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Old 05-28-2012, 02:07 PM   #1 
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Unhappy What's killing my fish?

-Essay sized post coming up, sorry! I'm just super worried. x.x-

What size is your tank? Original tank 3.5 gallons, moved to a smaller tank for easier water changes while he's sick and so he can reach the surface easier.
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? No
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? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? As many as he will eat once a day. He usually eats about 5 pellets before stopping.


How often do you perform a water change? Varies.(I'll explain below.)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Between 50 to 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner, aquarium salt, and occasionally two drops of pH up or down, depending on if I'm at home or school.

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

-I used a strip test so I don't know exact, but this is what it says.-
Ammonia: The color of the test water matched the safe color so, I think it's around 0.
Nitrite: 0? (I don't know how this happened, the chart has all pink colors...the strip turned yellow? Although on closer inspection the center is white, the edges are what's yellow.)
pH: 7.5
Hardness: 150 hard
Alkalinity: About 120

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Pieces of his fins have fallen off, and his color is less vibrant.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sits at the bottom of the tank, hardly moving. This morning he stopped using his gills and is now resting on the cord of his heater to breathe from the surface.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? When I switched him back into his tank after traveling home from college.(He was there with me.)
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Bettafix, the suggested dose for two days.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No, other than maybe having mild fin rot.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him for 7 months.

Alright so I got my fish Chaos about 7 months ago. I had him in a 3.5 gallon fish bowl with a heater, thermometer, and some decorations. He has been happy and healthy for all of those 7 months! I thought he started to show some signs of fin rot a month or so back, but with all of the conflicting treatment methods I've seen online, I stuck to just doing water changes because honestly, it was hard to tell if he actually had it or not.
I had him with me at college, and due to lack of space in my dorm I couldn't move up to a 5 gallon tank, and also wasn't sure if I could even use a filter in a bowl so, he didn't have one.(I'm still not sure if I could get him one.) I did 50% water changes about once a week, and every month or so would do a 100% water change so I could clean up dropped food, ect.(He tended to eat almost everything I gave him, so there wasn't much.) Like I said, he's been happy and healthy with that and his bowl was never cloudy or disgusting.

The only time he wasn't happy was over thanksgiving break when I brought him home. He sat in his bowl, barely swimming, and it seemed he had trouble breathing. I thought that it might be the sudden change from my dorm tap water, to my houses, so when I brought him back to school I used about 40% water from home, 60% water from school. He perked back up and was completely fine. The next time I brought him home I brought a gallon and a half of school water with me, and mixed it with my home tap, and he was fine.

I don't know what changed, because I did the same thing when I brought him home for the summer(This was on the 23rd.)and that's when everything went downhill. He took to hiding in the skull decoration I have in his tank where it's dark, and would only come out if I moved the water in the bowl a bit. He ate for the first three days, then had one pellet the next day, then stopped. After that he just sat on the ground of his tank, moving his arm fins but that's it.(Or going back to hiding in the skull.) I honestly did not think he would make it through the night two nights ago, and was even more surprised to find him alive today.

This morning I set up a new "tank" for him, it's a small container, probably about 1.5 gallons of water in it. I did this so I could more easily change his water daily, and so that he didn't have to swim as far for the surface. As soon as I put him in there, I noticed something was really off. His gills weren't moving AT ALL. He had completely stopped using them. He would sit at the bottom unmoving for 30 seconds before swimming back up to breathe a few times, just to sink to the bottom again. After doing this for about 5 minutes, he started trying to use his gills again, he was flaring them out, but only one was opening all of the way, but clearly this wasn't working because he kept having to climb to the surface. Now his gills are pulsing a little, but he's sitting on the cord to his heater, right at the surface of the water so he can breathe without having to swim up there. He's been there for two hours now. I read that Bettafix can hurt a betta's gills, but there was none in the new tank, and he only stopped using them then. The water was the same temperature as his old bowl and I had the same additives as always.

