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Old 03-17-2012, 09:44 PM   #1 
SaraLee
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Unhappy please help

I've had my betta for about a month and a half/two months now. My boyfriend and I bought him being sold as a "baby". The last two months we've been watching him grow and develop into a very playful, colorful fish. He lived by himself for a few weeks until he was old enough to be put in a bigger tank. He now [normally] resides in a 29 gallon community tank and gets along perfectly with everyone (as long as they stay out of his corner when he's eating).

About a week ago, (the 9th I believe) we went to a specialty fish store. They said they had live food, so we figured we would get it as a treat for our fish. Not a single one of our fish has had live food before that day. We only feed them Hikari foods. However they do occasionally get frozen food, never anything live. All this store had was black worms. We weren't sure about it so we asked the worker there (who apparently turned out to be the manager/owner). We told him what kind of fish we had and asked if they could eat them/would be ok with them. He ensured us that all of our fish would be fine and have no problems eating black worms. We went home and gave them to our fish. They all seemed to love the live food and went crazy for them.

The next morning our male betta seemed to be bloated, but other than that he seemed fine. We assumed it was swim bladder/constipation. We didn't want him to eat but we also didn't want to take him out of the tank so we separated him with a breeding box. At first he seemed to be doing better in there. He wasn't fed all that day or the next day and the bloating was starting to go down significantly. On the third day we attempted to feed him a pea. He didn't seem to take any interest in this. He picked at it a little, but the majority remained uneaten. Later that afternoon we let him out into the tank. He didn't seem to be interested in anything. He seemed better, didn't look bloated anymore, but almost seemed depressed. He normally hangs out in the plants at the surface of the water and swims around happily. Instead he was laying on the bottom of the tank looking miserable. He would come up to eat a little bit, but would then spit out most of his food. He acted like this for a couple days.

When our betta first started showing symptoms we had started looking up black worms with bettas and it turned out, it's not recommended they eat them due the complications they can cause. So we threw away the rest of the black worms. Unfortunately at this point all of our tanks had been fed the worms already.

On Thursday night he was still hanging out on the bottom of the tank. I had been trying to feed him daphnia because if he was still having problems with constipation I knew it would help a little if he would eat. Unfortunately he still wasn't too interested in his food. He was still laying on the bottom of the tank, only now he was hiding in the plants. Around 11:00 pm Thursday night he went from laying on the bottom of the tank to acting in a manner that I can only describe as having a seizure. He bolted across the tank faster than I've ever seen him move, then jumped a good 3 inches out of the water, darted to the center of the tank and swam in a tight circle "chasing his tail", and finally darted back to the bottom corner of the tank and into the plant. We could literally HEAR him bouncing off the sides of the glass as he was doing this. It only lasted about a minute, and when he was done he seemed to be "gasping". We didn't know what to do so we put him in a quarantine tank.

He's been in the quarantine tank since. We have been treating him for parasites since last night, although we're not 100% sure that's the problem it seemed most likely.

I haven't seem him have any "episodes" like the one before we moved him, but I also can't watch the tank 24/7 and if I hadn't happened to be up late Thursday night I never even would have seen him that time. However just a couple hours ago he started acting strangely again. He's been darting in circles and flailing, listing aimlessly, folding himself in half. He's clearly not in control of what he is doing, he's been slamming into the sides of the tank and even got stuck in the roots of his plant once. At one point he spun in spirals from the top of the water to the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll stop and sit in the bottom corner but it almost looks like he's twitching. Also, when he stops it doesn't seem to be for more than just a few minutes.

Everyone keeps telling me "darting is normal behavior in bettas". But this doesn't seem like normal darting. Something is clearly wrong.


Around feeding time we also noticed in our 14 gallon tank that one of our tiger barbs has separated himself from the group. He didn't seem to be hanging out with the rest, and when we fed them he didn't go anywhere near the food. We even tried dropping the food right to him, but he just ignored it. Shortly after he hid in a corner in one of the plants. He doesn't seem to have anything physically wrong with him other than he is just acting strangely. He's been sitting there for an hour and a half now and we're not sure what's wrong. If what my betta has is a parasite then maybe it is possible the tiger barb has the same parasite.


The episodes my betta has been experiencing almost look as if he has whirling disease. But I am told this is not possible in a betta.

If anyone knows what my betta might possibly have or how I should treat him please let me know. We don't know what else to do and we really don't want to lose him.

Also, is it possible that what is going on with the tiger barb is connected to what my betta has? We're pretty sure the black worms are what made the betta sick, but we don't know what exactly it is or what to do about it.

