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I’m pretty new both on the forum and with keeping bettas, but research is pretty much what I do. I just wanted to share what looks likely to be a success story with my daughter’s betta, Theodore with the hope that it might encourage you and ease some of the nervousness of using meds. My adult daughter introduced me to keeping betta and has 5 males and 7 females all in planted tanks. Anyway, Theodore had been losing and splitting his fins and just not acting right for several weeks. My daughter thought it was stress related because the water always tested with pretty much perfect parameters (her pH is always on the high side). She first took out the snail, then changed his decor to more plants and less wood, then removed him from his 10 gal divided tank to a 5.5 gal all by himself. Nothing helped and he kept getting worse. This was over the span of about 3 months.

Then over just a few days, the fin loss got exponentially worse. His tail fin was in even more shreds and his dorsal fin was almost completely gone and looking to be even receding into his body. When I saw how bad it was, I started pouring over as many fish keeping and even veterinary sites as I could before and after work. I found that mixing kanaplex into the food with garlic drops and another Seachem product called Focus works on gram negative bacteria and internal infections. The Focus binds the Kanaplex to the food so that it isn’t diluted in the tank water and can work better internally. I also found that Kanaplex works well with a couple other medications: nitrofurazone and methylene blue. We ended up getting the Kanaplex and Focus mixed with Theodore’s food and put a product called Bettamax in the tank. Bettamax has nitrofurazone, methylene blue, sulfa medications, salt, and vitamins all in a powder. It’s been a little over a week of this treatment and the fin loss has stopped. His dorsal fin has even started to grow back, and the gray/dead looking scales are getting their blue color back. He’s also swimming much more smoothly and is not hiding like he had been. He’s even diving after the food that sinks and catching it like he used to. I’m attaching pictures of what Theodore looked like last Monday and then today. He’s not out of the woods yet, but I’m relieved at all the progress he’s made.

The Bettamax does tint the water blue and will stain just about anything. We did 3 doses with a rest day and a 25% water change in between each dose. Now, there’s no way to know if Curly is fighting the same thing that Theodore is. That’s why using a broad spectrum medicine is a good thing when the milder, more homeopathic type treatments aren’t helping. We don’t have to be certain because the medication will address multiple issues.

Water Azure Plant Aqua Paint


Underwater Marine biology Electric blue Wing Fin
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
I’m pretty new both on the forum and with keeping bettas, but research is pretty much what I do. I just wanted to share what looks likely to be a success story with my daughter’s betta, Theodore with the hope that it might encourage you and ease some of the nervousness of using meds. My adult daughter introduced me to keeping betta and has 5 males and 7 females all in planted tanks. Anyway, Theodore had been losing and splitting his fins and just not acting right for several weeks. My daughter thought it was stress related because the water always tested with pretty much perfect parameters (her pH is always on the high side). She first took out the snail, then changed his decor to more plants and less wood, then removed him from his 10 gal divided tank to a 5.5 gal all by himself. Nothing helped and he kept getting worse. This was over the span of about 3 months.

Then over just a few days, the fin loss got exponentially worse. His tail fin was in even more shreds and his dorsal fin was almost completely gone and looking to be even receding into his body. When I saw how bad it was, I started pouring over as many fish keeping and even veterinary sites as I could before and after work. I found that mixing kanaplex into the food with garlic drops and another Seachem product called Focus works on gram negative bacteria and internal infections. The Focus binds the Kanaplex to the food so that it isn’t diluted in the tank water and can work better internally. I also found that Kanaplex works well with a couple other medications: nitrofurazone and methylene blue. We ended up getting the Kanaplex and Focus mixed with Theodore’s food and put a product called Bettamax in the tank. Bettamax has nitrofurazone, methylene blue, sulfa medications, salt, and vitamins all in a powder. It’s been a little over a week of this treatment and the fin loss has stopped. His dorsal fin has even started to grow back, and the gray/dead looking scales are getting their blue color back. He’s also swimming much more smoothly and is not hiding like he had been. He’s even diving after the food that sinks and catching it like he used to. I’m attaching pictures of what Theodore looked like last Monday and then today. He’s not out of the woods yet, but I’m relieved at all the progress he’s made.

The Bettamax does tint the water blue and will stain just about anything. We did 3 doses with a rest day and a 25% water change in between each dose. Now, there’s no way to know if Curly is fighting the same thing that Theodore is. That’s why using a broad spectrum medicine is a good thing when the milder, more homeopathic type treatments aren’t helping. We don’t have to be certain because the medication will address multiple issues.

