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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Housing: 5 gallon cube tank
How many gallons is your tank?
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What temperature is your tank? 21C
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None

Food: Frozen blood worm, floating betta bites
What food brand do you use? Elive and (lost wrapper)
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
Freeze-dried?
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Bloodworms daily (a pinch), betta bites every couple days.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
What percentage of water did you change? Frequently.I'd estimate 10-20% every few days.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? Water conditioner

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.

Ammonia:
Nitrite: 20-40
Nitrate:4 (danger)
pH: Hard - 8
Hardness (GH): Very hard 300
Alkalinity (KH): Low 40

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Symptoms were acute. One day he was fine, woke up and he was at death's door, covered in greyish white fuzz/slime, lethargic, appears to be dying. Fins tattered, mouth, fins and body infested.

How has your Betta’s appearance changed? See above.

How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Hangs at surface struggling to breathe, not eating, filter is turned off because the current is too strong and he just goes limp.

Is your Betta still eating?
No.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
100% water change, kosher salt (2 tablespoons), Jungle anti fungus


Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
No.

How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?
About a month, appeared to be healthy!

I really hope I can save him. :(
 

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Is there a reason why the water looks so dirty? Also your nitrites are kind of high so I'm assuming you're in the process of cycling your tank? What are your ammonia levels? Also, don't use regular salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The water has methylene blue in it and I have an ammonia kit literally coming tonight for my axolotls! The water is indeed rather new and I don't think I cycled properly. It's been a LONG time since I've had any fish (like 10 years :( )Upon closer inspection, it's definitely "hairy" as you can see so perhaps fungus is more likely from what I've read thankfully. I've moved him to a tupperware container to completely clean the tank today and keep a closer eye on him. Poor little guy has always been so robust, this hit him fast. His tank is immaculate, no fuzz anywhere but will do a deep gravel clean and have thrown out the naja grass which is a pity because that was his favorite place to play/sleep.

Edit: Attached "before" pic to highlight how drastic this infection is. :(
 

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Your nitrites and nitrates are way too high. Was this before your 100% water change? He may have nitrite poisoning so I would do a Methylene Blue bath so that his blood get oxygenated right away. 9 drops MB per gallon for 1/2 hour in water temperature that is the same as his tank water with your water conditioner.

It does not look like Columnaris to me. I had a very bad bout with it and I do not see the symptoms that presented to my 3 Bettas which presented differently from each other but I could be wrong.

I am noticing little white dots that look like salt. Is that the picture or is that what is happening? If the white dots are on the fish than it looks like Ich to me. (That is if you did not sprinkle him with the salt.) I am assuming that you know to dissolve the salt in a container with his tank water in it first before adding it to the water. The Jungle Fungus clear can help with his fins but will not do anything for Ich. BTW dengveevi the water is blue from the JFC most probably...

From Sticky on Betta Care:
"Ick
•Symptoms: Betta has white dots (looks like he was sprinkled with salt) all over his body and head, even eyes. Lethargic, No appetite, Clamped Fins, Might dart and scratching against decor
•Treatment: You can treat Ick either conservatively or with medication. Ick is a parasite. Because ick is contagious, it is preferable to treat the whole tank when one fish is found to have it. Ick is temperature sensitive: Leave your betta in the community tank and raise temperature to 85 F. Then you can choose to treat with salt or medication. Conservative: Add 1 tsp/gal Aquarium Salt 3 times, 12 hours apart so that you end up with 3 times the normal concentration. Perform daily 100% water changes to remove fallen parasites before they can reproduce. Replace the water with the right amount of salt. Do not continue this treatment for more than 14 days. If it fails or you do not want to use salt, treat with Jungle’s Parasite Clear, API Super Ick Cure, or Kordon Rid Ich Plus. If your betta lives in a jar/bowl, then it can be difficult to heat the water. There are heaters for smaller containers, but you can also float the quarantine container in a larger heated tank during treatment. Do a full water change every day and add an appropriate amount of medication to the water.
•Alternative Treatment: Personally, I have not found Ick medications very effective. I prefer to use PP to treat all external parasites. In the past, I have used 3 or 4 different ick medications unsuccessfully, and every time I resort to PP which works like a charm. Do lots of research before using PP as it is a more dangerous chemical than most."

I hope that this information helps you and that he gets well quickly!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Should I literally dismantle the entire tank and boil everything before I put him back in? I'm unsure as to what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
And thank you for any information. I've been scouring the web and the forums but I want to be absolutely sure. I read kosher salt was ok from multiple sources, is this inaccurate? I have him in a cup with some blue but will examine for ich and keep researching - the spots may be bubbles, fish are hard to photograph! Should I completely sterilize the tank and everything in it while he's in the cup? Thank you very much for your replies!

