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Old 02-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #1 
dougan
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Betta has lost color and is much less active

Background:

Housing
What size is your tank - 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank - N/A, I don't have a thermometer or heater, but the water does feel warm.
Does your tank have a filter - No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? - Pump with an air stone
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? - TetraMin Tropical Flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish? - Every other day.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? - When the water begins to look unclear.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? - Full water change.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? - No additives

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

I use 1 gallon of drinking water.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? - Loss of color (more below).
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? - Dramatically reduced activity; stays mostly at the bottom (more below).
When did you start noticing the symptoms? - approximalely 2-3 weeks ago?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - Began treatment February 08, 2013 with 1 dose of Bettafix.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - No prior history.
How old is your fish (approximately)? - Approximately 20 months

The usual tank conditions for my male Betta (in addition to the above):

4 artificial plants,
glass aquarium gravel,

I've had him for almost two years and up to this point, he hasn't had any problems that I'm aware of. I believe on January 18th of this year I performed a full water change and changed the gravel. Instead of using my usual glass aquarium gravel, I switched to Spectrazone Permaglo Black Lagoon for Freshwater Aquariums, which is advertised as not affecting water pH and having a non-toxic coating. The reason I switched is because there have been a few times in the past when I noticed that my Betta's fins would get wedged in between the glass aquarium gravels and he'd have a hard time getting himself out. I thought the gravel would be safer for him.

Within two days of having the new gravel in the aquarium, I noticed that the water was slightly cloudy. My fish seemed fine and I decided to monitor the water to see if the cloudiness worsened. It did not, but I noticed that my Betta, who is normally a dark blue, was getting slightly pale underneath his gills. He was still active and swimming and eating and everything seemed fine, so I decided to just keep an eye on him.

Then on Wednesday of this week, I noticed that the paleness had worsened and spread to the actual gill area (side of his head) and along the length of the lower half of his body. So I did a full water change and got rid of the Spectrazone gravel and went back to the glass aquarium gravel that I had been using. Along with his loss of color, he is spending most of the time at the bottom of the tank and is slightly tilted. He only comes up every once in a while for air and then goes back to the bottom.

I tried feeding him on Wednesday night, and it seemed like he was trying to eat, but he was struggling to get to the top and he didn't eat very much.

Last night I went to Petsmart and bought a bottle of Bettafix and have since used one dose (1/2 tsp per gallon of water). I know it's only been one dose, but I don't see any improvement. I just tried to feed him and he does have an appetite, but he is not eating as much. I think he struggles to be at the top of the tank to get to his food, so he only ate a little and then returned to the botton of the tank. I've thought about lowering the water level so he doesn't have to struggle as much, but I'm worried about how to measure out the proper dosage of the Bettafix since there will no longer be 1 gallon of water in the tank.

I've been to several websites and I don't know if what he has is bacterial or fungal or internal or external. And there seem to be so many different antibiotics and remedies. I thought about using aquarium salt, but I didn't want to add too much too soon with the Bettafix. Also, someone asked a similar question on bettatalk.com, and the woman recommended Kanacyn, but I haven't been able to find it and I didn't want to delay treatment any longer. I almost perchased Maracyn-Two, but it didn't list Bettas among
the fish it treats, and it comes in packets that are to be used in 10 gallon tanks, so I didn't want to risk overdosing my fish in his 1 gallon tank if I measured improperly.

In addition, I've read about people giving their Bettas boiled peas? Can anyone elaborate on why this is done and exactly how to prepare the peas?

I feel so absolutely guilty for not being more on top of things and removing him and changing the water the instant I noticed the water was cloudy. I thought I was doing things properly, but apparently not (not using aquarium salt or heater; more frequent water changing).

I can't be sure that the Spectrazone gravel is at fault, but there seems to be a correlation. Any help is greatly appreciated. I am attaching photos of what my fish currently looks like. Thank you.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:51 PM   #2 
callistra
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The problem is your betta is suffering ammonia poisoning from lack of water changes. Your betta is also freezing and probably malnourished

In a bowl this small two weekly water changes are required (at minimum and personally I would do three based on experience) of 50% and 100% which includes rinsing the gravel and decor. 2 gallons is actually minimum for keeping bettas healthy long term and they just don't live more than a couple years on average compared to twice that+ in larger containers.

You have to use conditioner. Tap water is unsafe for bettas. It should say it remove chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals - must say all three and I suggest getting a liquid conditioner. I personally like Prime.

Bettas are tropical fish and must be kept with a heater unless you keep your house or room they are in a consistent (no change, peaks or drops) of 80F+. 78-80F is ideal and your betta's bowl will be several degrees below room temp. If you get a 2g tank you can get a 25w adjustable heater like Marineland Visitherm or Jager, which would be ideal. You also have to use an in tank thermometer with the heater to make sure it is working and set it properly (don't rely on the heater). I also highly suggest testing your heater for 24 hours with thermometer in similar size container to make sure it will hold an appropriate constant temperature. Once you are sure it is working your betta must be acclimated to warmer water slowly at no more than 1 degree per hour and 5 degrees per day, or floating in a plastic cup (solo type) in the bowl for an hour, after the water has already been fully warmed.