View attachment 1034260

View attachment 1034266
Thanks for the info and encouragement. We will look to try this.

It doesn't look like the fins have gotten worse on Curly since we started the more frequent water changes, but he hasn't gotten much better either. If you see the "before" and "current" photos attached, what's most concerning is that his entire front fins - just below his "chin" are almost all gone. Those are the reddish ones.

Do you know if these will grow back? We're operating on a hunch that these front fins allow him to steer and better maintain buoyancy, because when he does swim he can't really navigate well.

Check out these videos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/9BvveSTXJQLjApmq5

Especially the first one - both from today - where he tries to swim down to the bottom of the tank but kind of flips over. Not sure if you see anything in these that we are missing. Again, thanks!
 

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Thanks for the info and encouragement. We will look to try this.

It doesn't look like the fins have gotten worse on Curly since we started the more frequent water changes, but he hasn't gotten much better either. If you see the "before" and "current" photos attached, what's most concerning is that his entire front fins - just below his "chin" are almost all gone. Those are the reddish ones.

Do you know if these will grow back? We're operating on a hunch that these front fins allow him to steer and better maintain buoyancy, because when he does swim he can't really navigate well.

Check out these videos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/9BvveSTXJQLjApmq5

Especially the first one - both from today - where he tries to swim down to the bottom of the tank but kind of flips over. Not sure if you see anything in these that we are missing. Again, thanks!
Hi Rob,

I did watch the videos and the main thing I noticed was the ”bulge” on his side where his swim bladder would be. I circled it in red on the still frame I captured from your video. One of my daughter’s bettas had this issue once and mainly bobbed at the surface. Once the bulge could no longer be seen, he was swimming normally. My guess would be that he might either have an internal infection that has altered his ability to control his swim bladder or he is just not used to the recent change in food and needs more time to adapt to it. Mixing the Kanaplex you already have with his food should clear up any internal infections if there are any. I read where the medicated food should be fed for all meals for 3 weeks then give a week’s rest and do a second course if the condition hasn’t cleared. You can mix the Kanaplex with pellets (add a little bit of tank water to soften them), flakes, or frozen… basically any kind of food. Mix it according to the directions on Seachem’s website and refrigerate the overage for no more than 5 days before making a new batch.

As far as the fins growing back… sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Two of my daughters bettas (Hecate and Einstein) survived the Texas freeze last February. They went without filtration, heat, light, and food for a week because there was no power. It was 28 deg in the house at one point! They all looked dead when their tanks were finally unwrapped but were evidently only in suspended animation because of the cold. Einstein lost a lot of his fins (he’s a dumbo plakat), but they grew back. Hecate still hasn’t gotten all of her tail fin back, and she might not. She is also now blind, but can find her food if we make sure it falls onto the Viking ship centerpiece in her side of the 20 gal they share and has no trouble navigating her side. She does startle herself if one of the plants shifts and she bumps into it, though. Sadly, Argentum and Eric didn’t make it. They were in separate smaller tanks and we’re not sure if they were warmed up too fast and had a second temperature shock or if they just didn’t have enough dissolved oxygen in the tanks because of the smaller water volume. All that to say it’s too soon to tell if they will grow back or not… sorry…


Water Organism Electric blue Art Fish
 

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I don't mean to cause any confusion, but I don't believe the bulge you're mentioning is swim bladder disease. It's at the wrong part of the anatomy. The swim bladder is much closer to the stomach than what's circled on the picture. To me, that just looks like part of the spine. What I can't tell is if there's something irregular about it or if it's because he's too skinny or it's just a shadow. Here's a good example of the bulge you would see in swim bladder disease.
Underwater Plant Organism Marine biology Terrestrial plant


As for those fins, those are his ventral fins. They do help with steering, though the pectorals handle most of the swimming. But it can definitely play a roll in swimming poorly. He doesn't appear to be swimming funny due to SBD but I can't tell if it's 100% due to his missing ventral fins. They will grow back in time. All fins will, assuming the water is clean and their immune system is healthy. The closet they get down to the body, the longer it'll take. If the tail fin is almost completely gone, for example, I've seen it take nearly a year for it to grow all the way back.
 

