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Old 06-28-2012, 01:09 PM   #1 
Blue Fish
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Location: East Tennessee
Question Rescue betta 2 days ago, need advice on best treatment for him?

Sorry for posting again so soon, but I've got a scenario I'd like to get some information on.

I rescued two petco bettas yesterday, one is doing well, and seemed pretty healthly in the store, not worried about him, but the other, well, the other was a rescue and I knew it.

He's fairly good sized, not overly thin but certainly not nice and plump either, and he's not eaten in 3 days. I know that they can go quite some time without food, so I'm not OVERLY worried about it...yet...

What size is your tank? about 1 gallon hospital bowl
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees, bowl in a larger tank water bath with a heater
Does your tank have a filter? no, hospital bowl
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no, hospital bowl
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none, though he has a neighbor in the water bath tank

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? tetra betta min flakes, freeze dried blood worms, and betta bites pellets. But I don't believe he eats any of them.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x/day


How often do you perform a water change? daily 100% (hospital bowl)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API water conditioner and Jungle Start Right conditioner/slime coat additive (aloe vera)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? good on all due to daily changes

Ammonia: 0.0 ppm (I'm sure it's higher right before water change, but that's the average)
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 0.0 ppm
pH: neutral
Hardness: soft
Alkalinity: not sure.

Symptoms and Treatment
see below

Other symptoms:
- He's gold/yellow, but he seems to be fading, I noticed last night and this morning, he just seems less vibrant than before.
- At the store, he looked pitiful. Yellow water, food on the bottom, he'd been there for about two weeks.
- He looks to have been chewing on his tail, but could be fin rot? no red edges, no dorsal or pectoral fin involvement, just his tail, so I'm thinking tail biting.
- He was breathing hard at the store, continued until he'd been home in clean water for 24 hours, now he's breathing normally.
- His scales seemed to be sloughing off at first? But I think they're no longer coming off, no ulcers or sores on him, just the lost scales.
His fins aren't clamped, he lays on the bottom but with his little "leg" fins down and his other fins flared out as they do normally.
- He comes up to the surface occasionally for air, has blown a few bubbles, and doesn't seem to struggle to the surface, but mostly he just sits on the bottom of his bowl.
- He is alert and knows when I come into the room, and he occasionally seems to get irritated with his "hospital" water bath roommate (other new fish, both are in QT right now until proven healthy) so he's alert and responsive.
- no idea how old, looks to be adult or close to it.
- no treatment yet other than clean, warm water

Question: Should I treat him with AQ salt due to the skin and the tail, or should I used EP salt in case he's not quite right due to internal parasites?
Or should I use both, one then the other, and in what order?

I wish he'd eat...tried flakes, bloodworms, and pellets, no success, haven't found any live food yet, but working on it, but I don't think he'd go after it anyway. Haven't yet tried garlic juice, does it come from the store as juice, or do I need to somehow press garlic cloves for it?

Thank you so much for your help, it's been wonderful coming her to get information! :)
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:20 PM   #2 
Blue Fish
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Oh, and photos:
This was just his temp tank until I could get a gallon bowl clean for him
The "stuff" in the bottom is a from his water cup, I wasn't able to keep it from going into the temp bowl with him that first time, and I didn't want to further stress him by taking him out again and cleaning it. Also, I believe it's his lost scales and not food, or not mostly food. :(

(sorry picture is so huge...)
If you want more pictures, his album is here: (a couple look very yellow, that's just the camera flash/color distortion)

And I know the plastic plant is bad, in his larger gallon tank which he moved to once it was clean (not used in several years since last occupant died of old age), he got another plant and marbles. This was just an immediate "GET him OUT of the toxic water cup bowl" alternative.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #3 
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Do you have 2 fish in the same Hospital tank, you will need to separate them, if that is the case, and yes, for treatment, I would try the AQ salt, 1tsp per gal of water, with a water conditioner, as well.

