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Old 01-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
new to all this - and now my betta has ich :(

Hi all,
I received a surprise betta fish during secret santa over the company holiday and I've been trying to take care of it, but there's so many things to learn @_@. I never had fish before, I did some research online but I'm still not 100% sure what I'm doing is correct, so hopefully you guys can give me some advice:

tank: 5 gallon fluval chi (I have a very small apartment). It has gravel about 1 inch thick and some live plants (small bunch of amazon swords, 2x some kind of fern), a carbon moss ball, and a piece of driftwood.

filter: the fluval chi filter which I put a bunch of rocks on so it doesn't bubble so much, the betta doesn't seem to mind the mild current and likes to play around it actually.

tank mates: 2 zebra snails, 7 neon tetras (I know now that it's too many things, I did not know it at the time when I got them :/, I've been checking the water carefully to make sure everyone is ok) they all get along well and don't bother the other species.

water: Ammonia 0-0.25ppm (This exist before AND after the tap water + conditioner) so I am wondering if my test kit is off. I'm using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Nitrite: 0.25ppm, Nitrate: 0ppm. pH: 6-7 I can't read the color precisely... I don't think any cycle is going since I only had the fish about a week. I've been doing 30% water changes every day - 50% changes every 3 days and using API Stress Zyme and API Quick Start.

food: I alternate between tetra freeze dried bloodworms (1-4? I mashed them up a little so it's hard to tell), brine shrimp (mashed into power), betta bites (1-4 pellets) and new life spectrum (1-10... he gobbles them up so fast and they are so tiny), he eats everything super fast :D, I am watchful of his stomach so he doesn't eat too much.

--- THE ICH DEVELOPMENT: so originally I had a hydro theo 25watt heater in the tank which did not seem to raise the temperature to above 74 despite putting it on the max setting. So I swapped to the Aqueon 100 watt which did manage to get my water to 80ish and maxed out at that point. I think this is when the ich hatched... I saw it on my tetras first and I immediately isolated them into a 1gallon bowl (with original tank water). Then I saw my betta also had spots on him and he was swimming around kind of crazily... I moved him into a 1g bowl as well (with original water as I didn't want to upset him with a dramatic water change) and scrubbed down the 5 gallon and washed all the things - right now it's empty with just a snail and plants - hopefully the ich in it will die off with no fish to attach to.

Treatment: so I put the 25watt heater and a thermometer in with my betta in his bowl to raise the temperature - after 1 day I saw more dots on him as I think the Ich is growing from the heat. I put some aquarium salt in (1/2 teaspoon) and some Petco herbal ich treatment which I am really dubious about since it had no ingredients listed. Now I am not sure what I can do besides wait for the ich to come off and dosing them with medicine.


1. Should I be doing 100% water changes with the salt dosing? How do I change the water 100% without upsetting the betta? He really hates being netted. The instructions I saw for 100% changes included just dunking the betta into brand new water which seems to be a good way to shock him... But if I preserve the old water there might be icky ich in them ARGGHhhh...

2. He is very sad in the 1 gallon bowl with no decor or gravel (I didn't want to risk ich sticking to things), only the heater and a thermometer, is it ok to keep it like that for 10 days or however long it takes to kill the ich?

3. He's hovering on top a lot not moving with clamped fins which worries me, however he still has a huge appetite. I am not sure if I need to do something special to get oxygen in the water or is he ok breathing on the surface. When I turn the light on he swims around a bit. (I've been keeping it dark to reduce stress?) Is this normal? I have no idea what normal is as I've never had fish before :/

4. How do you guys make sure the water you are adding is the same temperature? I mean besides using a thermometer, how do you heat the new water up? I've been just adding a little boiling water to my tap to raise it... is this ok?

5. He also has a bit of white under his head on his chin... I can't tell if this is natural or unnatural... >_>

thanks for listening, hopefully he'll get better in the next few days.

Last edited by kulain; 01-17-2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:44 PM   #2 
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Welcome to and the world of fish. Firstly the neons are too much for the 5 gallon, I understand you didn't know atm...I'm not judging, we were all there at one point I'm sure. They are very active little guys and need more space. If you can return them or trade them for something you can use, like decor etc that would be great, if not...try moving them to a 10 gal.

