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Old 12-05-2012, 12:08 AM   #1 
littlefriend420
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Unhappy I almost killed our betta! :(

Sorry for the length, here's the Cliff's Notes version: my betta has a few decent sized chunks missing on his back due to injury. He's in a clean tank and seems to be breathing okay. He's upright, but not swimming at all, just resting on the bottom. I need some advice on how to heal him. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

So, my wife and I got a betta as a Christmas gift last year. As a combination of the season and our love for the Cubs we named him (Ron) Santo Claus.

We love him so much! I taught him to come to the top of the tank at my command by tapping gently on the rim of the tank as I fed him. I even taught him to let me "pet" him. So every night at feeding time I would gently tap the tank and he'd come swimming up for his food and a petting.

Well, two nights ago he didn't show up. I was mildly concerned, but figured he was just being lazy or was busy. It wasn't the first time he's ignored me. I leaned over, saw him and just let him be. Same thing yesterday: *tap tap tap* No Santo. Hmm. Now I've gone from concern to worry. Well, there he is chilling in his top cover. Tonight I tried again. Still no Santo. Now I've gone from concerned to worry to full-on fear. I ask my wife if she's seen him swimming around the past couple of days. She can't remember. I check and think I see him in his top cover, but now I want to flush him out to make sure he's still alive.

He's not in his top cover! I start to panic and turn the aquarium around and around looking for him, trying to see if he's in his house (a plastic pagoda from some pet store or another). I finally see him poking out of a part of the house. I reach in to nudge him out and I realize that he's stuck. My heart just sinks.

At this point I have no idea what to do. I don't know how long he's been stuck there and I don't know how to get him out. I move my finger towards him hoping he'll wriggle out backwards but that doesn't work. I touch him on his tail hoping he'll scoot out the opening in front, but that doesn't work either.

Now I'm desperate to save him and I grab the house and start trying to break it. I manage to break some pieces off, but I can't break the part where he's stuck. I'm worried that I'm going to crush him trying to break the small area that he's stuck in, and I'm also worried that I'm just going to stress him to death in the process. I finally manage to break it apart and free him. He's alive!

But he's also severely injured. He's got a couple of decent sized chunks out of him about halfway between his head and his dorsal fin. And he's clearly hurt. He's always been super active and healthy and now he's just sitting at the bottom of the tank.

I am wracked with guilt. I was going to clean his tank Sunday evening, but didn't because I was lazy. Same thing yesterday. It makes me sick to think of him trapped like that for three days and that I could have discovered him sooner! And now he's so hurt and I don't know if it happened as he tried to free himself or if it happened while I was trying to rescue him or what. Either way he's hurt, and it's all my fault, and I'm afraid he's going to die. And I'm more sad than I ever imagined I would be about a fish.

So I need some advice on helping to heal him, if he even makes it through the night. I have transferred him to a small, clean tank, but he's just sitting on the bottom of the tank. His breathing seems fine, and when I transferred him his swimming seemed okay. But now he's sitting there. I'm sure part of it is recovering from his ordeal, but what can I do now? Is there medicine that will help heal his wounds? I've read conflicting advice on whether or not to add some salt and even more conflicting accounts about how much. Any help anyone could give me would be... helpful. Sorry about the long post...

