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Old 06-14-2011, 12:06 AM   #1 
omgitslph
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Inflamed Gill and Shredded Fins. Please Help! :(

Just joined these forums after lurking for ages because I come to you with an emergency. I've been taking care of bettas for years, but haven't had a problem like this yet. The fish in question is Jace the Sea Sculptor and he has one gill that seems to be enlarged. His tail had a small fray in it (which has now grown a lot after a water change an hour or so ago). He's an adopted fish because his last owner couldn't keep him. He was in distilled water with her and I've been doing a 25% rotation of water each cleaning until 100% tap. I cleaned his tank last night and put him in 25% distilled to 75% tap. This morning I noticed a bit of a frayed fin and later took the only thing that could cut it out of his tank. When I did that I noticed his one gill was sticking out, but acting normal. Not having time to do anything before work I left and prayed he'd live. He lived through my shift and still being swollen and lost a bit of color so I asked my buddy what to do and we decided on changing out the water to a 50-50 mix of tap and distilled water. I put the tank back up in my room in the dark to keep him less stressed. Went up to check on him and his fin was even more frayed and it seems the gill went a bit down, but I'm not sure.

Here's the facts.

Housing
What size is your tank? Currently he's in a 1 gallon until he can be moved into a split 5 gallon that will be shared with another betta.
What temperature is your tank? 79F
Does your tank have a filter? No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? No. It's summer here so it stays pretty constant and when it doesn't I make sure to regulate heat with a lamp and bags of hot water.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? No.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 4 pellets once a day.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 times a week depending on ammonia and dirtiness.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Nothing but stress coat to dechlorinate the water. Currently moving him from Distilled water to tap water due to previous owner.

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

Ammonia: 0 (just changed water)
Nitrite: no testing equipment for this.
Nitrate: no testing equipment for this.
pH: 6.2 before and after water change
Hardness: no testing equipment for this.
Alkalinity: 120 ppm (using pool testing strips for this -___-)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Lost a bit of color around his face
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Was active when I left and he flaring up all afternoon because his tank is by my other bettas. Seems still a bit active but his tail is clamped and has lost color. His belly is white too and it normally isn't.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Around 3:15 pm est Monday. It's now 1 am Tuesday.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? 100% water change with 50/50 distilled and tap.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Fairly big so I'd say at least a year. Not sure since he was given to me about a month ago and I have no idea how long she had him.

Pictures:



Let me know if you need any more pictures or information. Feel free to IM me at wtfitslph to talk about my problem as well. I just want this to be fixed asap. I'm so worried. :( Thank you in advance for all of your help!
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:10 AM   #2 
omgitslph
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Added his rock back in because I figured his tail couldn't get worse. He's swimming and flares at my other betta. Seems happier, I guess.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:19 AM   #3 
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Hi, ohmgitslph, welcome to forum. I'm sorry you're having some problems with Jace. :( Do you know what kind of conditions he was kept in before you got him, aside from the distilled water? I don't know much about distilled water so I can't say if that might be a cause or not. I'm more concerned with water quality and ammonia buildup so if you know how often his water was changed by his previous owner, that would help.

First, I'd say start an aquarium salt treatment, 1-2 tsp per gallon, in the 1 gallon he's in now; he'll have to stay there in his hospital tank for treatment. Just keep him warm. I can definitely see the enlarged gill . . . not good. Jace may have a gill issue called gill hyperplasia. This is often due to poor water quality and ammonia burns but it can also be caused by parasites such as ick and gill flukes. Does Jace look like he has many white spots all over him, as if he's been dipped into salt?

Above is a good example of a betta with gill hyperplasia because of ick. Gill flukes might be a little trickier to find because you can't seem them without a microscope. Does he look like he has a lot of mucus built up around his gills? Or like his gills are turning gray around the edges? Gill flukes will cause rapid gill movement and can also cause them to pale in color so perhaps that accounts for his white belly now.

