FIRST OFF, I'M SORRY THIS IS SO LONG!!! IT'S ABOUT A 2.5 MINUTE READ...MAYBE 3 MINUTES IF YOU READ THE "ADDITIONAL INFORMATION" SECTION. I'm taking a stimulant prescribed to me by a doctor and I makes me talk (and type) non-stop. <---Me talking. It's a little frustrating but I digress...
I'm new here and my poor fish is dying. If I don't do something fast, he's probably going to die...untreated, I would say his chances of survival are about 5%. I cannot even begin to explain how urgent this is. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. My Betta thanks you, too.
OK...so...Mr. Betta, my male Betta fish, is very sick and is most likely suffering very much. About 3 days ago, I noticed his belly looked swollen and his scales were slightly raised around his belly (they're raised even more so on his right side). I thought that maybe he had eaten too much food as my mother has been feeding him for awhile now and I think she's been over-feeding him from time to time. I say this because there is usually a fair amout of small, un-eaten flakes floating in his tank on the water's surface from time to time (I'll take a net to these and take them out). Also, he's never seemed to have a real healthy appetite and he'll sometimes throw up a flake right after eating it. He'll also watch them floating on the water's surface during feeding time but won't eat them (it's almost like he can't see them very well or he's not interested). I have now resumed control of his feeding and I'm afraid it's too late.
As of yesterday, his belly seemed just as bloated but the scales around his belly seemed to be even more raised. Also, about 2 days ago, a small spot which seemed to literally pop up from in between his scales has since blossomed into a thin, white-colored "string" that appears to be connected to his body from a single place. Imagine taking a very short, white string and then grabbing both ends and pinching them together...that is what it looks like. This thing is hanging from in between his raised scales and is DIRECTLY behind his RIGHT fin on the SIDE of his body, where it is hanging out. IT IS NOT POOP...you can trust me on this one! Seriously, don't even explore the idea of this stringy thing being poop...I can safely say it is not. He's now spending almost all of his time sitting at the bottom of his tank and is moving around less and less; when I last checked on him about 2 hours ago, he was laying on the bottom of the tank in a protected area, not moving at all...including his gills. I thought he was dead, so I turned off the water filter and this caught his attention, prompting him to wake up. If someone could please help my fish out here that would be amazing. Thanks in advance!
SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT MIGHT HELP YOU BUT ISN'T REALLY NECESSARY:
He lives in a 5 gallon tank where the temperature usually drops to 72-74 degrees at night and climbs to 75-78 degrees during the day (the lowest I've ever seen it was at 70 degrees and the warmest I've ever seen it was at 80 degrees...which is extremely rare). I use an incandescent light to illuminate the inside of his tank in the evening and I turn it off at around 9:30-10:00 PM. He can escape the light if he wants and has two high-quality artificial plants (they're really nice) and a third "regular" artificial plant, plus a faux coral/stone with "holes" in it that he'll swim through. His tank is lined with about 3/4" to 1" gravel (painted turqouise and dark blue) that used to shed stone dust, leaving behind a *very* small spot of bluish residue on the filter, which I change about every 2-1/2 to 3 weeks (the filter, that is). His tank is kept in our kitchen in what's called a "morning room"; this aptly named room becomes flooded with sunlight in the morning and remains well-lit for most of the day, so he's in a fairly bright part of the house BUT his tank never receives direct sunlight except in the early morning hours (when the sun's rays aren't very strong), so no worries. I use store bought "spring" water which seems to suit him well and I treat it with a water conditioner made specifically for Bettas and use a small amount (about 3/5 a tsp.) of aquarium salt to soften the water and add essential electrolytes.
Last edited by futureislander; 02-27-2011 at 05:08 AM.
Reason: time it takes to read article was incorrect
So what are the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH of your tank water?
Check the pH and hardness levels of the store bought spring water you bought. I don't understand the necessity of this store bought water. A lot of domesticated bettas are absolutely fine with tap water.
If your mom is overfeeding your betta, now is the time to tell her to regulate the amount of foods she is giving your fish. Overfeeding contributes to deterioration of water quality. High levels of ammonia and nitrite are responsible for organ damage that can result in fluid retention causing bloat/dropsy, which currently is the exact issue your fish is suffering from. A dropsied fish may be unable to poop at all.
OK, I tested the water yesterday and it was a lot cleaner than I expected. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the results but it doesn't really matter now because I've performed a water change and have dumped the old water. However, I have tested the newer water and these are the results, taken at around 16 hours after having performed the water change:
Nitrate (NO3): 0 ppm
Nitrite (NO2): 0 ppm
Total Hardness (GH): 25 ppm (Very Soft)
Total Chlorine: 0 ppm
Total Alkalinity (KH): 20 ppm
As you can see, my Betta's water is pretty clean. In fact, when I tested the old water which he occupied at the time of his getting sick, it was not much different than it is now. The old water had a slight (and I mean VERY slight) clouded appearance to it (as it usually does) and now is virtually crystal clear. Like I said, my Betta's tank is in a room the fills with sunlight (on the south side of our house) and the windows that let the sunlight in are directly behind his tank, so when looking through the water in the tank, it always has a slight clouded appearance, as the crisp and sharp sunlight from the windows and landscape outside provides a sharp contrast to what will always be not-totally-crystal-clear tank water. Again, there is no direct sunlight except for very weak rays of light that come through right at sunrise that kind of serve to wake him up. This room actually provides for a near-perfect setup for a fish tank.
