It all started about 6 months ago when I bought a little blue and red betta for my desk at work. He moved from the little plastic cup I bought him in to a nice bowl with a plant and he seemed very happy. Very mellow and inquisitive. I named him Tom Welling.
After a couple of months I know this sounds silly but I would worry about him over the weekend, so I brought him home and put him in an even bigger bowl - actually it was a sangria pitcher. He lived in that bowl for about 4 weeks while my husband and I made a decision to get him an actual tank. Here is where things started to go downhill.
I bought a fluval edge (HUGE MISTAKE) it's very difficult to clean by the way.
and I also got Tom some friends. A Pepper Cory (Mr. Whiskers) and two Danios (The tag team of Terror)
Now we are about a month along, I'm battling blue green algae and tonight I noticed that Tom has a giant white spot - which looks more like a gash - next to his eye and one little white spot on his back. He also is now missing his pelvic fin. At first I thought it must be a fungal infection, then maybe fin rot - but now having a really close look I'm thinking that he may have gotten sucked in to the filter intake and the loss of his pelvic fin and the gash is a result.
In the actual aquarium did a 30% water change today, after I had the following test results. (I also added aquarium salt as well as seachem stability and water conditioner.)
My tank is 6.5 gallons
Ph = 7.5
NH3 = .6
Temp 81 F
I've now taken Tom out of his tank and put him in his previous bowl with 50% tank water and 50% treated water (meaning conditioner and stability) and added pimafix. The temp is sitting at 82F but then there is also an incandescent bulb right over, so it may be a bit warmer at the surface where he is staying. He's not swimming around too much.
He doesn't look distressed at all, just not very active. If I go up to the bowl he'll slowly swim over to where I am and just stare at me. (Likely to tell me I should have left well alone and kept him in the bowl to begin with)
Thoughts? Questions? I really only just want to make sure he is well taken care of. My husband and I are very attached to him.
Has anyone else had a betta lose a pelvic fin before? Did they heal?
Hi and welcome to the forum. I have had a betta jump and lose alll of his fins and he recovered beautifully. Their fins do grow back with proper care.
It sounds like he has an injury to me. Do you always use conditioner in his water? Are there any sharp decorations or plants in your tank? The general rule is that if its sharp enough to snag pantyhose, it's sharp enough to do damage to your betta. Pictures would really help us a lot.
If it is an injury it would be good to keep him in the heated bowl with daily water changes, and aquarium salt to prevent infection.
Another thing I'd like to address is the overstocking in your tank. Cories are happiest in groups of 4 or more, and danios are schooling fish that do best in a minimum group of 4, they do best with 6 or more. The tank you currently have is too small for these 4 fish, and it is likely they have all been stressed by the current arrangement. Your betta would do best in the tank alone, or maybe with a snail or moss balls or something. You can keep your betta in his bowl for a bit with lots of water changes if you decide to rehome the danios or cory.
Thanks for the reply.
I wish I had not listened my LFS when 1. they said "Sure the Edge is a great tank for a novice" and 2. "Why don't you just put a couple of danios and a cory - they'll be fine together". So now I have the 4 fish together and I'm not sure what I can do about that.
What do you do about fish that you have and shouldn't - and can't get a second tank.
Is it really such a bad choice to have the four of them together?
Yes, it is not a good situation for them. And yeah I've heard those tanks can be hard to clean. They look really pretty though.
For one thing, the amount of waste and ammonia they produce is too much for the size of the tank, hence the term "overstocking." For another, both cories and danios are schooling fish like I said and will not thrive in such a tank. The danios are likely stressed because they dont feel safe with just two (thats why fish school, safety in numbers) and the cory is probably not doing great on his or her own. The betta might be ok for now, but he is also probably stressed by the fish.
Unfortunately a lot of places don't give consumers good info, that's why it's always good to research first. The store was right in that these three types of fish are compatible (Fairly, some bettas need to be alone no matter what, and sometimes danios can freak bettas out.) Lots of people come here with similar issues. There are a few things you can do. You can try to return the other fish and get your money back, you could try to return them for store credit if they wont refund you, you could post your other fish to craigslist and look to rehome them.
You can also keep the betta separate in his heated bowl for awhile. As long as you keep up on water changes, it might be good for him to recuperate along while you save/look for another tank for your other fish. Remember that you can look on craigslist for tanks as well as garage sales and stuff. There are some great deals out there!
