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Hi everyone,

I have a 2-3 year old male betta named Niko. He's been sickly over the last few months and I'm not sure how to further help him. I filled out the form and here's a brief summary of his treatments / maladies.

Niko had fin rot and cloudy eye. I treated him with a round of Maracyn 2 and Fungus Cure. He improved but not completely so I did another treatment with Kanaplex & Furan 2. His eyes greatly improved and I've been waiting for his fins to re-grow. His top fin is still fairly shredded but his other fins look pretty good. Throughout the treatments he was a little subdued but would still clamor for food and flare at me. I did some digging and it turned out my tap water was pretty hard so I bought a water softener pillow and started mixing a little distilled water to adjust. Additionally, I was worried his old tank (6 gallons) with a small filter was not good enough for him so I set up a 9-gallon tank with charcoal and biofilters. I added cycle bacteria and planted it in flourite and had it run for a while he was being treated in the other tank. He seemed to do well in the tank initially but in the last two weeks, he's become very lethargic, laying on/near the filter at the top and more recently laying sideways on the bottom. I fasted him for 3 days and with no improvement, I then did an Epsom salt dip. He did poop after the bath but there was no improvement in his lethargy. He also seems very disinterested in food these last few days. I managed to feed him a pellet the other day. As you can see his belly is quite bloated and he appears to be breathing heavily. He swims to the surface for some air and immediately begins to fall back to the bottom. I fed him a few small pieces of peas today hoping this would help. I'm very worried he's in pain and distress and I don't want him to suffer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 9 gallons
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
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? Wardely, Aqueon, Hikari
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets and sometimes blood worms or brine shrimp
Freeze-dried? yes - for blood worms and brine shrimp
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? twice a day, a pinch of food

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? bi-weekly
What percentage of water did you change? 40-50%
What is the source of your water? tap water conditioned (recently started mixing in some distilled to soften the water.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Stress coat, kordon 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. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: .2
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.6
Hardness (GH): 100
Alkalinity (KH): 120

Symptoms and Treatment:

When did you first notice the symptoms? Swim Bladder I noticed within the last 2 weeks
He has had other maladies prior which I treated with antibiotics.

How has your Betta’s appearance changed? His belly is bloated, his color is a bit faded
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? yes, he's not nearly as active as he was. Hasn't flared in a long time
Is your Betta still eating? he hasn't been the last few days. He's not interested in eating these last few days
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? yes, I fasted him for 3 days then did a epsom salt dip.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? he's been battling some fin rot and cloudy eye issues
How long have you owned your Betta? approx. 2 years
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? he seemed fine when purchased

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

1020487

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This is a hard puzzle to solve for me personally. I have no experience with softener pillows, or trying to change the chemistry of my water. All my betta do fine in hard water with a ph of 8. I’m sorry that this is happening and I hope someone here can give you some solid advice about this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is a hard puzzle to solve for me personally. I have no experience with softener pillows, or trying to change the chemistry of my water. All my betta do fine in hard water with a ph of 8. I’m sorry that this is happening and I hope someone here can give you some solid advice about this.
Thank you for your kind words. the hardness & PH are the only things in my water parameters that could be making him sick. I clean the tank religiously and test the water. I figured softening the water would be something I could try.
 

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Sorry your boy is sick. However, rest assured it is not the pH or the GH. As long as parameters are stable fish will adapt; it's fluctuating parameters that cause issues.

Was the cloudy eye bilateral or unilateral?

Do you have any "before" photos? When did you do the antibiotic treatments? How long between treatments? When did he start remaining on the bottom of the tank?

Did you move media from the six gallon to the nine gallon? . Is the .2 ppm before or after a water change? I ask because you have Ammonia which suggests the tank is not cycled.
 

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Hi Russell! Thanks for your help! The eye cloud was bilateral. Unfortunately, I don't have the photos anymore. I did one round of treatment and waited about a week and a half before beginning the second round of different medications. He's been off the antibiotics for about 2.5 weeks.

He started on the bottom of the tank about 4 days ago. Today he is laying near the filter at the top or on top of the sponge filter.

I didn't move the media because it was different sizes / type. .2 is after a partial water change. The color of the test was almost completely clear but had a tiny yellow tint. I added all the things needed to get the tank ready for him and ran it for 10 days before adding him. Keep in mind he was not doing very well in his other tank either. His energy was low but at least he was eating and flaring a bit.

He seems really miserable and I'm wondering at what point I consider euthanizing him? Don't want him suffering but also don't want to act too quickly if he can recover.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I euthanized him yesterday morning :( He wasn't improving at all and didn't have the energy to even come get food. I'm very sad but feel he was suffering and this was the best thing.
 
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