As for his tail, well, you know how common rips are in betta tails if you've had them for years. But as to why it got bigger . . . I don't know. Was he in the tank during the water change? I've noticed with my bettas that sometimes the water being poured in creates a strong enough current that my guy can't swim and is tossed around a lot for a moment. Perhaps he ripped it during a moment like that.

For now, try the salt treatment and change the water every day. If he shows no sign of improvement, then it's time to bring out the big guns: meds.

And hopefully someone else will post with more advice, too.

Good luck and hang in there!
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:35 AM   #4 
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Thank you for your reply! :) All I know is that he was kept in a half gallon tank before I got him. I have a feeling he was changed once a week. This all just happened in 1 day, right after a water change. That's all I know.

Nothing around his gills from what I can see and there's no white spots at all. He's fairly active now which is good. The only thing I've noticed different is this awkward line on his head.
Pardon the overexposed image, but it was the only way I could get it to show on camera.

Here's also pictures of his fin damage. No fin rot so he either bit himself or it was damaged further when I took him out for the cleaning. Though I couldn't find the missing parts anywhere.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:57 AM   #5 
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Is it possible he might be biting his tail? The last picture, it does look like some chewed on fins I've seen.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:00 AM   #6 
LeroyTheBetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omgitslph View Post
What size is your tank? Currently he's in a 1 gallon until he can be moved into a split 5 gallon that will be shared with another betta.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 times a week depending on ammonia and dirtiness.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
First thing that caught my attention was that I don't think water changes are enough for your 1 gallon. You should be doing a 100% change at least every other day. I would try upping the water changes to this and adding aquarium salt (about 1 teaspoon per gallon.... and only do this for about a week as salt long term is not recommended for bettas).

I can only go by what I've read while researching anything on fish illnesses & diseases....... clean water goes a LOOONNNGGG way to keeping your fish healthy, and in helping him recover when doing not-too-well. When you change the water, if you remove him using a net, consider not using a net. Nets can catch betta's long fins and damage them, and with his fins already compromised, it would probably be even easier for them to get damaged further. Try scooping him out of the tank with a small cup instead of a net.

Also, have a look at the protein content of your pellets. The higher % the better (say 45% to 50%) and good quality protein is important. Bodies (human as well as fish) require protein for the repair & growth of cells, so for your betta's fins to grow & heal, he'll need lots of good-quality protein in his diet. Feed him smaller, more frequent meals.... for example, give him 2 pellets 4 times a day, or 3 meals - 3, 3, & 2 pellets. Easier on his digestive system, additionally, he'll be able to better utilize the nutrients from each meal & more will get "used" and less will come out as waste.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:41 AM   #7 
Sakura8
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Good advice Julie!

omgitslph, the tail looks like either he was biting it or it took some damage perhaps from all that flaring he did.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:40 PM   #8 
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he's acting like nothing is wrong even though the gill is still inflamed. Doing 100% water changes every single day. When do I add the salt and should I wait awhile before putting him back in the tank? Thank you all for help. :)
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:11 AM   #9 
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Dissolve the salt in a separate container using a little bit of tank water. It will take a while and you may not get all of the salt crystals totally dissolved (did I say a while? I meant FOREVER). Just pour what you can in. You can wait a while and then add him but I pour the salt water mix in while my boy is still in there. I just make sure to pour it far away from where he is. So far both he and my girl who's in salt are doing fine with it. But every betta is different so if you're not sure, pour the salt in first and then slowly acclimate Jace so he doesn't get a shock.

And if his gill isn't bothering him then all you need to do is watch and wait.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:22 PM   #10 
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accidently added him in after added the salt. I hope that's okay. x_x

Added a little less than 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of 50/50 distilled/tap (didn't want to keep on moving him to tap when he was sick to prevent more stress from the sickness, fin damage, and salt) He's breathing heavy but not laying around. I'll keep an eye on him while I clean my other tanks that need work. Not sure if I want to try salt on all of them tonight. I have another one with a bacterial infection, but I can fix that one on my own. I just don't know if salt is a good idea for them at this time.
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