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I don't mean to cause any confusion, but I don't believe the bulge you're mentioning is swim bladder disease. It's at the wrong part of the anatomy. The swim bladder is much closer to the stomach than what's circled on the picture. To me, that just looks like part of the spine. What I can't tell is if there's something irregular about it or if it's because he's too skinny or it's just a shadow. Here's a good example of the bulge you would see in swim bladder disease.
View attachment 1034289

As for those fins, those are his ventral fins. They do help with steering, though the pectorals handle most of the swimming. But it can definitely play a roll in swimming poorly. He doesn't appear to be swimming funny due to SBD but I can't tell if it's 100% due to his missing ventral fins. They will grow back in time. All fins will, assuming the water is clean and their immune system is healthy. The closet they get down to the body, the longer it'll take. If the tail fin is almost completely gone, for example, I've seen it take nearly a year for it to grow all the way back.
I know many others on here are more knowledgeable than myself on betta care, but like I said earlier, research is my thing. I have a background in chemistry and am currently the quality manager for an aerospace company…. I research all manner of things day in and day out. I consulted veterinary sites and scholarly journals to get an idea of betta anatomy in order to help my daughter’s betta. This is the most clear of all the diagrams of the internal organs of betta with regards to other fish. Most of the other diagrams concerned goldfish or koi.

Eye Blue Mythical creature Insect Organism


I also found an image of a betta that had been taken to a vet and gotten an X-ray. As you can see below, the black cavity filled with air is more toward the peduncle and not in front of the anus. That area on the x-ray is gray and filled with fluid. The swim bladder is filled with air to allow the fish to control its buoyancy. It’s location corresponds quite well to that area I circled.

Arm Human body Neck Font Service


I’m almost certain you know better than I do on day to day care and the best way to set up a tank for the long term health and happiness of a betta fish, but I’m going to stick to my guns on this particular point. I do hope there’s no hard feelings! I hate stepping on toes when first joining a new group.

EDIT: I’m not saying Curly has what’s known as swim bladder disease. Just that I noticed when that area stood out on my daughter’s fish, he had trouble swimming and getting away from the top of the water. When it was not sticking out from his side in a noticeable bulge, he swam well with no issues. There could be any number of reasons from water chemistry, type or amount of food given, to internal bacterial or viral infections that result in what was observed.

EDIT#2: My apologies, I didn’t cite where I got those photos… shame on me. The anatomy chart came from a Vietnamese blog about the history and habitat of betta and the x-ray came from the blog of a betta keeper who took his sick fish to a vet. There were several other charts on other sites depicting the internal anatomy. They were consistent with each other, but again I felt this one was the most clear. And now that I’m home from work it’s bedtime. :sleep:
 

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I know many others on here are more knowledgeable than myself on betta care, but like I said earlier, research is my thing. I have a background in chemistry and am currently the quality manager for an aerospace company…. I research all manner of things day in and day out. I consulted veterinary sites and scholarly journals to get an idea of betta anatomy in order to help my daughter’s betta. This is the most clear of all the diagrams of the internal organs of betta with regards to other fish. Most of the other diagrams concerned goldfish or koi.

View attachment 1034290

I also found an image of a betta that had been taken to a vet and gotten an X-ray. As you can see below, the black cavity filled with air is more toward the peduncle and not in front of the anus. That area on the x-ray is gray and filled with fluid. The swim bladder is filled with air to allow the fish to control its buoyancy. It’s location corresponds quite well to that area I circled.

View attachment 1034291

I’m almost certain you know better than I do on day to day care and the best way to set up a tank for the long term health and happiness of a betta fish, but I’m going to stick to my guns on this particular point. I do hope there’s no hard feelings! I hate stepping on toes when first joining a new group.

EDIT: I’m not saying Curly has what’s known as swim bladder disease. Just that I noticed when that area stood out on my daughter’s fish, he had trouble swimming and getting away from the top of the water. When it was not sticking out from his side in a noticeable bulge, he swam well with no issues. There could be any number of reasons from water chemistry, type or amount of food given, to internal bacterial or viral infections that result in what was observed.
I'm not going to get into any further arguments about the issue, but just to let you know, throwing around your intellectual background and/or positions in attempts to make a superior point is not necessary. It's irrelevant to the matter at hand. You can easily leave all that out and stick with the research to prove your point. So I'm going to refrain from using the same card and let you assume whatever you want about another's intellect. Sorry, but that's how it comes across when you bring that into the equation.
 
