How do you drip acclimate a new fish? The conditioner I use- API tap water conditioner says it detoxifies chloramines. I also have a bottle of API stress coat; I thought the difference was just that the stress coat had aloe vera in it as well? That's what the label indicates. Is there anything I should be looking out for/ doing now to help her? She still seems to be swimming better than when I got her on day one. And as I said she looks like she is not as curved. However her fins are clamped, she's mainly hiding in the plants not moving much, her gills are red and swollen, and she still hasn't eaten. Any thoughts?
I usually use two air lines with a knot in it. I float the fish the tank to acclimate it to the temperature... then siphon in new water from one end and siphon out water from the other. I do this in their original cups. after changing about a gallon of water, I declare my fish acclimated to my source water and slowly let the cup sink into the tank.
So I have some pictures here, they're not great but maybe they will help in identifying some issues and looking for solutions. I'm still wondering what I can do to help with the ammonia poisoning, I'm also wondering if there may be some other issues involved as well. It's been three days since I got her; her back has straightened out and she is swimming just fine. However she doesn't swim very much, her gills are very red and inflamed, and she hasn't eaten anything since I got her. She doesn't seem to be getting better.
Actually I'm not able to post the pictures, I'm not sure why. Sorry, I guess I will try again later. But in the meantime any advice is still appreciated!
It could be the Epsom salts. My guys get very lethargic and almost seem worse on the salts (I was using AQ salt). :( I've had two I've tried it with (one for a bacterial infection, another for fin rot) and I stopped the salts on both within 24 hours because they seemed so much worse.
The bacteria I fixed with Jungle Fungus Cure (the name is misleading, it is NOT for fungus, most of what is called "fungus" is actually bacterial in nature, and this stuff is a good broad-spectrum to treat most things, and it doesn't seem too awfully hard on them like most meds), and the fin rot I just did frequent water changes, fed a good diet, and let the fish's immune system take care of it.
For a fish this sick and weak, I'd definitely take her off any medications (salt or otherwise), and just keep her in very clean, warm water. I know that the ammonia levels can build up *really* fast in small amounts of water, and if she's already having issues, this will just exacerbate them. I've read on here that some people recommend changing out their cup water many times daily because it builds up so fast. One thing you can try is getting a large shallow pan (like a glass casserole dish, very clean and well rinsed of course) or a large shallow Rubbermaid container, and fill it with water. This way she can have a gallon or a half-gallon of water, but still have it only be a few inches deep. Also, put some soft plants in there with her, that way she can feel safe and she can also use them to rest near the surface. Oh, and keep her in the dark or dim. Both the plants and the dim will make her feel safer, which will decrease her stress, and allow her to help start to heal herself.
By having more water, you can do your daily water changes and *still* have less ammonia in there, just because of the added dilute volume. And she's not being so constantly stressed by the water changes.
Also, this way you can put in a submersible heater. Just make sure the heater is completely covered by the water, and you're good to go. And keep up like you are with the saran wrap, that's always a plus. :)
One other thing, don't keep the water too warm. I like to keep my guys at 75 - 78, which is at the low end of the spectrum for bettas according to most people. The problem with too warm water is that it assists in bacterial breeding. You want the water warm enough for your fish, but also cool enough that it's not just a giant health-spa for any sort of opportunistic bacteria.
I had some with some store-associated gill inflammation/bacteria, and I realized that my adjustable heaters were only exacerbating the problem. When I had them in the treatment tanks, which all use a cheaper submersible heater that stays about 76, they were healthy, then I'd move them back into their tanks, and it'd start back up again in 24 to 48 hours. It stumped me for a couple of treatment cycles until I realized the warmer water was causing the problem. I got rid of the other heaters (I had some other issues with them as well...in the end I just wanted them gone) and put in the submersibles, and life has been good since. :)
Also, don't remove the uneaten food immediately. I had a boy who had severe ammonia burns when I bought him from petco (his cup was urine yellow, cloudy, and his scales were sloughing off it was so bad) and for the longest time he would only eat from the bottom. I freaked out and fussed over him for weeks before I realized that he was eating from the floor of his pan. I started feeding him, leaving it for a few hours, and *then* removing any excess (there rarely was anything to remove once I started looking for it), so she has time to let it soften and then eat it at her leisure.
I hope this helps!! I know it's so hard when you buy them so sick and you want to help them. :(
Thanks for your input! I appreciate it. I stopped using epsom salts, and the water temp is around 78. Unfortunately she's not doing much better, she's getting worse. She's turned very pale and her fins are disappearing. :( I'm really sad, I'm not sure what else to do. I'm just going to keep doing the usual stuff- clean warm water, food. Thanks for the advice, and I'll update later.
I'm so sorry that she's just not recovering for you. :( I know how hard it is when they're sick...and you try and try and try, and nothing seems to help. :( Poor little girl. At least she's getting the best care she possibly can though, so if nothing else, you've done everything you could. And I firmly believe that they know that you care about them and are working to help. :(
Unfortunately I just posted another thread because I just panicked seeing her trying to go up to the top for air, but sink down to the bottom. She's laying on a leaf now by the surface. But I really appreciate you saying that. It's what I've been telling myself. If it doesn't end up well, at least we got to be friends! And she didn't have to be alone in a dirty cup in a store.