We have had him for about a year, and have fought tail biting on and off for most of that time.
He is a pinkish/purplish half moon with a white band. His tank is a heated, live planted, 5 gallon mini bow with the little charcoal filter. Tank temp is 80 degrees. We do a 50% water change twice a week. We use tap water left to age for 2 days and treated with Aqueon water conditioner, then add aquarium salt to his tank. He is fed a variety of high protein pellets and frozen Hakari worms over three small feedings per day. API 5 in 1 test strips always say that his pH is 7, Nitrite and Nitrate are 0 and the hardness is high, but that's just how our water is.
A week or two ago he started shredding his tail again. It's in really really bad shape and we can't figure out how to stop it. But there's more. He is usually very interactive any time you are around his tank and begs for food (often in vein). However, now he is lethargic and we have to sort of encourage him to eat. He's getting worse. He lays on the bottom on his side in a way we have never seen before. We can get him to come to the top, but the rest of the time he's on his side on the bottom. Bizarre and unusual behavior for him prior to now. To make it worse, today we noticed he has popeye. :( It's only in his left eye. If you look closely you can see a bump on both sides of his body right under where his dorsal fins start. We can't tell if it is actually a protrusion, or just his ribs (?) b/c his back end may be getting skinny?
We tried to take photos but just couldn't get anything to come out clearly, either due to our camera or him moving or both. We will keep trying.
We don't know what to do. We have put what feels like lots of time and effort into taking the best possible care of him over the last year, especially trying to figure out how to deal with the tail biting. Now he's sick (more than just the tail biting) and we don't know where to turn to make him better. We don't have much betta experience and are finding it frustrating that you can't just take your fish to the vet for answers like with other pets! Please help! Any input is appreciated.
I'm so sorry that your little fish friend is sick!!!! Hopefully myself and others on this forum can help you out!!!! You should quarantine him in a smaller bowl since he's going to need 100% water changes everyday while he's sick.
Can you take a few pictures for us???
The swelling on his belly and the popeye could indicate the starts of dropsy.
Add about 1 tsp per gallon of Epsom salt to his quarantine container, it will help take out the swelling in the eye and hopefully in his belly!
As far as medications go, I used Maracyn II to treat my fish when he had a popeye last year. He got better in about a week and he's still here to tell the tale! Hopefully someone else on the forum can chime in and let us know what other meds you can use!
I hope your little guy gets to feeling better, good luck with him!!
Poor fella......I agree with Indyfishy in that you need to get him in a small QT container that can be floated in the heated tank to maintain a water temp in the 76F range and start him on Epsom salt (Not aquarium salt) 2tsp/gal, tannins either from IAL or dried oak leaf along with 100% daily water changes
Pre mix the treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-add the Epsom salt 2tsp/gal and tannins to steep for about an hour before you use it....and use this pre-mixed treatment water for the 100% daily water changes for the next 10-14 days...he needs to stay in the QT and treatment water throughout the treatment time....also cover the top of the QT with plastic veggie wrap to retain the heat and humidity for the labyrinth organ.....
Nutrition is really important...live foods are best if you have any mosquito larva, if not, frozen then pellets...feed small frequent meals.....
Don't put any gravel in the QT container, just leave it bare bottom so its easy to clean. If you still have it, the best thing you could use would be the cup you bought him in. But you could also use a gladware container. Basically anything small and plastic that can be floated in the tank =)
1.) Hmmmm I suppose we'll have to get creative on that one lol!! You could try attaching it to the side with a piece of duct tape, or try to anchor it to the side with a clothes pin or clip of some kind. Hopefully someone else can provide some better ideas than I can on that one haha!
2.) Epsom salts help reduce the swelling. It helps alot with bloating, and with pop-eyes.
3.) Yes, its totally safe to use epsom salts with medication!!
4.) IAL stands for Indian almond leaves. The tannins in the leaves soothe the fish and encourage healing.
5.) If you can't find Indian almond leaves, you can crush dried oak leaves and steep them in the water. I've also heard that you can use DECAF green tea. Just plain green tea, no mint or lemon flavoring in it.
3.) If we are supposed to use epsom salts along with Maracyn II, and we are supposed to add epsom salts to a jug of dechlorinated water with which to do daily water changes, how do we add the Maracyn II? The Maracyn II package says to add so much to the tank water every day. If we are not putting it in the tank, but rather putting the antibiotics in the treatment water jug and doing daily water changes, how will the meds "build" up like they are supposed to do by adding more meds to the tank every day? Basically, how much Maracyn II do I add to the jug, and do we add it just once instead of daily?
4.) Indian almond leaves? Seriously? Is that something we can get at a PetSore?
5.) Dried oak leaves...? Like from outside? This must sound like a stupid question, but this is a totally foreign concept to us.
3.) Just making sure you know that you don't have to change the water in his regular tank everyday, just the quarantine container needs to be changed. I would add the epsom salts in with the jug of dechlorinated water, along with the tannins from the leaves if you're going to use those. I wouldn't put the Maracyn II in the jug, I would just add it directly to his QT container after the daily water change.
4.) Indian almond leaves are probably not something you're going to be able to find at the store, your best bet is with oak leaves or green tea.
5.) Yes, oak leaves from outside are fine! Just make sure you use ones that have dried out, not the living ones. Green tea works fine too, just steep a bag of it in the dechlorinated water jug.
You don't HAVE to add any tannins if you don't want to, but they do help with healing. The epsom salt is going to be the key thing in helping with the pop-eye, along with the maracyn II to get rid of any infection.
No problem, let us know if you have any more questions!