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Old 03-22-2013, 08:37 PM   #1 
Xaltd1
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"Betta Sulk" AGAIN

The only disease I have had w/my bettas is "sulk": that is, they become lethargic, retreat to the bottom of the tank and refuse to eat; absolutely no other symptoms. While most recover, I lost one fish 5 weeks ago. She was fine but was staying at the bottom of the tank. The next day, she was dead & being ripped apart. Now, Flake, my gorgeous white HM, has come down with it. She didn't come to breakfast this morning. She was simply sitting on the bottom back of the tank, occasionally coming up for air. I pulled her immediately. She's sitting in a heated "Critter Keeper" (she doesn't have to go far for air). I've put in some Stress Zyme & Betta Spa.
Any other treatments would be GREATLY appreciated; she's one of my favs.

Housing
What size is your tank? 29 Gal
What temperature is your tank? 80ish
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 8 female bettas & 1 otto catfish; a few ramshorm snails. All tank mates are 100%.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Everything betta (Flake or pellet 1x, treat (live, frozen or freeze dried treat for dinner)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x per day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 1x per week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 15%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime

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

Ammonia: safe according to liquid kit
Nitrite: safe
Nitrate:safe
pH: 8.2
Hardness:not sure
Alkalinity: not sure

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Not at all
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sulks @ bottom of tank; refuses food
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Yesterday (Thurs. 3/21/13)
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Isolation tank w/ heater; offered dried daphnia
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 6 mos.

P.S, I've had several fish "snap out of it" w/ no treatment, and have lost 3 over January with it. I've torn the tank down 100% after the deaths.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:43 PM   #2 
Sakura8
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The Sulk. What a perfect name for it. And it's truly the most frustrating symptom of all because it could be indicative of ANYTHING.

If she looks fine on the outside, then the problem could be inside. It could be internal parasites or a bacterial problem. Until a positive diagnosis can be made, the safest treatment you can try is 1 tsp of epsom salts per gallon and continue with the Betta Spa or another source of tannins.

If it progresses to medication, we'd most likely need to try a combination of both parasite and antibiotic and since this is a lot of medicine to dump on a fish, it would be best to try the holistic approach first.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:13 PM   #3 
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Do Epsom salts upset the fish?
She is in one of those medium size "Critter Keepers" w/ her own nano heater. I'd have to mix up a 1 gal container w/ the salts.
How often should I change her salt water? How much Betta Spa would you recommend?
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:10 PM   #4 
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Epsom salts is plain magnesium sulfate and is used in humans as both a sore muscle soak to reduce swelling and as a . . . er, laxative. Because it's not a true salt, longterm usage won't harm her. In this case, I'm hoping that it will help reduce any internal swelling and fluid buildup that may be going on and encourage her system to balance out.

If her critter keeper is a gallon or less, I'd change the salt water 100% every other day. 2 gallons or over and you can change the water twice a week. As for the Betta Spa, I personally have never used it so I would go with the higher dosage listed on the packaging.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:15 AM   #5 
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Actually, magnesium sulfate is a "salt." It's just not "table salt.". ("Salts" are just ionic compounds.)....

Aquarium salt is high in sodium, which puts stress on the kidneys. (And increases blood pressure in people, but I don't know if it does the same for fish!) But magnesium sulfate doesn't contain sodium, so it won't put the same type of stress on the kidneys.

Salts (whether Epsom, table, or any other type) don't evaporate from water. So you'll need to replace it when you do a water change. But you do NOT need to add it to previously treated water, since that would just add new salt to the existing salt.... In other words:

Premix the Epsom salt in a container of new water, making sure it's completely dissolved. Then do your water change, using the regular slow acclimation process. This will give you the correct dosage of Epsom salt, regardless of how much water you change.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 03-23-2013 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:51 AM   #6 
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Oops! You can tell I didn't do so well in chemistry and the sciences. Thanks for clearing that up, LittleBlue. :)
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:02 AM   #7 
LittleBlueFishlets
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<--- Chemistry geek.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:10 PM   #8 
Xaltd1
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I'm a mineral collector, andd should have known that one-

"Slow acclimation process" OOPS- when they're in the little QT tanks, I have heated, treated water on hand & will usually just dump 50% of that water in the tank after I've siphoned out 50% of the tank water. These teeny tanks are diffucult to rig up w/ a drip system, at least for me.

Right now I've got 5 fish in QT: Jack, recovering from his spawn (badly torn fins), 2 new Aquabid girls (lovely!) plus a sad little .99 cent PetSmart VT that is the first yellow female I've seen in the big box stores. She is too tiny to have been up for sale! Still, she's a mightly little eater & has that famous betta spunk. It will be quite a while b/f she's able to join the sorority, due to her size.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:39 PM   #9 
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Ha, by slow acclimation, I meant that some people tend to just do a water change and drop their fish right into it. Then, their fish gets all stressed out, and they (both people and fish) freak out.

You don't need to drip acclimate. It's just that going from nontreated water to treated water can be a shock, so I go slowly with it, especially the first time. (I, personally, just cup and float them, then add small amounts of treated water, over the course of an hour, and release into the tank.)

Once they're acclimated to the treated water, then you can just do partial water changes like you normally do. It's just the first time, when things are so different, that I'm extra cautious.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:47 PM   #10 
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I'll put Epsom salts in that prepared water & slowly add it to her tank throughout the day. At the end of the day I can re-fill the jug & change my other QT tanks.
"Tanks" a lot! (couldn't resist.)
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