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Old 04-28-2013, 01:39 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Please help me help my poor new baby :(

Hi everyone,

I purchased a male halfmoon betta fish a week ago today from Pisces Pet Emporium. I had put him into a 4 litre (1 gallon) aquarium. Right away he wasn't sure of his surroundings and spent most of his time in the bottom right corner laying on top of the rocks. I conditioned his water with Betta Step 1 & 2 water conditioners before putting him in. I figured the poor guy was stressed out due to his new move and new home so I let him be. Talking to him a lot still so that he'd get to know my voice. I quickly noticed that his fins did not seem right. (I wish I started taking daily photos to notice any changes day to day) they look almost like he was put through a blender with tiny pinholes. I started to do some research online and came across a lot about fin rot. Oliver just doesn't have white spots on him. Curious, I went to the pet store and explained to a man who apparently knows betta fish my little Oliver's situation and asked if it can be fin rot, he looked at me like I was crazy but told me if I thought it was then to buy drops to treat a fungal infection. He sold me Pimafix as well as Nutrafin Aquarium Salt. This was on Wednesday. So Wednesday I came home, put primafix and aquarium salt in his tank and have been doing that once a day. Thursday night i noticed he was hanging out on the top but now he starts to float sideways on top. It's like he can't hold himself up right :( Yesterday morning i woke up and he was super pale, almost white (He's turquoise in color) I moved him to a smaller tank (2 litre) with no rocks or plants because I think his plants were freaking him out. I thought he'd feel more comfortable in a smaller setting being sick and all. Also he hasn't eaten all week.

I called Pisces and explained the situation. She told me to bring in his body if he dies and a sample of my water. Or bring him back with my receipt for a full refund. I told them no way in hell. They did this to him. This poor fish was sick when I got him, I just didn't know it until I got him home. They were no help to me nor did they have any compassion. I'm not just going to take him back. He's my pet.

Can anybody please help? I feel so useless and I feel like poor Oliver is suffering so bad!

This is a picture I took of Ollie this morning :(

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Old 04-28-2013, 02:02 PM   #2 
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Hi Calen,

I would stop using the aquarium salt and Pimafix.

Aquarium salt is good for fin rot, but it can also cause fluid retention and bloating. I believe this is probably the reason why Oliver is having buoyancy problems. Do a water change, using just water conditioner, but don't add any salt. This may be enough to take care of his buoyancy problems.

(If the buoyancy issues continue for more than a day after you put him back into regular water, let us know. You can add some Epsom salt, which will probably help. Epsom salt has a laxative effect, and eliminates fluids and waste. But try the regular water for a day. That may be enough. If it's not, just let us know and we'll tell you how to use the Epsom salt.)

There is a lot of controversy about medications that end with "-fix" (Pimafix, Melafix, etc). All of them contain oils, and some people believe the oils may coat the Betta's labryinth (breathing organ), making it difficult for them to breathe. So until we know more about whether this is true, I would simply avoid these medications.

In general, the best way to treat fin rot is simply to keep them in warm, clean water. Usually, fin rot is caused by poor water quality, so just keeping them in clean water is often enough to clear it up. His current pale color is probably just stress from trying to keep himself upright. It should go away once he starts to feel better.

If you notice the rot getting worse, let us know, and we can suggest medications to treat it. (On occasion, it can be caused by a bacterial infection, so it can be treated with an antibiotic.)

He's a very pretty fish. And I think that he just needs a little warm, clean water and some good food. With a little time, those fins should be just fine.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 04-28-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:34 PM   #3 
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LittleBlueFishlets you're a life saver! Thank you so much for replying to me! I've done a water change and only added the water conditioner and already he's upright and hasn't gone on to his side yet. I'm keeping a close eye on him.

How often should his water be changed? And because he's a sick little guy right now, should it be a 100% change every time?
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #4 
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Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Do you have an adjustable heater? Bettas really need to be warm, especially to put energy into growing back new fins. 78-80 is about ideal.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:39 PM   #5 
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VJM , no I do not. However in going out to buy one now. Every pet store worker I've spoken to say they don't need them. Which is not the case?
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:41 PM   #6 
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Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Definitely not the case.

Make sure it is an adjustable heater, not one of the "makes water X degrees above room temperature", or "preset at X degrees" heaters. There should be a dial or digital controller (fancy!) located somewhere on it if it is adjustable.

I don't know why it should be so, but at lot (not all) of pet store workers do not know much about fish care. Even at fish stores, as sad as that is. My rule is that I research everything first online (especially here for bettas), and then just go get what I know is right. It is a good test to see if a particular worker knows about bettas. If they say they can live in half gallon, unheated vases (and to use medicines ending in -fix) at least you know not to ask them anything in the future.

