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Old 03-20-2015, 04:47 AM   #1 
Astrid16
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Betta Been Sick For Weeks

Hi! I've got this beautiful betta named Shiro (he's the betta in my avatar). He's my baby, and I absolutely love him and have done everything in my power to make sure he stays happy and healthy. He was labeled in the store as a dragon scale, but I've decided that he's probably metallic. (Only bringing that up because it might be important.)

So here's the scoop. I'll start at the beginning, because I have no idea what's wrong with him, or what might have caused it. I'm covering all bases.

The PH is a little high (8.0) but ammonia levels are good. His water stays consistently at between 78-80 degrees. I do a 20% water change every week, a mixture of distilled and tap water (NO chlorine), conditioned with Splendid Betta water conditioner.

Three weeks ago, my Shiro was happy and healthy (as shown in the picture). Had been since I bought him after Christmas. No stress, no swim problems. He was a happy little betta.

Then I went to the store and bought him a moss ball (which I soaked in conditioned water and checked for worms and rot before adding them to the tank.) I also purchased some freeze-dried bloodworms, daphnia, and mysis (I've been trying to wean him off of the fish flakes with soy and wheat that he loves so much).

He got a little constipated a few days later when I accidentally fed him too big a piece of bloodworm. I fasted him for three days, then switched to feeding him a mixed diet (eyeball sized pieces!) of fish flakes and daphnia under a watchful eye every other day. But he still got constipated again, so this time I fasted him over the weekend and added a bit of aquarium salt to his tank. Then I gave him a quarter of a thawed frozen pea on Monday two weeks ago, broken into tiny pieces. He passed the food, and seemed fine for a few days.

But then his fins started...shredding. It's not rot, and he's not biting at it. For a while I was seeing something like slime trailing from his fins. It was gone within a day, but the shredding remains.

I thought maybe it had to do with the moss ball, so I took it out last week. He has absolutely nothing in the tank to snag on (I use aquarium marbles, not gravel, in the tank), and I am in the room with the fish most hours of the day. I swear he's not biting his own fins. There is no sign of discoloring. The fins are just slowly disappearing.

Also. Ever since the second constipation problem, he's been showing signs of SBD. But they're NEVER consistent. One day he'll be stuck on the bottom of the tank, or he'll be almost floating at a weird angle on the surface, or his fins will be clamped or splayed, or he'll have a 'S' in his spine... Each symptom appears and disappears within hours. He almost never displays two symptoms at once.

He doesn't like to swim much, and either sleeps on the bottom with his head in the marbles or floats in the corner. Not good. His feces the other day was a normal round, brown lump, but today it was thin and worm-like (but still brown).

There is no gill inflammation. His eyes are fine. His white scales seem like they may be changing color, but I don't know if that's normal for metallic and/or dragon scale breed. He's not bloated. He's not gaunt and emaciated. No signs of ick, velvet, fungus, or parasites.

What is wrong with him? Depression? A swim bladder injury? Or worse...tuberculosis?

If someone could give me some advice, I would appreciate it! I've read stuff on nearly every site out there, but I can't find anything to fix him.

Thank you so much for reading, and double-thanks if you can save his life!

Last edited by Astrid16; 03-20-2015 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:25 PM   #2 
kenny780
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Id try taking out the moss ball and put more aq salt in there and fast him for 2 days see if that helps
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:37 PM   #3 
LolaQuigs
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OK there are a few things I can think of that might help. First, regarding the bloating/constipation and possible SBD issues. Freeze dried foods are good as an occasional treat, but they don't have enough nutritional content to be used as a primary food. Also, because they are so dry, freeze dried foods tend to exacerbate constipation, especially in fish prone to it. Flakes are messy and can also lead to bloating. I suggest switching to a high quality pellet--these are much cleaner for the water and will be easier for you to portion control. The most recommended brands are Omega One and New Life Spectrum. Feed two or three pellets twice a day; it's also a good idea to fast your betta once a week to give his digestive system a rest. Try this regimen and see if it helps the bloating. I do not suggest feeding peas; bettas are carnivorous and shouldn't really be fed plant matter. If the bloating continues, you can try feeding a small amount of frozen (not freeze dried!) daphnia, which acts as a natural laxative. But if that doesn't help, discontinue feeding daphnia and let us know so we can advise you from there.

Without pictures, it's hard to tell what is going on with his fins. Just because you haven't seen him do it, don't discount fin biting; it is an extremely common behavior for bettas, and they do it for all kinds of different reasons (or no reason). The best thing you can do is stay on top of water changes to prevent infection.

If you could get a picture, that could help us determine whether it is in fact tail biting or fin rot or an infection.

What size tank is he in, and is it filtered? 20% might be on the low end for water changes, depending on the size of tank, filtration, and how many plants you have.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:30 PM   #4 
Astrid16
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I forgot to mention that I do soak the freeze-dried foods in a cup of his tank water before feeding them to him. And I had suspected that the freeze-dried foods weren't the best thing for him; I have plans to go shopping for more wholesome foods next time I go to the pet store.

He hasn't shown any signs of bloating since that epidemic where I fed him the pea, though, which leads me to think believe that it might not be a food issue..?

I'm actually *really* embarrassed about the tank size, which is one quart right now; I have no room for much else. But everything about the water stays consistent- exceptionally so! I'm very careful about it!

After we are done remodeling the house (within the next two weeks) I plan on going to purchase a much larger tank and a filtration system. Should I start doing 50% water changes in the meantime? I read that might be better for a smaller tank. And is the tank size part of the problem?

I am new to this site and am struggling to figure out all the features. But I THINK I have an attachment with a photo I took of him just now.

If it's working, then you'll see that, aside from his fins, he looks good. But I can guarantee that within a few more hours he'll be doing a weird floaty thing and not be able to swim properly. And then by bedtime he'll be fine again. I must be missing some huge indicator somewhere that he's sick, because nothing seems wrong on the outside. Could it be a parasite?

His dorsal fin used to have three or four beautiful curls in it. Surely he can't be reaching up to bite those off. A portion of his anal fin has shredded almost all the way up to the body, but you can't see it because he flared for the picture. (By the way, his fins never clamp.) The brown in his dorsal fin has always been there, it hasn't changed since I got him. It's probably just a part of his natural color?

Now, just in case I wasn't clear, I'm a bit more concerned about his random bouts of swim bladder problems than his fins. I think that if I can get his SB under control, then whatever's happening to his fins (stress?) might stop.

Currently, there are no plants in the tank. the moss ball was my first try. And it was small; only a few inches around.
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Last edited by Astrid16; 03-20-2015 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:58 PM   #5 
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Oh no! Excuse me; I meant to say two quarts! Oh, that's embarrassing. My tank is two quarts right now. I'd never go as low as a one quart tank!
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