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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rescued a betta(black orchid double/crown tail???) from petsmart around three days ago. I got him because he was crooked and I knew he’d die there. After some research, I figured he was crooked due to overfeeding and a swim bladder issue. I’ve kept him off food for those three days.
I just did a 75% change, the tank is cycled and seeded with good bacteria and it is heavily planted. I have one sponge filter going on low bubble and a glass heater in the tank. He’s swimming fine, but sometimes he’ll still flip over and have trouble and he still appears bent. Any advice on how to proceed? I have most medicine you can get on the market for bettas. I’m willing to do anything for my poor boy.

(As a little note, I just got another betta (dragon half moon) and he’s.... bad. Almost all of his tail is gone and I worry it might be too late. He’s in a hospital tank and I suspect it’s stress and fin rot that are his issues. Parameters should be the same for him as well. I’m not treating with anything but clean and fresh dechlorinated water. I’ve read that clean water fixes fin rot better than any meds so I’ll be doing 30% changes every three days.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5, and 1 in the hospital tank
Does it have a filter? Sponge filters for both
Does it have a heater? Heaters for both
What temperature is your tank? 78
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Both yes
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?
The 5 gallon has two mystery snails
Food: flake and freeze dried bloodworms
What food brand do you use? Omegaone
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Flake
Freeze-dried? Blood worms
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? I haven’t fed the black orchid yet, but I fed the dragon some worms and flake this morning.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? I purchased both of them ill
What percentage of water did you change? I did a 100% in the hospital tank, and a 75% in the 5 gallon.
What is the source of your water? Tap/Distilled.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Topfin water conditioner for ammonia, chlorine, and chloramine. I added epsom salt to the black orchid’s tank last night (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons)

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters?
Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
pH: 6.5
Hardness (GH): fairly hard
Alkalinity (KH): unknown

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
I bought them both sick, so upon arrival
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? The orchid is crooked and has swim bladder, and the dragon is completely shredded
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
Is your Betta still eating?
Orchid is still off food and dragon is eating voraciously.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Orchid got one tablespoon epsom salt.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Unsure
How long have you owned your Betta? 3 days
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes
 

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Did you know sometimes pet stores like petco, petsmart, etc. feed them as much as they would feed a community tank. That can kill the fish. But they do have medicine for swim bladder disease. Happy to help! 😊 good rescue!
 

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Add either Indian Almond Leaves or plain Rooibos Tea for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Those will help the multi-color. Either float a leaf or teabag or brew a strong tea of either and add to the tank until it is the color below. In addition, do one 50% water change per day.
Flower Plant Nature Leaf Botany

For the Black Orchid you can add one tablespoon of ES to a gallon of water; place him in it for no more than 15 minutes. Watch closely the entire time. If he acts stressed remove him immediately. You do not want to feed him if he is bloated unless you give him frozen Daphnia. Unfortunately, can't tell anything from his photo. A top and a full side view would help.
 

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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi! You can try frozen thawed foods to entice him into eating. Or you can try soaking his pellets in diluted garlic juice so the smell might get him to eat.
He ate for me a little while ago, picking at some flake and bloodworms. I’m relieved 😅
 

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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Add either Indian Almond Leaves or plain Rooibos Tea for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Those will help the multi-color. Either float a leaf or teabag or brew a strong tea of either and add to the tank until it is the color below. In addition, do one 50% water change per day.
View attachment 1031232
For the Black Orchid you can add one tablespoon of ES to a gallon of water; place him in it for no more than 15 minutes. Watch closely the entire time. If he acts stressed remove him immediately. You do not want to feed him if he is bloated unless you give him frozen Daphnia. Unfortunately, can't tell anything from his photo. A top and a full side view would help.
I’ll definitely be picking up some almond leaves for the dragon, he ate for me this morning thankfully but still looks like he feels terrible. Should I salt his hospital tank? Also, would tannins from driftwood be a replacement for the leaves? I’m definitely buying leaves anyway, just curious.

The black orchid isn’t bloated, just crooked. So I was sorta flying by the seat of my pants when I was looking up what it might be, but I’ll keep him off food for a few more days and then start epsom soaks in a gallon container.
Thank you so much for your advice, I really appreciate it. I want my boys to succeed! I’ll add two more photos of KITT here for you.
 

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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Still need a photo from above. Not sure what you mean by "crooked."
I’ll try and get one tomorrow morning. When I looked at him in his little cup, his head was permanently turned to the left, and he could onto lay on the right side. Like his body made a C shape.
 