Last edited by VJM; 04-28-2013 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #7 
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Great! I'm glad he's upright now.

A 4L (1 gal) tank is the minimum size, in my opinion. A tank this size will generally require one 100% and two 50% water changes per week in order to keep ammonia and toxin levels low.

Since Oliver is dealing with fin rot though, I recommend doing at least two 100% water changes per week right now. This will keep the water clean, and allow his fins to heal.

In my opinion, there are five items that are required to keep a Betta:
  1. Tank that is at least 4L (1 gal).
    Personally, I prefer tanks that are at least 10L (2.5 gal) in size, since a larger tank won't build up ammonia/toxins as quickly.
  2. Water conditioner that neutralizes/removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.
    Some people also look for conditioners that neutralize ammonia for 48 hours, but IMO, this decision depends on the frequency of water changes and on your personal tap water.
  3. Thermometer.
    I like the "Floating Glass Thermometers." (About $2.99 at Petsmart/Petco, about $1.65 at Walmart.) They have a suction cup that attaches to the tank wall.
  4. Heater.
    As VJM pointed out, Bettas prefer water temps around 75-83F, with about 78-80F being considered "ideal."
    Adjustable heaters are best, as VJM also pointed out, since they allow you to vary the temperature up/down, which is useful when treating disease/illness. But you can also use a preset one, if finances are an issue.
  5. Quality protein food.
    I prefer pellets, since I find them easier to count/measure out. On this forum, the two most often recommended pellets are New Life Spectrum pellets, and Omega One Betta Buffet pellets.
    When selecting a food, look for one that doesn't have a lot of grains (corn, wheat, soybean, etc), as these can cause constipation and bloating in some Bettas.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 04-28-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:59 PM   #8 
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LittleBlueFishlets, this morning my little Oliver was swimming around a bit. But he ends up floating on his side. Or he hangs out on the side of his tank, where he leans up on the side for support. Also now his pectoral fin on his left side is almost gone??? I noticed when he saw me this morning and got excited he was working it so hard to swim towards me. I can't take seeing him like this any more :( can you please direct me in the right direction medication wise??
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:30 PM   #9 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
First of all, I know those tanks.
Those are not 4L tanks.
Those are 2L tanks. (0.52GALLONS)
You will have to perform water changes daily.
That's such a tiny torturous tank for a betta, idk why they sell them.
Please upgrade to a 5gallon (19L) minimum or +

I love Pisces, and they usually have their bettas in good condition.
However, they keep bettas with an african dwarf frog in a 0.79Gallon/3 liter tank, which is not enough for a betta, let alone an ADF!!

Please don't listen to the employees. Although knowledgeable about other fish, they suck when it comes to bettas.
I read their online betta care sheet.
They stated "Bettas can thrive in small environments" or something along those lines.
Total lie. No, bettas cannot thrive in small environments.

I'd treat him with small amounts of AQ salt. maybe a pinch, since that's a tiny tank, with no decoration or anything to make the betta
feel secure by hiding.

Last edited by Mar; 04-29-2013 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:04 PM   #10 
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Mar, I really don't think AQ salt is the best remedy in this situation. The main concern here is the buoyancy issue, and AQ salt will only make that worse.

Calen, if he still having buoyancy issues, try epsom salt before you go to meds. Meds can be pretty harsh, so it is usually best to try the most conservative methods first. For Epsom salt: they can be purchased at grocery and drugstores. Make sure it is 100% magnesium sulfate, no additives. Start with 1 tsp per gallon- so for your .5 gallon you would add half a teaspoon. Pre dissolve the epsom in conditioned water and add it slowly to his tank over a period of a couple hours. You don't want to shock his system by changing the water chemistry too suddenly.

Are you making sure that the temp of the new water when you do changes matches the old water temp? This is important because sudden temp changes can lead to shock, causing SBD.

Have you seen him poop? You might want to leave his tank bare bottomed for now so you can keep an eye on this. If he's not pooping, he's constipated. If he is pooping, then the SBD is probably stress related. EDIT: Heh. Just noticed your tank is barebottomed.

You already know about the heater- very important.

I don't see any black areas around the pinholes in your pic. Does he have black at the edges of his fins where chunks are missing? If there is no black, then it is not fin rot but rather an issue of tailbiting or snags from tank decor. Pinholes are often a result of tailbiting. Relieving stress can stop tailbiting.

What are you feeding him?

Last edited by Nicci Lu; 04-29-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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