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Old 10-10-2013, 12:36 AM   #1 
AltruantSludge
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Please help! Need advice for sick fish

I work at a pet store taking care of the animals and as fish were my weak point I decided to get a betta to learn more about them. I've already learned so much from reading this forum, but now I need some more personalized help for my finny friends.

I recently switched Kuroi (half moon) from a two to five gallon tank. I foolishly believed that betta tanks did not need to be cycled (this may be true for smaller tanks, but not a five gallon.) I've struggled with a bacterial bloom since the switch, and recently Kuroi has developed fin rot. Here's the sticky:

Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 82-84 f
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None, live plants

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Top Fin Color Enhancing Pellets (I know they aren't great for him, but for a while I was having issues with him eating and opted temporarily for a brand with garlic), occasional frozen bloodworms and spirulina
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once daily, 3-4 pellets

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Approximately 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top Fin betta water conditioner, Leaf Zone plant food

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? I tested about two weeks ago and parameters were in the normal range. I will test again asap.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? The back end of his top fin appears to be missing a piece. His front fins show no tearing or fraying but developed a line of white at the edges today. It doesn't look like ich, but it's hard to say.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Not at all.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Two days ago. Unfortunately, he seldom flares and does not respond to mirrors, so this may have been going on longer.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes. Bettafix yesterday and today, aquarium salt added yesterday.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Adult, maybe 6-8 months

I'd like to know if there is anything else I can do to help him or if I am currently doing anything wrong, and what I can expect? I've grown very attached to the little one and I'm worried.

Then there is Okarin. Okarin is a special little fish that I ended up bonding with when he was sick at the store and took home to make sure that he got the best care I could give him. He has some issues. When I took him in three days ago he had swim bladder problems which I have been able to correct thanks to the information on this forum, as well as what looks like a spine deformity, color loss, and mild neurosis (but that's what I like about him.) Now he has also developed fin rot. And away we go:

Housing
What size is your tank? 2 gallon (he is in Kuroi's old and vigorously scrubbed tank.)
What temperature is your tank? Approx. 78 f
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but due to swim bladder issues it was turned off until today
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None, live plants

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Top Fin Color Enhancing pellets, daphnia yesterday for bloat
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once daily, two pellets (he's small)

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Have not done one yet
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? n/a
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top Fin betta water conditioner, Leaf Zone plant food

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? I have not yet tested his water

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Small holes in fins
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Now that the swim issue is taken care of, he actually seems to be doing better than I have ever seen him, despite the rot.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? I noticed darker spots on his fins when I first got him three days ago, but was unsure if this may just be part of his coloration as he is very pale and I'm not actually sure what color he is. Holes appeared today.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Monday night, added Epsom salt for bloat. Last night daphnia for bloat. Today removed carbon from filter and added Bettafix.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's been sick as long as I've known him (which again is why he is now in my care.)
How old is your fish (approximately)? Unknown, but he is small yet so he's likely very young

I apologize for the essay. It is possible that I am overstressing, but I am so new to this and don't want to just let my fish die. I greatly appreciate any help that you can offer me, and thanks in advance!
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:04 AM   #2 
Aquatail
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Do the edges of their fins look black? How long have you had Kuroi? Is it possible he tore his fin on something in the tank or are you positive it's fin rot? Some bettas also bite their own fins. Although, judging from his name it may be hard to tell if his fin edges are black. The white edges could be new fin growth though. Fin rot isn't white. Also if he's healthy I wouldn't worry about him not flaring. I could be wrong since I've never had a betta that didn't flare but I've heard of some that flare less than others. Could you get some pictures of their fins?
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:20 AM   #3 
WONDERKillie
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I did not read all of that, but add some aquarium salt to the water. It will help with stress and improve gill function. This will NOT cure the fin rot, however, it will ease the process.

Look closely at the fins, it may not be fin rot. You might want to check out your decorations for any potential snags.

Last edited by WONDERKillie; 10-10-2013 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:32 AM   #4 
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Okay, so you have live plants, don't use AQ salt in the same tank as the plants, it can kill the plants, and then you'll have a harder time with rotting organics dirtying your water.

White edges on fins are generally a good sign meaning that your fish is growing and developing more finnage :) However, pictures will help, because right now it's hard to guess at what you may be dealing with.

Bettafix in general is not a good medication to use, I'm not an expert on medicating fish, but from what I've heard from most people on here, I wouldn't use it. You're better off moving your boys into clean empty tanks and using AQ salt in the "hospital" tanks and keeping them warm and doing frequent water changes.

As for the salt that is already in with your plants (for the sake of your plants) I would do a 100% water change to remove as much as you can :)

The second one does sound like he might have fin rot, and that could just have stemmed from the stress of being sick and bloated. Again, clean seperate hospital tank, warm water, AQ salt and frequent water changes are the easiest and best fixes for most fin rot issues.

Also, don't freak out, you're new to this, we all were, we'll figure out what's ailing your boys.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:56 AM   #5 
AltruantSludge
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Thank you so much for the advice! I'll try to get a picture of the white part on Kuroi's fins, but the water is hideously cloudy and I'm afraid it will be hard to see. As Aquatail said, it's difficult to tell if the edges of his fins are black because he is a mostly black fish.

As for Okarin, there are no black edges, just the little holes. Both fish are still acting normal. I'm not sure if I can afford a hospital tank until I get paid tomorrow; would it be beneficial to move them back into the cups they came in for the time being?

Thanks again for the advice. Unfortunately, the only knowledge I have of fish is what I kind of learned at the store (which seems mostly wrong) and what I've picked up here. I'm a chronic worrier, so I apologize for freaking out a bit.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:06 PM   #6 
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I wouldn't put them back in their little cups. Also, in addition to what twolovers101 said, bettafix is said to damage a betta's labryinth organ. And don't worry about worrying. I'm a chronic worrier too, recently I started a thread because I was worried when my orange dalmation betta suddenly had a few new spots. They were on his body and I had recently lost a betta to an unknown illness so I was pretty paranoid.

If you can't see black edges is there anything they may have torn them on? Do you have any sharp decor or sharp plastic plants?

Last edited by Aquatail; 10-10-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:14 PM   #7 
AltruantSludge
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I just got paid, so I'll move the boys into their hospital tanks when I get home. I'll be able to take a picture of Kuroi then, as well. In his case I think it really is just some new growth that scared me a bit. He has this really long spoke on his top fin that wasn't there before, and instead of assuming that it was new, I freaked out and thought it was the result of the fin around it rotting away. I feel like an idiot.

Still, hospital tanks for both, at least for observation purposes. Okarin definitely has something going on. Poor guy, he's been through so much! This has been so helpful; I never knew that Bettafix could be harmful and generally suggest it to customers. That puts an end to that!
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:31 PM   #8 
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I'd much rather fuss about nothing than have a problem going on. :) A while ago I spotted some new growth on one of my boys and if I hadn't known what it was beforehand I probably would have freaked.

Can you post some pictures of both of them?
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