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Old 07-08-2011, 12:57 PM   #1 
BettaFins
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Help for chronic sick betta?

Our betta was accidentally exposed to cloudy, poor quality water about 5 weeks ago and despite our best efforts, he just doesn't get better. He's in an unfiltered bowl kept between 78-84F. The water's been changed often and kept clean since the original problem (we've tried a variety of conditioners and currently using Prime), and the ammonia, nitrite, etc. levels are tested and seem OK.

First we treated with tetracycline fearing an infection, and it helped, but not for long. He again became kind of pale and lethargic (spending a lot of time laying on the bottom or sometimes just floating / hanging at the top).

After that, he also started flashing hyper and pushing his head into the marbles at the bottom of the bowl, and I thought he looked like might have velvet. We started treating with Coppersafe and also Betta Revive (which contains anti parasite, antifungal, and antibiotic). He still layed around a lot, but after about a week he got his appetite back and was happy to eat! Poop appeared!

Sadly, this week he's just laying around again looking even worse- and when he's not laying he's acting really uncomfortable flashing and digging his head down in the marbles again. He still eats when you get him swimming but haven't seen poop in a few days (although he's not bloated).

I'm really feeling bad and don't know what more we could possibly do for this little guy. I know that salt is often advised as a tonic but I've been afraid to try that. He seems to have a lot of fight, but we we just can't seem to figure out or fix what's bothering him.

Any ideas from the experts would be appreciated.....
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:10 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Can you post a pic.....

What size is the tank, how much and how often are the water changes, any live plants, if so, what species and number, other additives used besides the Prime, do you have a heater or is the current temps related to weather, how long was he kept in the poor water 5 weeks ago....how long(days) did you use the antibiotic, betta-revive and the coppersafe...how long have you had him and how long in his current setup...did you QT when you treated or was treatment done in the main tank...any tankmate...other fish, snails, shrimp.....currently his appetite is good and he is not bloated...he is flashing, bury head in gravel...is he clamped, lethargic, any fin damage, spots, lumps bumps...etc......
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:18 PM   #3 
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Will try to get a pic but don't have one here at the moment.

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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
What size is the tank, how much and how often are the water changes, any live plants, if so, what species and number,
Approx 1 gallon.
50% - 100% water changes at least every other day. Recently we've noticed some weird surface film and clear-ish flaky stuff forming in the water even within a day of a 100% change. We clean that right out again. Don't know if it's from the meds or something else.
No plants.

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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
other additives used besides the Prime
No. For awhile we used Nutrafin Betta plus conditioner which had some oil additive but now switched to Prime.

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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
do you have a heater or is the current temps related to weather
No heater, just maintaining the room temp.

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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
how long was he kept in the poor water 5 weeks ago....
Probably 1-2 days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
how long(days) did you use the antibiotic, betta-revive and the coppersafe...how long have you had him and how long in his current setup...did you QT when you treated or was treatment done in the main tank...any tankmate...other fish, snails, shrimp.....currently his appetite is good and he is not bloated...he is flashing, bury head in gravel...is he clamped, lethargic, any fin damage, spots, lumps bumps...etc......
Tetracycline was about 1 week, then nothing for another 1-2 weeks because he seemed better, then Coppersafe / Betta Revive together for another week. We switched to just Coppersafe last weekend and that's when he started the major flashing / burrying again.

We've had him about 5 months in the current setup, and all treatment is done in there. No tankmates.

Fins do seem kind of clamped, and they are somewhat deteriorated from when we got him, though it doesn't seem like major rot compared to pics I've seen.

No obvious spots, lumps, bumps, swelling, etc... just much more pale than he was at the beginning plus the lethargy and other stuff I mentioned before. Sometimes I think his gils may be red, but that was his original color so I can't be completely sure.

Thanks.....
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:14 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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My thought is that he may be getting toxic...with the copper based product it can leach into everything in the tank and if he had any kind of parasite that product should have taken care of it......that behavior also could be from heavy metals but the Prime should take care of that...what I would try.....

