From what i read over there the temp swing is way to wide. 72 is too cold for a betta and the fluctuations will lower his immune system.
Getting him a heater will do wonders. If his tank is 1l it's to small to heat steadily really. You said you have two betta right? See if you can get a 5gallon or a ten gallon tank and a heater for whichever size you buy.
You can divide either of these in half(the ten gallon you can divide 3 ways) so both fish will benefit from the heater.
Have to check his poop? >.> Might sound gross but depending on what it looks like it will tell you if he has parasites or anything like that.
Well, we're in a bit of a jam here. All of our 3 fish except for one are 'rescues', fish that we have been given that have been kept in tiny containers and poor conditions. One of these is now doing 'swimmingly well', and both of the healthy fish are in larger aquariums with heaters (2 1/2 gal.). This poor guy came to us in bad shape about 4 weeks ago. We do have a 2 1/2 gal. tank for him, but unfortunately it won't be ready for about a week (long story: the first fish my son bought in June was very sick when we bought him, died within two days, and contaminated the tank. Two other fish subsequently died in this tank within 3 days after we put them in. We finally did a 50% bleach bomb on it, and it is ready to fill, but we feel that to be safe, we need to put some ghost shrimp in there and make sure that it is habitable. So it will be a week or so before we can get Alpha in there. This tank has a heater all ready to go. Probably more than you wanted to know, but that's the short version and the reason why he is stuck in his little unheated container now). That being said, I am so glad that my son convinced me to join this forum, because we have learned that the pet stores are terribly wrong about how to care for these fish. We've been upgrading their quarters as fast as we can. Right now we just have to get this guy to hang on long enough to make it into his new digs. The temp fluctuation is terrible, but we're stuck. I get up in the middle of the night to heat him up again with a hot water bottle (he is on the mantle above our woodstove and it cools off during the night) For the most part, he stays between 76-80. We did check his poop. It was normal except that at the very end it was white and stringy. I heard that that meant he had internal parasites. If so, what medication should we use? Thanks in advance for all of your help, we so appreciate it! Sorry to bore you with all of the details!
One method I would suggest, is to put Alpha in a plastic tupperware container and float this in one of your other heated tanks. That should keep the water in his container essentially the same as in the tank.
You would just have to ensure the container couldn't tip over as you wouldn't want to spread any possible disease. That way at least you can keep the temperature consistent.
Jungle Labs Parasite Clear is one easily available brand I have heard mentioned on this forum as a basic treatment for internal parasites. Since Alpha is obviously very sick, you might as well give it a shot. If you could get your hands on some oak or actual Indian Almond Leaves, you could steep up some tea and add a couple of drops to his water. IAL are supposed to have mild antibacterial properties, and I've found the tannins are useful at relaxing stressed fish.
Hi Tobythefish, I'm sorry Alpha isn't feeling so well.
Judging from the pics, he's got cloudy eye and possibly internal parasites. He's probably suffering lasting effects from the neglect he endured before you got him.
First, is there any way you could go to Wal-Mart and get a shoebox-sized Rubbermaid container and a heater? A stable temp will really help Alpha fight off his illness; with the fluctuations and colder temps, Alpha is actually using up all of his energy just to stay alive so he has nothing left to fight off infection. If you can get him into something large enough to heat, it would be great.
I would recommend treating Alpha with Maracyn I and II in combo because I'm not sure if his infection is gram positive or gram negative. To make dosing easier, find a large 1 gallon jug and for each medication, fill with 5 cups of dechlorinated water and the dosage. Use 1/2 cup of this per gallon of tank water. So if Alpha's tank is 2 gallons, you would pour in 1 cup of medicated water. Change the water every day and redose the meds. Treatment should go for 5 days. Also, Maracyns are light-sensitive so keep the tank dim.
I'm more concerned with the bacterial side than the parasite side.
Sakura, if we can't find both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2, (last night I checked on line and the local stores apparently carry only 2-I'd have to order 1 in)should we euthanize Alpha? He's so miserable, just lying on his side at the bottom of his tank and struggling to breath. Do fish typically respond to medication quickly? We just haven't had enough experience with sick fishies. Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement. I do plan on buying a tupperware for him-what a good idea! This has been so difficult!
Thanks for the advice, we are following up on it today. I did manage to locate both Maracyn I and II at a local petstore-yea! Question for you as you have lots of Bettas and have probably had to deal with illness, etc. What kind of medications should we try to keep on hand for such instances? We are working on a limited budget, so I am just hoping to stock up on essentials so that when a fishie gets sick we don't have to wait for the appropriate med to come in. Also, our healthy guys are getting down to 74 degrees at night, is that a problem? We just have the small 7.5 Watt Hydor heater in their tanks right now. Problem is we heat with wood so it gets pretty chilly in our house at night. What do you think? Latest update on Alpha: He still has his color, his eyes look a bit better to me. But he is too weak to eat, I think he only managed a flake or two this morning. He can get up for air occasionally, and he tries to swim for me. His fins are not clamped. Do you think it's too late to medicate? Thanks again for all of your help and encouragement! Anyone else who has any suggestions of essential meds, feel free to advise! Thanks!
Hi Tobythefish, glad to hear you could find the Maracyns and that the little guy is still hanging in there. What a fighter!
I don't think it's too late to try to medicate but you're the one who is with him and can see how he is. If he looks incredibly weak to you, then it may be best to euthanize him. But if you want to try, by all means, it's worth a try.
As for essential medicines. My fish medicine cabinet always has AQ salt, epsom salt, API Stress Coat, API General Cure, and Mardel Maracyn II. If you can find them, it's always good to have Jungle Labs Anti-Parasite Medicated Pellets on hand too. Those pretty much cover the common bases of external parasites and bacterial infections. For more serious illnesses, it's best to buy the medicine as you go. Otherwise, they expire before you need to use them.
74 is a little cold and I would worry that their immune systems would be compromised. :/ But heaters are so expensive so I understand if you can't get any new ones right now. If you do start looking for new ones, I recommend Penn Plax Cascade 25w or Hagen Elite 25w. Both are adjustable and are not as expensive as some brands. Otherwise, try wrapping towels around the tanks at night to keep as much heat in as possible.
One possible option for getting him to eat is to get frozen baby brine shrimp and feed it via eyedropper. Put the dropper as close to his mouth as possible and basically "bottle feed" him. The downside is you have to do a water change more often to get the uneaten BBS out. That he did eat something is a good sign so hopefully, if we can just get his strength up, he can fight off his infection.
We have Alpha in his 'sick tank' complete with heater and dosed water (Maracyn and Maracyn II). Thanks for the help with the dosage, would've taken me all night to figure out how to do it myself! He seems to be doing well, even took a brief swim around the tank to check things out. He is now resting comfortably at a cozy 78 degrees, with a towel over the top to keep him warm. Finally I can sleep well without worrying that he's getting too cold! We'll post tomorrow to let you know how he's doing, I still think it's pretty touch and go at this point. Hopefully we started the meds on time. Thanks for all of your help!! We'll work on stocking our fishy med cabinet. On another note, Ares, a birthday present VT male for my daughter (we got him 3 weeks ago) has a case of ick. ICK! So we bought some ick meds for him while out shopping for Alpha's meds. He is the most active fish I've ever seen, and this doesn't seem to be slowing him down a bit, so I think we're ok.... At least we got a jump on this one! sigh....what I wouldnt' give to have all of our fish healthy! Thanks again!