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Old 06-23-2012, 10:14 AM   #1 
chicagojo
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"Miracle fish" is sick again - what to do?

Help! My son's betta Rock N Roll is the tiniest, sweetest little fish ever and he is really not doing well. He had been ill for several months with chronic SBD-like symptoms and took a sudden turn for the worse a couple of months ago. I thought he was dead at one point, and he seemed to be suffering so much that I considered euthanizing him. He miraculously recovered, though, when we lowered the water level in his tank and raised the temperature and has been thriving for the past two months or so.

Earlier this morning, I found him lying on the bottom of the tank. I could see his gills barely moving. I put some pellets in to see if he would eat them, but he didn't. He swam around weakly a couple of times, but never very far and always coming back to rest on the bottom after a few seconds.

Remembering how much lowering the water level helped before, I have lowered his water level to maybe 1.5 inches of water. When I did that, he did manage to come to the surface a couple of times but was still refusing food. I also laid a silk plant on its side nearby so he could rest on it if he wanted to. I figured I would give him some time to rest/recover but he is still in pretty much the same condition and I don't know what to do.

He was fine last night - swimming around vigorously and ate around 8 p.m. when my son fed him. There is nothing visibly wrong with him - he looks the same as always. The only thing I can think of is I suspect that my son may be forgetting a good number of the morning feedings because now that it is summer vacation, he is still asleep when I leave for work and I am not here to remind him to feed the fish, so maybe because he is so tiny (he is literally half the size of all the other bettas we've had) he is weak from lack of food.?

Anyway, here is all the basic info - if anyone has other thoughts about what might help this poor little guy, please share!

Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5G
What temperature is your tank? 82 F
Does your tank have a filter? N
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? N
Is your tank heated? N
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Micro-Pellets (he is very tiny and could not tolerate the Bio-Gold)
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice a day, 7-10 micro pellets per feeding

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 2x/wk
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50/100
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API stress coat, Epsom salt (1 tsp/G for chronic SBD)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? NO If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Hasn't
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Very lethargic, laying on bottom of tank, occasionally moving but not much
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? The only thing I have done so far is lower the water level (this has helped him in the past)
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes - chronic SBD and a similar episode of illness to this one a couple of months ago
How old is your fish (approximately)? got him about 10 mos ago
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:17 PM   #2 
Canuck Fins
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If your tank does not have a heater, are you guessing the temperature by the room temp or do you have a thermometre in there? A fish can also be lethargic bc the water temperature is too low for them. If room temp is 82, odds are the water will be a little cooler.

So you add salt all the time or only when he is showing symptoms of SBD?
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:16 PM   #3 
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Oh, whoops, my mistake - the tank *does* have a heater and the 82 degree temp is coming from the thermometer reading. I have thought of increasing it a little (it is an adjustable heater) because during his last illness he improved when the temp got up to 85. I thought that would happen naturally when I lowered the water level, but it's still 82 at the moment so that's one thing to try.

He gets salt all the time now. He had really bad, treatment resistant SBD and was up to 3 tsp/G at one point. I was working very closely with OldFishLady on these forums, who guided me through it and recommended that I keep him on 1 tsp/G for maintenance so that is what he has been on ever since.

He is still about the same as he was this morning. At one point I think he at 2 micro pellets but I couldn't be sure. Right now he is resting semi-vertically against a little plastic toy in his tank. I'm thinking it's because that makes it easier for him to get to the surface if he needs to. Every so often he moves just a little. I just don't know what happened because as far as I know nothing changed between last night and this morning, but he suddenly seems so sick...
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:36 PM   #4 
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I think 82* is at the very top of the ideal for bettas (76* to 82*).

OldFishLady is very good and if she suggested maintenance, definitely go with it.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:53 PM   #5 
chicagojo
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Originally Posted by Canuck Fins View Post
I think 82* is at the very top of the ideal for bettas (76* to 82*).
That is the same thing I had read here too but when he got really sick before and I reduced the water level, I accidentally neglected to turn down the heater and as a result the water got up to 85 and because he was doing so well at the time, I was advised by a few people here to leave it at 85. Gradually over the course of a few weeks I lowered it back down to 82 and that's where it's been for probably a month now, but at least historically he tolerated 85 degrees very well and actually did better in warmer water, so that's why I was thinking about gradually increasing the temp again.

Thanks for your thoughts - if you have any other ideas how to help him I would love to hear them, I am really at a loss.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:13 PM   #6 
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The higher temp while sick can help kill off issues. Think of it like a fever when a person gets sick; raise the body temperature to try to kill off the pathogen. Same idea.

Hmmm, does your little guy have a hiding spot in his tank? I know that's not related to the health thing but sometimes they need that just for comfort. Have you tried a water change to see if that perks him up? I assume you are rinsing the gravel and such when you do the 100% one.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #7 
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Unfortunately when I went to check on him just now, I found him dead inside his hiding place. So sad, he was a great little fish.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:34 PM   #8 
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Aw, sorry to hear it, chicagojo. Know that you made his last days as comfortable as you could. You did your best. Sometimes it is just their time.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:15 AM   #9 
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Aw, sorry to hear it, chicagojo. Know that you made his last days as comfortable as you could. You did your best. Sometimes it is just their time.
Thanks. Even as we buried RNR, my 6 y.o. son's remarks were, "I'm sorry you died, Rock N Roll, but you probably would have died a lot sooner without me." Pretty wise for a recent kindergarten graduate...
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