Use a different 1gal container-fill half way with his current water(if it doesn't have any of the copper product in it) and the Betta-add live floating plants if you have some-

Pre-mix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-add 2tsp/gal Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) add either IAL (Indian almond leaf) or Oak leaf and let it steep to release their tannin to a nice amber color...shake well before use and use this water to top off the tank.....then in an hour-remove 80% of the water and fill with the rest of the pre-mixed water...you want the tank about half full of water...mix up another batch of the treatment water so it can steep over night and use this for 50% daily water changes for the next 5 days and see how he does......

If you have Oak trees-you can use the naturally dried and fallen from the tree oak leaves...I use about 10-12 crushed/gallon of water...don't worry if any leaf bits get in the tank

IAL-1-med-large/gallon crushed

You don't want anything in this new container-in regards to decorations, gravel...but you may want to put something dark under the tank so it will limit reflection and give him a sense of safety...even covering 3 side of the container too....be sure and cover the top to help retain heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ

If you have live foods....feed small frequent meals......

The stuff on top of the tank or surface scum-is most likely organic and it can be from either normal decomp from the tank, something in the air, your hand, fish food, additives...it is usually harmless just ugly....increased water movement can help, using a paper towel laid over it can help remove it....if the tank is close to the kitchen...sometimes the oils, smoke from cooking can cause this.....

Keep us posted....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 07-08-2011 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:22 PM   #5 
BettaFins
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Thanks Fish Lady.

His current water does have coppersafe in it. But, if I can summarize what you wrote, it sounds like you are recommending getting him away from the copper / medicated water and slowly transferring him to water that contains Epsom salt and IAL or Oak leaf extract. Then, keep the betta feeling as calm and secure as possible.

Couple questions- What is the purpose of the Epsom salt? (we did get some aquarium salt but never used it... it just seemed so weird to give salts to a freshwater fish, and opinions on the net seem varied) Also, we live in the city and don't think we really have a source of IAL or oak leaves. Any advice? We do have nutrafin betta plus that's supposed to have a little IAL extract but it's not amber at all so it's probably very little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
The stuff on top of the tank or surface scum.....if the tank is close to the kitchen...sometimes the oils, smoke from cooking can cause this.
Interesting point. The bowl HAS been adjacent to the kitchen at times.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:15 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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The tannin from IAL or oak leaf can help mimic natural habitat...it helps ease the fish and it has antibacterial/fungal properties as does the Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate...the Epsom salt for your Betta used to help pull the toxin.....
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #7 
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UPDATE:

I liked the idea that after 2 weeks the copper product could be doing more harm than good. So we decided that we'd just be conservative and get him into fresh non-medicated water and try to make him as stress-free as possible for now.

We didn't have any oak or IALs around. So we conditioned the water with Nutrafin Betta Plus (which is supposed to contain almond leaf extract). I cleaned the bowl and did a 100% water change. I did a slow drip acclimation with the new water in a small temporary container and then returned him to the main bowl. We wrapped a towl around half the bowl for security. I decided to wait on the salt (at least for now).

That was 2 days ago. In the time since then, he still spent a lot of time laying at the bottom, but he did seem to be swimming around a little more than before. His appetite and interest in food once he's off the bottom is very good (it may even have improved with the water change), and we saw a new poop. We just hope that he'll somehow get stronger and better with time.


However, we did run into a new problem! After only 24 hrs of having the bowl sparkling clean, it became very cloudy already! We did a 75-80% water change this morning because we didn't want to leave him in those conditions, but it's troubling that the bowl could go from sparkling to cloudy so quick! This did not happen after 100% changes months ago when we first got him.

Does anyone have advice for dealing with this? Could it be the conditioner? Slightly higher average water temperature compared to before? We're torn between not wanting to leave him in cloudy water versus the stress of too frequent cleanings / changes. Thanks.
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