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Old 02-24-2012, 09:57 PM   #1 
Loveless
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Dynamo Update and a Question

So I know I haven't been on in a while. Dynamo and I had been having some trouble with finrot. Well, he's better now. He lost quite a bit of fin along the way, but he's now a happy, healthy fish! He has all his color and energy back, he's eating again, he isn't hiding away in his log 24/7.

But here's something I don't quite understand, and I'm hoping someone may help me out here. A short while after my last visit to the forums, my dad said I wasn't allowed to change the fish's water anymore. This horrified me since, from what I understand, finrot is caused by dirty water. I tried to explain that to him, but he thought maybe I was changing the water to often. So for the past month I have not touched Dynamo's water...

At first, Dynamo looked worse, then he held steady for a bit, not worse, but not better. Then he start to slowly improve.

If dirty water is the cause for finrot, can you tell me how, with a month without water changes, he got better?

I was thinking, and about the same time I started having problems was about the same time that the water plant changed something with their water, though I don't know what. But during the onset of finrot, Dynamo had an internal bacterial infection. At first I thought the finrot was a result from him being sick. Now my family and I are wondering, could the plant have put something in the water that a conditioner doesn't take out?

I want to make sure I don't have more problems like this in the future as for awhile there, I thought I was going to lose him. I do have to change the water at some point, and we were thinking of buying a bunch of those 1 gallon jugs to store water and set out for a couple weeks for his water changes.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:23 AM   #2 
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Finrot is caused by a number of things. First the malicious bacteria have to be present, and they almost always are. Second the fish's immune system must be weakened by either deteriorating water quality, bullying, or rapid temperature changes. I'm guessing what happened is Dynamo's immune system kicked in and fought off the infection.

About the water changes. At the bare minimum you should be doing water changes once a week. I know no knowledgeable fishkeeper (not just betta keeper) that would advise otherwise in all but a few select cases. However, there is such thing as keeping the water too clean. It's the same thing with humans; if you live in a sterile environment you won't be able to fight off infection when it comes because your immune system hasn't had "exercise." Changing it every day will also result in more stress than needed, and as we know stress leads to disease.

I know other users here have had problems with parents and water changes, but if you want a long-lived fish you should probably start doing water changes again. Start out slowly by only changing out a cupfull or so at a time and then move up to proper water changes.

It is possible that your water treatment plant did begin adding something different. The only way you will know this is if you call them and ask. But what water conditioner are you using?
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:59 AM   #3 
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Before he got sick and in the beginning of illness I was doing once a week, then twice a week water changes. at some point later during his illness I had switched to doing daily water changes in hopes that maybe that would help. I hadn't realized water could be to clean. I admit, it did seem a little stressful for him though... The conditioner I'm using is Prime.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:29 PM   #4 
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I'm sorry to ask so many question, but I'm unfamiliar with your situation. What size tank do you have? Is it filtered or cycled? I'm trying to pin down why he got fin rot in the first place.

Prime is a great water conditioner as it gets most of the things in water. However, I have heard of cases where the water treatment plan had some sort of spill (like a detergent spill) that put extra chemicals into the water. Really your only way to get an answer to this is to call the water treatment plant or other public health works.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:03 PM   #5 
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Well if you have a filter he may have miraculously survived the cycle process.

You need to maintain water changes. There is no tank that only needs a once every other week change, even cycled so your ammonia build up was hurting him and that's why he got rot to begin with. Even a 5 gallon tank benefits from twice a week changes (one 50% and one 100%) and one 100% change is absolutely minimum. Everything else requires more.

