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Old 12-11-2011, 08:36 PM   #1 
neimo
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Unhappy I can't figure out what is wrong with my betta

Help I can't figure out what is wrong with my betta.

I've had my betta for about three months, he is normally a big active stress ball but lately he is not swimming much, not eating, and not flaring. He always flares at me (I'm the water change guy) and loves my wife and daughter because they are the ones that feed him.

I think he might be suffering from a combination of things - depression, clamp fin, and something else ( I noticed a silver patch on his underside just outside of his gill. I did not notice it before so I'm not sure if its part of his color or not)

I change his water weekly and keep the water at an average 75 degrees. I have given him melafix (day 2), add aquirium salts with his last change yesterday, trying to keep the temperature between 80 and 82 during the day, and added a cave to his tank to try and cheer him up. I've seen alittle improvement but I'm not sure I am fixing the problem or fixing it correctly.

Also I have some other questions as well-

Is melafix ok for bettas ( I have used it on him in the past for fin rot)? If not what should I use? If it is ok to use, how often?

How often should I add the aquirium salts to his water?

How much and how often should I feed him to avoid giving him constipation?

Thanks for any advice and sorry if I'm rambling. I have spent hours on the internet trying to figure this out and am feeling overwhelmed with all the diffferent information.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:46 PM   #2 
EvilVOG
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First off please answer as much of this as possible:

Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?




Now beyond that...
There's an ingredient in Melafix that can hurt a Betta's labynth organ.

salt is usually 1tsp/gal when called for. it's not called for here yet.
feeding should usually be 2-3 pellets 2x daily or 4 i think if it's once a day. And then maybe as a treat some frozen bloodworms or glassworms once or twice a week in place of a meal. Many also reccomend a day of fasting each week.

It's not a good idea to mix treatments when you use them. Sometimes they contain a common ingredient (like salt) so you could be double dosing.

Beyond that fill out that info and we can give you better answers.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:54 AM   #3 
Pataflafla
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You should be very careful when using Melafix with bettas. It's a stronger version of Bettafix, both of which have Tea Tree Oil that can harm the labyrinth organ.

If you're using Melafix, you should probably not do aquarium salt as well, since they both function as a sort of anti-bacterial. Since you don't know what his issue is, it might be best to stop both, or just switch to 1 tsp/gal aquarium salt (Make sure it's all dissolved before adding to the tank).

Tank size, water change schedule, what you're feeding him, and how much would be nice to know so I can help you there as well.

Try and keep the temperature a consistent 78-80 since fluctuation are uncomfortable and leave bettas open to illness.

Sometimes the best thing to do when your betta is not feeling well, is to change half or all of the water since that might be the issue.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:18 AM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilVOG View Post
Now beyond that...
There's an ingredient in Melafix that can hurt a Betta's labynth organ.

salt is usually 1tsp/gal when called for. it's not called for here yet.
feeding should usually be 2-3 pellets 2x daily or 4 i think if it's once a day. And then maybe as a treat some frozen bloodworms or glassworms once or twice a week in place of a meal. Many also reccomend a day of fasting each week.

It's not a good idea to mix treatments when you use them. Sometimes they contain a common ingredient (like salt) so you could be double dosing.

Beyond that fill out that info and we can give you better answers.
+1 to all of that (one thing I would add is to make sure you pre dissolve the salt prior to adding your fish in with it, as the grains can burn the fish very easily if they come close to them, and especially in contact with them)
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:35 PM   #5 
neimo
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Thanks to everyone for your responses. Here is the information-



Housing
What size is your tank? 1 galloon

What temperature is your tank? average temp is 75. I have been trying to get it up to about 78-80 during the day the past three days with a heating pad.

