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Old 03-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #1 
makoisland's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Fin rot, some other problem? Need help

Recently I’ve noticed a couple things about my fish that seem a bit odd. On Sunday evening he was resting quietly at the bottom of his cave; he usually goes in there at night, but this time he just seemed unusually still.
For a couple days after that, he hid off and on in his cave and behind his heater; sometimes he would hang around the bottom of the tank and only come up for air.
Now, he pretty much just stays in one corner at the top of the tank. He won't eat anything, and he floats in one spot for the most part, other than a few laps around the aquarium every now and then.
I noticed that the fins on the side of his body (behind his head) weren't as wide and spread as they usually are; and they had a white outline, which I’m pretty sure is new and not something I just didn’t notice. Now it seems like these fins, as well as his other fins and beard, are getting smaller, so I suspected fin rot. There are also stringy parts of the fins hanging on the tips looking like they’ll fall off anytime.
When he swims, he seems to jerk a little. Because of this, I toyed with the idea that he could possibly have swim bladder, but he doesn’t really seem to be swimming on his side.
Yesterday I changed all the water and added aquarium salt and StressCoat. I'm willing to do 100% water changes every day, but I'm afraid that if I keep doing that (and having to put Mako in his cup) I'll stress my fish out and he'll get worse.
What size is your tank? 2.5-3 gallons
What temperature is your tank? Approx. 78 F
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? TetraBetta Pellets and freeze dried bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day

How often do you perform a water change? 2-3 times a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% once a week, 50% the other times
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? BettaSafe water conditioner
Water Parameters:
Ammonia: .5-1 ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: .20
pH: 7.2
Hardness: 150 (hard on range of very soft, soft, hard, and very hard)
Alkalinity: 300 (just above ideal on test kit)

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Clamped/smaller fins, white outline on side fins
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Quieter, stays at top of tank, doesn’t swim around much but swims jerkily
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About four-five days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Aquarium salt, StressCoat, water changes
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not since I’ve had him
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure, but I got him about three weeks ago
I can post pictures if it will help identify the problem (and if I can get a fairly clear shot with the camera).
Thanks in advance for your help everyone, I appreciate it.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:21 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
I think if you keep up with aquarium salt at 1 tsp/gal and do 100% daily changes, you'll see some good improvement.

the stringy bits has me worried that it may be fungus, so keep temperatures on the lower side and be prepared to up the salt if necessary. If after 5 days you see no improvement, up to 2 tsp/gal.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:19 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
With Bo, (who acted exactly like yours) I used epsom salt. One tablespoon in 2 gallons of water, no tetracycline or anything, for four days. Also, keep it a little dark. I did change with water 100% every evening and I feared stressign him so here is what I did:

2-gallon water container
Small bowl heater
Large net- Bo was NEVER caught with this net, it was just to get him away from the light ASAP.
Hospital tank (3-gallon critter keeper with no filter since I'm going to do 100% daily water changes.)

1. Put water into 2-gallon holder.
2. Squish small betta bowl eater into 2-gallon holder.
3. Plug in heater, add salt and conditioner, and wait a few hours (I do this the night before, after I've changed his water out.)
4. Use your spare thermometer and run your sink water into a bowl until it gets warm-ish.
5. Put thermometer into bowl, and try to get the temperature to be similar to the water in the aquarium, and in the 2-gallo container (fewer temperature changes + properly treated water = happier fish).
6. Unplug the heater and lower betta cup (that he can see out of) into water. Don't chase him, wait for him to swim near it. Lift the cup upward and hopefully you'll get him inside it. If he won't move from the corner, use the other end of the net to gently push AT him (you probably know not to touch the fish, but ya never know who might be reading the forum).
7. If he's being a pain then get the heater out and wash it by swishing it around the bowl in the sink until you feel safe to pull it out and dry it with a paper towel
8. Try to get him in the cup again, just being sure to be patient and gentle.
9. Repeat step 8 as needed. If he just won't move then turn the cup upside down, lift it out of the water, turn it sideways and push it into the water near him. The current should sweep him out of the corner and into the cup, but make sure you try to do this as slowly as possible.
10. Float the cup in the tank and put the net around it- leaving the sky open.
11. Remove any ornaments that you want to clean and put back in the tank- give up on gravel.... trust me.
12. Start removing water until you feel you can dump out the whole tank - this is why small hospital tanks (2-3 gallons) are awesome.
13. If your fish is a jumper then net the top of the cup, otherwise you can leave it open. Mine has never jumped, but it might be best to just net the top anyway.
14. Remove net and cup (hold the cup, don't just let the net lift it) and place it into that bowl in your sink that is roughly the same temp as your tank, or place it onto a plate (my fish is in the kitchen...)
15. Dump aquarium, rinse, wipe with paper towels to remove unseen gunk. Place tank back in it's original location. This should take about a minute since you're not sanitizing, just rinsing.
16. Put water from 2-gallon into tank, with any decor you want to keep in there, the heater, and the thermometer.
Dump about 1/2 of the water out of the betta cup, and move it, in the net, to the aquarium.
17. Float cup and add some of the new water every 15 minutes.
18. Lift cup and cet, dump 1/2 of water. Repeat step 17.
19. Repeat 17 and 18.
20. Lower net and slowly tip the cup or just lower it until the fish swims out the top. Sometimes I'll teach the bottom of the tank and Bo will still be in the cup. I just walk away at this point.

Whole change takes 50minutes, but the fish is only "out-of-water" for one minute and the temperature does not vary. This is the lease stressful way I've found. But fish are very emotive. Sometimes Bo handles this without a care, other times he won't get in the cup or he hides and ... well let's just say he's full of energy now.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
I'll also add "HANG IN THERE." I am new to bettas as well, but I've had quite a crash course.

Bo was acting like yours to the point where if he wasn't making jerky, twitchy movement, people assumed he was dead. Now only that, but half his tail disappeared overnight. He wouldn't eat for days. I tried frozen food, pellets, blood worms, flakes... nothing. I actually started looking up clove oil euthanasia because I was afraid the fin rot and fungus would eat him and he'd be suffering.

Now he's frisky! ^_^ He eats like a cliche fat guy at a chinese buffet, and he is adorable.
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:05 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Thanks for your help guys! I think Mako's doing considerably better now. His beard seems fuller than it was, and there are no more stringy bits. He swims around a bit more often and more actively, though he still doesn't glide around showing off when I enter the room. His fins still aren't spreading like they should be, but he is looking generally healthier. :)
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