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Old 09-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Virginia
Bacterial Infection? Now what?!?

I've been posting about my sick fish, Tuna Bob, in this thread - - because he had some of the same symptoms and Sakura and BritishBetta where both very helpful. However, he's just not getting any better so I thought I'd stop hijacking BB's thread and start my own in case I'm dealing with something entirely different.

Housing - NOTE: This pertains to his current hospital setup - normally he is in a 5 gallon filtered, cycled, heated tank with 50% water changes weekly.
What size is your tank? 1 gal
What temperature is your tank? +/- 84
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

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? NLS and Betta Buffet, occasional bloodworm
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x day, 2-3 pellets each time

How often do you perform a water change? daily (weekly when in 5 gal)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% (50% in 5 gal)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? StressCoat

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Ammonia: 0-.25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5-10 (I have well water and it's always at this level or higher. I control it with Purigen in his filter in his 5 gallon tank)
pH: 7.8

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Eyes became "bulgy" 2 weeks ago. I watched him for about a week to see if I was imagining it since he had no other symptoms and 1 week ago decided they were indeed bulging and began treatment for popeye with Epsom salt only.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? In the last week, became more lethargic. Belly has turned grey. He was slightly pineconed for a day or so but Epsom seems to have helped that. Last 2-3 days, barely moves except to get air. However, he is still eating, pooping, not bloated, and usually comes to greet me when I look at him.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes - Epsom Salt 2 tsp/gallon and Maracyn 2 started Sunday thru yesterday. API General Cure Wednesday and Today.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Has lymphocystis, but doesn't seem to bother him. Other than that, very healthy and active.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him 5 months, got him from Petco. Less than a year old?

So, I've finished the 5 days of Maracyn 2. I didn't combine it with Maracyn 1 because I initially thought I was just dealing with popeye. And maybe I am.....I just don't know. Also, I didn't realize the Maracyn may not work in high PH, so maybe it didn't do a thing for him anyway. He doesn't seem to be any better and I'm wondering what, if anything, I should try next. Should I just give the Epsom salt a little more time or attack whatever this is with a different antibiotic, with the caveat I'm limited to whatever I can find at Petsmart (Petco has zilch - apparently it's more profitable to just sell you new fish)? I definitely understand the hesitancy to overuse antibiotics and don't for myself or my other animals, but I know how to take care of a dog or a cat or a horse....I'm still pretty clueless with fish and I panicked.

On the other hand, he hasn't gotten any worse in the last 2 days and is still eating and pooping - always a good thing.

I REALLY REALLY like this little fish .....he's normally such a character. I REALLY want to save him.

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:58 AM   #2 
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:33 AM   #3 
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Good Morning, SS,

Don't worry, there'll be posts soon I'm sure! I just nursed my fish Anthony back to almost-health; his situation was somewhat different but I got some really good advice from members. Antibiotic choice; use and dosing formula - check it out. And above all, don't give up prematurely. These little bettas are tougher than they seem and will respond to treatment, it just takes a lot of patience, work and time!
Don't bettas have a way of twisting you around their little fin!? lol

(The thread was "I Just Don't Understand...)

Good luck, and keep us all posted, pun intended!
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:21 AM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Usually once you start to see the scales stick up-it is a sign of system failure and often there is not a lot we can do, however, we also don't want to give up too soon either.

Since I only use natural treatments-I can't advise on the antibiotic use.

What I do for case like this is use of Epsom salt, tannins, low stress and good nutrition to support the immune response and ease symptoms.

Treatment is best done in a small container and with premixed treatment water-this helps make water changes easier, ensures proper dosages and ease of observation.

For treatment I like to keep the water temp in the 76-77F range.

Premixed treatment water-using a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and a tannin source-either IAL (1lrg crushed/gal) or Oak leaf (20 crushed/gal)-Let this steep for 30min-Shake well before use..

Using the premixed treatment water-make 25% water changes every 15min for 1 hour.
The Betta needs to stay in the small container in the treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 10-14 days.

Tomorrow-start 50% daily water changes using the premixed treatment water

You don't want to make 100% water changes or remove the Betta for water changes due to stress.

If you used a tannin source-the water should look darker every day and this is what you want-Don't worry about any leaf bits that fall in the QT container.

Nutrition-If you have access to live mosquito larva-offer several rinsed several times a day-If not, good quality varied diet in small frequent meals.

Good luck....
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:02 AM   #5 
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Thanks, OFL. I did up the epsom salts to 3 tsps this morning. I'll go round up some oak leaves right now. Do I need to boil them first? Just run them under hot water?

I'm confused about the temperature tho....I thought the higher temps were for bacterial infections. Of course, that doesn't seem to be working all that well - it all seems to be a bit of a crap shoot.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:28 AM   #6 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
You don't need or want to boil the leaves since that can kill the antibacterial/fungal properties.

Collect naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf-rinse-crush and add to the premixed treatment water to steep and add a few to the tank itself-whole.

I like to use lower water temps to prevent the bacteria/pathogen from colonizing too fast. I have found that the low normal range 75-77F to be ideal for natural treatments with this species.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #7 
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Well, apparently my oak trees don't make leaves with tannin. I first picked up some in the yard that are recently fallen from the trees (yes, I'm sure they are oak - mostly white and red oak). They are brown, but not particularly crumbly. They've been in the water 24 hours or so now and water is still crystal clear. So I found some older ones in the woods and have those soaking in a bucket. So far, those haven't done anything either.

Even my trees are failures.

Fish is still hanging in there but hasn't pooped and seems a tad bloated. So I haven't fed him anything today and am going to try a bit of pea when I get a chance to get to the store to buy some.

Here's something weird tho....I broke down the 5 gallon tank yesterday and thoroughly cleaned it out. It's just been sitting for the last week with the heater and filter still going but no fish in it. When I cleaned it there was this weird black "stuff" on the silk plants. It was kind of like a fungus, I guess. It didn't dissolve when I rubbed it between my fingers but rather kind of rolled into a ball. I've never seen it in the tank before (I'm pretty anal about cleaning and keeping an eye on what goes on in that tank), not sure if it was the result of sitting idle or maybe from the 2 days of antibiotics I treated the fish with while still in the main tank. Hopefully, whatever it is it's not the cause of his illness.
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