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Old 02-23-2013, 12:02 PM   #1 
Ramla
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Help a Friend's Betta!

Alrighty so currently my friend's Betta is not well. So I said I would post on here for her, for your guys' advice, since I am no expert with fish diseases. Though going through the threads of diseases, initial diagnoses was a swim bladder issue. However they have been giving treatment for a week or so now I believe and he is still the same.

Today I had them set him up in a smaller container, so it would be easier to treat him.

But also because it is my friend's fish I am not positive on all of the parameters.
Housing
What size is your tank? 1 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? Unknown, but no heater :/
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flakes, unsure of what kind
How often do you feed your betta fish? Unsure, however, she said her room mate likely overfed him. And they say he hasn't eaten for the past week.

Maintenance

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

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Appears to be slightly deformed near tail fin, like a bump in the spine, fins are slightly chewed looking, which could be a case of fin nipping in the past, or he may have had fin rot a little. If any one has pics of fin rot versus fin nipping I would greatly appreciate them, not entirely sure how to tell the difference definitely.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Can not stay down, when swimming to bottom automatically floats to top again, so is usually at the top floating on his side. Hasn't eaten in a week
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2-3 weeks ago I believe is when they said they started noticing things
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Last week I believe they started adding 1 tbsp of epsom salt, and making sure they weren't over feeding them. Today I set him up in a smaller container, (4 cups) was all we had, and made sure his water was warmer, and added bettasafe and stresscoat and the correct dosage of epsom salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Unsure, but he is likely full grown, so probably at least a year.


Any help would be greatly appreciated, as they would not want to see their betta die. I have also attached photos of him, floating at the top. I was unable to get a video of him trying to swim down.

Click
Click
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Not the greatest pics, but they'll have to do. Also despite all of this he is still very active, when he tries to swim around, no joke, he seems very healthy other then this issue.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:28 PM   #2 
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This doesn't look good.. He has bad fin rot, equilibrium problems as he is falling to his side, is very pale, clamped, and possibly septicemia.. Have those red streaks always been there?

In 4 cups the water will build up VERY quickly so I just don't suggest doing that. You could easily see as much as 4 ppm ammonia in 24 hours. the 1 gallon should be small enough. If you want to reduce to half gallon then I would do daily 50% 100% alternating changes. In 4 cups I would do two 100% changes a day, and even then I am afraid he will see a lot of ammonia.

First off bettas need to be kept in 2 gallons minimum. In these twice weekly water changes of 50% and 100% are needed. Bettas kept in 1 gallon containers live an average of about 2 years compared to double that+ in larger containers. The 1 gallon would need 3 weekly water changes of 50%, 50% and 100%, and even then they will be subjected to ammonia.

The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the bowl and use a turkey baster to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. For the 100% you need to remove him - scoop him out with a plastic solo type cup and set aside while you thoroughly rinse the bowl and gravel to remove the debris. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.

Bettas are tropical fish and must be kept at a temp between 76-82, with 78-80 being ideal. The temp must be stable and not be dipping or jumping around. In a 2 gallon you can get an adjustable 25w heater. Any new heater should be tested for 24 hours in similar size container with in tank thermometer to make sure it will hold a constant appropriate temp between 78-80F. Then the betta must be acclimated to higher temp either by floating in a cup inside the main already fully heated tank for an hour, or by adjusting the heater to increase the temperature of the tank no more than a degree per hour and 5 degrees per day.

Flakes aren't good nutritional value, and especially with something this small they muck up the water quickly cuasing excess ammonia. You should look for a good quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week.

So.. first step is get your betta in warm clean water and maintain the water quality. Next step I would continue epsom salts - 1 tsp per gallon predissolved and added slowly over an hour to avoid shock. They need to be pure 100% magnesium sulfate with no dyes, perfumes or additives of any kind. I get mine from CVS Pharmacy. They only need to be readded along with a water change, and then only readd as much as water you change. I would leave him in these for 2 weeks.

I am really concerned about the red streaks on him though. Have they always been there? Changed at all? If they're new or changing I would look into an antibitic like Kanaplex, Triple Sulfa or Maracyn 1 & 2 in combo, treating for 2 weeks. Water changes every day 50% along with full redosing of meds and 100% by third day.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:32 PM   #3 
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Hello and welcome to the forum. We will try to do the best we can to help your friend's fish.

I would like to address a few problems I have noticed. First, one of the most important piece of equipment for raising a Betta fish is a heater. These are tropical fish that need steady, regular, temperatures. Temperature swings can harm Betta fish immune systems and make them prone to disease and/or illness. Warm water in the appropriate temperature range level is also needed to help combat most health problems.

