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Old 03-01-2012, 10:03 PM   #1 
NorthernLights's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Rescued Fish

So, I & a friend have basically adopted my housemate's betta. He was living in horrible conditions and was nearly dead. He has very severe ammonia burns (his gills are BLACK, and there's some black bits on his body), doesn't seem to have much in the way of scales on his body (very pale, some do appear to be missing), and his fins are clear in some places and blue in others, with a lot of raggedness. To give you an idea, he's supposed to have a red body and turquoise fins. I think he is a veiltail, but I cannot tell if he's a double veiltail or if his fins are just that split.

So, he is now in a 1-gallon aquarium with an undergravel filter and heating light that I got from Wal-Mart for 10 bucks. Yes, I know this is not ideal, but we are students and money is a serious limitation. He has a lovely soft plastic plant and some gravel, and he has perked up quite a bit.

I know it is very hard to cycle a 1-gallon tank, but I was wondering about using some Jungle Start Zyme to help with that? I gave him some dried bloodworms tonight and he seemed to really like them, which is good because he hasn't eaten much for several days now. I got some of the Splendid Betta Water Conditioner with aloe to help with healing and some aquarium salt. We've been giving him a drop of AP Quick Cure each day for three days now, because he seemed to have fin rot, and they are looking quite a bit better.

We can't afford to go buy the water testing kits and such, and I know this setup is far from ideal, but believe me it is SO much better than what he had -- he was in a glass jug with a tiny opening, so rank it stunk up the living room. He was litterally rotting away with nothing to hide in, no stimulation or heat...

Please help me do the best I can. He's not even mine, but I and my other friend just could not stand to watch him suffer any longer. I'd love any advice you can give on Start Zyme, and how much to use of Aquarium salts and such.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
The 1gal will be fine to keep a long fin male long term IMO/E.....provided that you make the needed water changes and since you have an UGF....I would recommend twice weekly 50% with good vacuum of the gravel to keep the UGF plates free of build up so that they function properly......

Its not that small filtered tanks can't cycle-they can, however, due to limited surface area for the good bacteria to colonize-the cycle may not be stable....but as long as you are making the needed water changes all should be fine and you won't need a test kit.

It sounds like everything is going well and all he needs is good water quality, proper temp, good nutrition and time......

IMO-the products to cycle are a waste of time and money and if he is already showing sign of healing...I wouldn't use anymore salt-remove it with your regular twice weekly water changes.

If you do need to treat-it is best to use a small bare container for QT that can be floated in the heated tank and premix the treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water using aquarium salt 2tsp/gal up to 3tsp/gal and a tannin source-either IAL or dried Oak leaf-Using this premixed treatment water for water changes while in the QT for 10 days.....

Good luck and look forward to pic.....
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:23 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Australia
I agree with OFL - don't bother with the chemical additives. Dechlorinator is the only thing you need. I would suggest Prime, if you can get it, as it detoxifies ammonia as well as chlorine and chloramine. :)

If you can get together the money for a heater, I would definitely make that your first priority. A heating lamp is not a good source of heat. They have to be turned off at night to allow the fish a dark period in which it can rest, during which the water temperature drops again. In a one gallon tank, temperature does fluctuate pretty fast. A good, steady temperature of 80F will generally do more than fish medicines for health, including things like fin rot and ich, which can be cured with heat and clean water. :)

If you have any small dishwasherable cups or suchlike around, he may appreciate playing in them or hiding in them as a cave. :) Shot glasses also make a fun toy for bettas. They are very intelligent and really appreciate some mental stimulation like that. :)

Good on you for rescuing him! I hope he become a stunningly beautiful, healthy fish and that your housemate realises what s/he has done to the poor thing.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:21 PM   #4 
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Thank you both for the replies! My housemate is a very good person who passionately cares about animals. I think what happened here is that she was just another person fooled by the pet trade. Bettas are kept in tiny, unheated cups in the stores, and people are told by the employees that bettas don't need much care, after all most of the habitats in the stores labelled "perfect for Bettas" are also tiny, unheated tubs with no filters...the sad thing is that the pet trade exploits both animals and people. It reduces the animals to a mere object that can be bought or sold for a few dollars, and exploits people who truly have good intentions. I tried to talk to my housemate a bit about this yesterday. It's hard to convince people that everything they've been told, for years and years, isn't really correct. Unfortunately, this is one of those areas where the betta's ability to survive works against them...

As for the fishy, he seems to be doing better. Occationally now when I come up to the tank he'll puff out his gills and stare me down. He's not eating though...been pretty much avoiding food for the last couple of days. When I put him in his cup today to change his aquarium water, I put in a few pellets and he steadfastly ignored those, too. OTOH, he's got a good bit of energy and his body is definately getting better color. The black spots on his head and the blackness in his gills hasn't changed, though. His fins have some white streaks now. I am not sure if that's just scar tissue forming or what. I've been putting a hot pack behind his tank for the last two days to try to bring the temp up a bit. With the heating light on, the water stays consistantly at 74 degrees. I'm trying to bring that up a bit. I haven't been turning the light off at night because it's what is keeping him warm, although I do try to turn it off for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening to give him a little darkness. He hates the net. I am getting better at doing it quickly rather than chasing around the aquarium for ages.

Advice, comments, thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:12 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Kingston, Ontario
You've gotten some great advice so far. Just wanna touch some things that weren't really answered. Are you sure he has ammonia burns? A lot of betta have black beards and heads, like the one in my photo. It might be natural colours, however it can also be burns.. I'd suggest looking on craigslist/kijiji/whatever for a home, people sometimes give away 2-5gallon bowls/tanks for free or cheap. If you find a home of at least 2 gallons, return the lamp if you can and buy a small tetra heater for $15 at walmart. Clear edges is usually a sign of healing. A good idea would be to leave the heat lamp on at night and cover the bowl with a towel during the warmer part of the day. Don't put him in direct sun however, it'll fry him.
Good on ya for saving the fish, and I'm sure once he's beautiful your friend will realize that they DO need more care than a jar filled with water and food.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:12 AM   #6 
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Perhaps rather than turn the light off, just cover the tank with a thick towel. Hopefully, it will trap the heat in and still give him some darkness. Just a thought. :)
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