I've had my betta, Rex, for a few months now. My past 2 bettas died of dropsy, so I've been extra careful with Rex. I'm a college student, so I recently went home for Christmas break and kind of slacked on Rex's water changes while at home. I changed his water every 2 weeks instead of every week. Anyway, I changed his water yesterday after about a week and 2 or 3 days. I tested his water before the change and saw that it was a little high in ammonia. I just now tested his water again and these were the results:
Ammonia- .25-.50 (somewhere in between, but closer to .50)
He's in a 5 gallon tank with a filter and heated to about 78-80 degrees (depending on whether the dorm room is hot or not). I put Stress Zyme in his water weekly along with salt and tap water conditioner with every change.
I think Rex may be a tail biter because when I leave him for a day and come back his tail looks shredded, but never brown or red at the tips. It seems to be growing back, but I know his water conditions probably aren't helping. Yesterday I noticed he has a bump on his head, almost like a pimple or a scab. He's dark purple and the bump blends in, almost like it's under the skin?
I know the ammonia is high, but what do I do? I know the ammonia and the pH go hand-in-hand, so how do I fix this problem?
Last edited by johnstypoo; 01-23-2011 at 06:33 PM.
How big is the tank, filter, live plants, additive used, stocking or is this a Betta only tank, how long has it been set up....
To understand you make weekly water changes normally...correct.....how much water do you change?
What kind of water testing products do you use?
Well, I went back and added the size of the tank and what all I put in the water. He's the only betta in the tank, and the tank's been set up for a few months, I'm thinking since sometime in October. There are no live plants, but he does have 3 plastic plants and a big castle to hide in. I usually change between 25-50%, except for when I went home recently and had to completely drain and refill his tank. I use the Mardel testing kit, one strip is 5-in-1, and one strip is strictly for ammonia testing.
Sometimes the strips don't always give the most accurate readings-I use them myself for quick checks-but rely on my liquid reagent kit for the numbers....I say this because your tank really should be showing nitrates by now...its been set up long enough and with a filter for the nitrogen cycle to complete.....unless you have changed out the filter media and did a big clean on the tank all at the same time....this could account for the ammonia spike and lack of nitrate.....
With any reading of ammonia, nitrite of 0.25ppm or greater make a 50% water change...ideally you want these numbers at 0ppm and on the nitrate you want to keep this lower than 20ppm-ideally 5-10ppm
Your pH is fine and it is not high or low enough to effect the ammonia
You don't need the salt-long term use of salt especially in the wrong dosage can create resistant pathogens/parasites and effect the Betta kidney function and sometimes you will see system shut down and dropsy.
Both aquarium salt and Epsom salt are great for short term treatment when used for the right reason, dosage and duration.
The main reasons for dropsy a symptom not a disease-is due to poor water quality, stress, compromised immune response, long tern salt use, system shut down
On a 5g filtered tank-I would make 50% weekly water changes with substrate vacuuming to maintain water quality
Give the filter media a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water changes a couple of times a month and when the water flow slows to maintain good water flow
The bump on his head-can you post a pic-it could be external parasite, lymphocystis or a simple injury
How is the Betta acting overall....behavior and appetite normal for him?
I tested my water again, and it's still showing the same results. I've done partial water changes and added bacteria. I don't know what else to do. The only clean to the tank I've done prior to this was draining it so I could take it from college to home and then back, so it was only out for 6 hours at most each time. I tried to leave some water in the gravel, and I put the filter in a bag of aquarium water to keep the bacteria alive.
And about the bump, no I don't think I can post a picture. I can barely see it, so I know it wouldn't show up on a picture. His face is a dark purple, and so is this bump. You can only see it from the proper angle. It hasn't changed at all, I don't think.
He's acting normal. He's eating like a pig, and I was playing with him just last night. He'll swim to whatever side of the tank I'm on, and he was flaring at his reflection in a mirror I was holding up. He's being pretty normal.
The results may be related to ammonium and not ammonia the test strip or liq test kits can't tell the difference....this can be caused by the dechlorinator and how it binds with ammonia and/or chloramine and harmless to the fish yet the nitrifying bacteria and plants can still use it.
As for the bump-I would watch the area for any changes and keep the water clean to prevent any secondary infection....