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Old 02-18-2010, 03:27 AM   #1 
BirdboySF
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Ulcer Diagnosis

My 2.5 year old female Holly has been housed in a 3 gallon, no filter nor heater (other than running the tank light). I have been feeding her brine shrimp gum drops and pellets alternately, skipping every third day or so. She has no live plants. but was doing all right with monthly water changes until early December when I got sick and lost control. I wrapped the tank up and kept the light on to boost the temperature but admittedly itís a cold apartment. I avoided dealing with her much and it was 6 weeks before I addressed her tank again.
I noticed a line along one side near her back fin. She also seemed to stop eating. In January, I changed the water out (80%) & shortly thereafter her side ulcerated, and she seemed to hang near the surface if possible and had jerky swim patterns when she did move about the tank. I kept trying to get a picture to post for some help to diagnose but she slumped on that side often and the pics I got didnít illustrate the problem well since she is so light in color.
Since then I have moved her to a small breeding tank 67F with a low water line of about a quart so she neednít struggle to breathe. I have been changing that every 3 days and have added a little aquarium salt and done some rounds of Melafix. The tea tree seems to improve the surrounding tissue (her tail seems less atrophied for instance) but does nothing to heal the wound itself.

I am assuming the cold temp, septic water and rich diet caused constipation or a blockage and/or maybe an infected her swim bladder? I am wondering if my diagnosis is correct and if I should do salt baths OR will that be more torturous than good ?

I am hoping she can be nursed back to health but feel I should get some good advice rather than guessing. Certainly I am getting a heater before she goes back into the 3G, which I might replace to get one with working filtration. I won't underestimate clean H2O and warmth again.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #2 
kelly528
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Yeeeouch! That looks painful!

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and therefore will only kill external bacteria; a glorified Purell if you will.

Your water changes are not adequate ATM, a 3g needs to be changed 100% weekly or, if cycled, 25-50% weekly. I strongly suspect water quality caused that ulcer. 99% sure it started as an ammonia burn whoch got infected. Keep her in the 3g so you can keep the water heated (to 74 so as not to encourage bacterial growth) and keep changing it 100% every 3 days.

Aquarium salt alone won't do anything, you need a broad spectrum antibiotic like the Maracyn & Maracyn 2 combo. Start her on that ASAP and you should see a huge improvement.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:49 PM   #3 
BirdboySF
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Thanks Kelly

Thank you for responding and giving me such good direction. I have a product called Tetra Lifeguard but it clearly states it is not an antibiotic and that sounds like what is needed.
Salt bath sounds like it would have just been excruciatingly wrong for her!
I also noticed in my avatar pic the same discolored line I spoke of before (Holly, now widowed, is the upper fish of the pair). I am still a little puzzled as if I was overfeeding or supplying a diet way to heavy. Anyhow, that's an issue I want to feel resolved on as I thought I was being methodical and healthful with daily feeds of the brine shrimp and/or pellets.
I still question, What was that line ?
I am en route to pick up some supplies and will update as things progress.
Again, my thanks for your quick, concise response.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:44 AM   #4 
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Oh poor baby!! I'm afraid I don't have anything helpful advice, but I do hope she heals!
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:23 AM   #5 
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Yep definitely go with an actual antibiotic.

Can't tell what the line is from the pic.

Ideally if your betta is in a heated tank of proper size you will want to be feeding 2-6 pellets per day. A good guideline is that a betta's stomach is the size of its eye. If you are worried about overfeeding you can divide the pellets into a few small feedings, eg 2 pellets at breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than 6 pellets all at once.

Freeze-dried foods are notorious for causing bloat. You will need to soak them before feeding.
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