So I got Betta Keratin as an impulse buy at the store and I feel completely horrible that my lack of research and being dooped by false facts has led to him getting sick. He was doing great for the past few months (even made a bubble nest a couple of weeks ago), but earlier this week I noticed he wasn't interested in his food and was staying in one area at the bottom of the bowl. I've now done a lot of research and, amongst other things, realized he has velvet b/c he glimmers gold (haven't noticed any other parasites, he doesn't have clamped fins, gills seem o.k., he may have a touch of fin rot, but it seems that velvet is the most immediate issue). I've done a 100% water change, checking the ph and treating w/Mardel Coppersafe before easing him in by floating a bag. I've also kept him in the dark and added an air stone which I hold and run several times a day since the present bowl is so small. It's been 1 1/2 days and even though he's still hanging at the bottom and not eating he's not rubbing as much, is moving to different areas, looking more chipper (maybe that's wishful thinking though..?)
His original bowl is a 1/2 gallon, maybe a tiny bit more (very very bad I now know) and I've been using bottled water (untreated pH is 6.4) and had been doing 100% water changes about once a week (also not so good I now know). Today I bought a 2.5 gallon tank (still not that big, but it's all I can afford at the moment) and need some advice on how to proceed since he's sick and I don't want to harm him any further. Until I feel comfortable w/what to do next I'm being very vigilant, monitoring ammonia/ph levels, and doing water changes (replacing old w/new by doing small, same temp, a.m. and p.m. water changes since I don't want to move or stress him too much..hopefully that's not wrong either =?
I want to maintain very clean water so continuing to use bottled water will be costly. I checked my tap water and bought conditioner. It's very alkaline (waaaaay over the 8.0 max of my chart) while the bottled water was more acidic. I had to use a lot of down ph to get the tap water to about where Keratins' at now (he's not in it!! I've treated it w/down ph, conditioner, and Coppersafe and am leaving it out for the next day or so to let it air out). I also heard that adding salt will be beneficial as well (1 tablespoon for 5 gallons, right? I've calculated that to be about 1.2 teaspoons for 2 gallons, yes? Math has never been my strong suit lol)
Before I start all this though I wanted to get some opinions of how to proceed so he has the best chance of recovering. I'm perfectly happy to continue using the bottled water if it will be better for him, but if the conditioned tap water can safely replace it I'd rather do that. I also want to move him into the 2.5 gallon tank so he can get to the surface easier, has a good place to rest, and where the air rock can be added w/out causing crazy current. So, basically, here are my questions:
Are all the changes at the same time waaaaaay too much for him while he's sick? If so, which changes should take priority?
What would be better; leaving him in the smaller tank, staying very vigilant, and transitioning him to the new tank when he's stronger? Or, transitioning him to the new tank now?
Should I keep using the bottled water treated w/coppersafe until he's totally recovered and leave the tap transition for when he's better? (I'm measuring the treated tap ph in the a.m. to check the stability)
Would he benefit from slowly adjusting the ph or would this cause too much stress as well?
Can a lot of down pH have a negative effect on him even if the water itself has a safe ph? (I read that using more than a teaspoon can be harmful)
Yes to salt or no to salt? (I know there's aquarium salt, but also heard that kosher salt can be used as long as it doesn't have iodine or cacking agents in it...)
Sorry for the long winded rambling. I want him to get better and don't want to make anymore mistakes so appreciate any insight/advice. Thanks!! =)
Everyone has to learn sometime. The important thing is you care and you are trying your best.
Most bottled water is not appropriate for keeping fish in. What is the exact source of water. What's the gh and kh of the bottled water you're using?
Using chemicals to adjust ph is very dangerous because it's not permanent. It will cause swings and the swings can be lethal, but bettas can adjust to a wide variety of ph.
Can you get a high ph test kit and get an exact ph of your tap water? There are few places where bettas can't be acclimated to tap water, but it's possible yours is too high. In the case that it is too high, I would simply cut it 50/50 with bottled RO water of a dependable source. More on that when we know what the ph is.
Don't use salt and meds. Use one or the other. Coppersafe should work if it's any kind of external parasite, including Velvet. Just follow the directions on the meds.
Half gallon requires at least every other day water changes, personally I'd say daily. I the case of his illness I would move him into the 2.5g. You don't have to fill it to the top. Even a gallon would be an improvement. I would do frequent water change anyway in the case of his illness but you want to be careful not to shock. His water needs to be preheated to the same temp he's always kept in each time and he should be carefully acclimated each time (hr float with a couple tablespoons of fresh water added every 10 min is what I do)
He also needs to be heated a constant stable temp between 78-80. Do you have a heater too?
I am so sorry your boy is sick, I have just recently finished treating a rescue betta for velvet.
