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Old 07-21-2008, 02:30 PM   #1 
Kim
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Am I CURSED!?!

Ok, it seems that the more I learn about fish keeping, the more problems that I have. Since re-entering the hobby I have lost one walmart betta (never again will I buy one there), and I am afraid to lose more.

Here's some background: Buddy, my first betta was purchased only after I had spent countless hours researching bettas. A few days after I bought him, I noticed that he had ick. I treated him for that and it went away, but he got fin rot. I tried to treat him for that with melafix, but that did not work and only polluted the water. He ended up dying .

So, that is when I got Flame. He was the only one at the pet store who looked to be somewhat healthy. But I found out later that he has the toughest case of fin rot that I know of. It doesn't bother him and is slow moving, but will not go away. I have tried melafix (with daily water changes this time) maracyn TC, and fungus clear. I gave him some time in between each one, and it is yet to be seen if the fungus clear has worked. I have given him the maximum of two doses now and it has been 1 week. I think that the edge of his fin looks less ragged and the black spot is going away, but who knows. There is no clear new growth yet. I also think that Flame is pretty old, as he has always had very large fins, and is not really fiesty. He loves it when I talk to him and will swim and spread his fins the whole time. He eats great, and begs for food. He does not however blow bubble nests anymore. He flares at his reflection but will not play with or attack anything (laser, my finger, etc.).

I have had pH problems, and after ageing my water the pH is at 7.6. Flame seemed to blow bubble nests only when it was lower. I have given him time to acclimate, but have only found the startings of a nest, and seen him blow the occasional bubble at me when I talk to him. It has been close to two weeks. He always acts happy when I see him though .

I feed Flame bettamin flakes as a staple, and bloodworms in place of his morning feeding every other day. He is in a heated and filtered 5.5 gallon tank with silk plants. I am cycling a 15 gallon planted tank for him and want to get him a few tank mates. This tank will have driftwood, so the pH will likely be slightly lower. If he does have fin rot, is it contagous? Should I forgo the tank mates? Oh..ammonia in his current tank is 0 as is nitrites. Nitrates are 5 and pH is 7.6 . I do 25% water changes once a week or as directed by the medication that is in the tank now.

I think that I am doing everything right, but I will leave this to the more experienced hobbyists to decide. Should I just stop the medication and let nature take its course, and just give Flame the most comfortable environment possible? I am really attached to this little guy and just want to do what is right. Also, have you ever heard of a betta being affected by a pH of 7.6? Are bettas just really hard to keep?? I'm sorry that this post is so long, but I felt that I should just cover everything that I know will be asked later in this one post. Thank you.

PS: A long time ago my parents got bettas for us and they lived several years in unfiltered, unheated, 0.5 gallon vases, shudder :( . Go figure, when I do everything right, everything goes wrong. Bad luck or what?
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:46 PM   #2 
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have you tried a pH balnce like "TankBuddies" fizzing tablets to balance your pH? I have used them in the past but not for Bettas..they seemed to work pretty well.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:57 PM   #3 
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No, but I tried some pH neutralizer powder stuff. Well...it didn't work. I'll look into the tablets though. Thanks.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:59 AM   #4 
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No one else has any ideas . What pH do you keep your bettas in, are any of them affected by high pH? I am stopping the medication today and am going to see how it goes.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:04 AM   #5 
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Bettas like most tropicals would be at pH 7.0 ( with some fluctuation) which is usually the pH of tap water.. I would think a litte off would not make much of a difference unless it was really out of range one way or the other...you are using tap water and not bottled,distilled or deionized.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:06 AM   #6 
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Ive used the tankbuddies tablets for my betta and he is just fine
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:18 PM   #7 
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I'm suspicious of using buffers that will either raise *or* lower the ph to get it to a certain point. On the other hand, I have a friend who uses Seachem Betta Basics and swears by it. I also haven't had much success with anything made by Jungle Labs- I've found their products to be a poor imitation of some better brands.

I generally find it best to use natural means to lower ph such as peat moss. If you must use chemicals, use something like Seachem Acid Regulator or Acid Buffer (this is the brand I use, although I'm sure there are plenty of other good ones out there, but there are, as previously noted, some really crap ones too). Let me make a safety note: don't just throw products like this in. They are very strong and often effect things you might not expect. For instance, you'll want to closely monitor your gh and kh if you are altering your gh.

Jmeenen is right that 7.0 is in the ideal range for your betta (although I've yet to find any tap water at 7.0). However, I don't think that the pH of 7.6 alone would effect your betta. It could be that your other parameters are out of wack as well, which combined could stress him. Your betta is tank raised, so it should be relatively tolerant and flexible when it comes to water parameters.

Could you tell me the stats on both your current tank water, and your aged tap water for the items below? If you don't have a kit that tests for all of them, your LFS will probably do it for free:
-pH
-gh
-kh
-ammonia
-nitrites
-nitrates
-temperature
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:38 PM   #8 
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I've heard that melafix, and bettafix which is just a diluted version shouldn't be used for labyrinth fish, because it burns their labyrinth organ.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:43 PM   #9 
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Sorry to double post, but I just had a thought. I've heard that Tetracycline (the active ingredient in Maracyn TC) is not effective in water with a pH over 7.5. I've also heard this (as a rumor) floating around about lots of medications not working in high ph.

Kanamycin is supposed to work well in high ph, and is a gram-negative antibiotic (which you want). I believe it's sold under a few brand names- Kanacyn and KanaPlex come to mind.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:26 PM   #10 
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Thanks so much for all the replys :) . I don't have a test kit for kh or gh yet, but I am going to get one probably tomorrow. Anyway, my pH is 7.6, ammonia and nitrite are 0, and nitrate is 5. I keep the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I have heard that peat moss lowers pH and I think that I will try to find some to put in my filter. I also have a few pieces of driftwood that I could use. They are pieces that I found on the Merrimack River and I was going to boil them for several hours, then let them soak for a day or so before I put them in. Should they be safe by this time? I am guessing that my kh and gh are high, because I have tried some pH 7.0 powder and it only lowered it to 7.2 with about twice the recommended dose (I did not put this water in the aquarium to be safe). That is why I figured the natural method would be more effective. As for the antibiotics, I finished the recommended dosage today, so I will see how it goes. It's really hard to tell if it worked or not . If it did not work, is it safe to use antibiotics in a tank with driftwood (hopefully this will lower the pH enough for them to be effective) or will the driftwood always retain some of the medication? Also, when I do water changes if the water from my tap has a higher pH than the tank (which will hopefully be lowered by the peat moss and driftwood) will this shock my fish? Would only doing small changes at a time remedy this? Sorry if this was a really long post with a lot of questions. I am just really attached to this guy and want him to be happy and healthy. Thank you.
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