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Old 11-26-2012, 04:26 AM   #1 
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Exclamation Emergency! Bettas: Pls help me if you can - something is very wrong

Dear members:

26/11/12 Monday TODAY = What a stressful few days it has been in my house!!!
I have no idea what happened, everything was going so well with my little adopted fish – even my known tail biter was seeming okay and then everything took a turn for the worst.

If you do not have time to read through all the observation notes I have been keeping – or have not read any of my other posts regarding these little guys coming into my home (first notes start from 2/11/12 when the tail biter came into my home) then please just skip down to the part in this new post starting with the section headed **EMERGENCY TIME!!! 23/11/12 ONWARDS.


Saturday 10/11/12:
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med betta floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the newtoys – he was calm, seemed happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding any of the pieces. Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming straight through the floating betta log, inside, outside, all around – took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in circles like Ive never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back inside the floating betta log – it looked like once he was inside he then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger. I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest in his tail until I gave him the floating betta log – which once inside that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is necessary.
I have Attisons betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets tho.

Sunday 11/11/12
Added one more silk plant to his bowl today. (3 in total now plus floating lily pad)
He appears so much more confident and brave when it comes to the silk plants today. I have been watching him try different and new routes of getting around and between the plants – have seen him seem to be resting on/squished between the bunched leaves of the pennywort.
Have not yet seen with my own eyes him spin in tail attack circles any time the leaves have touched his fins.

Saturday 17th Nov 2012
Second fish was delivered to my apartment.
Previous owner purchased this little guy in October 2011 from Malaysia. He is a half moon very dark midnight blue betta with red pectoral fins and some red lines through his tail – in most light and photos he looks completely black though. His fins are very long and look heavy for him – owner told me he needs resting points near the water height because he finds it hard to swim up to the top of the tank from the bottom because his fins are so heavy for him. Looks like he does not really swim fast or very much at all – just floats around slowly. Doesn’t really explore or adventure around his tank like the tail biting little guy does.

Sunday 18th Nov 2012
My door bell rang this morning and it was a parcel delivery: along with the treasures inside were the bigher/taller silk plants I had ordered and they are great - very wide and very soft silk leaves, they are almost as high as the water level which is what I was hoping for. I've been watching the heavy finned new guy closely today to make sure that he is feeling alright after his move; He has happily eaten his food every meal time without hesitation. He has calmed down heaps as far as flaring at the tail biter is concerned (I did move the bowls slightly further apart). He seems to be a very laid back little guy - just floats around slowly unless he is actually showing off/flaring. He does seem to like to rest right on the bottom of his tank.
My tail biter on the other hand - is as active as ever. He is very happy with his new tall and wide silk leaf hiding and resting points and he has even taken straight away to the taller 'upside down glass' resting ledge that I gave them both today.

Tuesday 20th Nov 2012
Water change for both fish - First ever water change with new heavy finned fish.
Added both the seachem prime and seachem stress to his new water like I have been doing for Tail biter.
Took out all the floating lily pads because they were making it hard to feed them/observe them properly.
Attison betta pellet food delivery arrived this morning along with the indian almond leaves from the Betta Congress International association. Attison Pellets are really tiny and instructions say feed up to 7 pellets in a feeding session twice a day. Both fish ate them no problem, no spitting them out. Tail biter much more active/alert than heavy fin guy when it comes to finding food. Heavy finned guy will not eat anything that is not floating on the water – he will not chase slowly sinking blood worms for example, and he misses or doesn’t see or isn’t interested in the pellets unless they are put right in front of him – even then he seems to wait for them to float towards him instead of him swimming toward them to eat them.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:26 AM   #2 
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part two of post because of character limits

