I just got a betta (Alpha) for my son last Thursday and he seemed healthy. But I noticed the last couple days, Alpha had a couple black spots on the edge of his back fin and then it seems like his back fin is deteriorating. I tried to take some pics but it's hard to capture since the jagged edges of the back tail can only be seen when completely flared out and I can't capture the black spots on camera. He also seemed to be darting downward a lot so I wasn't sure if he was itchy? I added some BettaFix (which seemed to calm the darting down) and 3/4t of aquarium salt (he's in a filtered 1.5 gallon tank at 72-75 - no heater) but I'm not sure if this will work as I'm told it's not really medicine but will only help the fins grow back once the fin rot is cured? The people at Petco weren't very helpful and told me to bring him in for a new one but I would like to see this through. I'm not sure if this is fin rot or something else and how best to treat it. I read some stuff online but I don't want to treat something he doesn't have. Any help is appreciated!
They said that I only had to do partial water changes every 2 weeks of 25% since I have a filter. But I did a 50% water change Monday because I mistakenly added 1/4t table salt (thought the petco guy said it was okay - turned out it wasn't). Since then, I added the 3/4t aquarium salt (Monday) and 3/4t BettaFix (Tuesday) and of course water conditioner. I did add one drop of Betta Revive Monday too since I read it was a good preventative. I was told it was okay since it was such a small dose. He is alone in there with 2 plastic (I believe are soft) plants.
He eats okay and I'm feeding him Top Fin betta pellets. I fed him one pellet last night to check his appetite and he gobbled it up! We used to feed him according to the directions (3-4 twice a day) and now we plan on just 3-4 every other day. I did give him freeze dried bloodworms last Friday. He ate one and spit out the other. Not sure if he liked them.
I've only had him since last Thursday. He seems to be pretty active and has stopped the darting since I added the BettaFix. Is it okay to add a medication like Maracyn or do I need to change the water? One guy said not to and another said it was okay since BettaFix isn't a real medicine. I was thinking of getting Aquarisol because I thought he was darting around and could be early ick or something, but I don't think I will anymore. I'm afraid I'm overtreating him for something I'm not even sure he has!
In a 1.5g filter tank-you need to make twice weekly 50% water changes to maintain water quality and prevent some problems. One of the twice weekly water changes need to include the gravel vacuuming and in that small of a tank that can be hard. You can give the gravel a stir to get the mulm/waste up in the water column and dip out with a cup
Be sure to un-plug both heater and filter before water change-once you re-fill with fresh dechlorinated water and turn the filter and heater back on the water should clear within an hour or two
Make sure the water temp is within a couple of degrees from new and old water so not cause any water temp related problems and use dechlorinatoer with any water added to the fish if on city water supply
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water change 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slow to get the big pieces of gunk off to maintain good water flow
Check your plants and make sure they are not part of his fin problems, often plastic that can feel soft to your hand can still rip and tear the delicate Betta fins, real or silk are best.
Don't add too many different chemical to the tank...this can do more harm than good....if you don't know what is wrong-often water changes is the best treatment....
Remember.....pet shop often don't know anything except to sell you something you don't need and often can make things worse with a goal to make money....we on forum only want what is best for your wet=pet and make zero profit........
At this point I would start by making some 50% water only daily water changes for 3-4 days to get all the water prams stable and to get all the added chemical out and then get on a regular schedule as posted earlier, replace the plastic plants with silk or real, get the temp in the 76-80F range, feed daily and enjoy....
keep us posted
Thanks for the help but this actually brings up a new concern. No one at the store told me about cycling the tank before putting him in there. I set up the new tank the day before and put him in gradually last Thursday. I did a 50% water change Monday. How often do I need to change the water since it isn't cycled? Can I add aquarium salt to the water for daily water changes or is that too risky? I heard it helps reduce stress and reduce chance of some diseases. How long does cycling take for a 1.5 gallon tank? Once it's cycled, can I change the water less frequently?
