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Old 01-01-2013, 02:39 PM   #1 
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Exclamation I'm worried that my fish is sick, but I don't know.

So this is how my betta looked when I first got him, about seven months ago:

He's a Crown Tail, and was always a sort of pastel light blue and pink. But he's got these dark spots on his body, around his gills, and at the tips of his fins.

Over the time that I've had him, those places have gotten a bit blacker (I can't get my camera to take a clear picture). His bottom fins have grown longer. He's been eating more. I tried to see if his other fins were shorter, so I put a mirror up to him, but he didn't even flare. He hid. And then when he was hiding, he flared his gills but not his fins. The one time I've done this before (when I read on some site that it boosts their confidence or something, which I don't really get), he totally flared (and then swam away, he's a bit of a coward). I caught him spitting up some food, but he ate another bloodworm right after. Is he sick?

What size is your tank? Two and a half gallons.
What temperature is your tank? 79, I think.
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? I think the filter uses an air pump.
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? Bloodworms.
How often do you feed your betta fish? A pinch twice a day. (about 5 worms... is this too much?)


How often do you perform a water change? every four weeks.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? About 10-15%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Nutrafin Cycle (Biological Aquarium Supplement) and Nutrafin Aqua Plus (Tap water conditioner)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Mentioned above. My brother thought maybe he's getting darker because I fed him food with color enhancers the first week I got him, when I was trying to get him to eat. I've fed him bloodworms ever since.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He still loves food, but he's spit some out.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This is sort of an ongoing concern.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Nope.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Got him seven months ago at PetSmart.

Last edited by bettastark; 01-01-2013 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:52 PM   #2 
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First off blood worms are a treat and should only be fed once a week. You need to have a staple diet like pellets in order for your fish to survive. Secondly EVERY FOUR WEEKS???? That is FAR from cleaning enough. A 2.5 gallon needs to be cleaned twice a week even filtered. You need to drain 50% of the water once a week and about 20% once a week as well as vacume the gravel once a week.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:53 PM   #3 
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Can you take a current photograph? Is he pooping regularly? What does it look like?

You said you think it's 79.. are you not using a thermometer? You need one of those glass in tank thermometers to monitor temps, especially if you have a heater. They are unreliable so it's extremely important.

His coloring and behavior seem normal, except the spitting up of food.. That can indicate a variety of things, including some not so good things. However, blood worms should only be fed as treats and then only one once a week. That is because it's like feeding candy or potato chips and they are nutritionally deficient. You need to pick up a good quality protein based pellet - one whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish of some kind - not fish meal which is fish byproducts ground up - and most certainly not wheat. My favorite are New Life Spectrum Betta. You can get them at Petco I know, and I'm sure other places. They are smaller than average pellets and you can feed 5-8 split up into two or three small meals a day. I have also had some good luck with Omega One Betta Buffet. they are larger so you can feed 3-4 split up. If you are feeding blood worms you can sub one or two once a week for the pellets. Any time you feed freeze dried foods (sounds like this is what you have) you need to soak them thourghly in a cup with a little tank/dechlorinated water to soften them or else they are really hard on the intestines and can lead to constipation issues. No matter what you feed you need to give him one fast day a week with no food.

Your water changing habits are a big concern. Most people will tell you that you cannot cycle something so small and you will always have to do the 2 regular water changes of 50% and 100% weekly (with the 100% including a thorough rinsing of all gravel and ornaments). Those bacterial supplements for the most part do not work. You can certainly try, and that filter will help keep your water a higher quality than without it, but you will probably always have to do more frequent and larger water changes - 2 50% water changes with one suctioning or stiring/catching method to remove the poo at the bottom. You can never under any circumstances just do 10-15% a month. Even in large tanks 25-50% weekly is required. With his current water change routine his ammonia levels are high and probably so his nitrite and nitrate. There is no substitute for water changes.

