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Old 01-14-2011, 02:48 PM   #1 
Elphieh
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Zombie Snail...

I have successfully kept several bettas in the past but recently have had a weird series of events. Over the past year I have had 3 different male bettas. The first two of the series lived a few days before becoming slowly covered in a white fuzz and dying. The third is just now beginning to grow the fuzz. I've had him for 3 days. Time from the fuzz first appearing to death has been about 2-3 days. Each time I have done a complete water change and essentially a new tank set-up before introducing the new fish. There has also been a period of about 2-3 months between the fish. There have only been two things constant throughout these three fish: The tank and a black mystery snail as a tank mate. It is the same snail that has lived through all of them. But he has never displayed any signs of illness.

After the first two deaths, I realized the tank I am using is lit by LED. So I'm used to the tank light keeping the water temp perfect for the bettas, but with an LED it doesn't get as hot and I figured it was not getting the water warm enough which was leading to the deaths. Before I brought the third fish in, I bought a heater that keeps the water around 76 f.

So now I'm left wondering if the snail is a carrier of something that isn't making IT sick, but infects the fish very quickly. Here are the answers to the questions from the first thread. I know this is a betta forum and I may need to ask the question of a snail expert, but figured I'd start here.

Housing

What size is your tank? 3 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? 76 F
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? air stone
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Black mystery snail (apple snail)


Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

I use a Jungle 5 in 1 test strip, so I don't get precise numbers. But the Nitrate, Hardness and Alkalinity are in the ideal/safe range. But the Nitrite is reading in the stress/danger level (the color on the pad seems to fall in the 3.0-5.0 range) and the pH seems to be reading about 8.4.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? seems less vibrantly colored, has white fuzz beginning to grow
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? bounces between being agitated and lethargic. Not much in between
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? The only thing I have on hand is the Tank Buddies tablets to prepare water. They are the ones that prepare 2 gallons of water for immediate fish use. I have about 3 gallons in the tank and went ahead and dropped one tablet in there as it was all I had. I will be able to go to the store once my husband gets home or can have him pick something up on the way home if needed.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:53 PM   #2 
Elphieh
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Max seems to be getting worse very quickly. The white fuzz has multiplied and he is mostly lying at the bottom of the tank. If agitated (I thought he was dead so I reached a new net in to check) he will swim very quickly to the top, but also as quickly drops right back to the bottom of the tank. I posted hoping to find a way to save him and maybe find out what was going on but I think whatever he has is progressing too rapidly to do anything.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:36 PM   #3 
Creat
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Sounds like a fungus but what I think the problem is is your tank is cycling and stressing the fish and killing it. I suggest doing a 50% water change immediately or removing the fish while the tank cycles the snail should cycle it fine on his own. Google tank cycling it should help you. Nitrite is extremely toxic to fish in small quantities its probably what got your guy and weakened his immune system letting the velvet or fungus take hold. Also moving him from the larger tank would be easier to treat him for fungus a medication containing methylene blue should help. Adding aquarium salt would help too. Hoped that helped a little! Sorry about your guy hopes he lives and welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:41 PM   #4 
Elphieh
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Thank you!! That does make sense. Any idea how long it might take the snail to cycle the tank? And if Max doesn't make it and I decide to try again, would the best way to do it be to clean it all out, restart the tank and let the snail live in it for a bit on his own?
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #5 
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The snail probably wont produce enough ammonia to cycle the tank on its own in my opinion but I am no master lol. There are plenty of things on the market to do a fish less cycle you just pick something that fits you best and snails are fine on their own. :)
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:51 PM   #6 
shinybetta
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I don't think it is bad quality. It is probably something from the tank. Do you de-chlorinate your water?
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:53 PM   #7 
Elphieh
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OK, the Tank Buddies tablets seem to have pulled the nitrite down and its now reading in the low end of the "stress" part of the chart. Max is no longer lying at the bottom of the tank but is now staying near the top vertically with his nose near the surface. It looks like all the white fluff is gone, though. I dropped another tank buddy tablet in as its all I can do right now and it seemed to help. I will go and get some fungus treatment later this evening (I have 3 small kids--2 of which are sick-- and can't get them out in the current weather we are having so I have to wait until my husband gets home so he can stay with them).
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:58 PM   #8 
Elphieh
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Oh sorry, I misread about the snail and the cycling. LOL I get it now.

This time I did let the water set out at room temp for 24 hours before putting it into the tank. I also used a single Tank Buddies tablet before putting the fish in. One tablet treats 2 gallons. I figured since I let the water sit out for 24 hours then 1 tablet would be good even though its a 3 gallon tank. I tested the water before putting in the fish and it read fine, so I went ahead and moved him in.

Its just weird since I'm not doing anything differently than I have ever done before and I've successfully had 2 or 3 bettas previously that lived a couple or more years. Same house, same water supply, the only difference was the tank and the snail. Hence the "zombie snail" theory...
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:05 PM   #9 
Elphieh
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I was wrong about the fluff being gone. Its still there, just lessened. And he is just sort of bobbing a bit near the top. If he starts to sink, he pushes himself back up to the surface. Why do I have a bad feeling that I am only making things worse for him?
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:12 PM   #10 
Alex09
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I think the problem here is the water quality. You should NOT be using any chemicals/tablets/etc to control ammonia and nitrites. Those things are easily controlled with water changes. How often are you cleaning (by cleaning I mean changing out) the water?
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