Another question, they don't make very many heaters for 1.5 gallons and almost everyone I asked at the pet store doesn't recommend them. My husband doesn't want me to buy a bigger tank, although I would rather have him in a 5 gallon. Can I put a heater in this small of a tank?
From what I've heard, anything below a 2.5g cannot be cycled. Neither can a tank that gets 100% water changes. And the tank has to be filtered to begin a cycle.
As for the heater, you could try using a.. 7.5W? 10W? It's the Hydor Mini Heater, for the 1.5 gallon. I'd get a thermometer to put in that tank with it because that heater isn't adjustable, it just heats the water like 3-4 degrees above room temperature I believe. However, you have to keep an eye on it. More than 84 degrees long-term can be dangerous, IMO. And the Hydor Mini Heaters tend to fluctuate the temperature since the room temp changes, but I managed to rescue a betta from Wal-Mart and he's been using the Hydor Mini, and the fluctuations haven't been difficult on him.
But in the long run, it might do better to just invest in the 5 gallon tank. It's really not as big as it sounds, especially when you decide to deck it out with live plants and cool things like that. :p
In a 1.5g filtered tank-the nitrogen cycle will happen, however, due to the number of water changes needed for that size of tank to maintain water quality (and that size is just fine IMO/E) cycling is a non-issue.
It can take 4-8 weeks to cycle and even with the needed water changes once the tank is cycled-it will give you some wiggle room so to speak...when life happens and you miss one of the twice weekly water changes, so it is good to cycle your tank.
You still want to make those twice weekly water changes even when it is cycled to maintain water quality and prevent health and fin issues.
Water quality is so important especially for this species fins
Heater-they have 7.5w and 10w heater that will keep the water in the lower required range (76-78F). I use the 7.5w on some of my 1g and others I don't use heaters at all -but I also monitor the water temp closely and they are temporary anyway
Some Bettas are more sensitive to water temp than others especially long term and too low of water temp for too long you can end up with a immune compromised Betta...they are tough and can take a lot short term but can go down hill fast if your are not careful
You don't want to use aquarium salt long term-it is not needed and can cause resistant pathogen/parasites (duration and dosage related) as well as kidney damage
Yes, by seeding the tank with healthy established, cycled filter media and/or substrate you can sometimes cut the time by a couple of weeks, however this can vary from tank to tank.....
The nitrifying bacteria need oxygenated water (filter) and are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank-like the walls, plants both real and fake, decorations, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media-very little are in the water column....so, water only change will not affect or slow the cycle...but, over cleaning, vacuuming and filter media cleaning can.
During the cycling process you can remove as much of the water you want, but you don't want to vacuum more than every 5-7 days, remove everything and scrub, use chlorinated water on the filter media or change the filter media without the added old filter media to seed for a week or so to give the new filter media time for the good bacteria to colonize.
Always monitor the water prams daily for a week or so after major vacuuming and/or filter cleaning/changing and make needed water changes per the numbers or if you don't have testing products make an extra water only change between regular water changes and always make a 50% water only change if at any time you see a behavior change in the fish/livestock...even if you just did one earlier in the day or the day before to rule out the environment as the cause....
I did buy some maracyn but I'm not sure if I will use it. Can I try treating the possible fin rot with aquarium salt? If so, how much should I use? Will water changes alone treat fin rot? I'm a little paranoid about fish diseases. I had many pet fish die of fungal diseases. Would 1/4t salt cause more damage than good?
I was also told to feed bettas 3-4 pellets every other day. Is that better than every day? I prefer to feed Alpha 1-2 pellets every day so I don't have to keep track of when he was last fed. I'm curious where the pet shop people get their info. My friend who got a betta at a local pet store (that just sells fish and isn't a local chain) wast told to change the water once a month and that the betta can go without food for 2 weeks! This seems excessive and I told her she should do more frequent water changes since he is in an unfiltered small bowl.
I also bought the mini-hydor heater that's for 2-5 gallons and a floating thermometer so I can check temps of new water for changes. I might just test the heater in a separate container of 1.5g of water just to make sure it doesn't quickly overheat.