Help! I'm a bit sad and worried for my fish Phthalo. What happened was we were waiting for funds to buy a bigger tank for him (which we bought a 2.5 gal for him today and we only noticed the problems when we put him in), but kept him in a half gallon tank for about 2 days now =/. We put him in the half gallon tank on Sunday.
Ammonia burns and fin rot did not occur to me at all.. we did not change his water in the half gal tank since he was in there. I simply forgot to as I was excited about getting him into his new bigger home.
Anyways, conditioned the water, acclimated it and put him into his new home. That's when i noticed he had a small reddish brown spot in the middle of his head; it was not there before when we got him about a week ago. I wanted a better look so I grabbed a lamp and only when I shined the light on him, I saw the grayish ends of his fins, Fin rot.
Boy do I feel bad! I was so excited about getting him a bigger tank and into a new home that I had neglected to change his water and his symptoms :(! Thinking back, he was actually swimming around a lot and pretty quickly, meaning he was trying to "escape" from the ammonia ?
The fin rot isn't that bad however, it was only very slight, with a thin line of gray outlining his fins. I'm sure it will heal soon but is there anything that can help it out besides frequent water changes? Does aquarium salt help?
Also what i'm most concerned about is that.. new brownish spot on his head. Can it be a result of the ammonia burn? Also his belly seemed to have gotten lighter in color (he is a deep blue color with his head a darker shade). I fear it might be dropsy.. Please Help!
What size is your tank? 2.5 Gal
What temperature is your tank? Was at 78 past few days, 80 today.
Does your tank have a filter? nope
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? nope
Is your tank heated? nope
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon betta pellets and freeze dried bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2-3pellets twice a day, fasted on thursdays, bloodworms on fridays
How often do you perform a water change? Only been a week, but we've been changing them around pretty often. Only this time was he in a half gallon tank for about 2 days =/
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? only aqueon water conditioner
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? fins with slight finrot, reddish brown spot on head, belly's white color is spreading? blue areas around belly is turning more into white/green.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Nothing, still the same
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? nope
Does your fish have any history of being ill? nope
How old is your fish (approximately)? Got him from Petco a week ago on Monday
When we put him into the new 2.5 gal tank we fed him a freezedried bloodworm and he ate it up immediately. When he was in the half gallon tank I realized he didn't respond to me at all and just swam all over the place but after he was in the new tank, he would come greet me at the front of the tank whenever I came near or called his name like before. I'm just very worried about that brownish dot on his head please help!
For mild ammonia burns and the very beginnings of fin rot, a treatment of aquarium salt should do the trick. First, if you have any live plants in his new 2.5g, then he'll have to be treated in the half gallon because aquarium salt will melt or kill live plants. For now I'll go on the assumption he can stay in his nice new tank. Aquarium salt is 1 tsp per gallon and you'll want to mix this with a little bit of his tank water and let it dissolve before pouring it in. He may twitch if he swims too close to the salt but once it mixes in with the water, he should be okay. Next, you'll want to change the water every day and redo the salt for five days. If he shows no sign of improvement but he hasn't gotten worse, increase the salt to 1.5 tsp per gallon. If after 10 days, he hasn't improved, then medication may be in order. If he gets worse, like he can't breathe or spends a lot of time at the surface, lower the water level so he can get to the surface easier and post for advice.
Tannins will also help him. Indian Almond Leaf, which is really hard to find, works well. If you can find clean dry oak leaves, crumble several into his water until it turns amber. Another alternative is decaf green tea with no added flavors (no fancy lemon or orange or whatever, just straight green tea). Soak a bag in his tank until the water turns, uhm, tea-colored.
And finally, some advice about water changes, which you probably already know but I'll repeat it just in case. In a 2.5g, you'll want to do a 50% change and a 100% change with gravel vacuuming each week to keep the water clean. A water conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress Coat works well because not only does it detoxify the chlorine and heavy metals but it also neutralizes ammonia by turning it into the much less toxic ammonium.
Does Phthalo look bloated and is he passing waste? It most likely isn't dropsy if he isn't bloated. His coloring may be getting lighter because he is happy and not so stressed by the smaller tank. Bettas are like mood rings, they change colors very easily. If he gets bloated though, then he might be constipated which could lead to dropsy.
Thanks again for the reply and help Sakura. As you can tell I am very new to betta fishes as I, as many others have, assumed they were easy to take care of and were happy in those little bowls. However, after coming into this forum I am now determined to give my bettas the best possible home, thus getting them each their own 2.5 gal tanks (we currently have 3 and our most recent rescue from Petland, Cinereous, has made his first bubble nest! ). Funds and especially space does not allow for optimal betta homes of 5 gal's and up with filters and heaters but I think they're happy little fishies to be out of petco / petland at least.
Anyways, I plan on getting some aquarium salts tomorrow for Phthalo and hoping he forgives me for my mistake. Just dunking a regular green tea bag will be okay for him? Also, would the constant water changes stress him out more than I need to, even with his condition?
On a more serious note, I'm curious and worried about what might be on his head (no pictures yet I will try to get some soon). It's brownish but relatively small on his head. He doesn't seem bothered by it and is acting normal now in his new tank. Could be be a result of the ammonia burns? I don't think it could be a parasite because he did not have it before; we had him for 8 days now and it just occurred today or maybe yesterday?
