Oh, I'm glad he ate something, that's good. They really can be so finicky when it comes to food.
Yes, it's okay to put the salt and the decaf green tea in together. Ideally, the treatment should go for ten days but to tell the truth, I usually wimp out after five days if I see a big improvement. ^_^ I'm bad that way. Ten days is good to get them healed and make sure they stay healed. If, after five days or so, you see an improvement and you no longer feel comfortable continuing the salt, continue to add just the decaf green tea for the remaining five days.
Fish can tolerate much higher levels of nitrate than they can ammonia which is why you want to encourage the beneficial bacteria that eats ammonia and turns it into nitrite and the bacteria that eats the nitrite and turns it into nitrate. As long as the nitrite levels stay at or close to 0, the nitrate levels should stay well in the safe zone between water changes. If you want to make absolutely certain of this, you can get a kit like the API Nitrite Test liquid drops kit. The day after you change the water, you can start testing for nitrite every day and keep track of the results. If the level reaches readable results before the next water change then you can change the water every 2-3 days instead of every 3-4 days. But I have three of my bettas in 2.5g tanks and I've never experienced a problem with nitrite and nitrate.
You don't have to age the water but I agree, those gas bubbles are soooo annoying. There is a very, very, very, very slim chance that the bubbles can cause Gas Bubble Disease too but that's usually only a problem on commercial fish farms. The bubbles are also more of a problem with complete water changes than partial changes for some reason. The way I try to keep them under control is to vigorously stir the water while in the bucket (if you use a bucket for water changes, if you fill directly in the tank, stir it in the tank before adding Phthalo). If you use a bucket to do your water changes, then pour the water into the tank from high above it; the farther the water has to fall, the bigger it splashes and the more it disperses the bubbles before they have a chance to form.
If you do choose to age your water, you may want to get an extra heater because you'll have to heat the water to roughly the same temperature as the water Phthalo was in or he could get temperature shock. You can use a big plastic tub such this:
or any kind of big Rubbermaid bin that you can find at places like Wal-Mart. One with a lid is good because it'll keep dirt and things out.
Been doing the daily 100% water changes and using aquarium salts to help, seems to me my little guy is doing really well. He's starting to eat like he used to again; follows the spoon all over the tank and when I drop in the pellets he beelines into it. .
His color also went back to normal (that rich blue color) and his belly color darkened back! However his fins are still a bit tattered with a gray outline
However, he's a bit lethargic sometimes. Everytime I walk in the room he's either floating on the top or resting on the gravel. But when he sees me he comes and greets me and swims around. However, I noticed this behavior only when the temperature is now at a 78 degrees (it dropped 2 degrees from two days ago). Is that enough of a temperature drop to cause him to become less active?
I'm glad to hear he's eating normally and actively, that's good news. Following the spoon all over is like hunting for him so that's good exercise. It kind of simulates him having to stalk live food in the wild.
Is the gray on his tail a solid gray or is it a translucent gray-white? A solid gray, sometimes the color of a pencil lead, can mean he still is battling the fin rot. If that is the case, I would suggest halting the aquarium salts and starting him on a medication such as Mardel Maracyn or API General Cure. If it is more of a clear whitish color, almost like a film at the end of his tail, that is good because it means new fin growth. If you can get a pic that would be great but I understand if you can't; half my bettas are camera shy.
The lethargy bothers me a little. I wouldn't say a 2 degree drop would be drastic enough for the behavior change unless it happened very suddenly. But if it was gradual, it shouldn't be bothering him much. 78-80 is a pretty good ideal range for bettas. Depending on your answers about the gray part of his tail, it could be he's fighting fin rot or something else. But he's eating and that's good.
No Wal-Mart? You're lucky, really. If you have a Wal-Mart near you that sells fish you'd be like me, in there all the time fretting over the poor state of the bettas. No worries, you can get bins like those at Target, Home Depot, Lowes, maybe even Bed Bath and Beyond, although they might be a little more costly at BBB.
Hey Sakura, you're the only one who's helping me take care of my fishies; God bless you.
Yeah, I figured that I probably wouldn't want to risk getting my fish live food (since I heard have a high risk of carrying harmful critters), I'll just try to mimic fleeing prey by myself. Today I took a pair of tweezers and dragged their weekly bloodworms around the tank surface and made them chase after it for a bit before I let them enjoy it .
As for the gray on Phthalo... unfortunately it is a solid dark gray color like pencil lead; don't want to make this comparison but it's like his tail was lit on fire and the ends of his fins are burned to ashes. I think it's getting worse: I noticed a rip on the top of the caudal fin... but he's acting a lot better surprisingly. I will definitely be looking into the medicine you suggested.
