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Old 12-02-2011, 05:10 PM   #1 
Badjer
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Hi all. A few months ago, my 12 year old brother and I went to Petco with the intention of getting bettas. We had owned plenty in bowls when we were younger, and didn't really think to do any research. We each got a 2.5 gallon betta bow tank by Aqueon, and two bettas each. I got my two crowntails, and he got a crowntail and a HMDT. Our tanks are divided with the two males apiece.

It's been roughly two months since then. Thanks to this forum and my two sweet boys, I've fallen in love with bettas. My family finds me obnoxious and crazy, especially since I criticize my brothers fish keeping. His tank has never been cleaned, and the water was low. The fishes fins were shredded, and they acted unhappy. I begged him to clean the tank, or to give it to me. He refused and mom told me to back off. I forced myself to ignore what was happening, and have poured all my energy into plans of upgrading my divided 2.5 gallon to a divided 20 gallon in a few weeks. Worrying about his fish was too painful.

Tonight I gave in and went and checked on them. When I removed the hood, I almost puked at the sight of the filter cartridge. It was brown and green and disgusting. I showed my brother, and began cleaning the tank. The gravel was so gross that I chucked it. The filter (which is too strong for the divided tank anyway, I removed mine weeks ago) was chucked. The tank is in my room, clean and warm. I told him I want a few weeks to try and get them healthy. They're so thin and their fins look horrible. I named the crowntail Cornelius and the HMDT Shepherd. I'm not sure what's up with their fins...the HMDT has never looked right since we've had him, but the crowntail's find looked fine until recently. There's no signs of fin rot or other sickness, but I cupped the crowntail to separate them a bit so I can watch for any signs of disease. The HMDT seems to be really active and healthy aside from the lack of fins.

Pictures will come later...I have to go right now. Sorry for my rambling. I'm just so angry and upset. Everyone in this house says "They're just fish". Hopefully, these guys will color up and heal and I can show them what some real TLC can do!
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:29 PM   #2 
Pitluvs
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Honestly its great that those fish have you! Could you show your parents some info on Bettas and tell them you're worried your brothers lack of responsibility without being corrected could follow him for the rest of his life? I really hope these boys will get to stay with you. You could divide the 20g in four Hehe Thank you for caring about them and being different than your family!
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:47 PM   #3 
Badjer
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Unfortunately I've tried to inform my parents about proper betta care. But the way my mom sees it, unless the tank is growing alge, it's perfectly clean. When I showed her the nasty filter media, she tried telling me that it was supposed to look that way. I just stared at her.

The 20 gallon is to be divided into four. My big guy Tybalt will get one section and Xavier will be left in my 2.5 due to his swim bladder issues. If these guys stay with me, they'll either be moved into the 20 gallon or one will go there and one will stay in the current tank. If I'm forced to give them back, one will be staying with me regardless. I'm already attached!


This is that nasty filter. Any ideas why it did this? The tank wasn't being cleaned but this is still shockingly gross!

This is the tank as it was a week ago, so it was even worse today. That's Cornelius on the left and Shepherd has the right half of the tank. This is the best shot of Cornelius I have, you can sort of see his shredded fins. I'm 90% certain he wasn't like this when we bought him. Otherwise, we wouldn't have gotten him.

This is Shepherd, the HMDT. His fins have been bad ever since we got him. They seem to be getting worse though. Its definitely not fin rot, and I'm guessing it was contagious since Cornelius now has shredded fins. Either that, or they've both been tail biting. I thought that didn't occur in CT's though?

Any help figuring out what's possibly wrong with these guys and getting them healthy would be appreciated. I'm still so new to this and want to help them so bad! I currently have Cornelius cupped to attempt to prevent any further spread of disease if possible. Any tips on fin growth would be great too!
(Sorry for massive pictures...I can't find a way to downsize them from my ipad xP)
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:57 PM   #4 
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Normal filter media will have that dirty look to it.. it's just what happens after particles from the water get caught in the sponge. You'd probably shudder to see what's in my filters LOL

It looks to me like your CT's rays are melting. This tends to happen if you have very hard water. I can't keep CTs because no matter how good I keep my water quality eventually their rays start melting. I haven't had much luck getting them to grow back either but my suggestion would be to start by getting a reading on your pH and hardness and try adding a little IAL or oak leaf to soften the water a bit.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:06 PM   #5 
Badjer
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Good to know on the filter media! Think I'll keep that tidbit of knowledge away from my brother...a nasty filter certainly made it easier to convince him that his fish needed help!

Does every fish react to pH differently? My two CT males are in the same tap water with the same conditioner and their tails are looking better than ever.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:40 PM   #6 
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Not really, ammonia in the water is another factor and most likely the culprit in this case since you said he wasn't changing the water, CT fins are the first to go in bad water because they're so delicate.... I don't know why the ammonia issue didn't come to mind first LOL

My advise would be the same though SUPER clean water (daily water changes if you can manage it). Good food.. New Life Spectrum growth formula is my favorite for sick fishies. And heat.. Try to keep his water at 80*F.

IAL or Oak leaf would still be a good idea. I've had great success with fin growth when I supplemented the water with IAL tannin.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:46 PM   #7 
Badjer
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Yeah I have no water testing supplies, but I have a feeling the ammonia was really high. As for water changes, I'm going to do my best to do them daily, and no matter what they'll be getting done every two days at the least. Hopefully it isn't too stressful for them! I feed Hikari betta bio-gold pellets...will these suffice? Tannins are definitely a work in progress...it's raining right now but sometime this week I'm going to try to beat the snow and find some oak leaves. We have several acres of woods on our property so there has to be an oak there somewhere!

Already my brother has changed his answer from "Yes I definitely want my fish back" to "Maybe I only want the HMDT back" so I think these guys will end up staying with me. (:
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:41 PM   #8 
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Yeah, that's a pretty normal look for a filter cartridge. It's from the particles in the water as 1fish2fish mentioned, and also from the good bacteria (at least I think)

I did see you making plans to upgrade, but just wanted to point out that a divided 2.5 gallon is not the best housing. But if it's what you have for now until you upgrade, it will suffice as long as every other day water changes are done.

I wouldn't go with daily water changes. Every other day should be fine. Daily changes will sometimes stress fish out - but then it all depends on the individual fish. If you have been doing daily changes and they seem fine - no stress lines (vertical lines) or lethargy, then I say go for it. As long as all the water properties in the new water are the same as the old, it shouldn't be a problem.

Hikari is a good betta food from what I remember.

As for your oak leaves, you will have to dry them out before using them. Which could take awhile. Is it possible to look into buying IAL online? Ebay and Aquabid are great sources for them.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:55 PM   #9 
Badjer
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Thanks for the advice, Cajunamy! I'm aware that the divided 2.5 tanks aren't at all ideal, but it's only for a few more weeks. I make sure the water is always clean and the boys in both tanks have gotten used to each other so they aren't overly stressed. Lots of hiding places are in my tank, and I added cups on either side of the new guys tank to give them caves. I'm trying to keep things relatively cheap as I want to have enough money to set up the new tank. I'm only 15 and have no job so I don't have a ton to work with unfortunately!
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:34 PM   #10 
Badjer
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Well my mom insists that they are my brothers fish and has put them back in his room. I was told to stay out and mind my own business. Other days I might argue about it but it's been a bad day and I'm out of energy. The best I can hope for is that he's learned his lesson but I know better. Maybe they'll get lucky and die a quick death instead of ammonia poisoning.
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