I just got this male crowntail a couple of days ago and he has not seemed right ever since I got him (see more info about him in this thread: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=131303). This is the first betta I have ever owned (and first fish ever, aside from some guppies about 35 years ago!), so I'm very new at this and still learning how all of this works.
He was not in the best shape when we got him. The water in his cup was yellow and had lots of stuff floating in it, so I bought him in the hopes of getting him better. (We also bought another crowntail at the same time from another store, and that one is doing great.) Optimus is in a 2.5 Aqueon mini bow tank with an Aqueon mini bow filter (just plugged in the filter yesterday - didn't want to stress him out too much at first. I baffled it with a plastic straw since the flow was pretty strong). His water temp is 78F and he has a bridge and a couple of silk plants in his tank, as well as a Betta hammock leaf. I originally added BettaSafe water conditioner, but his NH3 was at 0.2 on Sunday, so I did a 25% water change. On Monday the NH3 was still at 0.2, so I did a 100% water change and added Seachem Prime to his water. His water seems to get slightly cloudy within a day or two - looks a tiny bit cloudy today already.
He has been acting funny ever since we got him on Saturday. He had a few hours yesterday evening when he had a burst of energy and swam around alot (this was right after we plugged in the filter), but other than that, his fins are clamped and he mostly stays at the bottom of the tank. He doesn't really swim so much as wiggle around the tank. He seems to struggle to get to the top for air and tends to curl his body in half alot when he's sitting on the bottom. This morning he's been bumping his nose into the marbles, almost like he's trying to rub his head on them (although he may just be looking for food). He won't come to the surface to eat, but will eat if I poke the food so that it drops down to him at the bottom. I'm feeding him Aqueon betta food pellets, and he usually gets a couple of pellets in the morning and a couple in the evening. He just ate for the first time last night.
I'm mainly concerned a white patch at the very front of his dorsal fin, where it attaches to his body. He also has some very fine white streaks in his tail and when he breathes it looks a little bit white around his gills (although maybe this normal for his gills?). He looks a bit tattered, but maybe he's just old? I really have no idea how old he is. I will attach some pictures, and hopefully you'll be able to see what I'm talking about. I wonder if it's a fungal infection. He's had a hard time so far, and I don't want to upset him be constantly changing things in his tank, but at the same time if he's sick I want to catch it as early as possible.
I think the pictures are here as attachments...if not, I'll try again.
I actually can't see the white patches you're talking about in your photos, sorry... does it look clear? Fuzzy at all? You could try AQ salt pre-dissolved in with a water change at 1/tsp per gallon, but I would hold on that until a proper diagnosis can be given for him.
Another thing: how did you acclimate him to the new tank water? Did you float him in any water?
Also, about his clamping and lethargy... he might be cold as well. Do you have a heater in the tank? A 25 watt adjustable heater, like the Marineland Visi-therm, is excellent in tanks that size, and a betta fish needs a constant temperature of 78 degrees.
These are not the best pictures, I know - sorry about that. I'll try to get some clearer ones with my real camera (these were taken with my cell phone camera). I think the third one shows the white spot the best - it's the bright white spot where his dorsal fin attaches to his body (right on top of his back - it kind of looks like it's part of the bridge in the background). This patch looks almost a tiny bit cottony. The streaks in his tail seem to just blend in with his tail and look fairly smooth. Same thing with his gills - they just look smooth and whitish when he breathes and they open up.
His tank is at 78F. When I first got him, I added about 8-10 ozs. of clean treated water to a bowl, let it get to room temp and then poured in the water from his pet store cup (along with him). I filled his tank with conditioned water and let it sit until it was at room temp (should have been the same temp as his cup and as the bowl I put him in). Once the temp in the tank and the bowl were the same, I released him into the tank.
He was probably cold at first - his tank was at 72F. I bought the heater at someone's suggestion and that brought his tank to 78F over about a 6 hour period.
