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Old 11-06-2011, 12:56 PM   #1 
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Question Can someone talk me off the ledge!? Sick betta?

Sigh. I need to whine a little before I post the specific problem. I'll italicize the whine for those that want to skip it.

I've tried looking through other threads and posts and I can't seem to find the information that I am looking for. (I'm sure it exists - I just can't locate it.)

This summer I had to put my beloved FIV-positive rescue cat of thirteen years down. My husband and I decided that we would wait until we were in a house (instead of our apartment) before bringing anything furry home. In the meantime, I was feeling a little bereft of animal companionship and thought that getting a nice little fish would be a good compromise. I had owned several goldfish growing up and one of my friends (who owned bettas all through her childhood) said that having a betta fish was so much fun because they were smart, interactive, etc. I did my research, got the recommended supplies (from betta websites not the crappy little tanks sold by mean people), and set out to get my new friend.

To my chagrin, the first two fish I bought died within a few days. (BTW - if you are living with an inexperienced fish owner and you call and ask how the fish is doing and whether or not it is moving, be very specific because they will not realize that a dead fish will still move if the filter is bobbing them around.) I went back to PETCO after the second one and talked to a really nice sales associate who owned several bettas herself. She told me that another colleague (also experienced) had a bad run with the three bettas she bought recently and that it might be just a "bad betta batch." She recommended that I wait a week before coming back so that they could get new bettas in the store.

(Musically Talented Members: BAD BETTA BATCH would be a pretty sweet name for a punk rock group. Just sayin'.)

Okay the environment:
2.5 gallon tank (though I am thinking of moving him to bigger one)
heater (temperature reading at 78 degrees F) I keep the thermometer on the side of the tank opposite the heater.
substrate - round glass pieces mixed with sand (no broken ones)
flat polished river rocks so he can lay down and nap
hiding places (his favorite is a piece of the blue aquarium foam sleeve that I hung down the side of his tank with plastic clips to make a 'tunnel')
3 live plants and 2 silk (all pretty small)
Ammonia Level - 0
PH reading - 6.8
(I just cleaned the tank)

Added to Water:
1 teaspoon of AQ salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix
1/2 teaspoon Stress Coat

After the tank cleaning Gilgamesh wouldn't eat at all. He did eat a little bit this morning.

The problem:
I have been feeling pretty good about my betta abilities lately - a clear sign of hubris and that I was destined for a fall.

When I first got Gilgamesh, he had a few torn areas in his tail. I kept his water clean and added Betta Fix and he healed up.

1.Friday night I noticed that his tail and fins had some tears and he seemed unusually skittish and lethargic.

2.He was due for a tank cleaning so I made sure that I did that ASAP and added the things mentioned above.

3. I looked over Gilgamesh when he was in his "holding bowl" and did not see any white spots (that were not natural because he is marbled) and I did not see any black or red on the torn parts of his tails and fins. (I do have antibiotics if needed.)

Soooooo, betta experts, I am not sure if something is wrong or if I'm being a betta helicopter mom. If there is something wrong, I would welcome any suggestions for causes and treatment.

Sorry for the rant. I want to do right by this little guy and have always been a good pet owner and have had goldfish live for nine years! It frustrates me that people who keep bettas in tiny containers have no problem but I'm following all the betta advice and 'rules' and seem to be making my little guy unhappy.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:13 PM   #2 
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Welcome to the forum....

To understand-the problem your Betta is having is-fin tears and "seemed unusually skittish and lethargic" that did not resolve after a water change...correct...

In the 2.5gal tank-how much and how often are the regular water it filtered and what species of live plants and are they doing okay-how is his appetite and amount/type of food, type of dechlorinator long have you been using the aquarium salt and betafix...after the water change-how did you re-acclimate him to the tank......what kind of testing products are you using....have you checked the pH of the source water, if so, what is long have you had him

Can you post a pic....
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:39 PM   #3 
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His original ph was 6.8 - same as the new water.

I spent about an hour re-acclimating him with small amounts of new water.

There is a filter.

I use API products for ph and ammonia.

I usually put two teaspoons of AQ salt in the water when I change the water. I just put the Betta Fix in yesterday.

I left my camera at school this weekend (teacher) so I will post a picture tomorrow.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:39 PM   #4 
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Hey there betta rookie! Just wanted to add that you shouldn't use bettafix, it burns the betta's labrynth organ (lungs). Also, don't use AQ salt unless your betta has fin rot or any other external lesions, too much AQ salt exposure can cause kidney failure. It sounds like he could be tearing his fins on something in his tank, check out your plants and decor and make sure there aren't any rough or pokey patches. Betta fins are very delicate, smooth or soft decor is best =) He could also be tail biting, is he missing little "u" shaped pieces out of his tail??
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:03 PM   #5 
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The only other thing that I can think of: Be extremely cautious when using products that modify pH. It sometimes takes a while for them to work, and they can generate huge pH swings.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:58 PM   #6 
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Hey Indyfish are U shaped chunks signs of tail biting??
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:29 AM   #7 
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Yumekon, they sure are! especially if they are in the tail, but sometimes they can reach their anal or dorsal fins if they are super long.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:53 AM   #8 
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Have to agree with the above info-

Regular use of AQ salt is very harmful for them- it dehydrates them in a sense, removing all the water/moisture from them causing a lot of internal problems, as mentioned above, kidney failure is a big one. Not to mention, AQ salt with live plants- AQ salt will kill or at the very least, will rot live plants and not idea. Should not use AQ salt for more then 10 days when it's used for a specific treatment as it is.. so long term regular use, a very not good idea.
As well as AQ salt and medications at the same time can be very harmful.

Sorry to sound as if I am harping on the AQ salt, it's just that sometimes people use it as a go-to when they believe something is wrong with their fish without proper understanding of it's use, and it's side effects. There are only specific times to use it, and many times when not.

Bettafix is a watered down melafix which is dangerous to bettas- as there is an ingredient in there that has potential to harm their labyrinth organ and has had history of doing so.

Bettas will adjust to your pH, by altering it you will cause more harm then good.

What is the temp in the tank?
A mix of all of what was stated above could be the cause for his symptoms- except the tail, which could be as mentioned above; decorations, tail biting, or even too much of an outflow in a filter. For ripped fins, all you really need is just keep up on your regular water changes to prevent rot- no medication needed.
Are you using a regular water conditioner?

So just some adjustments needed is all :) if you have any more information to share, or answer to OFL's questions please do. If anyone knows, it's OFL :)

Last edited by Myates; 11-07-2011 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:35 AM   #9 
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As others have posted...long term aquarium salt is not healthy for the Betta....since I don't know what kind of water changes you have been making on a regular basis-I will go ahead an recommend a schedule-often water quality is the cause of most problems...along with added products that are not needed....

In a 2.5gal filtered tank-twice weekly 50%...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month

Right now-I would start making 25% daily water changes for 4 days to start getting the salt out and the Bettafix-then make 50% every other day for 4 days-totaling 2 water changes-then get on a regular twice weekly as posted above....

Treatments are best completed in a small bare QT container-this gives you more control, better for observation and premix the treatment water-this make correct dosage easier as well as water changes...

Often the best medication for this species is Fresh/dechlorinated-like temp water from water changes.....
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:49 PM   #10 
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Thanks, everyone. :)
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sick lethargic tears

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