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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Listen up all you Betta officianados! Captain Frustration here, looking for a Medical Consultation on my Betta splendens. First off this is a beautiful fish, veil tail, beautiful solid uniform crimson color. Beautiful.

Here's the problem.

First of all I had no idea how finicky these fish were. After having a double tail gold fish for almost 7 years through thick and thin, I'm disappointed to find how frail and sickly these fish are.

After the goldfish died I got the kids 3 Bettas. They all have the same tank. 1 gallon, bubbler with air stone, that I have set on a regulator on low with minimal suction. Glass stones on the bottom. Feeding flakes lightly twice per day as recommended on container.

I have one of them that is the Champ of them all. Very vigorous. Growing like a weed. The thing is huge. Good swimmer, good eater.

My one daughter is on her 4th one. The first one looked sickly and I didn't recognize it til after really examining this fish. But it probably had a fungus of some kind and hung on for a few months but then finally kicked off. I got another one for her, thing died within a week. I got another one for her, thing died within 2 weeks. I have a 4th one for her that is so vigorous and healthy now for several weeks I feel this fish with compete with my son's fish which has been around for about a year and is doing very well.

Before my daughters fish started dying off I was changing the water every 2-3 weeks with 100% changes like the goldfish.

I then consulted some forums and found that these things are weaklings and are constantly sick and there are Betta medicines out there?! Oh my gosh. I mean we have homeless people starving out there OK folks.

Ok that being said my son and my youngest daughters fish are rock solid and looking very healthy.

My oldest daughter's fish is sick. Got the rot. The dorsal fin started looking a bit ragged and the fish was laying at the bottom of the tank not eating. In order to avoid any further death trauma to my kids since all of their fish were dying, I went to the pet store and tried some Bettafix, recommended by some kid in there. I gave it a weeks worth of treatment and the fish looked better. Color became more vibrant and was more active again, but it still lays around the tank, swimming very infrequently. Looks lethargic and listless. The dorsal fin is still a bit ratty looking and there is no clear fin growth coming in. My daughter is concerned, "dad whats wrong with my fish? you gave it treatment right?"

Now I've read that you guys and gals in Betta land don't recommend the Betta fix. I think the aquarium salts is better right? Ok so I have a container of salts arriving tomorrow from Amazon.

What's the story here?! I shoulda researched it better before jumping in with the Betta fish.

Let me say this, I have 3 tanks, all the same, all the same conditions, water changes, and feeding conditions. Ive used dechlorinator with the slime coating additive and have maintained the same conditions across 3 tanks. The room temps are basically the same. I have 2 fish that are going like gangbusters and one that needs another round of medical treatment in the ICU.

Im interested to get this thing fixed so I can get on with my life and get my taxes done and stop thinking about what Im doing wrong. Otherwise it's going to be a Kevorkian maneuver of some kind and back to the fish store for some good old goldfish. Those things can live in raw sewage kept at 40 degrees.

BUT SERIOUSLY, I REALLY WANT SOME SOLID ADVICE HERE. IVE PUT A LOT OF TIME AT THE TANKSIDE WITH THIS PATIENT AND I WANT TO SEE HIM MAKE IT. I just hope he has good insurance so I can get paid on this one.
 

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By any chance, do you have heaters for them? It was winter, and I see that you live in New York. Gets preeeeetty cold there. Bettas are all about being warm (76-80F) since they're tropical fish. If you don't have a heater, that could be the problem your daughter was facing. The fish were too cold, their immune systems were low, so they died. Or the water was toxic because of how high the ammonia levels were due to infrequent water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Engel,
Thanks for your reply! Yes actually I do believe this was a problem for my one daughter's tank and we changed the location and the most current fish is very vigorous. That was a good point and I forgot to mention that. Our house is set generously at 68 degrees and my kids room especially my daughter's with the sick fish gets good heat and in all reality is prob in the 70-80 range.

