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Old 01-26-2013, 11:58 AM   #1 
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Hey guys, I'm in dire need of your help!

Short story long: I've had my betta, Chon, for over 6 months now. He's been a healthy betta up until about this last wednesday when he started acting weird. he's always been happy and gets excited when it's time to feed him, but he started he started getting into his cave and would't come out. Thursday things got worse when I noticed he had two cotton-like white spots on his body, and again would hide/seemed afraid of me. I ran to Petco and bought Melafix and Pimafix to fight either his fungal or bacterial infection. I started giving him the instructed dosages since thursday afternoon, and today he just seems worse. He's got more white spots, his fins are in really bad shape, and he can hardly swim (he uses his entire body to move around since he can't use his fins ) He ate a little on thursday, but refused to eat yesterday or today. He just seems to lay on the plants or leans against the tank w/out moving his fins and stays there w/out doing anything.

The tank's temperature is suitable (we've got a heater and a thermometer). We did a complete water change two weeks ago, and a 50% water change last saturday (like we do every saturday), so his water is fresh. He's also got a filter which was changed two days ago.

Help! What do I do? Is the medicine I'm giving him any good? Is there anything better out there? Should I put salt in the tank? I really don't want to lose him!

Here's a picture of Chon I took a couple of minutes ago.

THanks in advance for any help!
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:11 PM   #2 
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Do 100% water change to remove the Melafix. It contains an ingredient that coats their labrynth organ and can cause them to suffocate. None of what you are using have a chance at helping this.

What I see primarily is fin melt which is a condition due to water quality issues. More info is needed:
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #3 
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Poor fella, we need some more info...

Tank size, how long has it been setup, any tank mates, live plants, type of additives used and water temp. When you make water changes-do you cup him and if so-how do you acclimate back to the new water. Is this your only Betta and/or aquarium.

What kind of filter and do you keep it running all the time-do you have any water prams-ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH for both the tank and source water. What is the source water and if using tap water-is it going through a water softening unit, if so, can you bypass it to use for the Betta if its the type that uses salt.

To understand-you make 100% water changes every 2 weeks and 50% weekly...correct...or was the 100% a one time thing. In what relation regarding the water changes did you first see the behavior changes and white spots-what part of the body are these white spots-I couldn't spot them on the pic.

How many day have you used the medications-

What I would recommend-place him in QT-a small bare container that can be floated in a heated tank to maintain temp in the 75-76F range for treatment. Stop the medication and start him on high dose aquarium salt 3tsp/gal and tannins if you have some.

Premix the treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add the salt 3tsp/gal and a tannin source-either IAL(1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (20 crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30min-Shake well....

Using this premixed treatment water-make 25% water changes every 15min for 1hr today. This will get him acclimated and start the 10 day treatment.
He needs to stay in the small QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period.

Tomorrow-using the premixed treatment water make 50% water changes daily to complete the treatment duration.
If you used a tannin source the water should look darker in the jug every day and this is what you want.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals...

Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:50 PM   #4 
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What size is your tank?
2.5 gallons
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?

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Freeze dried blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish?
Every day

How often do you perform a water change?
Since the tank isn't covered, about 25% of the water evaporates each week--we additionally take 25% more water out and replace it with water that has been conditioned
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
We replace roughly 50% of the water each week, and every month or so we replace 100% of the water
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
We use API Stress Coat to condition the water. We usuallly apply the stress coat to the water and let it sit for about 2-3hours before putting the water in the tank

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
We usually don't test the water but we just went to PetSmart and bought and tester and these are the results

Ammonia:Doesn't say
Hardness:General: 180, Carbonate: 40
Alkalinity: Doesn't say

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
His colors have become dull, the fins/tail seem to be frailing...his tail is splitting, and he's got white cotton-like spots in his head and his sides
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
he was always super happy swimming outside of his cave and eager to be fed. In the past 2 days he hasn't eaten, he's always hiding in his cave, and when he does come out he seems scared of everything and swims erratically. When's he's outside he also is always leaning against the tank, and hides behind the leaves of the fake plants.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
3 days ago on Thursday
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Yes, I went to a PetCo and after sharing my betta's symptoms and they recommended I treat him w/Pimafix and Melafix
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
Back in August we left him at a friend's house while away on a trip and when we came back he seemed to have fin rot which is why we started using the API Stress Coat, and he got better within days
How old is your fish (approximately)?
Probably about a year

As an update, we ran to PetSmart and bought a 2qt tank and filled it w/spring water and 1/4 tablespoon of sea salt. We added 5 drops of Betta H20 Conditioner to the water to be on the safe side.

What do you guys recommend? Should we just leave him in this new water w/the salt? Do we keep administering the Pimafix that supposedly treats fungal infections?

