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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all.
We are new betta owners and we have a sick little fish.
Please help us figure out what is wrong.
I apologize that this will be a long post. I will try to be complete but too the point on what we have already done.
We went on vacation and a neighbor fed the Berta while we were gone.
When we got back he was pale and did not eat well. He has been hanging around the bottom of the tank. He is in a 3.5 gallon tank with filter and heater. He had been eating one pellet twice a day and seemed to be thriving before vacation.
We did 1/3 water change. Water was tested after the change a was good.
1/4 tsp aquarium salt for 3 days and color seemed better. The store was out of Bettafix. We got bettafix and used it 3 days (1 and 1/2 tsp.) After stopping salts.
Water was tested again and was good. Did another 1/3 change. Our water is hard. We are conditioning water when making changes.
We did get some bacteria starter and used it in the last change. The bottle said 14 drops per gallon. We put in 42 drops. (14x3).
There has been little change in his behavior and appearance. He is lilting to one side and eating about 1/2 as much as he used to. He will dart around some. He seems to be “breathing" hard and resting on the bottom most of the time.
I forgot to include:
We changed the filter cartridge and added a snail to the tank at the last change also.
From what I've read, he may have been overfed and or there may have been algae it fungus. (Hence the new snail)
Please help.
 

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I know you answered most of these questions already, but it's a little hard to read through to get all the information. Could you fill this out? And can you post a picture of him?

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank?
Does it have a filter?
Does it have a heater?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?

Food:
What food brand do you use?
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
Freeze-dried?
How often do you feed your Betta? How much?

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
What percentage of water did you change?
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?
What additives do you use?

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.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
Is your Betta still eating?
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

NOTE: EMBED YOUR PHOTOS. PLEASE DO NOT LINK. Click on "Go Advanced" and then on the paper clip in the toolbar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3.5 gallon
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes. preset, not adjustable
What temperature is your tank? 79 degrees F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no air stone. filter does pump water up and "waterfalls"
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? one black snail (added at last water change 2 days ago)

Food:
What food brand do you use? Aqueon betta food
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? no
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? one pellet twice a day. My 9 year old son has been dropping in an extra pellet sometime when the first one sinks to the bottom unseen by the fish.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? once a month. It was a few days overdue when we returned from vacation.
What percentage of water did you change? 30%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? vacuum
What additives do you use? Top Fin betta water conditioner

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.
Unfortunately, the last water report was thrown away. All I can tell you is that the only thing out of "normal" was hardness which was barely out of range.

I will take a new sample and report back.

Ammonia: ?
Nitrite: ?
Nitrate: ?
pH: ?
Hardness (GH): ?
Alkalinity (KH): ?

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? we returned from vacation on Sat 6/18. We are not sure exactly when his color "faded"
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Pale color especially at base of fins
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? mostly resting at the bottom of the tank. Does not swim as much. Lilting to one side.
Is your Betta still eating? Not as often. About 1/2 as much as prior to getting sick.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
06/18: 30% water change.
06/19: 1/4 teaspoon aquarium salt
06/20: 1/4 teaspoon aquarium salt
06/21: 1/4 teaspoon aquarium salt
06/22: 1 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix
06/23: 1 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix
06/24: 1 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix
06/25: 30% water change, 1 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix, 42 drops starter Bacteria, addition of Black Snail
06/26: 1 1/2 teaspoon Betta Fix
06/27: no treatment yet, will probably add 1 1/2 teaspoon of Betta Fix

Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? about 3.5 months. He did not seem ill at all when we first purchased him.

Before and after getting sick photos attached. Close up photo is after getting sick.
His color has gotten better, but not back to normal. Behavior seems to wax and wane but not nearly as active as prior to getting sick.

Any and all help and advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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+1 VillagerSparky

Water changes need to be done weekly. I would suggest doing a 50% weekly at least with the tank being cycled. Keep using the vacuum as that gets debris out better than the dip method. Slow down on the treatments, it seems like so much so fast that it is overloading his system. Your main issue here is water parameters with monthly changes. Try warm clean water first off. See if that helps.

Also, I wouldn't use anything ending in fix as I've heard of those medications damaging the Betta's labyrinth organ.
 

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+1 to you both.

One much smaller thing no one has said yet, two pellets a day isn't really enough. Up the amount you give him to 3 pellets twice a day, and have one day where you don't feed him at all so he can clear out his system. Or you could switch him to a better food, like Omega One, and feed him 3 pellets twice a day every day with no breaks.
 