Now my son's fish was previously subjected to infrequent water changes due to my ignorance of fish and tank chemistry. His fish is like Hercules! Like I said I had some goldfish that survived harsh conditions, not knowingly subjected to
by myself, but did fine and I thought I could continue with that pattern but finding out thats not the case.

Ive been more careful and just started doing 50% water changes once a week just last week. Prob do biweekly 100% changes to start. Im going to add a moss ball as well to help with ammonia and nitrite concentrations to see if this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC INFORMATION REGARDING MAINTENANCE:

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 1
Does it have a filter? No.
Does it have a heater? No.
What temperature is your tank? 70
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Air stone, with regulator, set very low
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No.

Food:
What food brand do you use?
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Flakes
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice daily based on container recommendations. Small amount.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Biweekly
What percentage of water did you change? None at the time.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? 100% water change.
What additives do you use? Dechlorinator with slime coat additive

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.

None. Not monitoring. Wasn't aware this was important until researching within the last 7-10 days. Sorry folks.

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

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 10 days ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Yes. Ratty dorsal and volar fins. Looks like fin rot. Body looks good. Has small white dot under right eye.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Lethargic, listless, reduced eating, lays at bottom. After Bettafix treatment, looking better but looks like it cannot remain buoyant very well and/or is not strong enough to stay up at top of tank and floats to bottom. This occurs even if bubbler is shut off.
Is your Betta still eating? Somewhat
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Just finished 1 week Bettafix rx.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? 3 weeks or so. Was he or she a rescue? No

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

Camera just broke on phone 2 weeks ago. Not sure why. No phone trauma. iPhone 5. Just upgraded all software without help. Any suggestions would be helpful on this matter as well.
 

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I'm just going to go down the list, I apologize for being rather blunt:

1. 70 degrees is far too cold for a betta. I would suggest getting a heater ASAP.

2. Also, by biweekly, do you mean twice a week or once every two weeks? Since the longer posts suggest once every 2-3 weeks, thats far too long between changes especially on an unfiltered 1 gallon IMO. With a tank that small, for optimal health bettas, most people, including myself, recommend changing the water every 2-3 days. not 100% granted, but 25%-50%. The best way to avoid and treat fin rot is clean water, so if your fish keeps getting fin rot, its a good idea to do more frequent water changes.

3. If I'm thinking of the correct tanks, there's a tube where the bubbles come out of, right? you can make yourself a sponge filter by simply grabbing some of the filter sponge media they sell on the same aisles with the filters and shoves pieces into the tube. Whats not helping is that without a filter, your tank may or may not be holding a cycle and with an uncycled tank and no water testing, you're looking at very dangerous ammonia spikes and ammonia can kill a fish very quickly, especially once that is in too cold water with a lowered immune system.

I'm sorry your goldfish died :C he was so young. Goldfish and bettas are my two favourite types of freshwater fish.
 
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+1 to heater

In a 1 gallon, unfiltered tank, you should be doing a 100% water change once a week, and either 25% every day or 50% every other day. It seems like a lot, but waste and ammonia build up very quickly in a tank that small. If you make your own filter as Euro described you will not have to do as many water changes.

The other thing is if you bought your Bettas from Petco it wouldn't be surprising if they came with a disease or infection already. If a fish dies within a week or two after getting it it's likely that it was sick when you got it. Some people recommend treating Petco Bettas with an antibiotic like Kanaplex even if they don't show signs of illness right away. Either way, it would be good to have a medicine on hand.
 

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Research and experience have shown that 100% water changes are potentially dangerous to fish and no longer recommended. They are stressful and can compromise an already compromised fish. It is better, no matter the size of the container, to do several 25%-50% water changes per week with daily removal of waste and left over food. The only time 100% WC are needed is if treating for a disease or to remove medications.

One person on the Forum likes to remind us that fish swim in their toilets. :) High Ammonia leads to more fish deaths than anything else. It compromises the immune system and leaves fish open to fin rot, Ammonia poisoning and a variety of other diseases. Combined with cold temperatures this appears to the source of your problem.

