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Old 04-29-2011, 06:59 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Ammonia burn or fin rot? water change question

So I finally brought my fish back from the dead using tetracycline. All was well for a few days and just yesterday I noticed his fins didn't look good. I had just done a 2 gallon water change (5 gallon tank) the day before. I had also done a 2 gallon water change about 3 days before that (trying to get the yellow out from the tetracycline.) So I thought I would do a second round of tetracycline. I treated the tank once yesterday. When I told the fish store this he said not to use the tetracycline, since he thought the fin issue was from the ammonia level since I told him it was always testing at .5 He suggested doing twice a week 50% water changes and bringing my water in for testing.

Long story short I got home from a trip to the nice fish store an hour away were I picked up two more plants only to find my fish missing a LOT of his fins!!! It was dramatic how much he had lost in 4 hours!!!

When I was at the fish store I talked to them about my water and setup. They were the ones that suggested using spring water since my water out of the tap they tested had 1.0 ammonia levels. They told me spring water still had minerals in it.

So when I saw the huge amount of fin loss I called the store back. He thought the tetracycline probably killed off my good bacteria and what I saw was ammonia burns. He said I should do as we planned which was to do a 50% water change twice a week. I told him I would bring a water sample tomorrow to have him test again (he tested my tank water about a week ago and it was fine.) He said he wanted to test for the nitrites and nitrate levels to see where my tank was as far as cycling.

Now to my question...I did a 50% water change about 3-4 hours ago per fish store instructions. I just went in and checked and the ammonia levels are currently at .5 (which is what they sort of seem to chronically test at for me at home.) Should I do another water change or am I doing more harm than good to change it twice in 24 hrs? Should I just wait till I get the water tested at the store tomorrow? I probably won't be able to change his water again till early evening unless I change it now or in the morning. I didn't want to over change it in a 24 hr period and loose and good bacteria that might be growing.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:55 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Alberta, CANADA
I'm not an expert by any means but you will want to lower your ammonia some how. The issue could maybe be tail/fin biting. Harley had pretty decent fin rot and it never "dissolved" that quickly. I would definitely get all of the water tests done and ensure more regular water changes are done. I'm doing 100% daily for Harley's QT 1g bowl and we're now seeing fin re-growth. You may want to use a QT bowl/container to put your fish in a smaller container to make it easier to do more frequent water changes. Good luck.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:16 AM   #3 
Join Date: Feb 2011
What water treatment chemical do you use? Is he alone in the 5 gallon tank? What was the duration of each dose of Tetracycline and how many doses did you run? Plants? Thickness of rock bed? Type of filter, manufacturer and model? What kind of ammonia test are you using? Is Nitrate building? If not is Nitrite building? Have you had a cloudy bacterial bloom since the treatment? Take down about 2 gallons of water from the tank if your filter will let you do so and take the bio-media fiber from the filter and swish it in that bucket, do so vigorously. Then use a wad of paper towels to mop residue at and above the water-line on the tank and the filter and any other objects that penetrate the water level (heater, air tubing, ornaments) to get rid of the residual tetracycline. A picture would be very helpful. Were the damaged/removed fins floating in the tank or stuck on the filter intake or did he eat his own fins? When we heal it consumes a lot of energy and protein, betta commonly eat their own fins when they get too hungry. To be honest don't worry about your tap-water ammonia if you use prime. The biological filter will consume it just like fish waste. Leave the water level low so there is a lot of agitation on the return from the pump, increasing aeration of the water is important in getting the dormant bacteria to wake up. And tell the guy at the fish store to SHOW you an "ammonia burn"... betta survive fine in up to 1ppm ammonia static and unbuffered. If your pH is above seven you have enough minerals in the water.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 05-02-2011 at 10:17 AM. Reason: insulting stupid fish store employees
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