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Discussion Starter #1
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 80˚
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No, but it does have four marimo moss balls, two small java ferns, and one small anubias congensis
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No, but the tank does have the live plants (listed above).

Food:
What food brand do you use? Hikari
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? never
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? I used to feed him 5 pellets, twice a day. About a week and a half ago, I started feeding him 7-8 pellets twice a day.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of water did you change? It varied; more often than not, it would be a near 100% water change. Other times it would be a 25-30% water change.
What is the source of your water? Tap water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? I use Seachem Neutral Regulator and Seachem Prime.

Water Parameters: What are your water parameters?

Ammonia: API Test kit seems to place it at around 0ppm to 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate:0ppm
pH: 7
Hardness (GH): 60
Alkalinity (KH): 80

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? About a week and a half ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? About a week after I got him, my Betta started showing signs of fin rot. He had also suffered fin damage from getting caught in the filter (he liked to lean against it, and I have since baffled it). His colors are noticeably less vibrant now, when compared to how they were when he first arrived.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? My Betta has been acting lethargic and less responsive for about a week and a half now. Usually, he's very active and responds to stimuli quickly. I'm not sure if this has affected anything, but I've also noticed him biting at the roots of the java fern plant in his tank. I also noticed that he'll randomly and violently twitch while swimming around. Another behavior is staying away from all of his plants and tank decorations, when before he was very happy with them (I just noticed him doing this all day today).
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes. A while ago I treated him a few times with Bettafix and aquarium salt. More recently, I went through two full treatments of Maracyn Two, and I am currently five days into treating him with API's Melafix.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Yes, I would say so, since his fins have never been able to grow back ever since I first started noticing their damage.
How long have you owned your Betta? Since September 14, 2019, so nearly four months.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No

I'm suspecting that he has an external parasite, although I'm not sure which kind because he doesn't appear to have ich nor velvet. I've also included pictures of how he currently looks (I couldn't figure out how to rotate the pictures, but he should be horizontal, belly down, in each). He is so miserable right now, and I really hope someone can help me out here!
 

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If he started acting strange at about the same time that you increased the feeding that sounds like it could be tied together.

If it were my fish...

-I’d cut out food for several days - 4 pellets once or twice a day would have been ok but 8 twice is a big jump (that’s also producing more tank waste).
-Stop using betta fix and melafix. (Melafix has been debated as being quite harmful for Bettas)
-Do a 50% water change (ammonia should be zero) every day for 3 days to get Mela out. Stick to a regular water change too. 100% is extremely hard for some fish unless you know it’s medically needed. (I used mela briefly, before reading the possible issues, with my recent addition and I didn’t like his response to it in the tank at all, it’s a heavy hitter)
-Add a light Indian almond leaf or roobois tea infusion in with water change.
-Reconsider antibiotics on top of all of this.
-low dose aquarium salt (it does build up in the tank and can be overdone)
-bring in large silk or live plants for betta to recoup in and under. A 5g tank with minimal coverage might be a bit.. bouncy for him.

To me it sounds like he wasn’t well, the extra food exacerbated things and all of the ‘fixes’ are overwhelming his tired body.

But there’s others with far better knowledge than I here, that’s just based on my few bettas over the years as well as my recent addition.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for your help! I will immediately stop overfeeding him and will also quit the melafix, and will also get it out of the tank ASAP.
 

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Can you also please provide a picture of his entire tank?
Outside of the plants, we would also be interested in knowing what type of decorations are in his tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
long, white stringy poop spotted (for the second time)

I really regret not taking pictures of my Betta when I saw the white stringy substance hanging down from him, but today I spotted him with the stringy white substance for the second time (the first time being about 2 weeks ago). If he has internal parasites, then I think it would make sense because he's also been flashing and rubbing against the sand substrate quite a bit lately. However, my Betta doesn't appear to exhibit any visible signs of ich or velvet, so I'm thinking it's more of an internal issue.
 

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His tank appears to be clean and his water parameters look good. I don't see anything in his tank that looks toxic although I am not familiar with that pink transparent structure in the left corner.

