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Old 09-07-2012, 06:41 PM   #1 
MorningGlory
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Unhappy Sick fish

I left my betta in the care of a friend while I was off campus this past summer. The end result was a broken tank, a broken thermometer, the loss of my live plants (because he thought they looked like algae), an incident involving laundry detergent accidentally falling into the tank (I don't remember how long the detergent was in there, but he did say it happened when he was not in the building), and God only knows what kind of general care. Another friend who left his five tetras with this guy only got two back alive, and told me that he could tell that his were overfed and incorrectly heated.

The link below is the condition in which I received him (he is not his regular 5.5 gallon tank, just the bowl he first came in that was used for transportation).
Pic 1

The following links are pictures of his current condition. I picked him up yesterday and set him up in a new 10 gallon tank.
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4
Pic 5

All of these pictures can be downloaded by hovering the mouse over the picture and selecting "Options" to see more detail.

I don't know how and when his behavior has changed since I have not seen him for three months. He was not doing well when I first went home for the summer (like I said, probably too much ammonia throughout his life), but he certainly is worse. He barely ever moves, barely goes to the top of the water, hasn't eaten, and I can barely see him breathing. Also, I tried to look up clear pictures of ammonia burns on betta fish, but have not been able to find any that clearly indicate what they look like, but there are some weird rust colored spots on his head and near his gills that do not look healthy.

So... diagnosis? Advice? He has likely been so miserable for so long, that I am wondering whether or not his health can improve to the point where he can be happy, and if it would be kinder to euthanize him. But if he can get better, I would prefer to see him doing well.

Also, a friend who is extremely knowledgeable on fish care is coming over tomorrow to help me set up the filter that came with the tank.

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 77 degrees. Currently trying to get it warmer with a 25 watt and a 50 watt heater (both are in there, watching it to guard against overheating)
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? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta bites
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily, two or three pellets each time

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%, and 100% once a month
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Basic water treatment

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: No test
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: Between 7 and 8 (blend of two colors on the square)
Hardness: General, between 120 and 180 ppm; Carbonate, between 180 and 240 ppm
Alkalinity: No test

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Changed water, raised temperature
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Has never seemed very healthy, probably has prolonged exposure to high levels of ammonia, given the infrequency of water changes before I took over his care and started educating myself on water changes
How old is your fish (approximately)? I don't know how old he was when I acquired him a year ago
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:52 PM   #2 
wombatgirl
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I don't have any advice on how to get him better, but I just had to say WOW about the guy taking care of the fish for you... he's... interesting. I hope the little guy can recover from all of that mis-care. Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #3 
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i would do a water change. you need to do way more water changes on a tank with no filters. the betta care sticky on this forum says a 50% change every other day with 100% change once a week for tanks without filters.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:10 PM   #4 
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As I said, he is in a brand new tank with brand new water. As for the water change frequency, I am following Oldfishlady's advice from this thread:
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=75684

Always a good first line of attack though, and I did not say specifically that he is in new water. So it was an easy thing to miss. :)
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:30 PM   #5 
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Does the gold around the gill area look like this fish's? This first guy has a little more red around there, but he's got gold too.. It's just from being in dirty water, both the gold and red- ammonia burns and sometimes can't be corrected. I've had this fish since December and those markings haven't gone away.


How does he look when he swims around? Does he just dart to the surface to get hair the lay back down on the ground?

It's hard to say exactly what could be wrong with him right now, he's not bloated or anything like that.. normally when I see Bettas who look similar to how he does they have been in cups for too long and just need to stretch.

You can try giving him an aquarium salt treatment.. if you happen to have a 1 gallon container of some sort then fill that with warm water and add 1 tsp of aquarium salt and let it dissolve- the reason the water should be warm is so that it dissolves faster. Let the water cool down to room temperature and stir it a little to make sure the salt is all dissolved. Add your fish and a soft plant so he doesn't get too stressed.. if your place is a little bit cooler and his 10 gallon has a heater, then you can lower the water levels in his 10 gallon and put his hospital tank inside it, which should keep his water nice and warm. You can do this treatment for up to 10 days, changing the water daily.

If you don't feel like going that route yet you can let him stay in his tank for awhile longer to see if all he needed was clean water and a little bit of tlc.
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Last edited by TheCheese909; 09-07-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:36 PM   #6 
MorningGlory
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He doesn't swim around unless I reach my hand in the water (trying to adjust the temperature, moving his hiding log nearer the heater where he wants to be, etc), and he stays near the bottom when he moves. He doesn't appear to struggle with swimming. I have yet to see him go up to the surface today, but I have been at class, so maybe he is secretly getting his oxygen every time I turn my back!

As for the picture... Is there a higher resolution image that you post, and could crop the picture so just the fish is showing and make it big? I think it looks the same, but as a new fish owner, I can't easily recognize and distinguish different markings as opposed to just "That's the color of the fish"
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:40 PM   #7 
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Here's a photo of another one of my fish..

This guy was watched by a friend for acouple weeks when he was younger and it also looks as though he got ammonia burns, i can't figure out for the life of me how since he was in a larger tank and was a very small fish at the time.

But this is harmless and hasn't caused him any problems.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:41 PM   #8 
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Are the ammonia burns the kinda gold looking places right around the gills?

Still just hiding under the log. Not moving. Sigh.
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:38 AM   #9 
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Yes, i'm talking about the gold around the gills like you said your fish has and what shows up in pic #5.

Try lowering the water levels a little to make sure he's not having problem getting air. Maybe add a few more plants into his tank as well, or the ones that are in there maybe lay them down so it looks like there is more cover and more plants.

What kind of water conditioner do you use?

Try getting a bright light, flash light or something, and shine it on him and see if you can see anything on him. Sometimes you cannot see ick and some other diseases on fish without a little help.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:28 AM   #10 
MorningGlory
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I have shone a flashlight on him, and I don't think I see anything other than the ammonia burns. I have Aquasafe Plus by Tetra for water conditioner, and I scooped him into a wide net and I balanced it so that he is a couple inches from the surface. He certainly swam around enough while I was coaxing him in, but now he is back to his usual behavior: simply lying there. Also, I just realized that not only is the glass covering around the thermometer broken (the only reason I put it in the tank was because there was no way it would be a danger to my fish, since it would be a miracle for him to swim high enough to brush against the edges), but the thermometer itself is no longer accurate, because there is no way that what I felt with my hand was only 80 degrees. Now I have no idea how hot I have been making the water, and I turned the knob down. I really wish he had told me about the thermometer so I could have bought one sooner. Right now, I don't really have any cover to provide him with (what with my plants being thrown out, and my plastic shelf leaf mysteriously vanishing), so that too will have to wait until tomorrow.
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