Alright, just got back from Petco, spent about $150. I picked up a 10 gal tank, two Amazon Swords, some "hidey holes" (they're fairly smooth), plant weights for cheap dividers (using needlepoint canvases), a clip-on thermometer with testers for ammonia, pH level and nitrates/nitrites, a Tetra 3i? filter, and a Marineland 50 watt heater.
The "fish guy" there breeds killifish, and can pick me up a sponge filter the next time he goes to his "dealer". It'll only be about $5 or so, and as he said, "Any filter is better than no filter at all."
Does everything check out good? Am I missing anything? Will my fishies love me again?
The tank has a pretty high pH, 8.2. I spent an hour on Google looking for a way to DIY-lower it, and decided to go to Wal-Mart and check for pH drops. Literally, they had nothing there. I picked up conditioner, pH stabilizer (hoping it would help), and aquarium salt. When I got back, Albus was in his baggie in the water, floating on the side.
I freaked out. Searched here, BettaTalk, and a handful of other betta sites. He's not constipated, he still has an appetite, no spots or fuzz or anything. Only thing I can come up with is stress and old age. I'm hoping he will get better soon.
Also, my DIY divider needs to be redone. When I tested the pH in their baggies and realized it was about the same, I popped them into the tank. After only a few short hours, Suzette managed to squeeze her way into his side. I watched her to see why she kept swimming back when she had no intentions of breeding (stripes deemed it such), she has no ill will. She just wants to be close to him while he's not feeling well. And like anyone who is under the weather, he was peeved. He nipped at her tail, but she knows he cant move far, and usually ends up swimming in a circle when he's mad. She gets back to a "safe zone", and watches him intently. I popped her back in her area, and she's been staying there since. But now Albus wants to go in there!
But all love stories aside, should I be more worried about Albus? He's stressed and tired from trying to stay submerged in the water, but otherwise he appears to be healthy. I don't think it was the tank water that did it to him, since he was like this before he got into the tank.
Also, Suzette is staying near the top a lot. She explored a bit at first, swam around her cave, but won't go more than 2 inches from the surface. The temp is at a constant 80, so it's not the cold making her do this. Could she be getting what he has?
How long were they in the bags? I would not leave a fish in a bag for over 30 minutes because there is not sufficient air to sustain them after a while. pH drops usually do a crummy job, and can lead to a crash. I would recommend putting a little peat in your filter and getting some driftwood. The two together should lower the pH so that it is a little more comfortable, but it probably will never be "perfect" which is fine as long as you do not change anything too rapidly. It will also cause the water to become "tea stained" which bettas like. I would wait to mess with this until they settle in as they are already accustomed to the high pH.
As for Albus, has he had any swim bladder issues in the past? That is what it sounds like to me. For now I would just give him something to lay on. How much are you feeding him and how often? Sometimes swim bladder can be caused by overfeeding and maybe the stress of the move just brought it out. It can also be caused by internal parasites and sometimes even internal bacteria although this is rare. Unless it is caused by parasites it will not be contageous to your girl. She may just be staying near the surface because she is still nervous, and she needs to feel close to her "air supply." They are not showing any other symptoms right?
Suzette is now floating on her side a little, and something that really shocked me: one of her eyes is popping out a little.
He's never had swim bladder issues in the past, and during the tank-switching, I fed them every other day, 3 pellets a day.
I feel like Dr. House, trying to diagnose Albus. But with Suzette's Popeye, now I'm worried about a terminal disease. I read up a bit on BettaTalk, and I'm going to do a full water change and run out to Petco to pick up some antibiotics.
They were fine in the sewage-looking tank, they were fine in the little glass cups. Could there be something wrong with the new tank that did this?
Pop eye if I remember correctly, is due to water conditions. Sounds like there's alot been going on with the tanks to, I'd imagine they're stressed and more prone to illnesses. I had to treat my beta with pop eye once to, and I think it was most likely cause in his 5 gallon home, the water was changed maybe once every month and a half... my bad. He also didn't have a heater which I never really thought about till now.
Hmm, when you put them in the new tank.. did you acclimate them to the new water first?
Only way I know how to acclimate them is the goldfish way: put the baggie in the water, let them sit for a bit to adjust to the temp, then pop them in.
6 PM update.
They switched sides. Suzette is on the side with the filter and Albus is on the side with the heater. Her pop eye has decreased, it's hardly noticeable. Their floating has decreased a lot, they look like they are having balance issues (a HUGE difference compared to before). I bought an API pH tester, and it says 7.6 (though, that's the highest it goes). I looked at the stick-on one in the tank, and it's a mix of 7.4 and 7.8, so that checks out. Also, Albus built a bubble nest while I was gone. I'm chalking this one up to stress and pH.
However, the water is a bit cloudy now. I haven't added anything in since last night, which was Jungle Start Right, Tetra Easy Balance, and a tablespoon of Aquarium Salt. Maybe the concoction is what caused Suzette to nearly explode?
Oh, and the fish guy at Petco turns out to be an idiot. Kept saying "Don't worry about it, they live in mud puddles" and "They like REALLY acidic water, like a 5 on the pH scale." I picked up Ampicilin and he took it out of my hands and said, "It doesn't say Popeye on it, so you're getting the wrong one." As I'm poking around in the betta section, I saw a gorgeous CT male, and saw that he had Dropsy. It was like seeing a friend with cancer. I was silent the entire way home, I felt so bad.