I do not know if you can upgrade but if they were my Betta I would either purchase the PetSmart empty 5.5 gallons for $14.00 or the empty PetSmart 2.5 gallons for the same price. Then I would purchase heaters for each tank. Filters are down the line on importance.

I have adjustable 25 watt Hydor heaters in two of my 5.5 and have the 10 watt in my 2.5 and the 20 watt Cobalt in my other two 5.5 tanks:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/30148804479...49&var=600415163879&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

If they stay in the one-gallon bowls you can improve their habitat with two or three 25%-50% water changes per week. That will help but they are not Goldfish; they are not cold water fish. Hate to be a Debbie Downer, but without a heater there really isn't a whole heck of a lot of hope for any Betta to live a healthy life.

Edit: Trust me, a lot of people miss that form.

BTW, I forgot: Welcome to the Forum! :wave:
 

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Oh! Is it just a 1 gallon bowl? I was thinking of those 1 gal set ups that petco sells that are like the minibow ones but without filter, just the air bubbler controlling like a half way attempt at a UG filter.

if its just a bowl, nd if possible, as Russell suggests, I would upgrade to one of those empty 2.5 or 5.5. gallon tanks and get myself a penn plax small world filter and attach it to your air pump, then you could get yourself a filter without having to invest in a HOB filter if you dont want it. If youre not on a budget, a minibow 2.5 gallon is a great tank kit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well first of all I want to thank all of you for replying. You're all very knowledgeable and this has been a good education.

Ok so just to clarify, I have a 1 gallon tank with an air stone set very low via a regulator. No heater. I have 2 other Bettas in the same type set up doing very well.

I bought the fish at Petco. So maybe they were sick all ready. The fish in question looked very healthy on initial appearance.

Furthermore, these fish are kept out on a metal shelf in a tiny 16 oz container of water. Subject to these ambient temperatures all the time in the pet store without heaters!!

When I bought the fish there was no indication I even needed a heater. I just assumed I was good to go based on the pet store environment which they were kept. I can almost guarantee my house is warmer than a Petco. In addition I have the two other fish that are doing well.

I guess I was anticipating a much lower maintenance fish!! I really don't have an interest in keeping up such a high maintenance hobby in 3 tanks which is a bummer for me. That being said they are beautiful fish and I'm going to keep going.

I'm going to try the aquarium salt next. How does that sound to everyone??

What's the difference between Epsom salt vs Aquarium salt anyways? Any preference here?


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Epsom salt is to reduce any swelling or bloating that your fish my present. Popeye, SBD, Dropsy, Cysts, Tumors(? Correct me on this)

Aquarium salt is to treat bacterial infections or prevent bacterial infections from happening on the outside of your fish: scratched body, torn fins, open wounds etc. It also helps with their protective slime coat. Furthermore, salt treatment should not exceed for more than 10 days as the salt can start to damage their internal organs

If you want to help with their immune system and bring it back up, a good thing to get is Indian Almond Leaves and just drop it in your tank. Stains their water in a slight tea colour depending on how long you leave it in the tank but it mimics their natural habitat, boosts their immune system and general health and also promotes fin healing.

I still suggest getting a heater though. Pet stores will not have heaters for their "betta cups" because it'll cost too much for them. How you see the fish in the aquarium should never be an indication of how they should be living, MOST pet stores don't set up their fishes and aquariums to keep them in the best health and live for many years, they just keep them in bare minimal conditions at the lowest cost possible so they can make a profit.

Anyways, getting back on track. Bettas are from South-East Asia, where it's nice and warm. They were never made to live in cold water conditions. Your other 2 fish that are doing well might just have a better immune system than your other one but I can say for sure they'd appreciate it a lot more if they were in a warmer tank.
 

