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Old 10-04-2013, 11:10 AM   #1 
Aqua Aurora
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: South East PA
Exclamation New betta sick, symptons don't quite match listed diseases. Please help.

Sorry this will be a bit long, please bare with me.

Details, The Beginning:
1st Day: SO a few days ago I went to the lfs (Petco) to look if they have any good aquatic plants, I ended up impulse buying a lovely looking Mustard colored Double Tailed Half Moon Plakat Betta with black head and blue body with yellow tail with blue trim(names him Dijon like the mustard) See 1st photo (look at all that crap in there). I had no intentions of ending up with a betta, though I did have a cube set up for over a week that I was nursing Argentinian sword and some other aquatic plants back to life in (they'd been eaten by my sailfin pleco). I originally was going to keep Dijon in his betta bowl he was bought in until I could properly prep the cube, but when I did a water test YIKES no time to waste get him the **** out of that water! Ammonia levels were 4 ppm, Nitrite 1 ppm, Nitrate 10-20 ppm (again this is for the bowl he was sold in). See 2nd photo below.
I had broken the 6 inch air stone in my 1 year old very cycled tank the day before so I stuck a piece in as it is very porous and I assumed it would have some BB (beneficial bacteria) to help boost along the growth of BB in the cube. There was no heater or filter (I cannot find one small enough that won't cook/overkill on water flow at my lfs, I am still looking for ones online, suggestions welcome!). I also had a small air-stone and tube I put int for a little water movement/extra aeration. I tested the cube water before he went in, the Nitrate was a bit high (about 20 from some dead plant leaves) so I removed the dead plant bits and did a 45-50% water change. Dijon was put into the cube which has a constant natural temp of around 72 F (little warmer than the lfs he came from) pH about 7.4. He seemed happy enough, swam around checking out everything and he's flare if I pushed my finger on the glass, he'd rest on or under plant leaves near the surface or bottom periodically. I tried feeding him 2 small betta pellets (Hikari Betta Bio-Gold) since the lfs said they feed theirs bettas pellets. He wasn't interested, I assumed it was that he'd already eaten that morning or was too busy checking out his new digs so i took out the uneaten food and thought nothing of it.

The Symptoms start:

2nd day: he had lost some color, his black was starting to turn brown and his blues were a little faded. I tried feeding again, this time using a tooth pick to move the food around, he still showed no interest and seemed a little more lethargic than the first day though he'd still flare at my finger against the glass. I did a 45-50% water change and let him be, hoping it was just stress from the move, and reading online that day that bettas may go a week without eating when placed in a new environment.
When I checked on him at night he pissing himself under the Argentinian Sword's small leaves on the side of the tank, I assumed he liked them better than the anubias nana I had in there and just liked sleeping anchored instead of resting on top of leaves near the surface, understandable if he wasn't comfortable with his new home yet..

3rd day: He'd lost more color and his black was now a murky brown, and his belly was turning a lighter color, from the start of the day it went from grey to white by night time. The lighter patch did not look cottony, or slimy, simply the scales by his belly were completely turning lighter shades. He appeared to have swim bladder issues and was always at the surface and slightly tilted on his side. I've had a fish with swim bladder issues before so I tried the cooked shucked pea remedy, breaking a halfed pea in two (1/4) to be small for his mouth, still no interest in eat. Did another partial water change and monitored him all day. He'd periodically perk up and swim all around, but would end up back at the surface just resting. There was no labored breathing, he'd take a noticeable gulp of air every few minutes at most. By nightfall the swim-bladder issue was much worse, he'd sometimes role completely over (belly up) but would immediately right himself and try to swim around then end up slightly on his side at the surface again.His belly ahrd turned white and looked slightly (only slightly) bloated considering he'd eaten nothing since he'd gotten here. I tried a pea piece again, still no interest, so I filled up a clean bowl with 1.5 gallons of treated water and did an Epson salt bath for hi for about 17 minutes then put him back in his tank after a tiny water change (10%). For both moves he put out no real effort to avoid the glass cup I used to take him from bowl to bowl, he'd wiggle a little while IN the cup but didn't try to flee it.

4th day (today): My husband genuinely thought Dijon was dead this morning, he was in the same corner by the surface resting on some anacharis all night and didn't appear to move at all. My mate said he turned on teh light and gently poked the plant Dijon was on (the plant leaf poked the betta) and he didn't move. When my husband told me, I got the betta bowl Dijon was sold in and went to scoop him out HOLD ON LADY I AIN'T DEAD! Little bugger swam to to bottom then back to the surface after a minute. He noticeably cannot keep his butt down today, he tried to swim to the bottom again and only can get his head dipped down but ends up back at the surface... swim-bladder is getting worse. He also is not fanning his pectoral fins any more when staying in one place.
See last two photos for appearance comparison today (sorry little blurry)

Please Help:
Before you bash on be about his living arrangements, I know they need improved but I need to identify and rectify his ailment.
I have looked all over the web at betta illnesses, and nothing is quite matching up. The light patch on his belly is just light colored scales, there is no film/cotton/slime like substance to suggest a few of the known betta illnesses, his scales are not raised, he is not gasping constantly for air, there are no red marks on him, and he has no apparent fin root, he's lost color in his body, and I beleive his pectoral fins are clamped, and he has not eaten anything since I've gotten him.
Suggestions on what this could be, links to more sites with sickness details, and remedies for whatever this is would be much appreciated.
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Last edited by Aqua Aurora; 10-04-2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:31 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
How did you introduce (acclimate) him to his new home? What procedure (if any) did you follow?

Since the water in his cup had so much ammonia (along with who-knows-what-else), did you slowly allow him to make an adjustment from that water to your own? This is done by floating his cup in the tank, and adding small amounts of tank water into his cup over a period of hours, so that he can get used to the new water.

If you didn't do this, you may have 'shocked' his system by moving him into the new tank too quickly. In this case, there isn't much you can do right now, other than wait and see if his system can adjust to the new water parameters.

As for the swim bladder issues, you didn't state your tanks size, but I would add Epsom salt directly to the tank. To do this:
1) Put some tank water into a cup. Stir in enough Epsom salt to provide a dosage of 0.25 teaspoons per gallon. (Divide your tank capacity in gallons by 4 to determine the amount needed.)
2) Once the salt is completely dissolved, slowly pour it into the tank. (Epsom salt will not hurt your live plants.)
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:00 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Red River, NM
I would also shine a flashlight on him and see if that brown is really a gold or rust colored "dust" or coating. That would indicate Velvet, which wouldn't be surprising considering the conditions he was in before you got him.
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