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Old 01-01-2010, 09:44 AM   #1 
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Please help me. My betta is sick and I'm having trouble diagnosing...

So for the past month and a half almost I've noticed my blue and rust crow-tail betta, Fern, has been acting strangely. Right now he lives in a 2 gallon novelty shaped bowl with a small shrine as his hiding place. I've been looking for symptoms but it seems like he has everything at once every time I try to research!

-Fin-rot- his dorsal fin looks like it's missing chunks and his lateral fins look like they're frayed but I don't see much or any growth in that anymore.
-Bacterial infection- He has a small white patch over his dorsal fin that looks like a little piece of elastic and a white patch over his chin which. I don't know if it's coloring since he's had the white patch when I first got him from a local pet-store.
-Velvet- This is the most recent one I think I may have looked up and I was told to look for a fine-gold or rust colored dust across his body. He has this as well!
-Inflamed gils- I've looked at this but don't know if it's really happening or not, I've looked up a few images and his gils look slightly more puffed than usual and he's been sitting up near the top of his tan taking gobs of air.
-External parasites- Supposedly hard to see if your betta gets them sometimes but he has the behaviors, darting around, he used to bump the small bamboo plant that he used to have in his tank repeatedly and sometimes scrape his body about the gravel in his tank.

I don't know if I'm a hypochondriac about my fish or if these all really are happening to him simultaneously.
To reiterate, his simptoms are:
-White patches (which may or may not be his natural coloring).
-Lethargy (when I first got him he was very active, he'd flare, and look at me, follow my finger if I poked his tank, and he'd flare and play shark with his little bubbler when I turned it on, he does none of this now).
-He stays at the top of the tank sucking air.
-His eating is very little even though I've been feeding him a new diet of Hikari brand multivitamin freeze-dried blood worms over his old food, tetra betta pellets which we wouldn't eat or would spit out.
-His fins look frayed and somewhat broken.
-Oddly enough he's still making a bubble nest (I thought that meant boys were happy and healthy).
-And the only movement I continually see is an irradic twitching and then frantically swimming around the tank like he's going to fly out!

His tank is, again, is a 2 gallon. I'm currently trying to treat him with Bettazing ( and a dose of ampacillin (which are safe to use together). He has no filter (looking into changing that as well), no heater (looking into changing that since our house is a constant 70-68 degrees in winter), and I usually clean his tank once every 2 weeks, though since he's been sick I've been changing it one time every 3 days. He used to have 2 silk plants, a bamboo frond, and a bubbler that would be turned on from time to time. The bubbler had been turned off because it looked like he was having trouble swimming against the current it created, the silk plants were plastic so I was a bit worried he'd hurt himself or something, and he kept running into his bamboo plant and it needed to be taken out so I could add the ampacillin and bettazing without it dying because plants usually react poorly to these.

Please for the love of all of the rare, pearly white bettas, in the beautiful world of fish-owners, someone please, please help me. I'm on the verge of tears with this case I don't know what to do. I could really use some help!
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:12 AM   #2 
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Sorry to hear your fish isn't feeling well. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what they have.

I would first say no more meds. You've already thrown an antibiotic at the issues and that's usually the strongest and last resort med.

What is the water temp in the bowl? If he's in cold water, his metabolism is too slow and that's why he's lethargic. He should be in water that's between 76 and 82F.

You should keep some air in the tank so I would put the bubbler tube back in but you can bend it and put an elastic around the tube (outside the tank) so he doesn't get blown around by the strong bubbles. It sounds like he's having trouble getting air. I put a silk plant in my hospital tank and have the tube resting underneath so the bubbles aren't too strong.

Fresh conditioned water that's heated to the right temp is probably the best you can do for your little buddy right now. Change some of the water every day, keep him warm, and put some Epsom salt (just a little) in the conditioned water to help with his electrolytes. Aquarium salt is ok but when a fish is sick, my research shows that epsom salt is more effective.

Good luck. Hope he makes it.
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:25 AM   #3 
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Hmm... He might have Ick (white splotches). To help with the heating situation (I don't think that's warm enough), you could put a lamp with one of those heating light bulbs over the tank. That's what I do and my fish is fine.

When male betta fish make bubble nests, it means that he's ready to mate.

He might have fin rot, but other than that, I'm not too sure what he could have. Maybe if this gets too serious, ask someone at a pet store what they think.

I hope he gets better soon!!!
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:55 AM   #4 
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I want to add that you should keep up with the water changes when he's better. Once every two weeks is too little for a 2 gallon. I'd do it once a week at least, if not twice. I hope he get's better! Romad's advice is very good! :)
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:53 AM   #5 
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Alright. Thank you all for your help. I'm slowly doing water changes to get him off of the medicine so it's not a giant shock when he's changed into a new bowl with plants, new gravel, a filter, a heater, a new hiding place, and a tank that's half a gallon bigger. Right now he's in a room with indirect sunlight (except for early morning and sunset when it angles his bowl for about 10-20 minutes)
I'm wondering how slowly I should ween him onto aquarium salt after he's in his new tank? By teaspoons? Or just a tablespoon all at once?
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:15 PM   #6 
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Ratio is 1/2 tsp. per gallon of conditioned water. Be sure to dissolve it fully before putting it into the tank. I don't usually put in a full dose with my bettas tho. (personal preference and it works for me ).

I have 4 of the 2.5 gal betta tanks and I add only 1 tsp. to the tank. So if I'm changing 1/2 of the water, I add roughly 1/2 tsp. - period.

Once you have the new tank running and the right temp., check the temp in your bettas bowl. You don't want to shock him by taking him out of cold(ish) water and plunging him into 78 deg. water. I would add some warm conditioned water slowly (like over the period of a few hours) until you can get the bowl water close to the tank temp. Then you can float him in a cup on top of the new tank for 10-15 mins. or so and then his cup water should be at the same temp as the tank.
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