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This thread has some very valuable information in it about the care of bettas http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=232570

Not too long ago some members discussed how we could improve the care bettas receive after purchase. We discussed how a care-sheet given to the customer along with the betta would help greatly. Some places do have care-sheets, but not too many are given to the customers, and they also could do with an upgrade.

Once you have the right environment and right water change schedule for your bettas there really is not much fuss with their care.
The right temperature, the right food, good water parameters, some decorations in the tank and your betta will be happy and hopefully stress free, which should keep his immune-system strong.
 

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+1 For Netti! and +1 for aquarium salt and IAL

I'm also going to be the person who says it: there's really no such thing as a "low maintenance fish" in the sense of I'll just throw it in a bowl and it will be okay =\. Even with goldfish, they need a good setup and good water quality for them to thrive rather then just survive. Same thing with bettas. I don't want to be that party pooper that says, if the other bettas are in similar conditions, they might be simply surviving rather then thriving? Bettas, are very very hardy creatures, despite what your experience might have shown you, they are too hardy for their own good as I've seen, almost on the same level as goldfish. I'm sure we've all known bettas to survive in 0.25 gallons of water for months or years with only water changes maybe once a month or even longer. :[ thats the struggle, but your boys are already some steps up from that coming home and thats very good.

It is true, that bettas can do very well in 1 gallon tanks. Theres an entire thread about 1 gallon tanks: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=117828
The drawback is they require so much more maintenance, but we now all know the added maintenance, so moving on from that.
Everyone here was saying upgrade simply because if you want less maintenance then a 1 gallon provides, a 5.5 gallon is the way to go. That way your fish has the space and if you have a filter, and heater on that thing and plant it out, you only really have to change the water once a week, which is way better then changing the water every other day. :]

Yeah, bettas in pet-stores can be confusing, and tbh, when I got in petstores, thats why I'm always so tempted to buy at least some. Since I know if they are healthy and vibrant 99% of the time it isn't going to last long :# I do feel the frustration though, I made that mistake when I first started my fishkeeping three years ago with a veiltail boy named Lord Gordon (SIP), but the minute I got on the internet, I realized that 1 gallon bowl with nothing on it, not even a bubbler, wasn't going to work. Granted, my boy didn't last longer then 7 months because I didn't quite understand betta diseases and didn't realize he was sick until it was too late, but thats another story for a different time. But now that you here, I commend you for coming and out and doing the research, some people don't even bother doing that, so you're taking the right steps to having healthy vibrant bettas. :3

I do hope you decide to upgrade in the future and for future bettas as well :3 definitely plant out the tanks, get the kids to help pick out their plants, make like a game of who can make the prettiest betta home or something like that. Who knows! Possibilities are endless, the betta boys will also love it too in the end ;]

Good luck with your boy and with future fish keeping!
 

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I agree with the above posters. To treat the problem, you need to treat the cause of the problem. In this case, it's temperature and water changes. Bettas are tropical, so heaters are non negotiable unless you're living in a tropical climate like Thailand. Fish are animals too, and they're entitled to proper care like you'd give to a dog or a cat. Would you get a great dane and lock it up in a shower all day? No.

If you can't afford to provide better living conditions for your bettas, you may want to consider rehoming them with someone who does have the proper facilities to take care of them. I used to work in a pet shop, and 90% of tge time the little 1 gal bowls were more expensive than the 2-5gal glass tanks.
 

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A lot of great helpful posts for this OP here.

It won't matter what size tank you have if your water doesn't stay free of ammonia. You need to be testing your ammonia with at least the test strips, and adding two drops of Prime by Seachem per gallon every day that your ammonia is over zero, including at water changes. Ammonia can take a fish down quick, can damage fins and organs.

It does matter what size tank you have if you want your fish to have a quality life. One gallon is too small. The cups they keep the Betta's in at the store should be illegal in my view. There is no reason why they can't manage to divide up a section for selling Betta's that do not involve housing for prolonged periods in cups. It is shameful, really. A fish needs room to swim, a one gallon tank is not enough room. You can easily go at least three gallons per Betta. Just my .02 and thank you Netti for sharing that care sheet thread.