ETA: I see he's in a 10 gallon with a filter? The problem was you weren't keeping up the water changes properly while the tank is cycled. Miraculously, he made it through the cycle process while you stop changing any. He's a hearty little fish. You need to do many daily water changes for the next week. Thinking 25-50% daily for a week to make up the fact that you've now gone a month with no changes. After this you need to change 20-50% of the water weekly. The filter will also need to be maintained on a monthly basis.. so at this point time to change cartridges. You need to invest in ammonia, nitrate and nitrite test kit.. preferably a drops kit. Test all to see the levels. Ammonia and Nitrite should both be at 0. Nitrates should be kept 20 or below (I am assuming at this point that the many daily changes will be reducing the nitrate build up and if the ammonia and nitrite weren't at 0 at this point he wouldn't have made it)

I also suggest changing his food to one that is protein based instead of wheat based. Omega One Betta Buffet and New Life Spectrum Betta are what to look for. Feed 3-4 of the Omega One, split to twice a day adn once a week fast. The NLS are tiny and you can feed 6-8 with the once a week fast.
Please check out this guide on how to care for bettas: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=20058

Last edited by callistra; 02-25-2012 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:23 PM   #6 
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He is in a 10 gallon filtered tank.

And I did a water change once to twice a week. Not once every other week. I do understand that water changes are important, even with a cycled tank. maybe I wasn't dong them in the right amount, but I don't know since I have been told many different things of what's 'right' by many different people. I've been told anything from 15% to 50%. I've been told I've been told I'm doing to much and I'm doing to little, so please forgive my confusion. I'm trying to get things right.

The filter I check and clean on a monthly basis, and I change the cartridge biweekly since that is what the instructions said. I tested the water 2 times a week, but currently I'm out of my test strips. I've heard a drop kit is more accurate, but can I get one in a pet store and how much do they cost?

Same for the food, can I get either in a pet store? I can't buy online and usually have to have a friend do it for me...

Also thank you for telling me how to build back up to regular water changes.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:11 AM   #7 
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Callistra is probably right. Your betta survived a cycle. But this is a good thing. Cycled 10 gal tanks are wonderfully easy to take care of. Water changes need to be done weekly, but you need to decide how much water to take out. You can do this by getting a drip test kit which can be found at most pet stores. The API freshwater master kit is what most of us swear by. Once you get the nitrates in check (see next paragraph), you need to test the water weekly and find out how much water you need to take out to maintain a nitrate level of between 10ppm and 5 ppm.

After not changing the water for so long, you are going to want to start off with smaller daily water changes (around 10%) and build up to 50% changes. This is because high levels of nitrate have built up without you taking out the water. Betta can adapt to many levels of nitrate, but they have to do it slowly like a gradual buildup or a gradual decline. Putting fish from dirty water into really clean water can actually cause shock. Nitrate is a water parameter just like temperature, pH, and hardness, and a rapid change will stress the fish.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:52 AM   #8 
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How exactly would you calculate how much to take out for regular water changes?

And thank you both for your help. A friend of mine will be taking me to the store either tomorrow afternoon or the morning after. I'll start gradually building up the water changes as well.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:17 AM   #9 
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Once you have the nitrates under control with the several daily changes for a while, in a 10 gallon you want to replace 2-5 gallons a week. Gallon buckets or milk jugs (really really well rinsed on hot water to get everything out and nothing that's ever seen soap) can help you measure well. You'll want to purchase a gravel vacuum and vacuum the gravel out too. You'll put the one end in gravel and the other inside the gallon jug/bucket and that's how you'll know you took that much out. The vacuum should have instructions on how to move it and a google search will show you how to do it too.. make sure to keep the gravel vacuum in the gravel and get all around to suck up any poo and other debris.

New Life Spectrum can be bought at Petsmart or Petco. You can also get drops test kit there. Get one for all 3. API is what I use. You're going to want to do many daily water changes until the Nitrates show under 20.

Last edited by callistra; 02-26-2012 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #10 
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Using a bucket rated for 5 gallons helps to figure out how much you took out. I use a gallon pitcher (a plastic one that you could use to make tea or coolaid) to refill my tanks, so I could how many times I have to refill the pitcher. That's how I gauge how much I took out.
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