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Old 03-16-2013, 11:50 AM   #1 
Mirmy
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Texas
Unhappy Sick Betta fish, won't get better

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gal
What temperature is your tank? 80 currently but usually 76
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No, but I put in an air stone yesterday
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?3 Khuli Loach

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Freeze dried bloodworms, floating pellets, brine shrimp, flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish?
usually 4 to 8 pellets a day, but he hasn't eaten in about a week




Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? well... used to be 50 to 75 percent monthly but with me just starting college... It's been rough. I would keep the level of the water even, since it would evaporate rather quickly. I changed the water a few days ago, 50 percent change.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? read above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Dechlorinator with slime coat protector stuff, aquarium salt, bacteria supplement
Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
It has been waaayy too long... I used to test for ammonia but that was never really an issue. I bought a small test kit at walmart the other day but was distraught to see I only bought a PH kit, which really sucks since I wanted a test for everything. I grabbed the wrong one in a hurry
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Lethargic, his color is mostly the same, just a tiny bit duller I would say. Tummy has gotten a bit swollen, has a mild case of dropsy it seems...
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, stays at bottom, will dart to get air when he needs it, immediately comes down again, wants to hide also, like get into small spaces like he never used to do. He will sometimes seem to give up and lie on his side. Gill movements seem a bit rushed.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Around a week ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? For a few days, I just told myself he was just stressed or something and he would come around in no time... I was wrong, he appeared to have dropsy, so yesterday I isolated him in a plastic cup hanging in the tank, I put aquarium salt in with him for about 30 min, about half a teaspoon. I changed his water after that have done so three more times. He's still in the cup, not improving but in a constant state.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I knew nothing about fish keeping when I first got him so I dumped him into new water and he went into PH shock, although that is the only other time he was ever sick.
How old is your fish (approximately)?I got him from Petsmart about 2 years ago (it was December), and he was already probably 6 months old then.

MORE DETAILS


I first suspected he had nitrate/nitrite poisoning, since he was at the bottom of the tank usually trying to hide and he had somewhat rapid gill movements, as well as a slightly arching position, head up. I honestly didn't think much of it, mostly because he hadn't gotten sick before, and I didn't really see a reason... But now I feel guilty... Yesterday I saw a very scary thing, that his scales were raising and his belly had gotten swollen. I freaked out and put him in a plastic cup on the side of the tank, gave a salt bath, replaced water, and ive been replacing the water since then a few times. He will sometimes lie on his side, but will usually be upright in the cup. His mild case of dropsy still seems to be present. I have noticed now that his gill movements have picked up a bit... And that his gills have become slightly red on top. I am very worried that he hasn't eaten at all... I tried giving him a pellet but he showed absolutely no interest... He will only every so often go up for air... I really don't know what is wrong with him besides dropsy... Another thing that just freaks me out is the possibility that he might have fish tuberculosis??? Are these generally the symptoms? I've read everything I can find to rule this out, and I can say I can but idk... since symptoms range with this disease. He does not have a deformed spine or spotting on him or anything. I read conflicting opinions on dropsy and fish tuberculosis though.. Some places say they are completely related and others say FT does not cause dropsy! I really don't know and I am a paranoid person so I'm just fearing the worst... I do have three khuli loach in the tank that i am worried sick about since they always hide in the cave I have in there, so i cant assess their behavior. as far as i know, though, they are perfectly fine, i dug them out the other day and they behaved like they have before, squirmy and stuff... I am sorry for writing so much but the more detailed the better. Thanks in advance!!! I really love my fish and I am at a loss... I am a college student and low in funds and time :/ and this just stresses me out so much! I can't stand seeing my fish suffering...





I will post pics later, i dont have my cable and theyre on my phone...
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:20 PM   #2 
callistra
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He has dropsy from chronically poor water conditions and possibly over salt use.

Topping off evaporated water removes nothing from the tank. Ammonia just build and builds and builds until it is lethal.. It hit lethal.

