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Old 01-14-2011, 04:07 AM   #1 
appledust
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Unhappy Emergency - fungus on open wound, possible internal problems - please help

Just to get this out of the way now: this post is CRAZY long. I tried to cram as much detail into it as I could. I apologize if any of this is confusing and will happily clarify any of it!

Hi guys. Lurker here. I got into this hobby in September 2010 and my first and favorite fish, Brutus, a VT, has experienced occasional health problems over time. I'm sorry if some of this seems unnecessary, but I'm going to detail his tank history because he's been through a lot (in part due to my selfishness). LONG story follows:

In the beginning of September, right after I got him, Brutus spent about two weeks in a bowl until I learned that bowls were extremely unideal for bettas. He was promptly moved to a 6.6 gallon bookshelf aquarium from Petco with a couple of live plants, filter and a cheap heater. He loved it!

Everything was fine and dandy. I remember adding TSS, watching the water parameters every other day and doing necessary water changes. (I kept a log of these on my phone which I've since lost. I write them down now.) Then, one day I woke up to find that the aquarium somehow leaked water all over the table it was on. I had no explanation for this because I kept the door shut at night to keep out the cats. I'd read several reviews of the bookshelf aquarium "leaking" and I was kinda freaked out, so I gathered everything up and returned the aquarium to the store. I bought an Aqueon Deluxe 10 gallon kit instead.

I used the same gravel and old filter media (behind new filter media) from the 6.6 gal in hopes of preserving any potential beneficial bacteria. I remember adding another dose of TSS and I continued my log. Everything was again fine until I noticed one day that there was a chunk missing from the end of his caudal fin. I considered the possibility that maybe his fin was just snagged by the filter, so I didn't do anything immediately. The next day, I noticed that there was a big hole in the fin. This I found disturbing, because I had made sure there was nothing he could snag on. The day after that, I noticed that his tail was getting shorter.

http://www.nippyfish.net/finlossfinrot.html I read and re-read this page a lot once I noticed the problem with his fin. At first it really just seemed like the filter sucked up the end of his fin or he bit it, because there was never a black or bloody edge. However, several days after I first noticed the problem he had lost at least 1/3 of his fin and the end of one of his ventral fins. Being a n00b, I figured he had some kind of fin rot and I treated him once with Maracyn I & II to cover gram-positive and -negative bacteria.

It seemed to help. Nothing got worse and several weeks later his fins were actually growing back. (This makes me less likely to believe that fin nipping was ever the cause. I have never even seen him nip at his fins.)

Now, here's part of his medical history where I feel like an absolute idiot...

Brutus has a hole/gash/wound in his side. In all honesty I don't remember when I first noticed it. I think it was after I treated him with Maracyn for what I thought was fin rot. I would guesstimate the first time I saw it to be in late November or early December. I remember thinking he had some scales missing, possibly from bumping into the filter or something. I have no idea what in his tank could actually cause it, but the filter was a convenient scapegoat. I did not, until recently, realize that it is actually an open wound. And... it's turning into a nightmare.

Here is the earliest picture I have of it:

(He is still in his own 10 gallon in this picture btw, so this is November/December.)

What substantiated my belief that it was just missing scales is a) I didn't really know what missing scales looked like compared to open wounds (stupid, I know) and b) at one point it began to heal. Scales were growing back and it appeared to be healing quite well. It looks really nice in that picture compared to how it is now, ha. D:

I didn't do anything about the wound because I didn't realize it was one. I changed the water like normal. Then, on December 17th, I bought a spare 10 gallon tank because I discovered this forum and the tutorial on dividing tanks (which I thought was totally genius, haha). I divided the 10 gallon with plans to put Brutus and a new tank mate in it. I transferred the gravel and filter media from his 10 gal to the new one and bought a beautiful red veiltail who I named Julius. I noticed that after I transferred Brutus to this new 10 gal his side wound got worse. Here is a picture of him in the new tank:


You can see the wound doesn't have the same amount of scales covering it as in the previous picture. (Also, do his eyes look big? :\ Is this a mild case of popeye? Popeye can be a symptom of internal problems, right? Because...*)

Here is another picture taken a few minutes later:



I now believe he had and/or has columnaris. (I'll get to that soon.) I know that this can cause skin lesions and fin loss. It also responded well to the Maracyn I/II and have seen Maracyn II recommended to treat it. It is also contagious...

At the beginning of this month, I noticed that the same thing that originally happened to Brutus (fin seemingly disappearing, eaten up by some invisible force) was starting to happen to Julius. I paired them together because they both have (or, had :( ) really great fins IMHO, and because I thought that any health problems with Brutus were over. But the end of Julius's caudal fin seemed (and still seems) to be getting worse and worse every day. It's gone from long and flowing to raggedly and tattered. He also has greyish spots on him that are consistent to descriptions of columnaris that I've read.




