I am saddened that my first post here is an unhappy distressed one. I know this post is sort of long, so I apologize in advance.
About 3 weeks ago my husband brought home a blue male betta, who was promptly named Triangle by my kid (it is 2-year-old speak meaning everything good and/or pretty). Although the fish was a present for my child, I really fell in love with him and thus have been declared "the fish person" of the household.
The first week or so Triangle was very happy and active, swimming about in his new tank, actively exploring, swimming up to the front "say hi" whenever I'd look in. He even started blowing bubbles into one portion of the top of the tank, which I guess is related to building a bubble nest?
About 10 days in (a few days after doing the first 50% water change) I came home to notice my fish stuck to the intake of the water filter! I do have fishkeeping experience, but I have never had a betta before, so I didn't realize that such a thing could even happen. i turned the filter down to the lowest flow setting, did a 25% water change, after which he seemed to regain some vigor.
I also started reading up on betta diseases and found this site, because about 2 weeks into living with Triangle, he got stuck to the filter again. At this point I began to suspect illness. yet it didn't look like he was sick with anything perceptible. I shone a flashlight on him and saw that he appeared to have a slight golden hue, which I then thought was part of his normal coloration, but now suspect is velvet.
Over the next few days I started seeing undeniable signs of disease. Triangle began to sit on the bottom and hiding behind the (fake) plants and inside the ornament in his tank. He began clamping his beautiful fins and tail close to his body, and I haven't really seen them unclamped since. It still didn't look like anything obviously visible was going on, yet the golden color started to become more apparent. I was now sure it was velvet.
Last Sunday I began adding aquarium salt to his tank, gradually increasing it to 3 tsp/gal. As he was acting sicker and sicker each day, I decided medication would also be necessary. I was told to use Maracide (active ingredient Malachite Green) on days 1,3, and 5 (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) by the people at the LPS. I don't think it made a difference. However, I started seeing more and more of a behavior where the fish was scratching himself against the decorations and gravel in the tank.
I visited the pet store my husband bought Triangle from, only to have the guy there apologize profusely and tell me that all the bettas the store sold around that time suddenly got sick in their small tanks and died. The pet store guy said he couldn't figure out what it was from, just a bunch of unhappy, clamped-fin fishies that soon died. This prompted the store to immediately switch betta suppliers. The good news in all this is that Triangle is still alive.
About 3 days ago I finally started seeing little whitish spots all over Triangle. it looks like ich, although I thought that velvet also results in tiny white spots when it gets really bad. Perhaps I am wrong? I was hoping a more experienced member here could tell me.
ANYWAY, any and all help would be greatly appreciated. It now looks like his tail is getting shorter and he might have fin rot. At first I thought I was just seeing things, but then my husband asked me if I thought Triangle's tail was smaller than before. My husband is convinced that Triangle is suffering, and that I am somehow torturing the fish by keeping it alive. He has threatened to "euthanize" him, which has turned the mood in our household quite bitter.
I think Triangle is a strong, healthy fish, and I think he will make it if I get a bit of help from all of you. He is somehow looking worse yet acting like he's feeling better over the last 48 hours.
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
78 to 80 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter?
yes, but the carbon has been removed the last week or so due to meds in the water
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
yes, but it wasn't up until 4 or 5 days ago, as the people at the LPS tried to convince me bettas didn't really need heaters!
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
no other tank mates
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish?
2 pellets once per day
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
half to 2/3 of the water
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Aqueon Water Conditioner
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
7.8 from the tap, about 6.8 filtered through a Brita -- I try to use mostly the Brita filtered water which I boil and then let cool
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
golden coloration around head and gills, very tiny white spots have appeared all over the body within the last few days, tail and fins seem to be getting shorter
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
clamped fins at all times, alternates between periods of extreme lethargy, hiding, and spending long periods of time resting on his betta leaf (a fake leaf with suction cup a few inches below water surface) to periods of extreme agitation, rubbing against everything in the tank, and swimming so fast he almost jumps out of the water!
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
about 2 and a half weeks ago saw him stuck to filter and acting sluggish, although condition improved a little after a partial water change
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
about a week ago began adding salt, gradually increasing to 3 tsp/gal; and 6 days ago added Maracide (1 capful, days 1, 3, and 5); for the last 3 days have also been adding in Melafix, 1/2tsp per 5 gals. Since none of these things seem to be working, I have put his activated carbon bag back into his filter about 24 hours ago.
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
Not sure, but he was probably ill from the store as store employee reports all other bettas from this batch dying of an unidentified illness.
How old is your fish (approximately)?
I have owned him for about 3 weeks, I'm pretty sure he's an adult fish.
Thank you all so much for you help and support. I have quICK cure, which has formalin and malachite green in it, as well as general cure capsules which have a scary poison warning on the back. Any recommendations on what to do? I'd hate to lose this fishie friend.
Also what's the best way to do a 100% water change? How do I get it all out of the gravel and such? All these things don't seem possible to truly clean -- or am I missing something?