If you really find it hard to clean your Fluval Edge, you can just lop the entire top panel of glass off with a razor blade. I have done so with mine as I was sick and tired of squishing my hand through the access hole.
Blue green algae is caused by low nitrates and poor water circulation. I had some growing in one of my tanks, and a simple increase in aeration, twice weekly nitrate dosing (my tank was planted) and manual removal took care of the problem.
Danios are boisterous schooling fish that really require a 3 foot tank as they are very energetic and rapid swimmers. Corydoras are schooling fish (in the wild their shoals can contain hundreds of fish) and generally need a tank with a decent sized footprint.
Your tank water parameters are probably also causing your fish stress. If there are any fish in there currently, I would do a 50% water change and then do another 50% water change in an hour or so until you can get your ammonia and nitrite readings down to 0ppm.
Stability is used for cycling tanks so unless your bowl has a filter you don't need to add it. Prime is excellent as it will instantly detoxify any ammonia and nitrite so that you can have some breathing space.
Pimafix is next to useless. Indian Almond Leaves and aquarium salt are much better at preventing infections. Corydoras are sensitive to salt, so I wouldn't recommend using it in any tank they are housed in.
Keeping the water in Tom's bowl pristine and feeding high-protein foods such as frozen bloodworms, are the two most important steps in encouraging new tissue to grow.
I would definitely look at re-homing or returning your other fish. It's just unfortunate that the people we assume have the best interest of the animals at heart (LFS employees) often don't.
you should quarantine your betta, and put 1 teaspoon of AQ salt per gallon to prevent infection (that's only if he has fin rot, or fungal infection). Do not use the salt more than 10 days. Do 100% water change everyday and if you can use the stress coat conditioner which helps them with fin growth.
Sadly Tom has taken a drastic turn for the worse. His scales look like they are peeling away now and he has a lot more patches of white. He is completely listless and just sort of hangs in the water with his mouth near the surface. He swims around a bit but not very much. I will be surprised if he makes it through the night, but you never know.
We have made sure his water is very clean, 0 Ammonia and the N02 didnt register on the test either , the ph is a little lower in the bowl at 6.5 than in the tank where it was 7.5. I mixed in some of the tank water with the last change and hoped that would help the transition. I don't think the pimafix did anything at all so we've just conditioned the water, added aq salt. If Tom makes it until tomorrow I will be sure to go and get the Prime and add that.
I'm really upset and frustrated with not only the chain pet stores but also 2 small independent stores that are supposed to be very big in the city. Neither of them gave me 2 minutes nor did they give a crap that I was talking about 1 betta.
I feel utterly stupid for not being able to make this right for Tom. All of this because I thought it would be best to take him out of his little bowl and put him in a tank. I'm sure if I had just left him alone he wouldn't be dying like he probably is now.
I'm sorry, I hope Tom makes it. It does sound like columnaris which has claimed two of my betta...Columnaris is ever-present in the water and can attack when water quality is compromised or the fishes immune system is weakened.
Even if Tom doesn't make it I hope you will decide to try again with proper housing, keeping bettas and fish in general can be very fun and rewarding. I think you should remember that it's not his bowl size that kept him healthy, it was probably the high bioload and crowding in his new tank that stressed him. A 6.5 gal you have now would be a perfect size for a betta, lots of room to swim! :) This forum is generally very welcoming and happy to educate new betta owners so if you decide to stay, we are happy to help.
Thank you again for the information.
I'm sorry I must be not understanding something about water quality I guess. I just retested my tank water and the readings were:
NO2:.05 (if that as it was almost crystal clear, just the slightest shade off.) Not even pink.
I do understand what you're explaining about the over crowding. I guess it just seemed like everything was fine and then Whamo! the little guy has gone from seemingly happy, worm chomping, swim up and say hello how's it going to deaths door so quickly.
Do you think it is possible that because he was injured either by the filter intake or perhaps being nipped at, his wound attracted whatever bacteria is in the blue green algae and that's why he got so bad so quickly, as he was in the tank when I was cleaning it out manually and then with the gravel cleaner. Then of course when i put him in his "infirmary" it initially had about 25% of the tank water and some gravel.
I found the pimafix to be making the water so dark and murky that is what caused us to do another water change today, and just added the aq salt.
Last edited by shemumbles; 10-06-2011 at 02:08 AM.