Anyhow I will try to help you. First of all do you have a heater and a filter. If you have a filter please remove the carbon from it before treating him as it will remove the medication from the water and it won't work. Your boy really needs a heater so if you don't have one I would get one as soon as possible as it will help to aid his recovery and stop further problems. Obviously the 1/2 gallon bowl will not fit a heater so I would move him to your new 2.5 gallon.
As long as you use water conditioner and adjust the PH accordingly there is no real reason to keep using the bottled water because the conditioner will make your tap water safe for him. Whether or not you have a heater I would move him to the larger tank because ammonia levels will not build up as quickly in the larger tank. Also once he is in the larger tank please read the instruction of the coppersafe (some medications say to retreat in three days) if so I would just do a 100% water change every time you give him a fresh treatment. It is great that you are trying to keep his water so clean however doing two changes a day would be very stressful for your boy so aim to get him in the 2.5g so that you only need to do water changes when you retreat him or alternatively twice a week. Be sure to remove any uneaten food to keep the water quality good.
Many medications already contain some amount of salt so do not combine both medications and salt as he will get a harmful overdose, for now just leave the salt out and concentrate on the coppersafe.
I would aim to get his water PH to neautral so just add a little up/down as needed. For large changes do it gradually over a few hours. A too high or too low PH can damage a fish so I would prioritize getting the PH to neutral......doing gradual changes will help to combat stress.
Providing that you ensure the temperature and PH of the tap water matches the water that he is in then it should be fine to make this transition now. I understand your situation.... bottled water can be costly and sick fish require very regular water changes.
Good luck with your boy.....hope I answered all of your questions, if you need any more advice don't hesitate to ask. Keep us updated on your boys condition
So the tap water definitely wasn't stable!! Over night it jumped right back to where it had started. The bottled water is RO purified. I can't afford anymore kits so I don't know the gh and kh...Are there any other ways to determine it? =\ Did a mini half and half mix of both and the ph comes to right about 7 (and exactly at the same level as his present water)
Went and got a heater. Luckily saw a 10 gallon on sale for the same as my 2.5 so I did a little switcheroo and have a bigger tank (not filled all the way) and heater now :)
The heater is settling in for the half hour it needs before being turned on. I have it set for 79 for now till I see how well it warms the water. His bowl stays at about 75 (i live in Miami. The house stays pretty warm). Will adjust it for 80 once can check the temp a few times and know it won't fluctuate. Little timid about putting him in (will definitely do a long float) I heard about a drip method also where you can knot tubing, reverse the flow of water from the tank to where he's at, and then let it slowly drip in till he's in the right amount of new water..
Thank you again! Will definitely keep you posted on his status :)
RO cannot be used with fish without a lot of treatment.. buffers and remineralizers. It's a pain. Don't suggest it unless you have a lot of experience and/or no other alternatives. You would also need the testing kits and a lot of practice in large buckets before you know what's right and can subject your fish to it. Using pure RO water without any additives will eventually kill your fish because it doesn't have the necessary minerals and electrolytes to keep them healthy.
You can pre mix it in 50/50 ratios with your tap safely. I would still use a full dose of dechlorinator with it. It's very very important to do so EXACTLY the same each time. So if you mix in buckets you can add 1 gallon tap for one gallon RO. Don't eyeball mix it each time. Also premix it before adding to the tank.
Heater should be given a 24 hour test run in similar sized container with thermometer to make sure it will hold temp. Also when you do add it you need to set the heater below what the thermometer in his main tank says it is. Slowly click it up until it just comes on. From there you can wait until it comes to temp, click it up once, wait until it comes to temp.. wait an hour.. click it up again, repeat. No more than a degree per hour and 5 degrees per day. You need a thermometer with the heater, ideally one of those glass tank ones. What heater did you buy?
In a 10g you'll have lots of different temps all over the tank unless you also have a filter or bubbler of some kind placed under the heater.. It's also not really ideal to try to treat him in something so large. It'll be nice for him once he gets well though.
I have a bubbler in there, near the heater, and the thermometer is holding steady at 80 on the far side of the tank. Still letting it run. Re-checked the pH, but it's not holding steady at all even with the 50/50 mix. Apparently our tap is super super hard (I can't tell you the number, that was just quoting my brother lol) I need to pick either the small or large tank since I can't keep both. Pretty frustrated =S so I'm going to go for a long walk with the dogs while I try to figure out what to do. Really appreciate your advice.
I have 2 1/2 in there. He'd be able to get to the surface pretty easily, but it still keeps the heater very well covered. I'm going to acclimate him to the temperature now as I figure out what to do about the pH. Start acclimating him to the water once that's figured out and he's used to the temp...