I've been lurking here since I decided to get a betta in August, but now my poor fish is sick, so it's time for me to post.
Ferdinand has been healthy and happy since I got him, although he tends to be a picky eater. At the beginning of the week, he started to eat less and then ignored his pellets completely. He even ignored bloodworms, which are usually a huge deal for him.
Yesterday I noticed he was spending all of his time at the top of the tank, ignoring his beloved house (beloved probably seems like a strong word, but if I take the house out of his tank for any reason, he mopes). I put him in a hospital tank with clean water until I had a chance to clean his tank with hot water, but now he's kind of stuck on his side and sometimes vertical. He's obviously annoyed by this, but he can't get his body oriented right. He's doing what seems like a lot of gill breathing, and I can see a darker blue around his gills, but I don't remember if that's normal for him or not. He has been more lethargic the last couple of days.
I have one male betta in a 1.5 gallon tank (watching for a good deal on a larger tank, but money is tight). The water is consistently 75 degrees without a heater. I tried adding a filter at first, but it created too much current and got taken out. He has a faux antique jar house and a silk plant.
He gets two TetraBetta mini pellets twice a day, plus a bloodworm a couple times a week and occasionally some freeze dried brine shrimp (picked out of a flake food he hated) when he gets bored with the regular food.
I do a full water change twice a week and add Tetra BetaSafe water conditioner. I have not tested the water. :/
I'm off to consult at the pet store and pick up some aquarium salt, but the pet store people are more puppy people, so I'll check back for any advice.
Welcome to the forum and sorry your Betta isn't well....
It look like more than a buoyancy issue going on-What I would recommend is Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) tannins, increased heat/humidity over the water for the labyrinth organ, low stress and good nutrition.
Good that you have him in QT-if you can-get the temp up a bit to the 77-78F range, cover the top of the QT with plastic veggie wrap to help retain heat/humidity for the labyrinth organ. If he came in one of those small temporary cups with a lid-these work great for a QT since they are usually small enough to float in a heated tank to maintain temp. If not, anything small, bare so you can keep him in a lower water level so he doesn't have to struggle too much to get to air.
Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water (I use a clean 1gal milk jug) Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal and a tannin source if you have one-Either IAL (1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (20 crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30min-to allow the tannins to start leaching and Esalt to fully dissolve. Shake well before use.
Using this premixed treatment water-make 25% water changes every 15min for 1 hour today-This will get him properly acclimated and start the treatment. He needs to stay in the covered QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 14 days.
Tomorrow-using the premixed treatment water-make 50% water changes every day to complete the treatment duration. If you used a tannin source-the water should look darker everyday in the 1gal jug and this is what you want. Don't worry about any of the leaf pieces that fall into the QT with the water changes.
Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals-If you have access to live mosquito larva-offer several rinsed a couple of times a day. Once he start feeling better he should start to eat again.
I would turn off the light and hold food for the first 24h of treatment....
Thanks Oldfishlady! The people at the pet store shrugged and read bottles of fish medication with me for a minute or two before declaring they didn't have anything that would help (it's never a good sign when they exchange "the look" before helping). I'll head out on a search for Epsom salt next. I may have to do without a tannin source, as nothing like that was available at the pet store, but I'll feel much better knowing I'm doing something to help him.
He's still swimming today! I did find epsom salt and got him started yesterday afternoon. He's pretty vertical rather than sideways today, but he's also moving around the hospital tank more. It's longer than his normal tank, so he can still have space to move while easily getting to the surface if he ever stops being stuck there.
Sadly, I'd need a shovel if I wanted to find any oak leaves during winter in Wisconsin. There are probably some oak trees in one of the parks, if only I could remember where.
I think I'll take advantage of the chance to try out a heater in his normal tank while he's not in there. The smallest one I could find before the holidays was for a 2-5 gallon tank and is supposed to raise the temperature by 5-10 degrees. I haven't wanted to experiment with it and overheat him.
Well, poo. Now he's on his side on the bottom of his tank. He protested a bit when I did a partial water change earlier, but now he doesn't seem to be moving. He's been surprisingly good company for a fish. I keep hoping he'll pull through.
Poor little Ferdinand is no more. :( I really appreciate the help, and I'm glad I could do something to try to make him feel better.
He was a semi planned purchase in August. I had decided to get a beta, had gotten a hand me down tank, and started reading the forums. I didn't intend to bring home a fish that day, but despite being in dirty water, he still looked healthy and swam around his tiny cup begging to come home. He was so surprised by having enough room to really move around that he kept checking out everything in his new home over and over. I ended up lowering the water level for him a bit because he was slow figuring out how long it took him to get to the surface. :)
For my part, I felt lucky to have gotten a fish who would follow me around. Whatever part of the tank I was by, he would swim over to say hi and see if I was going to feed him. He was about 2 inches from his nose to the end of his tail when I got him, and he didn't grow. I'll miss the little guy, but I'm glad I got to give him a happier home for part of his life.