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Discussion Starter #1
My poor Colin is very ill and I don't know whats wrong. I think it all started out when I moved back to college after summer break. I don't think that the water here agreed with him so he was flashing a little and hurt himself on his plastic plant (which I have since removed after research). Since then he has become discolored, with his bright blue and red fins turning a dull pinkish grey, as well as lethargic and not as inquisitive or active as he was. This was about a month ago. I immediately did all of the researching I could and bought conditioners for the tank (AmQuel Plus and NovAqua Plus) as well as some test strips and Triple Sulfa Anti-Bacterial Fish Medication (because it seemed to me that he had the beginnings of either fin rot or septicemia). I have gone through two full courses of the Triple Sulfa with some improvement, but then he just gets more ill again.

I just transfered him into a much bigger tank, (5 gal from 1 gal) thinking that the larger tank would help him get well, but now he just sits at the bottom all day and barely moves and when he does its frantically. He got himself caught behind the filter somehow today when I was in class and now has those strange grey cuts on his forehead... It looks like he's exhausted, but he wont eat anything either... I am very worried about him... please help...

The three most recent pictures are from tonight. I also included a picture of how he was 1.5 weeks ago and how he looked when I first got him.

Housing
What size is your tank? Was 1 gal now it's 5.
What temperature is your tank? I don't have a heater, so probably colder than it should be... (I've ordered one though)
Does your tank have a filter? The new one does but I had to turn it off because it looked like it was too strong and was pulling him over.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None (before he didn't have room and I don't want to introduce any while he's sick.)

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Freeze dried blood worms (he hasn't eaten for at least three days...)
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day 3 worms each time.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Once or twice a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Either 100% or 20%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? NovAqua Plus, AmQuel Plus, BettaFix

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.0
Hardness: 30
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He was bright Dark Blue all over with scarlet ventral fins and a scarlet flash on his anal fin. His heas is so dark its almost black and his dorsal fin is teal/turquoise
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, won't eat, flashes around when he does move.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About 2 1/2 weeks ago. I have been attempting to self treat.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Two courses of Triple Sulfa separated by about a week. Followed by Betta Fix for 2 days.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1/2-2 yrs...?
 

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I personally dont use a heater as my house/room temp stays around 72 degrees but it looks like you really need a heater. Betta's sitting at the bottom of the tank is a sign of cold/uncomfortable water. If the water is around 72 - 74 degress and this problem persists its out of my reach but i wish you the best of luck.
 

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Hi tomsy and welcome to the forum. Sorry it's under these circumstances. Let's see what we can do to help your boy.

How long has he been flashing? Was it before or after you changed conditioners?

The gray cuts are where he's scraped scales off but don't worry, those will grow back quickly. For now, we need to make sure the water stays clean so the cuts don't get infected.

For treatment, I suggest you put him back in his 1 gallon. This will make it easier to treat him. In a small bowl, mix 4 tsps of epsom salt with a bit of his tank water. Let the salt dissolve, then pour it into his tank. Keep him in the epsom salt mixture for at least 5 days, changing the water daily and redosing the salt. You can get epsom salt at a pharmacy or in the pharmacy section of places like Wal-Mart. Make sure it doesn't have any extra scents or colors. Just plain old magnesium sulfate.

If he's having trouble reaching the surface to breathe, lower the water level several inches so he can swim up to the surface easier.

I hope your heater comes soon. That will also help the little guy. If your temp is below 74, then he is probably much too cold and when a betta is cold, it compromises the immune system so they can't fight off illness as well.

Hope this helps you. Good luck and keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update

Here he is in his new hospital tank. I kept the water so low because he's barely swimming at all now. I made a little ramp for him with the substrate so that he can just sit there close to the surface. There's about 1/4 of a gallon there so I only added one tsp of Epsom salt like you suggested. I also took a temperature reading with my new thermometer and it looks like it is a stable 74 degrees after all. I guess this is still a little cool, but I can't use the heater yet because there's so little water.
I hope he gets better..., but at least he's comfortable. :-(
He also seems to have hurt himself with all of the scooting he's been doing. Those little sores on the base of his two top fins are new. He's not swimming like he's suspended in the water, but rather propells himself with short bursts of movement from his tail and then rests on the floor where he lands. Maybe he's just weak, or maybe he's hurt those bottom fins... I don't know.

PS: That little gross thing on the surface is a freeze dried bloodworm. As you can see he's completely disinterested... I'll remove it before it goes bad.

PPS: How should I go about changing the water? 50%, 25%?? Should I replace the Epsom salts too?
 

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From Sakura8:
"For treatment, I suggest you put him back in his 1 gallon. This will make it easier to treat him. In a small bowl, mix 4 tsps of epsom salt with a bit of his tank water. Let the salt dissolve, then pour it into his tank. Keep him in the epsom salt mixture for at least 5 days, changing the water daily and redosing the salt. You can get epsom salt at a pharmacy or in the pharmacy section of places like Wal-Mart. Make sure it doesn't have any extra scents or colors. Just plain old magnesium sulfate."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I understand what Sakura8 said, I just missed the bit about the water changes. :oops: I also put him in the one gallon tank, but with very low water because he wouldn't swim to the top at all. He would just sit at the bottom however he landed (on his side, on his belly, etc. ) and flaphis gills like mad. I just want him to stay as clam as possible and have easy access to the surface. I know having so little water is not ideal (and don't believe all that "well they live in puddles anyway" stuff), but it was just very difficult watching him struggle to get to the surface before. I will do water changes more frequently if that will help.
 

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Okay, I wasn't sure, why I reposted that part. And that is just fine, lowering the water. When a betta has problems getting to the top to breathe, lowering the water is a good thing =) You're doing fine! Hope he gets better soon for you, he's a cutie.
 

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Aww, he looks like one of my guys, Admiral Floaty McFloatsalot. Admiral Floaty had some problems when I first got him too but he's doing great now so don't give up hope on your guy. :) You're doing good.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the support, you guys. The think I'm most worried about is that he won't eat... What's the best thing I could do? Should I keep putting in fresh freeze dried food? Should I get one of those blocks for when you go away on vacation so he can eat whenever he wants? He can't get better if he wont eat!
 

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Try getting some frozen bloodworms and soaking them in garlic juice. Get some garlic, mince it up and mix some with a bit of his tank water, then soak a few bloodworms in that. It's all stinky and disgusting but hopefully it will do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've never used frozen before? What is the best brand? I'll have to order it expedited on the internet.
 

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Ouch, I don't know if you want to order expedited. The shipping might bankrupt you. I know one website, fosterandsmithaquatics.com, has $24 shipping for frozen foods. But in case you can find some locally, the best brands are Hikari and Sally's San Francisco Bay.

You could try soaking freeze-dried bloodworms in garlic juice. I don't know if they'd hold up but it's worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all of the advice about the food! I'm going out tomorrow to get some. (I don't have a car so it's tricky getting off of campus.)

He's still very lethargic and spends most of his time just sitting on the little rock platform with his labyrinth at the surface. Then he'll have fits of movement and because he can't swim very well he just sort of flashes around the tank a little. I also think he might have mild fin rot.
I'm wondering if I should get a general antibiotic to try and treat him if he's got some sort of infection (because this all started, I think, when he cut his fins on my plastic plants). I also have that Triple Sulfa. Maybe a course of that will do some good? I'm not seeing an improvement with just the Epsom salt... (will this maybe change once he eats again?)
 
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