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Old 03-15-2013, 09:28 PM   #1 
Join Date: Jul 2012
I think my fish may be ill..

I might just be being paranoid, since I do this, but Sprinkles had pretty much stopped moving and just floats head down from place to place. He somehow eats like this, I think, because his food is gone if I come back to check after about 5 minutes, so it's not being swept out the sides by the filter. His tankmate is fine, but I'm worried mostly about his suffering and me not knowing. I really do not want him to be in pain or anything. How do I know if he is in pain, there's not much I can do for him. There are pictures at the bottom.


What size is your tank? 10 gallon split
What temperature is your tank? 78ish
Does your tank have a filter?yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Another betta

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Bio Gold, the baby pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x per day 1-2 pellets. Skip every couple days


How often do you perform a water change?1x week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? <25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime and API Stresscoat. (His Neighbor has a tail biting problem)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: .25-.5 just tested today

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Stays floating in a sort of curve shape. He doesn't greet me when I feed him anymore and just sort of flails when I try to net him, he doesn't seem to swim in an organized, normal way anymore.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?about 2-3 days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, he has a prior head injury that knocked something about him off. This happened in October, but he has been just as active as the other 3 until about 2 days ago.
How old is your fish (approximately)?More than 8 months
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:41 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Ammonia levels are not okay. This means that the tank is not fully cycled, or that your cycle has somehow broken down. Water changes will need to increase until this is fixed.. can take up to two months.

I would be worried the neighbor actually has fin rot from the ammonia levels..

Right now, you need to be testing daily with a reliable drops kit for ammonia and nitrite and doing an extra 50% change any time you see either. In addition to this a weekly 50% with siphon is needed to remove poop and other debris from the gravel. It is not enough to just scoop water off the top ever.

First you will see ammonia, then nitrite. Eventually, hopefully, you will see ammonia fall and stay at 0 even after a week of no water changes, and finally nitrite. At this point you will be left with only nitrates after a full week of no changes and these can be kept <20ppm by weekly 25-50% change with siphon.

Another possible cause of this is over/improper filter maintenance. Some filters designed for these small tanks also have fatal flaws that will not allow the biofilter to establish in them as well. You should never replace all filter media at once. You should only replace one type of filter media within a month, and the best filters have 3 different types of media. However, some of these small filters only contain one type of media that needs to be replaced monthly due to it containing carbon. Every time you replace all the media at once you wipe out most of your biofiler and basically start your cycle over again. The surface area available to grow this biofilter is also usually completely inadequate to support the load of the fish.

What filter do you own and how are you maintaining it?
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Poor fella, my best guess is that either he has CNS damage and/or his swim bladder was damaged from the fall in Oct. or it could be a genetic issue. Has he had buoyancy issues since the fall.

Sadly, if he seems to be suffering you might need to make the hard choice and humanly euthanize, with that said, we don't want to give up too soon either. Only you can make that decision and while fish do feel pain-they don't perceive it the same way as mammals due to how their brain is wired.

What I would recommend at this point-cup him in something small that can be floated in the heated tank-attached so it doesn't sink and cover it with plastic veggie wrap to retain heat/humidity for his labyrinth organ and start Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) tannin treatment along with good nutrition.

Premix the treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and a tannin source-either IAL (1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (20 crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30 min...Shake well before use.

Using this premixed treatment water make 25% water changes every 15min for 1 hour today.
He needs to stay in the covered QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 10-14 days.

Tomorrow-using the treatment water make 50% water changes every other day.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals

The ammonia in your tank might be due to interaction with the Prime and ammonium-some test products can't tell the difference between the two.

What are your water prams-Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH of the tank and source water with and without the additives. By testing your source water with and without additive will give you a baseline and tell you if additives are causing false readings. Also, what test products are you using.

Good luck and keep us posted...
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