I noticed back at the start of August that my fish's fins are clumping and not looking right. I thought it was because of the move.. it wasn't an easy transition. But now I am concerned it may be fin rot?? How do I know for sure and is it safe just to treat it anyway to be sure? If so, what is the best way to treat it?
He seems fine.. it's been almost 2 months but his fins are still gross and getting worse. All the blue on his tips are gone!
Sorry you are having problems..have a few questions...
How big is the tank, how much and how often are the water changes and when was the last one, filtration, live plants, additives used and how much if any, water temp, how much and what kind of food and how is his appetite, how many days has he been like this and what if any treatments/medication have your tried.
Tank is like 2 gallons. Water temp is between 70-75C. Change was a week or two ago. I just bought the pet store water.. they said they pretreated it for bettas. Attisons beta pro food.. ravenous appetite. I give 4 once or twice a day but I have yet to find an actual limit to his hunger. 2 live plants. He's been like this 2 months but I only just realized there was something wrong so I haven't bought any meds yet. I will post a pic..
BTW I just bought a 10 gallon aquarium and a heater and I plan to set it on 78F. I also bought Prime and PH down and plan on testing for nitrates and PH before adding the fish. I heard that aquarium salt is good as well and have heard good things about Nutrifin Plus.
He looks a little on the fat side to me--not bloated, but a little chunky for a betta. These guys don't get much exercise in a 2G tank, especially in such low temps. I would cut back to two pellets twice a day, or three pellets once a day. It's good that you invested in a good adjustable heater, since bettas are tropical fish. A few degrees doesn't make much of a difference to big mammals like us, but to a 2" cold blooded fish, proper (78-83 degrees F) temperatures will help expedite healing, aid in digestion, circulation, and help keep his immune system strong and boost his activity level. You should also stop buying the water from the pet store and invest in a dechlorinating product such as Seachem Prime to treat your tap water. Typically the bottled you get in the store is just an overpriced ploy to keep you coming back to the store--chances are your tap water plus a water conditioner will be perfectly fine. Keep in mind though that when you switch over to treated tap water you should acclimate the fish very slowly since it will be a change from what he is used to.
When you set up your 10G, I highly suggest doing a fishless cycle on it first, especially if you want to add any tankmates along with your betta. You should return the pH altering product since messing with your pH will do more harm than good. What you want is a stable pH that the betta can adapt to--pH products will just make the pH unstable, and instability is where you're going to run into problems.
Do you have a master test kit that will allow you to test for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate? You will only need the nitrate tester -after- the tank has fully undergone the nitrogen cycle--until that point you will have to check the ammonia and nitrite levels often whether you do a fishless or fish-in cycle. If you choose the fish-in method, you will have to test daily to make sure the ammonia and nitrite are at .25 or less and if they creep over, you will have to do water changes as necessary until the cycle is complete.
As far as filter recommendations, I personally use the Tom Rapids Mini Canister filter on my divided 10G--I like it because the configuration is very customizable. you can arrange the intake and the spray bar to point whichever way you want, and you have the option of the flow regulator, which if left in will keep the current minimal, but if you feel like it's not strong enough, you can take the flow regulator out. Also, you really can't beat canisters as far as surface area for bacterial colonization, and they are completely silent--which was important to me since my 10G is in the same room as our television. You could also go with a sponge filter--they are very cheap. The drawback is the fact that they're not very pretty and tend to take up a bit of space in the tank.
As far as treating your buddy, you can use the aquarium salt for a few days. It's good for helping to kickstart the healing process--but it's not something that should be left in his water all the time. Bettas originate from an environment with very low salt content, so their bodies aren't adapted for processing a lot of salt. Over time, extra salt exposure can wear down their organs and make them more vulnerable to disease and organ failure.
Because he is a combtail, his rays probably won't grow back well--but in the webbed areas you should start seeing improvement once he's in consistently clean and heated water. You can use the AQ salt for a week with lots of water changes and that should have a significant effect. If you aren't already, I would start doing 100% water changes every 3 days since your 2G isn't filtered.
Oh, I almost forgot to add--this doesn't look like fin rot to me. In most places it seems like water quality caused the ray extensions to break off. It's very common in crowntails--it can be quite difficult to keep their ray extensions intact. And some of it looks like tail biting. It doesn't seem to be infected at all though. Usually fin rot leaves a black line around the edge of the fin where it is infected. I don't see any dark spots or crusty areas--I think the fact that he's a combtail with messy rays is making it look more dramatic than it probably is.
Oh btw how do I introduce ammonia if I don't put a fish in it? Is it safe to say once I introduce the ammonia I don't have to do anything but check in on it until the cycle is complete, then add the fish?
If you do the fishless method, that is correct. You just have to monitor the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You can introduce ammonia two easy ways--the one I prefer is to add pure ammonia straight to the tank. You can find pure ammonia at your hardware store--people use it as a cleaner. You have to make sure that it is pure ammonia without any surfactants or perfumes. If you have an ACE Hardware, I use the ACE Hardware generic ammonia brand, and it works great. Simply add ammonia until your water reaches 4ppm ammonia, and then after a few days, test for ammonia and nitrite. As your nitrite rises, the ammonia will go down, so you'll have to keep replacing ammonia as the bacteria consume it to create nitrite. Once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy. If you accidentally add too much, no big deal, just do a small water change until you're around 4ppm again. Once your ammonia and nitrite levels are both 0, and your nitrate level is high, just do a water change to get the nitrates into a safe range and add your fish.
If you can't find pure ammonia, or don't want to use it, you can use a piece of raw cocktail shrimp or a piece of ham. I have done this when I was on vacation and couldn't be around to constantly add pure ammonia. The drawback is, of course, the fact that it takes time for the meat to compose and create ammonia, and the fact that there's rotting meat in your tank making a mess. I put my cocktail shrimp in a fabric tea bag to cut down on the mess.
Remember that the conditions in the tank will determine how fast your bacteria colonize your filter--so add extra aeration, jack the heat up to 82, and add any sources of bacteria you can, such as live plants, media from a mature tank, gravel from a mature tank, supplements, etc. You can get gravel/filter media from a local fish store if you don't have any friends with tanks--you can also buy bottled bacteria supplements, but beware, many of them are worthless. I would only trust Tetra SafeStart and Dr. Tim's One and Only. I have tried Seachem's version--Stability, but since I seeded the tank with mature filter media, I couldn't tell you either way whether it helped or not. It certainly did not hurt, though. Stay away from the product Nutrafin Cycle, though. It uses terrestrial bacteria that work temporarily, but quickly drowns because it can't survive in water for long.
Oh, to clarify, many bettas actually bite their own tails in response to boredom or stressful situations. It is very common, and it is very rare that people actually see their fish do it. A human present in the room is enough of a distraction to keep them from doing it, apparently. And make sure you cut down on his food, obesity is a major cause of death for these guys, and he's definitely on the thick side.
Well hopefully when I get him warm and in a bigger environment he'll stop biting.
The PH of my tap water is way too high. I have to bring it down. So what do you suggest? How can I make the PH stick? Someone suggested I need to filter it. API makes a tap water filter that some way works. Is it really more effective than my Britta pitcher or tap filter? I already have one of those and don't really feel like shelling out ANOTHER $50.