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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, I’m back again. After rehabbing my very sick boy, fin rot came back. I’ve been fighting it for weeks now with maracyn2, to no avail. Tonight is the worst I’ve seen him, he’s lying at the bottom motionless unless disturbed. I don’t know what to do anymore.
I’ve been doing weekly 70% changes and the water is 80 degrees. My other betta is still eating and swimming. Tomorrow I’ll put him in the original hospital tank and try to keep treating him there.
What I don’t understand is that his fins aren’t half as bad as they used to be— why is he dying???? I’m so confused and distraught.
If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I don’t want him to die I’ve tried so hard for him.
I checked again tonight and he’s listless at the bottom, barely moving or breathing. I don’t know how to proceed, I’ve given another dose of paraguard. Is there anything else I can do to help him?
 

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Well I don't know what has changed for him in the past four months since your original post, but I can say for sure that fin rot is caused by unsanitary water conditions. Either there's leftover food rotting at the substrate, or poop that you haven't sucked up, or a dead snail that you can't find or something like that. Doing a water test should tell you what's going on and why he's developing finrot again. If there is no ammonia spike and the nitrite/nitrate levels are good, then he could be tail biting or his fins could be tearing on something. But considering he's sick, I'm going to guess something is wrong with the water, and the only thing that will cure it is clean cycled water with plenty of good bacteria. Medicine is not necessary for finrot and could be causing extra stress especially since his immune system is already low. If you still have the Indian almond leaves, add those right away until the water is a nice dark tea color (after you do a good water change and clean the substrate of course, then continue the water changes at 30% to 50% every day to every other day until he improves, and after that just once or twice a week 25% or as much as needed). With unsanitary water and a lowered immune system, he's become susceptible to diseases and may have come down with a bacterial or fungal infection. The leaves are the best and safest antibacterial and antifungal you can get - or rooibos tea. Plus they work to relax the betta and help null any extra stress of being sick or whatever might be bothering him which ultimately helps strengthen the immune system. And no, the tannins from driftwood won't act as a replacement. Different plant, different part of the plant, therefore different properties. Either Indian almond leaves or rooibos tea and a good water change and substrate cleaning is the best way to go in my opinion, at least as of right now.

The only other possibility that I can think of would be water that's too cold, which can cause a myriad of problems. In the conditions they're kept in at many pet stores, their waste is often not cleaned up and they're typically in water that's way too cold for them, that's including sometimes being overfed. I've even seen one store employee put them in untreated chlorine water! So the poor things are sitting in their own filth in toxic water in tiny cold cups until they die or someone rescues them. So the reason why they were sick when you got them was absolutely because of their lack of care. But if there's a reoccurring issue, like the fin rot, then it's definitely something going on in the water.
 

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Black Orchid Halfmoon Male “KITT” and Dragonscale Halfmoon Male
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I don't know what has changed for him in the past four months since your original post, but I can say for sure that fin rot is caused by unsanitary water conditions. Either there's leftover food rotting at the substrate, or poop that you haven't sucked up, or a dead snail that you can't find or something like that. Doing a water test should tell you what's going on and why he's developing finrot again. If there is no ammonia spike and the nitrite/nitrate levels are good, then he could be tail biting or his fins could be tearing on something. But considering he's sick, I'm going to guess something is wrong with the water, and the only thing that will cure it is clean cycled water with plenty of good bacteria. Medicine is not necessary for finrot and could be causing extra stress especially since his immune system is already low. If you still have the Indian almond leaves, add those right away until the water is a nice dark tea color (after you do a good water change and clean the substrate of course, then continue the water changes at 30% to 50% every day to every other day until he improves, and after that just once or twice a week 25% or as much as needed). With unsanitary water and a lowered immune system, he's become susceptible to diseases and may have come down with a bacterial or fungal infection. The leaves are the best and safest antibacterial and antifungal you can get - or rooibos tea. Plus they work to relax the betta and help null any extra stress of being sick or whatever might be bothering him which ultimately helps strengthen the immune system. And no, the tannins from driftwood won't act as a replacement. Different plant, different part of the plant, therefore different properties. Either Indian almond leaves or rooibos tea and a good water change and substrate cleaning is the best way to go in my opinion, at least as of right now.

The only other possibility that I can think of would be water that's too cold, which can cause a myriad of problems. In the conditions they're kept in at many pet stores, their waste is often not cleaned up and they're typically in water that's way too cold for them, that's including sometimes being overfed. I've even seen one store employee put them in untreated chlorine water! So the poor things are sitting in their own filth in toxic water in tiny cold cups until they die or someone rescues them. So the reason why they were sick when you got them was absolutely because of their lack of care. But if there's a reoccurring issue, like the fin rot, then it's definitely something going on in the water.
Thank you so much for your post! It means a lot that you put so much helpful info into it.
I tested the water and the parameters are:
amm: 0
nitrates: 0
nitrites: 10
temp: 80 F
Unfortunately after moving him to a hospital tank, he passed away in the next few days even with supportive care. I suppose it was his time, or that his immune system was so weak after the first bout he couldn’t handle another. I’m doing a 90% clean out in order to rid the tank of the bacteria so that my other rescue will start healing.
Again, thank you. It makes me feel better that others care for these fish as much as I do. ❤❤
 
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