We had our first Betta almost 5 years and after that a second one that lived 4 1/2 years. He died in April. They had a 2 gal aquarium with an undergravel filter. I gave them tap water that I left out overnight and would toss in some conditioner. I changed the water occasionally. They did great. My daugther talked me into a 2.5 gal aquarium with a carbon filter on top that the water gets sucked through and cascades out like a little waterfall (now I have read the current is bad for bettas) with a divider so you can have 2 fish (I think now another bad idea). Here's a link to the aquarium:
I have had nothing but trouble. I have been doing 50% water changes twice a week. Petco told me to add aquarium salt to the water which I did. Never did that before. I think both fish have fin rot. One is worse than the other. I took them out of the aquarium and put them in 2 fish hospitals (each are in a 1 gal container on my kitchen counter, no filter, rocks, plants or anything for now). I tried Lifeguard for 2 days, but they seemed to get worse so I quit. I was adding salt but a few days ago I just set up two 1 gal containers with tap water the way I used to and put them in. They seem better, but their fins are ragged. Their color is good and they are active and eating well and this morning they were making bubbles. I am not sure what to do now. I also think they must be getting bored. Here are my questions:
1. Do I need the aquarium salt? It seemed to make matter worse.
2. Can I put them back in the aquarium? Should I put one back and find a new home for the other?
3. What should I do about the top-mounted carbon filter?
4. Can they live in the unfiltered 1 gal containers if I put in some gravel and a few plants and change the water once a week?
5. Will their fins grow back? How long does it take? What does it look like?
Lots of questions. Just want to make them a happy home. I am emotionally invested in these little guys and I want them to be healthy and happy. They are so cute!
1) You do not need aquarium salt, in most cases however, aquarium salt boosts the immune systems, and helps ward off disease. Keep in mind though, if all your resolves are seemingly making it worse, it might be similar to a fever, have to go through the worst to get better. I'm not a vet, but a thought.
2) I would not put them back together until the illness is resolved.
3) Take it out completely, I guess? It's ultimately up to you own betta's. If they like it, or it doesn't bother them, I'd leave it alone.
4) Yes, this is how my betta is living temporarily.
5) Yes, it'll take time, and just like humans, each fish would be different.
1. Do I need the aquarium salt? It seemed to make matter worse. - You don't need aquarium salt, but it's better to use it and it helps.
2. Can I put them back in the aquarium? Should I put one back and find a
new home for the other? - I would keep them both, try buying another aquarium for your other betta, there is a 2.5 rectangle tank I saw on Ebay for only $3.00 check some sites to see if you can find an extra tank, or even a used working tank. I wouldn't put them back in the aquarium, I can never trust that divider because I am sure they can put there mouths threw it and bite each other, when I had my bettas divided in a 1/2 gallon it had circle small holes in the divider, and they were still able to bite each other! So it's recommended maybe you could cut out a new divider? Make it homemade? Also, if your bettas are bored there could be tail biting, my halfmoon would tail bite and his fins got really short then I upgraded to a 3 gallon Water Wonders aquarium now there growing back. ALSO could be them being able to bite each other through the divider.
3. What should I do about the top-mounted carbon filter? - It realy doesn't matter, if it helps the tank, and your bettas aren't bothered I would leave it alone, this tank is better for 1 fish because of that filter.
4. Can they live in the unfiltered 1 gal containers if I put in some gravel and a few plants and change the water once a week? - Yes they can, they breath our oxygen and because filters help bring air, it's not needed. But I would do more water changes then 1 week or it wont help.
5. Will their fins grow back? How long does it take? What does it look like? Yes, there fins will grow back if treated properly, they may be shorter then they orginially were, and may not be as nice as they orginally were. It takes time, it really depends on the fish and how they are damged and how good the treatment is going.
I don't think you should rehome the other betta, it's just good to get his tank upgraded, for the sake of the betta I would keep him, and his treatment is in your hands, if you help him get better he'll be one hansom fella I bet. Right now, what could of caused his fins are:
• Fin rot
• Tail biting
• Both of your bettas are able to get there mouth through the divider and close enough to the divider to get bitten.
• Ripped from hard rocks, or swimming and hitting things.
You don't need to add aquarium salt to the tanks all the time. It's not great for your fish, particularly in small tanks, and if you're not doing 100% changes will gradually build up to toxic levels.
AQ salt's great for short-term treatment of fin rot, however, and there's extensive info on that in the stickies above the diseases section here.
What I would do in this situation? Grab two of those 2-gallon tanks you had before, and put both of your fish in those. Do what you did before, (but maybe increase the amount of water changes as 'occasionally' will not be enough for most fish in a small tank). Use a good conditioner like Prime. Feed 'em high protein foods to assist in healing/maintaining health.
As for whether this is fin rot or not - if the edges of the fins are blackish or fuzzy looking, and the fins are degrading even now they're in their own bowls with really clean water, that'll be fin rot.
If the edges of the missing bits are clean but ragged, and they seem to be healing up fine, that'll be bitten-off fins.
See how they do healing in just clean, warm water. If the issues persist, look up the salt treatment - the many water changes needed won't be hard to achieve while they're in 1-gallon bowls.
I'd probably do at least 2 x 50% + 1 100% changes in a 1 gallon per week (if they don't need the salt treatment), particularly if the fish have fin issues or illness. Ammonia isn't kind to fish, and can lead to infections and all sorts of problems.
I wanted to thank everyone that replied. First, when I said find one a new home, I meant a new home at my house. Both fish are doing much better. I have been doing 100% water changes every 2-3 days in the 1 gal containers. I haven't added anything, just let the water sit out for 24 hours. I think maybe the fin damage was more chewing than fin rot, but still not sure. The tears in Andy's fins are starting to seal together. They are sort of translucent but his tail has no splits in it. I hope it grows longer again. He had a beautiful tail. The other guy (Conan, my daughter named them) has a thin clear layer around his fins and tail. I hope it is new growth. I am going to move Conan (the larger one) back into the 2.5 gal tank all by himself, and keep Andy in the 1 gal container for now with a plant or two until I get him a tank of his own.
Still not sure about what to do with the carbon filter. I think I'll give it a try and if it bugs him I'll get rid of it. Also not sure if I should add anything to the water. They seem good now and I don't want to mess with things.