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Old 01-02-2013, 06:36 AM   #1 
SomethingWitty
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My Betta is turning black? Help?

First post here.

I'm very new at taking care of bettas.
I have had 'Murphy' since August and he has always been in good health.
I have him in a 5 gallon tank by himself... and I thought he would be okay with a couple ghost shrimp. Well I added those suckers a month ago, and they beat Murphy up! He had chunks of his fin missing from those things. Anyways they are gone now, but my betta isn't doing so good. His fins are shredded looking and parts are iridescent.
Also, his head has turned black... and there is a 'skin color' that shows through... like the black is rubbing off? He also has tiny black spots all over his fins.
He is also just laying around, and not eating... he isn't interested in anything either.
Help?

Sorry I can't get any pictures to upload. My avatar picture is the best I can do.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:45 AM   #2 
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I was able to create an album on my profile that has a few more detailed pictures.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:58 PM   #3 
jessp118
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Looks to me like he might have some fin rot on the tips of his fins. If you couls please fill this form out, this will help alot: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49233
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:57 PM   #4 
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Housing
What size is your tank? 5 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? Around 76 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets and Bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day except Sundays

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? 50% every week and 100% once a month
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50% - 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I'm not sure, it's some kind of water balancer from WalMart.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I have not tested my water...

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Ragged fins and discoloration on head.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's not interested in me anymore, and he is just lazy and lays around. He isn't happy :(
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About a week ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Nope, I don't know what to do...
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He had swimbladder when I first brought him home.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 8-12 months
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:03 PM   #5 
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He's got fin rot. His water quality is probably not good right now. Head balding is not good either.

Please check what water conditioner you are using. It must say removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

Your 5 gallon requires 100% weekly water change. He will see a large amount of ammonia built up over that time. The 100% should including a thorough rinsing of all gravel and dechor. Your tank is large enough to cycle with a filter is you wish.. then it would only require one 50% a week. In the meantime it would take some extra careful work and can take up to 2 months.

What brand pellet do you feed? How many? Are the blood worms frozen, freeze dried or live? Live must be cut up into little pieces and fed no more than one once a week. Freeze dried should be fed no more than one once a week and must be thoroughly soaked to soften in some dechlorinated water for at least 10 minutes prior to feeding. Frozen should be defrosted in pellet size chunks - one bit once a week.

Why have you said "around" 76? Are you using a thermometer to monitor? You need to, like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Marina-Floatin...inathermomater Also tank temp will be about 4 degrees below room temp so unless you keep your house a constant unchanging temp of 80F+ he's too cold.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:57 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
He's got fin rot. His water quality is probably not good right now. Head balding is not good either.

Please check what water conditioner you are using. It must say removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

Your 5 gallon requires 100% weekly water change. He will see a large amount of ammonia built up over that time. The 100% should including a thorough rinsing of all gravel and dechor. Your tank is large enough to cycle with a filter is you wish.. then it would only require one 50% a week. In the meantime it would take some extra careful work and can take up to 2 months.

What brand pellet do you feed? How many? Are the blood worms frozen, freeze dried or live? Live must be cut up into little pieces and fed no more than one once a week. Freeze dried should be fed no more than one once a week and must be thoroughly soaked to soften in some dechlorinated water for at least 10 minutes prior to feeding. Frozen should be defrosted in pellet size chunks - one bit once a week.

Why have you said "around" 76? Are you using a thermometer to monitor? You need to, like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Marina-Floatin...inathermomater Also tank temp will be about 4 degrees below room temp so unless you keep your house a constant unchanging temp of 80F+ he's too cold.
Wow so much information, thank you! I am not at my house currently, but as soon as I get there I will update with what food and water conditioner I am using. I did have a filter in my tank, but it stopped working last month so that is why I switched to the air bubbler. I had no clue that I should be changing his water that often. The bloodworms are freeze dried and again I had no clue I was suppose to let them soak before I fed it to him. I said around 76 degrees because I have a stick on thermometer that really doesn't give me a good reading. It usually is from 72-76. I feel like such a bad fish owner! I really had no clue about all the intricate details of taking care of Bettas.

So it's safe to say I need to:
Buy a heater for his water
Buy a better thermometer
Clean his tank thoroughly and more often
Get his water tested?

Also, can you recommend a water conditioner? Or just recommend what I should be adding to his water?
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:08 PM   #7 
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No worries everyone has to learn sometime :)

You don't need to get his water tested. Just up his changes to 100% weekly and he'll be fine. Here's how to do this without shocking.. wrote for 50% 100% alternating but you can get the idea for just what you'll do:

Quote:
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.
A tank that size can use a good adjustable 50w heater. I really like Aqueon Pro (the black ones.. not the glass ones that are their normal line), Jager and Marineland Visitherm. To acclimate him to the higher temp you want to first see what the water is using the new thermometer. Set the heater well below this mark inside the tank. Slowly click it up until it just comes on. From there you can click it up one degree per hour and no more than 5 degrees per day.. click it up.. let it come to temp.. wait an hour.. repeat.. It may take a couple days to get him up to temp but slow is important.

Any liquid conditioner that says it will remove chlorine , chloramines and heavy metals will do (don't get anything that says marine on it - that's for a salt tank). Personally, I like Prime best. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/fish-s...3974/3977?s=ts

His fin rot isn't bad and should clear up with clean water and time. If it keeps getting worse you may have to treat.. also with that balding I've recently seen that clear up with epsom salts.. very safe to use so long as you follow directions. They need to be pure 100% magnesium sulfate with no other additives, fragrances or dyes of any kind per the ingredients label. You need to predissolve 1 tsp per gallon in a little cup with some of his tank water. Then pour it very slowly over the course of an hour into his tank. Slow is important because it can cause a drop in ph. The epsom salts will not need to be redosed until you do your next water change because they will not evaporate or leave the tank by any means unless you actually take them out by replacing the water. Couple weeks on the epsoms might help his head clear up and also with the mild rot.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:01 AM   #8 
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This is the food I feed him, is it an okay brand?

I appreciate your help! I will update when he is improved! Looks like I have some shopping to do. :)
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:17 AM   #9 
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I would switch brands. Tetra's first ingredient is wheat followed by fishmeal. A good pellet should have the first two or three ingredients as whole fish - not fish meal and even worse is wheat. Those blood worms I don't have experience with, but I have fed Hikari brand freeze dried and frozen should be good too: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...tid=9035&rel=1 http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...3475&subref=AA

I'd get New Life Spectrum Betta pellets. Feed 5-8 (6 seems good for most of my boys) in 2 or 3 smaller feedings with one fast day a week or Omega One Betta Buffet feed 3-4 in two smaller feedings with one fast day a week. Also if you're supplementing a blood worm or two you don't need pellets also during that day.
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