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Old 02-07-2011, 07:16 PM   #1 
kfish's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Florida
Rescued Betta

I've been not-so subtly hinting that I wanted my friend's betta fish. She's finally given him to me as of Sunday.

He's in a somewhat pitiful state, and he's quite old for his living conditions (3 or 4). I think he's in the twilight of his life. Basically, I'm trying to make him as comfortable as possible and if he recovers, that would be great.

He's being floated in his tank in Epsom salt 1 tsp/gal with crushed oak leaves steeped in the water. He gets switched to a new container floating in his tank every day. Basically, I'm following OldFishLady's method of floating two tupperware containers in the tank and switching from container to container... and pre-mixing/steeping the water in a 1 gallon jug.

I've set up the tank as a Walstad natural planted tank. I'm pretty excited about that part, and I hope he lives to enjoy it.

I got the fish yesterday evening... and spent all day yesterday setting up the tank. I had to go back to college this morning and won't be back until the weekend, so my boyfriend and my mother are in charge of taking care of the fish. But he's in good hands and I wrote lots of lists and instructions (my mom is very experienced with fish).

What size is your tank? Currently: 10 gallons. Previously: 0.8 Liter (That's why I wanted to kidnap him! Remember, I was not responsible in any way... so if I get any attacks, be warned that I'm going to get angry).
What temperature is your tank? Currently: Exactly 80 degrees. Previously: Whatever the house was... 74-76 (this is Florida, after all!).
Does your tank have a filter? Currently: Yes. Previously: No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Currently: Yes! Previously: No.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Currently: A baby gold mystery snail (like six of them hitchhiked into my mom's tank on some plants)... although he's quarantined away from his snail now. Previously: None.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? I'm fasting him for four days... he'll be fed 2 pellets twice a day, just like Mr. Fish. :) I have no idea how much he was previously fed.


How often do you perform a water change? Currently: 50% twice a week, until the plants overtake the tank... well, he gets switched to a new QT container everyday - so 100% every day in QT with regard to where he is. Previously: Once every two weeks... or less. Again, this was NOT ME.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% in QT.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Currently: Prime water conditioner... Epsom salt and oak leaves in QT. Previously: Betta water conditioner.

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

Ammonia: 0 ppm... in the bowl he was in previously, I'm sure it was off the charts. I didn't test it.
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 7.8
Hardness: Not hard enough yet. I set up the tank literally yesterday and was a hurry... now back at school. Need to add shells for my plants this weekend when I go back. Not important for the fish - it's not THAT soft, lol.
Alkalinity: Tested it, but don't remember specifically. It was fine - pH stays very stable.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Not a change, exactly... every time I've seen him over the past year he's looked and acted the same. He mostly just lays at the bottom. He's not gasping or struggling. He just rests. I think it's because he's only ever lived in that tiny bowl (not much bigger than the cups they come in at the store). I was hoping he'd move more when he got into the 10 gallon tank, but he didn't. He still just rested on the bottom. He -can- move, though. I think he might have SBD based on how he does move, though, and he's being fasted and treated with Epsom salt for that. He cannot stay afloat well. He's also a little bloated... probably from eating and not moving in the tiny bowl. Amazingly, he has no other signs of sickness that I can tell.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Again, not really a change... I've always had to move the bowl to get the fish to move when visiting my friend. He's very lethargic. He lays half on his side on the bottom of his container and seems to have trouble staying afloat.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About a year ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Fasting, Epsom salt 1 tsp/gal and crushed oak leaves. Tank light off as much as possible.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I don't know, I don't think he's ever been sick, per se... but ever since -I've- seen him, he's looked the same degree of pitiful.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 3-4

The fish is pretty old for having lived in a tiny bowl his whole life. I hope that if he is dying, he's more comfortable. He is not gasping for breath and doesn't appear to be suffering. He just is... lazy? And probably has swim bladder issues.

My mother tells me that he's moving a bit more often now, although he still can't stay afloat. I hope he can recover!

Any opinions? Do you think he'll get better? I'm really worried about him. I'm astounded he's lived as long as he has.

As I'm not there, I can't take pictures, and I really didn't want to be sticking the camera up in the fish's face yesterday. I'll have my boyfriend take some pictures tomorrow.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:44 PM   #2 
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Location: Kansas City
Poor fish, thank you for rescuing him! Well hopefully an expert can give you some good info to help your little guy.
But I can tell you, he is not "lazy" not in the least. This behavior stems from his environment, from not having any room to swim in. He doesn't realize that he has the room now to branch out farther, and being sick doesn't help him discover this.
It's just like a dog that has been chained to a tree its whole life, all it has is this little area to walk around in circles, you let that dog off the chain and onto a leash to walk it and it cannot walk in a straight line. All its ever known is that circular prison. It is a learned behavior, you just need to help them unlearn it.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:53 PM   #3 
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That's kind of what I figured, too. It's like he's been in prison for two years. He's just got to get used to his new freedom. Poor little guy!

I've been told that he seems to be doing a little better. Moving a bit more. I do think he has a swim bladder issue... he seems to put forth a lot of effort to stay afloat when he does decide to swim a bit.

I also think that he genuinely doesn't have the muscle strength he needs... every time I went to my friend's house (every weekend that I'm home, because we play D&D there Friday nights) he had looked the same... just laying on the bottom of his little bowl. And that's been for about a year... I've always checked on him and given a hint about wanting him... and told her to change the water! Lol. It was seriously brown and chunky at some points. 3-4 weeks without changes... for the past few months she'd been doing it more often (once a week or so), probably because she got tired of me nagging, lol. It's really a wonder that he isn't sicker.

When I'm done with the Epsom salt treatment (this weekend) I'm going to continue adding oak leaves to the water to keep him in tannins. I'm getting more hopeful that he's going to get better. I have to stop thinking about how old he is already!
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:16 AM   #4 
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Yeah he's not that old, his life just started in you and your mothers care. I can't believe he made it this long, especially if he was sitting in brown and "chunky" water...yuck! Well good luck!

I wish I knew more and was more outspoken when I was a bit younger, my way older (as in old enough to have kids)cousin had a shallow round bowl on her kitchen table where she had a betta and a goldfish together, this thing couldn't have been more than 1/2 gallon. I don't know how long they survived in that with the temperature changes and water condition, though the water was clear the one time I saw them.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:45 PM   #5 
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He's doing even better today! Moving a lot more and actually reacting to human interaction. Before, he had no reaction to a finger pressed up against the glass, but now he makes an effort to move to it. He still can't stay afloat well, but he's making the effort to swim way more often.

Pictures coming soon!
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #6 
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hey is kinda old but im happy his recovering
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