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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very new to this, so thank you in advance for any help. I've had my betta for about a month with no issues. I change 50 - 75% of his water every 4 or 5 days. I changed his water yesterday and noticed that he was not looking too good later on in the evening. He didn't look to have moved this morning, either. When I got home today, he looked terrible. His fins actually look like they'd been mangled. This is just in a 9 hour period! I did test the water with some strips when I first got the tank and the water tested fine. I'm using the same water. I have a 5 gallon bucket that I fill with tap water then add the water conditioner to prior to adding to the tank.

What size is your tank? 3.5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 75 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes. Hanging filter. Turned to lowest flow.
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

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Nutrafin Max, Tetra BettaMin Tropicl Medley and Sera FD Bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day. Bloodworms occasionally

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Every 4 - 5 days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50 - 75%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Topfin Betta Water Conditioner and API Leafzone

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

Ammonia: NA
Nitrite: NA
Nitrate: NA
pH: NA
Hardness: Not measured, but I do know we have soft water
Alkalinity: NA

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Fins ragged
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic. Sits on bottom of tank. Does not want food.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Yesterday evening
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Changed water again
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? No idea. Full grown at purchase one month ago
 

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Hi there IndridCold,
The first thing I would do is bump up your temperature to the 78-82° range.

Even at the lowest settings, a filter might need a baffle to keep it from stressing out your fish. You can do this by inserting a sponges or cutting apart a water bottle to reduce and redirect the flow. You'll need to search the forums for "baffle" to steer you in the right direction. I'm a sponge filter kinda guy, so I'm afraid I can't be of much help in that department. Could he be getting his fins caught in the intake? You could also put a sponge over that as well.

You should really consider getting an API Master test kit for yourself. It will give us your water parameters and help to pinpoint any problems. I'm OK with the amount of water you are changing, I would just do in every 3-4 days instead. I would also recommend changing your water conditioner to Seachem Prime.

Are there any decorations in the tank that may be causing damage? Some pictures would help. He might also be a fin-biter.

You should make some changes in his diet as well. Omega One Betta Buffet pellets or New Life Spectrum Betta or Community pellets are the best you can do. Freeze dried anything can cause bloating. Avoid flake foods as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will do all of the above, thank you! He had a live plant in his tank, but I removed it, not knowing if it was causing the issue. It's not bare. I would like to get some more live plants, but I want to get him healthy first. Is it bad to have his tank completely empty while I attempt to rehabilitate him? I've bumped up the heater and it's now close to 80. I'm not sure about the chemicals and food, though. I haven't seen any of these at the PetSmarts or Petcos. I don't recall seeing them at any of the aquarium stores, either, but I may just not have noticed them. I'm in Memphis, TN if anyone knows of a good location to buy GOOD fish stuff! I've only seen the test strips, too. I'll scope out Amazon, I just want the stuff NOW!!

Thank you again, and I look forward to any other replies that others may have
 

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Petsmart should have all of the items I mentioned. I would keep the plant, it will make him feel more secure and he'll be less stressed out. Consider adding some silk ones as well, no plastic.

I would suggest adding some Rooibos tea into the mix as a source of tannin. You can find it at a local supermarket. Just drop a bag in the tank. It's naturally decaffeinated just make sure it is un-flavored. It will help heal up his fins.

http://www.twiningsusa.com/templates/product.aspx?ProductGuid=F05421&GroupGuid=76
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, I'd already thrown the plant out. Is it safe to get new ones while he's ill? Thank you again for all the help. I really enjoy watching him and have been considering setting up a larger aquarium with more fish. If I can't keep one alive, though, I'd hate to harm many!
 

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Go with some silk plants right now. Just in case the live plants are carrying any pathogens or snails. You don't what add anything else into the mix.

McDonalds? Everybody needs a good burger once in a while. Frozen Bloodworms are great once a week. Think of it as Five Guy's for your betta.
 

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Both PetsMart and PetCo carry Omega One Betta Buffet pellets. Sometimes they are in the betta section, and sometimes they are with the other fish foods. If you don't see it, ask them for it. They all carry it.

