One last question, then! Do you think it would be OK to keep him in the net setup I described before? It's one of those green, hand-held nets you use to get the fish out of the water, and it's lying across the top of his tank so he's submerged. Gimme a minute and I'll post a picture...
*sigh* I was gonna wait until morning to post again, but I'm worried I'll forget what I wanted to say. XD Also, I've totally lost my mind. This is the second night in a row I've stayed up all night with Benny! DX
Quick update: I soaked some pellets in fresh garlic juice, and Benny ate one of them! I was so happy. T^T Thank you for the advice!
As of now, his water's got a little more than the recommended dose of Stress Coat, plus 1/2 tsp salt, plus I steeped a decaf green tea bag in his tank until the water turned faintly green (I took the bag out after about five or ten minutes--I suppose I could go longer?). He's lying in a net near the surface now.
After I put him back up on the freezer, though, and plugged in his bubbler again, it's not working anymore! It was working fine when I was steeping the green tea, then I unplugged it, and now it won't start up again. It's like the water got really heavy. The bubbler won't bubble if it's at the bottom of the tank, but it will if it's near the surface, so that's where I left it. Is that supposed to happen? D:
Also, now that I think I've got the water changes and medication schedule figured out, I want to ask a sort of unrelated question:
My sister said Benny will turn pale or gray whenever he gets too hot or too cold. Knowing now that his water was never changed often enough, I wondered if the grayness might actually have been ammonia burns? But she said it went away after he returned to normal temperature. Also, he would get pale if he was upset or scared. Does this sound like a normal symptom?
I'm sorry I'm taking up so much forum space, but I'm just...well, like I said, I've lost my mind. 3) I just want to know more and more...
Thank you, thank you all so much! It's six in the morning now...good night! DX
I wondered if the grayness might actually have been ammonia burns? But she said it went away after he returned to normal temperature. Also, he would get pale if he was upset or scared. Does this sound like a normal symptom?
As far as I know, ammonia burns are red. I think the red around icicle's gills and the red spots on his fins are ammonia burns.
Their coloring can be off if they are in less then ideal conditions like cold temps or bad water quality. My fish all improved in color once they were kept in clean water - even a 1 gallon unheated tank improved their color.
Good morning/good night, Whesandra. You're a good fish owner, staying up with Benny like this. I'm so glad he ate something; food will give him strength to fight off any further infection. That gives me hope that he still has some good old fight left in him.
I have absolutely no experience with bubblers so I'm afraid I can't help you there. :( The good news is Benny doesn't NEED the bubbler although he probably did enjoy the bubbles.
Five to ten minutes is fine for the tea but yes, if you want, you can go longer.
As Tikibirds said, fish change colors, being a different color in off conditions etc. Benny changing to a pale color is another betta sign of stress - often you'll see horizontal stripes across their body too.
Here is my girl Goldikova right after I first got her and she was stressed about being in a new environment:
And here is Goldikova now that she has settled in:
And as Tikibirds said, ammonia burns are red but the the gray could have been healing ammonia burns. Most likely, it was Benny reacting to his environment. The color changing thing is pretty handy as an indicator of whether or not the water quality is good, temp is okay etc. Sometimes it's our first indicator at all that our fish is sick. Also look for clamped fins, where they hold the fins in tight to their body instead of flaring them out.
One thing to watch for with Benny now is any type of fuzzy/furry growth on his body. If you see anything that looks like mold or cottony patches, definitely let us know.
Thanks for the extra info, guys! I'm sorry I've gotten lazy researching on my own. DX I just don't have time, and you're so helpful in this forum! ;; <3
Benny looks like he may be doing a little better... He ate two more pellets today! I don't want to feed him too much too fast and make him sick after he hasn't eaten in so long, but I plan to try feeding him multiple times a day, just in case. (I take all the uneaten food out.)
His fins are also less pressed down to his body now. His dorsal fin sticks straight up sometimes. He's coming to the surface more often for air as well, though he still seems really weak. He spends most of his time lying really still and breathing hard in his net.
His water temp seems to fluctuate between 79 and 81 F, though if I keep him off the top of the freezer for a while (when I'm feeding him or changing his water), it might go down to 78 or 76 F. :(
I noticed yesterday that he has horizontal stripes along his body. (Are these "lateral lines", like in sharks, that tell them how to swim upright?) They're always showing now. :( Also, the top of his head looked very brown and blotchy yesterday. I didn't notice it so much today, but I forgot to check thoroughly. Actually, his whole body seems awfully brown-tinted.
I don't see any furry growths, but I'll be sure to check more carefully from now on! Thanks so much!
I'm glad Benny seems to be doing better, that's good. Definitely feed him no more than maybe 6 pellets a day at the max. If you can get frozen bloodworms, feed those more often than pellets.
It may take Benny a few days to get some strength back. I'm still a little concerned about his hard breathing but hopefully that will go away soon; he may have a bit of gill damage right now from the ammonia. Just like a sick person, rest is good for Benny.
The horizontal stripes are called stress stripes so he definitely isn't feeling well. If you look closely at them, you'll see one big stripe that runs from his eye to his tail. That is his lateral line that all fish have. Sometimes you can see this line even when the fish isn't sick just because it's one long nerve. The lateral line tells them how to swim upright and also helps them find food and tells them how not to swim into the aquarium glass. It's a pretty amazing thing.
I imagine once Benny feels better he'll stop being so brown and color up again. But that's good there aren't any furry growths because that would be a bad bacterial infection called columnaris.
I just got back from the pet store a while ago! I bought a small tank heater (for tanks up to 2.5 gallons) that only has one heat setting, 78 F. I'm testing it out now to see if it will be a better alternative to using the top of the freezer. I also got a small aquarium thermometer to go with it so I can stop using that candy thermometer! It looks like the candy thermometer read a little high: it said 81 F where the tank thermometer said 78 F.
I also bought some water testing strips. They don't give exact numbers but use color codes to determine safe ranges. I tested the water just before I changed it:
pH: low (Should I worry? I tested it yesterday with a different brand that said neutral.)
Nitrate: ideal range
Nitrite: ideal range
Alkalinity: ideal range
Ammonia: ideal range
I forgot to buy bloodworms, darn it! But Benny ate two garlic-soaked pellets earlier today and one more just now.
I just did another 100% water change, but I didn't add any salt, just to see how it goes. His ammonia burns do look bad, and I don't want him to be in pain. ;;
Overall, though, I'd say he seems relatively comfortable, if weak. He's becoming a little more animated and lying a little more upright.
I checked him out pretty closely as I was changing his water, too, and noticed that the scales just behind his gills are lined in black. The rest of his body is a little brown and dull, as I said, and even though he's prominently deep purple, he seems coated in a blue-white film or crust. Under his chin is completely white. Are these like scabs from his ammonia burns? Also, the area just inside his gills is red like raw skin.
As for my bubbler, I guess the stone just needs changing, and that's why it stopped bubbling. :/ I'm not putting it in his tank anymore.
I know you don't need updates on every single thing I do, but I just feel like documenting. XD I used to work as a veterinary assistant, so maybe that's why. :/