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Old 12-13-2012, 03:34 PM   #1 
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Advice on fixing a sick/depressed Crowntail?

Hello guys, this is my first post on this site but I have read several tips on here that have helped quite a bit over the years, so thanks and it's nice to finally throw my hat in the ring. Anyway here's my issue and hopefully you more experienced Betta-keepers can help me with it.

I have a male Crowntail betta (Sid, if anyone cares what his name is) and I have kept him easily/painlessly for a year and a half or so. He started out a pretty red/blue color mix and was quite active, but over the past few months his health seems to have deteriorated. And try as I may to do everything "right," he doesn't seem to be responding to my efforts.

He has lost a bit of color (now almost the color of a caucasian person's skin with a bit of a sunburn), sits at the bottom of the tank and only occasionally surfaces for a large gulp of air before sinking back down and leaning against the wall or decorations in his tank, doing nothing. He eats but it is hit-or-miss to get him to do so.

This fish began life in a unfiltered/unheated 1 gallon bowl, in which he was active and healthy. After a while I got him a 2 gallon glass tank, still unfiltered/unheated. He remained in this 2 gallon for the majority of his life until his water became very cloudy and smelly (ever have your septic tank pumped? That's the smell I'm talking about). At that point I medicated him, which seemed to help but not cure it, so I then added a filter, and a heater.

The filter/heater fixed the water issues. He seemed to perk up and regain some color for about a week but after a while the filter's current bothered him, causing him to sort of "cling" to one particular decoration in his tank where there was no current. This brings us to where we are right now.

I went out and got him a 5 gallon tank, because I read that's really the minimum size to properly keep a betta. I made a baffle for his filter which has reduced the current to next to nothing. I have medicated him again, and I have used all the additives/conditioners I am supposed to. He STILL hides on this one tank decoration, in the corner, on the bottom, and has gotten pale again.

Bottom line guys, IS MY BETTA JUST OLD? Or is he sick? Is he even DEPRESSED? (I read that's a possibility on one web site) He seems to have the basic symptoms of just about every disease out there, but with nothing definitive to tell me "Hey it's this." He continues to chug along somehow right now, not getting better, not getting worse.

Granted it is just a fish, but he is a living thing and as frustrated as I am with him I can't just flush him and start over, that wouldn't be right. Any suggestions? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Again, he's in 5 gallons of low-flow filtered/heated, water, with the correct additives, conditioners, and beneficial bacteria. I gave him bettafix to no avail. Any suggestions? Or should I just make him comfortable and wait for him to fizzle out?

Did I mention I have a half-moon-king betta in an identical tank (save for decorative style) who is absolutely thriving? And a female in a 2.5 gallon octagon who is also vibrant and full of life? So I would like to think I'm not the problem here lol.

Thanks for reading, sorry for the novel.

Last edited by Twamas; 12-13-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:53 PM   #2 
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How often do you do a water change for him, what do you feed him and how much and how often ? No you should not give up on him your doing the right thing to try and get some help for him. Welcome to the forum !
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #3 
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I have had some luck with raising the water temperature to around 88 degrees. As I understand, bettafix is sort of useless. I'd maybe go with some API general cure thinking along the lines it may be something internal.
I lost my king plakat after a few months of trying to rehab him. He jumped the divider and was nearly killed by one of my giants. His fins and scales came back but he never regained his color or vigor.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #4 
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I just placed him in the 5 gallon two days ago, so his water is brandy-new. However I change the filtered water in my other 5 gallon once every 3 weeks or so. I feed him aqua-something-or-other betta pellets (I have used the same brand right along) maybe 4 or 5 a day, once a day, as with my other fish (save the female who's tiny and gets fed a lesser amount every other day).

I've had mixed results with bettafix as well. Seems to help for a few days then nothing.

Although as an update this evening when I got home his color had improved slightly and he was floating lazily around (better than sitting at the bottom I guess, but still not 100%). So we'll have to see what happens. Thank you for your responses guys I hope I answered your questions.

What's the deal with aquarium salt? I've never used it before but a buddy of mine who used to keep all kinds of fish (except bettas ironically) swears by it. Any thoughts or experience with it?
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:42 AM   #5 
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By the way Perseusmom my food is "Aqueon" sorry wasn't being sarcastic I wasn't home at the time lol.

He seems to be still perking up, a little more color came back and he was moving around a fair amount today.

I changed filters as well to an Whisper 10i (the same one I have in my half-moon-king's tank which seems to work much better and has a nice low current).

We'll see what happens.