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Hi,
The filter seems to be pushing him around a bit. I don’t think it is SBD. He is still quite underweight so a bulges could also come from his body being thin. IMO, with his fin loss he is going to have trouble swimming. Also in one video it appeared he swam to the bottom and he grabbed a piece of leftover food.

SBD is pretty clear cut based on the way thr betta is swimming. I do not see this. Also, SBD is not a disease itself but a symptom. Something would need to cause this, most of the time from being bloated, which he is not. Gulping air for a long time at the top of the water can also cause gas and bloat.

If you are convinced it’s swim bladder, you could try an epsom salt bath. I still am sticking to myself and @SammiDraco recommendations that are important for fin damage. IAL tea, Kordons if you can find it. Clean water and plenty of hiding places and floaters at the top of the water and throughout the tank. The vitamins are helpful as well along with a little frozen food or soak the pellets in it.

If you do these or at least a couple with IAL tea or the Amazon Blackwater by Carib Sea, his fins will heal and he will be able to swim normally again and accept the current. If you can turn the filter down or place a tall plant or floating plants in front of it, that should break up the flow.

From your videos, there is a lot of open space in your tank.

Medications are fine in certain situations. If he was clearly suffering, yes, but I would use them for emergency use. They are extremely hard on them and sometimes can worsen the situation. You’re goal right now is to really give him places fo retreat and rest throughout the tank.

So:
IAL tea or Amazon Blackwater tea
Kordons and Boyd vita Chem multivitamin (sold on Amazon)
Epsom Salt bath if you are convinced it’s swim bladder disease - only you truly know. I will attach a video of SBD.
And lots of live or silk plants in particular floaters. Frog bit, Anacharis, Hornwort, Pennywort are all excellent
Or at least the betta hammock
Slow or obstruct filter flow
Lights out and rest

Then if all of these do not help, you can resort to medications. But again, only you know. In the vids I do not see SBD, I see Curly has bad fin damage and too strong a current. He also does not have enough places to snuggle up in. The IAL’s are also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal to prevent infection in those delicate fins that are trying to heal.


I know I sound like a broken record. If you do all of the above or just a strong IAL tea and he is declining rapidly and clearly in pain or distress, this calls for meds like Kanaplex.
 

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This poor little betta has a severe case. Obviously Curly has not reached this point, thankfully, but treatment would be the same with an epsom salt bath and all of my other recommendations. This fish may require meds but see how he can’t right himself. And keeps dropping. My poor betta had a severe case of SBD along with issue causing it, he had to hold himself up on floating plants or he would literally sink to the bottom. Just swimming to the top of the tank takes a lot of effort. I let a Java fern point sideways sticking out from behind the heater at the top of the water. He would lay on it like a bed sometimes sideways - similar to the betta hammock with more cover around him, You can use a suction cup to do this. He was very ill to begin with and his whole body was affected but SBD was a side effect and happened so I am familiar with it, sadly in my case.
 

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Hi. that bulge is in the area of his swim bladder and with him being a little emaciated, it would be more pronounced.
SBD would typically cause them to sink like a rock or bob like a cork.

Now this little guy seems to be languishing with some issues. Are you able to get him into a hospital tank? If not, are you able to take all of the decorations out of his tank, gravel and all.
Leave him in a bare tank (heater and filter included in the tank). You can add a decoration for him to rest near the top, but keep it as minimal as possible. You may also include the IAL if you have started it. With his tank being so bare, you'll want to cover it down with a dark towel to help him feel more secure.
Start with that and give him a few days, if he's still having more issues, we can look at moving him to a Methylene Blue dip.

We can hold the Kanaplex as a last resort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Hi. that bulge is in the area of his swim bladder and with him being a little emaciated, it would be more pronounced.
SBD would typically cause them to sink like a rock or bob like a cork.

Now this little guy seems to be languishing with some issues. Are you able to get him into a hospital tank? If not, are you able to take all of the decorations out of his tank, gravel and all.
Leave him in a bare tank (heater and filter included in the tank). You can add a decoration for him to rest near the top, but keep it as minimal as possible. You may also include the IAL if you have started it. With his tank being so bare, you'll want to cover it down with a dark towel to help him feel more secure.
Start with that and give him a few days, if he's still having more issues, we can look at moving him to a Methylene Blue dip.

We can hold the Kanaplex as a last resort.
I finally got a shipment of Indian Almond Leaf and haven't added it, yet. Just was a bit concerned - I've read a couple of reviews where the IAL killed someone's fish possibly due to a toxic batch? But if there isn't a lot of risk there, we may try.

