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Old 10-04-2012, 07:41 PM   #1 
bettabayley
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Fin rot or something else?

Hey guys,

First, let me just vent. I thought having a betta would be a cheap, easy, and relaxing way to have a pet. But ever since I got Henry, it's been one thing after another. He nearly died when his heater went out, I found out I was housing him in a really cruel way, and I've shilled out quite a lot of money for this fish. Don't get me wrong, I love the little guy to death, but it's so stressful trying to make sure he's in pitch perfect condition!

A few days after I got Henry's new heater, I noticed he was acting strange. He was'nt coming up to the tank any more. He didn't do much, except for lounge at the top of his tank, usually in his tree log, or leaf hammock. He's not as active, and he just doesn't seem as happy. He used to flit around the tank at high speeds, investigating, preening, just being a great little fishy man. He hasn't rebuilt his bubble nest since I changed the water this weekend. Today, I could barely get him to eat. And yersterday I was fasting him! Henry's always been a prolific little eater...

I took a closer look at him, and his colors have faded a lot. His fins don't look...right. They look really stringy and shorter and dried up like. I don't see black bits, or white fuzz. They're just...stringy, lesser, dried out looking.

Today I went to the pet store and asked a guy there if it was fin rot. Since there was no film on him, he didn't think so. He suggested the water might be too hot, and I should turn my thermometer down to 78. He also said maybe he's not getting enough vitamins, so I bought him some blod worms. Finally, I'm going to start treating the tank with API stress coat. He said I should be treating his tank every other day, which was something I hadn't been doing. He also said I should be changing my filters once a week, which sounds like a ploy to sell filters to me....but...whatever.

But is the guy at the pet store wrong?

Some information about Henry and his setup:
Henry is in a five gallon, filtered, non-cycled tank. He is an only fish. He has a heater, it was set to 80, but now it's at 78. He's got some big rocks at the bottom of his tank, one budding live plants, two plant seeds that refuse to bud, a floating leaf hammock, a tree log, and a little fake plant/rock combo. I don't know the levels in the tank, but I've been treating it with Prime, 2 drops, once a week. I do 50% water changes once a week as well. He has LED lights over his tank, and they're on from about 8:00 AM in the morning, until about 10:00 PM at night. I have been feeding him 3-4 pellets of aqueon betta food, twice a day. I fed him two freeze dried blood worms just now....I think he ate one of them.

Can you help my Henry? I stress about the poor baby.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #2 
NyaNyanNaa
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Seems to be fin-rot as you suggested. I think you should try some aquarium salt and keep the temp at 78, no higher or lower.


I also suggest getting a liquid test kit to test your ammonia and pH levels in the water, Petco does the free liquid tests but tell them to tell you the actual numbers and not just 'fine' or 'okay' if you go along with the test, if he continues to refuse to eat the pellets soak them in some garlic juice, he'll surely eat them then. And if it isn't fin rot then check all of the items you have in your aquarium for any sharp edges that could tear at your betta's fins.

Also, the guy at the petstore is right in my opinion, you need to take good care of your filters and pay close attention to how your betta changes after a few days of not changing it.

Also, try and not keep your light on that long. I found if you keep your light on all the time like that it usually bothers betta's, but that's just from my personal experience and it may not be fully 100% correct for yours.

And last question, what brand of pellets do you feed him?
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:57 PM   #3 
bettabayley
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I feed him aqueon betta pellets. Do I have to use aquarium salt, or will epsom salts be ok? Should I be doing a 100% change ASAP?
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:01 PM   #4 
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I respectfully disagree with the filter comment. I've had filters last for a really long time (1 month) in a tetra tank (tetras are messier than bettas).
I highly recommend epsom salt, it really works. Not sure about 100% change- try not to stress him out too much.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:03 PM   #5 
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How long has this tank been set up? Are you looking to cycle? Any chance you could provide a picture or two, maybe of him before and then currently?
Also.....what brand of heater do you have?

