Betta Fish Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

I joined this forum because I'm so torn up about what to do. I have a nearly 6 year old male betta that I rescued from ****ty conditions. He's has a happy 5 years in a 1.5 gallon tank, that I cleaned fully every 3-4 weeks, with 50% water change in between. Always used aquarium salt and conditioner. In the last year, I've noticed his colour has dulled, and I figured he was aging. Online research shows me that he is indeed very old for a captive betta.

Two months ago, if not longer, he developed a sore spot between his eyes that looked like an infection, and I began cleaning his tank with much higher frequency. I treated him with the last of my leftover medication from another betta fish I fostered for a short time (for infection). It did nothing. The fish person at the pet store suggested an all in one, and I tried several weeks of treatment with that, and still no improvement, I think because he needed more aggressive treatment, but those options seemed crazy expensive. A week ago, he stopped eating. Even though he wasn't eating or pooping, the tank got cloudy really fast. Today, when I gently scooped him out of his tank to clean it again, he panicked and the wound opened. He bled a lot and I cried because I just felt so bad for him after watching him suffer for so long. He seems more spritely after his tank clean, actually swimming around without being prompted for the first time in several days.

Here's the deal. I badly injured my back in the summer and cleaning his tank has become a very uncomfortable process for me. In addition, I have zero income, so I don't feel comfortable sinking more money into what looks like a lost cause. I was looking for someone to adopt him after my injury but now with his age and his condition, I can't imagine anyone will take him. My conscience is screaming at me to do something, but realistically, I can't keep putting myself through this stress. Is there any reason to keep treating him? Should I just keep cleaning his tank, leave him untreated, and let it be, or is there a good chance he could bounce back If I got the right medication? What has been the prognosis for really old sick betta fish of the past?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Wish I could take him...

I feel your distress! I would be happy to give him a home, but unless you're in south Florida that's probably not an option. At six years old he's probably reaching the end of his natural life. My suggestion is to keep him warm (steady temp between 75-80 deg) and keep his water as clean as possible.

Do you test for ammonia and nitrite? You can take water to any fish store and get it tested free of charge. For a happy healthy betta, those levels should always be as close to zero as possible. In a small uncycled tank, he probably needs much more frequent water changes than the schedule you mentioned. I would do 50% careful/gentle water changes every other day, UNLESS you feel the process is stressing him. (I find removing the fish is usually more stressful than scooping or siphoning out old water and *slowly* adding back fresh). If you do water changes, be sure to match the temp of your tank water and fresh water so it doesn't shock him. If you do all in your power to give him a healthy home, I think you can let nature take its course with a clear conscience.

How do you add the aquarium salt, and how much do you use? You might back off that a bit...I've heard it tends to build up in small aquaria in spite of water changes..

Best of luck with your old boy <3
Jennywren
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm located in Ontario, Canada.

Good to know about the water changes- will make sure to do that! I've always added just over half a teaspoon of aquarium salt to the tank every full clean. I dissolve it in hot water, let it cool to room temperature, and I mix my conditioner in the same batch. I then add the salt/conditioner mixture to the tank, let it sit for a while, then I put him back in the tank. I do another addition of about 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a tiny amount of conditioner when I do a 50% water change.

I'll call the local fish store and see if they test the water for free.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
No, I did take photos of him years ago but I can't find them. Do you want to assess his condition? He looks pretty awful. I have been medicating him on and off over the last year for slow but seemingly unstoppable finrot, and now that I think about it, I was doing water changes more frequently than I listed above for the most part during this past year. He still has all of his fins fully, but they look thin and dull. He's pale- he looks like he lost a lot of blood. After the incident yesterday, he has a red lesion between his eyes, but it's obviously stopped bleeding. One of his eyes looks a little bit bigger than the other (closer to the wound), and after examining him today, he looks like his missing a few scales on the side of his head. I feel so bad for the poor guy. I will try to go the fish store today, if I can fit it in, and ask for their recommendation, because I'm at a loss. Does anyone have any good recommendations?

I know this sound so callus, but when he started to get really sick two months ago and my treatments didn't work, I somehow got it in my head that he would die pretty quickly and wouldn't suffer too long. Now, he just looks so sad and I feel terrible for not treating him more aggressively, despite his age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
528 Posts
Hey oldbettafish,

Don't be too hard on yourself. I know you feel awful, and it's so hard to see your little companion in the state his is in, but given his age medicine might do more harm than good. You obviously know how to take care of him better than any of us. If there is anyone on this forum who has a 6 year old fish, they are very few!

Here are some very simple points as to when NOT to medicate your fish (this includes organic remedies, as these too have side effects, despite the popularity and aura of "natural" around these treatments):

As already noted; genetically weak or old/geriatric fish often do not benefit from medications/treatments, even in hospital or bath treatments. Sometime medications might actually do more harm such as lowering red blood cell count or damaging kidneys in an already weak fish.
http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Aquarium_Medication.html#over_use
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
6 years is a pretty impressive age for a captive betta. I'm sure you're doing everything correctly if he has survived for this long. As a betta ages, his health will decline and his immune system won't be as strong anymore so don't be so down. I wouldn't re-home him at this point due to his age and the stress that might come with a new environment. I know you injured your back but maybe you can get somebody to assist you in water changes? Just keep him comfortable for the rest of his days with you and know that you gave him a home that he was lucky to have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,095 Posts
You should be proud of yourself!

I also understand the angst of having zero money... If you need anything let me know and I will send it to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the kind words, I needed to hear them.

I did more research on geriatric betta fish and he's had all the symptoms for about a year now, so it's probably time. It's just so hard seeing it so drawn out, you know? He must be starving, not having eaten for so long. I was depressing myself reading about people who decided to "euthanize" their betta and it just sounds too awful for me to even consider.

Yes, the tank is a bit on the small side, that was a difficult sacrifice I made about 3 years ago. The old tank was about 2.5 gallons, I know still technically not as big as some people recommend, but he was very happy in it considering his first home after the pet store was barely .5 gallons (no filter, cleaned almost never :-() before I rescued him. For some reason, when the first filter died, the next filters I tried all made him very stressed. I decided to move him to the 1.5 gallon with no filter, a size which I could carry and clean regularly myself, and he seemed very happy in his home, so I stuck with it.
This will be my last betta fish.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top