For reproduces by falling off the fish, raising the temp to 85 Fahrenheit will hasten the process of getting rid of them. The bettas clamped fins are normal for Ich. There are numerous meds out there for Ich, then of course the salt bath. Ich is highly contagious so you may have to treat your 5 gal as well.

100% water changes will always stress the fish out a little. I've never used the salt bath method, so I will leave that to more experienced fish keepers. I hope this helps, I knowmI didn't answer all your questions, but someone else on these helpful forums should. Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:59 PM   #3 
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Sorry but tetra need to be kept in 10 gallons minimum. The tetra need to be rehomed or upgraded.

I also wouldn't keep more than one snail in a tank of that size and even then you will need more careful monitoring and more frequent changes.

You are extremely overstocked at this time and that is the cause of the illness.

While you are cycling you should use a drops kit for ammonia,nitrites and nitrates. You should test daily and do a 50% water change any time ammonia and nitrites hit as little as .25ppm. In addition to this a once weekly change of 50% with gravel siphon is needed. Cycling will take up to 2 months. First you will see a spike in ammonia, then nitrites. Ammonia will go to 0 first then nitrites. Finally you will be left with only nitrates which should be okay with one weekly 50% change including siphon for gravel cleaning. With the snail you may need twice weekly.. you'll have to keep testing and see.

The best treatment for ick is raising temperature of the water to 86-88F. This must be done very very slowly so you don't stress your fish.. no more than a degree per hour and 5 degrees per day. Also stop any time you see signs of stress. Leave it at this temp one week PAST the last sign of ick. Also aquarium salt at 1 tsp per gallon predissolved is good.. but you can't use it with snails or plants. The heat alone should be enough.

You use a thermometer in the running tap to get it the right temp before refilling any container. Boiling is not the best idea for a variety of reasons.

What is the temperature of the room your fish is in? What thermometer are you using to monitor heat? Your heating issues are very abnormal.

The gray under his chin is a sign of stress.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:36 PM   #4 
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he's recovering i think!

Thanks AlphaBetta and Callistra!

Callistra - I had been changing the water 30-50% every day, and testing it every day. The ammonia was consistently 0.25 :/ with no spikes or drops - maybe I changed the water too much which prevented cycling? The nitrite did go 1 shade darker purple for 1 day but then with my water change it went back to the lightest again. I got a nitrate reading 1 day then it went away again with the water change.

Yes I realize now that I'm over stocked, at the time I did not since I saw someone's tank set up like that :/ I feel really bad for the tetras - they did not survive in the small bowl when I separated them to give them the salt treatment, gah. I also dropped one of the snails and killed it somehow, he stopped coming out of his shell :(

I'm not sure what temperature my room is in... around 70 I think, I live in NYC. I'm using this thermometer
I actually have 2 of these inside my betta bowl right now... one says 82 one says 88 -_- the water feels lukewarm to me.

I went to petco to see if they had any ich medicine and look at their bettas, all the ones they had also had some gray under their chin which reassured me it wasn't something super weird.

Currently I have my betta in a 1 gallon bowl so I can medicate him. I gave him half a drop of Quick Cure to see how he would react yesterday, and 1 tsp of aquarium salt, and the hydro theo heater. He did not seem to be distressed by the heat, the quick cure, or the salt which is good. He still eats a ton.

Today I gave him another 3/4 drop of quick cure. The white spots have fallen off from his body and he seems more peppy, however I still see a lot of white dots on his fins and lots on his tail (he's a veil tail) so I guess I will give him another dose tomorrow - with each dosing I'm also changing like 70% of the water.

Well in good news at least now he knows that I feed him and doesn't run away super fast when I come near, he even comes up to the surface and does the little dance for food :D Hopefully he will make a recovery. I will make sure to keep an eye on him for a week or so to make sure the ich does not come back.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:52 PM   #5 
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Location: Newfoundland
Keep doing the salt and changes for a week. Just to be safe. Making sure to keep him in salt for no more than 10 days at the most.
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