I'll gladly add details ASAP but right now I'm panicked. I read that people use 2 or 3 teaspoons of epsom salt per gallon of treated water. I thought I was being careful using only 1 teaspoon, but water tests before and after show a jump in GH from 30 to 180.
Can anyone tell me if I made a horrible mistake and if so, what I should do?
Many many thanks for any help!
Here are a few details:
Our little pal is "new" from a crappy pet store. I did my best to choose one that appeared healthy and to transition him cautiously to his current home (for now just a 1-gallon bowl with some heat--about 75 deg--and water treated with Splendid Complete Water Conditioner).
He hasn't eaten since coming home, which I attributed to stress, though he did take a pellet once and spit it out (the same food he was getting at the store--I asked).
He's mostly sitting at the bottom of the bowl, sometimes leaning against the side of the little "house" where he's also hidden out quite a lot (again, I chalked this up to the stress of the move).
He has no visible spots or fuzz, and I can't tell whether he's bloated because I haven't known him long enough. That said, I do suspect he was over-fed as there were uneaten pellets at the bottom of the container he was in at the store.
After much reading, I thought the epsom salt treatment seemed like the best option, but seeing the GH jump like that is scaring me and I don't want to cause him any more stress than he's already experienced.
Please feel free to ask questions--I'm sure there are factors I'm not including here--and if you have any advice, please share!
Last edited by whoiam; 02-06-2012 at 12:54 PM.
Reason: Additional details
First off, congrats on the new guy. Second off..... RELAX. lolz. He's going to be stressed out from the move, new environment, and you constantly fidlling with things. See if you can slowly bring his temp up closer to 80* and keep offering him the food you want him to eat. Just observe for the first couple of days. Also, I leave the light off for a couple days after getting a new guy to also help them relax and get used to their new environment.
Thanks. I know you're right that I need to relax, and all the fussing (e.g., adding the epsom salt) is likely to cause more harm than good. That said, I already added that and now I don't know if I need to cycle out some of the water. Is such a high GH level okay? (Obviously I'd rather not disrupt his home yet again.)
We got this new crowntail betta about a week after my 7-yr-old's moontail betta, Sherman, died. I'm sure that has a lot to do with why I'm on edge (oh, the heartbreak!).
I'm still working on getting the water temp a little higher, btw. Really wish we had him in a tank with a thermostat... but he CAN be okay at 75 degrees for now, right? Or no?
75 is fine for now- he won't die from the cooler temperature, but gradually in time he can become lethargic, slowed metabolism and lowered immunity. But for now, and for the next few weeks until you can get him a small heater, he will be fine.
Epsom salt is very gentle for bettas, in fact they can be in it indefinitely if needed.. but in this case it's not. The Epsom treatment requires daily 100% water changes, which at this point could cause him more unneeded stress and shock.
Go ahead and remove him from the salt- if he has trouble swimming/buoyancy and tilts completely to his side then you can start back up on the Epsom at 1 tsp/gallon with the daily 100% water changes.
As Jodah mentioned, continue offering food to him twice a day and soon he will adjust and eat healthy- but don't get disheartened if it's been a week and he isn't eating fully, as sometimes it can take a couple weeks before they get into the rhythm of being fed regularly.
I hate to say it but I still don't know what to do. I can't take him out of the epsom-treated water, because I added it to his bowl!
I'm guessing that does mean I made a big mistake as I feared.
If it were you, would you do a 100% water change at this point? I do NOT want to put him through any more stress, but is he at more risk staying in the same water? Would a partial water change help or hurt at this point?
I'm trying not to panic (obviously failing there). I really appreciate your response and your encouragement. It's clear people on this forum truly care about their fish, and I hope I'm able to give back to the community if I ever actually learn anything useful.
I still intend to get a tank so he has more space and better temperature control; he's in a 1+ gallon bowl with a small heater that can't be adjusted.
I guess my question at this point is whether to leave him alone for a bit, do a partial water change, or do a 100% water change (eek!).
I thought I was being careful using only 1 teaspoon, but water tests before and after show a jump in GH from 30 to 180
Don't panic yet My understanding is that the general hardness (GH) will be affected if you dissolve calcium or magnesium into your tank. The level that you found is still fine for your betta and most fish.
If you don't want to disturb and stress your betta further, I would just wait till his next water change which will be in another day or two? (since it's a gal bowl). Or if you think you can do a partial change, then go ahead and do a partial change. I personally find my partial change takes longer and more stressful to my bettas, I guess I am just not good at it
Good luck! Would love to see photos of your new guy if you can a chance to post it.
Thanks, earthworm. Very encouraging about the GH level being safe. I guess I'll leave the water alone for another day then do a couple of spaced-out partial changes before the 100% change so I can gradually lower the GH and try to match the levels when I do the full change. (Does that seem reasonable? He's only been in the bowl since Saturday and the ammonia levels are nil so far, so I'd like him to have a little more adjustment time.)
I'm slightly less stressed, much thanks to the comments here, and I'm trying to leave him alone as advised. I did offer food this morning and he came up for air but didn't eat, so I scooped it out and will try to be patient.
I'd love to share pics, but he keeps hiding... I'll do it as soon as he's ready to show off. I was so panicked yesterday that I didn't even make a profile for myself yet.
P.S. My son named him Blue Star but isn't sure he'll stick with that. I think the loss of Sherman (our moontail) made him wary of getting attached too quickly.
I personally find my partial change takes longer and more stressful to my bettas
Hmm. I certainly don't want to add stress! For partial changes I do about 20% at a time, making sure the water temps are the same. Obviously that's more tricky when the fish is active, but since he's mostly hiding for now it's easy to remove that much water. I hope I'm not doing it wrong!
It won't be an issue if you just change the water 100% at your next change. Just make sure you monitor the ammonia level daily to know when it becomes unsafe. The general rule of thumb for a 1 gal is at least twice 100% weekly water change, but the factors such as size of fish, waste, food type etc have an effect, so I think testing the water parameters will guide you in the right direction for the water change amount and schedule.
Hehe...even though I am not as fast at partial change, but I still do it though. I have one that has great bowel movement (knock on wood), so I use the tubey pump thingy to suck up the waste at the bottom in the morning, and then just fill up the amount that's been removed. I think my betta doesn't like me messing with his house.
I know what you mean about being panicking lol Been there, done that! Even now, I watch my brood like a hawk, with flashlight and magnifiers every day! (call me crazy!) Kudos to you for having Sherman for 7 years!! That's the longest I have heard on this forum!
Oh, about the food, as previously suggested, just keep trying, he will have to eat eventually. I have been lucky in that department. Not sure how big your betta is, and how big the pellets are, but I would try to cut it in halves and try it that way. My two youngest couldn't keep the pellet (already baby size) in their mouths and chew, so by cutting them in half, they were able to eat comfortably. If you have access to frozen bloodworms, they love those!