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Old 01-08-2013, 09:07 PM   #1 
joobacca
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My Daughter's Betta is VERY Sick... Help!

Hi, I'm new to the forum, and was hoping someone might be able to help. My daughter received her betta as a gift one year ago. We had a cheap (and possibly non-working) heater in his tank, and were feeding him about 10-12 hard pellets every morning as instructed on the package.

About 2 weeks ago, he started basically just lying down on the bottom of his tank or in his log, and barely swims at all --he just sits there all day. Also, if I'm not mistaken, his tails/fins seem kind of raggedy (although I honestly don't 100% remember what they looked like before). Please see the picture attached, which shows him lying on the bottom, and his fins/tail.

I thought it might be water temperature, so I got a new heater and now his tank is 80+ degrees. Also, I read about swim bladder disease on a website, and followed these instructions: i fasted him for 3 days, and then fed him 1/4 of a defrosted frozen pea (no shell). He ate it (though I basically had to drop it in his mouth), but he hasn't gotten better.

Does anyone have any suggestions??? We are really desperate. Thank you so much.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #2 
SQUIRT1216
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May I ask what pellets did you feed him. First time I heard of 10-12. The brown fuzzy on its body could indicate fur coat syndrome, or old age. Please flll this out so it is easier for everyone to help you

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:26 PM   #3 
joobacca
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Sorry, here's more Information:

Housing
What size is your tank? 1.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? Now, 83. Before he got sick, probably low 70s although I don't know for sure. Maybe even lower.
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Bio-Gold. My wife tells me that I was mistaken: package instructions say to feed 5-10 pellets 3x day. We give 10-12 once a day, but have been fasting him as explained above.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Every morning

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? We change 1/2 of the water every 2 weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? AquaSafe

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Have not tested water

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Fins and tail seem stringy, but I could be mistaken. Less bright colors.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? VERY MUCH. He used to be so active, and now he just lies on the bottom of the tank.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Fasting for 3 days, then 1/4 of defrosted pea, unshelled. Now in our second round of this process.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Never before now
How old is your fish (approximately)?We got him 1 year ago, but I don't know how long he was at the pet store before he was purchased for us.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:46 PM   #4 
SQUIRT1216
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Base on my experience only, there are many more experience members on this board can help you more. As you already know, swim bladder disease is the first one that came to mind. You can see betta's bloated stomach. Second, is finrot, it is harder to tell a crowntail's finrot white lying down on its side. Thirdly, i am not sure if those brown spots were there before or they just appeared, it could indicate many things. For now, i would suggest change the water more frequently. 1.5 gallons should not take that much time. 50% every other day. I am reluctant of advising add aquarium salt, but since i am not 100% sure what disease it carries. But aquarium salt + fasting/peas + clean treated water should take care of swim bladder disease and finrot

P.S store betta usually range from 9months-1 year old. So your betta could be between 1.5-2 years old
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #5 
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You have a water quality problem and you have a feeding issue.

Stop feeding the peas.

Your pellet is lower quality. I suggest finding something else. A good quality pellet will have the first two or three ingredients as whole fish, not fish meal and even worse would be wheat. Of what you're feeding, he should be getting about 3-4 a day, split up into two smaller meals (like two in the am and one or two in the pm). Whatever you feed your betta always needs one fast day a week with no food. Feed one pellet at a time and don't let them sink to the bottom. If they do, fish them out.

He's too hot. It's okay short term (for most fish, though it depends some don't tolerate temps that high at all) but long term it will shorten his life because his metabolism is so high. You should aim between 78-80F. It's also extremely important you use an in tank thermometer to monitor temps (not the stick on and not assuming the heater is running a certain way).Lots of temp jumps are really hard on fish too. It needs to be one stable temp.

Bettas should really be kept in a 2 gallon minimum. The reason is the fast build up of ammonia and the difficulty keeping an even temp. But in something this small you should have been doing 2 water changes a week - one 50% and one 100% including a thorough rinsing of the gravel and all decor.

Here's how to do large water changes without shocking:

Quote:
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.
--------------

Go ahead and do 100% change now. I suggest using Prime as a conditioner - 3 drops into the current bowl before you change the water, to avoid a potential separate shock/ammonia issue when doing water change after having gone so long. Also add it to the new water at the same rate of 2 drops per gallon or 3 drops for your 1.5g.

I would also look for epsom salt - pure 100% magnesium sulfate with no additives or fragrances of any kind per the ingredients label. Dissolve 1/2 tsp per gallon (so 3/4 tsp in yours) and add slowly over and hour so not to shock. Epsom salts only need to be redosed with water changes, like your conditioner. Keep him in those a week or two. Also fast another 2-3 days or until you see him poop a whole lot and his belly go down. Maybe take a week at the rate you were feeding. Report back on what the poop looks like

Last edited by callistra; 01-08-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:21 AM   #6 
joobacca
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Thank you SO much -- I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. This is fantastic information. I will do everything you say ASAP and report back. Thanks again.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:45 AM   #7 
Laki
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Follow Callistra's advice. She has it nailed.

Let us know if he improves!
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:03 AM   #8 
joobacca
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Thank you! I'm about to order a larger bowl now, and was looking over the million different pellet choices. Is there a particular high-quality food that folks here generally recommend?
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:45 PM   #9 
SomethingWitty
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From what I've read around here Omega One Betta Buffet seems to be a good quality food! I bought it at PetSmart.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:53 PM   #10 
SQUIRT1216
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Buy pellets one, not flakes
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