Thanks for your help OldFishLady and Callistra
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #5 
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I just realized I forgot to answer I couple of questions:

The filter is a small Tetra Whisper, and he's been on his medication since Thursday afternoon.

Actually, we started the Pimafix on Thursday, and started him on the Melafix yesterday. he's been given 3 pimafix doses and 1 melafix. right now hes' in a 2qt tank w/ spring water, and has nothing but the 1/4 tablespoon of salt.

thanks again!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #6 
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Your water changes need to be increased in the main tank. Nitrates should stay under 20, ideally. Some hardy fish an handle up to 40 but not every fish can handle this and under 20 is much much safer. Also ammonia is the biggest concern of a tank this size. Most people will tell you that despite the filter the tank is just too small to maintain a biofilter and you will always need twice weekly water changes of 50% and 100%. Even if you try cycling will take up to two months, and may never fully establish. OFL thinks that the filter will allow for twice weekly 50% changes including gravel cleaning with small siphon or stir/dip method to clean debris from the gravel - never just take water off the top. If you want to do less than than 100% weekly you should own a reliable drops kit for ammonia as well and make sure that you never see any show up. If you do then even the twice weekly 50% are not enough.

Your tank also needs a lid. If you can't find one for that size you can use plastic saran wrap over the top, leaving a little slit on the size for air to get in and out.

He's also too cold. What heater are you using? 76 is bare minimum but 78-80 is ideal.

Sea salt is not the same thing as aquarium salt and is not an appropriate treatment for a freshwater fish ever. This is what you wanted: 2QT is half gallon which will require daily 100% water changes. 3 tsp are in a tablespoon so 1/4 of this is you now have 3/4 tsp x2 since it's only a half gallon and you have used 1.5 tsp per gallon ratio.

How are you keeping this QT warm?

Personally I would use an actual antibiotic for how he looks right now but if you wanted to try fresh water aquarium salt you could. I would use Kanaplex by Seachem, Maracyn Plus or Furan 2. You would need to dillute properly for half a gallon

Last edited by callistra; 01-26-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #7 
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Thanks for your quick reply, callistra!

I was actually confused, we did buy aquarium salt, and not sea bad. I'm confused about what you said about how many table/teaspoons of salt the 2qt tank needs though? Is the 1/4 tablespoon ok? The salt we bought was the API Aquarium Salt.

Our heater is an automatic Aquion small tank heater that allegedly keeps the tank between 70-80F. I'm keeping the 2qt tank heated w/the same heater from the other tank...i took it out and cleaned it before putting it in the small tank.

Are Kanaplex by Seachem, Maracyn Plus or Furan 2 salts or antibiotics? Would you stop using the Pimafix? Is safe that we've given him all these meds in such a short period of time even if we stop the old ones?

Thanks again!!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #8 
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It sounds like you need another heater. In something that's 2.5g you can use an adjustable 25w heater that will work a lot better. I use Marineland Visitherm for this size but Jager is another good one. Whatever heater you choose I would still give it a 24 hour test run with internal thermometer to make sure it will hold one constant appropriate temp between 78-80. In this half gallon you won't be able to use anything larger. Just make sure it doesn't overheat the half gallon as those auto ones tend to do that, or else cause swings.

I wouldn't use Primafix.. it's Pimenta racemosa and Clove oil.. actually clove oil is an used to euthanize fish. I really don't see it helping.

You're at an ok amount of salt. The meds I described are broad spectrum antibiotics. The melafix and primafix aren't real meds so he hasn't really gotten meds yet. I would not use salt and antibiotics though. I would choose one or the other.

Last edited by callistra; 01-26-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:41 PM   #9 
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just an additional note to the great advice you've already received. Freeze-dried bloodworms are like candy for Bettas and contain very little usable nutrients, which can eventually compromise their immune systems if that is all that is being fed. You need to find a high quality betta pellet or flake food (preferably pellet as flakes can cause constipation and cause messes, plus most bettas don't like flakes anyway) that contains mostly high quality fish proteins and very little fillers such as wheat, oats, soy, corn, etc. Too much those fillers are bad for Bettas given that they are carnivorous fish.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:14 PM   #10 
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oh wow!!! I had no idea the blood worms werent any good! I thought i had read somewhere that they made the fish really happy and i thought that meant they were good for them?

Ive been feeding him the bloodworms for months, and nothing but that! I used to feed him pellets but when i saw how happy he was w the worms i stopped feeding him the pellets! I'll start feeding him the pellets then. Thanks for your advice, sainthogan!

Callistra, thank you too! I'll give the salt a try and if he doesnt seem to be getting any better i'll switch to the antibiotics! Also, when you say i should change the water everyday, how do i go about changing all of it w/stressing him out by switching him from one tank to the other?

Thanks again to everyone!
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