Your tank needs a lid. Lids for this size would cost around $15. If you can't afford that, you can put saran wrap over the top.. leaving a little slit in back for air to get in and out.
I would not continue to add bacterial supplement. If you wanted to add it once during cycling that's fine but I would not continue to add it over and over.

Aquarium salt should only be used in cases where your fish is actually sick, and then it can only be used up to 2 weeks safely. Using it longer will just breed bacteria resistant infections and make the salt useless when you actually need it. Also it can lead to premature organ failure. Also using aquarium salt in cases of dropsy can make it worse. What you want is epsom salt

You're not dong near enough water changes.. In a fully established tank weekly water changes of 25-50% are needed. That's assuming the cycle is fully stable. Since you haven't tested we have no idea.. At this point I would do a series of 3-4 50% changes with your siphon to catch up. I would also get a testing kit.. good reliable drops.

You need to be testing daily with a reliable drops kit for ammonia and nitrite and doing an extra 50% change any time you see either. In addition to this a weekly 50% with siphon is needed to remove poop and other debris from the gravel. It is not enough to just scoop water off the top ever, and it is especially problematic to just keep topping off water and never do a change.

First you will see ammonia, then nitrite. Eventually, hopefully, you will see ammonia fall and stay at 0 even after a week of no water changes, and finally nitrite. At this point you will be left with only nitrates after a full week of no changes and these can be kept <20ppm by weekly 25-50% change with siphon. Since you have not kept up with your water changes in so long I would monitor at least two weeks to make sure all levels stay solid, even if it shows as okay after a few days or even a week.

Also what filter do you have and how do you maintain it?

The cup he is in will build ammonia alarmingly quickly you will find. It could easily have as much as 4ppm ammonia in 24 hours. I would get a 2-3 gallon acrylic critter keeper, fill it half full and float him in this. Do daily 100% changes in it, along with redosing of Epsom salt.

He may also need antibiotics.. but honestly it’s a crap shoot. His water quality is so poor it may just be organ failure without infection and then dosing antibiotics may make it worse.. or the chronically poor conditions could have bred infection, in which case not using antibiotics may be lethal.. if you want to use them you need something that goes internal like KAanplex by seachem, Triple Sulfa or Maracyn1 and 2 in combo.. treat 2 weeks. They will need to be wet diluted too.
The Epsom salt needs to be pure 100% magnesium sulfate. The ingredients label must be checked. It should not smell and it should be white. I get mine from CVS Pharmacy. Predissolve 1 tsp per gallon outside the container and add slowly over an hour. After 12 hours, do this again. Now you have a 2 tsp per gallon dosage. Salts do not evaporate or break down. Redose along with your 100% daily water changes. Do this for 2 weeks.

Do changes like this to avoid shock:

Quote:
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.

Last edited by callistra; 03-16-2013 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:06 PM   #3 
Mirmy
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I didn't just siphon off the top of the water. I moved things around, and got a turkey baster to get all the bits of gunk and moved things around and the gravel as well. I change the water in his cup every few hours and stopped adding the salt... I really think he is too far gone. I will be changing the tank water 50% again tomorrow... I replace the filter every month. It is this kind:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2753028
I know it is bad that I stopped changing the water for such a long time. Really college has drained me and no one else at my house will bother to help me with the tank at all. So is there really no medication I can give him that will help? I don't add very much salt to the tank at all. The last time I put salt in there was months ago, I just did this week, a teaspoon in the tank. I don't over salt... I did change the filter monthly though, and siphoned out the gunk... Thanks for the help, and from now on, I will def do weekly water changes. So you don't think it is fish tuberculosis? Thanks for the reply and your help.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:07 PM   #4 
Mirmy
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Oh and I do have a lid on the tank, it has lights and everything. I have kuhli loach, which are known to jump out, so for sure I have a secure lid. the water tended to evaporate from the area the filter is on, since it is open there.

