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Old 07-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #1 
Mitchmeister
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Betta's color not coming back, low appetite

Hi all. I'm new to the forum and to being a betta owner. I could use your advice about my betta fish, Mitch. As you will see below, I've been treating him for the past 10 days with Melafix. This made a big difference. He is now coming out of his betta log more often and swimming around the tank. He has been eating, but not a lot. However, his color has not returned. I've attached a couple of photos.

Thanks for your help.

P.S. I've taken three photos which you should be able to see (Album-Sick Mitch)



Housing
What size is your tank? 30
What temperature is your tank? 80
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Tetras, molly

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? dry daily, frozen shrimp and bloodworms 3 times per week
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice per day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? every 2 weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? aquarium salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? not recently - going to this weekend

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? lost color
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? lethargic, initially wasn't eating
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? yes, Melafix for 10 days. Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? 4 months

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Old 07-16-2011, 10:32 AM   #2 
Sakura8
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Hi Mitchmeister and welcome to the forum. I'm glad the Melafix is helping your guy but for future reference, you might not want to use it again. The problem is Melafix contains Tea Tree oil which can damage a bettas's labyrinth organ that they use to breathe surface air. But I'm glad that this time it helped instead of harmed.

I notice you only add aquarium salt when doing water changes - is this for the mollies? Unless you are using bottled spring water you probably want to consider using a good water conditioner like API Stress Coat or Seachem Prime. Water conditioners detoxify harmful chlorines/chloramines and heavy metals that are in all tap and well water.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #3 
Mitchmeister
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Thanks Sakura8 for your reply and info on Melafix. I do use bottled spring water. I have read that it's a good idea to have some salt regardless of the type of fish. I use one tbls for evey 10 gallons of water I replace.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:29 AM   #4 
Sakura8
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Okay. Now I do know some people on here say not to use aquarium salt on an everyday basis because it can damage the kidneys after long-term use. That said, I have also read that some betta breeders use aquarium salt all the time as a preventative measure. Also, mollies are considered by some to be brackish fish and it's recommended to use one tsp of salt per five gallons for them. So it's really up to you whether or not you want to continue using the salt. The mollies will do fine without salt if you gradually reduce the salt until it's out of the tank. If you remove it all at once it may shock everyone in the tank, not just the mollies.

If your little guy doesn't continue to get his color back, you may want to consider using API Stress Coat anyway, even though you don't need it with bottled spring water. Stress Coat has aloe vera and other additives that aid in slime coat production; the slime coat is what helps to keep a fish healthy. The instructions say "to help repair damaged skin and fins and to replace slime coating: add 10 ml per 10 US gallons of aquarium water."

Also try frozen foods like bloodworms. A high protein diet will help him get back on his, er, fins.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:41 AM   #5 
Sakura8
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Also, you may want to consider putting your betta in a small QT tank (like a heated 1 gallon) and treating him with Maracyn. This will take care of any lingering bacterial or fungal infection that he may have.

Edit: If you'd rather wait a few days to see if Mitch's color comes back on its own, that's fine too. In fact, depending on when you finished up the Melafix treatment, it may be best to wait a few days to give him a break in between meds.

Last edited by Sakura8; 07-16-2011 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:28 PM   #6 
flowerslegacy
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Just checking on Mitch. How's he doing? Any spots remaining?
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:55 PM   #7 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum.......to understand this is a 30gal tank correct....mixed species....

As posted-long term salt is not needed for Bettas and it generally doesn't prevent illness anyway...long term use can cause resistant issues and kidney damage and then when you need it for a short term treatment is may not be effective
To create a brackish environment you should be using marine salt and monitor the salinity

Using bottled water for a 30gal tank must cost a lot of money.....be sure and add replacement minerals and use a good dechlorinator with it use too.....since bottled water is not regulated it may just be filtered tap water and still contain additives to make it safe to drink and then the filtering process can also remove all the needed minerals for fish health or it may change one Ion for another that is worse for the fish in general.....can you not use your tap water for some reason......or at least do a 50/50 mix....

Your Betta sounds like he is having stress issues that are compromising his immune response- from poor water quality, space, salt, chemistry and mixed species.....I would move him to a 1-2gal unfiltered tank and start daily 25% water changes with dechlorinated tap water for the next 5 days and see if this will get his color and appetite back

In the 30g filtered mixed species tank I would start 25% daily water changes using dechlorinated tap water for 2 days and then increase the percent by 10% daily until you reach 50% and then start a regular schedule of 50% weekly with vacuum thereafter to maintain water quality and if you want a brackish species tank for the mollies get some marine salt-be sure and replace the salt with water changes-but you may not need this if you have hard tap water...you may want to get another tank for the tetra school to get them out of the salt.....
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:54 PM   #8 
Mitchmeister
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Thank you so much for all of your excellent advice. My tap water is part of city water system. so it has additives. I just haven't tried using anything other than spring water. I tested the tank water yesterday and found it had high ph levels. I also tested the spring water that I use for water changes just to see if that may have been part of the cause for the high ph, but found all levels were normal.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:12 AM   #9 
Sakura8
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How high were the pH levels? Fish can adjust to most levels. Mine is 7.5-7.8 and all my bettas, as well as my panda cories which are known for sensitivity to water chemistry, do fine. But of course, it's all up to you. Although I do agree spring water may get costly.

How is Mitch doing? Has his color improved? He's a very beautiful betta and I definitely want to see him get better. He may need his own tank, like a nice 2 gallon. Mollies get big and can be a little pushy.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:13 AM   #10 
Mitchmeister
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My pH levels were 7.8 so good to know that's probably okay. I'll keep an eye on it though. Mitch is doing much better. His color and his appetite are starting to return. I even saw him chasing after another fish in the tank yesterday, so he's getting his spunk back. :)

I will keep you posted on his progress and look forward to sharing updated photos when he is at his beautiful best.

Thanks again!
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