Wednesday 21st Nov 2012.
My husband left me a note before leaving for work saying that both fish seemed very agreesive/agitated this morning. He said they were flaring around but he didn’t know if it was at each other or simply at their own reflections in the bowl. Tail biter specifically was swimming up and down repeatedly from top to bottom of tank and hubby said it seemed he was using the side of the bowl to try and catch his tail to bite it. Ive watched them all morning, and for the first few hours I was awake I did not see any signs of this but I’m pretty sure I have since seen my tail biter doing what hubby saw.
I have now cut two squares of indian almond leaves I received yesterday and added them to his tank after washing them, also giving a piece to the heavy fin fish tank – am doing this in another attempt to try and make the tail biter happier and more calm to kill off this tail biting habit. I have also taken out the upside down tall glass that was in his tank to give him more swimming space – now he just has the two tall silk plants. Funnily enough, I was reading about a tail biter this morning who only bites his tail when the plants in his tank are too densely planted – argh – some say he needs more plants/hiding spots/playing areas and some say he needs less. Am pretty convinced now that tail biter would benefit from a much larger tank.
Heavy finned guy does seem a little more active today – I am thinking that could be due to the fact that this is his first day since I added the seachem stress to his water, or the new food or…I don’t really know 
1pm onwards – Tail biter is seriously agitated today, in an attempt to calm him down further I have placed a black tea towel around the back side of his bowl. The towel is now blocking the direct light coming in through the window, making his bowl seem a lot darker and completely blocking any view he might have had of the other fish.
While Ive been watching him I have noticed a spot on his bottom fin that looks dark but photographs the same as his greenish body colour, but he also has some black smudges on this bottom fin just under where it connects with his body – I don’t know if these marks have always been there – will check the previous photos – will also do a search online to see if this could be why he is irritated/itchy etc.

22/11/12 Thursday – everyone is happy today, both fish calm and acting normally AND we have two big bubble nests that each of them has been busy making under their new indian almond leaf pieces – yippee!!


23/11/12 Friday: Heavy fin fish seems like he doesn’t want his food today, no idea why, First noticed today because he went to eat his breakfast but then spat it out multiple times - – then he just stopped trying to eat it anytime I tried again with pellets. Tried different pellet, same thing – he doesn’t want them. Both fish are getting an early 100% water change just to be safe. Seachem prime and seachem stress in new water as per usual. Both fish get given a new piece of the same indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks.

24/11/12 Saturday: Heavy fin fish still refusing food and now he is laying on the bottom of his tank. Tail biter looks happy. Heavy fin fish that is not eating anymore and looks sick/lethargic also now has a clamped and ragged top fin – I honestly don’t know if this is how his fin looked when he arrived at my place, I didn’t inspect him close enough because he came as the ‘healthy’ fish with zero problems and I was so focused on the tail biter. He got worse and worse and I was really worried and had done hours more research – which has been non stop since I took them in. The only thing I had on hand was aquarium salt. Late this evening I made up a little half gallon bowl with seachem prime, seachem stress and half a teaspoon of dissolved aquarium salt. Moved the heavy fin fish into this solution and watched him. No change really. I left him there for a little while – the treatment I was going to follow said to leave him there for 24 hours, then give all new water and salt everyday for 7 days. But I had hesitations after he was in there for a while because I really didn’t feel confident in the science behind what I was doing to him so I took him out the salt after a little while and into his usual bowl. He sank to the bottom on the tank and laid there – I was certain he would be dead by the morning.

25/11/12 Sunday:
Sunday morning – heavy finned fish is alive and looking better than ever! What a relief! He is hungry and wanting food. Tail biter looks good too. Both fish get given a new piece of the same indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks. Heavy fin fish has come back to life today and very keen to get back to his regular food routine. Heavy fin fish still has a noticely ragged top tail. Tail biter as happy as ever.

Sunday evening = I came home, went straight to the fish tanks for dinner feeding – heavy fin fish is happy and eating well but I cant see the tail biter, look for him and see he is lying flat on the bottom on his tank!!! Tap the tank, no response, move the bowl around, no response…completely lifeless except for a little movement of his gills – emergency time - I grabbed a little bowl, put seachem prime and stress into it and tried to move this little guy into – which was difficult because he was lifeless and I was so scared of hurting him trying to carefully put him in a cup for transfer. In the little new bowl he laid there, poor little thing! I realised even in the half gallon hospital bowl he could not get up all the way for air, so I took out half of the water and helped him up every couple of minutes by slightly tilting the bowl. When I put a pellet by his head as a test he eagerly grabs at it – no hesitation. Immediately I took the almond leaves out of both the normal tanks. Both tanks had been given a piece of the same leaf this morning – that was washed before putting in their tanks everyday – nothing else had changed – and a day later I had another almost dead fish. At this point the heavy fin fish who was still looking fine and eating well was given yet another 100% water change just to be safe, with seachem prime and stress and I did not give him another of the almond leaves.

