A few months ago I got really busy with school (organic chem and genetics- pulled 2-3 all-nighters a week) and neglected my poor fish. :( It's only about a 3 gallon with an undergravel filter, so I usually change it around once a week and it's usually around 1/4-1/3 change (to make the math easy for me for adding chemicals; 3 is a weird number). Unfortunately, a bunch of tests and other work came at once and I didn't change the water for two or three weeks and my poor Louis Jacob suffered from it. :( Soon after, he developed a nasty case of fin rot. I medicated him and used the instructions on the bottle, using it three times, as it said. After awhile I thought it was getting better, but as it turned out, it was only slowly getting worse. I even occasionally kept putting a small amount of the medication in, knowing he needed something to cure him but too afraid to keep giving him a lot because I didn't want to overmedicate him. For the last few weeks he has stayed near the top of the tank, just laying there on his side. I keep thinking he's dead but then swirl the water a bit and he starts swimming again. Every once in awhile he'll notice I'm watching him and will start swimming around the tank really fast; otherwise, the only time he is active is when I feed him. And he still eats well, just like he always has. He really is a fighter and I want to help him get better. I've had a few bettas before, and this guy is the first to make me a bubble nest! (Until I fixed the bubbler and the water wasn't calm enough to keep a bubble nest anymore.) So he really has a special place in my heart. Plus a couple of my nieces helped me name him.
I can't tell you the levels for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc. because I ran out. If there is any other information you'd like to know, just let me know, please!
I had to look up plakat. No, he is not. I'm not sure what kind he is, but I'll try to see if I can find a decent before picture of him. I do remember taking pictures of him around the time I first got him, but it might be awhile because I've taken a lot of pictures on my phone since.
Oh dear. Oh, I have to add, when I first got him I noticed that the tips of his fins naturally did this weird waxing and waning thing. They would shorten a little, as if the ends got nipped by a filter or something (which couldn't be possible, as I only have a bubbler and an undergravel filter), and then they would grow back. I didn't originally treat him as fast as I should have because I noticed this weird cycle. Now that I'm looking at the pictures and see how long they were originally (you kind of forget, y'know?), I really should have noticed sooner. But it was kind of gradual. :(
finnfinnfriend: Thanks for linking me to the thread! Based on that, I haven't been changing the water enough. Pretty much every time I change the water I clean around the rocks and stuff. Apparently I need to add in a plain water change without the cleaning. I have been using an antibiotic. It's Meracyn Plus and the bottle says it treats fin rot, but obviously it hasn't really been working. :(
2x 50% minimum in fully cycled tank (which is 1/2 water twice weekly) and I would still test to be sure because anything less than 5g is hard to maintain a cycle in.
For fin rot to be that bad he had to been living in poor conditions a really long time.. He has bad ammonia burns and extremely advanced fin rot.
He has been in Maracyn Plus for how long? You are redosing every other day right? How do you know he's not getting better? Is he still rotting away? Probably because the water quality is still so poor.
Meds will have killed your cycle anyway so go ahead and do 100% water change and give the filter and media a good cleaning too to remove all debris.
This is how you can do such a large change without shocking:
To do a water change, use a little cup like a plastic solo cup - this cup must be only for him and have never been used with soap or other chems. Scoop him up in this cup (keep him in the cup about 1/4 full of water - it doesn't need to be much because he won't be in it for long) and leave him in the cup while you change his water. To do the 50% use a turkey baster - dedicated only to him that has never seen soap or chems - and drag it through the gravel and try to suck as much of the poop out as possible, in addition to 50% of the water. Use a thermometer under the running tap to get it to be the same temp as the water that is normally in his tank. When the thermometer says the flowing tap is the right temp, fill back up his tank. At this point, add the conditioner (dose for how much water you change - if you change half the water you add half gallon worth of conditioner, If you do a 100% water change dose for the full gallon change). Float his plastic cup with him in it in the new water. Slowly add a couple tablespoons of the new water into his cup every 10 minutes for at least an hour. Finally, dump him in gently but try to get as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. When you do the weekly 100% you will do mostly the same thing except empty his tank fully and rinse everything in it very well under warm water but never use soaps or chemicals. Once it's fully cleaned/rinsed you can refill it and repeat the cup/acclimate phase.
For now you need to forget trying to recycle your tank and be doing at least 2 water changes a week - one 100% (cleaning of all gravel and decor) and one 50%. Personally I would do 50% changes every other day along with redosing of meds and one 100% a week.
When he's well, which it will take a long time to regrow all he's lost, you can try to recycle the tank. You will need a drops kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which should be tested daily and a 50% change done any time you see either ammonia or nitrite hit so much as .25ppm. Eventually ammonia will spike then go to 0 and nitrite will spike after ammonia and then eventually go to 0. After this has happened 2 50% changes as described in the link above can usually maintain water quality.
Ah, well, I was trying to clean today and hadn't had a reply yet, so I kind of did a few things on my own. I did a 50% water change by a stir and dip, going by the water change instructions linked to me above.
I'm thinking that since I already didn't do enough water changes and then put it off for too long, like I mentioned above, he managed to get sick. And then since I continued to do water changes, but not often enough, he just hasn't been able to get rid of it. His immune system is severely compromised and can't fight it off under the current conditions. Hopefully with more cleaning it will help him out.
Just curious: How can you tell about the ammonia burns? I learned about it after my dad's goldfish ended up with black patches, but with him, it's a little more difficult since his head has always been dark. The rest of his body seems okay to me (other than the fact that the poor guy has no fins)...
I did a cycle of the Meracyn Plus and then stopped. Then I noticed it was worse and did another cycle. It's been like this for awhile. I do a cycle and then see if it's any better. I practically have the shape of his fins memorized because I've been watching them really closely. I just started a cycle last night so I haven't medicated him tonight.
Thank you! I'll have to start doing this. I think I'll do a 100% change on Friday, then. I'll scrub all the stuff down with hot water. I think the new water changes should help him greatly. And I know I have to buy a testing kit.
I'd switch antibiotics at this point then. Maracyn Plus is usually very good but at this point it may just be resistant to it. Try Kanaplex by Seachem if you can find it. Furan 2 if you cannot. Good luck!