So I'm sorry I realize you probably get a lot of these sick betta posts but where everyone has probably cared for their fish in a different way if only slightly I guess a lot of the cases could be very different so not super easy to find a personalized answer....
Anyhoo...I got a male betta last Thursday the 9th, Dr. Cornwallis. I'm trying really hard to post a pic but I cant figure out how to do it!! There we go!
Anyhoo he has not been eating and I know that can be normal but he is getting progressively lighter in color and isn't moving as much. I have also noticed that white bulge I'm assuming is his stomach seems to be getting more pronounced.
From what I read I think he is also getting cold. I do not have a tank heater because the tank I have is under a gallon ( I thought this would be ok as long as I did frequent water changes but maybe not). Is it ok to put a heating pad under the tank or around it or aim a space heater at it for the time being? It got really cold here the last few nights (had been in upper 70s but dropped a lot inside my house).
What size is your tank? 3 quarts
What temperature is your tank? too cold I think
Does your tank have a filter?No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no, just access to the air at the top of tank with cover that has a hole in it
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I've tried dried bloodworms and the betta bio gold pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Try to 2x day but not eating
How often do you perform a water change? Have't yet because I was worried I would stress him out even more but I think I will try after I'm done with this
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?I'm going to do 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?I put conditioner and aquarium salt (a little over a half teaspoon of the salt and about 6 or 7 drops of conditioner)
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Getting lighter
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? More lathargic
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today I noticed a big change...thought it was just him adjusting to a new home thats why he wasn't being super active
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Young, Just got him at the store 4-5 days ago.
Any help would be wonderful, I really care for animals and this definitely wasn't an impulse buy. I just planned on cleaning the tank a lot because I know it isn't quite as big as is suggested.
You should get him into something bigger that can be properly heated. Bettas are tropical fish and require water temps about 78-82. When the water is colder then that, their immune systems get compromised and they can become very sick. If the water is too cold, sadly they can die.
If you can't get a larger tank, Clear storage bins will work as well. Granted not very attractive to look at but they can be safely heated and they are pretty cheap. Walmart also has 1 gallon tanks for about $10 which can be heated but you are limited to what type of heater you can get (alot are too big to fit into a 1G). Petco has those pet keepers and the larger one is about 2.5G which will give you more options for heaters if you happen to be in the USA...
You want the heat source to be steady. Having the tank be warm, cold and then warm again is also not a good thing. Is there a spot in your house that is warmer then the rest? Maybe keep him there and wrap his bowl in a towel??
Lethargy and color loss can be caused by being too cold. However, the lump you mentioed is a bit worrisome, especially if he stopped eating. If you look at him from the top - are his scales sticking out?? Have you noticd his poo in the tank? It should look like brown swirls
It is possible he was sick when you bought him. Most petshops really do not take good care of bettas or fish in general - especially chain petshops.
Be careful with freeze dried foods - they can cause constipation and should be used as a treat only. Frozen BW's are better then freeze dried.
AQ salt in't needed, especially if he is having internal issues. For constipation, Swim bladder issues you want to use EPSOM salt..plain, unscented epsom salt at 1 teaspoon per gallon. It is alot safer on them them AQ salt and can be used long term. AQ salt is good for stuff like fin rot, gill issues, ect but it is hard on their organs.
When you do the water change, remember to slowly acclimate him into the new water and skip out on the Aquarium salt but dont forget the water conditioner.
Thanks for your help...ill see what I can do. I didn't notice and poop but he seems to have a little hanging off him now and it looks like a lighter color the it should be.
The only place his scales looked like they were sticking out a little were where his stomach/the buldge I was talking about is. Maybe it is just constipation and when I add a little epsom salt it will help. When I did my "research" the few betta websites I did said aquarium salt and thats what my mothers always done and had good results with. =(
If the poo is white/transparent-ish it is not a good sign. It SHOULD be the same color as his food, although sometimes it's hard to guess what they fed him since he has not eaten for you.
