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Old 12-28-2013, 11:43 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Must Rescue Roommates Betta

Hi everyone,

I'm in dire need of advice on how to rescue my roommates Betta. This fish has been suffering since I moved in at the start of September, and it has gotten way worse since I confronted my roommate about it at the start of November. Right now he is on vacation and wont be back for another week and a half, and after returning home today to see the state of the tank I've decided enough is enough. So here is the complicated situation....

The water hadn't been changed since I changed it for him at the start of November (he says he will change it but never does, also has refused my help before but I hate to see the poor thing suffer especially when my roommate isn't here). He keeps the fish beside a window away from a heating vent (not good in Canadian winters!) in a 24 hour constantly lit room. My roommate went away two weeks ago a couple days after I left our student house and I came back today to find that he dumped a bunch of food in the tank to make up for regular feedings. Algae had grown through the tank and water was distinctly brown and around 35% opaque. Food and waste were rotting in the bottom of the tank. Needless to say I did a 100% water change, scrubbed down the tank and gave his fish new clean gravel. Also have moved the fish into my room away from the window where he will have has proper lighting intervals and regulated heat. Anyways please help me try to rescue this betta, he is in terrible condition!!!!

What size is your tank? 1 Gal (Must keep him in the roommates tank we have gotten into an argument over this before)
What temperature is your tank? 78 F (monitered with thermometer)
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? N/A

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Betta Food (though I have Wardley pellets and Nutrafin bloodworms if you think it would be better)
How often do you feed your betta fish? Im not sure but 20+ rotting pellets were visible on bottom of tank

How often do you perform a water change? Last time Nov. 4 or 5 (Sadistic I know, I really feel horrible for this poor fish) 100% water change performed this morning
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner and API Stress Coat

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Don't Have any test equipment right now :(


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clamped Fins, extremely short and thin dorsal fin (1-1.5 cm long maybe), dull coloration, entire body bloated or maybe just fat from over feeding
How has your betta fish's behavour changed? EXTREMELY lethargic, sits either at the bottom of the tank or at the top facing the corner, does not swim around at all
When did you start noticing the symptoms? He's always been in bad condition since I moved to this house in September. My other roommate who moved out told me the fish had been abandoned by a previous tenant so when she moved at the start of november I took the betta and put him in a heated/filtered/clean 3Gal which I bought specifically to rescue him. All to be told by another roommate that it was actually his family's fish and he wanted it back no if ands of butts even though I told him he was sick and needed a bigger tanků as such he got put back in his 1 gal with an 100% water change. It is apparent my roommate has done nothing to help this fish since despite me asking him to multiple times in nov/dec.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Cleaned tank, water change, stress coat, brought him to my room so that temp and lighting is regulated
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not sure but always in dirty water, dull coloration and lethargic since I've moved in.

Please understand my situation, I do not know my roommate personally, and have had words with him several times since I found out it was his fish after I tried to rescue it the first time. He's been very adament that he will not give me the fish, but I can't watch the poor thing suffer like this, its sick and twisted. So please, I would really appreciate any advice.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:57 AM   #2 
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Aghhh, people like this make me so sick. It's a pity you can't move to a better house and take the fish with you, while the guy is gone.. I would have trouble sharing a house with somebody like that.

Is there anyone you know who is responsible and could take the fish? I so would rehome him, and tell the housemate it passed away while he was gone.. "Yeah, had to flush him, poor fella.." Sadly, I suspect the first thing this moron would do is run out and purchase another fish to torture.

Really, though.. upsetting as it is, there's only so much you can do in these situations. Please don't feel bad, if all you can do is care for the fish at intervals. It's more than what a lot of folks would be doing.

As to the fish's health.. if he's in a 1 gallon, getting once a month or less water changes, there's nothing that's really going to help him. Whatever problems he has now will just return with the filthy conditions. If you manage to keep/rescue him, clean conditions and appropriate medications for whatever he's got will help tremendously, as well as stable temps and a few plants to hide in for stress reduction.

I feel for you, in this situation.. this year we 'adopted' a maltreated local cat, even though it had a collar and tag. No way is that animal --ever-- going 'home' to an abuser. But then, we aren't sharing a house with the owner. (((hugs))) I hope it works out well for both you and the poor fishy.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:16 AM   #3 
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Aus, exactly what I was thinking. Do you still live with your roommate? It sounds like you don't, or maybe you were gone?
Anyways,I'd find Someone who could take proper care and say that he died. Of course, don't give it to anyone who has ANY relations with this guy.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:52 AM   #4 
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Sorry for the confusion! Yes, I still live in the student house, I just went home for a couple of weeks because its Christmas holidays and my boss gave me the time to go visit my family. I'm back in the student house now though because I have to work until school starts again. So correction to my original post: he is in a 1/2 gal tank. And when light is shone on home some white dots are visible on his tail fin but no where else.