26/11/12 Monday:
Monday morning = heavy fin fish still looks good and tail biter is still alive, just, laying on his side at the bottom of the little bowl I had him in for the night. Still wanting to eat though – struggling to get the top of the water for air so im still helping him by tilting the bowl slightly to lift him up. Now this morning my little tail biter seems to have some water cotton fluff around the edges of his bottom fin, and flowing off from the fin slightly…
So at 10:30am I put all new water into a half gallon hospital tank, Added, seachem prime, seachem stress, and seachem paraguard to the water and moved tail biter into it. He seemed to immediately pick up a little. An hour later he is now able to actually not just lay flat on his side and can hang properly just below the water line for a few minutes before laying back on the bottom.
After more hours of research I decide that the seachem paraguard could help the heavy finned guy with this mystery fin rot he seemed to get at the same time as he looked on the verge of the death the other day. So I put a bit of this into his tank as well.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:27 AM   #3 
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part 3

I am completely baffled – nothing science based is explaining the last week of events for me.
I have been super careful since taking these two in.
Keeping their routine as similar as possible to what they were use to in their previous home to reduce shock and stress.
The introduction of Seachem Stress to their water was initially to help the little tail biter regrow his fin – no adverse reaction from either fish for this addition to their water with every water change.
Both fish always get 100% water change twice a week, hasn’t been a problem.
Both fish happily took to the introduction of the Attison Betta Pellets – which I imported because reading and advice told me they were superior to the Hikari Gold baby pellets these guys has always lived on.
The absolute and only factor which seems to have caused an adverse reaction – at different times for each fish – is the placement of a new piece of indian almond leaf.
But both fish show completely different symptons at each point there has been a sudden emergency.
Heavy fin guy – went off his food, top tail ragged and withdrawn, ended up lifeless after a couple of days of this off behavious.
Tail biter – never off his food, never looked lethargic, just suddenly laying on the bottom of his tank lifeless, the next day I can see the white cotton around the edge of his bottom tail and he is also still lifeless on the bottom of his tank.

Am I going crazy?
Is there any chance these leaves could have introduced a problem in the water?

To be honest, before my little tail biter was found on the bottom of his tank, I was certain that my heavy fin guy had taken a turn for the worse because he was stressed from the recent move to me, thus his immune system was compromised, resulting in one of the bacteria that is always present in the water being able to adversely affect him and take a hold.
But now that the tail biter fish suddenly got hit I am stumped – and am now convinced the almond leaves are the common link.
I can not find any information regarding negative side affects of the introduction of the leaves.
And I never would have gone to the trouble of importing them and including them in my boys tanks if I thought they could in any way react badly with them
In fact – both fish seem to loved them – they both built big nests underneath the leaves almost instantly – but then a day later they were almost dead 

I am confused and stressed – and I know that someone here will be able to help me out.

As you can see, I have gone with the seachem paraguard as a first point of meditated treatment.
Unfortunately I live somewhere that very little is known about animal care and also the stores here almost stock nothing that I know is recommended as far as medication options.

As well as the aqauarium salt, seachem stress guard, seachem prime, seachem paraguard – I also have here with me right now but have not opened =
Myxazin (by Waterlife – formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite green 0.085% w/w, acriflavine hydrochloride 0.055% w/w)
and also Jungle Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish food (metronidazole 1.0%, praziquantel 0.5%, levamisole 0.4%)

Please members, what else – if anything should I be doing?

Heavy fin fish looks fine now back in his original 3 gallon with fresh water plus prime, stress and paraguard – his fins are still ragged but his behaviour and appetite are good.

Little tail biter is still now sitting in his half gallon recovery bowl with prime, stress and paraguard.

(If you’ve read any of my previous posts – you’ll see all the background info of how these little guys came to me)

If you can offer me any support, treatment suggestions etc for my little tail biter today – I would really appreciate it.

Thank you very much for your time and help.

From a very tired and worried Onbu.

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Old 11-27-2012, 12:06 AM   #4 
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<I'm sorry but this is a gentle bump because I still really need help>
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:17 AM   #5 
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Never put leaves directly into your tank and never switch back in forth, either use leaves or don't. I've had a lot of fish become sick from the leaf breaking down in the water, ever since I did the extract I have had no problems.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:26 AM   #6 
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Originally Posted by polukoff View Post
Never put leaves directly into your tank and never switch back in forth, either use leaves or don't. I've had a lot of fish become sick from the leaf breaking down in the water, ever since I did the extract I have had no problems.
Hi Pol,

Thanks for your reply.

I did wash the leaves under warm water and rub them all over during the rinse before placing them into the tanks as I had read to do...

So there is a chance the introduction of the leaves made both fish so sick?

