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Old 12-19-2013, 09:56 AM   #1 
WorriedFishMom
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Worried about Betta!

A few months ago, I bought a baby Betta fish from a large chain-type pet store. Though originally I kept Mr. Teddy Salad in a vase, with less than 1 gallon of water, I quickly became unhappy with that set up because I felt that I couldn't keep the water clean. So I started doing some research around the web, and decided to buy Teddy a 2 gallon aquarium, complete with filter, heater, gravel to add to decorative rocks, Betta bulb plants, and a decoration.
I've had nothing but trouble with my poor fishy since then! I really do my best to care for Mr. Salad. I change the water 100% weekly, and when I do I clean everything in the tank, and the tank itself, thoroughly (with water only).
First I noticed that Teddy had some fungus. Bad advice from a pet store employee led me to using PimaFix, but within a day I learned better. In that day, Teddy developed pop eye too. So I completely changed all the water, and changed to BettaFix. This worked well; the fungus and pop eye both cleared up within a few days. I even bought some filter fiber to use in place of the regular carbon filter. I didn't want the filter to be completely off when Teddy was ill.
Meanwhile, I bought another plant, Anubias, to add to the tank, and removed what was quickly becoming a deteriorating decoration. Teddy loves his jungle, but has had a hard time with his "furniture". I've switched it out and can't find anything he likes, hopefully the sinking log that's coming will work.
During this time I've noticed that Teddy is either a runt or a female. Because I wasn't told what the sex was when I bought him, I can only guess by the size and that he has small, not so colorful fins. Teddy is maybe an inch long.
Recently I noticed that he seemed to have developed fin rot. I immediately removed him from the tank, and started an aquarium salt treatment in a quarantine tank--his old vase. Aside from when I broke the vase one night when cleaning, the daily water changes and salt were working well. There seems to be some fin re-growth.
But yesterday I noticed that Teddy has been swimming on his side, and doing these odd twirls. From what I understand it could be gas or constipation. I rushed out to buy peas, managed to get him to eat some, but I see no changes today.
I suppose my main concern is what I must be doing so wrong that my fish is always sick!!! I really do change the water 100% weekly, and make sure the temperature is right before re-introducing Teddy. I trim the plants of dead leaves, I switch out the filters as recommended, I clean every part thoroughly when changing the water--seriously everything is rinsed in at least warm and cool water and the rocks and equipment I boil from time to time--I monitor water temperature, I feed him Betta flakes twice daily and a blood worm treat at night. The tank isn't in direct sunlight, I don't leave the lights on 24 hours a day, and I work 10 hours of the day so I can't disturb him too much either.

I'm so worried about my fish! Teddy is a cool fish, who likes to hunt his food (feeding time is fun), explore the tiny jungle, and be curious about his surroundings. I'll be heartbroken if Teddy dies and it's my fault.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:14 AM   #2 
Sally M
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Do you use a conditioner for your tap water, like Prime? This takes out all the bad stuff in city water.

From folks here, I learned that the flakes aren't the best for them. The recommendations are usually New Life Spectrum (NLS - there are various kinds - be sure to get the smallest size pellet for your little guy). You could try some of the frozen treats since he is so small. He doesn't sound like he (or she) is growing very fast if in a couple months, he is still under an inch. I also have some baby bettas from Petco. Eight of them. I have found that of these, the two males seem to grow much slower than the girls have. I'm not sure why. Folks here don't recommend the peas but rather Epsom salt bath for bloating type things. I was told don't mix the salts.

