Hi, I'm new to the forum and I'm definitely not very pleased that my first post must be an emergency post, but I'm afraid it's necessary.
I got my fish for my Birthday (got him on the 8th 2012, my Birthday is on the 9th) as a bit of an unplanned rescue - he already had fin rot, his fins were clamped, he wasn't eating very much and seemed overall really stressed. Admittedly, I did not plan on buying a fish and the information provided by the pet shop was rather shocking, but it was all I had since bettas aren't very popular fish to keep here, he is my first fish and the information both in literature and online was pretty poor in my native language. Thankfully, I found your forum, which I'm unbelievably happy about and I'm very thankful for finding out about you. Anyway, all of his issues were treated with warm water and better conditions very promptly and he had seemed like a happy boy till about 3 weeks ago.
What size is your tank?
20l (5.5 gallon)
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Yes, with a sponge as prefiltration, so I'm hoping it's not the filter causing the issues. It's also on the lowest flow.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
No, it doesn't. (Should I consider one?)
Is your tank heated?
Yes, I have a heater with thermometer with the constant temperature.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Photos are included down below, but I feed him with Sera Bettagran, Tetra Betta and Dajana Betta. I fed him twice with Tropical Betta Granulát, but that's when the problems started, so I stopped feeding him that.
How often do you feed your betta fish?
About twice a day. I try to feed him as often as I can the tiniest amount I can (ie one pellet), but most often, I feed him 3 pellets twice a day.
How often do you perform a water change?
I usually follow OldFishLady's recommendation - once a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Also posted below - I use Dajana Chlor Stop (obviously to remove chlorine from the water) along with Dajana Start Plus (lowers nitrine levels, keeps the pH nice and stable etc.) and Amazon (IAL extract)
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
pH: 6.6 (constant)
My local pet shops didn't have the tests for Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate at the moment, but I will try to hunt them down as soon as I can (I'm afraid all the ladies at the pet shops around me remember me now).
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
My Dad wanted to buy him a hiding place (picture below), which he did not approve at all and I caught him fin biting, so the "decoration" had to go. I did a water change and thought it's going to be enough for him to get healed. At the time, I started feeding him with the Tropical food. The day after that, his tail seemed to have grey to black-brownish (with a yellow hint) edges, some of them were even red, rather ragged. I decided to go with a 100% water change and follow that for 3 days without any improvement. I followed with 10 days of aq. salt treatment, which seemed to help at first, but the symptoms started getting even worse about 3 days in (fins falling off). After that, I started using Sera Baktopur, which helped tremendously and he seemed completely healthy till today.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
His behavior hasn't changed at all. He's such a nice fish - he swims towards me, is very playful, jumps for food and is overall a lovely guy.:)
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
14th of February.
Have you started treating your fish?
If so, how? See above - first 100% water changes, then 10 days of aq. salt treatement, later on Sera Baktopur.
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
Yes, he was ill when I bought him and he has one of his fins in front missing since the start, it's never grown back? His fins were also "ball shaped" on the end, which he did recover from very soon tho. He aslo had one little pin hole in his top fin.
How old is your fish (approximately)?
I have had him since 8th of October 2012 from a pet shop.
I caught him fin biting today again (I wanted to go back to fasting him one day at a week, which I did not follow when he got sick, because I was afraid he might not have enough protein to assure nice fin growth - his fins were growing back very quickly), which stopped after I got him 3 pellets, so I feel like he was kind of blackmailing me.
His fins now have ragged appearance, which is obviously from the biting, and they seemed discolored at first, but now they seem "just" ragged.
The bottom of the tank is covered with sand (I changed all the sand when he got sick), 3 silk plants from Marina Betta (photos below) and he used to have glass beads, but I took them out for now.
I'm so sorry that I can't provide the results about nitrogenium, I'll try to get them asap - my Dad is a Physicist tho and he claimed he can't imagine the nitrogenium levels going high with all the care, but I'd say you never know.
I'm sorry about such a long post, but I'm not sure if I'm doing everything right, I'm also not sure what to do now, because I want to put him off the Baktopur tomorrow and add Biofilter to get the good bacteria going again, since this obviously killed it all.
My guess is that the food started the issue, but I'm not sure if that's even possible. I have not tried removing the plants (he seemes to be stressed even when I just move them), but I did try to check for any rough edges and there are none. His tank is also lighten.
I would like to ask you about your opinion on what is going on? The lady at the pet shop basically just told me that "it's just a fish and if I don't want to buy a new one instead of spending all the money" - WELL, EXCUSE YOU, but no, I don't.
I hope I haven't made any terrific mistake, I promise I'm doing all I can and thank you in advance for all your help.
I'll try to insert the photos down below ↓
1. a photo from when the symptoms first started
2. the anti chlorine + stress coat I used to use when I first got him
3. what I use now to keep the water in tact (the pH levels and hardness have been constant the whole time, btw)
4. the tests I have used so far
5. the aq. salt I have used
6. +7. + 8. the food I feed him
9. the "problematic" food
10. the gravel/sand vacuum cleaner I use
11. the decoration that strated the fin biting problems
12. a few of the beads I used to have in the tank (planning to put them back when he's healthy again)
the video of him yesterday (when he seemed doing fine without any greyish edges or tears) - please ignore my stupid talking :)
13. + 14. + 15. a photo of him today right after the fin biting
16. a photo of him a bit later
17. the Sera Baktopur
I hope you can see that I keep him very clean, he also keeps building bubble nests, which I'm happy about. I have ordered some actual IAL from Amy (on your recommendation), which should arrive in the next few weeks.
I can provide even more photos if you needed, but I didn't want to spam you all too much.
Thank you so, so much in advance.