I've been doing 100% water changes and cleaning his gravel / tiki toys but I don't know what I'm doing wrong that is making his fin rot worse . I was so scared and upset that my third fish, Cinereous (my profile pic), might also had fin rot since I couldn't change their water until the 4th day due to pressures to help clean the house. But you've put me at ease once again since the ends of Cinereous's bottom caudal fins are white and I feared it was fin rot. I'm glad his fins are just growing longer; the bottom caudal fin is also turning into a light purply color from his previous gray color. He was also the one who created a wonderful bubble nest for me and my gf before I had to ruin it with the 100% water change .
Maybe I am lucky without a Wal-Mart but we just recently got a puppy and both she and the fishies need visits to Petco, Petsmart, and Petland! When I went to Petco recently there was at least 5 dead bettas in their cups.. 1 at Petland had terrible fin rot (his fins looked like they had been lit on fire and burned until it hit the body).. but Petsmart's bettas were in okay shape. My heart was being torn to know what terrible conditions they are in yet I have no power to rescue anymore poor bettas . You and this Forum has really opened my heart to these beautiful creatures.
I actually checked Bed Bath and Beyond... and you're right, they Are really expensive. I will check out Target soon, or maybe just order online from Wal-Mart if it's cheaper. Thanks!
I'm just glad I could help you. I can tell by the way you post how much you love your bettas. If anyone reading has extra advice, they know they can step in at any time but if they haven't that means I must be saying the right things.
My bettas don't give me a chance to drag the tweezers around, they just go into attack mode right then and there. Bonzai! I have to be careful to keep one of my girls from taking a flying leap. She'll actually hang onto the end of the tweezers for quite a while.
Does Phthalo's gray spot look anything at all like the spot in these pics?
And has the spot spread any or gotten bigger at a rather fast rate? If the answer is yes, I'd suggest getting the Maracyn I AND Maracyn II medication as soon as possible (sorry, I know the cost will be astronomical so if you can only get one med, get the Maracyn I). Try and keep everything you use with Phthalo separate from the other fish - cleaning tubes, nets etc - to avoid contaminating your other bettas. Pour boiling water over things you might have used in his tank and another. I'm just a little concerned about that spot on his tail now. No need to panic but I think I want to treat it with something stronger before it has a chance to progress.
I'm glad Cinereous's tail is okay, though. A lot of times when a fish gets a rip or a tear, or is a tail biter, the new fin membrane grows back and looks like a clear film for a while. It's unfortunate because it can so easily be mistaken for fin rot or other fin-related problems. But it sounds like Cinereous is doing well. As long as that clear part doesn't ever turn red like it might be infected, his tail is just growing. And don't worry, Cinereous will forgive you for destroying his nest. If you want, you can TRY to save it in a plastic cup and hope it doesn't dissolve when you put it back in.
It truly is heartbreaking how poorly fish in general and bettas in particular are kept. I got a new little betta girl last night but now I've reached maximum occupancy so I can't rescue any more either. We can only hope good, responsible people will adopt them and take good care of them.
I'm not sure Wal-Mart will be any cheaper since they seemed to sell theirs only in bulk ($75 for a set of 5 tubs!). Target might be a better option. I've just always found the things at Bed Bath and Beyond to be a little pricier than they would be anywhere else.
I'll just take your words of wisdom as you seem to be an experienced betta owner and proud president of the Save the Betta's Organization . Your silly bettas seem to love you as well as have fun when you feed them, awesome! I feel as if my bettas are getting to the level of bond you have with your's.
Cinereous is definitely one of my favorites, he's just so silly! Every time he sees me... he just stares at me! And when I put my finger on the tank he backs away and swims to the other side.. and keeps on staring . He also likes to pretend to be stuck in the plant or pirate ship ornament, prompting me to come to his tank to investigate; which he will swim free and come to the front to stare at me saying "gotcha! I was just kidding!"
Does putting a floating object into the tank help with bubble nest making? I'm not sure which is it because the temperature was at 80-81 degrees and I just put in a little floaty toy for Cinereous only; he was the only one that made a bubble nest. (I heard optimal bubblenest making / breeding conditions require 80 degrees) The temperature dropped to 78 degrees over 2 days and I took out the floaty toy during a water change.. and he hasn't made a new one yet.
Uhm, if that spot in the picture is all fin rot then I would said Phthalo's is no where near as extreme as that, though his fins do look a bit tattered. Is that your betta? He looks just like Phthalo! The fin rot on that one is terrible and must be so painful to look at, I hope he's gonna recover soon!
I attached a photo of him when we got him in his little tank, swimming around happily without the fin rot. When i first noticed it, he only had a thin, thin outline of pencil-lead gray on his caudal, dorsal, and anal fins. I thought I had caught it early so I quickly posted this thread for advice, (thank you Sakura), and started the aquarium salt treatment the next day. After two days and daily 100% water changes, I notice his fin rot is gradually increasing, to the size of the yellow lines in the picture. The yellow circle on his caudal fin is there the rip is located and the yellow circle on the anal fin is where the fin rot has spread to the middle :/. Now his fins don't look as crisp and neat as they do in the photo but more tattered and a bit "aged".