In regards to getting him to eat, sounds like my rescue, and I have Hakari gold, and they are the micro pellets, and in the begining he ate one, but not right looked like he regurgitated it..and spit it out..then I gave him a day or 2 of clean water changes, with AQ salt/Wtr conditioner, and then he finally ate one,

I watched him swallow it..but was not interested in another I waited it's doing much better, but it does take time, try the minced garlic in a jar..take out a lil juice, and crush the pellet if reg size or add the juice to the pellet, and let it absorb..then try it out..Hope it works, Good luck:) Keep us posted!
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:32 PM   #4 
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If possible try to get a Kritter keeper, med size, those are great for Hospital tanks, even the small ones, for very temp housing, for sick fishy's makes water changes so much easier..and then you can actually add a small silk plant..that is waht I did with my rescue..and it made him feel more secure while he was trying to get better:)
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:39 PM   #5 
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Solving your betta issue

I saw the picture and this looks like just tail biting. For tail biting get AQUARIUM salt... not table salt ... from petco(or other petstore) and apply the correct amount for your one gallon tank. Also you could get some live bloodworms... or use tweezers and move around the freeze-dried bloodworms. I have a betta to and he loves the betta buffet flakes+pellets by: omega one. They have a good protein count and betta fish love them. Hope i helped
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:51 PM   #6 
Blue Fish
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Thanks so much! They are separated, each in their own bowl, but in a water bath (so I can heat the water) in a larger tank. So, they're on each side of their eventual 10 gallon home, but both are in their own 1 gallon hospital bowls for treatment. :)

I'll pick up some minced garlic and try him out with that. :) I know garlic can help with internal parasites as well, so that's a double plus! :)

Hopefully I'll get some more opinions on treatment (I feel you can NEVER have too much information!!) but thank you so much to you guys who have posted already. :) I know I may lose him in the end, but at least he's more comfortable now than he was I did something for him.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:15 PM   #7 
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At the very least, you've definitely given him some more comfortable time.

I'd toss the flakes away and just focus on trying to get him to try the pellets. Flakes aren't as good and do foul up the water if they aren't eaten. I believe they can go up to a week without eating.

I think it looks like biting as well. I hope you can get him healed up. I've often heard it's a couple of weeks for fin regrowth in most cases. Protein will help with that. :)
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:27 PM   #8 
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His color may be from lack of nutrients..and after I got my fishy healthy..his color came bursting out..and if yu look at the 1st pic in my Sapohire album..when I 1st got him he looked gray..and washed hes poppin blue..:)..try real consistently w/ the pellets..more nutrients..
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Old 06-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #9 
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My last petco rescue had ammonia in his cup so high, it turned the API ammonia test water BLUE. I'm guessing your guy is also dealing with the after affects of high ammonia. I wouldn't worry about him not eating yet as it can sometimes take a week or so for them to eat. I would do Aquarium salt but not more then 10 days at 1 teaspoon per gallon.

His scales may of been burned off from high ammonia. Normally it's fins that get burned but maybe scales can be too?

This was my guy that had the blue ammonia test

a few days later:

It was actually a different guy I wanted but by the time I had $$, he was in such bad shape - I wasn't sure I could of helped him. He was at petco atleast a month. He looked identical to this guy.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 06-28-2012 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:33 PM   #10 
Blue Fish
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Oh that poor fish! I meant to do an ammonia test on his water cup, but in my hurry to set up a new tank and then get him acclimated to it I forgot to save the water for testing. :(
I just did a water change and put him into a 1tsp/gallon salt bath, and his breathing is back up a bit, but I'm hoping it's just a bit of stress from the water change. I'm keeping my eye on him. The very tips of his fins are also just a bit red after the change...trying to decide if he's got fin rot starting, or if it's just stress. My other two boys get red streaks on their fins when they're stressed, so that's what I'm hoping is going on with him as well. I know they weren't there prior to the water change.

I'm so glad your boy is looking better, and I'm even more glad that you got him and are now showing him how good life can be. :) I always think that even if we don't save them, at least we tried, and they knew a good life for a little while.
Good luck to you with your rehabing boy!
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rescue betta, sick betta, skin and tail

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