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Old 01-24-2012, 06:28 PM   #1 
AngesRadieux
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I Really Try to Do The Right Thing... :(

Housing
What size is your tank? 5.5g
What temperature is your tank? ~76
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? Aqueon Betta Bites, sometimes supplemented with Hikari FD Bloodworms or FD Krill
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Once every 3 days
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? API Stress Coat+

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clamped fins
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, hanging at bottom of tank
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I haven't
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)?I've had him since October

Here's the story:
I had originally been wary of the top fin adjustable heater that had come with his tank. However, everywhere I looked people seemed to say adjustable was better than a preset one. So today I decided to swap out the heaters. I monitored the temperature carefully and it seemed to be fine. But Severus was acting oddly. At first I thought he was just curious about the heater. However, then I found him on the bottom of the tank, barely moving with his fins clamped. I took the heater out and he perked up a bit, but I wasn't sure if the heater was releasing something toxic into the water so I did a 100% change. I put his old heater back in and acclimated him. But he still seems lethargic and is lying at the bottom of the tank with clamped fins.

I really do try to take good care of him, but I feel like I always just mess things up. I hope he's okay...
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:37 PM   #2 
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Sometimes cheap heaters can cause this. Have actually seen it a lot.. Did you at least rinse the heater well in hot water before adding it? Did the heater change the temperature of the water a lot? I assume you have a tank thermometer you monitor temp with..

You're actually overchanging the water. For a 5 gallon you can change twice a week one 50% and one 100% and your guy will never see .25ppm ammonia.

Adjustable heaters are better but that's not one that comes highly recommended.I use Marineland Visitherm. In your size a 50w would be good. Hydor Theos are supposed to be excellent as well, but I only use the Visitherm just because it was the first I ever used and they always worked perfectly for me. 76 is on the cool side for your boy. It's acceptable but I would invest in a better heater than can maintain a 78-79 temp.

If he was poisoned, the only thing you can do is give him time to move through it. You did the right thing by doing a full water change and removing the heater. Adding some epsom salts may help. I'd start with 1/2 tsp per gallon (2 3/4 tsp for your 5.5g) and fully dissolve in some water outside the tank before adding.
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #3 
AngesRadieux
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The heater wasn't in the tank for mre than a few hours, so I'm hoping if there was something being released into the water he wasn't too badly affected. But I'm so worried about him. :/ He can still swim to the surface for air... I tried to cup him a few minutes ago so he wouldn't have to swim so much to get to the surface and he was sure able to zip around to avoid the cup... I ended up not being able to catch him, so I took out a bunch of decorations so it's easier for me to keep an eye on him.

I'm wondering if he got burned somehow... That heater's a pretty nasty piece of work. It was unplugged and off and it still started melting the plastic of my aquarium hood when I put the hood near it. But, I noticed him twitching a little bit, which worried me. It stopped and I haven't seen him do it again, but I'm still concerned.

I don't have any epsom salt on hand. Is there anything else I could use?

And the temperature changed a few degrees, but it changed very gradually. After about two and a half hours it was hovering around 78 or 79 degrees.

Edit: I managed to cup him, so now he's floating in the tank. I figure the water in the cup's shallower. Plus, the water there is from my other tank so it hasn't come into contact with anything from the tank the heater that caused the problem was in, so maybe it'll help?

I got him to eat a couple pellets in his cup. It's a good sign that he's eating, right? Or is that just me being optimistic? The first one had to sink for him to notice it, but he swam to the surface for the 2nd. Maybe with some rest in his cup he'll be okay?

Edit again: He's still twitching every now and again. :/ Do you think it'll pass?

Last edited by AngesRadieux; 01-24-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #4 
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Sorry for the double post. I couldn't find the edit button... Here are pics if they help:
http://www.bettafish.com/album.php?albumid=3244
If the link doesn't work, it's supposed to be to my album titled "Severus: I Hope He's Okay" or something like that... I think you can see it from my profile... It should be a public album.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #5 
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Not to spam, but does anyone have any suggestions for something that can help other than epsom salts? I'm going to try to get some tomorrow but I'd like to be able to do something for him tonight... I'm really worried about him.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:21 PM   #6 
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If he's lethargic after a new heater, try cupping in and doing several 100% changes several hours apart. Combined with the epsom salt when you get it and it should help out.

I went through this with a Topfin Adjustable heater that nearly killed my favorite boy twice. I did 2-3 100% changes every day and kept him at 2 tsp/gal epsom salt.

If the edges of his fins turn black and fall off, don't worry too much and keep up with the epsom salt and water changes. It's important to get anything toxic out of him as fast as possible.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:49 AM   #7 
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Thanks. There's no blackening of is fins. When I looked at him today, his fins did look kind of stained though. I woke up like three times last night to check on him. Since I didn't have anything better, I did use a bit of AQ salt in hopes that it would help him heal if there were any burns. When I woke up at 6am, he seemed to be more responsive than he was last night. I went back to sleep and woke up about ten minutes ago, and now he's still lethargic but he's hanging out by the surface of the water instead of at the bottom and his fins are unclamped. He does seem to be improving.

A pet store down the road from me opens in 20 minutes. Fortunately, I don't have class until 12:30, so I have time to try and get some epsom salt for him before class. How many days should I keep him on epsom salt for? And are there any other medicines I should be using?

I'm just so mad at myself. I KNEW that heater was bad news... That's why I didn't set it up when I first got the tank. But then I got another topfin aquarium kit that came with a similar heater, and that heater seemed to be doing fine once I figured out how to set it to the right temperature. So I went against my better judgement and decided to give it a shot since it would be able to keep his water a bit warmer than the one I had replaced it with.

At least he's doing better. It was just such a shock. Earlier that day he was swimming around happily and eating pellets from my finger and then after I shuffled around the heaters he got so sick. I wanted to send an e-mail to the company about the problem, but I couldn't find a site to contact. I'm going to try to have a little faith in humanity and believe that they're unaware of the problems with their heaters and will try to fix them once it's brought to their attention instead of selling faulty products knowing that they could kill fish.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:33 AM   #8 
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He's in epsom salt now. He's still floating in his cup, though, because I don't know if swimming to the top of a tank for air will be too much for him and I don't want to risk it. I guess all there is to do now is wait and see... I'll change his water later. I have carbon floating in a bag in his tank to try to get rid of any toxins that might have lingered after the water change. It's so frustrating! I really wish there was more I could do for him.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:26 PM   #9 
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Just have him in epsom salt until 2 days after he's back to normal.

I strongly suggest tossing the heater and any porous surfaces in the tank. New substrate would probably be best along with a 100% water change and a thorough rinsing.

My issue with chemical poisoning required such drastic actions since my betta spent over 12 hours in the water and was displaying cloudy eyes, clamping, and yellowing by the time I got him into a cup of clean water. He displayed the black edges after the second day.

Your boy may never show these symptoms since you got him out quickly.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:02 PM   #10 
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Okay. I'll let him into the big tank when I can observe him and make sure that he isn't reacting to anything in the tank. He's moving around more now, but he still won't eat.
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