Thanks for the suggestions, but there is a slight issue with giving the fish away, I have three other roommates that are here and would tell him. Also I don't know anybody who is experienced with fish care either here or in my hometown.

I grew up with fish, my dad had a 90 gal with lots and I did have a betta that lived for five years while I was younger. I currently have a betta that I bought in November when I got in the arguement with my roommate and had to give h back his fish. It's not like I could return the tank accessories and plants so I figured why not, and mine is doing really well (tiny and recovering from a case of pet store fin rot) but is now more active, fins regrowing SLOWLY, and has recently started blowing bubble nests. So I feel comfortable taking him it's just I'm not super experienced or knowledgable on how to help him, I'm not sure if he has swim bladder, fin rot, and ammonia poisoning, ick or all four. I'm down to tell my roommate he died and deal with that whole fiasco but I just want to know if there's anyway I can help the fish myself.

And thank you for your advice I really appreciate it!!! :) ps: writing this on my phone, sorry for any errors
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:20 AM   #5 
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Wait, so you roommate got MAD at you for keeping it in a larger tank? Did you offer just to give him the current supplies, and he refused? I know being a student money can be really strapped, but just curious if you offered to give it to him.

Is there any time when you could come back to the apartment, take the fish, and have no one witness this? Like say you came back for xxx and saw the fish dead? How do the roommates feel about the fish?
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:41 AM   #6 
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No I didn't offer to give it to him for a couple of reasons. I spent a hundred dollars after buying the tank, filter, heater, plants, deco, gravel, betta hammock, meds and such. Also on the night I switched the fish up to my room he didn't even notice it was gone, that was until I saw him sitting in the living room and told him how sad it was that are female roommate abandoned her fish and how I bought it the proper tank and complained about how badly she treated the fish.... Which is when after all of my lovely gossiping he told me it was his families fish and had no clue why the girl told me it had been left by previous tennants and she was the one who took care of it. I have a lovely knack for putting my foot in my mouth as I'm sure you can tell lil. So like I was mad because he obviously hadn't taken care of it even though it is apparently "his family who moved out west's fish" so in actuality he's killing someone else's fish and that's why he wants to keep it and have it in the 1/2 gallon tank it came with. So basically after telling him what a terrible fish keeper he was and arguing with me over whether the fish was sick or not he promised to take better care of it. So I had a betta ready 3 gal sitting in my room and knew he wouldn't give me the fish but hoped he would change his ways so I decided to go rescue one from the pet store. I'm sure you know the feeling, like once you decided you want a betta you don't really change your mind! So when he didn't follow through with the care for his fish my 3 gal has already been put to good use.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:51 AM   #7 
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Oh and to answer your other questions (cell phone posting again) I have successfully snuck the fish and his tank into my room. I think I should be fine at least for the week and a half that the owner is gone... All three other roommates are on good terms with this guy and one of them loves to get high and flick the fish tank to see what the fish does but like the owner is 8 hours away right now and we have door locks on our bedrooms so I doubt they would do anything other than tell him that I took his fish again. Also I'm super strapped for cash, trust me I would buy another $100 set up for this little guy if I could but right now I even have to wait for my next paycheck to pay my phone bill. I pay for school/living/car/my pets (at my moms house thank god) so Christmas has got me stretching every last dollar. I was hoping to maybe look on the bright side that he probably needs to be on a hospital tank, so keeping him in the 1/2 gal for a couple weeks may not be completely devestating?
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:09 AM   #8 
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I don't blame you for not giving it to him! We got our 10 gal for free so I forget how expensive tanks are, lol.

Great to know. And the other roommate sounds awful.

Hopefully you can get this little buddy a good home.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:17 AM   #9 
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Thanks! Can you think of any medicines / treatments I should be doing? Like would 100% water changes every day be in order or would that be too drastic of a regimen considering this fish's state? Any diagnostic guesses? I'm assuming ammonia poisoning at the very least.

Last edited by roxfox; 12-29-2013 at 03:18 AM. Reason: Cell phone :/
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:23 AM   #10 
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No idea - I'm still a newbie. But I'd be doing at least 25% changes every day. Would want an expert to confirm, but would 100%, 25%, 50%, 25%, 50%, 100%? Work?
Also, he doesn't have a heater but the water temp. Stays at 78F? Wow. Warm unit!

And, if I'm not mistaken (those who know everything correct me if I'm wrong) but salt would be useful in this case, but I can't say for certain. I'd get stress coat though, and something for tannins,
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