I just tested his water and nothing seems to be terribly wrong, although I'm hoping one of you will have a better idea of what the measurements mean than I do. The only thing I know for certain, is that when I tested the pH of the water at school, it turned yellow-green, and when I tested it at home, it turned deep blue, so obviously there's quite a jump there, but that's why I mixed the two. Was it still too sudden? I just have no idea what sort of action to take, and I'm so worried about him! I can't imagine that he's going to last much longer... :(
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:35 PM   #2 
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I'm sorry he is sick. Ill be brief with a few questions since I am on the run but here are a few things from one Betta loving traveling college kid to another:
-don't use AQ salt all of the time and DONT mix it with Bettafix. That will definitely kill them. I'm not going to get into the bettafix debate but I would suggest to stop both treatments right now they could be doing more harm then good.

-the important thing is enough water conditioner. I always add a little extra and /or stress coat after travel and to get used to the new water.

-I know with the treatments it says water change daily but for now I would just do one clean with only conditioner and then leave it be. See what happens in the next few hours after. Leaving it in the dark may help too. Good luck!!!!
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:45 PM   #3 
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I bring my betta to/from college with me also. I have a 5 gallon that I'll bring to school, and a 10 gallon that I keep at home with some Platys, that he lives with over the summer (or Thanksgiving/Winter/Spring breaks).

I had the same problem as you, with the water at school being way off the water from home. My water at home as a pH of about 7.4 from the tap, and the pH at school is 9.4 out of the tap. When I accidentally shocked my poor little guy with the different water source, he did the opposite. He was completely gasping for air and breathing really rapidly. So I don't think that's the issue here

I agree with Pucky on not doing the 100% daily water changes, I think that it's a little traumatic for the fish, especially when they're already not at their top game. Maybe add an air stone to get some more oxygen in the water itself?

I highly recommend collecting empty water jugs though for when you go back to school. I found it a lot easier to build up a supply of water from home and bring it to school for water changes, than having to worry about acclimating between the two water types. Then anytime you go back home, you can fill up the empty jugs and bring more water back with you
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:50 PM   #4 
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Also to add don't feed him as many pellets as he will eat. No matter what number he stops at. only feed 2-3 pellets in the morning and night. You may be over feeding him and that can cause big problems
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:25 PM   #5 
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Thanks for the replies! I'm glad you guys suggest not doing the 100% water changes everyday, I was really worried that it would be too much stress for him. Ivandert, if he ever eats again, I will keep that in mind!(And it's good to know for any future bettas that might come my way.)
For an update, he's still alive, but he hasn't moved since two hours before my original post. He's just sitting on that cord, breathing from the surface. I did buy him an airstone so I'll be sure to put that in there, and I'll definitely stop the Bettafix, I was wary of even starting it but I didn't know what else to do. I still really don't know how to actually help, rather than just keep him from getting worse(by means of my mistakes or anything), but I'm hoping that he'll be able to pull through!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:39 PM   #6 
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So I'm back with a small update and also a new question.
Yesterday night I went to check on Chaos, not expecting any change, but he was actually swimming! I was so excited. He wasn't swimming much, but he's now able to hold himself in the water rather than sinking down and lying on the ground. I also got him to eat a pellet(I tried another tonight but he wouldn't have it.) He's still lethargic compared to normal, and he still goes over to rest on the heater cord because, here's the kicker, he's still not using his gills! :( (If he is, it's hardly at all.)
Is there any medication I could get him, or a treatment I could try, that would help fix whatever might be wrong with them? I've stopped putting anything in the water other than conditioner, and I'm doing as close to 100% water changes I can get without actually moving him from the container.(As I said before, I think it holds about 1.5 gallons. Since he's still surface breathing, I don't want him in anything too deep.) I don't know if it helps with any kind of diagnosis, but he also pooped and it looked normal! Seems silly but I was glad at least something was as it should be.
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