I have a betta (named Red) that has clamped fins. I don't know what is wrong with him. But I did put 2 teaspoons of pure salt (just nacl no additives) in his 2 gallon tank. I also picked up so melafix and was wondering if it actually works? I have been giving it to him for two days now and I do not see any improvement.
I bought Red three weeks ago and I was keeping him in a small 3/4 gallon vase. After doing some research and learning how to properly care for Red I bought a 2.5 mini bow with heater. I would have liked to get a five gallon but the landlord won't have it.
For the first couple of weeks Red was in the unheated bowl with weekly 100%
water changes. I fed Red 3-4 top fin betta pellets twice a day and he always ate at least 2 of them. I also removed any uneaten pellets. About one week ago I placed an order from petco.com for Red's new home. The heater arrived 3 days ago and I immediately placed it in Red's vase to get him warmed up. I did not rinse or clean the heater, which I now realize was very stupid. The heater is automatically set for 78 degrees and is a 50W heater. Within a few hours all of Red's fins clamped up very tight. I immediately gave him a 100% water change.
Yesterday I received the mini bow and set it up for Red and placed him in it after it had run for a few hours and reached the right temp. I also put 2 teaspoons of salt in it and the melafix. And again today I put the melafix in again (following the dosing of 1 teaspoon for every ten gallons). Red shows no signs of improvement. For the last 3 days he will not eat, lies on the bottom of the tank and only moves to get air from the surface every 10 minutes or so. He has a very hard time swimming, even his pectoral fins are all clamped up.
I have been monitoring the temp of the water ever since putting the heater in and it is staying between 77 and 78 degrees.
Never EVER use MelaFix or PrimaFix on a Betta. It destroys their labyrinth organ and they suffocate. I've had this happen personally, I tried it as a last ditch effort and it made death worse for my fish as he seemed completely stressed (clearly since he was suffocating) and it was a horrible thing to watch.
You can use BettaFix since it's much easier on the fish and won't cause any issues unless you overdose.
Was the heater for your aquarium the proper size for the tank? If it's not meant for the size aquarium you had him in then it can cause the Betta to become stressed and ill.
Look at him under a bright light (flashlight works best) and see if you can see if he has Ick (which looks like little tiny white dots all over) many times it's hard to see with just regular lighting.
If you continue daily water changes with 1tsp of dissolved aquarium salt he should be okay. You can try tempting him with some frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms or glass worms/mosquito larva. The glass worms are the best as they can be used as daily food for him, bloodworms have no nutritional value and are best as a treat and the brine shrimp is mainly used as a laxative but is very nutritious.
For frozen foods you obviously keep them in the freezer. You can find them at any fish store, PetCo and PetSmart included. They come in separated little squares, pop one into a little container like a small jar or something and let it thaw for about 10 minutes or so. Get a pair of tweezers (or something) and pick up a tear drop amount. You can then place the rest of the food back in the freezer for the next feeding, never in the fridge as it spoils quickly.
Frozen foods should get his attention. Don't worry about him starving since they can go an entire month without eating and survive.
To update you on Red. I really didn't think he was going to make it. He kept getting worse, but the last few days I think he has turned the corner. His fins are starting to reopen.
He still isn't taking food, though I havn't tried any live food or frozen food. I have been doing daily water changes with 1 tsp. of salt per gallon and I have been giving the melafix but in 1/4 doses. I read that melafix and bettafix are the same thing it is just that bettafix is 1/4 the potency.
He is not active at all, except he does breath at the surface every 20-30 minutes. Then he returns to the bottom of the tank and rests. He is able to move a lot easier now since his pectoral fins are starting to reopen.
I will continue to keep you updated. Sorry I havn't updated you sooner. And if you have anymore advice I would love to hear it :)
It sounds like maybe he has a severe case of velvet. Melafix will not help this, in fact, due to the fact it has tea tree oil in it, it may make him more lethargic, and eventually result in his death.
To check for velvet - take a flashlight and look for any gold or rust colored "dust" anywhere on his body, especially around his gills. Or if his case is as severe as I think it is, it could look like a gold or rust colored coating. Given his coloring, it may be very difficult to see, so it may help to turn off the lights before shining a flashlight on him.
If it is velvet, you will need to keep his tank warm, and dark. Medication for velvet will be essential. I used quick cure. You should change the water daily, although, you don't need to do 100%, before adding new medication. If you have a filter, you will need to take out the cartridge (you can keep the filter running), so that the filter medium and medication don't cancel each other out.
The reason I feel it is velvet is your fish was in the exact same situation mine was when I first got her - a small, room temperature tank, and didn't change the water as often as I should have. The velvet parasite thrives in conditions such as those. When she first got it, she would sit at the bottom of the tank except to get air, and occasionally would dart frantically around on her decorations, plants and sides of the tank. As it got worse, she became more lethargic and eventually quit darting - by that time, she was completely coated in velvet and it no longer looked like dust, but rather a very thick rust colored coating. The warm, dark tank and quick cure worked very well and she healed within 2 weeks.
Well I wasn't able to find any velvet on Red. But he does seem to be improving. His fins have all opened back up, but larges portions of his fins have fallen off. He is eating daily now. I am still giving him a 90% water change daily and I am adding 3 tps. of salt for 2.5 gallons of water. Plus I am still adding 1/16 tsp. melafix for 2.5 gallons.
Red seems to be getting more and more active. He swims around a lot and spends time at all different levels of the tank. His color is getting better too, he was getting quite pale but now he is getting brighter by the day.
I don't recommend anything with fix at the end. Melafix, primafix, bettafix... They all have tea tree oil which will damage the labyrinth, even at small dosages. The longer you use it, the more damage that will be done.
Also, it will stress them when you combine salt and medication, but his fins will grow back with time, warm clean water, and the AQ salt. Stress Coat will also help.
Thank you for all the advice! I guess tea tree oil is not the way to go :( Red is doing great. I think the daily water changes and aq salt fixed him right up. He is very active and eating like normal. But his fins are pretty damaged, so we will see what happens there.