With a problem like this, the first thing you should look into is testing your levels for Ammonia, NitrIte and NitrAte(PH isn't quite as important in this case)like Nya suggested. Since you have a filter and you stated your tank is un-cycled, I assume your tank hasn't been set up all that long and you may be having a spike of some kind. Your water change schedule is great for a tank with an established cycle, but while going through the cycling process you'll want to bump the changes up to two 50%s per week at least to keep your levels down until your tank is cycled(regular readings of 0 for Ammonia and NitrIte and about 5-10 for NitrAte).

If you are looking to establish a cycle, you should never do a 100% water change. However, if you're not looking to cycle or you would like to start over from scratch with you're cycle.....yes, a 100% water change is in order I'd say.

You definitely NEVER want to mess with your filter too much, you were right to suspect. Replacing your filter cartridge will crash any sort of cycle you've established since this is where the majority of your beneficial bacteria are going to colonize. You can take it out swish it around in some old tank water a couple times a month during water changes to get any gunk off of it, but don't ever replace it until its like....literally falling apart. Actually, I'd suggest buying some filter sponge/foam and stuffing it in your filter for a little extra space for bacteria to colonize on something that you won't ever have to replace....just squeeze out in old tank water every once in a while.

Is your filter baffled at all? Is it possible he may be getting his tail caught in the intake? Its possible that may be shredding his fins, or he may be biting them himself if you don't see any black edges....its hard to say what it might be without a picture.

As for treatment, I know that AQ salt at about 1-2 tsp. per gallon for about 7-10 days is generally recommended for your standard case of fin rot...I'm not sure if Epsom salt will help with that, most of what I know about it is in relation to treatment for bloating and internal parasites.
However, often clean, warm water can be more helpful then anything else. 80 degrees certainly isn't too warm...I do believe that is what most keepers keep their tanks at. The general range for bettas is 78-81 degrees, so you're good, though I would recommend 79-80....I just find that to be what my bettas do the best at.

Before you treat for anything, definitely test your levels and post that along with a couple of pics if you can so we can find out if you really are dealing with finrot or something else.

Oh! Also, the lights and food....
My lights are often on for a similar amount of time and aside from some troublesome algae, I don't have any problems with any of my nine fish being bothered by it. However, each betta is different, some are more sensitive and shy and might prefer less light.
Food-wise, soaking in garlic juice is a fantastic way to entice his appetite....however, I would suggest switching brands. Aqueon is alright, but its go some fillers pretty high up on the list...something like Omega One or New Life Spectrum would be a little better.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #6 
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Ok. *sigh* I just did a 100% water change on my tank. I've only had it for three weeks, this is my first EVER fish, and I'm way too early in this to think about cycling. The little guy is being floated right now. Is the tank supposed to be...greasy? Everything in it was. I washed that off with clear water.

I have the filter baffled with pantyhose. Wrapped around the top and bottom.

I also performed the pantyhose test on the stuff in my tank, and half of it failed...so that could be exacerbating the problem. I took out the failed things, ripped off the silk plant bits from one of the failing pieces, and put that, plus a sideways coffee mug.

I put in the api stress as well as a half tbl spoon of epsom salt. I got pictures....luckily I photograph the little guy ALL THE TIME. The picture in my avatar is him before his first water change, as he should be. The other two picutes, labeled a few days ago, and today....are self explanatory.
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Last edited by bettabayley; 10-04-2012 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:11 PM   #7 
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Cycling isn't all too difficult really, any beginner can do it so long as you understand the basics of how it works....and in a tank that size, I would highly recommend it. Makes the maintenance a little easier long-term as well.
Here is a GREAT thread about cycling: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=107771

If you're still not interested in cycling, I'd suggest ditching the filter. Not much use in it if you're not going to cycle really. If you do that, I'd say you could get away with 100% changes every 10-14 days with a couple 50-75% changes with gravel vacuuming in between.