Here you can see the greyish spots on him pretty well.

On January 2nd I decided to treat them in their 10 gal with Maracyn I & II. It had seemingly stopped any problems with Brutus's fins from progressing the very first time I used it on him, so I thought it might work again. I treated for the directed five days. For a couple of days after the treatment concluded, nothing looked any better, but nothing looked any worse either.

Then, I noticed that Julius's tail was getting shorter and shorter. Brutus appeared to be getting worse as well. I began a second treatment of Maracyn I & II this Tuesday.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:09 AM   #2 
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lulz so I had to cut my post in half because it was too long. SORRY

-

This is what scares me:

*On Sunday I noticed that Brutus's stomach area has become extremely bloated. I have not in any way overfed him, but I fasted him until Tuesday night after I took some overhead pictures of the bloating and noticed how emaciated the rest of his body looked. Here are the pics:


This picture is the best but I will include two more just for the sake of it.




This picture is slightly angled, but you can see how the bloating is right around his wound.

Is this a sign of a serious internal problem?

Finally, the most recent development is that his wound is growing fungus. I believe it is "saprolegnia" to be exact. I have found pictures of this on the internet and it looks EXACTLY the same. (I've seen pictures of the columnaris bacterial fake "fungus" and it does not resemble that really.) I tried to take some overhead pictures of this fungus and these are the best I got:








It looks exactly like a tuft of cotton.

So far I have treated the fungus with Maroxy for two days (bottle says to treat for five). After the first dose it was actually reduced significantly, but then after the second dose it reappeared. :\

Brutus is a mess and I feel awful. So far Julius is just losing his fin, but I'd prefer to end that too and I don't want it to get any worse.

I've bought Triple Sulfa, Furan-2 and API (powder) Fungus Cure. I also have a 1 oz bottle of Malachite Green (.75%, zinc free). I have heard good things about Methylene Blue but could not find it anywhere.
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Columnaris.html This site has been extremely informative on both columnaris and saprolegnia but I still am not sure what to do without consulting others who have more experience. Please help!

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gal divided
What temperature is your tank? I keep it at or under 80*F
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? One male VT and two olive nerite snails (one on each side of divider); various live plants

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Bio-Gold pellets, Hikari frozen bloodworms and Hikari frozen brine shrimp
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 soaked pellets when I wake up, 2 soaked pellets before I go to bed everyday. Once a week I feed them 2-4 bloodworms or 2-4 brine shrimp instead of pellets.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Once or twice a week, depending on ammonia reading
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra AquaSafe Plus; proper pH 7.0. I know I really should not mess with a pH buffer (at least I have heard not to) but my tap water has insanely high pH (8.8+, as high as my kit will read) and I don't know if this is safe for bettas or how to naturally lower it. If anyone has any advice please provide it!

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I tested it on Monday before I did a 50% water change and started Maracyn I & II. Please tell me if you want me to re-test it and I gladly will.

Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: .25
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.2
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Not sure what the last two are off the top of my head (it's late and I should be asleep...). KH took six drops before it changed color and GH took 9. Don't know what that translates into, sorry, ha.

Symptoms and Treatment

I think I basically answered all of this above in my extremely lengthy post, haha. I'll try to sum it up:

How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Loss of caudal fin, end of ventral fin; some fin regrowth; recently, open side wound, loss of tip of dorsal fin; now, extreme stomach bloating, open side wound growing fungus/saprolegnia
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Amazingly, it really hasn't. Throughout all of this he has still swam to the front of the glass upon seeing me, wiggled at me for food, and swam around. He has not really seemed depressed and definitely has not "given up" yet. He only seems slightly less active. The only exception is this Tuesday night, when I first saw the fungus. He was laying on the bottom of his tank for a few hours, under a tall piece of driftwood where it's darker. Even then, when it was feeding time he was very hungry and ate greedily. He has not stayed on the bottom of his tank since.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Sometime in October - first suspected "fin rot," treated with Maracyn I & II
Sometime late November/early December - noticed "missing scales" which turned out to be a wound from I don't know what, noticed loss of edge of dorsal fin
January 9 - noticed the bloating
January 11 - noticed the fungus
Since then - wound seems to have gotten larger, bloating has not subsided, fungus came back

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? On Sunday the 2nd I treated both fish in their tank with Maracyn I & II. Things were fine for two days, then got worse.
January 10 - I started a second treatment of Maracyn I & II. It will end on Saturday. I also don't have a hospital tank, or money and room for one. :\

January 11 - started Maroxy for fungus
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, see above
How old is your fish (approximately)? I really have no idea. The most I can offer is that he has never gotten bigger, so I assume he was full-grown when I got him from Petsmart. (Don't know what age they become full-grown.) :\

And here is a FINAL picture of Brutus (bad lighting sorry) where you can see everything that's wrong. I just took it:



This post has taken me over two hours to compile and I really need to go to sleep now, so please ask me to clarify anything that doesn't make sense or if I left something obvious out!