First, I would stop all of the meds (even the pH regulator) and give his tank a good clean. Leave him in the clean water for a couple of days.
While it's possible, I'm not entirely convinced about the internal parasites, but there are some initial indicators that point to it. White stringy poop is not always an indicator. After a couple of days in the clean water, you can start a round of API General Cure, it's gentle enough for him. I don't want to give him a round of PraziPro without trying the General Cure first.

Additionally, I would change his food out to some of the more recommended formulas. The betta or small fish formula from New Life Spectrum, Omega One or NorthFin are excellent products. Hikkari used to be good back in the day, but they have started substituting 'meals' and other fillers to make up the bulk of their pellets rather than whole fish. Poor nutrition can often contribute to a fish's compromised immune systems and poor overall health.

While you're cleaning, take each of his decorations and give it a little sniff. It should have an earthy smell and not a chemical one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
His tank appears to be clean and his water parameters look good. I don't see anything in his tank that looks toxic although I am not familiar with that pink transparent structure in the left corner.

First, I would stop all of the meds (even the pH regulator) and give his tank a good clean. Leave him in the clean water for a couple of days.
While it's possible, I'm not entirely convinced about the internal parasites, but there are some initial indicators that point to it. White stringy poop is not always an indicator. After a couple of days in the clean water, you can start a round of API General Cure, it's gentle enough for him. I don't want to give him a round of PraziPro without trying the General Cure first.

Additionally, I would change his food out to some of the more recommended formulas. The betta or small fish formula from New Life Spectrum, Omega One or NorthFin are excellent products. Hikkari used to be good back in the day, but they have started substituting 'meals' and other fillers to make up the bulk of their pellets rather than whole fish. Poor nutrition can often contribute to a fish's compromised immune systems and poor overall health.

While you're cleaning, take each of his decorations and give it a little sniff. It should have an earthy smell and not a chemical one.
Just wanted to give an update! I've given my Betta 50% water changes for three consecutive days, and I have also cleaned his tank (and filter) thoroughly. I was able to rinse the chemical smell out of everything in my tank except for the transparent pink decoration; I figured I should take it out since it's a toy meant for hamsters, not for fish. I also removed decaying plant parts, and cleaned the chemical scent out of them. I stopped all old medication, and also quit the pH regulator.
My Betta has been much more active lately, and as of yesterday has stopped flashing. I bought some Indian almond leaves yesterday, but I haven't put it in the tank yet because I'm not sure if it's too much to put the leaf in along with the API general cure.
Today is the first day of my Betta's API general cure dosage, and he's taking to it well so far. My sister also informed me that she saw that he had stringy white poop again today, so I'm not sure if that's an indicator of internal parasites or if it's simply a sign of an empty stomach.
 

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Stringy white poop can be due to a number of reasons. The general cure will help with internal parasites if he has them and it's broad spectrum enough to take care of a number of issues that could have set in.
The goal (in simple terms) is to have the GC help him out until he can take care of any issues on his own.

Is he still eating, I couldn't find a definite answer in the original post?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stringy white poop can be due to a number of reasons. The general cure will help with internal parasites if he has them and it's broad spectrum enough to take care of a number of issues that could have set in.
The goal (in simple terms) is to have the GC help him out until he can take care of any issues on his own.

Is he still eating, I couldn't find a definite answer in the original post?

Edit: Feel free to add the IAL, it doesn't have a negative reaction with the GC.
Thank you for the clarification.
After the original post, he went about three days without food because I'd been overfeeding. Yesterday and today I gave him three pellets because I don't want him to starve for too long. He has never rejected food even when his sickness was worsening, though.
 

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Eating is good, as I mentioned, I am a little concerned about the Hikkari as it's a lot of filler and less of the good stuff, but you want him to at least keep eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Eating is good, as I mentioned, I am a little concerned about the Hikkari as it's a lot of filler and less of the good stuff, but you want him to at least keep eating.
Sorry I didn't clarify! I'm only giving him some hikkari pellets for now to tie him over for a bit until his new food arrives in the mail (I believe I ordered Omega One and New Life Spectrum pellets). His new food should be arriving today.
 
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