Hello Betta Friends!
I have had my betta for almost six months, and am currently battling an agressive case of fin rot. His tank is 3 gallons, heated to maintain a temp of 80 degrees, weekly 100% water changes, and UGF with an air pump adjusted to a very gentle flow that does not disturb my little blue buddy (in fact I have experimented with the pump on and off, and can tell you he is a much happier & healthier fish with it on, & enjoys playing in the current and attacking the bubbles when he is feeling frisky). I know UGFs are controversial, but it is properly maintained and I believe in this particular tank, it is a good thing. He has a little rubbery anemone that he likes to hide in, and a tall silk fir plant that he finds to be a great spot for lounging near the top of his tank. He is fed quality pellets every other day, and on the in between days he is fed a variety of freeze dried foods (after they are "rehydrated," of course!), fasted 1 day a week. He was active & thriving in this setup, with vivid shimmering colors, a tail that would NOT stop growing, and had even managed to completely grow back a ventral fin that was damaged so severely before we bought him that it was just a tiny stub. Now on to the sad part...
I left town and was unexpectedly detained for nearly two weeks longer than expected, and unfortunately my sweet little betta is the one who suffered for it. During the time I was gone, he was fed, but my husband (well-meaning, but betta ignorant) only gave him 1 50% water change during this time. Needless to say, fin rot set in shortly after I returned. Even worse, I did not recognize it early on because it did not look at all like fin rot is usually described. The entire width of his dorsal fin turned white from his back extending toward the end of the fin, but the last inch or so remained blue. The color change happened overnight. There were no other affected areas, and the tips of all his fins and his tail did not change color. Unfortunately I read about "marbling" in betta fish, and thought that was what I was seeing. I became suspicious though when I began to notice pinholes near the end of his tail. I watched for a couple of days, and sure enough, the pinholes multiplied & seemed to be tearing toward the end of his tail. I planned to treat with aquarium salt and extra water changes, but again overnight, the problem became worse. More white areas (though still more like streaks on various parts of the fins, rather than going along the edges), tail deterioration, shortening of his rays, and some of the most damaged parts looked like they may have bled. I feel terrible. :(
The following morning I did another 100% water change and added 1 rounded tsp per gallon of aquarium salt as the directions indicated. The rot seems to have slowed its progression, but does appear to still be plaguing my poor fish. As of today, I've been treating with salt for 6 days, and I do not see enough inprovement in his condition to trust that the salt will do much to help him heal in the next 4 days (as I have read that you should only use salt for a max of 10 days). Tomorrow I am planning to do a 100% water change and am considering not adding salt, but using medication. From everything I have read, I am most likely going to use Jungle Fungus Eliminator as I feel most comfortable with the risks associated with it as opposed to other options, such as Bettafix, and (sadly) cost issues limit my options.
My main concerns at this point are:
1) JFE contains salt, so even though I will not add aquarium salt with this water change, I am essentially still keeping him in salted water when I add this medication. Am I going to harm him by going beyond the 10 day salt limit?
2) How long does it typically take when using this (or any) medication before I should expect to see signs of improvement and be able to determine if a treatment is effective?
3) I have read that treatment with JFE should continue until fin regrowth appears, but how long is too long to use this medication on a betta?
Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this absurdly long post! I hope I have made sense and greatly appreciate any help you can offer.