OK, so now to what I believe to be the problem. I'M ALMOST CERTAIN MY BETTA IS INFECTED WITH A PARASITE!!! About 10 hours ago and with new water in the tank, I noticed my fish looked A LOT better and I was very happy to see him up and about once again. The wound in his side (where it looks like the scales have fallen off) looked a lot better and the "string" was nowhere to be seen. However, his stomach still appeared swollen, and because of this distention, his scales appeared to be raised. This is why I thought he had Dropsy or something, but I now know different. My hopes for him were quickly extinguished when I noticed that the wound in his side had grown in size and is now a gaping hole with that STUPID "string" (what I think is a parasite) hanging from his wound, ranging in length from about 1 centimeter to hardly there. I'm guessing it's a parasite (most likely a worm) because of this, but what's weird is that this "string" doesn't look like a living organism at all. Instead, it's a translucent, whitish...thing...it looks like a strand of snot or flesh! I know...it's GROSS. WHAT DO I DO? I'm afraid to pull it off because I don't know if it's a part of his body or a parasite!!! If it's a piece of his body, like a part of his intestinal tract or something, I honestly don't know what I'll do. I guess I would just try to keep him as comfortable as possible. So depressing...
IF IT IS A PARASITE, I'M GONNA SEE TO IT THAT THIS THING IS PUNISHED SO SEVERELY THAT IT WILL WISH IT WAS NEVER BORN (IF IT WAS CAPABLE OF MAKING WISHES, THAT IS). NOBODY MESSES WITH MY FISH!!!
Thank you Lupin for your reply; I can't believe you're the only one that answered me. Of course my post gets some of the least views out of all the others. Of course. Ignored in person AND on the Internet. I've always felt like a stranger to this world; like I don't belong here (on Earth) or something. Kinda hard to explain...
Thanks again...and sorry for the long post!
Last edited by futureislander; 03-03-2011 at 04:52 AM.
Reason: Typos, a couple changes and a deletion...
The ammonia isn't mentioned there. Please test that one. Ammonia is the first product of nitrogen cycle. Urea and poop are sources of ammonia which are then converted to nitrite and then nitrate. Nitrogen gas is the last byproduct however, it is not usually encouraged in FW setups especially where oxygen level tends to be very low making it extremely toxic in such setups.
Do you have a pic of the string hanging? Google anchorworm. Does the string have two branching ends? If so, then it's an anchorworm. Please post the pic so I can verify that. In the meantime, start dosing salt at a teaspoon per gallon to keep bacteria at bay. If your betta is able to tolerate it so far, add another set in the next 12 hours. Be sure you aerate the water properly as salt depletes oxygen level. Keep temperature consistently at 78 degrees. Do not increase it as elevated temps tend to allow bacterial infections to progress quickly.
Too many temperature fluctuations could have stressed him out, lowering his immune system and making him vulnerable to disease/parasites. Bettas are tropical fish and need to be kept in steady temperatures of 76-82 degrees.
Lupin, as soon as you mentioned ammonia, I realized that my water testing kit doesn't have an ammonia blotter on the stick that's dipped into the water. I don't know how this escaped me...I guess it's just because I figured that the water testing kit was made to test for all the essential compounds that would be relevant to keeping a fish tank clean and healthy. All the compounds I tested (that are shown above) come from 1 thin white strip with a different blotter for each compound listed. I can't believe I never tested for ammonia; I had never tested the water (shame on me) until you asked me what the levels of these things were in your first post, so I went to the local pet store and bought an "all-in-one" made by "Jungle" or something like that. I don't know how I forgot to test for ammonia. Are ammonia testing supplies usually sold by themselves? ALSO...he's doing better, so make sure to read about that at the very bottom.
