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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
tl;dr and specs form at the bottom


My betta buddy has been having problems since soon after he came home. I got him from a lfs around November last year, so I wasn't super concerned about any innate health problems.

Alright, so. As of yesterday he has been having some issues. Currently he spends most of his time floating near the top of the tank, breathing lightly and keeping his fins clamped. He will on occasion zip around the tank but quickly returns to the surface, though he does not gulp for air that often. However, he is no longer darting against things. His appetite is about non-existent.

About two weeks ago, I noticed he had fin rot. I put him in a gallon QT tank and treated him with AQ salt for a week. The symptoms seemed to abate. He is my first betta though, and I couldn't tell following if the thin, light fringes at the end of his anal fin was healing/growing tissue or evidence of remaining bacteria. I blame myself for his getting rot in the first place, because it took me awhile to realize that though I was doing water changes enough at the beginning, I wasn't cleaning the gravel frequently enough and so all that bad stuff was still in the tank (I have an earlier post about all that). Some time before we started treating for the fin rot, I had already been keeping his tank just glass bottom. Despite frequent water changes and sanitizing off his tank decor, he still was being irritated by something and would dart against the thermometer, etc. Which I can see happening quickly in such a small QT tank, but it was even as soon as within 24 hours that he would be reacting to what had before been explainable as adverse water conditions. While maintaining his daily water changes and giving him a break from the salt, his behavior did little to let up.
This last weekend I was expecting to go out of town. I've been able to manually regulate the temperature of the QT tank because I've been around, but was worried about the huge temperature flux that would happen if I wasn't (boiled if I left the heater in, chilly if I left it out). So considering he seemed to not be actively being consumed by fin rot (though still seemingly irritated by something--I have tried so hard to pinpoint what it could be but still am left clueless), I decided to move him to my regulated, planted 10 gallon. I had just put some shrimp in a day before and they have acclimated well, so I figured it was safe enough to move him over. He seemed okay, though still not what I remember his "perfectly normal" behavior to be (and at this point, with him having been dealing with something for so long, I'm not even sure if I know what his normal behavior is supposed to be anymore). And then yesterday, after putting my hand in to try getting his attention on food (maybe he's been trying to eat plant detritus and ate something he shouldn't have, I don't even know, in any case he hasn't been very hungry the last few days), he started tweaking out and darting against what he could. So I QT'd him again and put him back on salt doses (this will be the second day) since I noticed he had the start of some fuzz at the end of fin again. EXCEPT: it hasn't developed into the fin rot fuzz (maybe that's thanks to the salt, though looking at it again it looks like it might be--just hadn't "clumped up" yet), but those same little "hairs" now are visible on his sides and ventral fins (or maybe just everywhere, they really are little). If they're planaria apparently I shouldn't be too worried, but I don't know why his behavior is so affected then. It is certainly not fur coat syndrome or cotton disease (unless it's the very early stages--I wouldn't know).
Here's the thing though, which I didn't think much of before but may be very relevant if this has something to do with internal parasites, which could explain how consistently he's been not healthy--I don't know if I've ever seen him poop. Or found it in the tank, even with a glass bottom. Maybe I'm an idiot, or just that new to this. But he has had a healthy appetite up to yesterday, hasn't gotten overly full or had resulting swim bladder problems, and I still haven't been able to obviously identify any regular defecation habits (which is to say I wasn't looking for them but nothing stood it out even when I was cleaning his tank, and apparently aren't finding anything now that I am).
I have gone through all the lists and symptom overlaps I can find. I know he has had (and is at best now recovering from, if not still has) fin rot. But other than that, I have no idea what has caused him such constant discomfort. He has seemed to have problems since he found a new home here. Am I that bad of a caretaker? After everything I've looked into, I still can't figure out what might be wrong or what I should be doing differently. I know some fish just have problems, but that makes it hard to explain his changes in behavior. Is it possible he has had internal parasites this entire time? i.e. the lack of poop thing? Or am I just oblivious to how small betta feces might be? If anyone has a suggestion, please let me know. Both of us are worn out and in need of some kind of relief at this point, or at least some certainty. Thanks for reading.



tl;dr He has had fin rot before as a result of poor water conditions, but has not seemed to come back to full health at any point since the water issues were identified over a month ago. He now has little "hairs" after spending a couple days in my planted 10 gallon, which I'm unsure are more attributable to fin rot, fur coat syndrome, or whatever else. As dumb as it sounds, I don't know if I've ever seen him poop. He is now very lethargic near the surface, with intermittent dives around the tank. Clamped fins when not jolting, no appetite, light but not strained breathing.

Specs:
1 gallon QT tank
No filter (some moss and a java fern, though obviously not a replacement)
Manual heater-- temps between 74 and 80, with as slow alteration as possible
No airstone or tank mates

Omega One flakes for color, and Omega One freeze-dried bloodworms on occasion
Fed no more than an eyeball-portion twice a day depending

WC before illness: 100% every day (see comment above on gravel-cleaning issue if this problem started that far back), no substrate since (for over a month)
Prime dechlorinator used

Every time I've tested it's been pH 7.4, ammonia none or less than .0036ppm (I need a new test kit though, the drops have become hard to read--either it's non-detectable or the multiplier is the next smallest amount at .25), no nitrites and typically no nitrates either (7ppm when testing the planted tank water, which he was in for one and a half/two days).

Symptoms noticed two days ago, or within the week I got him (several months).
Discoloration in the first few weeks as I didn't clean the gravel, more normal since. I believed the end of his tail had black edging anyway, but it feels like he's had fin rot forever so who knows. Definitely fin rot black on his caudal fin since we've been dealing with that (it still hasn't advanced too far). Split near the end of his anal fin, has healed back to the edging. Little "hairs"?? on his body and fins (unsure if the ones on his body are different hairs/fuzz than on his fins where he's had fin rot).
In the ten gallon during the two days, initial exploring, then glass surfing and jerky stop-start movement around the tank. As of yesterday, darting...since being put in the QT tank with salt, no darting (against things) at all, fairly immediate or at least thoroughly consistent lethargy near the top. Light breathing but not strained, clamped fins when not occasionally jolting around the tank.
No appetite.
Currently dosing AQ salt, this is the second day (this run).
History of being ill: at the lfs no idea, but since he developed stuff at home it has been essentially constant since.
I have had my betta at least or about three months. Not a rescue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Main question being is this fin rot or parasites, if anyone wants to take a crack at it. I don't want to keep treating him for something that isn't the real problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You mean cloudy? No, they haven't always looked like that, but they haven't been glazed over presently either, I think that's more the glare/lighting from these. Unless you meant something else.
 
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