Flakes are not a good idea because of their lower nutritional value to pellets, and because they muck up the water faster which is especially bad in this tiny bowl. They also need two small meals daily (about the size of their eye as this is the size of their stomach) with one fast day a week. You should feed a pellet whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal and wheat is the worst.

Plastic ornaments are generally not good for bettas because their fins are sensitive. You should test them all by removing them and thoroughly dragging women's panty hose through them to make sure they don't catch. If they catch, they need to be replaced. Silk are usually much better but sometimes even they have parts that catch.

============
At this point...

*Get conditioner
*Do a series of 2-3 50% water changes to get water quality under control and then finally a 100% change - then while he is healing do 100% change every other day for the next week or two and finally maintain water quality as above. Make sure to match all new water to existing water using a thermometer and add conditioner before introducing your fish to it. I would still include an acclimation period of at least 30min if not an hour in which you float the betta in a cup in the existing water and either add a few tablespoons every 10minutes, or a series of 50% wtaer changes to introduce new water into the cup every 10min. I would also never use a net and also scoop with the cup.
*Get a heater and a larger tank.
*Get better food
*Check your ornaments for catches

Last edited by callistra; 02-09-2013 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:23 PM   #3 
dougan
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Callistra,

Thank you for your reply. I want to reiterate that I don't use tap water; I use purified drinking water that I purchase from the store. Could his waste and any uneaten food be producing the Ammonia?

That being said, would you still recommend the conditioner? Also, should I continue to use the Bettafix or discontinue since you believe this is Ammonia poisoning? He seems to be coming up for air a little bit more frequently. I'm not sure if I can attribute that to the Bettafix or not.

I will also go get a 2 gallon tank as soon as possible along with the heater and thermometer.

I've tried feeding him the pellets, but he just leaves them. That's why I went to the flakes because that was the only thing he would eat at the very beginning when I first got him. But I'll try and find pellets with whole fish and give it a try again.

I'll also look for ornaments that are safe for him. I read that plants with rounded leaves are better than what I currently have.

Thank you again for your help.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:32 PM   #4 
callistra
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Purified drinking water you buy in gallon jugs (or larger) from the grocery store is actually RO water and is not okay to keep any fish in without kh and gh buffers.. It lacks all minerals and fish cannot stay healthy in it. Why are you not using tap?

It's possible that some of the plastic plants are soft enough not to snag, but only testing will make sure. The really needly one is the biggest concern but he seems to really like that pink/red one so maybe it won't snag if you test it.

I would stop using Bettafix.

Also did you rinse the gravel before you put him in? If you did not this could also be a part of the cause, but it will be fixed with your water changes I think are needed.

Last edited by callistra; 02-09-2013 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:23 AM   #5 
dougan
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I rinse everything off really well each time I change his water; plants, gravel and tank.

The reason I wasn't using tap water is because I know it has harmful things in it like chlorine. I thought I would be getting a "cleaner" water by using purified drinking water and avoid having to use the conditioners.

I'll switch to tap and use the Prime conditioner you mentioned. Is this what you are speaking of http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2753920? My local Petsmart seems somewhat limited in what it carries. I'll go tomorrow to see if they have it, but if they don't, Amazon is my next best bet. I'll expedite the shipping, but even with that I still won't get it until Tuesday and I'm worried about making him wait that long.

A few additional questions:

  • The product description for the Prime doesn't mention anything about gh and kh buffers. Do you use something in addition to the Prime for those, or is the Prime sufficient? When I do the first 50% water change, should I be concerned about the Prime having an adverse effect with the Bettafix that's already in the water?
  • What are your thoughts on using epsom/aquarium salts?
  • Could you make a recommendation on fish food? Is anything okay as long as it has whole fish as one of the first ingredients?
  • Do you recommend purchasing a tank that uses a filter? I remember reading reviews of some tanks where the reviewer(s) were unhappy that the filter sucked up their fish.
  • When you talk about floating the Solo cup in the aquarium for acclimation, how do you go about this without the cup tipping over?

I hope I'm not being a bother with all these questions. I just want to make sure I get this right.

Thank you again. You've been very helpful already.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:49 AM   #6 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Tackling the questions in your last post....

* Tap water has dissolved salts and minerals in it that your fish needs to survive. It also has disinfectants likes chlorine and chloramines, which is why using a water conditioner is recommended. As long as you add conditioner to the tap water each time you do a water change, the water will be safe for your fish.

