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Old 12-02-2010, 11:23 AM   #1 
ansalong
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Heavy breathing, lethargic

Loki has been lethargic all day. He has been laying on the bottom of the tank against his ornaments and puffing out his gills constantly like he is "breathing" heavily. He also has developed one little pinhole in his bottom fin. He has no other visible problems - no clamping of fins, no spots or discoloration. He occasionally darts up to the surface to breathe and then comes back to the bottom of his tank and hugs one of his ornaments.
I added a little cave to his tank yesterday but other than that he's had no disruptions. I washed and rinsed my hands thoroughly and rinsed the cave thoroughly before adding.
I am letting some water warm to room temp for a change today.

Housing
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flakes, Pellets & Freeze-dried Bloodworms (pre-soaked)
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once or twice a day (he is a tiny fish)

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Twice a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Have not tested yet

Ammonia: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Pinhole in fin
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, hanging around bottom of tank, hugging ornament
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Pinhole - 2 days ago, the rest - today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have been changing 25% of water every day to keep clean and prevent infection. No medication yet.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? A little over a year? I brought him home from the pet store about a month ago, don't know how old he was then.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Double check your temp and do a couple of back to back 50% water changes and see if that won't perk him up.....something air-born could have gotten in the tank a spike of some sort....rule out the temp and environment first.....
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #3 
ansalong
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Thanks Oldfishlady!
Since I've been observing him more I'm noticing that he has been leaning to the side, "standing" on his tail, swimming strangely like he can't get his balance and seems to be having a hard time getting to the surface. Based on what I've read it sounds like swim bladder disease?
His water temp is definitely 78, and I will check his other parameters before I do anything else.
I did his water change, which perked him up and he's now hanging out by the surface instead of on the bottom of the tank, but he still looks like he's struggling to breathe and swim. I lowered the water level so he can reach it easier.
Do you have experience with SBD? I'm reading there's no real treatment except to try cutting back on feedings and fatty foods in case he's overfed. His belly looks a tiny bit swollen so I'm going to ease up on that. Any thoughts? Are there other treatments for this?
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:14 PM   #4 
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Best treatment I have found for swim bladder or buoyancy problems is Epsom salt 1tsp/gal up to 3tsp/gal treatment for 10 days- along with daily water changes, adding dried oak leaf or IAL can also be helpful

I like to pre-mix my Epsom salt 1tsp-3tsp/gallon (Not aquarium salt) in a clean 1gal jug-add the dechlorinated water, Epsom salt and oak leaf or IAL for the tannins-shake well before use...this help with the correct dosage and needed 100% daily water changes.

I like to treat in QT and you can float them in a small QT in the heated tank to maintain temp-I like to treat in water temps of 76-77F
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:57 PM   #5 
ansalong
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Do you keep the filter running while treating with Epsom salt?
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:12 PM   #6 
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It is best that you QT for treatment and a QT is usually not big enough for filtration...if you are treating in the tank and the fish is having swimming and/or buoyancy problems it is best to remove the filter.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:04 AM   #7 
ansalong
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Loki died last night

I tested the tank's levels last night and found the ammonia very high. I added some aquarium salt to my tank on the advice of my local fish guy, but this morning Loki is dead.

I feel terrible as a first time fish owner and I was really bonding with my little guy.

I want to make sure I do the right thing by my next betta. I am assuming that I unwittingly gave him ammonia poisoning and have learned to test the water more frequently and to add a little aquarium salt to the tank? Is this what you would recommend? Any tips would be helpful. I really don't want a fish to die because of something I did.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:22 AM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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Thats too bad...sorry for your loss......

More and bigger water changes, remove uneaten food and don't over feed...any reading over 0.25ppm on ammonia, nitrite- make a 50% water change ASAP...aquarium salt is best used as a short term treatment...long term can cause resistant issues and kidney damage especially in wrong dosage/duration......

Again sorry for your loss...sometimes these things happen no matter what we do......
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:22 PM   #9 
ansalong
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Thank you - very helpful. I'll take this advice going forward.
What do you do long term for ammonia? The top fin water conditioner I use says it is supposed to help with ammonia levels, but either it didn't or I just didn't do other things I was supposed to.
I always remove uneaten food, and there's a filter in the tank. Any other suggestions?
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:34 PM   #10 
Oldfishlady
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To maintain water quality and keep ammonia level under control in a filtered 1gal tank:
I would increase your regular water changes to 50% twice a week-the substrate need to be cleaned at least one time a week by either vacuum or the stir and dip method and the filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month and when the water flows slows to maintain good water flow

You may also need to check your source water and make sure you don't have ammonia to start and if so, I would get a dechlorinater that covers ammonia like Prime or add live stem or floating plants

Check for ammonia between regular twice weekly water changes and any time the ammonia is 0.25ppm or greater make a 50% water only change
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