In all honesty I really don't know what to do. I guess I never really did know what to do. I feel stupid, inexperienced and irresponsible. I will be heartbroken if I lose these fish, especially Brutus. Please help. Thank you for reading :(
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:06 AM   #3 
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try aquarium salt. it won't cure them, but it should help get rid of the fungus. whenever Cup gets a fuzzy on a newly ripped fin(the rare times that happens), a dose of aquarium salt cleans it up fast! it should also help some with the wound. :/ hope they get better fast!
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:16 AM   #4 
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*Gasps*
Drax has a similar wound on his back!

*Flails*

Now I'm freaking out again!
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:47 AM   #5 
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First off I would separate the two fish to make it easier to treat and maracyn and such tend to be toxic to invertebrates such as snails. I would move him to a couple gallon tank heated with few decorations so you can treat him easier any plastic container will do just as long as you know the volume. You can get some really cheap containers for under 10$. But you have to separate the boys so you dont medicate one for something it doesnt have 100% water changes everyday and it sounds like your using the correct medications and the water temp at near 80* should be fine. There probably is a fungus in the wound the swelling around it probably means its infected still. On top of the Maroxy I would include aquarium salt to help Luimeril suggested.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:38 AM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appledust View Post
At the beginning of this month, I noticed that the same thing that originally happened to Brutus (fin seemingly disappearing, eaten up by some invisible force) was starting to happen to Julius. I paired them together because they both have (or, had :( ) really great fins IMHO, and because I thought that any health problems with Brutus were over. But the end of Julius's caudal fin seemed (and still seems) to be getting worse and worse every day. It's gone from long and flowing to raggedly and tattered. He also has greyish spots on him that are consistent to descriptions of columnaris that I've read.




Here you can see the greyish spots on him pretty well.

On January 2nd I decided to treat them in their 10 gal with Maracyn I & II. It had seemingly stopped any problems with Brutus's fins from progressing the very first time I used it on him, so I thought it might work again. I treated for the directed five days. For a couple of days after the treatment concluded, nothing looked any better, but nothing looked any worse either.

Then, I noticed that Julius's tail was getting shorter and shorter. Brutus appeared to be getting worse as well. I began a second treatment of Maracyn I & II this Tuesday.
This is what my female had that just died this morning! My red VT male has it too, but not as bad and is recovering quickly.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:47 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creat View Post
First off I would separate the two fish to make it easier to treat and maracyn and such tend to be toxic to invertebrates such as snails. I would move him to a couple gallon tank heated with few decorations so you can treat him easier any plastic container will do just as long as you know the volume. You can get some really cheap containers for under 10$. But you have to separate the boys so you dont medicate one for something it doesnt have 100% water changes everyday and it sounds like your using the correct medications and the water temp at near 80* should be fine. There probably is a fungus in the wound the swelling around it probably means its infected still. On top of the Maroxy I would include aquarium salt to help Luimeril suggested.
Thank you Creat, and Luimeril too :D Unfortunately I didn't know the Maracyn would harm the snails. I did a google search about it concerning olive nerites and read on a forum that someone used Maracyn and their nerites were fine. I will definitely be getting some plastic containers later and I will heat those too. Should I follow the recommended dose of aquarium salt on the carton, or add more (or less)?

Once I finish the Maracyn I & II tomorrow I'll separate them. Do you guys think I should treat either of them with another antibiotic? Should I wait and see? I think this would be good for Julius because his columnaris has not improved at all or gone away. The main issue with Brutus seems to be the fungus/swelling. Today with another dose of Maroxy the fungus is smaller but it's still there.

Also, if I do 100% water changes everyday and I'm medicating, how should I dose the medication - replace what got dumped out + add a new dose, or just add the dose for that day?

Last edited by appledust; 01-14-2011 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:48 PM   #8 
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Also, lilchiwolf, I'm really sorry about your fish! :( At least your male is improving, that's great!

DormDrax, I hope things are alright with yours too. D:
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:07 PM   #9 
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Fin rot I believe is whats getting to Brutus and your other guy I forgot to mention that before as well I would separate him and heat him and keep up with 100% daily water changes. For Julius I would start using aquaium salt and you would have to look at the directions for Maracyn to see if it can be used in multiple treatment rounds I havent used it in a long time so I wouldnt know. Same with Brutus keep up the aqurium salt and if the Maroxy is working thats great. When I am treating with 100% water changes I change the old water out add new water with a new fresh dose for the recomended size. And for the aquarium salt depending on the salt it should give directions for treating sick fish cause each salt is different.
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