Nearly 2 weeks ago I inherited my neighbor's daugter's male Betta fish due to them moving and not wanting to take the fish with them. The fish is at
least a year old, but was purchased from Wal-Mart so I am guessing that is a very conservative estimate. When he arrived, he came in a small Betta fish tank (the kind that are sold at Wal-Mart as part of a kit). He came to me looking very unwell. To be honest, I thought it was dead (as did my neighbor) but neither of us wanted to say anything in front of her daughter. He was laying completely on his side, bent in a slight L shape. I only just noticed his gills moving slightly, otherwise I was ready to give him a Betta funeral.
This is the first Betta I have ever had, and although I am not a "fish" person, I truly believe it is my responsibility to do everything possible for any animal in my care. I think I have exhausted this website in my quest to help this little guy, and I really can't express enough how helpful the information has been. I have found that there is a lot of info, and often conflicting opinion so I wanted to post my specific situation to see what you all think.
His fins appear very shredded, which I have guessed is most likely fin rot. From reading on here, I have been treating him as having swim bladder disorder. After 2 weeks, he is still hanging in there. I have fasted him, which has not been hard due to his lack of appetite. He came with flakes, but I have also purchased freeze dried blood worms. I have also purchased a larger (1 gallon) bowl.
I started by adding the recommended amount of aquarium salt to his bowl with daily water changes. I also purchased a small heater that has done a decent job of keeping the water warm. After a couple of days, I started to add Betta Fix, which was recommended to me by Petco. I use tap water, but I add a water conditioner that is advertised for Betta fish. I continued this for 5-6 days, and he honestly seemed to be looking better. He was swimming around a little more, staying upright for the most part, and even ate a blood worm when I dropped one in his water.
Since he was doing better, I decided to forego the Betta Fix, but continue the daily water changes and aquarium salt. 24 hours later, he was completely vertical and lifeless and seemed to be having a hard time staying at the top. I emptied most of the water to make it easier for him to stay near the top. I also went to Pet Smart, who recommended Betta Revive over Betta Fix. I waited another full day with no improvement, and started adding Betta Revive. I continued to do so for a few days, and again he started to perk up and act normal. I eliminated the Betta Revive, and today he was back to being lifeless and completely vertical in his tank.
In the mean time, I have also ordered Maracyn and Jungle Fungus Eliminator from Amazon. I have added the Betta Fix back into his water, and he is back to being horizontal, but is not very active.
So, in short, I want to make sure I am not killing him with kindness or doing something harmful. I also don't want to not do something that could very easily fix him. I figure that he has stuck it out for 2 weeks as my experiment, and who knows how long under a five year old's care, he must have a will to live. As I said, this is my first Betta fish, so I am not in anyway proclaiming myself to even have a clue as to what I am doing. Any help is definitely appreciated.
Hmmm he sounds like a case I had I had a red boy, Sasuke that my friend rescued from her neighbor. His tank was never cleaned, he has swim bladder, and he was rotting away.
My course of action: 3 teaspoons of epsom salt in his 1 gallon quarantine. Daily 100% water changes and re-adding the pre-dissolved epsom salt, of 3 teaspoons.
You should do this if he still has swim bladder, for 10 days minimum. You can stretch it to 14 days if you need to.
FIN ROT: Sasuke had his fins falling off of him! Aquarium salt pre-dissolved helps a lot. 3 teaspoons per gallon (added over the course of the day so he is not shocked with a massive amount of salt!) daily water changes of 100%, and re-adding the salt. Continue for 10 days.
Bettafix... there's controversy on it. I've never had to use it for quite a few years. I never had any luck with it. I have betta revive - however it is for minor rot, minor wounds, etc. Not for intermediate or major rot.
Maracyn and Jungle Fungus Eliminator are very good choices
FOOD SUGGESTIONS: try avoiding freeze dried, and definitely avoid flakes. Pellets don't cause SBD as easily, and you can soak them in some garlic juice (strained from minced garlic) to entice him to eat. Plus, it's good for him. Try finding some frozen bloodworms - they love them, and much healthier and safer than freeze fried.
Thanks for the reply. I discontinued the BettaFix, and have continued the daily water changes. I have been giving him Epsom salt baths twice a day, and have continued adding aquarium salt into his tank. On Saturday, he seemed a lot livelier, so I dropped a couple of flakes into his bowl, which he attacked with a vengeance. I thought he might be on the upswing, however yesterday he resumed his vertical float.
Today, he has continued to stay in the vertical position. Although, I also noticed his scales are sticking out. When I did a google search, the overall impression I got was that the outlook is not promising. I did receive the Maracyn II in the mail today, and added the first dose into his bowl. When I put my finger up to the bowl, he darts away and when I use the net to get him out so I can change his water, he swims around. I may be wrong, but I feel like he still has some fight and will to live left. I have now had him for 15 days.
So, at this point....am I realistic in hoping he pulls through?
I am definitely more than happy to go the pet store to buy a different type of food, however he has definitely taken a turn for the worse. I guess my main question is, am I fighting a losing battle here? He definitely has the "pine cone" appearance, and is floating vertically with little to no energy. I have had him for a couple of weeks, and have been obsessing over the care of this fish (my boyfriend, family, and friends all think I am nuts). If there is anything I could have or should have done differently, I would really like to know as I have pretty much jumped into this blindly using only information I have found online and from speaking to the guys at the pet store.
Even my puppy (who is spoiled anyway) has become jealous of the fish....she now barks and bites my ankles if I am checking on him or cleaning his bowl.
It is not easy taking care of a sick fishy..you are doing the best you can, and yes, sometimes it feels like your in over your head, but give it time, these guys can really surprize us, especially when they are at the brink, as my resuce fishy was as well, and did a complete 360 on me, and now is fine,
The pineconing maybe SBD..again, I would check with OFL here on the forum, as she is an expert in fish sicknesses, if so, the best thing, is keeping him in Hospital tank for treatment, in a dark, or dim place, and with tannins, such as Oak leaves, or IAL, (Indian Almond Leaf) hard to come by, I know, really an online item..but you can PM her for advice..Old Fish Lady..OFL for short..Good Luck with your resuce..I hope all goes well:)
What a blessing you are to that fish and I am like you I would not give up hope that he will pull though and if not you know that you have done all you can to help this little guy. I am new to Betta keeping so not much advise for you but do keep him warm and comfortable which it sounds like you are already doing. I hope he makes it and best of luck and many good wishes to you and the little guy !
And, I just want to add, a higher quality pellet will boost his strength, and help naturally to give him energy, and he will get better, try New Life Spectrum micro pellets, or Hakari Gold, if you can get him to eat, he can pull through, (keep trying) even if he refuses, (which they will) but he will come around, if you keep trying, I did, and got amazing results:)
Thank you all for the support. I will continue trying to get this guy to pull through. The family had him for at least a year, if I had to take a guess....a year to 18 months. I know they purchased him from Wal-Mart.