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Old 07-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #1 
underdebate
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Sick girl, no idea what's wrong

On Friday I picked up a girl at a local aquarium store, intending on putting her in my sorority tank. As I'd picked out all the girls for the tank so far, I let my sister choose (the tank is sort of a joint venture between us, but she's very much not a fishkeeper), and she picked out two very pretty girls-- one a cello, and the other a Cambodian. The Cambodian had slightly torn-up fins, but there was no evidence of rot and I was pretty sure they'd heal themselves up in quarantine with a bit of TLC. Brought her home, put her in some warm water and didn't think much of it.

Unfortunately it's good I put her in quarantine, because within a few hours it became apparent that she was actually very sick. The first thing I noticed was her lethargic, struggling swimming patterns; she's missing most of her fins (they look more bitten-off than melted to me-- maybe she got into a fight), and so she has to use her body and pectorals to move herself through the water, which seems to be exhausting her. On top of that, she nose-dives a lot, so evidently there's something wrong with her swim bladder.

On day two I noticed she'd lost most of her (previously rather bright) colouring, and appeared to be having even more trouble swimming. For the most part, she stays at the bottom of her bowl; I lowered her water level so it would be easier for her to make it to the surface, but she barely goes up there. However, she doesn't often stay still even when she's on the bottom, aside from taking rest breaks-- she's acceptably active, it just looks like swimming is very difficult for her. Her appetite is also very hard to tempt, but on the few occasions I've seen her come to the surface, I've been able to coax her into eating freeze-dried mysis (every sick fish I've ever had has been able to eat this stuff) and a few small Omega pellets, which she's swam excitedly for and nommed down on just like any other fish.

Thing is, I still don't know exactly what's wrong. (She's evidently NOT going in the sorority, but she's sweet and very pretty and I'd hate to lose her.) Is there anything I can do besides keeping her in clean water and treating her symptomatically?


Housing
What size is your tank? 1 gallon, currently keeping the water level low for her so it's closer to half a gallon.
What temperature is your tank? 79 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? n/a

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? So far she's taken mysis and a few small Omega pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? She's eaten about twice in the three days she's been home; I've been offering once in the morning and once at night.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Every day.
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? Prime

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Colour has grown dull.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lack of energy, worryingly lethargic, trouble swimming.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About three hours after I brought her home on Friday.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Frequent water changes to provide clean, warm water.

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Old 07-22-2012, 09:04 PM   #2 
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I'm not sure what's wrong with the poor girl. But it sounds like you have started a good treatment plan. Without more symptoms I'd be hesitant to try either epsom or AQ salt.

There maybe some under laying condition, but it's just not clear yet. Watch her closely.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:15 PM   #3 
underdebate
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I was considering trying AQ salt when I first brought her home, when I was just looking at her fins, but now that I've seen the rest of her symptoms I don't want to stress her out any more than necessary.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:29 PM   #4 
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She's not bloated or anything like that, just some swim problems? She's eating, which is always a good sign. How were the bettas kept at the store? Are the females in separate cups or in a sorority tank? If, as you suspect, she got her bunked-up fins from a fight, then she may have also suffered some internal damage that is affecting her swimbladder. Sadly, if that's the case, there probably isn't a whole lot we can do because we have no way of knowing what the nature of that damage is. :(

If her fins seem to be healing up cleanly, with no signs of rot, then I would try epsom salt first, at a dose of 1 tsp per gallon, to see if that helps her any in case this swim problem is due to an internal fluid buildup. Otherwise, you are doing everything you can to help her be comfortable. She may need to be like this for the rest of her life, in a shallow tank with frequent water changes.

Keep an eye out for any other possible symptoms that may help us figure out what is wrong with her.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:38 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
If, as you suspect, she got her bunked-up fins from a fight, then she may have also suffered some internal damage that is affecting her swimbladder.
That was my first thought-- the females were kept in individual cups, but she was from a very new shipment and I have no idea how she was kept before that. I'm going to keep an eye on her for the next few days and then if it seems to be exclusively swim bladder related and she isn't showing any other symptoms, I'll start her on epsom salt.

I'm just kind of worried about her lethargy-- the poor girl barely moves if she doesn't have to, although admittedly she's been better today. I've tilted her heater so that she can rest underneath it without floating up (the flat bottom doesn't get warm, I've checked), and she was using that as a little rest spot quite a bit yesterday, but today she seems to be able to support herself better.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:15 PM   #6 
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If she was like most bettas, she was probably kept in a massive outdoor vat at Thailand or Singapore breeder, where she could easily have sustained damage. Or, it's possible she even sustained her damage during shipping somehow.

Good luck and keep us updated.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:31 AM   #7 
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She's looking better today-- some of her colour has come back and she's able to move around much more freely. (Her fins are still a mess, but I can worry about those once she's a bit healthier.) She seems to be able to go from the surface to the bottom much more easily, and responded to food just like any other betta (ie. with much enthusiasm). :) Hopefully we're looking up from here.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:45 PM   #8 
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That's wonderful news. Hopefully it means she's on the road to recovery.
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