Turtle10, the water fluctuations aren't as significant as I made them sound. Regardless of the time of year and temperatures outside, the water temp in my Betta's tank is affected by the sunlight, our central air (heating & cooling), the water filter and the aquarium light that we turn on around sunset and turn off around 9-something PM, so whether the outside air is 2 degrees or 100 degrees, the "mercury" in his tank's thermometer is usually smack dab in the middle of the green zone (the area on thermometer between 70 and 80 degrees, so around 75, give 3 or 4 degrees and take a couple degrees). Also, because I am crazy, I use 2 thermometers in his tank just to make sure they're working...and his tank is 5 gallons, btw...I think that's the first time I've mentioned its size. In the summer, the room he's in can get quite warm during the daytime as the sun is higher in the sky and its rays are therefore much stronger. During this time of year, the room climbs into the mid to upper 70's during the day (despite the air conditioner working full-steam) and the air temps stay relatively warm throughout the night. We have a fan in this room (remember, it's closed off from the outside) and there are shades to draw, which is pointless because the sun seems to sit almost right above the house during the hottest parts of the day...except for winter when it hangs lower in the sky. During the winter season, the room also warms up quite a bit (if the sun's out), so this room is hands-down the warmest room in the house. However, on cold winter nights (it's almost over, folks!!!), his water temperature can dip down to 72 degrees, maybe 71, but he doesn't seem to mind and this doesn't happen very often. I know he's not wild, but his wild counterparts probably aren't strangers to slight variations in water temperatures found in the jungles of SE Asia. Unless the temp sits and hovers in the low 70's and doesn't get any warmer, I don't plan on doing anything about it's starting to get warmer outside (knocks on wood) and the days are begining to last longer (I have to knock on wood here, too, haha). Besides, I'm taking him to Hawaii with me upon moving this summer, so after another 20-something days or so, he won't ever see freezing temperatures again, since it starts getting nice and warm here in Virginia near late March and we'll both be long gone before next winter season.
ALSO...I wanted both of you to know that he's doing A LOT BETTER. I prayed for him many times and it looks like he's gonna pull through. As of yesterday (and maybe late in the day the day before yesterday...can't remember), his energy levels returned to normal and he's actually got a ravenous (spl?) appetite, unlike anything I've seen in awhile. His puffed-up right side doesn't look so puffed up anymore and appears to be returning to normal. That "hole" in his right side that sits practically overtop the area that what was bloated is still there but that stringy thing isn't anywhere to be seen. I actually noticed a greenish "bump" deep inside the hole and it appeared not too long after having feed him some food, and it turns out that some of the flakes in his food are green, so...yeah. I honestly don't know what that thing that's been hanging from the wound was, but it might have been flesh from his body and this wound or hole...whatever it is...looks like it may be pretty deep, so I'm thinking that maybe it's gone through his side and has left a small part of his abdominal cavity exposed. I did look into the anchorworm as mentioned (plus some other parasites and diseases) and I'm almost positive this thing wasn't an anchorworm. Whatever it was, I'm hoping it's gone because I don't see it anymore. The only thing I'm worried about is his wound/hole becoming infected and whether or not he's gonna take a turn for the worse. By the way, this wound is about twice the size of the tip of a ball-point pen and the scales in this small area where the wound is are missing. Will they grow back?
Thanks for both your help, and if you can advise me on how to speed up the healing of my Betta's wound (hole), that would be great. I'm shocked by the fact he's doing so much better, but he's not completely out of the woods yet.
Also, like I said, I'll be moving to Hawaii, so my Betta shouldn't have to worry about fluctuating water temps in his tank very much, specifically, the ones that occur during the winter when the water in his tank can drop into the low to mid 70's. During the winter in Honolulu, the outside air drops into the 70's and sometimes the 60's at night, while it usually stays in the 80's during the day. The summer isn't supposed to be too much warmer (but it's a little warmer) and we'll be closer to the equator...so more sunshine! I'm really excited about the sun's rays being stronger...sorry. I'll shut up now. It's just that one more winter is gonna send me off the deep end.
Thank you both for your time and feel free to respond!
I don't know what to say about caring for your wounded fish, but the people who are already helping you seems to know.
I just wanted to say that I hope your betta gets better soon, if something like that happened to me, i'd be pretty panicked about it.
It so easy to get attached to them, or to any pet!
So seing them really sick is scary...
If you don't already use this, Seachem Prime water conditioner is great for nutralizing harmful ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates while conditioning the water. It's great to use in case the water quality spikes randomly, it will help keep your fish a little safer so it doesn't harm them. Of course, it doesn't replace water changes.
Since water changes seem to have helped perked him up, keep up with them. Clean water helps keep them from getting sick and ammonia from uneaten food, fish poo and what they excrete from their gills (their form of urine I guess) can quickly lower their immunity and leave them vulnerable to all sorts of stuff. What size is his tank?
Also, once his wound heals, stop using aquarium salt. It's not good for them long-term. It'll help with his wound though.
Water changes and aquarium salt (1/2 tsp per gallon) should help him heal. If you have a one gallon or less, two 50% water changes and one 100% a week is fine. If you have above that, one 50% and one 100% should do it. Once he's well, continue with the water changes. Hope he's feeling better. :)
Just read you are coming in to Hawaii! I'm there right now for school and one of my Betta's is in a tank seperate from my big cycled one and despite having a heater in it the temp stays at 76-78 which is from the room temp.
A tid bit of information. You can't bring you Betta to the islands. They will take him and have him quarantined for 40days and probably not do anything to care for him. I flew back to Oregon with one of my Bettas on the plane, you can take them on the plane with you just call ahead, but you are not able to bring anything live into the islands. Given it would be extremely easy to get him on off the plane after you arrive but I still would not recommend trying to bring him to Hawaii. I fly in at the Honolulu airport and the security is kinda pathetic but I can't speak for all of the time. Just a heads up.