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Old 11-09-2011, 12:51 AM   #1 
Ricochet
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Join Date: Nov 2011
New fish might be sick!

(Feel free to skip to the bolded part for the problem. :P )

Hello.

I just rescued a betta last night from walmart. I was there buying toys for my corn snake and I happened to look at the fish, as I'd been considering getting a couple little fiddler crabs or something for a while now, and they had six of those little fish cups sitting out, and all but one of the bettas on display were dead.

The little guy looked alright, so I picked up a 1 gallon aquarium, some decorative stuff, betta flakes and water conditioner and brought him home with me. I've had bettas before as a kid, specifically one pretty steel blue that I had for at least a few years (can't remember exactly), so I know the basics and all. I figured if he made it through the week I'd go and get him a nicer home; it might sound kind of mean, but since his store-mates hadn't made it out of walmart alive I didn't want to get my hopes up.

Anyway, the problem.

He doesn't seem to be eating, and the tank water was murky after less than 24 hours.

I gave him about six hours before I tried feeding him (so he could get used to the tank, and because the walmart people had no idea when or if he'd been fed), and after waiting about 20 minutes for him to eat I skimmed the uneaten flakes off the top of the tank. Went to bed after that, and when I got up the water was pretty dirty; about what I'd expect after a few days.

I'm not sure what to look for to see if he's sick. I have a picture I took before I changed the water, and I could take another now if anyone might be able to spot something?

He does seem better than he did last night though, when in the cup and for a while after, he didn't want to move at all.

Housing
What size is your tank? 1 gallon, it's temporary.
What temperature is your tank? Checked with the herp thermometer when changing, and it was about 75.
Does your tank have a filter? No.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? No.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None currently.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? He hasn't eaten much, if any, but this: http://www.petco.com/product/3333/Te...al-Medley.aspx
How often do you feed your betta fish? Tried twice now.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? I've done it once in the day I've had him.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? All of it.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? A fizzy tablet kind of water conditioner.

Water Parameters:

Don't know, sorry.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Hasn't.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Slightly more active a day later.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? When I bought him.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Changed water, not sure what to do.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Don't all Walmart fish?
How old is your fish (approximately)? No idea. Walmart age.

Last edited by Ricochet; 11-09-2011 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:26 AM   #2 
Sakura8
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Hi Ricochet and welcome to the forum. I'm glad you rescued a betta from Wal-Mart. They need all the love and help they can get.

First, new bettas sometimes take a while to feel like eating, even healthy non-Wal-Mart bettas. So it might be normal for your guy to refuse food. Also, bettas do better with pellets because of the small shape and size of their mouths. A good high protein pellet like Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets, New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets, or New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula .5mm pellets is best for him and may entice him to eat.

Secondly, can you describe what you mean by the water being murky? Is it because of the uneaten food or do you suspect it became murky for another reason? Can you also describe your guy's behavior? Is he clamped up? Does he have a bloated, whitish belly? Does he have trouble swimming? Does he just sit there or does he seem more active? He may not feel like moving if the temperature dips down below 76 degrees, as that is cold for a tropical fish.

For his 1 gallon temporary home, you'll want to change the water pretty often, especially while he is getting settled. Clean water is the absolute best thing you can do for him. Some people will recommend every other day, others will recommend twice a week, 1 50% and 1 100%. Either way works as long as it's multiple times a week.

If you can post a few pics of him, that would be helpful too. In the meanwhile, try to keep him as warm as possible.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:25 AM   #3 
Ricochet
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Thanks for the help. I freak out a little when I bring a new critter home, no matter how much I try to research.

Okay. So I sterilized an old thermometer I had for my herp terrarium and stuck that in the tank, and it seems to be fluctuating between 78 and 79 now that I stuck him in 'the snake corner' which is a little warmer than the rest of the room. Not under the black light, but near it. I think that's fine, yes?

Also looked for pellets and happened across exactly what you recommended while I was shopping around, so I got those coming tomorrow.

When I say the water was murky, it was an opaque white color, worse than I would think it could get from a flake or two I might have left in. Not bad enough to make it hard to see the fish on the other side of the 10in. tank, but bad enough that you'd look at it and think it really needs to be cleaned, you know? I'll watch it tonight, and if it happens again without having put any food in there I'll know that it's a real problem and I'll describe it better.

Just since last night, in fact just since my first post, he's been more active. He kinda hangs out at the bottom for a few minutes, then swims around for a minute or two checking things out, and bolts to the top for air every few minutes. Yesterday he would sit at the bottom, then sit at the top, and didn't seem willing to move more than he had to.

Odd question, but I can't find an answer anywhere, how do bettas react to light? He seems more energetic since I turned all the lights on it here.

Here's a picture from right after I switched the water. Not great because I had to take it on my DSi since my camera is god only knows where, so it may not help much.