You're welcome for the help. Every owner on the forum was once new to bettas at one point or another. 2.5g are just fine for all your bettas as long as the water is cleaned frequently. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you'll definitely want heaters but filters in a 2.5g are optional. I actually only use a filter in my 10g, none in my two 2.5g and my 3g.
Bettas are very forgiving, especially if you feed them. I'm sure Phthalo has forgiven you already, like several meals ago. Yup, a regular DECAF green tea bag will work. It releases tannins that stimulate the growth of their stress coat and the darker water also simulates their wild habitat. As for the water changes, the key is to make sure the water stays clean so his fins don't get infected. Once the fins get tears, they are open to secondary infection and ammonia buildup will make them even more susceptible. If you're sure you won't, ahem, suck him up the siphon, you can leave him in the tank and empty out almost all of the water, leaving about an inch for him to swim in. That way you won't stress him out by having to catch and remove him each time. As long as he's not lethargic, he should be fine. But of course, it's always the aquarist's call because you're the one who observes him and knows him the best, and if you feel he's getting stressed by the constant water changes, then by all means definitely cut it down to every other day. The water changes won't do any good if it does him more harm by stressing him.
I won't be able to tell for sure what the spot on his head could be without a picture. It's probably not a parasite, though. They aren't usually red/brown but white and all over the place, so much so that your fish looks like he's been liberally sprinkled with sea salt. It could be a mild ammonia burn, in which case the aquarium salt should heal it up. Is Phthalo the same fellow who had the darting problem? If he is, he could have sustained a mild bump on his head when he bounced off the glass. Again, the aquarium salt will heal that.
I've been a bit bummed all night but now I'm bit relieved he will be okay .
But no he isn't the one that was darting around, that was his "brother" that we also rescued from petco at the same time! But Alizarin is doing well now and seems to enjoy himself now. Anyways Phthalo is very active, from what my gf tells me, and he's probably exploring his new home.
But apparently he is also spitting out his food now! Ever since we got him he had been eating furiously, (all 3 of our bettas), even yesterday when we put him into the new tank and last night. But when we fed him today he spat both out. He took the first pellet, "chewed it" then spat it out, took the second pellet and spat that out too. Is he just "chewing it" as I have read in some posts or is he not hungry? Is the fin rot making him not want to eat? =x
It's possible the fin rot has thrown off his appetite and the only way to tell for sure if that's the cause is to get him all healed up and see if he continues spitting his food out. How were his eating habits before? Did he swallow his pellets immediately or did he have to occasionally spit one out before trying again, as if it was too big to swallow in one go? If you listen closely, you can usually hear a betta "chew" his food. I think it's the sound he makes as he moves his mouth trying to get it down but it really does sound like he's crunching with teeth. If they make this crunching sound a lot as they eat, it could mean the pellets are a little too big. You can try a few things to make it easier. One is to pre-soak his pellet in some of his tank water so it's soft when you feed it to him; this allows him to bite off a bit instead of having to swallow it whole. You can also crush the pellet into smaller bits but to be honest, it usually ends up as a powder when I try that; maybe it's my heavy-handed crushing technique. And you can also flat out try a new pellet that is smaller in size. Another option is to soak his pellets in garlic juice. People say fresh garlic juice but really, I think you can use dissolve garlic powder in a bit of tank water and it works fine.
On the other hand, it's possible Phthalo has decided to be finicky. He may have just decided there was something about the Aqueon pellets he didn't like. If you suspect this is the case, you can try a different pellet, preferably one with a lot more fish product in it (improves the taste). Suggestions include New Life Spectrum Betta Formula and Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets. Petco usually cares the NLS pellets but the Omega One pellets can be hard to find; I had to order mine from amazon.com. I can't speak from experience about the NLS pellets but many people on the forum feed those. The Omega One pellets are small and apparently tasty enough that even my girls will swallow them in one go and they usually won't eat anything larger than a speck of dust, the divas.
If he still has trouble eating, he could simply be settling into his new tank. Time will tell if it's that or if his fin rot really did throw him off his appetite. I find with bettas who are having a problem, waiting is often the only (and hardest) thing you can do.
I see I see. You give great advice Sakura. When I was over there today I went ahead with a water change and put in some API aquarium salt. I left only one ornament in there so it would be easier to clean every day I guess and I wanted him with something to play with .
I tried feeding him one pellet but he spat that one out almost whole but good news my girlfriend just fed him and she said he ate both pellets up really, really quick. I was fearing loss of appetite or even him being more fond of the freeze dried bloodworm we gave him yesterday. He's a tough little guy.
I think he will be back to tip top shape soon and I shall continue the salt treatment for ten days? Is it okay if I add the aquarium salt along with decaf green tea for tannins at the same time?
Also just a few general questions: 1. Is it possible for Nitrite and Nitrate to grow to harmful levels right after a water change? For example, I do water changes and I clean out the tank completely every 3-4 days; is there time for the bacteria to grow and give off Nitrite and Nitrate at all or can I just not worry about it? 2. I currently don't have bins to age water (I have water conditioner but it's those god awful gas bubbles!) but is it a must? And where might I be able to get some cheap bins to store water in?