* A lot of people on this forum use Prime water conditioner because it temporarily neutralizes ammonia. But my personal opinion is that if you have a small tank and do frequent water changes, then *any* water conditioner that neutralizes/removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals is fine. For example, I use Petsmart's Top Fin water conditioner. If my guys develop fin problems, then I use API's Stress Coat which contains aloe and helps promote healing.

* Since you have a 1 gal, unfiltered tank, and are going to be doing frequent water changes, you don't need to worry about GH and KH buffers. If you later upgrade to a larger, filtered tank, then yes, it's something to consider.

* I do not recommend using Bettafix since it contains an oil which can make it difficult for Bettas to breathe.

* Epsom salts are good for internal issues, such as constipation and bloating. If your fish doesn't have these, it's not needed.

* Aquarium salt is used temporarily for external issues, such as fin rot. However, Bettas are very sensitive to Aquarium salt. It should only be used if your fish has an external problem. And it should never be used for more than 10 days, since it can harm the internal organs. The best way to keep your fish from dealing with issues like fin rot is to keep him in warm, clean water.

* The two foods more often recommended on this forum are New Life Spectrum (NLS) Betta Pellets, and Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets.

* There are a lot of differing opinions about the need for a filter. In your one gallon tank, it's not needed. In fact, the water flow would probably just push your fish around too much. If you upgrade to a larger tank later on, it's definitely something you can look into.

* During acclimation, if you fill the cup about halfway or slightly higher, it won't tip over. If mine starts to tilt, I will prop it up against the side of the tank, or some of the silk plants.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 02-10-2013 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:55 AM   #7 
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When you use tap water you don't need anything for kh or gh. The tap water has all this in it. The RO strips it. Prime is good. Make sure when you acclimate from RO to tap you do so VERY slowly. I would do it over 2 hours or more where you add just a tablespoon of new water into the cup every 10minutes and then when it gets too full take a bunch out and start over. If you have a ph test kit that would be good. There may be huge ph difference between the two waters and you don't want to shock. As long as your tap water is under 9 it is safe.

I think using salts for stress or minor illness is good, but they shouldn't be used on a regular basis or without reason.

I use mostly New Life Spectrum Betta. Omega One Betta Buffet is good too. I'm not aware of any other whole fish pellets, but if you find them they should be good.

I think cycling a tank makes fish keeping a bunch easier, and the fish tend to live longer, but it's a lot more expensive and not necessary. As long as you have at least 2 gallons your fish will stay healthy. I have 5 gallons I do weekly 100% water change in and have not bothered to cycle. The only thing I will say with 2+g tanks is that you should buy an air pump, air stone and stone control valves to control valves for the airline to turn down the stone to a soft mist, and place it under the heater. Otherwise you will have pockets of cold and hot air.

I have used several methods. Mostly I squeeze it in between the lid and the side and this holds it. In a 1 gallon bowl you may need to do things like double sided foam tape (not in the water obviously) to rig it.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:34 AM   #8 
dougan
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Callistra and LittleBlueFishlets,

Thank you both so much for your quick replies. I'd like to add another thing: in between my first reply to Callistra and her second reply to me, I added another dose of the Bettafix (so this was before it was recommended to discontinue the Bettafix). So there's approximately one teaspoon of Bettafix in the 1 gallon tank over an approximate 24 hour period (I began the Bettafix last night).

Everything is closed where I am right now so I don't have access to the Prime. I do, however, have a half gallon of the RO water left. Since, the Bettafix can cause difficulty breathing, I was thinking of doing a 50% water change right now with the half gallon of leftover RO water that I have so that I can remove at least some of the Bettafix.

Do you guys recommend this at this time, or should I wait until tomorrow when I can begin gathering the supplies?

Thank you, thank you.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:39 AM   #9 
callistra
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If your betta is exhibiting signs of stress you might do the change, however if he seems fine I'd just wait until tomorrow. Bettafix is not as harmful in my experience since it is such a diluted like 1/5th dose form of Melafix (which is harmful and I have seen fish showing real issues with it), but it just doesn't really fix much of anything either.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:13 AM   #10 
dougan
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Okay, I'll just sit tight for now and keep an eye on him to see if I notice any changes.

Quote:
Make sure when you acclimate from RO to tap you do so VERY slowly. I would do it over 2 hours or more where you add just a tablespoon of new water into the cup every 10minutes and then when it gets too full take a bunch out and start over.
I want to make sure I fully understand this. Before I start doing anything to the tank, I'm first going to scoop my Betta into a Solo cup using the existing water that's in the tank. He will remain in the cup while I do a 50% water change in the tank and wash the gravel and plants (I'll leave out the ones with the needle-like leaves).

Then, when the water has been replaced, treated with conditioner and heated to the correct temperature, I will float the cup in the water, adding 1 teaspoon of water every 10 minutes over a two hour period. When the cup is full, do I pour most of that water back in the tank and begin filling the cup up again at the same rate for a total of 4 hours?
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