With different symptons to each other though from the same batch of leaves - actually they day the tail biter got sick they both had a piece from the same leaf - one fish was fine and one was almost dead :(((

Okay so now what can I do...

Can anyone please advise me on the best course of action - medicated or otherwise to help my little tail biter who is still reallly struggling and has the visible white fluff eating his fin?
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:46 AM   #7 
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The fish I am most worried about at the moment - has visible white fluff coming off his bottom fin and I can see red blood spots around the edges, the fin edge has holes in it. with the torch he does look metallic/gold dust covered but I couldnt tell you if that is just part of his mustard colour. He is a Betta, I found at the bottom of his tank lifeless two days ago. I moved him into a small recovery tank with seachem prime + stress, he was barely able to reach the surface for air. The next day I added seachem paraguard to his bowl. Today he can now float just under the surface water for a few minutes, still a little lopsided and weak and then just rests laying on his side on the bottom of the tank. Still has appetite.

He has improved slightly since being put in the small recovery bowl with fresh water every twelve hours a doses of seachem paraguard - but I need to know if I can do anything else for him or if the paraguard is even the right thing to really help him????

<The other fish is acting not sick today - but his tail is very ragged looking since his almost dead emergency a few days ago>
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:01 AM   #8 
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I'm updating this post because now that this fish can get off the bottom of his tank and float under the surface, Ive noticed his body is kind of curved around...

He has never looked like this before.

He seems to be swimming slowly in circles and he looks pretty straight, but when he tries to actually swim in a direction with intention he can not swim exactly where he wants to go because of this curved in the body that then becomes very pronounced (I've just watched him trying to get a pellet).

This new symptom ring any bells with anyone regarding a treatment option?
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:22 AM   #9 
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This morning I have found a supplier I can get these from in about 3 days:

Can you please advise me whether either of these IQ models are actually ideal for a betta or just a gimmick tank that would not suit a betta due to the specs or the size/pump/filter/light etc

I have the same question for the Biorb tank models please (although I can not get them locally so they would have to be brought in from overseas suppliers which would take longer).

IF the IQ models are a good choice, would it be possible for you to please tell me whether the IQ3 water volume and filter etc is recommended or suitable for just one betta or is the IQ5 being a little larger the only way to go.

I would also great if you are aware of the information regarding which accessories and filter products etc are required for this setup but do not come inside the box with the tank purchase so I can try to order these all at the same time.

I have spent hours glued to my laptop and reading information which routinely contradicts or disagrees with the last advice I've read - not to mention the multiple different aquatic advice forums I have turned to for genuine emergency help regarding treatment options; only on most occassions to be informed that these little fish will never be healthy because they are not in a heated, filtered, much larger cycled tank environment. I am not a fish expert, which is why I was immediately looking for help when they showed negative signs and I am now completely aware from my reading that betta's will thrive in those perfectly regulated and consistant tank conditions but these two little guys have never lived in an environment like that (always a 3 gallon vase) and their previous owner reported zero past health problems and they've only been in my home for the last few weeks.

I feel absolutely terrible, and devastatingly guilty that these little guys are unwell - and whether they were already unwell when i took them in doesnt change how upset i feel looking at them and watching them every minute of the day worrying because they are very obviously unwell/unhappy.

I now know I should not have taken them in - i did it with the kindest intentions and thinking I was doing a really good thing because the person who owned them was leaving the country and could not find any loving homes who wanted to adopt them - I knew they were stress sensitive little creatures and so I went above and beyond to find out everything I could from their previous owner before they arrived at my place with regards to their history, environment and her care routines with them...I knew then that I could commit to her 100% water change twice a week schedule and I was sure that from reading and learning I might be able to tweak their water conditions and food brands etc to help them be even happier (especially the poor little guy who I found out later from the owner that he was an ongoing tail biter - I have invested tons of time trying to learn about the why's behind this behaviour and the different methods suggested for breaking the habit).

Anyhow, it is what it is now so I will try to rectify this series of my mistakes.

I do appreciate your time and advice.

Thank you.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #10 
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Just a thought because I'm really not sure, you said you rinsed the leaves with regular tap water, is it possible there are some chemicals in your water that contaminated the leaves? Also I've been told you should keep the leaves in there until they begin to break apart instead of putting a new one in each time and also that you shouldn't alternate by having it in one day and not the next and then putting it back in.
But my first thought is that the leaves were contaminated either from the tap water or came that way.
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