Ignore all the random junk on my dresser behind him. haha


Last edited by Ricochet; 11-09-2011 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:41 AM   #4 
Sakura8
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He looks pretty good considering all his shelfmates at Wal-Mart were dead. I think this little guy is a real fighter. :) He is a cutie.

Putting him by the snake is a great idea to keep him warm. 78-79 is just about perfect for a betta. With warmer temps, he'll be more active and less likely to develop any illnesses. When a betta is cold, their immune system gets compromised and they exert all their energy trying to stay alive so they don't move much.

For the water . . . hmm. It sounds like it may be tank residue. Or possibly something from the fizzy tablets. Perhaps the tablet is too big for a 1 gallon tank? If this little fellow makes it, you'll want to invest in a better water conditioner. I recommend API Stress Coat or Seachem Prime. Both will definitely work better than fizzy tablets.

Bettas do like some light. Like all animals, they have a natural day/night cycle so the best thing is to turn on any tank lights when you wake up and turn 'em off when you go to sleep. While a betta sleeps at any time of the day, they're most likely to sleep at night just like us. So maybe that's why he is energetic under lights, because it's like daylight for him.

If you find that the little guy won't eat pellets at first, you can try soaking them in garlic juice. Get a piece of garlic and mash it up, then mix some of that with dechlorinated water. Soak his food in that for a few moments, then try to feed him. If he seems to have trouble eating his pellet, like he spits it out and tries repeatedly, you might need to crush it up smaller, at least initially.

You're doing great with him, Ricochet. :) Keep us posted.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:12 AM   #5 
Ricochet
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Just updating. :)

I got the pellets today and I think he ate a couple of those. I figure he'll ease into a normal diet if he's not eating much now, no idea what they were doing to him at walmart after all.

I think I figured out one of his problems too. The little tank he's in right now reflects a bit too much and he's getting stressed out, so a new tank is next on my betta priority list. I couldn't tell before when he was moping around, but now he tries to attack the sides sometimes.

Tank water problem is solved too. Even after trying with the flakes again it's still pretty clean. Whatever was wrong seems to have gone away on it's own.

Nothing else to report I guess. He seems a lot healthier and happier now than he did in that little cup surrounded by dead fish. I'm glad he's doing better. It might seem weird to worry too much about a fish, but I woulda felt terrible if I lost him after I rescued him. ><
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:16 AM   #6 
Sakura8
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I'm so glad he's doing better. If he's trying to attack the sides, he's feeling feisty. Stressed, but feisty. A truly sick fish wouldn't have the energy to try and fight back against his reflection - he would just hide. I'm also really glad he may have eaten. He needs his strength.

My guess is there was some residue in the new tank. Sometimes if you don't rinse the tank out first before filling it, it can get cloudy with residue. I've had that happen before.

It's not weird to worry about our fish. Haha, we're all on this forum because we worry and love our fish. :D
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:09 PM   #7 
Ricochet
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Well, just when my poor little betta was getting all energetic and happy something else shows up. Noticed a few white strands along the edges of his fins. I think there might have been a little there before but I thought it might just be coloring, now it's obvious that it isn't. I went out and got some aquarium salt, stress coat (rather than the conditioner I've been using) and something with melaleuca in it, which the pet store folks recommended to me.

Is it okay to put in the salt and the melaleuca stuff in at the same time or should I just go with one or the other? For now I'm just going with the medicinal stuff since it seems more likely to help, and it got pretty bad really suddenly so I don't want to risk letting it get worse.

In better news though, his coloring is improving and he's started following my finger around the outside of the aquarium. That dark area around the inner edge of his fins is now turning a bright aqua. He's still looking healthier, even with the fin problems.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:26 PM   #8 
Sakura8
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The white strands, are they attached to his fin? Like the edge of his fins have a white border now? Is it mainly where he had some fin loss?

The stuff with mela . . . whatever haha, is it Melafix? If so, you probably want to return it because Melafix and Betta Fix both have an ingredient that can potentially harm a betta's labyrinth organ, which is the organ they use to breathe air from the surface with.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:44 PM   #9 
Ricochet
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Yeah, the white strands are attached to his fins. Like, the long flowy lower front fin has a long line of white on it suddenly and the fin up top has a little white on the hind edge. There may be more, or I might be imagining the rest, but those two spots I'm sure on.

He doesn't have those little white grains like I've hear Ich gives, or any kind of white or copper coating like I've read about in regards to Velvet. Nothing on his head or around his mouth either, just the fins.

I think it is BettaFix they sold me, yeah. Good thing I checked here first then.

So, I'll try the salt for now and get some Sulfa if that doesn't help in a day or two, I've seen that mentioned here before and I know where I can get it. That sound like an okay alternative to the BettaFix?
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:04 PM   #10 
Sakura8
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Hmm. I can tell you that new fin growth is whitish/clear - it colors up later on. Do you think that is what you're seeing? If so, then he's healthy and won't need a thing.
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