Does your tank have a filter? no

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? No tank mates - I was going to get one until an employee at PETSMART said a gallon tank was to small for a tank mate

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? fish food flakes w/ dried brine shrimp (don't remember the specific kind becuase I don't have the original container)

How often do you feed your betta fish? one a day in the evening.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 100% weekly - every saturday

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? sometimes added melafix, last change I added aquirium salts. I add bettabowl plus to the new water 24hrs before putting it in his bowl.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? No, I had no idea you could or should do that. How can I test the water?

If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His front fins (don't know the formal name for them) are tucked up and his other tails look alittle clamped at the end. I noticed a small silver spot on his underside next to his gill. Not sure if it is part of his color or something else. It does not look like fungus or a desease type spot but I never noticed it before.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He is not swimming around alot and hides in his cave. He hides alot, doesn't get excited about feeding time, and does flare at me like he used too all the time.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? Last week after my family left the house for two days/ one night (fed him before we left and fed him the next evening)

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Aquirium salts (1/2 teaspoon at water change last saturday) and melafix the past three days.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? I treated him in the past for clamp fin and fin rot with melafix. He also had swim bloat. I did not feed him for three days and that cured it. He is also prone to constipation.

How old is your fish (approximately)? Unknown. I purchased him about three months ago.

Last edited by neimo; 12-12-2011 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:42 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neimo View Post

Housing
What temperature is your tank? average temp is 75. I have been trying to get it up to about 78-80 during the day the past three days with a heating pad.

Be careful when using an exterior heating such as that, as when you turn it off at night it can drop pretty quickly causing shock. If possible, see if you can find a 10-25 watt heater to put in there to keep it at a steady, safe temp.

What tank mates does your betta fish live with? No tank mates - I was going to get one until an employee at PETSMART said a gallon tank was to small for a tank mate
Correct, anything under 10 gallon is risky.. anything under 5 gallon is not ideal and can be dangerous.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? fish food flakes w/ dried brine shrimp (don't remember the specific kind becuase I don't have the original container)
I would try to work in pellets as well, as they tend to be a great staple in the diet. Freeze dried food is best once or twice a week- make sure you soak it in a bit of tank water before feeding, as they expand greatly in their stomachs otherwise and could cause bloating/constipation.

How often do you feed your betta fish? one a day in the evening.
Always healthier to feed multiple times a day, small meals.. so at least once in the morning, once at night is recommended- feeding once a day will result in either over or under feeding. It sounds as if you are under feeding him, which means he isn't getting the proper nourishment/nutrition and that could affect his health and behavior.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 100% weekly - every saturday
I would recommend adding in an additional 50% mid week, as the ammonia/nitrates can add up quickly in a one gallon.

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? sometimes added melafix, last change I added aquirium salts. I add bettabowl plus to the new water 24hrs before putting it in his bowl.
Melafix is not idea to use with bettas, as there is a tree oil ingredient that can easily harm their labyrinth organ. Medications are not needed unless for specific treatments. AQ salt is just as harmful if not done properly with the right amount, daily 100% water changes and for only a certain length of time. In time it will shut down their kidneys and liver.
All that is needed on a regular basis is water conditioner- which when used, you don't have to set out the water 24 hrs in advance, they tend to work right away :)


Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? No, I had no idea you could or should do that. How can I test the water?

There are test kits out there.. they can be a bit pricey. For smaller tanks such as a 1 gallon, it's not needed since you change the water so frequently, but it's good to have around in case your fish gets ill it can help identify a problem.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His front fins (don't know the formal name for them) are tucked up and his other tails look alittle clamped at the end. I noticed a small silver spot on his underside next to his gill. Not sure if it is part of his color or something else. It does not look like fungus or a desease type spot but I never noticed it before.

The "feelers" type of fins? They move them around.. holding them constantly close to his body, along with clamping of his other fins tends to mean distress of sorts- whether it be stress or unfavorable water conditions, illnesses.
The silver area underneath and behind the gill area is actually his belly- a lot of times they change to silver.. especially when they get their stomachs full.


