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Old 01-25-2011, 11:42 AM   #1 
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Help needed for Alvin's recovery

Hi everyone,

I had our little buddy Alvin in a cycled, heated, 2.5 gallon tank that had been planted with an anubias and two java ferns. I had been changing his water about every 5 days, and his water readings have looked good for a while. On Sunday morning, he looked fine. I fed him, and an hour later, he was gray on the bottom of his tank within an inch of his life.

I put him in a cup with fresh water and floated him in the tank and changed the water every six hours or so. He was so weak, he was floating on his side at the top of the cup. His fins became very brittle, and now they look shredded.

I've been having problems with the filter system on his mini-bow tank, so I got a new 10 gal aquarium for him with a heater. I also got rid of the java ferns as they didn't seem to be thriving, but I kept the anubias.

Right now he's still in his quarantine cup floating in the new aquarium as I get a cycle started on it. I got some aquarium salt, and mixed up some salt water to use in his cup. I'm hoping to have the tank cycled by the time he's healed.

The good news is, each day he's looking better. Now he's comfortably relaxing mid cup without so much gill gasping. His color is a lot better, though his fins are still very fragile and breaking. He doesn't have any blackness on them, or anything that looks like a parasite or a fungal infection. He also ate a pellet today and pooped.

So here's my question. I think he may have been poisoned by something, though I don't know what. Whatever I'm doing, so far he seems on the mend, so what is the best course of action from this point forward. I'm not sure what the best concentration for the aquarium salt should be, or if I should tweak the water temperature to promote healing.

I also have the small tank now with the little heater, and while it wouldn't be filtered, I was thinking it might make a better "recovery room" once I'm sure Alvin has the strength to swim to the top to breathe.

BTW, thank you guys. If I hadn't found this forum months ago, Alvin would not be here right now. I wouldn't have known what to do, and I probably would have done something to hurt him worse, not help. I'm very relieved he seems to be on the mend.

Any thoughts/advice?

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:01 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Poor fella....I think you are does sound like a poison of some type...especially when they take a turn that fast

Good that you have him in the small Qt floating in the heated tank....I would continue the treatment that you are doing

For aquarium salt treatment-I like to pre-mix my treatment water so that I can also add tannins to steep-this also help make the correct dosage and daily water changes easier....what I do...

In a 1gal jug (I use a clean 1gal milk jug) fill with dechlorinated water-ADD 1tsp/gal aquarium salt and the tannin source-steep for at least 1 hour and shake well before use

Tannin source-naturally dried and fallen from the tree Oak leaf (10-12 crushed/gal) or Indian almond leaf (1 med/gal crushed) or decaf green tea (1bag/gal) use only one of these-the longer they steep the more tannins released the darker the water the more the Betta likes it...each day the Betta will get more tannins with the daily 100% water change.

Use this pre-mixed treatment water for the 100% daily water changes for 10 days

It is important to get the treatment water within a couple of degree in temp with the QT water the Betta is in...what I do....I use two cups-one the Betta is in and the second QT container I will fill with the treatment water about an hour before the scheduled daily water change and float it in the heated tank to come to temp-I use a thermometer and check the temp and once they are equalized I net the Betta and place him in the second QT container of treatment water....dump and rinse the first one to be ready for the next days water change....

I also attach the QT to the side of the tank with duct tape so the QT will not sink or get knocked around by the filter

Anytime I treat a fish I also like to use plastic veggie wrap over the top of the QT to help keep the air above the water warm and humid for the labyrinth organ and maintain a water temp in the 76-77F range and I keep the tank lights out as well to create a dimly lit low stress environment

Nutrition is also important and I like to feed really small amounts several times a day.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:57 PM   #3 
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The more I think about it, the more I think I'm the one that accidentally made him sick. I had hydrocortizone cream on my hands when I fed him. I'm going to be very careful to wash my hands before handling anything near the tank now. That's the only thing I think could have hurt him so severely, so quickly.

I've been careful to heat his new water cup up to temperature by sitting it in a warm water bath before putting Alvin in it, and his little cup has a perforated lid that keeps it shaded. I've got it secured to the corners of his aquarium hood with rubber band loops, so he won't sink.

I feel terrible about his fins, they look awful now. I'm just glad that every hour, he's looking more and more healthy and back to normal. He can see me through the aquarium glass, and now when I watch him, he swims to the edge closest to me and looks at me, the way he used to do in his little tank.

Again, thanks for the help.

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #4 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Poor little guy! I'm glad he's doing better.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:29 PM   #5 
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He's a lot better. He's having slight swim bladder issues since moving to the big tank now, but he's healing so well. I changed him over from the aquarium salt to epsom salt for the last two days, and he's gone poop twice, but I've got him in the regular tank now, and I'm fasting him another day. His bloating is gone, so I'm thinking we're past the bad part.

I'm worried about how much time he's spent in salt solutions, and figure just letting him rest and chill in his new home will be the best thing for him now.

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Old 01-31-2011, 12:02 PM   #6 
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Alvin's back in the tank, but not quite right. He is breathing and eating, but seems to be inactive. Is he just resting from the stress of everything he just went through? Or should I be concerned?

Between the aquarium salt and the Epsom salt, he was in salt baths for a week. I didn't think I should push it much beyond that. Is there anything else I can do?

Today I added new fake plants, and that seemed to cheer him up, and his water quality is good. I just don't want the little guy to give in now. He's been through so much.

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