Thank you to anyone that can help in any way.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:01 PM   #2 
Pataflafla
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What medication for parasites are you using?

If you are US based, then I suggest either General Cure of Jungle brand.

Also, have you tried epsom salt at 1 tsp/gal for your betta? This can be used together with a parasite medication, which helps since the medication usually can't kill the internal parasites since it isn't directly absorbed from the stomach.

The epsom salt acts as a laxative and is good for when a fish is constipated and has parasites since it helps them expel them.

Try the epsom salt for both your betta and your barb along with parasite medication to see if that helps any.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:07 PM   #3 
SaraLee
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I'm currently using Tetra Parasite Guard. From what I understand it is the same thing as the Jungle brand (information on the internet says Tetra bought the contract).

He's only been being treated for 24 hours so I obviously don't expect him to get better right away, but he seems to be getting worse.

I'll try the epsom salt.

Is there any way this is anything else? I'm afraid if I'm treating for the wrong thing he'll die while I'm trying to figure it out. And I want to make sure it's not fatal so I'm not making the poor thing suffer.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:36 PM   #4 
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With the darting and flashing that you've describe it seems like it's either something internal parasites or something bothering in the water. I'm less likely to suspect the second option since none of your other fish besides that barb is experiencing any other troubles.

Did your pet store say who provided the live foods? Usually if it's not from a trusted shop or provided by yourself, it's a good idea not to feed live foods.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #5 
SaraLee
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No they didn't. They did claim it came from a "clean culture" and he insisted he was positive it was free from anything. But the fish never had live food before that or since. My boyfriend had even called the owner when we realized it was probably from the worms to inform him (hoping he would at least not sell them to anyone else) and he just screamed and swore and said we were lying and there was absolutely NO way it came from his food and proceeded to hang up.

I'm unfortunately learning the hard way on this one and NEVER feeding my fish live food again unless it's something I raise myself.

It's really nerve racking watching him like this. He's been at it for the last 6 hours now. He'll spin around uncontrollably and flail, and when he does stop he's usually folded almost entirely in half.

I've been told I should probably euthanize him, but I don't want to even think about that if there's a chance he could get better.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:19 AM   #6 
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Give him a day or two with the epsom salt to see if that helps him out any. I'd say if it continues or worsens after the epsom salt for a few days, then definitely think about euthanasia for both him and the other infected fish. however sad it may be, if it's cruel for them to continue as they are, you as the pet owner should do your best to either fix it or end it.

It's a tough call, but sometimes it has to be made.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #7 
SaraLee
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The tiger barb seems to be fine now. He's eating and not hiding. But I'm still not 100% sure.

But now there's two fish in the 29 gallon that may be affected.
One of the blue rams seemed to be turning to it's side and ramming forward at the bottom of the tank. However it also seemed like it was trapped in that corner by the other fish, so I'm not sure if maybe it just wanted to get past them and that was its way of trying to force them out of the way. Once it got out of that corner it seemed to be swimming normally.
And one of the albino cory's looked like a "torpedo spinning" in place. It did that two or three times before swimming to the back of the tank.

I don't know if they're being affected by the same thing as the betta or not as the betta seems to be acting in a much more extreme manner.

I also don't know how I should treat everyone if all these fish are infected. I only have two empty tanks, the three gallon that the betta is in and the one gallon that isn't fully cycled yet. I guess if it's just the cory and possibly the cichlid too I could move them in with the betta (which I really don't want to but if absolute need be I don't see many other options). But I really don't want to have to treat a whole tank full of fish as it will kill off the bacteria and going through a cycle would be just as bad for them. I also feel like I might be a bit paranoid, with everything going on I feel like every little move the fish make is something else wrong.

This is all reallyyy stressful =/ thank you for your time.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:02 PM   #8 
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Take some time to observe them before you make any decisions. I know how it is when you're trying to find what to treat for. everything seems like it's off and then you don't know what to treat for.

Just keep watching for any more signs or signs of something spreading.

Has your betta improved any with epsom salt, or have you started that yet?
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:38 PM   #9 
SaraLee
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Thank you. I REALLY appreciate your help. I had tried asking on other sites before I found this one and I was either ignored or just got rude responses. I was starting to give up hope. It's a lot easier for me and the fish when someone can help without telling me I'm an idiot for not being able to figure it out.

Thank you again.
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:40 PM   #10 
SaraLee
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And I have started it, but there's no improvement yet. I'm hoping there will be with a few days, I'm not expecting any overnight miracles or anything.
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