It would be in your friend's best interest to purchase a reliable heater for her fish. Even if kept in a warm room, water temperature can drop 10 degrees over night and such fluctuations can harm the fish's health. A good heater with a thermostat should help and these can be found for under $20 on Amazon. To go with the heater, a cheap thermometer can be purchased in any pet shop.

Second, Betta fish diet is very important. The fish may also be bloated or constipated, which can occur from filler ingredients in food. Ideally, the ingredients in the fish food would contain the whole meal of a SPECIFIC fish. This would be "whole krill meal" or "whole herring meal" for example, as opposed to "whole fish meal" which does contain a filler that can cause swelling. Wheat is a product often used as a filler, found in "whole fish meal," that is hard for the fish to digest.

Because the fish is on its side, it is most likely swim bladder disorder. What sort of treatment have you been doing?

Water changes are essential for fish health. Even if the water does not appear cloudy, it can contain invisible toxins such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Ammonia is naturally released through their poop, exhale, and urine, in addition to being released from uneaten food. It is a common cause of illness and death in Betta fish. A 1 gallon tank should have both a 50% water change and a 100% water change during the week in order to ensure the water maintains its quality. This is also critical for regaining the fish's health. Clean water leads to better recovery.

As for tail biting VS fin rot, there are a few ways to tell. Fin rot generally has a black outline where the fins have disappeared while tail biting does not. He could also potentially be snagging his fins on harsh decorations such as plastic plants, if your friend has any of those. I wrote a blog article on the subject of tail biting a while back and have been told it is helpful.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:34 PM   #4 
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Sivan the picture you used for a betta who has been biting actually has fin rot. He may also be biting but he definitely has rot as the ends are black and dissolving
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #5 
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My goodness, you are right! I mislabeled the photo. Can't believe I did that! Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:46 PM   #6 
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Yeah guys, I am aware of essentials to maintain a tank for a betta, the issue is that this is a friends betta not mine, so I can't control how she decides to take care of him entirely. But thank you for the info and concern none the less. And maybe I can get them to buy the heater and such as a way to make him get better XD. Though sad way of having to get them to get all the right stuff.

@Callistra: As for him being pale and the red on him, those are his natural colors, he was a white fish with some red and blue on him (possibly a dalmatian coloring) when they got him, his coloring has not changed really, other than maybe paling a little, since this started happening. And what is septicemia?

@Sivan: I believe they have been placing epsom salts in his water, but am not entirely sure how they have been placing it in there, if it has been predissolved or not. And thanks for the blog link that helps a lot, for their fish and my own. Thought my guy may have had fin rot for a little there, but now I think it is just the way his fins are shaped, and he is a dummy that likes to slide under the heater ><

Sadly my friend's tank really has no decorations, I've been tryin to get them to get something to put in there, but it just hasn't happened yet.

But I think what I will do is, I will have them clean out their tank entirely and rinse everything so it is clean and fresh, and then ask them to get a heater and some pellets for him, and a silk plant, before I have them place him back in the 1 gallon, cause right now the 4 cup has a bit better water I believe than what is in his tank.

And then I will have them continue the epsom salt treatments in the 1 gallon, and hopefully get them on a better water changing schedule.

And I believe his tail may be tail biting likely, which if he gets better should be solved once they get a plant or something in there. Which would be awesome, cause I believe he is supposed to be a half-moon, but his tail has always been a little raggedy since they got him.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:10 PM   #7 
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Septicemia is an infection of the blood, usually caused by chronically poor water conditions. Fish get bloody streaks on their body and fins.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:02 PM   #8 
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Ahh thank you for the description, I will double check him for that next time I see him, and let you know if it is a possibility. It already is because of the fact that their water quality hasn't been the greatest for him, but I am fairly positive the red on him is just his coloring.

I know for sure the darker parts and red parts on his face is his normal coloring
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:17 PM   #9 
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I double checked today and all the red on him is his natural coloring, so I would say that septicemia isn't something we need to worry about. But I passed the info on of what she should do for him, so hopefully it will happen.

But won't lie he looks a bit better since yesterday when I had them take him out of his tank. He seems a bit more able to sit right side up, rather than floating on his side, and he seems a bit more energized to swim around. So hopefully they get what they need for him and he'll be able to make a recovery.

Also for his tail if he survives..I've seen a few things about rooibos tea being good for helping regrow fins? Is this true, and how would you want to administer it? Cause I think that would help him a lot. His tail I think has been bitten down a bit, probably out of boredom and stress.
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