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Old 09-08-2010, 10:18 AM   #1 
Desert Fox
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Want to know where I went wrong with fin rot

So I woke up this morning to find that the betta I got a week ago died. I'm wondering what could have gone wrong in this process so I don't do it again.
I didn't even get to name him yet :(

I bought him from a local pet store where he appeared in great condition (0.5 gallon bowl).

I kept him there for a few days until I moved for college. He had regular feeding.

I moved him to a very small betta bowl with a cap so I could carry him. Water was from the tap, kept at room temp over night, drops of API Stress Coat was added.

Transport went well. I had brought over a 2 gallon tank with filter, gravel, small fake and small live plant (that came with him). I cleaned out the tank and gravel, set up the filter and such, filled it with water from the school and let it cycle over night. The fish was swimming around in the transport bowl fine.

The next day, I added stress coat to the new tank, and moved him in. Temps were 80-82 in the tank. He went stiff. He sank to the bottom of the tank, though alive, and began heavy breathing. His fins were stiff and curled. He even let himself get sucked by the filter.
I read here that I could leave the filter in and let him gain strength, but I was unsure of this and took out the filter completely just in case. Fish would not eat food.

The next day, I decided to do a 50% water change in case. Here, he was swimming around much more but still fin stiff and was forming a white patch on his tail. I assumed immediately it was fin rot as there was no other indication of other diseases. So I did a 50% water change, added more water from the tap, and used stress coat before adding it to the tank. Fish did not eat food.

The next day, I went to walmart, bought aquarium salt and "bowl buddies water conditioner". The fish was in bad shape. I moved him into the transport bowl and added the salt. He was in there for about an hour while I cleaned out the tank completely. I found some weird green thing that might've been a bug or plant residue.
I added water, about a tablespoon full of salt, and dropped in the water conditioner to fizz out. Once the temp read 84 degrees, I moved him in. He didn't move at all and thought it was due to stress. So I hoped for the best and found him this morning floating.

Sorry for the long post but I'd like to know if I did something wrong in the process, maybe I moved him in and out too much, too much stress coat, improper water changes or bad water all together. I tried everything I could with the time I had, but I can't help but feel like a bad parent :(
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:31 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Sorry you are having problems and you lost your fish...my first though after reading your post was "pH" shock or the new school water was toxic some way-since all the problems started with the use of the school water

On the water conditioner-does it cover both chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals? if not, you need to find one that does.

Buy your next betta from a local pet shop close to your school and take a sample of your source with you and have them test it for you along with the water in the Betta cup and have them write these number down and compare them.

Slowly acclimate the Betta to the new water by adding small amount of your source water to the Betta over a least 30min to 1 hour-especially if there is a difference in pH and/or nitrate between the source water and Betta cup water

Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:32 AM   #3 
FuulieQ
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A white patch doesn't sound like fin rot. It sounds more like either a fungus, or columnaris, both of which are much more serious than fin rot. That's probably what happened that you lost him. :( Whatever it was it was extremely fast acting... so I would assume aggressive columnaris. Google it and see if any of the pictures look like what your fish had.

It also could be that he was poisoned by something in the tank. When you cleaned it out, did you use soap? Do you know what kind of plant was in there, what did it look like?

[edit] yeah, what OFL said. |D She knows way more than I do.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:57 AM   #4 
Desert Fox
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It seems like columnaris might have been the problem. The gills were also dark red.

As for cleaning of the tank, no use of soap. I made sure of that. I don't know what kind of plant it is but it came with the betta so I assume it's safe.

The API Stress Coat covers chlorine, chloramines and ammonia. The bowl buddies covers all of that plus heavy metals (in addition to buffering the pH). I'm assuming I should go with the bowl buddies brand for now?

Also, I don't know if walmart would be willing to do a pH test for me. So I might have to do that on my own unless I find a local shop in Schenectady.

Btw, I'm not 100% surprised it might be the water, as I hear the school's water is heavy in ions and has a General Electric site a mile away (notorious for dumping pcb's in our water...)
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #5 
FuulieQ
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Ahhh.. You might want to go with bottled water in that case. Not the heavily filtered stuff, but just... water that's not full of dangerous chemicals. :P

Some kinds of columnaris can be really fast, I've heard, and you just can't do anything unless you catch it really quickly... that's the only thing I know that could have caused the white patch.

Since nobody's sure what caused it (and Oldfishlady, if you think I'm wrong in suspecting columnaris please please say so, I try to help but I'm not like you bigwigs ;D) perhaps you ought to nuke the tank.... I'm not sure how to do that, but when my rescue fish died of the bacterial infection he came with, I bleached his tank, gravel, and decor, and neutralized the bleach with Prime to make it fish-safe to reuse.
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:34 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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The thing with flex or columnaris is ubiquitous or that this is in your tank at all times just waiting for the right conditions to infect.

Two types-one fast acting that kills within 12-24h-you usually will see deep wounds as the bacteria eats the flesh, kinda like the flesh eating bacteria in humans
The other type is not as fast acting and sometimes the fish can even survive-usually the first signs will be white patches with red rings on the back and often referred to as saddleback colomnaris, it then can move to the fins or it can start with the mouth.

What usually kills the fish is yet another ubiquitous gram neg. bacteria- Aeromonas a secondary and usually treated the same as with flex.

We often see this in our fish that has had sudden changes in water temp going from lower temp to higher water temps, however, the fish is usually already compromised for some reason-be it stress, shock issues, nearly all of it will stem from a water quality issues to start.

The bacteria thrive in warm water with low oxygen levels-as the water quality declines the bacteria thrive and multiply like mad and due to the poor water quality the fish becomes stressed thus lowering the immune response and "bam" flex attacks/infects

First reaction is a water change and warm water and little water movement......water change can be a good first start when done slow-but then you need to lower the water temp (74-76F and add some water movement to slow the bacteria down, its salt sensitive too, but in higher levels, most research shows 3-4tsp/gal can be helpful and sometimes using an oral antibiotic but usually the fish has stopped eating and Bettas are really hard to give injection to (due to size) which would be the best next step and most hobbyist can't do that anyway...so treatment is limited but not impossible.

As far as bottled water- sometimes it can be filtered tap water and can still contain chlorine and chloramine and you still need to use dechloranitors and then depending on the filtering process used it can also filter out the minerals the fish needs, however, you can use a 50/50 tap/bottled water mix or an additive to replace those lost minerals
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:10 PM   #7 
Desert Fox
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Thanks for such quick replies guys. So before I got rid of my poor fish, I checked it. As far as I could tell, there was no saddleback nor deterioration of the body/lesions. Just the white filmy spot on the tail which eventually got eaten away, very pale color, dark red interior gills, heavy breathing, loss of appetite, and stiff fins. Also, as far as I can tell the plant is still alive if that means anything.

I did find a local pet shop nearby which my friend said was very good and I'll have to check it out this weekend. So in the mean time I'm unsure of what to do. This room coasts between 80-82 degrees F in the tank, 84 if I leave the light on. I know during the winter I might get colder depending on whether the dorms want to provide good heating.

So should I purge everything from the tank, and boil the rocks? I don't have access to bleach and that might actually be banned from the dorm rooms. I don't mind using bottled water though that will get expensive over time. I'm left up to your suggestions as I really do want another betta.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:18 AM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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I would rinse everything well and let sit dry for a day or two, be careful boiling or baking rocks and gravel its not safe or needed.
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