Thanks again for your help guys, I'll let you know how he makes out.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:18 PM   #6 
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So he seems better, definitely a pretty normal level of activity and has gained some color back. Unfortunately he is still pretty ratty looking and I'm guessing he'll stay that way. I actually got him to flare a little tonight. I held a mirror up to him just to see what he'd do. He flared out like a relatively normal betta except his fins are about 1/3 what they used to be. He doesn't seem to have fin rot. Never really did. There is no discoloration/buildup on his fins nor was there before, I guess the best way I can describe it is my crowntail looks like he went through a round of chemotherapy.

BUT, he is behaving all but normally now, eating, swimming around, flaring (at least when coaxed to), etc. Just kind of sad to see him all worn-out looking. If there are any other new people reading this learn from my mistakes I guess. Don't skimp on your equipment and water quality if you want a healthy fish. These guys really do know what they're talking about on this site.

I promise my other bettas have always and are now being properly cared for, and so is Sid. Better late than never I guess. I'll never make the mistake of keeping a betta in a bowl again.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #7 
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A fully cycled tank will require a weekly 50% water change. A brand new tank will require careful monitoring and more frequent changes:

I would split that feeding up into twice a day, and I would consider cutting back to 3-4 a day and not feed as many as 5, though some are ok with it. Just make sure they're pooping regularly. A betta's stomach is just the size of his eye so giving him 5 pellets in one sitting is gorging him. He also needs one fast day a week. I'd try 3-4 pellets split up with those, but I suggest trying something protein based instead of those wheat based one. Something like Omega One can be fed the same amount. Something like New Life Spectrum Betta formula are smaller and can be fed 5-8.

Can you get a photo up? To help his fins heal you can add stress coat conditioner at 1 ml per gallon. Also you can use aquarium salt at one tsp per gallon, predissolved for up to 10 days. When you do a water change, however much you take out and replace is how much salt and stress coat to add back. As long as his fins don't seem to be getting worse this is ok. If they're continuing to receed I would look into antibiotics.

I would also look at putting a prefilter sponge on the intake tube of your filter if it's an hOB because sometimes bettas get sucked into them and it can also tear at their fins if nothing else.

Last edited by callistra; 12-21-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #8 
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Originally Posted by Twamas View Post
I just placed him in the 5 gallon two days ago, so his water is brandy-new. However I change the filtered water in my other 5 gallon once every 3 weeks or so.
You need more frequent water changes... Once every three weeks will not cut it. If its not cycled, one 50% and one 100% per week is needed to ensure your bettas are in clean water. Even if the water is crystal clear, you will not see ammonia without a test kit.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:56 PM   #9 
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Hey thanks for the advice guys. I will try the aquarium salt and that other stuff. Can I get something like that at a Petco? If not there is an LFS about a 45min ride from where I live. I'd like to recoop his fins for sure if its possible. He was very cool looking before all his issues.

But he's acting much better, actually had a bubble nest going (just a small bit though) this morning. Haven't seen him do that in a while.

I will try to get a photo up next chance I get (at work at the moment). Like I said he's acting pretty normally now. His fins do not seem to be getting worse, nor is his color at this point.

His filter doesn't have an intake tube its just a big canister type thing (aqueon whisper 10i) and I've had no issues with either him or the other the fish getting stuck in the intake, which are just little grates on the bottom of it.

I also have been giving him 3 pellets a day the last few days because that's all he seems to bother eating anyway at this point so it's funny you mentioned that. But I will do that to my other betta as well and try to fast them one day a week. I'll also work on doing more frequent water changes as well. Thanks again guys and I'll throw that picture on as soon as I can, don't laugh at him lol he's definitely a little rough looking these days.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #10 
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Hey guys before I get to far I want to let you know I will get you a photo tomorrow evening, I need to charge my camera and didn't realize it until just now.

I went out and bought stress coat AND aquarium salt. For now I have put the recommended amount of salt in my crowntail's tank. I'll let you know how he does with it. While putting the salt in I noticed some interesting stuff on the packaging and I wanted to see if it was true.

It says on the box that aquarium salt is beneficial for gills, helps with stress, helps with peak coloration etc.. It says to give it to them as a PREVENTATIVE measure and not just in times of sickness. This has me wondering...

Should I treat my other bettas with it? Namely my big half-moon king? He is in a separate 5gal and I have had absolutely NO issues with him thus far. Is it worth doing or should I not bother? Can I harm him if I do give it to him? As long as there is no negative effects in giving it to a healthy betta I will probably try it just to be proactive. What do you guys think?

Thanks again, and I will have that picture up asap.
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