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Old 11-14-2010, 08:51 PM   #1 
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Location: Tokyo via Toronto
Lump on chin, sligthly inflamed left gill + water change question


Yesterday morning I noticed that Sam had developed a little lump on his chin, and his left gill seems slightly inflamed. I immediately did a water change and added some aquarium salts.
Today it's a little better.

He's eating but not so much as usual. However I think I may feed him too much so if he doesn't eat for a while that's okay. He is not lethargic and is swimming around as usual.

He is eating though.

I asked the pet store owner, and he's very good and never gives answers like 'ah he's alright, Bettas are tough', etc., so I trust his advice but of course I'd like people's advice here as well.

He said Sam might have a skin problem and that while water changes are good, it can be stressful for the fish and the sudden change in environments can be tough.

I've noticed that Sam stopped making his bubble nests a while ago and generally he's very keen to notice when I'm about to take him out of the tank and do his water change, which goes against what I know about fish's memory span but he seems to figure it out quickly. When the lid comes off, he goes in his house. If i just slide it back to feed him, he comes to the front.

I truly think once a week water changes of 100% are mentally and physically stressful on Sam.

The pet store owner suggested changing half the water once a week.
But my tank is unfiltered. Is this still okay?
What about changing half the water twice a week? Is this not the same as all the water once a week?
Tank is 5 gallons.

Is there anyway to add a filter to my tank without having to take Sam out yet again? Would adding a simple air pump with built-in changeable filter be better than nothing at all? I already have one that came with the tank but I don't use it because I read Betta's prefer still water. Can I buy a filter from the petstore and immediately begin using it?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:16 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
I would look into a sponge filter-those are great for small tanks and create little water movement with use of a gang valve and a lot easier on the Bettas fins-you can get one and add/use it right away. Adding stem and floating plants can also be helpful in maintaining water quality to a degree.

In a 5g unfiltered tank with one fish-twice weekly 50% water change and with one water change to include the substrate vacuum could maintain water quality with a monthly 100% water change-provided that uneaten food is removed after feeding-by adding a sponge filter and after the completion of the nitrogen cycle-weekly to twice weekly 50% water changes could maintain water quality....however, the more water changes the have to look at it like this....what is more stressful on the fish....water changes or a toxic environment......a fish that thrives or just survives...prevention is much easier on both you and the fish than treatments and worry......freshwater fish thrive in fresh water and when water changes are done correctly the fish will often look forward to the fresh water...this is his environment after all...kinda like us and fresh air....

The behavior changes you are seeing now are most likely related to water quality issues-I would start by making some daily water changes for several days to clear things up.....
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:15 PM   #3 
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Oldfishlady thanks for your reply.

The little pump I have has wool/sponge and gravel in it, I will add that for now and see if I can't find something better at the shop that runs the water more gently. But yes even for my small tank maybe it would help to have something. I don't think I'm up to the task of cycling a tank and installing a filtering system, however.

I will buy a hand-pump vacuum also and start cleaning up garbage and poop. I hadn't been doing that because I did thorough weekly changes but doing that would be a good idea.

I also had a plant in there that wasn't doing well, I believe it may have been rotting, it seemed okay but smelled really bad whenever I took it out to clean the tank, that's gone now so maybe that will help as well. The plants I have now are in good shape.
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:29 PM   #4 
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As far as stress on the fishy and cleaning the tank go, I've started training Alvin to go into a cup on his own.

It really started because I wanted to soak his food, but then when I tried to pour the soaked food into the tank it went right to the bottom before Alvin realized he was being fed. So I got a small cup, soaked the food in a little bit of water, then slowly tipped the cup so it was halfway submerged in the tank.

Alvin learned quickly that he had to go into the cup to eat. Now I can cup him, piece of cake, and no uneaten food gets into the tank. It stays in the cup.

You might want to try to baffle the filter if you're uneasy about it. I've got a thin piece of filter sponge strapped to mine with a rubber band. It works well.

And Old Fish Lady is right, clean water seems to be key to a healthy happy fish.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:06 AM   #5 
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Jess G, I was using a cup as well rather than chasing him around, sometimes I'd hold it there and he'd swim right in, sometimes he'd take his time.

But eventually he got wise to all of it and just runs away when I take the lid off. I don't blame him lol. But yeah o well no different than another fish or a predator I guess, sometimes they've gotta be stirred up a bit.

I've put a small airpump with wool and substrate filter in there. It's bubbly and creates a small current but the tank is 5 gallon and he has his little pot house, and plants, so he shouldn't feel too exposed or inconvenienced by it as he has the whole other side of the tank where the plans and house are to rest. And this should really help keep the water clean during the week, especially now that that rotting plant is gone. I will do a 50% water change mid-week and another next Sunday or Monday.

We'll see how this goes. He's eating and is swimming around and seems okay. The lump seems less prominent but I can't tell as it has become dark here now.
Have to look again tomorrow.

But, he certainly doesn't seem worse though, so that's good.
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