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Old 12-10-2011, 04:39 PM   #1 
bobina
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Betta with clumped fins... HELP!

I posted this in the care section and it probably would be better off in here. Sorry for posting it twice.


Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees constantly
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? dried blood worms and bettamin tropical flakes.
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice daily - once at 11:30 am then at 6 pm

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Lately it depends on the instructions of the medication we're using at the time. Right now every 3 days, but before once weekly.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Now with the medication 25%, before it was 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? BettaSafe water conditioner.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: This is the only thing currently that we test for and it is in the "safe" range.
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His once flowing fins are now clumped into what looks like dreadlocks, his color has diminished into a grey color on his face, he has what appears to be a light fuzzy fungus coating on his body, and now red stripes on his face. (I've included pictures)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He use to spend most of his time "flighting" his reflection in the glass and being an overall happy, young, outgoing fish. He now hides in his cave for long periods, doesn't flight himself at all and lies in the bottom corner.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About a month ago, maybe 3 weeks after we got him.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, first we thought it was ammonia poisoning so we just did more frequent water changes because his face had red lines on it, then we noticed his fins started looking different. They started to clump and fray so we treated him Melafix per the pet stores advice. We read that this was actually harmful to bettas so we immediately stopped that. He then started exhibiting a fungus appearance so we tried Jungle Fungus Clear tablets. He didn't appear to be getting any better so we tried Jungle All in One Treatment tabs, when I stumbled upon the disease Columnaris and the symptoms seem to fit. So now we have been treating him with T.C. Tetracycline for the past 2 days and this stuff really turns the water a funky color.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? No clue unfortunately

So the story is, my boyfriend and I (who have never owned fish) were in the dreaded Wal-Mart (I hate this store with a burning passion, but our dog insists on only eating a certain dog food from there) and as we're walking down the aisle I see to my horror a whole shel with beta fish in tiny little cups! In fact we noticed that one beta was taken out of his cup and put into a cup with another betta and one was literally biting the other ones fins off. So we scooped the little guy out with a net we found and put him back into his own cup. Unfortunately it was too late and he slowly was dying. Enraged I found a worker and told her how inhumane this was and that it should not be so easy for idiotic people to be able to lift a lid and but one fish inside with another one. So to make a long story short, I felt terrible and knew I had to rescue one of these little guys.

We picked a beautiful blue male with long flowing fins and named him Blue. He was an awesome little playful guy and I felt great to be able to give him a fabulous home! After reading up on necessary care we bought him a 10 gallon tank with a heater and filter, along with some hiding spots and fake plants. He was loving it! After about 3-4 weeks with weekly water changes, he started not being himself. Lethargic, dull colors, and then his fins started clamping up. I've read almost everything I could read to help him and that's why we've been through so many medications, I just want to help the guy and feel terrible that I obviously can't keep him healthy in such a nice big tank and that he seemed healthier and happier in a small cup. I just don't know what else to do! I will do anything to help him because when I have a pet I have to make sure they're happy and healthy no matter what the cost!

I have one before photo and some after photos to give you a visual. I have not yet come across anyone else that has described their fish's fins being dreadlock-like so hopefully someone can help.

The first photo is when we first got him (don't mind the bowl, we went out and got him his big tank later that night) and the rest are of him not feeling so well. The crazy blue water color is from the fungus clear and the ones with a brownish hue is from the tetracycline.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:41 PM   #2 
Myates
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Aww poor guy..

Well, the substance on his body- the light fuzzy fungus, it's hard to see in the pictures, but can you tell me if it looks like a milky grey that just seems to cover/float over his body?

I'm suspecting it was actually his slime coating he was creating excess of, and not fungus itself. They create extra coating when trying to ward off toxins in the water or a bacterial infection normally. I don't see any sign of columnaris:
White spots on mouth, edges of scales, and fins: There will be necrotic lesions on the skin, which often are white/gray colored with an edging of red. These will quickly transform (in a day or two) into ulcers with have an orange/yellow color, caused by the bacteria decaying the underlying tissue.
Cottony growth that eats away at the mouth: In some cases, the lips of the fish, will become swollen and macerated, and a milky slime like film can be observed with the naked eye on parts of the body
Fins disintegrate beginning at the edges: Large milky patches can be seen quite easily on the fins of the fish, and this is usually an indication that the disease has progressed to a degree that cure will become much more difficult.
'Saddleback' lesion near the dorsal fin: One typical sign is the appearance of a "saddle" shaped lesion usually around the area of the dorsal fin, and this occurs so often, that the name "saddle back disease" is often used in aquaculture to describe this infection.
Fungus often invades the affected skin: There will be necrotic lesions on the skin, which often are white/gray colored with an edging of red. These will quickly transform (in a day or two) into ulcers with have an orange/yellow color, caused by the bacteria decaying the underlying tissue.
Rapid gilling in cases where gills are infected: Similar effects very typically occur on the gills, but may for the average hobbyist be somewhat harder to observe at least in the early stages. The progression of these ulcers, causes the fish to have great trouble with its respiration, and thus can quickly lead to fatalities. If the gills are examined, excessive amounts of mucous, are to be expected.

