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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Flint is not doing well.

About a week ago I put a folded bendy straw in his tank to act as a feeding window in the floating plants. A couple of days later I noticed his fins were ripped. I removed the straw and found it had some pretty sharp corners where it was bent.

He seemed ok except for the fins, but he’s progressively gotten worse to the point he’s laying at the bottom of the tank gasping for breath. He will occasionally streak across the tank but quickly settles back to the bottom. He will come up to eat if I can get him to notice me.

I’ve tested the water and it checked out fine. I’m used to having no nitrates because of the plants in his tank. Other parameters are pretty steady.

My other two boys are fine. All 3 tanks have the same water parameters except one of the other tanks was showing 5.0 ppm Nitrate.

I’ve done a 33% water change the day before yesterday and again today.

I’ve got Flint in a breeder box so I can monitor him more closely.

I’m trying to figure out what I’m missing and what else I can do for him.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 80 F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Bug Bites flakes, North fin pellets, frozen brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Both
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 2 times a day 4-5 pellets, or a few flakes, or a small portion of frozen.

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every 1 to 2 weeks
What percentage of water did you change? Usually around 1 gallon, so 33%.
What is the source of your water? RO water remineralized with Seachem Equilibrium and Alkaline and Acid Buffers due to bad tap water.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum a small area where there are no root fertilizer tablets.
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Prime water conditioner. Seachem Stability added at water changes. Seachem Equilibrium and Alkaline/Acid buffers. Flourish plant fertilizer and API Root Tabs.

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. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0 (normal because of live plants)
pH: 7.6 (stable and consistent in all of my tanks)
High Range pH: 7.8 (stable and consistent in all of my tanks)
Hardness (GH): 11
Alkalinity (KH): 6

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? About a week ago getting progressively worse.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Torn and chunks missing in fins. Doesn’t really look like it’s rotting
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He’s usually active and interested in everything. Now he’s laying on the bottom of the tank gasping for breath.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Water changes and added organic rooibos tea for tannins.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No.
How long have you owned your Betta? Almost 2 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No

Input appreciated.
 

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Chester/Male/Dragon Scale Plakat Betta
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Hi, sorry to hear about Flint's troubles Sparky. As you know, I am too new to the hobby to offer any advice on this but, I wish you and Flint well and hope you get it figured out in short order...
 

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Yeah sorry to hear that, I no expert too. But maybe can consider to move Flint to a separate quarantine tank with lower water level and with air-pump, hopefully more oxygen could help in some way
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah sorry to hear that, I no expert too. But maybe can consider to move Flint to a separate quarantine tank with lower water level and with air-pump, hopefully more oxygen could help in some way
He’s in a breeder box, so essentially he’s in a lower water because he’s only about 4 inches from the top of his tank. But the air stone is a good thought. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I'm really sorry Flint is not feeling well... Maybe he got poissoned by the material of the straw? I know it sounds stupid, but it's the only thing I can think of.... Maybe @Veloran @BettaloverSara @KatieMR @RussellTheShihTzu @Feanor can help.
Thanks. I’ve had the same thought about the straw. I had hoped that the water changes would have helped.

I actually put a straw from the same box into another of my tanks at the same time and it’s actually still in there. That betta, Furdinand, is fine and showing no signs of illness. However, he’s a “king” betta and he’s in a 5 gallon so maybe maybe any contaminant was diluted enough not to visibly hurt him.

Oh, and I did rinse the straws in RO water before putting them in the tanks.
 

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Any improvement today Sparky?

Are you using any type of antiseptic in the quarantine tank? I am definitely far from an expert but, I don't think it would hurt to start dosing with a product like Seachem Stress Guard and adding some Catappa Leaves or concentrate too just to promote healing.
 

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Contamination was my first thought too - agree with Sara to do a series of water changes to remove anything. I would also worry about TDS maybe being a concern. Water changes to get to baseline would eliminate that as a problem though

also worth noting that adding Stability to a cycled tank is a total waste of money ;). Not needed at all
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Flint is maybe a little better today? He’s spending all of his time at the bottom of the breeder box, but he’s jumping up to greet me whenever I stop to check on him.


I’ll get stuff together and do a series of water changes but might only get I’ll probably only be able to get 2 in today since it’s 1pm now and I’m usually asleep before 9pm.

I can see if it helps and do a couple more tomorrow if it seems to be helping

I have been using a turkey baster to suction waste out of the breeder box and that helps draw fresh water into the box.

I had to groom the dog today because we’re in for another heat wave and his coat was too long to be comfortable.
Any improvement today Sparky?

Are you using any type of antiseptic in the quarantine tank? I am definitely far from an expert but, I don't think it would hurt to start dosing with a product like Seachem Stress Guard and adding some Catappa Leaves or concentrate too just to promote healing.
I actually just have him in a breeder box that’s in his normal tank. I felt like keeping him in his home might be less stressful than moving him out. I’m hoping that wasn’t a mistake.

I don’t have any Indian Almond Leaves on hand, but I used rooibos tea for tannins when I saw the tears in his fins. It has similar properties to IAL/catappa leaves and until I find a source I feel like I can trust I’ll have to stick to the rooibos.

I’ll need to look into Stress Guard. We don’t have chlorine to worry about so I usually just use Prime to detox any heavy metals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Contamination was my first thought too - agree with Sara to do a series of water changes to remove anything. I would also worry about TDS maybe being a concern. Water changes to get to baseline would eliminate that as a problem though

also worth noting that adding Stability to a cycled tank is a total waste of money ;). Not needed at all
I know the Stability isn’t required. I just like to add a couple of drops in the little tanks at water changes for some peace of mind. It’s probably something I’ll eventually stop doing but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

What should I be looking for with the TDS number? We have a sensor but it’s technically it’s not for use in my tanks. Maybe we can get a replacement to test our home RO system’s water and I’ll commission this one for my aquariums.
 

