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Old 08-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #1 
small fry
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Bent back Crowntail?

Hey guys,

I feel terrible about this. Luke is my sister's betta. He has been put in my care until we move, and then he will officially be mine. Right now, I have to ask my sister before I do anything to him (such as water change, or adding medication).

Luke lives in a 3 gallon tank. I need to net him out because I needed to add an airstone to aerate the water better so I could add a maintanence product. This is an AquaView360. They are nice and tall, but (one of) my problems with them is that they aren't very long and they have an undergravel filter in the very middle; making it nearly impossible to stick anything in the tank.

I really hate to net any fish, especially delicate bettas. I put the cup I was netting him into as far in the tank as I could (so the top of the cup was just about an inch higher than the surface of the water). I went to net him out, but I couldn't do it quickly since the net barely fit. I think it was a 4x5" net. I got him up out of the water and placed him in the cup very quickly.

I put him to the side and put in the aristone and maintanence product. I looked over at him and then realized that his gills were inflamed and his back was bent! What have I done!? Actually, I have an idea of what happend.

I understand why the gills are inflamed. Fish's gills are basically supported by the gravity in water. One thing bad about netting is how the gravity pulls down their gills because underwater the only thing properly supporting them is water. I have never seen inflamed gills on a fish, though.

I really hope the gills aren't permanent, but I am really worried about his back! When I netted him I saw that there was slack in the net. This is a course net (I wish I had a fine mesh net but I don't), and they are designed for moving through the water quickly. I moved it slowly, so it looked like Luke wasn't properly netted. My biggest question is if his back injury is permanent. I guess there really isn't a good way to tell just from my description, but did I break his back, or was it a defense mechinism?

I feel so bad about this, and I have to let my sister know if it continues. Are there any possible conclusions to draw from this short description of the netting issue? Has this ever happend to anyone before?

Thanks guys!

small fry,
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:35 AM   #2 
Sakura8
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Smallfry, is he swimming? Can he breathe? If he is having trouble breathing, lower the water level to about 2-3". And next, calm down and don't blame yourself. It's possible his back was funny before you netted him.

Since you hate netting fish (and who but a weirdo doesn't), try using a small cup instead. Wait for the betta to swim up to the surface and then slip the cup under him. Most of the time the suction will suck him right in. Other times, the betta will swim in all on his own. It's much easier and far less stressful for both you and the fish.
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:26 AM   #3 
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Smallfry,
From what you have described, it just didn't make sense that you would have done all that "injury" to your betta in such a simple short task.
When you said that the gills became inflamed, was there any active bleeding? Perhaps it was possible that he may have tried to flare or the net caught his operculum (gill cover) and bent it slightly? The gills are supposed to be red and inflamed looking in healthy fish.

As for the back, they are a lot more flexible than you think. For you to have achieve something drastic to cause him to have a "bent", you would have to net him and than hold tight by squeezing him in the net to keep him still?
May be include a photo or two so we can see what you mean by bent back?

As Sakura asked, did the overall behavior change? Did he stop eating, stop swimming etc? I used exactly the method she described in getting the fish out with the least disruption. I never net or handle them. Mine are not afraid of the net as I use it only to get the dust and lint from the water surface (yes, I have got dusty air) and they usually just mind their own business or want to play with it. I usually do water change before feeding time too so that I feed them while in the cup and they calm down.

Don't beat yourself over this. We all learn from scratch (and I still have a loooong way to go myself) and also realize that the best method for us may not be for everyone else based on our knowledge and experiences. If you can, attach some pictures as they are worth a thousand words (or more) :)

Cheers!
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:15 PM   #4 
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Hey guys. I have good news.

Last night Luke was looking very good. He was breathing fine again, his back was straight, and his gills were looking Ok. I would have posted something last night, except my dad threatened to take away my laptop next time I was on after 10pm on a school night.

Luke looks healthy except for all the tiny holes in his tail, and the missing "spikes" in his crowned tail. Unfortunately my sister was always overwhelmed by water changes. I helped her out pretty often, but she just couldn't handle it well and she moved on to her Leopard Gecko.

I am getting this fish already in a poor state. Over the last month I have been working really hard to slowly and steadily heal this fish by using water changes. He is looking super! No goopy tail (looked almost melted), no white tipped fins, no lethargic behavior. All I have left to deal with is his tail. Tony had holes in his tail once apon a time, but I healed them pretty quickly. I can't remember if I was using BettaFix (which I don't recomend, I didn't know at the time!) or just water changes.

Anyway, if you guys can think of any quick solutions to that, I would really appreciate it. If not, I'll go ahead and start a new thread. I just thought maybe with all the background in this thread it would save some time.

Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the information!

small fry,

(p.s. I am moving him out of the 3g 360 when we move, but a cup will not fit in there, not even a small one. Netting is always a last resort when it comes to my fish. Thank you for your concern!)
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:28 PM   #5 
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I agree with what the others have said about your poor fishy. Bettas are not as delicate as one would believe and netting him as carefully as you did (I doubt) would not cause the problem you are seeing. What are you doing when you change the water? Are you doing full or partial water changes? Are you conditioning the water afterwards? Have you tried a small dose of Stress-zyme/Stress-coat by API or API's MelaFix? Sometimes it helps.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:32 PM   #6 
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I definately need to give him a does of stress coat. I didn't even think about that. Thank you! I have always heard troubling things about MelaFix used with bettas (as well as BettaFix and PrimaFix). Something about clogging their labyrinth or something like that, I don't know the details. I have known people to be afraid of using that stuff at half-dose.

I will certainly go and add some Stress Coat, thank you! :)
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #7 
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Yay! that's fantastic news about the gills and the back
I guess now you can be less worried and concentrate on the fin repair.
What are you currently doing for it? You will find all you need to know in the Betta care sticky.
What I would do knowing what I have is to keep the fish in a one gallon to a make daily water change simple.
1)1tsp of AQ salt dissolved completely in 1 gal of water before putting betta in.
2) feed him high protein food like frozen bloodworms
3) stress coat if you have it

Oh...I have copied Darkmoon's sticky over:
Tail rot or fin rot
•Symptoms: Betta’s fins and/or tail seem to be getting shorter and shorter or they seem to be falling apart and dissolving, Black or red along the edge of the betta’s fins/tail, Bloody tips, Behavior may not change
Treatment: Conservative: Treat with Aq.Salt at 1 tsp/gal. Increase water changes to 100% daily. Replace accurate amount of salt following water changes. Add Stress Coat to help repair tissue. If there is little to no improvement within the first 5 days, you can increase the salt dosage gradually to 2tsp/gal but do not continue any salt treatments past 10 days. Medication: If Conservative treatment is ineffective use API Tetracycline, API Fungus Cure, API Triple Sulfa, OR API Erythromycin. Also add Stress Coat to help regrowth. Continue until fins/tail stop receding and start showing some new growth.

Good luck!!
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:55 PM   #8 
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Very helpful! Much apprecaited! I have gotten completely rusty with curing bettas every since I got slightly inactive on the betta 911 part of the forum and Tony stopped getting sick. I really apprecaite the post!

I guess I will grab Luke and start the treatments. I have many, many fish meds, but I'll go pick up one of the ones specifically mentioned in the post.

Thanks abunch!

small fry,
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:08 PM   #9 
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small fry, I'm glad to hear he's doing better. Stress Coat will help, as will a high protein diet with lots of frozen or live foods. Start with just Stress Coat but if he still looks bad, post a pic. Unless he is showing obvious symptoms of distress I'm not sure you should use medication.
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