Emergency! Betta dying. ;; Lying at bottom, white blotches, anorexic, possible velvet
Hello! ;; I'm worried sick. My sister has had a male betta, Benny, for about two years, and over the past week or few weeks, his condition's deteriorated dramatically, and now I'm trying to save him or at very least make him comfortable as he dies. ;;;;;; Please help! ;;
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 F today, but he's spent his whole life probably at 65-70 F
Does your tank have a filter? no ;;
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? a bubbler with a blue rock thing at the end?
Is your tank heated? no ;;
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? he's alone
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Top Fin brand betta pellets with color enhancers
How often do you feed your betta fish? she fed him three pellets a day for a long time, then went up to four pellets a day (the jar says feed six to eight pellets a day) Benny looks very skinny!
How often do you perform a water change? I don't know, but she changed his water for the first time in maybe as much as a month yesterday? I changed it again today. (I'm guessing she normally changes it every couple or few weeks.)
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? Jungle brand "Start Right" water conditioner, 10 drops per gallon (She fills a gallon jug with tap water, then puts in 10 drops, then caps the jug and lets it sit [up to a month?] until the next water change. I changed Benny's water today using the water from the gallon jug she treated yesterday.)
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? I haven't tested the water, but he's probably been poisoned with ammonia, huh? ;;
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He has white/blue shiny blotches all over his chin and gills and face, even on his eye, but not white spots all over like ick. Maybe a fungal infection? He's also coated in a shiny film that may be gold or rust-colored or even white. It's hard to tell. I'm not especially familiar with how he normally looks. (He's dark purple with reddish fins.)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's stopped eating, won't even try to eat a pellet. He might not have eaten for days. He's been sitting in the top of his fake plant, near the surface, almost 24/7 for the past week or weeks, not moving. His fins are limp. Then, after my sister changed the water yesterday, he was sitting in his plant, but I nudged him, and he kind of floated upright, with his head pointed toward the surface. Today I found him lying curled on his side in a pocket in the shells on the bottom, not moving, so I changed his water and took everything out of the tank except his bubbler, and now he's just lying flat on the bottom, panting, kind of holding his head up, sometimes waving a pectoral fin weakly, sometimes turning over onto his other side or moving a few millimeters across the bottom.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? I noticed he spent all his time sitting still in the top of his fake plant maybe as much as a month ago, certainly a week ago. He stopped eating two days ago, maybe longer ago, and started lying on the bottom two days ago. (He'd go back and forth between lying in his plant at the surface and lying on the bottom, but not on his side on the bottom, just sitting upright on his belly on the bottom.)
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I changed 100% of his water with the treated water from my sister's fish jug (tap water plus ten drops water conditioner), plus I added 1/2 tsp Jungle brand aquarium salt. Then I added some Jungle brand "Lifeguard All-in-One Treatment" which says it treats "ick, fungus, red streaks, milky or shedding slime, flukes, bacterial gill disease, mouth and fin rot, clamped or torn fins, and ulcers". The box says add one tablet for every five gallons of water every 24 hours for five days, but Benny's tank is only one gallon, so I crushed a tablet and tried to dissolve it in five half-tablespoons of untreated tap water, then added one half-tablespoon of that solution to his tank water. Does your fish have any history of being ill? When she first got him, my sister fed him the eight pellets a day the jar of pellets recommends, but Benny got a bloated white belly, so she cut him back to three pellets a day, I think? She kept him on that reduced diet for about a year, probably, then bumped him up to four pellets a day, which he's been on ever since.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I don't know how old he was when she got him, but I think he was full-grown, and she's had him almost two years now.
I know we haven't been ideal betta owners. ;; My sister got Benny when she was in college, and he lived in her dorm room in this same tank and setup, and she saw and fed him routinely every day. Over summer she brought him home (transported him in a jar for a six-hour car ride) two years in a row (this is the second summer now). Over summer, she sees him less often and feeds him just as much but less regularly. This summer she's been especially absent, I think not noting his change in behavior since she never sees him anymore, and she didn't recognize his change in appearance even after I pointed it out to her. And I didn't think much of his change in behavior, because I'm not familiar enough with him to recognize quickly when something's wrong. I just trust him to her and ignore him, mostly.
But I'm so sad now. ;; I can't stand to think he's going to die because of our neglect! ;;;;;; I want to nurse him back to health or, like I said, at least make him as comfortable as possible if he's beyond help, but I can't afford to buy a bigger tank with a heater right now; besides which, I'm afraid Benny won't live long enough to make use of it if I did. ;; Tomorrow I plan to change his water again, with 15 drops of water conditioner, 1/2 tsp aquarium salt, and 1/5 of a crushed Lifeguard tablet. I don't know what I should do about feeding him; he won't even swim to the top to look at a pellet. (He CAN swim to the top, though--he did it when I changed his water today, and he swam very fast.)
Oh! I should also note that I'm using a candy thermometer to read his tank temperature, and I have no way of regulating his tank temperature since I don't have a heater. ;; I brought his tank up to the attic where it gets hot during the day to get his tank up to 78 F, but now it's getting cool outside overnight, so the tank temp is dropping (73 F right now)... I don't know what to do... Maybe I'll put some towels in the dryer to heat up and then wrap his tank in them?
Thank you for your help. 3,C
Last edited by Whesandra; 07-11-2011 at 05:13 AM.
Reason: added extra information
Hi Whesandra and welcome to the forum. Newbie32 is right, the water definitely needs to be changed at least every other day in a gallon tank. And the temperature is too low so warm towels might help.
That said, Benny has been with your sister for two years and survived a lot. Sadly, I think old age is catching up to him. Bettas only have a natural lifespan of 1-3 years on average and since most pet store bettas are at least 6 months to a year old by the time they get to the store, Benny is most likely about 3 years old. At this age, his organs will function less efficiently which is why he is skinny (common in old age, in any species). Also, his immune system will be less efficient so he'll be susceptible to disease. The white splotches on Benny's face are probably ammonia burns and it sounds like he has velvet. You can continue using the Lifeguard, although I don't know how effective it is against velvet. It's certainly worth a shot.
I suggest, however, either putting him in a small, shallow container or lowering the water level in his bowl so he can breathe easier. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot that can be done that you aren't doing. Please do try and keep him warm, that will help him a lot.
Please keep us posted and I'm sorry I couldn't offer much good news. You have been the best betta owners that you knew how at the time, so please don't feel bad. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone was once a first time betta owner. Now that you know about this forum, we will all help you and your sister be SUPER betta owners for any future bettas you might get.
Hi Whesandra - Welcome to the forum. I'll give you my two cents based on my past experience and loss of my goldfish. I wasn't doing big enough water changes and she got a bacterial infection. If the white spots are slimey vs. cotton-like/fuzzy, then it's bacterial. Based on what I could see from your photos, I'm not seeing a velvety, spotish sheen. Velvet can be confused with ich because it has a spotty appearance, but the spots appear more in its advanced stage. Once you notice velvet, you usually lose your fish within 24 hours. Since your little guy has been in solitude his whole life, he probably has a bacterial infection and ammonia burns like Sakura stated. I'm not a disease person - Sakura is much more experienced than I!! But like everyone said, the best thing is to do is a water change. Also, like Sakura said, it may be too late, but you'll learn lots of great stuff on this forum. Everyone is really nice and helpful!
i forgot about tail biting! yes! i'm impressed that he can reach his top (dorsal?) fin.
He might have done it before he got sick. I'm sure we all know how betta's can managing to contort themselves in ways that would be painful to us. I have a tailbiter who had finrot as well. Two totally different appearences.