Hope you can help us. My 15 yr. old daughter used her own money last month to buy a betta fish, fish bowl, gravel, fish food, etc. She tried to research about the foods and fish bowl size, etc. before buying it, and has continued to research about caring for her betta since getting it. Our family has had 0 (yes 0) source of any kind of income for almost 18 months now. Initially the betta (Gracie- even though it's a boy) wouldn't eat the food that she had bought it because the pellets were too large, even if we tried breaking it. When she switched to flakes, it started eating, but the color of the fish wasn't as vibrant then. She has a 1 gallon fish bowl, so no filter, just 1 fish, she has no strips to test the ph, nitrates/nitrites, or ammonia. She is very vigilant about changing the water regularly- she uses store bought natural spring water, and changes 1/2 of the water every other day, and once every 2 weeks does a complete water change. She's been using non-iodized table salt (she adds roughly 1/2-1 tsp. of salt with every complete water change, and also with some of the partial water changes). She is meticulous about keeping the bowl water between 72-80 degrees F.
Last week we were gone for a few days. Gracie looked fine when we returned. Earlier this week he had what we think was swim bladder disease, so she didn't feed him for 2 days, but he seemed ok after not feeding him for 1 day. The day after the swim bladder problem resolved, she started to notice that his fins and tail were getting worse. (When she bought it and got it home she noticed that the end of the tail was slightly split in 3, but she didn't know if that was normal or not). Now all of the fins and tail/tails seem to be affected. They are "dissolving", and one of them ripped 1/2 of it off yesterday, one is curling at the end, 1 is shriveling up, and another one is now splitting in 2. Gracie is also less active now. My daughter hasn't seen it chase after it's tail or bite at it's tail. There were no items in the bowl that could have done the ripping/tearing. Yesterday she did a full water change, and removed the gravel and decor, so now bowl just water and thermometer in it. I used a gift card yesterday to buy some Melafix. She put in 1/2 ml. of Melafix into the 1 gallon bowl. Now we have questions about how to keep using the Melafix, and whether or not it is even safe to keep using it (or effective). Today we also bought aquarium salt using the gift card. I can't afford to buy the testing strips. How much aquarium salt should she be using, and how often should she be adding it (both now, and after the fish is healed)?
We think the fins/tail may be slightly worse today. But not sure about adding the Melafix and if should be doing total water changes so that the Melafix doesn't accumulate. Or if the total water changes would be too stressful on the fish, or what? Could you please advise what she should do to help her fish?
She's attaching a few photos so that you can see Gracie. Some are from before things progressed, and some are from today.
First off, your post is so informative! That's appreciated.
I think Gracie is malnutritioned. It probably isn't ammonia burn because your daughter keeps him supplied with bottled water.....which doesn't have ammonia, but also does not contain the minerals that tap water has.
Is he still being fed flakes? Some good quality pellets are:
- Omega One Betta Buffet
- New Life Spectrum
If you're comfortable with PM-ing me your address, I'd be happy to mail you some New Life Spectrum Growth formula pellets free of charge. The pellets are tiny and are 50% protein.....and the jar I got is so huge that all my bettas altogether will never be able to get through half of it.
Okie. :) And you're right, it probably is fin rot....I just read "flakes" and addressed that issue only, sorry.
It sounds like your daughter is doing everything else fine to keep him healthy....clean water, warm temperature, and pre-dissolved aquarium salt is usually all it takes. I hope the high-protein pellets will help him re-grow those fins, and that he'll actually eat them.
In a 1 gallon bowl he needs more water changes. Ammonia is produced from fish waste and it is what is causing the fish's fins to dissolve and curl. A 1 gallon bowl needs to be changed fully (including cleaning the rocks.. not with soap) at least 3 times a week.
Its also possible that he is cold. While bettas can survive at 72* its not really good for them, they do much better in temps at least 76* and preferably 80*.
I would start by making 100% daily water changes and use aquarium salt 1tsp/gal for 10 days, however, due to redness it looks to be advanced stages, so watch this redness and if the redness starts to move towards the body you may need to get some antibiotic before he becomes septic.
Once you get him healed up I would start making 3-4 times a week 100% water changes as 1fish recommended. And to get all the salt out, you don't want to keep the Betta in salt long term.
Make sure the water temp is within a couple of degrees from new and old water to prevent temp related problems
I would get some dechlorinator if you are on city water supply and use tap water or at least 50/50 tap and bottled water.
Bottled water can also contain chlorine and chloramine and due to the filtration process it can lack the needed minerals the fish needs for good health.
Water temp is important, however, I would try to keep the temp in the 76F range at this time, when a Betta is ill and stressed- too high of temp can bring on other health problems.
If you have some frozen shrimp- raw or steamed for humans, smash a small piece and feed this or live mosquito larva, give them a rinse and drop a couple in 3-4 times a day
Remove any uneaten food ASAP.
Your daughter has a beautiful fish and I hope he heals up nicely.....