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Old 07-31-2011, 12:05 PM   #1 
lex72
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need help diagnosing sick betta

I have a crowntail make betta. I have him in a fluval chi 7 gallon tank and he loves it and is usually swimming around all happy. i did a water change the other day and after i put him back in he didn't look too good and was lethargic. i decided to take him out of the tank and put him in a pitcher, he looked a little better. now he seems worse again. his fins are all spread out, not clamped which i thought was a good sign (but my last betta looked like that before he passed). he is laying on his side in the bottom of the pitcher. his eyes appear to be a little swollen. he is royal blue and i have noticed that his long 'arm' fins always had a red hue to them but to me it looks more red now. he is constantly opening and closing his mouth. sometimes he does this things where he puffs his gills out for a few seconds. i have an air pump going on low to help him breathe better. i gave him some melafix. what is wrong with him? any ideas? i feel so bad for him.

thank you!
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:32 PM   #2 
Sakura8
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Welcome to the forum lex72. Let's see if we can help your guy.

Most importantly, stop the Melafix. That medicine contains an ingredient, tea tree oil, that can harm a betta's labyrinth organ which they use to breathe air from the surface. If your guy is having trouble breathing, lower the water level to about 2 inches so he can surface easier.

First of all, is your tank heated? Secondly, how often do you do water changes? Thirdly, did you remember water conditioner when you did the water change? And is it possible you may have shocked your guy by having too big a difference in temp or chemicals in the water?
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:15 PM   #3 
lex72
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thanks for responding! the tank is not heated. it is a fluval chi so it has a filter. really it's my boyfriends's betta, he takes care of the fish, i take care of the cat. the tank is filtered so the water appears clean for a while, he generally does a full change every 2 weeks. yes, we use water conditioner. i don't think we shocked him, we let the water sit to get to room temperature and let it cycle for a few hours before we put him back in the tank. i just checked on him, he is upright now. i just don't like seeing him like this...
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #4 
Sakura8
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I'm so sorry he's so sick. When you say upright, do you mean he's standing on his tail? If so, I'm afraid that is a sign the end is near. There isn't anything that can be done at that point. :( I wish there was and I hate having to tell you this. :(

Fluval Chis are nice tanks, very pretty. But because they're small tanks, even with a filter, your boyfriend really needs to change the water at least once a week, about 50-60%. The filter will take out dirt and debris to keep the water looking clean but the real danger to a fish's health is invisible: ammonia. Fish excrete ammonia from their gills as part of their waste, every time they breathe. Unfortunately, ammonia is highly toxic to them so if it is allowed to build up, they get ammonia poisoning. Their gills will be burned and their immune system will be compromised, allowing them to get sick more often. If you get another betta, and I hope you do, you'll know now to change the tank more often. Also, a small heater is a must to keep the betta warm. Bettas are tropical fish who need warm waters at about 78-80 degrees to stay healthy.
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Old 07-31-2011, 02:53 PM   #5 
lex72
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by upright i meant he no longer laying on his side, just normally not on his tail. so you think he has ammonia poisoning? is there anything i can do? i have tetracycline. and as far as a heater goes in the future, the store we generally go to to get fish products and such, the owner said that a heater is not needed. i have never seen one on a betta bowl as well. can i do any more for my fish?
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:35 PM   #6 
Sakura8
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So he is swimming normally? Is he gasping for breath? I'm very glad he's not standing upright on his tail, nose to the top of the water.

You can treat him with tetracycline but you may want to move him to something a little shallower, perhaps a 1 gallon shallow bowl if you can. Ammonia poisoning often leads to bacterial infections so tetracycline will help with that. I'm not sure how long your guy has been the way he has so I can't say what his odds for survival are but treating him with tetracycline should hopefully improve those odds.

Also, you mentioned earlier that his eyes appeared to be swollen? That is another symptom of ammonia poisoning and poor water quality: popeye. Poor water leads to poor health which leads to a buildup of fluids in the body causing the eyes to pop out like that. If not treated, the eyes can, uhm, literally pop right out of the head. Sorry for the rather graphic description. :/

For some reason, all pet stores and fish stores are under the impression that bettas don't need heaters. Unless you live in a tropical climate like the kind bettas come from (Thailand) most room temps are too cold. It's like saying someone who is used to Tampa, Florida room temps can survive in Buffalo, New York room temps without a sweater.

The best thing you can do for your guy is treat him with the Tetracycline and change the water in his temporary container every day. One way to make this easier is to get a container that holds five cups of dechlorinated water. Mix the medication in this, then use 1/2 cup of the medicated water per gallon of his container. Save the medicated water and after each daily water change, redose the medication.

I really hope all this helps your guy get better soon. If you can, post pics of him so I can see how he is doing.
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:50 PM   #7 
lex72
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no, he is not really swimming normally, just at the bottom of the pitcher with mild movement. as far as gasping for breath i am not really sure how to tell? he keeps opening and closing his mouth but that has slowed down some. we have him in a 2 liter pitcher. with like 1/3 of it filled with water. do u think this is ok? i don't want to move him around too much. so 5 cups of water for a packet of tetracycline and he would get 1/2 c if he was in a gallon container, so he should get a little less than an 1/8 of a cup per day and we should change the water everyday before putting another dose in there? of course put the water conditioner in there. i shouldn't add any salt right? thank you so much for your help!
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:53 PM   #8 
Sakura8
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Yes, that sounds right (thank you for doing the math, I really stink with numbers >.<). If he is opening and closing his mouth then he is breathing heavily. And no salt. I really hope this helps him, poor guy. Get better soon, little betta buddy! Keep me posted, I'll be pulling for the little guy.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:18 PM   #9 
Sakura8
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lex, how is he doing? If he's not doing any better, I suggest stopping the tetracycline and getting Maracyn-II. I just double-checked with a friend who knows a lot about diseases and meds and she suggested Maracyn II as the best course of treatment. Although the tetracycline box says it's effective against internal bacteria, Maracyn II is better.

Keep us posted.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:24 PM   #10 
lex72
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Hi Sakura, he seems to be about the same. He was swimming around a little bit yesterday. But that generally happens after we change his water. I have heard of the Maracyn 2, I think I looked for it once and couldn't find it. There really is no treatment for ammonia poisoning right? This is for secondary problems cause by the ammonia poisoning due to immune system weakening? Thank you for all your help.
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