I would do a 100% water change at this point. Rinse his gravel and everything really thoroughly. Take the filter material and rinse/squeeze it out it well in the old tank water. This is how you can do large water changes without shocking:

To do a water change, use a little cup like a plastic solo cup - this cup must be only for him and have never been used with soap or other chems. Scoop him up in this cup (keep him in the cup about 1/4 full of water - it doesn't need to be much because he won't be in it for long) and leave him in the cup while you change his water. To do the 50% use a turkey baster - dedicated only to him that has never seen soap or chems - and drag it through the gravel and try to suck as much of the poop out as possible, in addition to 50% of the water. Use a thermometer under the running tap to get it to be the same temp as the water that is normally in his tank. When the thermometer says the flowing tap is the right temp, fill back up his tank. At this point, add the conditioner (dose for how much water you change - if you change half the water you add half gallon worth of conditioner, If you do a 100% water change dose for the full gallon change). Float his plastic cup with him in it in the new water. Slowly add a couple tablespoons of the new water into his cup every 10 minutes for at least an hour. Finally, dump him in gently but try to get as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. When you do the weekly 100% you will do mostly the same thing except empty his tank fully and rinse everything in it very well under warm water but never use soaps or chemicals. Once it's fully cleaned/rinsed you can refill it and repeat the cup/acclimate phase.
From now on if you don't want to do weekly 100% changes and you want to try to reduce it to something like maybe 2 50% changes with one suctioning of the gravel you need to invest in a drops kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and test a couple times a week. Ammonia and nitrites should be 0. Even .25ppm means you need more water changes. Nitrates should be kept under 20,

Last edited by callistra; 01-01-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #4 
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A new photo would help lots. I think it may just be that your fish is a marble, they are unpredictable because the change colors. You need to start feeding him something along with bloodworms, like pellets. You also need to do two 50% water changes a week. Please post a current photo so that we can accurately assess your fish.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:25 PM   #5 
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Wow, I should have asked sooner.

So I went to PetSmart to test the water. Everything's perfectly normal, they said. I bought the Omega One Betta food. I'm going to change the water, too. 100%, right?

Here are some pictures. He doesn't look as pale as he does in the photos, though. My camera makes everything look rather odd. The spot in the eye in two of the pictures doesn't actually exist, that's the light.

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Old 01-01-2013, 09:47 PM   #6 
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100% wouldn't shock him?
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:52 PM   #7 
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Petsmart considers large amounts of ammonia perfectly normal and their tests kits are usually inaccurate strips. They also don't tend to test nitrite and nitrate unless you specifically ask. Unless they used a drop kit and gave you actual numbers not "it's fine" I wouldn't trust them.

Not if you do it properly. I'm sorry but it's hard to tell from your photos since they are out of focus, over or under exposed but it looks like he's got some major fin rot. It could just be him biting out of stress but I don't think so. That should clear up with clean water and time. Stress coat at 1 ml per 1 gallon can help with this too. If it looks like the fins are still receding you may need to actually treat. Sticky outlines how:
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:35 PM   #8 
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All right. I did a 100% water change. I'm a little worried because even with the net there's still stuff in the water. They're like murky little bits. Added conditioner and stuff. But now he's hiding behind the filter, which concerns me.

Fin rot is really bad, right? What can I do now (PetSmart is closed)?

Last edited by bettastark; 01-01-2013 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:44 PM   #9 
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Hmmm.. well as my guide outlines you need to acclimate him an hour or more and it's been about half an hour since I last posted... So how quickly did you acclimate exactly? Temp same water out of tap using the thermometer?

The 100% water change should have included a thorough rinse of the gravel to remove all the debris.. and the water wouldn't be murky at all.. if you never clean the gravel that's a big part of your problem.

Keep his water clean. If it keeps receding he may need to be treated. This sticky talks about it:
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:04 PM   #10 
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Umm. I probably didn't. I'm sorry. I have no idea what acclimate is. I didn't think to look it up.

I actually did thoroughly rinse the gravel multiple times. I usually rinse the gravel with a sieve but I don't have it with me right now. I put it in a plastic bag, swished it around, and dumped out the water.

I read the article--should I get aquarium salt tomorrow? And stress coat? I have some at home but I'm not at home now.

Last edited by bettastark; 01-01-2013 at 11:07 PM.
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betta, crown tail, dark spots, gills, sick

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