Everyone should learn all they can about pet care before purchasing any pet. You really can't shame the fish into oblivion because it died in your care. I certainly hope you wouldn't ever actually keep any fish in raw sewage.
 

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I'll also drop back in here and say, if you don't want to spend a bunch more, you could always pick up some 10gals off of craigslist. People are getting rid of them all the time for low prices and some even have all the equipment with them, then you could have your betta in a 10 gal or you could even divided it and get 2 bettas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok Littlestar, thanks for your comical admonishment. If I wasn't interested in taking care of these fish I wouldn't have even signed up for this site nor posted this thread. I would have flushed the fish down the toilet and went to the pet store and bought a gold fish. Nor would I have purchased treatment chemicals thus far that cost more than 3 times the cost of the fish. That was a little tongue and cheek back there in case you didn't catch it. So stop taking yourself so seriously.

Thanks to everyone else who offered constructive criticism it has really been helpful. Thanks to Euro for that 10 gal solution above. That's a great idea and could provide a really cool ecosystem that we all could enjoy together. For something like that I could see myself investing the time in a worthwhile science-like project for my kids about learning fish chemistry and care in a more attractive and dynamic and environment. Investing the time effort and money would be more worthwhile. So thanks for that. And it sounds like the heater is a must. I really didn't realize the effort involved as these fish are presented in the store in such a tiny cup and sold without any instructions. So thanks people!!! I'll keep monitoring for more contributions!
 

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Thats the spirit, thats what I usually tell people with kids and fish is get them involved, it teaches a lot about respect for aimals as well as responsibility. I know it taught me a lot growing up with a fish tank, it also prepared little kid me (and adult me) for keeping many different animals such as cats, herps, horses etc.

If you want to sort of consolidate, I have a three way divided 10 gallon, it has 3 spots for 3 bettas, so you could, in theory get all your fish into one tank.



(this was back after I had just readded water so its still cloudy form the planting soil that needed to settle)

But just to illustrate what I mean, 10 gallons are very worth while, whether you want to get one for each betta or if you want to put your 3 into one tank and sort of have it all in one spot. Also, they are super cheap off craigslist and you can get some mad planting going on in there.



The is one of my tanks thats not really heavily planted, but is planted. If you google 10 gallon planted tank, you can get lots of ideas what to do.

Plants that are good beginner plants that don't need much more light then the lights that are in the average aquarium hood are:

- Anubias
- Java Fern (my personal favourite since there are multiple kinds like narrow leaf and feathered leaf etc)
- Java Moss (can be used s a floating plant or as a carpet plant.
- Anacrhis, grows like a weed under the right light, so will need to be pruned if it starts getting out of hand
- Wisteria, slightly more demanding, likes medium-high light (which is around 2-4 watts per gallon). But it grows like CRAZY. That tank I just posted now has an entire backdrop of wisteria just after a month or two. It also grows very tall, so if it starts going crazy, pruning is also needed.
- Marimo Balls, enough said, great little accent things. just be sure to take them out and give them a squeeze to clean them out when you change the water
- I've also had luck with amazon sword, dwarf hair grass, ludwigia, and banana plant, but they are a little more difficult to keep so if you want to keep them, look into their requirements first. Plants to avoid are bamboo and ... I believe its called white lace fern, its a green leaf plant that has white edging to it, you cant miss it in lets say petco or petsmart? its usually sold at pet stores as an aquatic plant, but neither bamboo or the fern are actually fully aquatic, they will rot away after months of being completely submerge, so its not good.

all in all, if you want any help with sort of "restarting", just message me and I'd love to lend a hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Awesome! That was really helpful. I'm going to do some research on the10 gal idea. Thanks for all the plant info too. That's great. I'll message you if I have questions!!


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