This indicates internal parasites, and these can cause the bloated, round belly you are describing. When you view him from above, if you see scales sticking out, called "pineconing", it indicates dropsy which cannot be cured. Generally, pineconing is very obvious and you would not miss it, but it can start out on just one part of the body. It would likely spread all over the body before he passes. Another thing is, in the picture, it looks like he has a gray belly. This is also a common sign of dropsy along with protruding eyes, lethargy and unwillingness to eat.
Internal parasites would be treatable with Metro or general cure along with epsom salt. It is best to soak pellets in the meds and feed them unless he won't eat, in which case, they can be added to the water and absorbed by the fish. Dropsy, on the other hand, is not nearly as easily treatable and needs to be treated immediately. Kanaplex is the best med to treat dropsy but it can also be combined with metro. You also want to be using epsom salt with dropsy.
Dropsy is not a disease but rather a symptom, so it is hard to tell exactly what causes it, although it's generally some type of internal bacterial infection or an internal parasite called hexamites, which do not show in the feces. Dropsy occurs when the internal organs are damaged and begin to malfunction or shut down. It is rarely treated successfully after the scales have pineconed and it eventually returns after a few months if it is treated successfully.
Thank you both for your help,
I went out today and got him a heater/thermometer, Epsom salts, and frozen blood worms.
I guess the questions I have now are how often should I change the water with the epsom salts? I am of course worried about stressing him out more with too many water changes. An I've been keeping him in some of the old water and slowly adding the new water over a couple hours but I'm not sure the best way to acclimate him for temperature without him being in a baggy and I didn't know if a ziplock back would be great because they smell so plastic-y it seemed kinda toxic.
The other thing I have noticed is he seems extremely boyant. He isn't on his side or anything but he floats to the top quickly if he swims down. So I just don't know... I read about the Swim Bladder Disease (SBD)/Bloat and if it is that do I try to keep feeding him or just leave him alone a little longer? And are the Metro and Kanaplex meds safe even if he doesn't have dropsy or parasites?
Lastly he does seem to have a string of something hanging out his poo hole. I'm keeping an eye on it and don't know if that is important.
Thanks for all your help everyone. I really want to get him well (obviously).
You really only need to do 1/2 water changes, so you don't have to remove him. It would probably be easiest to add 1 tsp of Epsom salt to his entire tank, PRE dissolved. Then do daily 1/2 water changes and add 1/2 tsp of Epsom salt each time. You don't need to age the water but it does need to be the same temp. Use a thermometer to get the temp the same straight out of the faucet, add conditioner, and then pour it in the tank before the temp starts to drop. As long as the temp is the same and you only change 1/2 the water at a time then you don't need to add the water slowly, remove the fish, or acclimate him.
If you miss a day in between once in a while it won't be a big deal, but I'd get a turkey bastor to suck out poo if you decide not to do 100% water changes.
Edit: also Epsom salt should help with his SBD but I would fast him and watch for improvement.
And are the Metro and Kanaplex meds safe even if he doesn't have dropsy or parasites?
*Blended Kanamycin based medication that safely treats several fungal and bacterial diseases (Dropsy, Popeye, tail rot, septicemia, flexibacter), as well Kanamycin has been shown often effective for Mycobacterium marinum (Fish TB).
Because it is absorbed by the fish it is useful in treating internal infections in those situations where food is refused. It does not adversely affect the filter bed and is easily removed with carbon.
*Can be combined with Furan 2 to make an even more wide spectrum treatment, especially for difficult cases of Columnaris or Aeromonas.
This duplicates the popular Aquatronics product “Spectrogram” that is no longer available.
*Metronidazole is an effective and safe treatment for several protozoan and anaerobic bacterial diseases of fish (Cryptocaryon, Hexamita, Ichthyophthirus). It does not adversely affect the filter bed when used as directed and is easily removed with carbon. There is little danger of overdosing. Usual dose is 125 mg/40L (10 US gallons).
*Can be combined with Furan 2 & Kanaplex for parasitic, fungal, & bacterial infections; this duplicates the popular Aquatronics product “Paragon 2” that is no longer available.
*For in Tank Use; Use 1-2 level measures (included) to every 40 L (10 gallons). Repeat every other day until symptoms disappear.