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Flint is maybe a little better today? He’s spending all of his time at the bottom of the breeder box, but he’s jumping up to greet me whenever I stop to check on him.

I actually just have him in a breeder box that’s in his normal tank. I felt like keeping him in his home might be less stressful than moving him out. I’m hoping that wasn’t a mistake.

I don’t have any Indian Almond Leaves on hand, but I used rooibos tea for tannins when I saw the tears in his fins. It has similar properties to IAL/catappa leaves and until I find a source I feel like I can trust I’ll have to stick to the rooibos.

I'll need to look into Stress Guard. We don’t have chlorine to worry about so I usually just use Prime to detox any heavy metals.
Glad to hear he might be a bit better today. Hopefully he continues to improve.

Oh, ok. I assumed he was in a seperate tank.

I haven't looking into Rooibos Tea to see if there any actually scientific studies about it but, there are on Catappa/IA Leaves(for humans even). So, I would trust their efficiency more personally. I got mine from SunGrow on Amazon and they are high quality and work well from what I can tell so far(tannins quickly released and quality intact leaves). It appears many others use this source safely and successfully too from my limited research. I have only used one large one so far(added to my tank filters output side 7 days ago) and it seams to be releasing lots of tannins and working well. My little man(Chester) is doing great and his fins are growing like weeds and the color is staring to flood back into them(I am sure this is due to many factors other then the leaves but, wanted to note anyway).

Stress Guard is a slime coat protector and fish antiseptic used to promote healing and lower stress. It is to be used in conjunction with Prime(if a water conditioner is needed) not instead of it. I just thought that with his fin injuries and the stress of the whole situation, it may be beneficial but, have never tried it myself(it seams to be well liked though).
 

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Here he is today, swimming up to greet me. View attachment 1043394
That seams like a good sign. Hopefully he is on the mends. Is he still gasping? Do you have a small air stone or foam filter you could add maybe to make sure his water is well oxygenated(without adding too much disruption/current to stress him more of course). If he isn't feeling well maybe he won't be as able to go to the surface for a gulp of air which makes it more important to make sure gas exchange is happening efficiently and his tank water is well oxygenated. Just spit balling a bit, I hope you don't mind...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Second water change is done for today. That’s four 1 gallon changes over the last 3 days. I might try to do another tonight but the chances are that I’ll already be asleep by then.

I was watching him while I was eating dinner tonight and saw him getting up to swim around a couple of times. He hasn’t really done that much the last few days. Hopefully it’s a good sign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Flint is still hanging on. Still jumping up to greet me and eating well.

I have noticed more bits of his tail fin are falling off and now he has a couple holes in his dorsal fin. It really makes me wonder what else is going on.

His water parameters have been good since the tank cycled. No ammonia at all, let alone any type of spike.

As I think back on it, the section of his tail that is falling off has always looked a bit odd.
I looked back at pictures I have of him from May 18 and found one that shows what I’m talking about.

Hair Eye Vertebrate Organism Hat
Hair Plant Organism Feather Tints and shades

It’s always had that dotted line sort of appearance to it in that area. Was is already weakened by something?

This situation is really reminding me why I love the plakats!

Any input is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Little Flint is still hanging on, but he got out of the breeder box last night. I got him back in but he injured his eye at some point and now it’s very swollen.

Poor little dude just can’t catch a break!

He is still quickly swimming up to eat, so that’s something.

Unless someone with more experience can recommend a different treatment plan I’m going to do daily 33% water changes, keep the tannins going, and hope that the clean water will be enough to help him recover.
 

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Man, Flint's having a rough go😕.

Anyway, I definitely don't have much experience but, many online resources appear to recommend medicating him with something considering all of these injuries and possible fin rot. Personally I would be trying one or more of these if i wanted to go it on my own(without professional assistance). Aquarium co-op recommends a broad spectrum antibiotic like Erythromycin for instance(API and other manufacturers make fish specific products).

Many also suggest an immediate regimen of Aquarium Salt when any injury is present.

Then there are many other supportive products like the Seachem Stress Guard I suggested earlier. I'd imagine the effectiveness of some of these products vary but, many appear to have had success with some of the ones from trusted and tested brands.

Finally, nothing beats the advice, and often not available over the counter medications, offered by an experienced veterinarian. This is of course not a cheap option but, probably by far the best...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Man, Flint's having a rough go😕.

Anyway, I definitely don't have much experience but, many online resources appear to recommend medicating him with something considering all of these injuries and possible fin rot. Personally I would be trying one or more of these if i wanted to go it on my own(without professional assistance). Aquarium co-op recommends a broad spectrum antibiotic like Erythromycin for instance(API and other manufacturers make fish specific products).

Many also suggest an immediate regimen of Aquarium Salt when any injury is present.

Then there are many other supportive products like the Seachem Stress Guard I suggested earlier. I'd imagine the effectiveness of some of these products vary but, many appear to have had success with some of the ones from trusted and tested brands.

Finally, nothing beats the advice, and often not available over the counter medications, offered by an experienced veterinarian. This is of course not a cheap option but, probably by far the best...
I forgot to mention that I actually have Stress Guard being delivered today, along with the the Indian almond leaves you recommended. I tried to find them locally but ended up having to go the Amazon route.

Thanks for your input, it’s much appreciated!
 
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