Seachem Prime water conditioner (just ask for "Prime") they also both carry. It is not in the betta section, but rather with the other water conditioners and treatments.

Be wary of PetsMart's silk plants -- many of them have metal stems. PetCo now sells silk plants with their other decor, and they are a good deal. They come in many bright colors; I'd start with nice natural green ones for now. Here's an example of a nice one:

http://www.petco.com/product/119018...Silk-Aquarium-Plant.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch

Both stores also sell the API Freshwater Master Test Kit for about $30. That is a good quality liquid test kit that will measure pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite, and will last for a very long time. Look for it near the water conditioners. You may need to ask for it.

I suspect he's not getting enough water changes and is therefore getting ammonia burns on his fins, but so pictures of him would really help with diagnosing him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, everything's been purchased and I've changed his water using Prime this time. However, when I got home today (before I got all the stuff) there was a weird film on the tank. I'm attaching a picture, but I'm not sure it'll be visible. It looked almost like there was a layer of ice! I've never seen it before. I'm also attaching a picture of what he looked like when we first got him vs. what he looks like now. I WILL say that he seems to be moving better now that the water has been changed again. I've only checked the Ammonia lvls so far and it's at 0. I'll be doing the pH later on tonight.

Here's the weird film
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qemoaegfsagzp2l/2014-11-20 18.02.33.jpg?dl=0

Here's Spooky when he was new
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2tsg2v8stma6fz9/NewFish.jpeg?dl=0

And here's my poor, maimed fish now
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2xiudgpuoqxntq1/2014-11-20 19.09.10.jpg?dl=0
 

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Is the gunk on the top of the tank like a film? You can lay a paper towel on top of the water and soak the film up. It's probably harmless. He may be a fin-biter. It's hard to tell by the pictures. Black edges on the fins can be an indicator of fin-rot. The edges of his fins natural colors are black, either way he needs treatment.

I noticed a bunch of pellets on the top of the water in the last photo. I feed my fish one pellet at a time. I helps to avoid fouling the water. Try not to let the pellets sink to the bottom and get lost in the gravel. Keep a turkey baster handy to remove all uneaten food. I'm counting 9 pellets that I can see. You might be overfeeding.

I feed my King betta 10-12 pellets a day, My little guy gets 5-6. I believe in feeding a few times a day. 2 or 3 at a time with a 24 hour fast once a week. Both are extremely active fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The pellets are new. I was just trying to get a bunch up there to get him to eat. It's been a couple of days now since he's eaten. Just got these today. I threw away the flakes like you guys told me. I'll get rid of these quickly, too. He put them in his mouth, but spit 'em back out.

How do I treat the fin rot? Is there a chemical you guys suggest? I'll hit the earlier forum posts, too, just in case.

This is by far the friendliest, most prompt forum I've ever participated in. Thank you all very much! I've always wanted an aquarium and finally have the money and time to invest, but want to do it right. It's nice to know there's such an interactive and friendly community out there to assist!
 

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Hi Indrid and Mike!

I'd like to sneak in a question...

Indrid, when you said you had soft water, do you use a home water softener unit or did you mean the water in your area is naturally soft?

Sneaking back out now, ta!
 

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I think that tea will be fine. It says "Earthy Vanilla flavor" but I just think that's pretentious wine expert babble. Just read the ingredients to confirm. Does the bag have a metal staple? I just thought about that while driving home from work. I need to find out if the Twinnings has a staple as well. If it does, remove it and tie the bag together with a string. I prefer Indian Almond leaves to the tea but it may take a while to get them. You can get the tea right away, that's why I recommend it.

I'm going to leave the use of Aquarium salt up to you. It will help sterilize an open wound but It will not help with the healing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes, but it's teeeeeny! I can't get anything on it without destroying the bag so I've looped the string around so the staple is about a 1/2 inch out of the tank.

I hadn't checked the tank since I put the bag in. I think I'm going to have some tea now, myself.

Is this bad for him long term or anything? I'm going to do another water change tomorrow. Do I put another bag in? He's VERY interested in it, by the way.
 
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