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Old 02-21-2012, 02:24 PM   #1 
2011Buttons
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Darting/Scratching, Fin Rot, AND Bloating?! Please Help!!

I went away over Christmas break and left my betta Oscar with a friend to look after while I was gone. 3 weeks later I go to pick him up and she hasn’t changed the water once!

Since then he’s hasn’t been his usual happy self. He hangs out in the upper corner of the bowl all day (which he kind of did before, but at least then he used to blow bubble nests, which he doesn't do anymore). When he does move, he darts around the bowl charging and scraping himself on things.

He's also been showing some physical damage. He’s a crowntail, but his fins now have holes in the center of them. His bottom fin especially. The front of it looks like it’s been falling apart in chunks, while the back of it looks clumped. I tried the conservative approach for the first few weeks (more frequent partial water changes), hoping he’d just snap out of whatever it was, but nothing changed.

From the scraping I initially thought it was some kind of external parasite so started giving him a few drops (I worked the math out and gave the recommended dosage) of “Kordon Rid Ich Plus” as it was suggested by the woman at my pet store. I did this for about 2 weeks and moved him to a warmer part of my apartment and he seemed to sort the behaviour out.

I then started treating him for what looked like fin rot, as that had gotten worse since I started using the first treatment (throughout this process I was doing frequent water changes and made sure to do a full water + a couple days of no treatment change before I switched medications) and I actually saw him scrape a chunk of fin off on his plant! I used the fin rot medication (I believe it was “Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Mela Fix”, again recommended by my pet store, but I don’t have it on me and won’t be able to double check for a few hours) for the recommended 7 days and it didn’t do a thing for his fins AND he'd started darting/scrapping again so I stopped using it.

I haven’t given him anything for a week or 2 now. At this juncture everything he’s had so far (the darting, the scratching, the holes in his fins) have come back, some worse so, and in the last week his stomach has gotten bloated! He still eats voraciously every time I feed him (no throwing up, eats everything I give him - I haven't changed the amount I feed him), but the bloating has me especially worried. I tried not feeding him for a day hoping it would pass but it hasn't.

He seems to have everything wrong at once and I don't know what to do!!



Details:

Housing
What size is your tank? – 1 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? – Don’t know. Feels luke-warm?
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
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? - Plastic cave and a plastic fern thing.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? – Flakes and occasionally freeze dried blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish? – Once a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? –Once a week
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? – I use britta filtered tap water, pH neutralizer/dechlorinator and a pinch of aquarium salt

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? - No

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? – Fins look like they’ve been coming off in chunks. Back bit of bottom fin appears slightly clumped?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? – He no longer builds bubble nests but still lingers on the side/top of the bowl and occasionally spazzes out darting around and rubbing his gills and sides on things.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? – A month and a half ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? - Yes (outlined in detail above) Rid Ich Plus for 2 weeks, followed by a week of nothing, followed by a week of fin rot medication. No current treatment regime. All symptoms are still present.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? - No
How old is your fish (approximately)? – I bought him 4-ish months ago


Any advice you guys could give me would be vastly appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:19 PM   #2 
callistra
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You can't treat ich in an unheated bowl. You need to get him into something larger and heated. However, while the symptoms you describe could be parasite in nature it can also be ammonia poisoning which he for sure has and I think the bacterial infection is the most pressing at this point.

For a 1 gallon you need 100% change every days 3 max, and ideally a 50% change on day 2. Why do you use a ph adjuster? What is the ph out of your tap?

3 weeks in an unheated an uncleaned 1 gallon bowl.. he's suffering from ammonia poisoning at least and unsurprised he's got some additional infections.. bacterial for sure and possibly parasite as well. What kind of things are you seeing physically? Photos would be helpful. Ich appears as white specs like salt.

For now get him into something 2.5 or greater with a good adjustable heater like a Hydor Theo or Marineland Visitherm. (25w for 2.5g and 50w for 5g) Depending on the size of tank you get will depend on how frequently you need to change the water. http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=20058

At this point I would get targeting the bacterial infection and increasing water changes. Because of the bloating I would not treat with aquarium salts. I would get him in 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp per gallon epsom salt (pure not additives) and predissolve before adding. Fast him a couple days on the epsom salts and watch his poop. See what his poop looks like and report back. Leave his tank bottom empty at this point so you can really see how much he goes. I would also look for a good antibiotic like Kanaplex or Maracyn Plus. If neither can be found I would look for Furan-2 which is by API and should be an easy fined.

You need to get him on a good quality pellet and not flakes as those also lead to bloating. Omega One or New Life Spectrum are good. 2 pellets twice a day of Omega One would be a good start and 6-8 of the NLS is good (3-4 twice a day) with one fast day a week no matter what you choose.

ETA: Artificial plants can be hard on bettas fins. I would remove any plastic plants and get silk.