Turn off UV while using.
*To prepare medicated fish food with flake, FD, or frozen fish food using Metronidazole; Use One Measure (2-5 gallon "in tank" dose) of Metronidazole per 15 minute fish food soaking for an average 60 gallon bio load aquarium (I use "just enough" water to mix fish food and Metronidazole).
After soak, pour entire contents into aquarium.
I have used them together frequently combined with furan 2 - had an issue with..not really sure but several of my girls balooned up and then pineconned. They lived for a few months with dropsy but eventually died in the end. Dropsy isn't always a death sentence but thte outlook usually isn't too good once they start to pinecone. Although all pinecone really means is that there is an internal buildup of fluids someplace in the body. My understanding of it is that once the fluids do start to buildup, its usually caused by organ failure.
When I did my "research" the few betta websites I did said aquarium salt and thats what my mothers always done and had good results with. =(
Alot of older websites say to always use AQ salt. I think that used to be the thing to do in the past. However now, from what I have heard on here - always having AQ salt in the tank can lead to organ failure and that is why they now say to only use it for external issues and for no more then 2 weeks at a time - its hard on their kidneys. Alot of things with fish keeping seems to be contraversial and seems to change over time. Like when everyone said NO DONT EAT EGGS THEY ARE BAD FOR YOU, then it changed to EGGS are good for you and I have no idea what the current theory on eggs is anymore. I like them so I eat them. Thats my theory.
Haha, I like your theory. AQ salt can harm the kidneys and is dangerous if used for too long. Unfortunately, I have also read that metro can do the same, and believe dropsy is usually caused by an internal bacterial infection or an internal parasite called hexamites, which is difficult to diagnose because it doesn't show in the feces. Kanaplex and metro would be a good combo IMO for dropsy but metro may treat the source if its hexamites but may also worsen the symptom which is dropsy.
There is another med used for dropsy... I can't remember the name but research showed it also damaged the kidneys. Since kidney failure often causes dropsy, I think it may be the reason it's hard to treat. You can't cure it without ridding the actual problem (bacterial or parasitic) and many meds that do this worsen the already damaged kidneys.
Now I'm no scientist and none of this research was mine so I'd take my word with a grain of salt, but what Tikibirds has said is not at all wrong to my knowledge. I'm just attempting to fill in the gaps so it makes sense.
All that being said, internal bacterial infections are also hard to diagnose until pineconing starts and by then it is USUALLY too late. If you suspect internal problems, it is entirely up to the owners discretion whether or not to treat without a sure diagnosis. Kanaplex, to my knowledge, is an effective yet gentle med and can be a life saver. Personally I wouldn't treat with meds unless I was sure of the diagnosis or sure the fish would die if no action were taken.
The lack of information and early symptoms makes it a difficult decision to make.
Unfortunately, I have also read that metro can do the same, and believe dropsy is usually caused by an internal bacterial infection or an internal parasite called hexamites,
That's why I combined kannaplex, furan2 and metro but I'm not sure if it made any difference in the end or not. I would think if it was internal organ failure they would not of lasted as long as they did but I can't say for certain.
I have read that kannaplex isn't good to use for fish with dropsy caused by kidney issues but not sure how accurate that is..According to sakura, the info isn't very good but this is from the Monter fish keeping forum
Kanacyn Active ingredients: 150 mg capsules, Kanamycin Sulfate, and NaCl Diseases: full spectrum skin absorbing antibiotic, treats hemorrhage, red body patches, rotting fins and tail rot, protruding or loss of scales, furunculosis, bacterial infections, fungal infections, internal infections. Contraindications:
This affects the bacterial cell membrane which is responsible for bringing nutrients into the cell and taking waste out of the cell. The antibiotics disrupt this process. It is toxic when overdosed.
These antibiotics prevent protein synthesis and effect the cells ability to reproduce.
Not to be used in fish with dropsy assuming the cause is associated to kidney malfunction. More effective with high pH and hardness levels, the opposite of tetracycline.
How do they know not to use it with kidney malfunction? Is there a scientific paper on that somewhere out there??