Last edited by littlefriend420; 12-05-2012 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:15 AM   #2 
AyalaCookiejar
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This is very common. I assume he is lethargic because of the stress. Aquarium salt along with clean, warm water will help him heal faster, but the warm, clean water is more important. Bettas have an incredible ability to heal quickly and survive even the worst ordeals. To avoid something like this in the future, be sure when purchasing decorations that there are no sharp edges and that any holes are large enough to fit your thumb into.
What temperature is the tank he is in?
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:15 AM   #3 
CowGirlBetta
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Do not add salt. When my crown tail got sick I added salt and it made him more sick. Turns out it inhibits healing ability. I used bettafix from petsmart and it seemed to heal him right up. I don't know if this would help in your case since he was losing fin due to a parasite, but it might help your guy get better. Best of luck and keep us updated!
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:18 AM   #4 
AyalaCookiejar
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I would not recommend bettafix or anything that has the word fix at the end. It contains an ingredient that damages their labyrinth organ. What kind of salt did you use?
Aquarium salt and Epsom salt should always be available to treat certain diseases and various other problems.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:22 AM   #5 
Phaydra
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I would go with Ayala on this one just make sure you are getting aquarium salt. Dissolve the salt before you add it to this tank.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:24 AM   #6 
AyalaCookiejar
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Thank you, Phaydra. I always forget to mention that part. 1tsp/gal, pre-dissolved. Stress Coat as your water conditioner may also help.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:35 AM   #7 
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Quote:
Do not add salt. When my crown tail got sick I added salt and it made him more sick. Turns out it inhibits healing ability. I used bettafix from petsmart and it seemed to heal him right up. I don't know if this would help in your case since he was losing fin due to a parasite, but it might help your guy get better. Best of luck and keep us updated!
Aquarium salt is frequently used to help sick fish but it HAS to be AQUARIUM SALT - not table salt. Once can also use EPSOM SALT for certain issues as well. AQ salt shouldn't be used for more then 10-14 days or it can start to harm internal organs. Epsom can be used long term.

Bettafix, however is dangerous to bettas because the main ingredient comes from a tea tree oil which damages their breathing organ.

I would keep him in a dark area to help him destress. If you use aquarium salt - normal dosage on this site is 1 teaspoon per gallon. In sever cases you can use up to 3 teaspoons per gallon but you need to slowly work up to that amount. I think the instructions on the API salt say something like 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons

Last edited by Tikibirds; 12-05-2012 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:14 AM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowGirlBetta View Post
Do not add salt. When my crown tail got sick I added salt and it made him more sick. Turns out it inhibits healing ability. I used bettafix from petsmart and it seemed to heal him right up. I don't know if this would help in your case since he was losing fin due to a parasite, but it might help your guy get better. Best of luck and keep us updated!

Aquarium salt isn't table salt.

Aquarium salt meant specifically for fish is not harmful as long as you respect the measurements for treating. Overdosing will harm the fish.

Aquarium salt is the most natural remedy to help a betta avoid infection on it's wounds, warm water helps their immune system so keep it at 78F if you can, also, add an indian almond leaf or oak leaf (which will tint the water brown a little) to help stress and healing.

To dose Aquarium salt, just 1 tsp per gallon will do :) Premix it in a small amount of water then add to the tank, it must be fully dissolved or it will burn the betta's gills and eyes.

Then do not treat beyond 10 days.

After 10 days you can simply add the oak leaves and indian almond leaves as you please, you cannot overdose on them, and having them present helps with the prevention of infections :), and you can stop whenever, many people tend not to use them unless for medical purposes because they dye the water brown

If you want you can also buy API stress coat, which is a conditioner with aloe vera that helps healing as well :)

And no worries, accidents happen, we all had one :)

Ah and I almost forgot, if he has trouble swimming, lower the water level so he can reach the surface to get air, remember bettas need air :) also, water changes, lots of them, I recommend 100% daily and redosing salt for 10 days.

Last edited by asukabetta; 12-05-2012 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:26 AM   #9 
littlefriend420
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Just want to post a little update. He's still alive so that's good. When I got home from work yesterday he did a couple laps for me and came up for some air and food. He's still spending a lot of time resting at the bottom, but he's moving around a bit more. The wound looks pretty gnarly, but it also looks like it is starting to heal. The edges are starting to die off and peel away and the wound itself does look like it's starting to get better. I'll be doing another full water change/condition/salting in a bit here. I think the little guy is going to pull through! So thank you for your thoughts and advice.

One more question. I've been keeping his tank dim during the day (and obviously dark at night). How long I should keep him in low light?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #10 
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The dim lights help with stress. If he doesn't seem like he's stressed anymore then you don't really have to keep the tank dark. Glad he's doing better! :)
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