Last edited by Mirmy; 03-16-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:43 PM   #5 
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Any salt for more than 10 days is a problem. Also since you weren't actually replacing water, the salt was just building and building.. it doesn't break down or evaporate ever. So when you add salt without changing water it just goes up and up and up.. like the ammonia. He really needs out of the aquarium salt and into the epsom salt completely now to have a chance at recovery.

No, I don't think he has TB.

I wouldn't give up on him yet but you're going to have to follow my advice to a T.. more than one 50% change today.. etc. I know I wrote a lot above, but read carefully and do what you can and he may recover.

That filter is an issue too, unfortunately. It lacks surface area for good bacteria to grow and I believe it does not have more than one type of filter cartridge. Same fatal flaw most small filter do..You should never replace all filter media at once. You should only replace one type of filter media within a month, and the best filters have 3 different types of media. However, most of these small only contain one type of media that needs to be replaced monthly due to it containing carbon. Every time you replace all the media at once you wipe out most of your biofiler and basically start your cycle over again. The surface area available to grow this biofilter is also usually completely inadequate to support the load of the fish. So in addition to the lack of water changes, your filter isn't doing its job.

You can modify this filter by removing the standard cartridge and stuffing it full or two or three filter sponges. These sponges only need to be replaced every 6 months to a year and if you only replace one within a month period you'll still have the other one or two full of good bacteria to maintain your cycle.

Last edited by callistra; 03-16-2013 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:49 PM   #6 
Mirmy
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There s a part in there that doesn't come out on the filtedr. the "bio scrubber". It doesn't get changed out at all. so its there when I replace the cartridge. I do not add salt at all to the tank, i only did this week. i only ever added a little salt when i did change the water, but that was a while back. so no i do not add salt all the time without replacing the water. and the tank had not had salt in it till this week. (it used to though months before. after i got the kuhli loach, i stopped adding salt altogether)

What can I do to save him though? Can I give hiim any medication specifically? I do have a one gallon QT tank that I will put him in tonight. I will follow your advice.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:38 PM   #7 
callistra
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I understand there's a little flat sponge thing in front? It's just not enough surface area. There's a lot of talk in various forums about biofilters breaking down with that filter and how they can be modded.

Advice all given in the first post.. first part talks about how to clean and get his current tank up to snuff. Second part is how to treat him..

Quote:
The cup he is in will build ammonia alarmingly quickly you will find. It could easily have as much as 4ppm ammonia in 24 hours. I would get a 2-3 gallon acrylic critter keeper, fill it half full and float him in this. Do daily 100% changes in it, along with redosing of Epsom salt.

He may also need antibiotics.. but honestly it’s a crap shoot. His water quality is so poor it may just be organ failure without infection and then dosing antibiotics may make it worse.. or the chronically poor conditions could have bred infection, in which case not using antibiotics may be lethal.. if you want to use them you need something that goes internal like KAanplex by seachem, Triple Sulfa or Maracyn1 and 2 in combo.. treat 2 weeks. They will need to be wet diluted too.
The Epsom salt needs to be pure 100% magnesium sulfate. The ingredients label must be checked. It should not smell and it should be white. I get mine from CVS Pharmacy. Predissolve 1 tsp per gallon outside the container and add slowly over an hour. After 12 hours, do this again. Now you have a 2 tsp per gallon dosage. Salts do not evaporate or break down. Redose along with your 100% daily water changes. Do this for 2 weeks.

Do changes like this to avoid shock:
[/quote]
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:52 PM   #8 
Mirmy
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I'm really sorry I read your first post like 3 times and I know I read about the treatment. Guess I wasn't thibking about that wheni wrote the ither posts. Okay last question. Wherr can I get the sponges to mod yhe filter? I don't recall seeing them at petsmart... thabks a lot for your help!!
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:55 PM   #9 
callistra
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It's okay, no big deal.

Well any place that sells filters ought to have replacements.. so if the filters take sponges then they should be there. I don't know about petsmart as we dont have one here. But Petco and my LFS have them.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:18 PM   #10 
Mirmy
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Cool ill check out petco. Thanks a ton for all your help!
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