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Old 05-19-2010, 06:40 PM   #1 
mfskarphedin
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Question Is there anything else I can try?

AP liquid test kits:
pH: 7.6+
KH: 125
GH: (defective kit - no way is GH over 700)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~30

Temp: 80
Gallons: 10
Filtration: air-driven UGF (been cycled for years)
Maintenance: Pythoned 1x/mo; conditioned tap water
Tankmates: none
Other life: plants, few snails
Food: snail eggs/babies, betta food, dried blood worms
Lighting: ~12 hours

Fish specifics: I bought him at (don't flame me) Wally World for $4. He was the last betta left alive Xmas before last, and he was healthy and beautiful at that! I was crying in line, because I didn't want to leave him to certain death, so my friend told me to go get him. I ran over and bought him. He instantly bloomed in his new home, and I named him Comet, because his color reminds me of a comet, with his beautiful reticulated, irridescent blue body with orange fins trailing behind him with blue spines. He loves to display to the snails and occasionally play "snailsketball," which is bouncing floating snails around the surface of the water. He has a billion places to hide but rarely does, only retreating to his cave to sleep at night. Stupidly, I never took a photo or movie of him.

Problem: He's had a greyish slime on his head before, after a big power outage. I was accidentally treating him with tea tree oil unsuccessfully. He had appetite, and with a big water change, temp increase, garlic juice, and (probably unecessarily) an antibiotic food, he recovered fully. He loved to eat the garlic bits, btw.

After that incident, I check his head almost every day. Last week I noticed some fluffy fungus on his gill covers and at the base of his pectoral fins, and the grey slime came on again a little bit the day after. I immediately went for the garlic, checked the water and such, but he didn't get any better. By the time I decided to try the antibiotic food a couple days later, he'd lost his appetite. He just hid in his cave all day. So, I resorted to trying some Maracyn.

Two days later, his head looks all better (been on garlic for almost a week now,) but he's still not eating. Actually, I don't know if he's eating any garlic, but the baby snails aren't disappearing. He is out of his cave today and colored up when I turned on the light. However, I haven't seen him go up for air yet. Not sure if his gills do anything (he's pumping them a bit,) so I turned down the heat a little to help oxygenate the water. I can turn up the bubbles if needed but don't want to create a current unless necessary. Today's the first day in three days I've had the light on, so the plants can breathe. I haven't added any salt. It's been about three(?) weeks since I did tank maintenance.

So, basically, he may be on the mend, but I'd like to know if there's anything else I can try. I have been feeding the tank, because everyone else needs food still, and just in case he gets his appetite back.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Kristen

(I'll update this if I think of anything else.)
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:51 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Sounds like water quality issues and the high nitrate can affect the immune response, I would start by making 10% daily water changes for 3 days, then 20% water changes for 3 days, 30% water changes for 3 days and then 50% water changes for 2 days to slowly get the nitrate in the 5-10ppm area, too fast of a nitrate change can shock the fish and make him really sick or kill him.
Vacuum the gravel every 5 days with one of the water changes
Then stay with a 50% water change weekly with gravel vacuum in areas that can be reached without moving anything.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #3 
mfskarphedin
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Hmm, ok, I'll try some changes if you think that's ok. Usually I haven't had great luck doing changes while a fish is sick (they sometimes die right after,) but then again, it was usually something obviously internally wrong with them, like bloat, wasting, etc. Well, maybe after 15 years, you just get stuck in your ways.

Also, are you sure 50% changes are ok? In the world of "regular" tropical fish, people always spaz if you do anything more than about 20-25% of a change at once, unless it's like when I had to get all the tea tree oil out of Comet's tank, so I've avoided that if I can.

Wait, I just thought of something... Ok, my tap water has no measureable nitrates.

Thanks,

Kristen
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:34 PM   #4 
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When you wait too long between water changes your water prams get out of wack and then you make a water change and the shock of the sudden changes can kill or make the fish sick in response to the sudden changes in water prams, this is why it is so important to make regular weekly 50% water changes to keep the water prams stable.
Slow, small water changes until you get the nitrate down

Freshwater fish thrive best in fresh water......

One of the myths in this hobby "a water change killed my fish" came from, not the water change per se' but the sudden change in water prams due to the water change in a neglected tank
also, the myth "new fish killed my old fish" same thing....neglected tank with high nitrate and new fish added that came from low nitrate and the shock killed them and then due to the high nitrate the old fish had a compromised immune response and got sick from the new fish that just died......
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:22 PM   #5 
mfskarphedin
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Arrow

An update:

I changed out a gallon yesterday. He didn't seem to notice. Replaced with 1 1/2 gallons (some make-up water.) Treated, right temp, de-gassed, poured in slowly. Left the lights on for a few hours for the plants, but he still just sat on the bottom. Garliced and Maracyned him after.

Today I took out three gallons. Replaced 2 gallons treated for now. Will add the third a little later. Turned on the light beforehand, and he was still on the bottom, but he was already colored up and actually resting under an Anubias leaf, which is normal. When he moved from one side of the tank to a better hiding spot, he wasn't flapping his gills desperately like yesterday (why, if they don't use them?) The very last bit of puffy fungus at his pectoral fin base is gone.

Anyway, I tried to entice him with some dried blood worms, hoping that seeing them swirling at the surface would trigger his hunting instincts, but he didn't seem to notice. The snails will eat them. I also added about 2 tsp of kosher salt. I love my fish and want him to heal, but I also don't want to kill my 5-year-old Anubias. Anubiases? Snails are expendable. I'll do the garlic and Maracyn when I add the last gallon later.

The part I'm worried about the most is that he's always been thin to begin with, no matter how much he ate, and he's noticeably thinner now. How else can I stimulate his appetite? I have no local access to live foods. I did notice that all the baby snails are gone, but I'm not sure if he ate them or if the Maracyn killed them.

BTW, boy am I glad I saved my old non-Python gravel vac/siphon! It's such a pain to break out the Big Gun every day just for a ten gallon tank. On the other hand, it's been many years since I've gotten a mouthful of tank water...yech. :p
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:04 AM   #6 
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Comet is dead.

But thanks for being the only one to give it a try.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:58 PM   #7 
dramaqueen
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I'm so sorry about Comet!
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:21 AM   #8 
mfskarphedin
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Thanks. I'm sad. I think I'm just going to leave the tank empty for a while.
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