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Old 06-21-2014, 03:09 PM   #1 
JBlacksmith
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I Need Help Please

Housing
What size is your tank?
5.5 gallons

What temperature is your tank?
82F

Does your tank have a filter?
Yes

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
No

Is your tank heated?
Yes

What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Aqueon Betta Pellets

How often do you feed your betta fish?
2-3 pellets twice a day
Some days when I know I'll be very busy 4 pellets in the morning

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
Once every other week

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?
Originally API Stress Coat, but recently I started trying Prime

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
pH: 7.8
Hardness: n/a
Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
Gills are extremely inflamed, protruding outward about two centimeters, deep red in color with one centimeter of black bordering the outermost edge.The scales covering the gill area are incredibly shiny, almost as if they have been scraped off. I am not sure about this one, but his eyes seem darker in color and a little bulbous.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
He sits at the bottom, currently is on his side. He has not eaten in four days. His mouth will not close. He gasps. He no longer moves away from light when I shine it on him. I have not seen him surface in a couple days.

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
A couple of weeks ago his appetite decreased. I noticed the rest of his symptoms ~4 days ago.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Yes, at the request of a specialist from my LFS, he has received three days of tetracycline treatment. Today will be his fourth, but he has not received it yet.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?
No

How old is your fish (approximately)?
I have had him for one and a half years. He didn't grow at all after I got him, so I'm assuming he is a little over two years old.

The picture attached was a couple days ago. He has been hiding, so I have not been able to take a new picture. Thank you in advance for any help!
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:22 PM   #2 
hubbley
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I'm not experienced enough to give you advice on treatment, but I wish I could. I just wanted to say this.

You should be doing a 50% water change once a week. I also have a 5.5 gallon tank and every other week isn't enough. Also, and I have just recently learned this, you shouldn't do 100% water changes. Perhaps in the future this helps you.

What I can suggest: moving him into a hospital tank. In your case, since he is having such a hard time getting to the surface (and he needs to get to the surface) I would have a low water level so it much easier for him to get air.

I'm sorry this is the best I can do. :(
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:27 AM   #3 
TheBlur
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This just sounds like a case of "dirty tank". Even if the water isn't brown or clouded to us, it can still get dirty and nasty for a fish.

Like what Hubbley said. With a 5.5 you need to be changing your water 75% once a week, 50% once a week is a BARE MINIMUM for a 5.5 gallon tank.

I have two 10gals and two 3 gals. My 10 gal gets a 50% water change once a week and on the 3rd week it gets a 75% to 80% water change. My 3 gallon tanks each get 80% changes WEEKLY at the least, with 50% changes half-weekly if I can.

He doesn't look like has any external illnesses, so he's likely just struggling to breathe.

My suggestion is to reduce the level of the water in your tank so that he can easily reach the surface for air (Probably to at least half the tank, maybe less). Do an 80% water change IMMEDIATELY. Continue with prime/stress coat or whatever you're using and condition your water as is appropriate. Keep that water warm!

Best of luck.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:25 AM   #4 
Taeanna
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are you able to get a picture of him from above? In this shot he seems a little thin which will be important locating a source of his distress.

Since he is becoming very far gone (not responding to stimuli is a sign of extreme lethargy and illness) you do have the signal to move ahead with his treatment if you choose- usually I advise caution but as his symptoms become worse you are racing the clock. Tetracycline will be able to clear out many bacterial infections and rules out a large number of illnesses in one swoop.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:40 AM   #5 
hubbley
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5-9gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.

TheBlur, this is from the OFL water change recommendations. I think a 50% once a week is fine, not bare minimum.
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #6 
TheBlur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hubbley View Post
5-9gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.

TheBlur, this is from the OFL water change recommendations. I think a 50% once a week is fine, not bare minimum.

Fair :3 My fish are poopers so they make a messy tank XD Plus I don't have a vacuum. :P
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:30 PM   #7 
JBlacksmith
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Thank you all for getting back to me. Sorry, I assumed that as long as the water parameters always tested out great, my every other week routine was working. I have already been using a gravel vac as well as rinsing the filter in his tank water, but I will begin weekly water changes immediately.

