I just recieved a betta I purchased on aquabid from Thailand 6 days ago. He appeared somewhat listless at first, but has perked up and eats quite a bit.
I noticed from the start however that he takes huge gulps of air at the surface flaring his gills out entirely for each breath before diving down to swim. He is in a 6.6 gallon filtered, heated aquarium. Although it did not fully cycle before putting him in, I have never let the ammonia and nirtrite levels reach .25 ppm. And I remove solid waste everyday with a turkey baster.
Also the problem has been there from the start. Never having seen this behavior before I stupidly thought it was because he never lived in a filtered environment before and it was a thai betta sort of transition thing, like he needed to learn he can breathe in a regular aquarium. Oddly enough he looks relatively healthy (with some slight fin splitting) and is active. Could this be old ammonia burns or ammonia burning from transport?
And if so, how long will it take to heal and what measures do I take to heal it?
I have read elsewhere that he may be permanently scarred and disabled. And if that is the case I am rather livid because this was not a cheap fish and I paid extra on shipping so he would spend the least amount of time in transit.
I have had man y of betta with ammonia burns usually the fish can live a long healthy life. If you can see his gills when he flares they should be a healthy pink sick one will look red. Ammonia can also cause the teared fins. I would keep doing what you are doing there is a treatment for making it easier for them I would pm OldFishLady she knows the best and I think it was her that gave me the advice. But I have had fish that I got who had almost all of their gills burned off and managed to live happy healthy lives.
Would you recommend aquarium salt? I do have 2 anubias and a java fern in there, but the are on river rocks and removable.
The gills appear red, but I thought that was normal since he is a dark red and platinum dragon halfmoon. And under the platinum scales you can see he is dark red. The gills should be pink?
Also I am not sure if it is not parasitic in origin because I can't tell if there is something white on the edge of one gill or it is a dragon scale. But the scales covering the gills are all platinum and normal looking. The only obvious thing is his behavior.
I will post pics tomorrow, right now I have his light off and he is sleeping and I don't want to disturb him.
And should I complain to my transhipper or the seller? Or is this just to be expected?!
I would definatly complain to the shipper the fish should not arrive in that condition. Ammonia burns cannot be reversed. And I dont see why aq salt would hurt. The main thing is to keep the water clean until he stabilizes and his gills should always be pink and healthy although the red color of his body might be affecting the way the gills look.
Aquarium salt but don't use in his tank if it's got live plants. It's best to treat him in a smaller container, a 1g heated tank or a small bowl you can float in his tank (honestly, AQ salt makes everything kinda slimy). It's 1 tsp per gallon of dechlorinated water. Change the water every day and redo the salt. Try that for five days, if there's no improvement, up the dosage to 2 tsps and continue for another five days.
The gills are a healthy pink red color (think of a fresh raw steak; they should be that color). Gills are always reddish because they are so close to the surface where they draw oxygen. Gills to be on the lookout for are very red gills, red like infected and angry swollen red, gray or white gills or black gills.
If your guy has trouble breathing with his gills, you may need to keep him in lowered water levels with a bit of aquarium salt for the rest of his life.
So I need to change his tank from a fluval chi 6.6? Because I do notice it seems like it is too tall for him since he needs to breathe from the top.
The other thing I am wondering is, could it be gill flukes? I haven't seen any flashing or rubbing of the gills on objects or other marks on his body. But he is very active and eating and rather "darty" moving about quickly and frantically which would indicate gill flukes more than ammonia burn yes?
Would it be hazardous to treat for gill flukes with an anti-parasitic when the problem could be ammonia burn?
Also if it is ammonia burn and his fins were in good condition when he arrived (but was gasping) is that the fault of the transhipper? Assuming she did not change the water upon reciept? Also she was going to charge me $28 and ship it 2-3 day priority, it wasn't until I kept trying to contact her about the arrival date that I insisted upon paying more and having it guaranteed next day. I can't imagine having it travel 3 days after it traveled all the way from thailand...
But if it is gill flukes, it would have had to be advanced for it to arrive gasping and therefore is the fault of the breeder seller. Or could it have been earlier ammonia burning and not have had an effect on the finniage?
I guess my plan is on at least writing them an email, but I will post pic tommorrow to try to get confirmation on what his illness is. I am so heartbroken if he will be crippled for life :(
Your transshiper is Julie Tran of San Jose, right? You could e-mail her and ask about changing the water upon receipt. It couldn't hurt to ask, anyway.
It COULD be gill flukes, that's possible. But for it to be advanced enough that he's gasping like that upon arrival, he'd have other signs too, like emaciation and lethargy and loss of appetite. Oh! Ask Julie if she put a cold pack in there. It's been pretty warm the last few days, maybe he got too hot. The warmer the water, the less oxygen. Also, if she didn't do anything to the bag he came in, like replenish the air inside, he may have been running out of oxygen, it's a long way from Thailand.
If it is ammonia burn on his gill or a very mild case of gill flukes, the aquarium salt should take care of that. But unless he got the burns in the bag en route, I can't imagine the breeder/seller would keep such valuable fish in poor conditions. All of this is worth checking out and if after all this, you think it is the breeder's fault, let us know so we can all add that person to our "do not buy from" list for aquabid.
how long did you take to acclimate him to the water? thai water is quite a bit different to water in the u.s., most people spend about 24 hours to acclimate them, he might just be in a bit of shock from the difference still
oh, and I don't think most transhippers don't do anything to their water, just ship them off in the bag they received them in