But that is just my opinion.. someone else may have a different view.

Sometimes just large daily water changes for a few days is enough to remove whatever is bothering them, if it was just the slime coating you first saw.

Medication bottles aren't always reliable, and each fish's needs are different.. when treating bettas, best to QT them in a smaller container and doing daily 100% water changes, adding in the medication each time.

For now, I would suggest filling up his bowl with warm clean water, nothing in there but water conditioner and place him in there. Do daily 50% water changes over the next few days in both the bowl and his home tank to remove it of the medication, and to clean out his system. Make sure to float him in a cup in the bowl first for about 20-30 minutes, removing some of the water from the cup and replacing it with water from the bowl every so often so he won't go into shock from the chemistry change.

When you went from one medication to the next.. did you change out the water completely first?
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:09 PM   #3 
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Thank you so much for replying!

The fuzzy stuff looks kind of grey-ish and yes it does seem to hover over his body.

Each change of medication we changed the water 100% as to not mix the meds together.

The reason why I'm thinking he needs meds is because I can't understand why his fins look like dreadlocks and how they can be corrected. He has patches where it seems like he has lost all color as well.

I will put him into a little hospital tank with no meds to see if he does any better.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:07 AM   #4 
earthworm88
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Hi Bobina,
Welcome to the forum. Myates pretty much had everything covered. From the photos, if you look at the second photo from the top and second to the last, I am concerned about those patches. They could possibly be saddle back lesions there but I am not a 100% sure because the photos are not very clear. Someone can correct or confirm....

As for the size of the tank, Blue is a lucky betta to have such great care. Unfortunately, like humans, some of us love big houses, and some like smaller cozy houses. So I am never in the camp that says bigger is better. Each betta has their own personality, some thrive in larger tank and some don't. Was the tank cycled prior? I am not an expert on cycling tank, hopefully someone else can chime in.

For the clumped fins you mentioned, I can't quite tell if he was clamping and made it looked ropey/dreadlock or he actually has fin melt. This is usually caused by poor water quality.

So for now, as Myates suggested, put him back in the bowl, a gallon of water makes it easier for you to change his water daily. Just make sure the temp is the same as his old water or by acclimating him slowly. I would suggest using Aquarium salt 1tsp/1gal of conditioned water after he has been in clean water for a day. You said he is hiding a lot, but is he still interested in his food?

I hope he gets better soon to reward you for your loving care. FYI, most of the time, super clean water (well balanced in cycled tank) is what's needed to make things right. To start conservatively, salts (depending on the problem) will be the first line of defense as meds can also be stressful for them especially when the diagnosis is not conclusive.

Good luck.

Cheers!
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:45 PM   #5 
bobina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthworm88 View Post
Hi Bobina,
Welcome to the forum. Myates pretty much had everything covered. From the photos, if you look at the second photo from the top and second to the last, I am concerned about those patches. They could possibly be saddle back lesions there but I am not a 100% sure because the photos are not very clear. Someone can correct or confirm....

As for the size of the tank, Blue is a lucky betta to have such great care. Unfortunately, like humans, some of us love big houses, and some like smaller cozy houses. So I am never in the camp that says bigger is better. Each betta has their own personality, some thrive in larger tank and some don't. Was the tank cycled prior? I am not an expert on cycling tank, hopefully someone else can chime in.

For the clumped fins you mentioned, I can't quite tell if he was clamping and made it looked ropey/dreadlock or he actually has fin melt. This is usually caused by poor water quality.

So for now, as Myates suggested, put him back in the bowl, a gallon of water makes it easier for you to change his water daily. Just make sure the temp is the same as his old water or by acclimating him slowly. I would suggest using Aquarium salt 1tsp/1gal of conditioned water after he has been in clean water for a day. You said he is hiding a lot, but is he still interested in his food?

I hope he gets better soon to reward you for your loving care. FYI, most of the time, super clean water (well balanced in cycled tank) is what's needed to make things right. To start conservatively, salts (depending on the problem) will be the first line of defense as meds can also be stressful for them especially when the diagnosis is not conclusive.

Good luck.

Cheers!

Thank you for replying!

His fins always look like that now. He cannot unclamp them they just constantly droop.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:02 PM   #6 
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Thank you to everyone who replied Here's an update:

So after the tetracycline treatments I noticed that our little betta started hiding so much that he wouldn't even come out for food! He didn't eat for 2 days.

We then put him in a little hospital tank with fresh water, and hiding rock, and heater.

I have updated pics, unfortunately as of now he is not looking so good (he's only been in the little tank for 30 mins) it seems like the meds were doing more harm than good Please tell me what you guys think.

His scales are like falling off now, I'm not seeing the white fuzzy stuff as much, but his fins are still clumped together.
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