Bubbles is my 10 yr old daughter's fish, but we are all attached to him. Please help if you think there is anything we can do to save him!!
What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? about 80
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? n/a
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? usually once per day
How often do you perform a water change? Every couple of weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? stress coat and aquarium salt
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? all within normal according to the chart
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
His mouth has changed...it seems to be stuck in an open position. His scales seem to be more pronounced too, I think.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
His behavior has changed 100%! He went from being an active, healthy betta fish to one who is extremely inactive. Spends most of his time at the bottom of the tank, sometimes he appears to be lying on his side. Eating is very difficult for him...he has been having trouble "catching" food in his mouth. Now that I see his mouth up close in the photo this makes more sense. He is still able to move and swim but barely does. I am very worried he will not make it - he is clearly very sick.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
We noticed a decrease in his activity level about 2 weeks ago, the eating problem about a week ago, and the mouth deformation just today after I enlarged the photo.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
No - not sure what to do!!
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
No, he has been amazingly healthy up until a couple of weeks ago! Super active, social (for a fish), great eater.
How old is your fish (approximately)?
We think under 2. My daughter brought him home about a year ago from her classroom at school (he was class pet)
Up the water changes either in frequency or quantity and also cut out the aquarium salt. Too much exposure to it hurts their labrynth and makes treating diseases with it less likely to work. Ideally, you should only be using aquarium salt to treat illnesses that are external like fin rot, and should only be using it for a max of 10 days before giving him a break.
For water changes maybe try a 50% every week since it is a filtered tank. This will help maintain water quality and keep him healthier in general. If his scales are starting to raise and pinecone, put 1 tsp.gal of epsom salt premixed into his tank to see if that helps the swelling go down. It will also help with any bloating issues he might have currently and will probably make him poop, which will help you see if he has any internal parasites or not.
Hi Jilly, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry your guy is so sick. It sounds like a really severe case of ammonia poisoning. Unfortunately, in a 5 gallon tank, the water needs to be changed once a week, at least. 50% as Pataflafla said is a good amount. For now, the best thing you can do for Bubbles is to get him into clean water. But we also don't want to shock him so we have to do this in steps.
Start by getting a small QT container, like a small bowl or even a Tupperware kind of thing, that is shallow. Fill it a little less than halfway with old tank water, just enough for Bubbles to go in there. Put Bubbles in now. In a separate larger container, mix up a new batch of dechlorinated water. Try and get it the same temp as the water he's in now, or close to that. Pour some of the new water in with Bubbles, until the container is a bit over halfway full. Because Bubbles is having trouble breathing, we need it shallow so he can reach the surface. Now, tomorrow you will want to change 50% of this water and refill with new, dechlorinated water. The day after that and for the next several days, you will do 100% changes until he recovers and is able to swim.
Try and keep Bubbles as warm as possible, around 80-82*. Float his container in his regular tank if that is warm.
The reason Bubbles' mouth is stuck open like that is because he is struggling to breathe. Hopefully as he gets clean water, he will be able to rise to the surface more and he will stop breathing so hard.
About his pineconing. It's hard to tell from the pic, is he very bloated? I can see his scales sticking up but he doesn't look too bloated to me. Can you confirm if he seems bloated and if his scales really are raised? That would be great if you could.
I'm sorry this is so long but I hope it helps you.
I can't really see anything that would deform his mouth unless he ran into a tank decoration or wall.
It also looks like he has fin rot going on, but since you've used aquarium salt already, just keep the water clean by doing more frequent changes. If you do end up using the epsom salt treatment, then you would want to quarantine him in a smaller container to make changing the water easier. With the epsom salt you need to do 100% changes everyday, so I suggest putting him in a covered tupperware or back in the cup from the store so you can float it in his tank for warmth.
I've got him in the tupperware container now filled up a little over half way. Will do a 50% change tomorrow. He does not seem bloated at all, but his scales seem somewhat raised, although not like the photo in #7
I feel terrible about the ammonia, assuming that is what is going on. When we upgraded from the tiny vase he came home in to the tank we were given some bad info about frequency of water changes. Poor guy. I hope it's not too late. Is there anything else I can do to ease his suffering?
Also, since we have very warm weather here in the northeast, if the water is above 82 is that bad? How warm can it get without causing problems?
I usually start to get worried about them once the temp reaches around 86* but I think they're ok to handle up to 90*. You can put an ice cube or two in a baggy to float in his container. That'll help cool it down some.
I usually have to do this since the cold water from the tap here is automatically at 90*.
80-84 is the ideal temp for them usually. Some like it colder some like it warmer.
Please don't feel bad about the water changes. A lot of people get misinformation from pet stores. :( It drives me crazy because you'd like to believe that people in a petstore know what they are talking about. Sadly, they usually don't.
I'm a bit puzzled as to why his scales would be raised if he's not bloated but it sounds like he may have a mild bacterial infection. Since he has no appetite, it might be best to treat him with Maracyn II, available at most pet stores.
IF, however, you feel like Bubbles may not make it through the next two days, you can hold off on the Maracyn. It's kind of expensive and no use trying if it's too late. I hope it's not too late, that would be so sad, but Bubbles is also an older betta so his age will play a part in all this as well. If you do get the Maracyn, post back for dosing help, it's a real pain in the neck because all these medicines are dosed for 10g tanks, nothing smaller.
As long as the temperature increase is gradual and doesn't go higher than 90*, Bubbles should be fine.