Last edited by callistra; 02-21-2012 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:02 PM   #3 
2011Buttons
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Thank you so much for all the tips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
Why do you use a ph adjuster? What is the ph out of your tap?
I'm not sure what the pH out of the tap is, but what I put in is "Neutral Regulator liquid" by Seachem. The bottle says that it adjusts high or low pH to 7.0 and removes chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia

Quote:
Originally Posted by callistra View Post
What kind of things are you seeing physically? Photos would be helpful. Ich appears as white specs like salt.
Took some pics now that I'm home. The bloating looks like it's gone down since this morning and it doesn't look like he has any white spots on him. The red is just his colouring, but the faint beige spot on his anal fin is a hole, and it looks like it's clumped at the back, which it wasn't before. Also, I didn't get the best angle on his ventral fins, but they look pretty shredded.

The darting and scraping is still really bad though (pretty sure he knocked his plant over actually). Is this what ammonia poisioning does?! Will more frequent water changes (and a larger tank) eventually fix this?

I'm doing a 100% water change now and will pull the plant out until I have time to go buy him a new one (and a bigger tank + heater). I've also picked up some pure epsom salt and will try that as well.

The stuff I was trying for the fin rot claims to be a treatment for bacterial infections (Melafix by API) but I don't have any antibiotics on hand. Would this work? Or should I really pick up an antibiotic. In which case, would a pet store have it? Or should I look around for an aquarium shop?

Thanks again!!
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Last edited by 2011Buttons; 02-21-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:06 PM   #4 
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Also, just got this pic of the scraping behaviour.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:55 PM   #5 
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Keep your betta as warm as possible, since you don't have a heater. Since it's a small bowl, it's not too big a deal... luke warm is probably in the 80's, but get a thermometer and check. Mine stays stable without a heater at 78 or 79, and he's in a half gallon (long story, he'll be upgraded soon).

Anyways. Remove the cave and plant. That way he can't scrape and tear on them. The plant especially, as it's clearly capable of ripping his fins. Since you said he appears bloated, don't feed him for two or three days, and watch his stool... you may wish to remove the substrate temporarily to see this actually. A bare bowl won't be bad for your fish, don't worry! If he has nothing to scratch on, the better for his fins to regrow anyways.

Do 100% water changes every day, or 100% alternating with 50% instead. Keep his bowl as clean as possible. He probably was "burned" by the nitrate and ammonia build up over the three weeks, which is why he's "itchy" and darting everywhere. Keep his tank dark to try and relax him, so he'll dart less. If you have to, put a towel over most of it, but leave a window so he can still see the room around him a bit...

A general medication may help, but to be honest, I don't know any offhand other than bettafix or pimafix... betta fix I had no luck with for fungal stuff, but pima fix helped a lot, and also has my betta very active and happy again, so maybe try a drop or two of it?

Anyways, I hope he gets better soon! With all the water changes though, any burning sensation should quickly go away, which should reduce his attempts at scratching himself. Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:30 PM   #6 
2011Buttons
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His bowl is now clean and totally void of plant/cave/rocks, complete with 1/2tsp of epsum salt. I'll restrain from feeding him up for a few days and monitor him for poops and report back. I haven't given him any medication yet.

Thanks so much for all your help guys! Hopefully he stops spazzing soon. Never letting that friend look after him ever again >_<
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:30 PM   #7 
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So far so good. As mentioned, I put him in an empty bowl and added a half tsp of epsom salt. I did a 100% water change right after my second post, did a 50% water change yesterday, and another 100% today.

He's pooped twice and the poops look pretty normal and the bloating looks like it's gone down. Depending on how he looks in the morning, might start feeding him again tomorrow.

He moves even less now than he did, seems to swim normally when he does move, but still twitches on occasion. Is this normal behaviour?

How long should I keep his bowl empty / keep him on the epsom salts?
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:46 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2011Buttons View Post
So far so good. As mentioned, I put him in an empty bowl and added a half tsp of epsom salt. I did a 100% water change right after my second post, did a 50% water change yesterday, and another 100% today.

He's pooped twice and the poops look pretty normal and the bloating looks like it's gone down. Depending on how he looks in the morning, might start feeding him again tomorrow.

He moves even less now than he did, seems to swim normally when he does move, but still twitches on occasion. Is this normal behaviour?

How long should I keep his bowl empty / keep him on the epsom salts?
I'm having the same problem too and i had been doing water changes once every 2 days while adding sea salt for 14 days now.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:33 PM   #9 
2011Buttons
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Update: I've been changing his water every other day (half changes on the off days) and treating him with epsum salts. He's still twitchy and his fins look like they've gotten worse (even though there's nothing in his bowl anymore so there's nothing for him to scratch himself on).

As of today I've started giving him a general bacterial infection treatment (Melafix by API). Bottle says it treats open sores and fin rot. We'll see how this goes :(
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #10 
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Don't use melafix. It contains an ingredient known tobe lethal to labrynth lung fish and even the manufacturer is aware and came out with a highly dilluted alternative..which I wouldn't suggest either if you need a real med try one of the above. Twitching is ammonia poisoning or other poisoning response. Do you spray aerosols in the room? How do you clean thebowl when you change the water? Aquarium salt.. not sea salt..you should be using fresh water aquarium salt like by Api..if you're using something else stop asap.

Last edited by callistra; 02-27-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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