How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He is not swimming around alot and hides in his cave. He hides alot, doesn't get excited about feeding time, and does flare at me like he used too all the time.
It sounds more from his water conditions and becoming lethargic due to that and possibly the temp fluctuations.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Aquirium salts (1/2 teaspoon at water change last saturday) and melafix the past three days.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? I treated him in the past for clamp fin and fin rot with melafix. He also had swim bloat. I did not feed him for three days and that cured it. He is also prone to constipation.
Clamped fins generally are not in itself a disease or illness, but rather a symptom.. as for constipation, keep in mind they do not go to the bathroom all that often and can take a day or so to go.
Right now, the best treatment for him is no treatment. Take him out and place him in his little cup you use for water changes- empty out his tank and clean it with just hot water.
Fill it back up with warm water- preferable 78-80*F, add in only your water conditioner (it will work immediately). Float him in the tank for roughly 20 minutes, every 5-10 minutes remove some water from the cup (roughly 1/4 of it) and toss it in the sink, replace with equal amount of water from the tank itself. Continue that for 20 minutes then using a net, empty the cup of water, catching him in the net and gently lower him into the clean water.

Warm, clean un-medicated water you will see almost an immediate improvement in him. Melafix is very harsh and not good for bettas- they make a bettafix, which is watered down Melafix, but it still contains the harmful ingredient that has harmed many a betta..

Keep us update on how he is doing.. good luck!

Last edited by Myates; 12-12-2011 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:49 PM   #7 
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Again, melafix has a tree oil in it that can damage a betta's labrynth organ.

Water changes on a one gallon should be almost daily (someone correct me if i'm wrong)

Heat pads are unreliable, is it the zoo-med one for bowls, or just a general reptile type? I own a few reptile type heat pads and they struggle to heat a gallon. I only use them to heat a cup or a jar if i'm low on space. Mine are controlled with a thermostat tho.

We tend to reccomend pellets for feeding bettas, but that does not mean you have to stop using your flakes. But what's important about the betta's food is that it be high in protein and have stuff like fish meal and salmon or other meat as it's primary ingredient. Also uneaten flakes foul the water faster.

What do you mean by one day in the evening? Once a day you mean?

they sell water test kits and strips ant most LPS/LFS'. It's mostly for bigger tanks that don't get changed as often as your one gallon should, but would give you a clearer picture of why you need to change your water because of ammonia buildup, and sometimes let us know if there's pre-existing conditions in your tap water.

Can you get us some pictures so we can see if there's anything visibly wrong with him?

And do what she said

Last edited by EvilVOG; 12-12-2011 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:52 PM   #8 
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One gallon is best with 1 50% and 1 100% per week..

"You can have a too clean environment-you have both good and bad pathogens in the tank-by exposing the fish to all the different pathogens enable to fish to develop antibodies- that in turns helps build a strong immune response and limits stress due to too many water changes...its a balance of sorts.....healthy fish need be exposed to pathogens but at the same time maintaining water quality.....make sense......too clean and sterile like environment is not healthy......." (OFL to me months back)
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:18 PM   #9 
neimo
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Thanks to everybody for the advice. This is a learning curve for me and my poor fish is paying for the mistakes.

I did a 100% water change tonight, took away the heating pad, melafix, and salts, and feed him some pellets. He seems to be swimming a little more but did not go after his food.

The water temp is about 75 and I am looking for a new heater. Mine is only 7.5 W. Does anyone know a good online site to get a heater from? I have had no luck at the pets stores where I live.

I would post some pictures but I am having some trouble figuring out how to post them. The insert image incon keep asking me for a url when I press it. I must be missing the obvious becuase I am not technically inclined. Please let me know and I will post some pictures of him.

Thanks again for the help and I will post some pictures as soon as I figure it out.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:27 PM   #10 
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You can look on Amazon.com for a heater- 10-15 watt should be fine, Marineland is good.. Tetra has iffy problems with over heating on their presets. When using a preset heater, make sure when you do a water change that the temp is as close to what you are wanting, otherwise the heater may not heat up past a few degrees above room temp.

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