Edit: Got a pic of his head. You can see the "fuzz" has infested his mouth but do you see any ich on his head? I could try to get a better shot of his head. The main thing here is the fuzzy white literally engulfing his body tail fins and all. But if you have a sharp eye, maybe ich is there too.
 

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Sorry, the 2nd picture gives me cause for concern the way his tail looks and the grey on his body for columnaris. We need lilnaugrim or someone with more knowledge to come and take a look at your boy.

If it is Columnaris as you first suspected the Jungle Fugus Clear is what you need along with Kanaplex and lower the temperature of the tank to 74 degrees if you can. Than do 2 teaspoon per gallon Aquarium Salt and 9 drops per gallon Methylene Blue baths for 30 min daily. He still looks like he has Ich too which is secondary to the Columnaris. The salt baths will take care of the Ich short time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I read from multiple sources that kosher salt was the same as aquarium salt. Is this inaccurate? Do I need to get some aquarium salt? Also should I completely break down and clean the entire tank from scratch in your opinion? I really want to save him!
 

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To me the cotton mouth confirms the Columnaris diagnoses as it is aka Cotton Mouth Disease. I would still like one of the Vet Techs or Lilnaugrim to take a look at his pictures. That last picture looks a lot closer at his head and the spots. In the first two it looked like Ich to me but here it definitely looks cottony.

Please start the treatment as soon as you can. Keeping the Jungle Fungus Clear in the tank really helps. You need to get some KanaPlex which I only found online and add the correct dosage to the Jungle Fungus Clear. I think it is best to do the AQ/MB baths just before you put your fish to bed at night and cover them with a towel or put them in a dark room so that they don't stress too much. Keeping him in a darkened room or with a towel over part of his Hospital Tank is a good idea right now. The less he stresses the better.
 

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Oh and I have read that Kosher Salt can be used too but you should switch to Aquarium Salt as soon as you can. I have never used Kosher Salt but I did use table salt with no additives once and it didn't harm my fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The spots on his head aren't so much like salt but nasty tufts of white fluff that's lighter and seems more concentrated than the greyish film/fur that's eating the rest of him. I'm having a very hard time photographing him but can confirm the white/grey stuff is "hairy". Ironic thing is I am a vet tech - but have never dealt with fish in a clinical setting, only mammals. :(
 

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You have a few options with your tank. You can do a fishless cycle in his main tank while he's in a hospital tank. Make sure you do the 1:20 bleach treatment on everything first. You can buy pure ammonia online which will kick start the process of a fishless cycle and use the tank kit that you bought to monitor the water. There are tons of posts online which will give you directions for the fishless cycle or you can do an in-fish cycling. There are directions for that too. Also, your water is way too cold. There are a few adjustable heaters online for a fairly cheap price. Higher temperatures(76-80) will give him a fighting chance to fight off the infection which kind of looks like a fungal infection to me. I think he has ammonia burns so keep up with the water changes to make sure his water is clean. Make sure the water you put in matches the temperature as the water you took out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't have a hospital tank, I have the awful cup he came in. He was a well intended impulse buy from my daughter's grandfather and this was foisted on me so I've tried my best to take care of him but I am in over my head here and don't want him to die.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you, I'm researching hard to hopefully save this little guy. Completely taking apart tank and cleaning it now.
 

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Do you live in the states? There are some cheap alternatives to creating a hospital tank. I bought a 2.5gal rectangle glass tank from PetSmart for $13 and a ViaAqua adjustable heater for about 10 bucks online which you can sterilize and use in your main tank afterwards. Make sure you look at the watts. A filter isn't necessary for a hospital tank but I have an internal sponge filter for mine.

Best of luck to you on treating your boy.
 

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Can you find a small container that is .5 to 1 gallon that isn't too tall so that he has easy access to the surface? Even a tupperware container that is cleaned and sterilized real well to serve as a hospital tank will do short time. I also keep some sort of cover with the fish so they don't stress to much. Also you do not want to raise the temperature with Columnaris as it will go crazy in higher temperatures.

You will want to bleach the tank, but bleach does not necessarily get rid of the bacteria from Columnaris. I used salt and bleach combination. Then I did Hydro peroxide after rinsing the bleach and salt out of course. I just didn't want to take any chances. The Columnaris Bacteria is very contagious and it wiped out 5 of my fish (3 Betta and 2 goldfish).
 

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As a vet tech you may have access to better medications than some of us. I didn't realize you were in Canada and I do not know if you have KanaPlex there.

The active ingredient is kanamycin sulfate. I have read that it is a gram positive bacteria that causes Columnaris but you need to have a gram negative antibiotic included with it for best results. Which is why combining it with Jungle Fungus Clear works well, the Nitrofurazone in it works in conjunction with the kanamycin for best results. There are other combinations that work but I found the strain I had did not respond to Triple Sulfa. I hope that the info I have provided helps you cure your lil guy!
 
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