I've also held off with the KanaPlex and Focus, just because things aren't getting worse - though they aren't getting much better either. The dorsal and tail fins seem to be regrowing a bit but the ventrals not at all.

Do you think taking everything out of the tank won't be too stressful now?

We've added San Francisco Bay Brand fish food to his diet - frozen SPIRULINA brine shrimp. This is what the store had. Is spirulina okay for bettas? https://www.sfbb.com/Spirulina-Brine-Shrimp_41.php.html

Attached are updated photos and a video here: New video by Robert Melstein

And yes, there still looks to be some sort of bulge still behind his left gill.
 

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I finally got a shipment of Indian Almond Leaf and haven't added it, yet. Just was a bit concerned - I've read a couple of reviews where the IAL killed someone's fish possibly due to a toxic batch? But if there isn't a lot of risk there, we may try.

I've also held off with the KanaPlex and Focus, just because things aren't getting worse - though they aren't getting much better either. The dorsal and tail fins seem to be regrowing a bit but the ventrals not at all.

Do you think taking everything out of the tank won't be too stressful now?

We've added San Francisco Bay Brand fish food to his diet - frozen SPIRULINA brine shrimp. This is what the store had. Is spirulina okay for bettas? https://www.sfbb.com/Spirulina-Brine-Shrimp_41.php.html

Attached are updated photos and a video here: New video by Robert Melstein

And yes, there still looks to be some sort of bulge still behind his left gill.
That bulge could be a tumor or a cyst but given his state it's something we can deal with at a later date.
Something is going on with his water, and I'd like to eliminate all sources of possible contamination which is why having a bare tank would help. It would also make it easier to see the color of his poop. BTW, do you know what his poop looks like at this time?

If you've upped his feedings and he's still not putting on weight, it's possible that we're dealing with a parasite as well.
 

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I finally got a shipment of Indian Almond Leaf and haven't added it, yet. Just was a bit concerned - I've read a couple of reviews where the IAL killed someone's fish possibly due to a toxic batch? But if there isn't a lot of risk there, we may try.

I've also held off with the KanaPlex and Focus, just because things aren't getting worse - though they aren't getting much better either. The dorsal and tail fins seem to be regrowing a bit but the ventrals not at all.

Do you think taking everything out of the tank won't be too stressful now?

We've added San Francisco Bay Brand fish food to his diet - frozen SPIRULINA brine shrimp. This is what the store had. Is spirulina okay for bettas? https://www.sfbb.com/Spirulina-Brine-Shrimp_41.php.html

Attached are updated photos and a video here: New video by Robert Melstein

And yes, there still looks to be some sort of bulge still behind his left gill.
Hi,

I am happy to see Curly’s updated Video. He looks like he definitely made some improvement. I agree with @Veloran recommendations since he is much more knowledgeable on dealing with medications and more serious health issues than I am.

I also would not be concerned with toxic effects from IAL. If you’d like to send me the brand of leaves or company you ordered from, I can let you know if I’ve used that brand. I’ve used many and have never known anyone personally or on the forum that has had ill effects from the IAL ever. They’ve always proven beneficial.

Since veloran is only recommending you float one and you have a smaller tank, you don’t need a huge leaf. Just enough to provide him with some cover and release some tannins. Maybe 3” by 2” piece - you can cut it with clean scissors and just give it a little rinse in conditioner water. The leaf will help though and when he’s feeling better with whatever else is ailing him and his fins are still healing, you could prep a tea but one thing at a time. I’m glad you got them.

And the spirulina brine shrimp and the San Francisco Bay brand are both great. Packed with nutrients. If he refuses it, there are other frozen food options but I’d definitely try them. As for when to feed him this, I will let @Veloran advise on how much and how often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
That bulge could be a tumor or a cyst but given his state it's something we can deal with at a later date.
Something is going on with his water, and I'd like to eliminate all sources of possible contamination which is why having a bare tank would help. It would also make it easier to see the color of his poop. BTW, do you know what his poop looks like at this time?

If you've upped his feedings and he's still not putting on weight, it's possible that we're dealing with a parasite as well.
I appreciate the bare tank suggestion, but haven't taken that step yet. He seems to be swimming better and is more active, though he still spends most of his time at the top of the tank. I will try to see the color of his poop.

Do you think it's too traumatic to take everything out of the tank right now? I understand where you are coming from, but also didn't want to stress the fish.
 

