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Old 03-10-2011, 11:52 AM   #1 
rue721
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Twitching!

When I woke up this morning my fish was twitching! Jerking!

--He can't stay in one place without jerking his head from side to side, and he can't swim smoothly.

--Whatever has been eating at his tail made a lot of headway in the night. I thought it was fin rot, but it doesn't seem to have a dark edge anymore, yet more and more of the tail is gone. It doesn't look bitten off--it's all the delicate part that's gone, but the rays are still there.

--In the last four days, I've done two 100% water changes, added the filter, and added aquarium salt, but he's only gotten (drastically!!!) worse!

Housing
What size is your tank? 3 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80*F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes--as part of the filter.
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? Betta Gold pellets, have freeze-dried bloodworms but haven't given him any yet.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1-2x/day, usually about 4 pellets total. Haven't fed him today.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Did a 100% WC on Tues, and had done a 100% WC three days before that. I've only had him for a week and a half.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? A water conditioner/de-chlorinator, aquarium salt (.5 tsp/gallon)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? N/A do not have a testing kit.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His fins (mostly his tail) are more and more tattered. And he's twitching! His head also seems a little more gray.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Yes--the twitching! He doesn't seem at all happy, either.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? as soon as I got him, though it seems to have gotten worse--and in the last few days it's gotten DRASTICALLY worse.
Have you started treating your fish? In the last four days, I've done two 100% water changes, added the filter, and added aquarium salt, but he's only gotten worse!
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's had fin problems since I got him.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him for a little over a week.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:18 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Poor fella.....I would make another 100% water change and use double the dechlorinator and add 1tsp/gal aquarium salt, lower the water level by half and turn off the filter for now....continue 100% daily water changes like this for 2 days and then increase the aquarium salt 2tsp/gal along with the 100% water changes and extra dechlorinator...keep the water temp in the 76-77F range...if you have any tannins to add all the better...either dried Oak leaves or Indian almond leaf...cover the top of the tank with something to keep the air above the water warm and humid for the labyrinth organ and turn out the light...hold all food for now...once you increase the salt to 2tsp/gal see if he will eat pellets(1-2) that have been soaked in fresh crushed garlic juice-3 times a day.....
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #3 
rue721
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Thanks, Oldfishlady. Will do.

He was so peppy and bright just a few days ago! And now he's just looking up at the surface of the water like: I wish I could get up there to breathe! But then he just jerks backwards and gives up. He's still swimming, though, and he's still coming over to me when he sees me, which I guess is a good sign?

I also have Tetra Fungus Guard. I gave him a weakened dose on Tuesday when I changed his water, but he seemed to have a really bad reaction after he'd been back in the tank for a while (just kept getting clumsier and unhappier-looking, and his fins looked as bad as ever)--so yesterday afternoon I turned his filter back on and filtered the medicine out. I tried turning the filter off again last night because I noticed a problem with his movement and thought maybe the current was starting to bother him, but he looked so much more sluggish and unhappy that I turned it back on after an hour or so. I'll keep it off for now though.

Should I give him a dose of the Fungus Guard?

What's scaring me is that he seems to be declining so fast, and these muscle spasms look really violent.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:11 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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I don't use OTC products and so I can say much about that product...I have found natural treatments to be less harsh and more effective when treatment is started early.....more of a holistic approach....

It sounds like some type of toxic substance that either fell in the tank or chlorine/chloramine poison or even internal or external parasite could be a cause.....when it hits fast or sudden it make me think more in the line of contamination...sometimes it can be as simple as not enough dechlorinator used, bottle not shaken or expired, the water supply company made a change in amounts of additives used....anything.....hard to say.....hope he gets better.....
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:28 PM   #5 
rue721
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Ok, thanks OFL! I'll stay away from using more of the medicine for now.

What's confusing about the contamination theory is that the filter seems to have been working really well--the medicine originally turned the water blue-ish, but within an hour or two of the filter working the water had turned clear. So I would think it could have filtered the bad stuff out?

Well, I will DEFINITELY do a full water change tonight, maybe take out the gravel all-together, up the salt and de-chlorinator, and lower the water level. The heater is already lowered and the filter is off.

I'm a little nervous about taking Henry out of the tank because that went badly last time but he's so so sick I think this time will (sadly) be different. I'm planning on putting him in a Ziplock so I can float it in the tank to reclimatize him afterward. Do you think that'll work? The Tupperware I bought him to sit in during water changes is too big to fit in the tank for re-climatization, and the cup he came in is too small for me to get him in and out of easily.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:43 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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Filters can only filter out some things-it won't do much for chlorine or chloramine, depending on how old the carbon is in the filter it may or may not help very much with other contamination issues-its has limits....

