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Betta keeps getting worse and I'm out of ideas

914 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LittleBlueFishlets
What size is your tank? 2.5
What temperature is your tank? 79
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? I have brine shrimp, bloodworms, pellets but all of that is irrelevant because I swear he hasn't eaten in weeks
How often do you feed your betta fish? I try every night

How often do you perform a water change? Every week although more often lately
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Usually 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I forget the brand, it's just a regular general water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Color is pale
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Where do I even start?
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A few days after I brought him home
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Tried heating tank more, more frequent water changes, all different types of food that he won't eat, tried two Epsom salt baths, tried some API general meds
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I haven't had him long
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've only had him about three weeks but I've noticed that even with full fins and color he's much smaller than my others so may be young

Where do I start. I've had him for about three weeks and when I brought him home, he was fine. Alert, curious, active, had an appetite, etc. NOTE: my other three bettas are all under the same conditions and they're perfectly fine. After about the first week I had him here he started acting funny. I think he only ate a little the first week and since has eaten nothing whatsoever. Doesn't even acknowledge the food. I noticed for his little body he seems kind of bloated. I've dealt with that before but he's proven to be a tough case. He will not eat any pea, or anything at all for that matter. Like literally does not acknowledge any food. He doesn't really acknowledge anything for that matter. Like he actually seems like he's just fading away. He does not move. He doesn't even seem like he thinks or sees half the time. He has a constant blank stare on and his gills hardly move. If you move the water he doesn't make any effort to control his body against the current or stay upright, he just stays frozen in position and lets himself do frozen somersaults and either sinks to the bottom or floats back up top. For all intents and purposes I can't even tell if he's alive or dead half the time. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? I know it may be SBD but this is a really bad case if so. It seems like he's just going to let himself fade away and die, he doesn't seem to care if he's starving or breathing or right side up or upside down.
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I don't know for sure but a unfiltered tank could be Ammonia issues. Do you remove the uneaten food?

In your size tank you need to do at least two water changes a week, I would do one 50% and one 100% a week. Also the use of Seachems Prime water conditioner would help greatly for all your tanks if not filtered as that will lock up Ammonia and Nitrite to a less toxic form and you can add to the tank in drops per gallon in-between water changes.

Do you have a test kit at all to test the water for Ammonia and Nitrite? If not it might be a good idea to go buy a liquid test kit for at least the Ammonia so you can rule that out. API is a good brand for the kit, avoid buying strips because they are inaccurate. You want the ones with the test tubes and bottles.
I wouldn't say any of that is the issue. As I said, all my other fish are under the same conditions, as have all my fish in the past been without issue. I also put once a week for water changes because that is what I normally do for all my others, there is little ammonia build up for any of them. For him I started doing it more like twice a week but it hasn't done any good. I don't know what my exact water levels are at the moment but I know they're stable because my father is always checking them; we have a well. We've kept fish for many years in our well water without issue and as I mentioned, my other three bettas are happy and normal as can be. I really feel that it's something far more individual to just this betta himself. I definitely would say it seems like something to do with SBD but he's not really reacting to anything. Changing his water never seems to phase him and again, he completely ignores all forms of food. The only thing that he seemed to respond to a little is the Epsom salt baths, he's gotten two so far. During both of them he seemed to become a little more mentally "present" if that makes sense. Like he actually appeared to be conscious and slightly moving a little bit instead of being completely zoned out and unconscious. Though I keep waiting to see if he poops but he doesn't. I'm kind of afraid that may be the issue, he may be extremely blocked up. And if even the Epsom salt isn't helping him and he won't eat a pea, I'm not sure what else to try for him. I'm not going to try the general meds again, I think they may have even made it worse. I don't know what else to do. I gave him an Epsom bath late last night and checked him this morning, he's about the same, seemed to be breathing a little more regularly.
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Again, my father checked the water levels and they are normal. My other fish are normal and all of out fish in the past have been normal. I wouldn't say this has anything to do with the water. Looks like SBD and something more specific to this individual fish himself.
Maybe the fish is suicidal? Try soaking the pellets in garlic. It might pay more attention to the food. I've never tried it before, but just microwave a few pieces of garlic and dunk the pellets in. I hope it helps. With ya luck.;-)
IMO, an Espom salt bath won't provide a long enough contact time to be effective. Also, don't bother with a pea.... Instead, add Epsom salt directly to the tank. He needs to be completely immersed in it non-stop for several days.

1) Put some tank water in a cup. Stir in 1.25 teaspoons Epsom salt until dissolved. Pour the solution back into the tank. (This will provide a dosage of 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt.)

2) When you do your next water change, stir in 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon of replacement water. Add conditioner. This will allow you to maintain a constant dosage of 0.5 teaspoons Epsom salt per gallon.

3) Keep him in Epsom salt for at least 3 days.

If you feel a higher dosage of Epsom salt can help, you can increase it to 1 teaspoon per gallon.

Also, is he bloated at all? Can he control his buoyancy when he swims?

Keep us updated. If he's not doing better by the 3rd day, I would use a metronidazole/praziquantel combination, such as found in API General Cure.
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions, but little Floyd passed today. I wasn't surprised, he had been really bad for several weeks and I could tell he had reached a point of no return. LittleBlueFishlets, thanks for the tips, I'll have to keep those in mind in the future because I never knew I could continuously keep him in the Epsom salt like that. He had been a bit bloated yes, and his buoyancy was just wonky. He both sank and floated. And I had tried the API General Cure but as I said, I don't think that did anything and it almost seemed to make it worse.
All in all I think it was just severe congenital SBD. Cross your fingers my next fish won't have anything like this. I happened to be going to my local pet store anyway tomorrow with my best friend so I may bring home a new little guy tomorrow. I hate to have my fourth tank be empty when there are lots of little fish out there waiting for a good home. Here's to hoping the new one will be as happy and healthy as my other three!
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