If I lower the water level, would it be best to turn the filter off? It is hard for the heater to provide equal temperatures throughout the tank when I don't have the filter running. Will that be a problem?

I will try to get a top down picture when I clean the tank.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do to get him eating again? I tried to interest him in some frozen brine shrimp, but he didn't even know it was there. I have been told it might be kinder to euthanize at this point, but I would rather fix him, if that is even possible :(
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:05 PM   #8 
TheBlur
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If your heater is not heating your tank fully without the filter running you probably don't have a good or fully functioning heater. :T

If you plan on putting medication into the water you should turn the filter off.
If your filter will not run properly with a lower water level you should turn it off. (Check your filter's instructions.)

Betta fish can survive for a looooooonnngggg time without eating (I think I heard like two weeks or something crazy like that). If its only been a day or two I wouldn't worry about him not eating at this point. He could not be feeling well enough to eat just yet. Work on getting him more comfortable first, the eating will come :)
If you really want to try getting him to eat you can soak his food in garlic juice. Make sure you put it right in front of him so its easy for him to get to it without using too much effort.

NEVER give up on your fish. NEVER euthanize when there is a possibility for treatment.

For now I would be doing 25% water changes daily, 80% changes weekly, and use Teanna's advice about the continued use of Tetracycline. Having a medicated tank or a fish that is ill will require more frequent water changes so that you can get whatever icky stuff that may be in the water that you can't see out. Its why hospitals are sterile for sick people too! Clean environments! :D

Best of luck! Keep us updated! The more photos the better!
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:02 PM   #9 
JBlacksmith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBlur View Post
If your heater is not heating your tank fully without the filter running you probably don't have a good or fully functioning heater. :T

If you plan on putting medication into the water you should turn the filter off.
If your filter will not run properly with a lower water level you should turn it off. (Check your filter's instructions.)

Betta fish can survive for a looooooonnngggg time without eating (I think I heard like two weeks or something crazy like that). If its only been a day or two I wouldn't worry about him not eating at this point. He could not be feeling well enough to eat just yet. Work on getting him more comfortable first, the eating will come :)
If you really want to try getting him to eat you can soak his food in garlic juice. Make sure you put it right in front of him so its easy for him to get to it without using too much effort.

NEVER give up on your fish. NEVER euthanize when there is a possibility for treatment.

For now I would be doing 25% water changes daily, 80% changes weekly, and use Teanna's advice about the continued use of Tetracycline. Having a medicated tank or a fish that is ill will require more frequent water changes so that you can get whatever icky stuff that may be in the water that you can't see out. Its why hospitals are sterile for sick people too! Clean environments! :D

Best of luck! Keep us updated! The more photos the better!
My filter doesn't have carbon in it, so if I dose him again, am I turning it off in an attempt to save the good bacteria? Because I might as well take the filter out of the tank since the good bacteria will still come into contact with the antibiotics even if the filter is off.
The filter functions alright in low water levels, I just wasn't sure if the current it produces will be stronger in less water. I surrounded it with plants, though, and so far he seems unbothered by the current!

I was concerned about him starving because today was his fifth day without food, but I may have fixed that. I melted some frozen brine shrimp, and put it in a turkey baster to deposit near him (instead of leaving it on the surface). Most of it he didn't care about, but I THINK I saw him eat one chunk! Even when I drop the pellet in front of him it sinks too fast, but I will try the garlic juice!

Also, I tried to get a picture of him from above, but he kept tilting on his side a bit. I will try again on the next water change, though.

I am glad that you also agree I should keep trying to help him, instead of euthanizing. I have not given up on a single fish yet, and as a result I have not lost very many (except for one time that worms somehow got into my 14 gallon, but that's a story for another time)!
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:22 PM   #10 
hubbley
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Just make sure the heater will function in a low water level. I don't know what kind of heater you have, but mine has a minimum water level for the heater to work properly and safely.
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