Help! I think I burned my fish and I'm scared he's going to die.
My fish (Chester) had a big hole in his (dorsal) fin that had begun to clump together. I was told that he had the beginning stages of fin rot, and advised to get some stress coat and maracyn plus. Sunday night (at 11:00pm) I changed his water (100% change) and added 3 ml of stress coat and maracyn plus (to a 3 gallon tank). By 7:00 pm the next day, his fin had almost completely disintergrated and the tips were red. Naturally I freaked out and called Petsmart (since they recommened the medicine in the first place), and they told me to immediately take him out of the tank. They said that his fins were bleeding and that the medicine was burning him. I took him out and put him in new water, along with some stress coat.
Today, he's eating well and swimming okay, but he's staying toward the bottom of the bowl (he's in one gallon plastic bowl). I boiled his rocks, plants and rinsed his tank with hot water after I took him out, but I'm too scared to move him again. I'm really scared that he's going to die and I really love this fish, so I'd like him to live. Can anyone tell me what I should do?
I tried to upload a picture, but I cannot (the file is too large).
What size is your tank? 3 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78.6 to 80
Does your tank have a filter? NO
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? NO
Is your tank heated? NO, the temp is arleady high so I don't want to overheat him.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None. He's an only fish.
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta pellets (4 pellets daily, 2 in the morning and 2 at night) and freeze dried blood worms (as a treat).
How often do you feed your betta fish? morning and night.
How often do you perform a water change? Every week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I used to use prime water conditioner but I was told that it was too strong for him, so I changed to stress coat.
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
ACCORDING TO PETSMART ALL OF THESE LEVELS ARE NORMAL Ammonia:
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His dorsal fin is almost all gone, and the tips are red.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's not as active as normal.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Yesterday, at 7pm.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, maracyn plus and stress coat.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? His fin was clumped and had a small hole in it.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him for 2 months.
The photos to me look like fin bitting, (probably due to stress, the meds, or something like that) but apart from that he looks healthy.
You need to up your water changes though to 100% once a week on your 3 gallon. Don't use any meds. Just clean out his actual tank well, fill back up with clean water, dechlorinate and move him back.
I noticed you said you have no heater and that you use a lamp. When you turn it off at night, how low do the temperatures dip?
Also, don't trust Petsmart. When they say parameters are normal, you can't assume they are so (quite frankly LFS normal and actual normal can be completely different things). Next time, ask for specific parameters. :)
Also, prime conditioner is fine (2 drops per gallon), and very (very very very) good. I don't know who told you that, but he or she was incorrect. It is only strong if you overdose it.
He really looks quite healthy.. I don't know what I'm missing but I don't see this fin that's missing at all.. small holes can be due to ammonia burns and red tips likewise probably an ammonia issue. As was previously stated above, you need to up your water changing. And actually one water change a week for a 3 gallon isn't enough in my experience. Ammonia will be present. I have ammonia in my five after 6 days. You should do a change every maybe 3-5 days. Suggest actually testing the water a few weeks in a row to know for sure.
Thanks for replying so quickly. Do you think it's okay for me to move him back to his 3 gallon tank now (all this medicine drama just happend yesterday)? Should I go back to using the prime conditioner (I've only used the stress coat twice, so I don't think he's use to it yet). I thought I should be doing 100% water changes, but Petsmart told me to never do that (they said it takes out his beneficial bateria and that makes him more susceptible to disease). Since they created this problem, I'll take your advice and start 100% water changes. I forgot to mention that I was using API aquarium salt. Should I start that again? How can I fix the tail bitting?
When I turn off the lamp, the temp usually drops to 76 (my thermostat is set to 80 degrees). I looked for a heater, but I could not find one that allows me to set the temperature (so that it doesn't go too high and burn him), so I just keep the entire house at 80 degrees.
One last question, do you have any experience with Petco betta water? If you do, will that help him?
Sorry for all of the questions, I'm mildly freaking out.
also a heater will keep the tanks temp steady,which is what you need,instead of just heating it. temp fluctuation(day/night) are bad for the bettas immune.
stress coat is fine...hmm...maracyn plus doesn't seem to have too many complains though you shouldn't medicate unless it's needed(which maracyn plus isnot for fin rot, it's for fungus/bacteria and salt could easily have been used instead as a preventative of infection during healing.)
his fins don't look red o.O are those pics after you medicated him or before?
Pet smart sells ones that you can adjust the heater but generally only for larger tanks. the smaller onesare usually a steady 78 or so unless stated other wise.
My walmart sells"betta water" too, it's basicly just water andnot worththemoney you'll pay for it. tap water,with conditioner, is fine.
hes hould be alright to go back into his old home now tat all the meds are gone.
theonly time you have good bacteria that you should worry about is if you have a cycled tank,which you don't with no filter.
tailbiting can be caused by many things. if he's stressed he'll stop when he calms down. if he's bored you can re dedecorate his tank. The light can also cause him to bite(it's been a trigger for some otherpeople here who have tailbiters). movethelampfurther away or get some floating plants to dim it.
Stress Coat is good for helping fish repair damaged fins so while he's recovering from fin rot keep the Stress Coat. Prime is a really good dechlorinator though and in my experience also works better on ammonia exclusively. There's nothing wrong with Prime but I use Stress Coat when my fish is healing for the added properties. Either is suitable.
For a 3 gallon (actually down to 2.5) you can get a nice Marineland Visitherm 25w heater and it will work very nicely. I'm sure there are other low wattage brands but this is what I know for sure.
I would also suggest aging the water 24-48 hours before water changes. You can do this by filling up clean buckets that have never seen chems or soap or I use gallon milk containers and letting them sit (make sure you rinse really well in hot water first).
Until you feel really confident as to which day starts showing signs of ammonia I would test daily after day 2 and plan on doing a water change the day before ammonia starts showing up. If you want to take it to your local pet shop go for it, but I would personally do it myself but that does cost money so it's really your call. I would ask to actually see the test and know when you start to see hints of green (not just have them say "it's ok") and hopefully they are using drops not strips. I don't know how Petsmart does it to be honest.. If you After a couple weeks you'll have a really good idea how long you can go for as it does varry depending on how much he is pooping. Also make sure you rinse any gravel out with the change and get all the loose poop and debris out of there. I would say it should be somewhere between 3-5 days but I would be surprised if you could go the full 5.
Thanks for all of the advice. It has made me feel alot better. The picture of Chester was after the medicine and when I noticed that his fin had detoriated. It's hard to see in the picture, but the tips are red and the ends are ragged (they use to be long and full). Actually, I just noticed that a small piece of his fin is floating at the bottom of the bowl (I assumed it just fell off because of all the damage with the medicine, but now I'm wondering if he bit it off).
FYI- I uploaded a two more pictures (one of his fin before) and one after. The pic quality isn't that good, but it might give a better picture of how bad it is.
I'm defintely going to pick up a Marineland heater, change my more frequently and make sure I get the exact numbers when I check my water. I have a filter, but I decided not to use it after he got caught in it. I don't know what a biological filter is, but I'm going to look into some kind of filtration/oxygenation system that can't hurt him.
Any other advice you guys can offer is very much appreciated. Again, thanks.