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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
About a month ago, I was randomly given a betta by a friend as a gift, with a half gallon tank. A few days later I decided to do research on betta care and I realized how bad that was. I went out to get a 5.5 gallon tank and everything else I needed to put in it. After I set up the tank I waited for about a week and a half and when the cloudiness cleared I assumed it was cycled. Clearly I was wrong, as when I finally received my test kit the ammonia was up to 4 ppm. I did about a 90% water change but I could tell he was already doing badly. Since then I’ve started following a guide on how to do a fish in cycle with Seachem prime. Even while doing this my bettas breathing has continued to get heavier. My water test results have been almost the same every day so I am wondering if I am doing something when taking the test. I didn’t do a water change for a week as I thought the prime would handle the ammonia, but after receiving some advice I did an 80% water change right before making this post.
Even though I’ve been trying hard to make my betta healthy again, his breathing keeps getting heavier and he keeps getting more stressed and seems to be scared of me whenever I am near the tank. It is to the point now where I am getting very worried about him. I’ve made many mistakes in the short time I’ve had him but I want to fix them and give him the best life possible. I would feel terrible if he died because of me, but I don’t know what to do at this point.
I can attach better images if needed, but I didn't want to stress my betta by shining a brighter light on him.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5.5 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 76-78
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? Nutrafin max betta color enhancing flakes
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Flakes
Freeze-dried?
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Nightly, amount of flakes that about equals the size of his eye.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Only once, about a week after I put him in the larger tank
What percentage of water did you change? 90%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? I do not vacuum the substrate
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? I now use Seachem prime, but used a different brand before my betta got more sick.

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: 0.75 ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 2 weeks ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Red spot on gills, less color (I think, hard to tell since I haven't had him for long)
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Spends most time on bottom of tank, very skittish, especially when I am close to the tank, breathing heavily or very heavily
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Started following a guide on fish in cycle with prime, but symptoms have gotten worse since.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
How long have you owned your Betta? I have only had him for a month, and only started doing research on how to care for him well about 2 weeks ago.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No
 

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Is the .75 ammonia from before or after the water change? Have you tested your water source for ammonia?
the red marks on his gills are likely from the ammonia. He may also be going through parameter shock.You need to give the substrate a good vacuum when you change the water, that’s where all the bacteria lives that turn into ammonia. Push the hose deep into the gravel and leave it there until it runs clean and then move to the next spot.
 

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Hi!
A couple things - you need to feed him more, twice a day and gradually increase the amount you're feeding. His stomach is larger than his eye, and an approximate eventual goal would be to have him eat for about 60 seconds, and then remove any leftover uneaten food.

He should look similar to this photo as you look at him from above with no delineation from his head to his body. The Nutrafin isn't awful, but some other quality brands of food you might consider are;
New Life Spectrum, Fluval Bug Bites, Omega One. or this brand; It has no fillers and Betta love it; Grain Free Bug (Black Soldier Fly) Formula (This is the only place you can buy it as they have it made).


1026796



Also, regarding water changes this schedule is recommended, although for now you may want to do several smaller changes of 20-30% within a week;
5-9gal with a filter
Weekly 50% with conditioned water same temperature as the tank water, and a vacuum
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month.

He's stressed. Try some Indian Almond leaf or plain decaf rooibos tea. Along with their anti fungal and anti bacterial properties, each one eases stress.
You can float either, or brew a tea, condition and add to tank. The water should be at least this color.
TankWithIAL.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for your advice,
The 0.75 ammonia was before the water change. I'll test my tap water for ammonia while I do the rest of my regular water tests. I'm not sure what parameter shock is. When I look it up it comes up with temperature shock. if that is the same thing, I do float him on the water for about 20-30 minutes when I do a water change, so hopefully that is enough. I also will incorporate substrate vacuuming into my water changes as well as making them more of a routine. I'll be feeding him more as well and I'm looking into getting some Indian almond leaves.
Thanks again.
 

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2 chihuahuas, a chameleon, 4 betta splendens and 1 betta mahachai.
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Hey there! Agreed with all the other posts-and want to state THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! You are doing everything right so far and I can tell how much you care about him. Props to you for trying to give him such a good life.

How I personally do a fish-in cycle is everyday I check the parameters. If ammonia/nitrite is 1 ppm or lower, I do a 10% water change and dose Prime and Seachem Stability. If ammonia/nitrite is 1 ppm or higher, I do a 50% water change and dose seachem Prime and Stability :)
 

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Thank you both for your advice,
The 0.75 ammonia was before the water change. I'll test my tap water for ammonia while I do the rest of my regular water tests. I'm not sure what parameter shock is. When I look it up it comes up with temperature shock. if that is the same thing, I do float him on the water for about 20-30 minutes when I do a water change, so hopefully that is enough. I also will incorporate substrate vacuuming into my water changes as well as making them more of a routine. I'll be feeding him more as well and I'm looking into getting some Indian almond leaves.
Thanks again.
If the water quality is low and you change all or most of the water, it can put them into shock. What I would suggest if the ammonia is still at .75 ppm is three 25% water changes over the course of the day. Around 4-6 hours apart. Are you following this tutorial for cycling?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello again,
I picked up some Seachem stability and some Indian almond leaves today. Hopefully they will work well. It is hard to tell whether something is working or not since my betta seems to stress easily around me, but it should still be possible to tell. I'll also be more careful about the parameter shock issue when I am changing the water. I didn't know about the tutorial for cycling on here, I guess I should have browsed this site a bit more before making a post. Regardless, I'll be following the tutorial.
On a side note, my betta tank sits with a drawer below it, and my betta seems to be startled when I close the drawer. Should I look into dampening the vibrations from the drawer or will he get used to it after some time?
Thanks again
 

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Should I look into dampening the vibrations from the drawer
Yes, and thank you for thinking of this :) Dampen it as much as you can, or move the tank, or don't close the drawer all the way. Even my boys who aren't really stressheads startle whenever their tank or the cabinet it sits on gets bumped.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hello again,
I'm coming back to this post because I can see that something new is wrong with my betta. He is spending all his time very frantically swimming across the glass. If I can get a close look at him while he is doing that I can see he is breathing quickly and heavier. If he is doing something else, like coming up for food, I can see that his breathing starts to slow down to a normal speed again. However, this does not happen much because he is almost constantly on the glass darting up and down. He is not flaring, so I do not think he is seeing his reflection, I've turned off all the lights and put towels over the tank to try and make him stop seeing whatever he might see, but it hasn't done anything. I do not know whether this is a symptom of his stress or the cause of it, but either way, it can't be good. How should I go about fixing this problem?
 

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2 chihuahuas, a chameleon, 4 betta splendens and 1 betta mahachai.
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Please go to the Disease and Emergencies tab and fill out the form in a separate post.
 
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