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Old 07-19-2012, 08:33 AM   #1 
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Help please - Betta Fish health deteriorating, cause unknown

I will greatly appreciate any insights from our experenced Betta owners on this topic, my Betta "Gilbert" started showing decreased activity on Saturday with clamped fins and its been downhill despite treatments.
-Last Sat started showing the signs mentioned, indicated to me that there may of been an unusual spike in amonia or perhaps new bacterial infection. That afternoon I tested his water (ph 7.5, I didn't have any amonia strips available), but put him in his 1 gal holding tank while changing the water (and rocks) in his normal 2.5 gal tank which has a carbon filter system.
-This is a fish of very high activity, hugely social (follows you around kitchen non-stop), and has always eaten like a little pig. His colors are dark blue/blackish with deep red fins/neon blue striping, very stricking and he's always been quick to "pose", so things like white spots would easily show up, but looking at his gills a little harder given his dark body. He's now about 2 1/2 years, but very healthy, even traveled in the car all the way from Florida from Virginia when we moved last summer... zero problems.
-His fins on Sat were a getting a little rough on the ends and given his lowered activity it looked like a bacteria issue. This has only happened once before and he recouped quickly given "Bettafix" treatment as prescribed on the bottle.
-The rep at Petsmart was pretty fish savy and recommended the water change, aquarium salt, and Bettafix again. When I change his tank I always use the salt and Stresscoat liquid to treat it. After the change Ph was about 6.8, other levels good (no amonia).
-The last time he ate was Saturday before lunch. While in his holding tank his activity was slow for him, laying on the surface alot, but not eating. The Bettafix didn't seem to result in a change, in fact he slowed down more.
-On Monday our local fish store said the best option she thought was use Maracyn-Two. His upper fan showed clear-white between where it connects to his back, fins were getting more rough but not "rotting", wouldn't eat. I used the Maracyn-Two Medication, things got worse quickly. On Tuesday PM I stopped it, thinking it shocked his body or just wasn't the right Betta friendly drug for him.
-He's back in his "home" tank, but since then still not eating, more laying on the bottom and swimming to the tank surface. Yesterday it progressed to the point he's laying on his side now, acts as though he's sleeping, very slow to be alerted... eventually he'll take notice and swims to the for air, then either into his floating log or to the bottom. This morning I got very concerned when he didn't respond, but when I touched him he woke up. He'll swim to the top for air, then back down, still not eating.
-Here's my dilemma, he's still fighting, doesn't act like he's given up, but clearly something is going on inside and its getting worse and I suspect he's running out of energy. His outside doesn't show any tell tale signs of disease (white/red spots or streaks, bloating, etc) and his fins look pretty good right now considering, his color also. Since Wed he's only been in his normal treated water with the Bettafix.

Do I do a last ditch effort and use something like Tetracycline? I have this set up in his 1 gal tank, but realize it will either overload him or be a last hope. Your thoughts appreciated. I know his age indicates "older", but I honestly feel thats not the issue. I've always been a dog person, but this little fish is an amazing personality and friend.

Thank you so much for any advice or experience to share,

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Old 07-19-2012, 08:46 AM   #2 
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BTW - water temp tends to hold about 76-78 degrees
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:06 AM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Sorry your Betta isn't sounds like you have given him a great home and care....Sadly, it may be age related....and not a lot we can do except make them comfy-that said we don't want to give up too soon either.

What I would recommend-stop all medications and treatments by changing the water several times.
Lower the water level in his tank to about half-so he doesn't have to struggle to reach the surface...Turn off the filter and any water movement

If you have tannins-either IAL or dried Oak leaf...add this to his tank to darken the water. This will help make him feel comfy and secure as well as the antibacterial/fungal properties they contain.
Add 2tsp/gal of Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) pre-dissolved in some tank or dechlorinated water- added slowly to the won't hurt and can help remove toxic substance.
Turn off the light and place in a quiet dim lit location.
If you have mosquito larva offer a few rinsed a couple of times a day if you have access to some.

Premix some water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add the Epsom salt 2tsp/gal and tannin and use this water for 50% water changes every other day to every 3 days.....water temp 77-78F

Good luck...I hope he gets better-but if he seems to be struggling or suffering you need to do what is right by him.....

Keep us posted.....
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:14 PM   #4 
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Thank you, I've added the Epsom Salt and terminated medications. I will post status in a few days and hope for the best. He is clearly weak, so I need to try to entice him to eat somehow. Thanks again, Mel
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:22 PM   #5 
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Location: Haverhill, MA
What type of food are you feeding him, is is pellets or flakes?..if pellets, depending on what type, you may want to get a micro pellet, and or soak in garlic to entice the's worth a try..
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