I may not be able to get good pictures right away - will try to get them this taken this afternoon and will post them ASAP.
Well, just giving the description and saying it looks cotton-y might be enough... what you're probably seeing is the disease known as columnaris. Its caused by gram negative bacteria, and you need to act fast to treat it. It is a known killer in fish and can act fast - the clear streaks you see are it spreading.
If you have Aquarium salt on hand, you have to up your dosage to 3 tsp/gallon pre-dissolved in the water you're adding to the tank and do 100% water change right away.You'll have to continue this daily until its entirely gone.
That doesn't sound good!! I don't have aquarium salt but will get some right away and follow your instructions. Hopefully this will take care of the problem - he's really had a rough time and I'd feel terrible if he died.
Just want to clarify you do NOT want to dose aquarium salt every day. It never breaks down and it won't even evaporate. You only need to redose along with a water change, and then you only add back as much salt as new water. I also would not start so high.. 1 tsp per gallon. If you increase it wait another 12 hours. I wouldn't mess wtih cottony stuff with AQ though.. If anything on him is fuzzy I would not hesitate to use an antibiotic.. Kanaplex or Triple sulfa would be my top choices. You will need to dilute it for the size of the tank. once you have an antibiotic I can teach you how.
I wouldn't bother with a filter in something so small. I would be doing 50% water changes every other day and 100% change by week's end. This should keep water parameters good while he is healing. You should do changes like this:
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.
As a side note, the metal must be removed from the hammock to make it safe.
since you have never kept fish before, can you find out your ph and gh? Some fish stores might test for you for free.
Thank you so much, callistra, for your help! After doing more research on columnaris, I'm sure this is what he has. I'll see if I can get the water tested at the pet store and have them give me the numbers. I do have an ammonia test kit, but that's it.
A couple of questions - should I move him to a smaller (1 gallon or so) bowl for treatment, or leave him where he is? And if I do move him to a smaller bowl, I think he'd be okay without a filter for the duration of treatment, right? I assume I need to wash everything in the old tank with either 10% bleach or scalding water? I am going to try to get an antibiotic tomorrow (either Triple Sulfa or Maracyn 2). Should I do the AQ salt at the same time or just skip that altogether if I can get the antibiotic? If I can't get the antibiotic right away, should I at least start AQ salt until I can get an antibiotic?
Do I need to remove everything from his tank (decorations)? What about his heater and filter? I've read that I should remove the charcoal from his filter because the charcoal will absorb the medication from the water. The heater is a 7w that holds the temp at a fixed 78 degrees, so I can't really lower the temp.
I would just leave him in the 2.5g and treat there, but remove the filter.. I wouldn't filter anything but with a sponge this small anyway as it's nearly impossible to maintain a biofilter in this size anyway.. we can worry about that once he's well.
Carbon will absorb meds.
Maracyn 2 isn't a very effective treatment for columarnis. There are a lot of strains resistant to it anymore, so I'd try to find Kanaplex or Triple Sulfa.
I went to the pet store today and got some aquarium salt and some triple sulfa. The triple sulfa says to use 1 tablet for 10 gallons (so 1/4 packet should work for my 2.5g tank if my math is correct). The directions on the package say to put the product right into the aquarium. Repeat dose after 24 hours (does this mean repeat dose in the same water, or should I do a water change of some sort? I read this as put the dose in the same water with no change). Then it says wait another 24 hours and dchange 25% of the aquarium water. Repeat this treatment a 2nd time for a total of 4 doses. Then make a final 25% water change and add fresh activate carbon or replace filter cartridge.
Since I have to leave for work in 30 minutes, I won't have time to do this now, but will do it when I get home late tonight. For now I have removed the filter and will do a 50% water change with 2.5 tsp AQ salt added to the fresh water (for a total of 2.5 tsp AQ salt for 2.5 gallons of water). Poor guy was swimming around alot when I got home last night, but seems very lethargic today. On the bright side, he is eating!