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It all started on Saturday. I came home from work and my betta, Ruben greeted me as he patiently waited for his food. So I soaked three pellets in his tank water like I normally do. He ate two pellets and as he was about to eat the third he looked like he was choking on the pellets he had in his mouth and he dropped to the bottom of the tank like a stone and began breathing heavily with an open mouth and exposed gill membrane.

I got scared, so I netted him out of his five gallon filtered and heated tank, placed him in a small bowl and brought him to the aquarium pet shop to see if I could get him some help. On the short walk therr, he eventually returned to normal and was looking at me like "hey why did you take me out of my house"? So I returned back home thinking it was just an episode that had passed. I tried to put him back in his tank and he began to have breathing issuy again so I netted him and put him back in the tiny bowl. His went back to normal 30 minutes later. I kept him in the bowl overnight to make sure he was OK and to give me time to do a water change in his 5 gallon tank.

Come Sunday morning, Ruben seemed OK so I did a 100% water change in his 5 gallon suspecting ammonia poising and possible build up of Pimafix, melafix in his tank since he has nasty fin rot on his dorsal fin that's been persistent for almost three months now. His dorsal fin is almost completely gone. So I went to feed him again yesterday and he ate half a pellet fine then he jumped to grab the second when he dropped like a stone again. This is very concerning and heartbreaking for me to watch him gasping for air at the bottom of his bowl (I didn't even get to put him back in the 5 gallon tank I did a 100% water change in yet. The tank is on and cycling as we speak). I'm not sure what's wrong with him, I was hoping someone on this forum might've delt with something like this before.

The bowl he's in now is:
About two cups in size
80°
Can't check parameters as I do not have a kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Housing
What size is your tank? 5gal though he's currently in a 2 cup size bowl
What temperature is your tank? 80°
Does your tank have a filter? His 5 gal tank yes, the bowl, no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon betta food, Aqueon blood worms, omega 1 betta buffet pellets, Hikari Daphnia
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 times a day .pellets depending on size of pellet 2-3 pellets twice a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 25% water change weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25% weekly. 50% if water looks cloudy
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? 1/2 teaspoon aquarium salt per gallon, water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

I do not have a test kit

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He has had bad fin rot for the past three months. Treated with Furan 2 for 10 days, seems to have made it worse so I stopped after the second course was complete. Did a 50% water change and put his filter back in the tank. Was treating with Pimafix, and melafix. It's possible that I didn't do enough of a water change and all those meds built up in his water. But he was fine till Saturday.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Yes, after he ate he dropped to the bottom of the tank gasping for breath
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Two days ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I took him out of his tank and placed him in the small bowl and slowly did a water change in that bowl. Though he returned to normal before I did the water change.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes. He's been battling fin rot for three months now. He alao suffers from constipation so i have to soak his food and feed him daphnia to keep him regular. and he's a tail biter
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1.5 years old
Mike is offline
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Euthanasia?

I fear Ruben isn't gonna make it. He's struggling to breathe and his color is starting to fade. Does anyone know of a humane way to euthanize him?
 

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Hey I just went thru this last week with my betta. Have you tried partial daily water changes and aquarium salt? I heard that melafix isn't great for bettas because the tea tree oil hurts their labyrinth organ they breathe air from. I also used pimafix for a week but then I put the carbon back in my filter after doing a partial water Change to remove the leftover meds. I bought some antibiotics but didn't end up needing them because the aquarium salt and water changes and pimafix seemed to be working. When I was going thru this someone also suggested methalyne blue baths to reoxyenagate the betta though I didn't do this. It may have stressed your betta out moving him. I would try the water changes and salt and Maybe even use some stress coat. Hope he gets better.
 

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I'm not sure if Ruben has passed or if you have euthanased him yet, but to answer your question, probably one of the fastest methods of euthanasia is blunt force trauma (which basically means a blow to the head with something heavy). I would always recommend this method for fish keepers that feel themselves capable of doing so, particularly in cases where the fish is suffering and very close to death, simply because it is over so quickly for the fish

You can use clove oil. I don't use this method and so am not familiar with the steps so perhaps someone else can offer assistance.

Otherwise, the method of euthanasia I usually go with, is the ice-water/shock method. I simply put a container of water into the freezer and wait until a layer of ice forms over the surface. I then break this ice and remove it from the container and then net the fish and place it into the water. The sudden temperature shock causes a cessation of gill activity in a matter of seconds and I read somewhere that it's after ten minutes of no gill activity that a fish is considered dead.

Killing a fish is unpleasant no matter what method you choose. However, passing naturally is not the easy and painless process many seem to think, and personally I don't like to see any animal suffering.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Did your betta make it? Cuz mine is in bad shape and he's suffering right now. I don't want to take anymore extraordinary measures if it's futile at this point.
 

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Just so you know, medications that end in -fix (melafix, pimafix, bettafix and etc) damage the labyrinth organ (the organ that enables them to breathe atmospheric air). You might not see the damage, but its long term.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Rest in peace Ruben

I euthanized him just a few minutes ago in an ice bath. I just couldn't see him like that anymore. The ice bath worked quickly and he didn't suffer. I tried my best to save him but I guess it was his time. Rest in peace Ruben, I know you're doing you're little feed me wiggle dance up in heaven.
 

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Just so you know, medications that end in -fix (melafix, pimafix, bettafix and etc) damage the labyrinth organ (the organ that enables them to breathe atmospheric air). You might not see the damage, but its long term.
I went to a reputable fish store and they did say that bettafix and melafix contain tea tree oil which damages that organ. They suggested I try Pimafix which doesn't have tea tree oil...I used it for 6 days and it seemed to work on my Betta. He's back to his old self swimming around and making bubbles. I put activated carbon back in the filter to remove the meds after treatment. It seemed to help in my situation.
 

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XenaXP, I am very sorry you had to make such a tough decision. I have done the same with many fish, and it never gets any easier. However, I'm glad you had to the courage to end his suffering.

I also wanted to say that there is a lot of debate as to whether Melafix actually cause harm to bettas. Many hobbyists will say that it does, but I've seen no scientific/factual evidence to back such claims up. Rather the only information that's been provided, is purely anecdotal.

I personally believe these two medications are fairly useless anyway. However, until there has been some sort of study done, no hobbyist can say with 100% certainty whether they caused or contributed to the death of Ruben.
 

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I am so sorry you lost Reuben but thank you for sharing the "Happy Dance" video! That is too cute. :)

Do not kick yourself for using any "Fix" meds. As LBF noted there seems to be real "proof" that they harm Betta.

What research that's been done indicates all that stuff about "Fix" meds harming labrynith fish is purely anecdotal. Besides, the oil has been refined out so these meds are all water soluable and cannot possibly coat the gills or labrynith organ. Here's something I found very informative.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumMedication4.html
 
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