky found at the top of this section and add.

Some info you have already provided but a lot is still missing that will help us figure out the cause-especially since this is a chronic problem.....

Some of this has already been pointed out-sorry if some of this is a repeat....

Right now I would stop all medications and aquarium salt and start Epsom salt and tannins in small bare QT container without any water movement or filtration. If you have any live plants add a sprig to give them something to rest on and to feel secure.

Here is the Epsom salt treatment-
I would start a 10-14 day Epsom salt(Not aquarium salt) treatment

Use a small QT container that can be floated in the heated tank to maintain temp in the 77-78F (attached to the side so it doesn't sink) and cover the top with plastic veggie wrap to retain the heat/humidity for the labyrinth organ.

Get a clean 1gal jug and fill with dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and a tannin source-either IAL (1 large crushed) or Oak leaf (20 crushed) and let this steep for 30min and use this for 25% water changes every 15min for 1 hour today.

Tomorrow start 50% daily with the premixed treatment water....
If you used a tannin source it should look darker everyday and this is what you want.

Nutrition-if you have access to mosquito larva-offer several rinsed a couple of times a day.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:41 AM   #6 
kissablepenguin
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Updates!

Thank you everyone so much for your feedback thus far. Here are some more details on their current placement as well as some updated pictures. I apologize for poor quality, as I took them on my phone and bettas do not always cooperate with cameras.

FISH 1) Baby Bruce
Housing
What size is your tank? 2 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? Due to the current heat, 82
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but as directed, I just turned it off.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes, also turned off.
Is your tank heated? Have heater, not currently needed.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tropical Fish Flakes, Betta Pellets, Frozen Bloodworms, Freeze Dried Bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a Day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Recently, Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 90-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water Conditioner with Slime Coat enhancement as well as aquarium salt


Water Parameters:

Have you tested your water? Water Parameters are correct (as per pet store tests performed by petstore) I apologize for not having specifics.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Has inconsistantly swollen belly, deteriorating tail (not so much fins as of late fin rot treatments), swollen eyes, slight color change, bending back
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Ever since he's been getting sick, more lethargic, seems like he's having a difficulty swimming, used to have a really hard time staying upright.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? He has been sick on and off with several different things practically since I've had him.
Have you started treating your fish? Since I rescued him he's been treated with Maracyn, Maracyn Two, API General Cure, and Aquarium Salt
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1 Year, 2 Months

It's hard to dicern what he looks like form the poor pictures, but as you can see he changes quite a lot. In the first 'before' picture, he has little to no tail due to the fin rot. In the next 'before' picture you see the regrown tail. In the now picture, he lacks a tail for the most part, but his fins have significantly improved ....

FISH 3) Amethyst
Housing
What size is your tank? 1 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? Due to the current heat, 82
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes.
Is your tank heated? Have heater, not currently needed.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tropical Fish Flakes, Betta Pellets, Frozen Bloodworms, Freeze Dried Bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a Day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Recently, Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 90-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water Conditioner with Slime Coat enhancement as well as aquarium salt


Water Parameters:

Have you tested your water? Water Parameters are correct (as per pet store tests performed by petstore) I apologize for not having specifics.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He hasn't re-grown scales lost several months ago, and his fins are clamped consistently.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Been very lethargic, hides under ornaments, stays on the bottom.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? He has been sick since he took a dive at the bathroom floor.
Have you started treating your fish? Maracyn (Months ago to treat any bacteria picked up off the floor) and Aquarium Salt
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 7 Months

As visible in the picture, Amethyst had no lost scales when I got him, and it is easy to see the difference in the clamped fins.

FISH 2) Opal
Housing
What size is your tank? 1 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? Due to the current heat, 82
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Have heater, not currently needed.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Tropical Fish Flakes, Betta Pellets, Frozen Bloodworms, Freeze Dried Bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a Day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Recently, Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 90-100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water Conditioner with Slime Coat enhancement as well as aquarium salt


Water Parameters:

Have you tested your water? Water Parameters are correct (as per pet store tests performed by petstore) I apologize for not having specifics.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Torn Fins, Inconstantly constipated (Bloated).
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Been very lethargic, or not nearly as hyper as he was.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? He has been sickly for a little over a month.
Have you started treating your fish? Maracyn Two (currently) and Aquarium Salt
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 5 Months

Opie's fins are quite obviously torn. He's got a little tummy bloat now and a slight blackening only around some of the scales on his lower side.

Thanks again for being so amazing bettafish users!
Cheers!

Last edited by kissablepenguin; 08-20-2012 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:48 AM   #7 
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Hard to see anthing in those pics. pineconing is usually kidney failure. Constipation does not tend to have the scales stand out. i feed lots of stuff and rarely have issues with bloating. Usually it is internal parasites or disease.

My concern is what the one has may have spread.. are you careful about cross contamination? And what I'd suggest to treat you have already used quite a lot. Concern there is a resistent bug.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #8 
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Over treatment can be a real issue-Both toxic issues and resistance-

You can also have possible water movement issue that can be the root cause of fin damage in some long fin males-especially genetically weak long fin males on top of possible water quality issues.

As Basement Betta posted-pinconing is usually a results of kidney failure and this can sometimes be cause by long term sodium chloride use, over use of antibiotics, bacterial infections, genetic and age are also factors.

Sadly, once the Betta has gone into organ failure not much can be done except to make them comfy and do what is right by them if they are suffering. You also don't want to give up too soon since they can surprise us-they are pretty tough fish and can hang on for along time-But you have look at their quality of life and if it is worth it or not to keep them alive....Only you can make that choice.....
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