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Old 06-15-2012, 10:34 AM   #1 
mathkid
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Bacterial infection?

Hi guys =(

My America the Beautiful is usually the most hyper fish ever. So I noticed it was weird two days ago when he was laying around a bit.

Yesterday morning he was sleeping at the top of the tank in the floating water sprite, as he usually does. When the light turned on (it's on a timer), he swam down under the driftwood and went back to sleep. He wouldn't come up for breakfast.

Last night he was still staying down at the bottom of the tank, so I did a 50% water change. He ate one bloodworm but he wouldn't eat more.

Today I've got him in quarantine (pic). His belly seems to be going slightly white - I think it's slightly swollen. If he does have an infection, it is probably in early stages (I hope!)

I'm going to go to 1tsp/gal aquarium salt until I can think of something better. I have Maracyn I and II, and medicated flakes, but I would rather not go there if it's not needed.

OTHER CONTEXT

There've been a number of water parameter changes in his tank lately. I've been dosing fertilizers for the plants, trying to get the water hardness and KH up, but I didn't want the pH swinging so I added IAL. Maybe too much??

My theory now is that adding KNO3 (Nitrate up about 10ppm) caused some un-nitrifying bacteria to spring up and convert NO3 -> NO2. Will do water change + aq. salt + IAL and observe. Any other ideas are appreciated!

STATS

Tank size: 5g

Substrate: 2mm black gravel

Decor: 1 piece of Malaysian driftwood, live plants (Anubias nana, Water sprite (floating), Echinodorus (indian red sword), Brazilian pennywort, water wisteria, Ludwigia repens (which I have since removed). The sword has been making new leaves every few days for the last week, but the Brazilian pennywort and water wisteria have been stagnant and the ludwigia I moved to another tank with actual substrate.

Heater: Eheim Jager 50w (overkill for this size)

Filter: Red Sea Nano (so it is underpowered for this size)

Water change schedule: 50%, 1x/week, with gravel vacuuming. The last change I did was Saturday. I add Prime (always), and this week I put an Indian almond leaf in. Last week, I started dosing for the plants: Seachem Equilibrium for GH, baking soda for KH, Seachem Flourish for micros, KNO3 for nitrate, KH2PO4 for phosphate (just a tiny pinch).

Temperature: In QT now that I've turned the temp up: 78.1, in main: has been ~76-78 lately. It used to be consistently 80-81, but the plants didn't like it... so I wanted to bring it down to 77-78. But I care about America more than the plants.

pH: 7.4-7.6. My tap water comes out at 8.4 and ages overnight to 8.0. The pH in the tank is lower because.... IAL? More time? Bacteria?

NitrIte: It's a very pale pink, which on the slider is between 0 and 0.1ppm

NitrAte: 0.2-1ppm

Ammonia: 0ppm

===

-mathkid
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:41 PM   #2 
ZackyBear
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The white spot on him, can I have a picture of that pretty please?

Does he look swollen? Does the white coloring appear to be on top of his scales or is it his scales just turning color?
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:45 PM   #3 
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Sorry - let me clarify.

Not a white spot - just his scales losing color. You can (sort of) see it in the picture - along his back his scales are red and blue, but just behind his pectoral fins, his scales are getting lighter. It's very slight. Also the scales on the bottom half of his face have gone pale - they are always less colored than the rest of him, but if he's super stressed they go ash-white.

I'll try to take a better picture when I go home.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:14 PM   #4 
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Update 9pm, June 15: Still in quarantine. I did two slow 50% w/c with the 1tsp/gal AS + IAL water + Stress Coat, so it is mostly that now. Nitrites are 0. He's swimming around more instead of just lying there.

The weirdest thing happened when I tried to feed him in the evening: he kept missing the food pellet. I've never seen him do that before. It was like his depth perception was off... he got it eventually, and then he did a weird cramp-up thing for a second... then he was OK again.

How do you get your fish to eat when sick?

Last edited by mathkid; 06-15-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:49 AM   #5 
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Sorry to hear about your betta. I hope he will get better soon. Fist of all, if you are trying to grow plants, you shouldn't add salt, plus long term aquarium salt use is not good for bettas.
I think it just may be shock from all those chemical changes in your tank. You should increase doses to desired levels very slowly. I would recommend to get some tests and keep checking the water parameters (PH, nitrates, GH to start with). Also keep close watch on your betta for any signs of infection (pop eye, open wounds, red streaks on the body or fins) if any of those show up, especially red streaking (it may be harder to tell, since he has some red colour), I would start with antibiotics right away (maracyn plus).

Last edited by roadrunner; 06-16-2012 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:44 AM   #6 
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Thanks roadrunner, good points!

1) No salt in the main tank with plants - only in his QT, which is a 1/2 gal hanging inside the 5g.
2) No salt on normal days - just right now because he's not feeling well. 10 days max.

GH in tap water is 2.
GH in main tank has been as high as 4 while I was adding Equilibrium.

KH in tap water is 0.
KH in main tank has been as high as 6 while I was adding baking soda.

PH in tap water is 8.4. Aged tap water is 8.0. PH in settled tank is usually 7.2-7.3. PH in tank with baking soda was closer to 7.8.

Sigh. I did try to change it gradually over a few days, but I guess not slow enough. I think in the future my planted tank experiments will be SEPARATE from my betta.

He seems a little more active with the clean water + salt, so we'll see how things go...
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:37 PM   #7 
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I'm glad to hear your betta is better. I just lost one of mine to bacterial infection. I guess I started antibiotics way too late, so it's really important to keep an eye on your betta and take action right away. Bettas like PH around 7, but they can adapt as long as it stays stable. I wouldn't really play with PH and if you really have to, try to do it very slowly, over few days or they can go into shock and keep it same after that. I personally don't use baking soda, I use seachem alkiline buffer in my community tank, but none in my betta tank, cause I don't have live plants there. Oh I forgot to mention in my earlier post that red streaks can also mean nitrate poisoning, so it's really important to keep checking nitrates levels and keep your water clean.
One owner of my LPS keeps insisting that PH is not as important as many people thing. GH is more important, than KH cause it will take care of your PH and keeps it stable and that's what makes fish happy.
let me know how he does
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:51 PM   #8 
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FTR I'm doing twice daily ~60% water changes (new water added over the course of an hour or so).

Update 8pm, Jun 16:
I have upped the salt to 1.5 tsp/gal. He is not looking bloated, but he's definitely still got the pale coloration on his face and tummy. His fins are not clamped. He is not as active as usual (he swims around occasionally but mostly rests), but at least he is swimming a bit.

He hasn't pooped today. Maybe he's constipated?? But I can't get him to eat anything! Can you see how the scales behind his gills on his belly have turned white (pic)?
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:36 PM   #9 
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Hey mathkid. Sorry to hear about your boy. So he's been a bit bloated and lethargic? And no poops as far as you can tell? Let's go ahead and switch him off aquarium salt then and onto 2 tsps of epsom salt per gallon. Aquarium salt will actually make bloating worse because of the water retention, whereas epsom salt will help leech the excess fluids out.

Frankly, baking soda is an iffy way to raise KH just because the effect doesn't last and causes those parameter swings you're noticing. Seachem has a new line of products designed for planted tanks, called Aquavitro. The product you want is called Aquavitro Carbonate. It is designed to raise the KH without bumping the pH up too.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:39 PM   #10 
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Thanks Sakura8! Aq. Salt and Epsom Salt shouldn't mix, correct?
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