I would use the cup he came it to treat...it will be easier and less stressful on both of you too-cover the top with plastic veggie wrap and attach it to the side of his tank to float in the water to maintain the water temp in the 76-77F range....when you need to transfer him pour him from the container into the net while holding the net over a bucket to catch the water...if you have two small cup that can fit in the heated tank-this will make it even easier for you....an hour before he is due for the water change fill the second cup with the treatment water and float it in the tank so it will come to temp...pour him from the first cup into the net and place him in the second cup....

If you pre-mix the treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water this will help make the water changes and correct dosage of salt easier too and if you have tannins to add they can steep in this pre-mixed treatment water...the longer they steep the more tannins released the darker the water the more the Betta likes it.....

Good luck and I hope he gets better for you.....
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:06 PM   #7 
rue721
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UPDATE:

I took all your advice, OFL. Thank you for your help!

Henry's now in his water. I used twice the amount of decholorinator I usually do, and 1 tsp/gal salt. The water's only up to about 2/3 of its level before, so his lid is off for the moment. The only things in the tank now are his heater and a big huge cave (oh, and his thermometer). No gravel, no betta bulbs, no (sharp?!) plastic plant.

The cup is too little to use with my net, so I ended up going with the bag. I changed the water, floated him (in the bag) in it, then tried to get him to swim out of the bag. That was pretty difficult. But at least he's hanging out in there now. He's exploring a little. It's still too soon to know how he's doing.

I hope so much that he'll be OK!
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:24 AM   #8 
rue721
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UPDATE--Day 2 of OFL's Regime!

The muscle spasms decreased after last night's 100% WC, but Henry had some trouble sleeping without his plant (I left his big cave in the tank, but he couldn't figure out how to sleep on it). He also seemed worn down because of the fasting. BUT he was pretty active, which was nice to see. He also pooed--it was a long white strand. Does that mean anything?

This morning, the muscle spasms were back full force (UGH!)...but at least he was still alive!

Today I got him a leaf hammock to give him a place to sleep while his tank is stripped down for his treatment. I also got him a small critter keeper to make the WCs easier. So tonight when I did the WC I put him in the critter keeper, which seemed MUCH easier on him (he liked it much better than the tupperware), and it's narrow enough that I can float him in it to re-acclimatize. The entire WC was super painless tonight! I'd already mixed the water after last night's WC, Henry wasn't too hard to catch in the net with the plant out of the way, and he seemed *genuinely* comfortable in the critter keeper! The tupperware was even still helpful, b/c I put his decor in it while washing everything down.

As for tonight's water: after some soul-searching I decided to go ahead and give him the weakened version of the OTC antibac/anti-fungus medicine, as well as doing the salt treatments (I'm on day 2/the last day of 1tsp/gal.) and doubling the dechlorinator. The meds are just in case the problem is too out of control for his immune system to fight on its own.

Anyway, with the good news is, Henry seems to be swimming around in the changed tank just fine, and is not spasming. The bad news is he hasn't found his hammock yet. Also, he still does seem sick--his head is too grayish, he's still not acting like himself, and his fins are still looking awful. But today was a day without decline! And maybe even with improvement!

I've already prepped his water for tomorrow. Fingers are crossed for the little guy :)
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:26 AM   #9 
rue721
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Oh, and wanted to repeat:

THANK YOU Old Fish Lady! Everyone I know basically told me to give Henry up for dead, but I love the little guy already and he deserves for me to do the absolute best by him. Thanks for giving me hope--and a plan :)
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:00 AM   #10 
Thunderloon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
I don't use OTC products and so I can say much about that product...I have found natural treatments to be less harsh and more effective when treatment is started early.....more of a holistic approach....

It sounds like some type of toxic substance that either fell in the tank or chlorine/chloramine poison or even internal or external parasite could be a cause.....when it hits fast or sudden it make me think more in the line of contamination...sometimes it can be as simple as not enough dechlorinator used, bottle not shaken or expired, the water supply company made a change in amounts of additives used....anything.....hard to say.....hope he gets better.....
Rinse out a pan and boil the tap water for a minute per pan-full, pour it into another pan in the fridge to cool off (best keep lid on the fridge pan). This will remove chlorine and should break the chloramine up to chlorine and remove that as well as sterilize the water if there is an issue.

Search the web for water quality report for your region, check for fluoride and chloramine.

If you've used water dechlorinator with "natural bio extract" or other additives, see if you can get a bottle of "Prime" Its a red bottle and takes two drops per gallon.

Do NOT use a "weakened dose" of Nitrofurazone/Furazolidone unless your water quality is very poor. It does irritate but I have never heard of it killing. Using weakened doses of medications encourages a much higher chance of infection becoming immune to the medication.

Does he skim the surface when getting a new head-full of air, kinda motor-boating along blowing bubbles?
I'm leaning towards parasite as well.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 03-12-2011 at 11:06 AM.
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