Hmm....from those pictures, though its a little hard to tell, I don't see any fin rot or any real actual fin damage....though it is a bit hard to see. Hes a crowntail obviously of course, and looking at the pictures in comparison it just looks like his rays and fins have sort of....thinned. This is something, I believe, usually caused by poor water quality, something CTs are particularly sensitive to. Keeping his water a little extra clean with the salt and some stress coat will help I bet.

You said you treated your water with Prime....you're adding it to the fresh water you add into the tank yes? I noticed you said only a couple of drops.....while Prime is rather concentrated and you can usually get away with adding less then most water conditioners, that doesn't sound like quite enough for a 50% water replacement...I believe its two drops per gallon, so that would put you at about 5 drops at least(won't hurt to add a couple extra...I always do to be on the safe side)when you do a 50% change.

You may want to look into getting your tap water tested, just to be safe....its possible you may have hard water which can be a little hard on CT fins.

I think you made the right call doing a 100% change....sometimes, you just need to start over.
And yes, its not unusual for things to be a little slimey feeling. ;)
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:27 PM   #8 
bettabayley
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Thanks for the support on the tank change. I just finished introducing him back to the tank. (I was floating him in a cup ful of his tank's original water, I scooped in some of the new water 3 times, waiting 10-15 minutes). He seems...interested. He's exploring, slowly. He can see I've made changes.

I'm going to get water tested. Should I bring aquarium water or tap water? Or both?

I had been adding the prime to both the water I was about to change, and the fresh water I was changing it. And...I was maybe exaggerating with 2 drops. It was...sort of a dribble. That stuff's hard to measure without a dropper. However, I'll probably be using stress coat instead for a bit. Or should I use both?

Yeah, I wasn't sure it was fin rot myself. But his behavior changes made me assume. And although there was no white flakey bits, I thought maybe he had some black bits...the problem is naturally he has some black bits on him, so determining what is healthy black fishy bits and nasty black fishy bits...is difficult.

What are the pros and cons to filters vs filterless? I thought filters were autoatically better?

I'm going to look into the cycling stuff some more.

Also...I love your fish names! An Avengers, Doctor Who, and Black Butler fan! A fish lover after my own heart.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:15 PM   #9 
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Hey, sometimes you just gotta start over and need a good 100% water change. xD

Though you have all fresh water now, it probably won't hurt to bring in a sample of both tank and tap water. Just remember to ask for actual numbers for both.

Ahh, you don't have the dropper? Gottcha. A dribble should be sufficient then...I have to be honest, thats all I do. xD Just to the fresh water you're adding should be fine.
I'd suggest using both Prime along with stress coat and the Epsom salt, but just dosing the fresh water that you add into the tank when you do water changes.

Yeah, I'm not seeing fin-rot from the pictures....and it can be difficult to tell when you don't know what to look for, especially if your betta already has some blackish coloring to his fins. I'd say just keep his water extra clean and warm with the salt and stress coat for now and watch how he does.

With bettas, unlike other fish, a filter is optional since they have their Labyrinth Organ which allows them to take oxygen from the surface rather then the water as they come from very still, densely planted, and low-oxygen waters in the wild. So basically with filters it comes down to cycling verses not cycling really.....a filter is only necessary if you're wanting to cycle your tank(which makes things a little more low-maintenance in the long term, with just weekly 50% water changes with a vacuum once its all cycled), which is generally a good idea in something 5+ gallons because it can get a little difficult preforming 100% water changes in the slightly larger tanks, but you don't absolutely have to. If you're not cycling....the filter is for the most part rather pointless.

xD Thank you! Lol, yeah.....I'm a bit of a geek. I've made a point of naming my fish after various characters from...just about everywhere ever since I got into keeping. Dice and Nine are from a webcomic, Mephistio is from an anime called Blue Exorcist, Merlin and Arthur are actually from BBCs Merlin....xDD A theme, but not a theme. LOL
Sebastian used to share a tank with Ciel, but Ciel sadly passed away earlier this week. :/ I'm thinking in the spirit of Halloween, I'm thinking of starting to look for an Undertaker to share with Sebastian to keep up with the Kuro theme in that tank....xD
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