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Hi,

I am happy to see Curly’s updated Video. He looks like he definitely made some improvement. I agree with @Veloran recommendations since he is much more knowledgeable on dealing with medications and more serious health issues than I am.

I also would not be concerned with toxic effects from IAL. If you’d like to send me the brand of leaves or company you ordered from, I can let you know if I’ve used that brand. I’ve used many and have never known anyone personally or on the forum that has had ill effects from the IAL ever. They’ve always proven beneficial.

Since veloran is only recommending you float one and you have a smaller tank, you don’t need a huge leaf. Just enough to provide him with some cover and release some tannins. Maybe 3” by 2” piece - you can cut it with clean scissors and just give it a little rinse in conditioner water. The leaf will help though and when he’s feeling better with whatever else is ailing him and his fins are still healing, you could prep a tea but one thing at a time. I’m glad you got them.

And the spirulina brine shrimp and the San Francisco Bay brand are both great. Packed with nutrients. If he refuses it, there are other frozen food options but I’d definitely try them. As for when to feed him this, I will let @Veloran advise on how much and how often.
This is the brand of leaf I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HG1TMIW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Would you agree that it's okay to boil it before using it to cut down the chance of contamination?
Curly seems to be doing better - more energy but still spending most of his day at the top of the tank.
 

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I haven't used that vendor before but they have a ton of reviews so it should be fine, maybe someone who's bought it before can chime in. I couldn't find the country from which they source their leaves but I'll assume they're a reputable vendor.

What I like to do is to try to identify the source of the problem as quickly as possible and eliminate it. My reasoning is if they start a downslide, then you'll have to stress them anyway, only now they'll be weaker. But always remember, I'm only giving advice, ultimately, it's your pet and only you can make the decision as to what you feel is in their best interest.
 

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This is the brand of leaf I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HG1TMIW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Would you agree that it's okay to boil it before using it to cut down the chance of contamination?
Curly seems to be doing better - more energy but still spending most of his day at the top of the tank.
Hi,
These are fine. I’ve bought both the bigger leaves and the tiny ones they sell. They don’t leach a lot of tannins like some of the others I normally buy so don’t be shy letting half of a leaf float. I usually buy Tantora and Matchimma on Amazon now because they are real dark and leathery and stronger IMO. Definitely use the ones you bought.

Just give it a good rinse first. Don’t boil them unless you are going to use the tea they produce and not the leaves. The leaves will break down in the boiling water to make the tea, which is excellent, but the leaf after boiling will not be as effective since most of the tannins (the important part) will be boiled out of them.

Rinsing the leaf and dropping is fine or brew up a strong tea with about 6 in a large pot, 3 in a small/medium sized pot with conditioner water. Let them boil for a while, sometimes an hour or more, until it’s a dark bourbon colored brown and add a small amount to the tank (after allowing it to cool) so it literally looks like Curly is swimming in tea! Either method works thoigh.

You’re in good hands with @Veloran. And the tannins will be excellent for Curly.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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This is the brand of leaf I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HG1TMIW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Would you agree that it's okay to boil it before using it to cut down the chance of contamination?
Curly seems to be doing better - more energy but still spending most of his day at the top of the tank.
And one more thing, I’ve brewed many many batches of tea and used leaves for years. I have never once had an adverse effect and honestly no one else I’ve met has either. There’s always going to be negative reviews for every product on the market. Obviously, if you see fuzzy growth like mold on the leaf do not use, just common sense stuff, otherwise, no worries. If you feel more comfortable sending me a pic of a few leaves, I can take a peek to make sure they look good. But I trust they are good.

Obviously if it’s just not sitting right with you and you feel more comfortable, you can give it a boil for a few mins, maybe 5 mins, and drop it in the tank. It may no longer float, but should still leach tannins. I’d boil up tea with a few leaves though since you’re already at it, you’ll boil one for a few mins, remove that, drop in tank, and boil the rest for an hour or until you reach that bourbon color. Refrigerate the rest in glass jars. Mason jars or even old jelly/jam jars if they are cleaned out exceptionally well with zero soap residue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Hi Rob,

How is Curly doing?
Thank you for checking in. Things had been going well, trending in the right direction but over the past couple of weeks have taken a turn for the worse. See photos. The rear fin is curled and the main one underneath is torn. We dont know what happened. He barely can swim but is still eating. We are going to do some frequent water changes ASAP. Hope we can save him.
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