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Old 06-28-2012, 11:02 AM   #1 
Catie79
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Itchy fish and paranoid new owner

We're on day four of betta ownership and I have another 'is this normal' question.

I got Lucky a plant and thought it was adorable that he was swimming through it. However, I caught on that he was acting like he itched. Now I'm seeing him try to scratch on the big agates I have in his bowl (which are fortunately rounded).

I panicked and thought ammonia, but water change makes no difference and he doesn't have red gills or any other symptoms. I can't see ich or velvet on him, but I'll post a picture in case someone with sharper eyes can see something wrong.

I found out the plant was an Aqua Fern and not actually aquatic. I just yanked it out in case that was the problem (do all water plants smell bad?), and there was a section of it that was dying. I saw on another 'itchy fish' thread that a dying plant could cause problems. Is that probably what's going on? Or should I assume he's got something else going on and start some sort of treatment?

1 gallon tank, unfiltered, temp of 78-79, fish is very active, eating well, and does not appear distressed. Just . . . itchy.
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #2 
lvandert
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he could have a parasite on his scales you can't see. If the itching doesn't stop in a few days I would treat with a parasite/fungal treatment and see if that doesn't help. My girl velvet came to me itchy but I couldn't see anything on her. I treated it like I would a fungus and after a few days she was all good
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:16 PM   #3 
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How often is he itching/flashing on objects in the tank and can you tell what part of his body he is hitting first on the object.....for example...is it more the head/gill area or his body....or can you even tell......

If he is just flashing on occasion- it might be heavy metal in your water that is making them feel itchy....sometimes it will resolve on its own once they adapt to the metals.

If he seems to be doing it all the time or hitting more in the head/gill area it may be parasites in the gills.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #4 
Purple
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Dead/dying plants cause high ammonia, not itching. (Unless high ammonia is what's making them itch.) I would just treat it as a fungus if I were you. It might be something you can't see, or just the start of something.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:36 PM   #5 
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Yeah doesn't look like he has anything or at least from what I can see id have to agree and just try and treat for fungus
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:01 PM   #6 
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He's not flashing obsessively or anything, just enough that I spotted a pattern. Right now he's reconstructing the bubble nest I wrecked with the water change. I think I ticked him off.

It looks to be his side more than his head or gills area, so it might be the water. We do have trouble with the water in this apartment. My test kit should be here tomorrow (fingers crossed) so hopefully I'll have all of the parameters tested out soon.

In the meantime I've stripped out everything in his tank except the tumbled agates (those should be very inert), his espresso cup, and the thermometer. Process of elimination and all that. If he's still itchy tomorrow and the water tests okay, I'm going to assume we've got a critter in the tank and start treating. Thanks to everyone for the advice!
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:33 PM   #7 
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As someone who has been there and done that with the non-water plant...

I got a tubed plant the pet store said was fully aquatic. Well, it was not. It took a few weeks, but I noticed Ghost starting to flick on things. No other signs of anything bad.

Turns out one of the "aquatic" plants had died and was rotting. I took them all out, cleaned everything, and got him actual water plants (yay water plant sticky) and the flicking stopped. Like immediately. Unfortunately by that time, I think he had damaged an eye, and he's blind on one side now, but otherwise he's done great since.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:08 PM   #8 
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Quick update. The flicking decreased after the not-aquatic plant removal (and removing a freshwater shell also corrected my cloudy water issues, so there's another battle won). Today my test kit arrived and I found that my ammonia levels were high. Seems that the daily 25% changes weren't cutting it, or it's because of the plant rotting in my tank, who knows. Lucky got an emergency water change and will get a complete tank cleaning tomorrow. Everything else tested out just fine. I'll keep testing daily to tighten up my water change schedule.

He's now the proud owner of some water wisteria and a marimo ball. He's taking a nap in the wisteria as I type, so he seems quite content with the situation. Thanks to everyone for the help, hopefully a complete tank cleaning will be the end of this. If not, I picked up some aquarium salt and meds to treat him. His upgrade tank is here and I'd like to make sure he's 100% by the time it's done cycling.
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