Last edited by Sally M; 12-19-2013 at 11:26 AM. Reason: To add other thoughts
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:27 AM   #3 
WorriedFishMom
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I always let my water sit out for at least a few hours to help evaporate chlorine, but I use water conditioner every time. I had been using API's Betta water conditioner, but when Teddy got fin rot I changed to Tetra's water conditioner for Bettas.
I often test the water before I put Teddy in it. The test strips always show that the water is fine, except that for some reason the nitrate and nitrite things tend to not turn into pink shades but instead gray?
The flakes I give him have little frozen shrimp bits in it, and he LOVES them. I originally bought a couple different types of food, to find out which ones he liked best. Teddy sort of grabbed the pellets and spit them out (repeatedly) but never ate any.
Are Epsom salts extremely different from aquarium salt? Also, Teddy doesn't look bloated, he's just swimming sideways, and doing the odd twirls. He didn't like the pea very much and just ate a tiny bit.
OMG! Teddy isn't an inch long, he's slightly bigger than that, I don't know why I typed that. But honestly I haven't taken a ruler to the fish either, so I can't be certain about his size.

Last edited by WorriedFishMom; 12-19-2013 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Response above edited
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:36 AM   #4 
Sally M
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The test strips are rumored to be unreliable but with so many water changes you shouldn't have any water quality issues. I haven't used either of those conditioners. The most recommended here is Seachem Prime.

The other thing that comes to mind is that somewhere in the forum here is the thread about too much cleaning. I'm trying to find it but can't at the moment. There are good bacteria on the surfaces of everything in the tank that you might want to leave in there.

I'm new at this too so I hope others will chime in who have more and better ideas!
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:55 AM   #5 
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I agree with Sally. The strips aren't very reliable. We usually recommend the API freshwater master test kit.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:45 PM   #6 
WorriedFishMom
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Teddy looks far worse. I think he is suffocating in his water. He is stuck on his side, and his gills are working hard. He's swimming in circles at the top of the water, and gulping constantly. From what I can tell, he can't get his mouth to the surface to breathe. I moved one of his plants (anubias) to the quarantine tank so maybe he can use it to reach the surface.
Is there anything I can to help my fishy?? He looks like he's suffering, it's awful.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:16 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally M View Post
The test strips are rumored to be unreliable but with so many water changes you shouldn't have any water quality issues. I haven't used either of those conditioners. The most recommended here is Seachem Prime.

The other thing that comes to mind is that somewhere in the forum here is the thread about too much cleaning. I'm trying to find it but can't at the moment. There are good bacteria on the surfaces of everything in the tank that you might want to leave in there.

I'm new at this too so I hope others will chime in who have more and better ideas!
I also thought about lack of beneficial bacteria due to cleaning all the surfaces (plants, gravel, tank walls, etc.) at once, but I can't remember where I read it. You might want to try staggering the cleaning of the surfaces when you do water changes. I also am not very experienced, so I won't even try to diagnose your fish, but I just wanted to suggest something that might help your little guy. Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:36 AM   #8 
WorriedFishMom
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I decided to take that advice when I was changing out the water earlier, and just rinsed. I didn't scrub at anything, or use overly hot water.
Thanks for the advice so far!
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:13 AM   #9 
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To answer a question from an earlier post, Aquarium salt and Epsom salt are very different. Aquarium salt adds to fluid retention while Epsom salt has a laxative effect instead.

You said he spit the pellets out when you tried giving them to him? Did you try crushing them up? Bettas spit food out sometimes because it's too big and since he's so small it will be a lot bigger to him than older bettas.

You said he's swimming in circles and doing odd twirls? Buoyancy issues indicate something is going on with his swim bladder.

Also, I'm definitely no expert on cycling, but I do remember that beneficial bacteria lives on surfaces in the tank.

Last edited by Aquatail; 12-20-2013 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 12-21-2013, 12:11 AM   #10 
WorriedFishMom
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I bought some Epsom salts tonight, and I have some water set out to acclimate to the same temperature as Teddy's current tank. What would the correct dosage be?
If anyone can help me, I'd appreciate it. Mr. Salad looks uncomfortable, and he's a cool fish. I want to help him get better.
In the future I don't think I will overwash or clean the tank, but before Teddy can move back home I'd like to see him healthy!
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