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He had been eating one pellet twice a day and seemed to be thriving before vacation.
1 pellet 2 times a day is not thriving unless he is a baby

We did 1/3 water change. Water was tested after the change a was good.
Well of course it was, thats the idea of a water change, What interests me more is the water parameters just before you did the change.

1/4 tsp aquarium salt for 3 days and color seemed better. The store was out of Bettafix. We got bettafix and used it 3 days (1 and 1/2 tsp.) After stopping salts.
So what exactly were you treating for? and BettaFix is a waste of money, even if it did work it would only be usefull for external things like wounds, same for salt.

We changed the filter cartridge and added a snail to the tank at the last change also.
That was a waste of money, While filter makers tell you to change the cartridge its actually nonsense to part you with your money.
Any cycle you may have had in the filter was thrown out with the old cartridge. In future just rinse them out in De chlorinated water and put them back.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? once a month. It was a few days overdue
It was actually 3 weeks overdue. A small tank like that and ammonia builds up fast.

What your fish needs is lots of clean warm water you need to keep a close eye on ammonia and nitrites and change water as needed the only safe level for these is zero
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your input.

NickAu,
Before recent water changes all was well. Of course I don't know what it was like when we first got back in town since I rushed to change the water and failed to get a sample.

Here is the most recent sample results. 3 days since change.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8.4
Hardness (GH): 150
Alkalinity (KH): 180

It seems that feeding is a big debate, even in sources I've read online.
We do have some frozen blood worms but we haven't tried them yet.
I read a change of diet can sometimes help.
What about freeze dried?
I will look for Omega One.

I have not used any more supplements. The consensus seems to be keep the water clean. Since he is still not doing well, I was planning on doing a water change tomorrow and one again on the weekend. Or should I just go weekly?

I still have the original filter. I rinsed it with tap water and soaked it with conditioned water. I thought I would have to reuse it before I found a replacement.
Which brings up another question. The current new filter is carbon, with fiber (felt) on one side. The original may have carbon in between but it seems to be a thick fiber type of material.
Which would be best?
 

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Okay, I'm going to address everything separately.

As far as your water parameters go, your nitrates are a bit high. I like to keep mine below 15 at most.

Frozen bloodworms are good, mine love them. I feed them frozen in place of their food twice a week, brine shrimps one day, bloodworms the other. I believe if you feed them too many bloodworms, they'll get fat, so if you feed him those, feed it only once or twice a week.

I wouldn't feed freeze dried, they cause constipation and SBD if they're not prepared properly, and even when they are, they don't offer much in terms of nutrition. Stick to frozen, if you can.

Omega One is available in pet stores like Petco and PetSmart, make sure you get pellets and don't accidentally grab flakes like I did. If you're willing to order online, my new favorite kind of food is Ocean Nutrition Betta Pro, they like that more than any other pellets I've given them.

Since he's sick, I'd change the water every 3 days, but change small amounts like 25%. Whenever he improves, weekly changes are a must after that.

The filter with more fabric would be the better choice, since it has more area for beneficial bacteria to grow on. If you can, cut a small slit in the cartridge and empty out the carbon. I find it pretty useless in my filters, it just removes any medication from the water and is more of a hassle than its worth turning the filter off while medicating for any illnesses, and it stops working after a month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think he's getting worse. His color seems more pale. His dorsal fin seemed to be almost back to normal color but has now gotten pale.

I have held off on supplements. I did a 30% change today. A little while after he ate 2 Omega One pellets. He has not eaten anything else today. He is leaning to one side on the bottom most of the time. I actually think he's dead but then he will dart quickly just a short distance. He seems to struggle to get to the top to eat. I don't know if it means anything but he curls his body sometimes too.

I did switch out the charcoal filter for the old one which was rinsed with tap water and soaked with conditioned water.
I thought about putting the charcoal filter back in since it may be pulling chemicals/supplements out of the water.

I'm not sure what else to do. I'm afraid the end may be near. My 9 year old will be devastated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If I do that then the filter will not run with the tank set up we have. I can lower the heater to that level, but I don't think I can lower the filter.
I just thought about the possibility of moving him higher with a "breeding" tank. He would be very confined though.
 

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In his state I don't think I'd worry about the spatial limitations of a breeding container.

I agree with all the above! In a 3g I'd do at least one 50% water change per week, if not two! His illness is probably ammonia poisoning (Link to more info) the cure of which is clean, warm water. And more food, as already pointed out.

I may have missed something, but I will add that you should not rinse anything from the filter in tap water. The chlorine/chloramine/etc will kill the healthy nitrifying bacteria you may have in the filter. This link about cycling may help.

And of course Don't give up! The poor little fish may still be able to recover with some attention and diligence!
 
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