Maybe Phthalo's is just a mild case and might not elicit the need for such strong (and expensive) medication? The growth of the fin rot hasn't been progressing rather "quickly" but it does seem to be progressing.
Your mission to rescue Bettas living in poor conditions in chain stores like Wal-Mart is truly admirable; it was people like you who I've seen on this forum that has inspired me to actually getting (saving) a third Betta when we already had our hands tied down with 2 .
Bettas love interaction, that's why they develop such goofy personalities. A lot of the smaller tropical fish like guppies don't like that level of interaction so they can seem kind of impersonal. Larger fish like cichlids and many catfish also get very tame and personable.
Cinereous definitely sounds like a prankster who likes to trick you. He sounds like a funny little fellow and I bet he's a joy to watch and play with. Floating things do encourage bubblenesting as well as provide them with something to play with. Some fish will play with ping pong balls. I think bettas would too but they're too big so all they can do is swim around them looking at this big round thing that suddenly ended up in their water. Putting the cut-out bottom of a plastic or styrofoam lid in their tank can encourage them to nest under it. Also, if you have any big dried (and clean) oak leaves, you can place one in there for him to nest under as well.
I'm sososo glad Phthalo isn't like the fish in the picture; I was worried when you said the gray was the color of pencil lead, as in those pictures. Actually, no one really knows for sure what that fish had (he wasn't mine, fortunately) but recent research by some of my betta friends here might indicate he had "fur coat syndrome" which is highly fatal and highly contagious and usually kills within 30 hours. That betta in the pictures progressed from a normal healthy betta to that gray covering half his body in just seven hours. He died not long after that. Our research has indicated that a medication that targets gram positive bacteria MIGHT prove helpful if given in the first few hours of the infection, which is why I wanted to get him on all those expensive meds so fast. But thank goodness it sounds like Phthalo has just plain ol' fin rot. Never thought I'd be so happy about fin rot but it's sooo much better than whatever it was that really killed the betta in the picture.
So, you can continue the aquarium salt treatment but since it doesn't appear to be helping as much as I'd like, try upping the dosage to 2 tsps per gallon. Ideally, since it isn't healing, I'd still suggest Maracyn but that stuff IS $21 a pop. I know, I just bought some of that and some API General Cure to try and help a Wal-Mart betta with severe dropsy and I almost had a heart attack at the total. We can try the salt treatment for a bit longer and see if it just needs some more time. Also make sure Phthalo doesn't have any plants he can catch his tail on, as fin rips are always open to bacterial infection. He's a handsome guy with gorgeous coloring and a beautiful tail so we'll do all we can to get that tail back in shape.
I'm really glad that we've inspired people to be more aware about betta living conditions and how to keep bettas healthy. It's what makes this forum so worthwhile. I can only hope someday our message about betta care actually reaches the pet stores where this knowledge truly matters. Thank you for your kind words, LtAndy, I'm glad I could help you.
Thanks for the advice, tips, and good wishes. I'm glad to report that Phthalo is doing very well now: he's up and swimming around more and lethargy is a thing of the past. The salt treatment seems to be working a little bit at halting the finrot... but there seems to be a tiny hole that ripped in his caudal fin that I noticed today. Not sure if its an escalation in his condition, hoping it's not!
Apparently Cinereous enjoys building his bubble nest when there's something floating in his tank! (Now I know) I put in the floaty thing again and what do you know, there was another nest in construction. He sure knows how to please me and let me know he's a happy camper.
On another note, my other betta Alizarin, who was darting around (which made me make that panic post before) is no longer doing it. After that one time incident, he has became very active but no longer darts. He is actually growing pretty big now (he was about the same size as Phthalo when we got them both, but now he's about 1.5 times Phthalo's size). However, I can see he loves to eat - when it's time to feed him he goes bananas!
You're welcome. I'm so glad Phthalo is active again. It's always very worrisome when they don't act like their usual frisky selves. It's possible Phthalo just caught his tail on a plant or some decoration. You can keep an eye on it or continue the salt for an extra day if you'd like. The very long-tailed bettas like halfmoons and doubletails and deltas are prone to small fin rips every now and then but it's usually nothing a few days of salt won't cure.
I don't think many bettas make free-floating bubblenests; most use leaves, plants, even the heater if they have to, to make their nests. Cinereous is a very business-like fellow. He knew what he wanted to make his nest and he waited until he had it. Like shopping for the right lot before building a house.
Sounds like Alizarin will be your champion beggar for food. They're so good at begging too, doing their little wiggle dances and fluttering their fins. I swear I can almost hear mine whimper sometimes. I'm happy to hear he's no longer crashing into walls and has settled down. And I'm not sure if different tail types get bigger than others or not. It would be interesting to find out if veiltails tend to get larger than, say, crowntails. Or maybe Alizarin just has some big betta genes in him. Either way, I'm so glad to hear everyone is doing better and I'll continue to cross my fingers for Phthalo's fins.