I have a male betta who has been sick/lethargic for approximately 1 week. He just lays on the bottom of the tank, sometimes on his side, sometimes with his face in the gravel and his rear pointing up. He comes up occasionally for air. He was coming for food when called until about 2 or 3 days ago. He's no longer interested in eating, it seems. No signs of bloating or dropsy or anything like that. His top fin, however, does seem either quite diminished or clumped against itself. Hard to tell. He is still colorful. He came from a pet store, I think we've had him 6 mos - 1 year. He lives in a 5 gallon tank with filter, no other fish. I live in Florida, so the water stays around 78 - 82 most of the year without the use of a heater, although a heater is used during the winter when it gets too cold. Usually do a 25% water change about once every two weeks (yeah, I know it's probably not enough). I use dechlorinator and aquarium salt per the instructions on the package when I prepare the water. I also use ph down because the tap water seems to be around 8.0 - 8.2, but it has little effect. The batch of water usually sits at least 24 hours before it is changed in the tank. I did notice shortly before he got sick that a little algae was starting to form on the edges of the decorative plants in his tank, but nothing too extreme, I have seen much worse with other bettas that weren't even effected by it. I have a kit that tests ammonia, ph, nitrate, and nitrite. The ammonia and nitrite levels were 0 or next to 0. As mentioned before, the ph was high at 8.0 - 8.2, but he should be used to it, as it is consistently around this level. The nitrates, on the other hand, were a little high, which might explain the algae. The kit says up to 40 ppm is ok, and it was probably about 30 when I first noticed the problem. Since he's been having trouble, I've been doing a 25% water change daily, and I have been supplementing him with Bettafix. I still can't get the Nitrate levels to go down, nor is he getting better. It seems the problem is with the tap water. When I use the test kit on the tap water straight from the faucet, it still says the Nitrate is at least 15 ppm. What should I do? Thanks.
I'm going to guess you need more water changes. Sounds sort of like the issue I just had with my own tank, sort of. I'm sure someone with more experience will pop their head in here as well to give their opinion. (:
Zippy is somehow still alive, but he just gets worse every day. He almost never comes up for air, he is always on his side, he struggles to breathe, and he is quite pale in color. No food in a week now, I'd say. I lowered the water in his tank so it's easier for him to come up for air, but this was only yesterday. I also started him on Betta Revive (Ingredients: Water, neomycin sulfate (<10%), methylene blue (<0.5%), proprietary polymer mixture, buffers, EDTA, malachite green chloride (<0.01%), cyanocobalamin and electrolytes.) yesterday, but no change in appearance or behavior as of yet. He somehow still isn't pineconing yet - what a little trooper. I am still changing his water daily - now that I have cut his water level in half it's tuning out to be a 50% water change each day rather than 25%. The betta revive says water changes are ok. Also, now that his water is so low it it too low to run the filter (plus that might make the medicine not work). Please, is there any thing else I can do for him? :(
Long term aquarium salt can be hard on Bettas internal organs-I would start by Qt him in a small half to 1gal container and making 100% daily water changes with just the dechlorinated water for 5 days and see if he won't perk up some...if not I would do an Epsom salt 1tsp/gal treatment for 10 days along with 100% daily water changes while in QT.
I would try switching to spring water, since you don't have to treat it like you do tap water. You can but it for less that a dollar per gallon at Publix. Just to eliminate the extra variable.
I've used betta revive before with mixed results. I tried to save my fish Epsilon with it, but I still lost him; however, I couldn't tell if the betta revive was helping or not, he wasn't on it long enough. But I can recomend something that has worked for me: Salt baths. This is a good link for how to give a salt bath: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=25297
Like Oldfishlady said, your best bet is clean water and salt. Keep offering him food also. I hope he pulls through for you!
Also, only fish that have dropsy "pinecone" up, at least to my knowledge. So the fact that this hasn't happened yet means that whatever is wrong with him is probably reversible. :)
Thanks for the advice every one. I tried setting a my profile picture to a picture of Zippy taken today. If you can see it, you will notice the gills on his right side are much larger than the left. What could this mean?
As far as the salt bath goes, I am a little confused if I am supposed to use Aquarium Salt or Epsom Salt between Oldfishlady and rejohnson53's posts.