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Discussion Starter #1
Mr. Blue needs help and I am not sure what he needs. I keep getting told differently by pet store employees and hoping to get some expert help before it's too late! After doing some research due to the goldish/brown wondering if he could have velvet? His bump in front of his tail ( you can see if pic) makes it very difficult to swim upright for him. He was struggling last night so I turned the filter off and took the lid off the tank.

I was told fin loss due to plastic plants so I replaced them, color fading due to age, bump was swim bladder and I treated him with on response... I just am at a loss. Feel like bad fish mom but I am trying.



Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 2.5
Does it have a filter? yes (not currently on due to difficulty swimming)
Does it have a heater? yes (not currently on)
What temperature is your tank? 72-74 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Filter
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food
What food brand do you use?
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? blood worms as treats
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? twice a day 2 pellets

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Not enough. Every two weeks.
What percentage of water did you change? 1/3
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? dip out water
What additives do you use? dechlor drops, water conditioner (good bacteria for slim coat)

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.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0 (was 40 when fish acted most ill and I learned need to change filter every month and water changes biweekly, did tank clean out)
pH: 7.5
Hardness (GH): 120
Alkalinity (KH): 180

Symptoms and Treatment: color fading, fin wasting, brownish color around face, red inner gills, difficulty swimming, lays on side a lot or up against tank.
When did you first notice the symptoms? color and fin changes 6 -8 months ago. lethargic for 1 month.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? yes. started to fade months ago, fins gone months ago. But now just looks sick.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? yes. Still eats normally. Difficulty swimming due to bump by tail. More lethargic, he was super active fish prior, likes to lay up against tank wall
Is your Betta still eating? yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Tank change, frequent water changes, new filter, betta revive (didn't know to take out carbon filter, now tetracycline.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? He faded quickly and fin changes but always acted normal until recently.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Gift, one year ago. Seemed healthy.
 

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Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Not enough. Every two weeks.
What percentage of water did you change? 1/3

**That's not enough, you need to do weekly changes**

Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? dip out water
**Do you use a turkey baster to remove any feces? Feces & urine can create high ammonia levels but you are stating 0..thats a mystery**

Does it have a filter? yes (not currently on due to difficulty swimming)
**Cant keep it off for extended periods of time. Create a baffle to slow the water flow down or place a tall plant near the mouth so it slows the current. I have the 2.5 as well.

Does it have a heater? yes (not currently on)...What temperature is your tank? 72-74 degrees
**Why is it not on? These are tropical fish, they like warm temps**

Freeze-dried? blood worms as treats **Get rid of them, they are of no nutritious value, frozen is best.**

How often do you feed your Betta? How much? twice a day 2 pellets
**What is the brand name; most here recommend New Life Spectrum, Omega One, Atisons Pro..what are you using ??? Also maybe its not enough food or a high enough quality food**

Hopefully some of the experienced members can help you out. Those are the initial issues I see.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply.

I have started doing weekly water changes after I found out there was nitrate/nitrite in the water. These levels are now 0. I have never had an ammonia problem, and I use test strips to check this.

I have a baffle I made from a water bottle (you tube video). It seems to slow it a bit but he still doesn't seem to be able to handle the current with his bump (it makes it difficult to swim/and lack of good fins)

My heater warms the water up to 85 degrees and I read that is too hot. The 10 watt heater states it will keep tank at 78 but it doesn't. I am scared of over heating the fish. Is 85 ok temp?

Ok, I will stop the freeze dried blood worms, he didn't get them very often.

Aqueon is the brand of pellets I use.

I have learned a lot the past few weeks about Betta fish and care/water care etc. Were you able to see the pictures? Do you think he could have velvet or no? Or were you able to see the bump in front of his tail?

Thanks again!
 

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Hello, good thing you started some water changes: here is a quick link to talk about nitrite/nitrate/ammonia.
Basic Water Chemistry Part 3: Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates

The baffle: have you tried to cut it smaller? Im not sure what kind of filter you have; is it a 2.5 gal kit?
Mine is the 2.5 Aqueon and the baffling has worked well, one of my 6 has heavy fins and this has helped him tremendously.
Unfortunately, you might not be able to lower the water too much in the tank because the motor of the filter may conk out but lowering the water may help the boy.

Heat: I too freek out about overheating *& my tanks have been consistently 84, 86 over the past few months with the heat. If I see them getting over 85, I just float a bag of some ice pieces. There are also small "fans" that attach to the sides of the tanks and blow into the water.

First things first, yes the pics came through but Im not qualified to know issues as this.
His fin loss almost looks like disintegration like from ammonia or some other issue. It doesn't look like plastic plant cuts.

Hoping the experienced members come on tonight and see your plea.

Keep him warm and lights out.
Filters have beneficial bacteria in them, you cannot keep them off for an extended period of time.
A sponge for aquariums might be the answer to slow the water current.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again. yes, I have a 2.5 gallon tank (kit) I think it's Aqueon (but not the bow front one) I will turn the heater back on. I may try to sponge baffle the water outlet and see if that works better. I have the carbon filter out currently as there is medication in the tank and I was told it will defeat the medication purpose? Yes I am hoping someone can take a peek at Mr. Blue's pics and advise. I feel so bad, as people say he is the "ugliest betta" they have seen. First experience with a fish and I am definitely learning... my cat is actually easier than the fish :) Other family members got Betta at same time, still lives is a glass vase, no filter, no bubbler, no heater and they are still bright and have full fins... sort of makes me wonder if I did the right think putting him in a tank.
 

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He certainly isn't in very good health, is he?

The lump at the base of the tail is his swim bladder. It can be quite prominent in some bettas and isn't anything to worry about. I'd say his lack of fins is more of a cause for swimming issues. He also looks quite skinny. Could you get a picture of him from the top? Your picture shows no indication of velvet. Try shining a flashlight on him and taking a picture of him that way. I second that the fin issues do not look like damage from any kind of decoration. Being that all his fins are gone and not just his tail, I would guess fin rot but I could be wrong. More pictures would help. In the mean time clean, warm water is your best friend. I highly recommend using Prime as your dechlorinator.

Aqueon is the fish food equivalent of McDonald's. It's full of fillers. I highly recommend you upgrade to Omega One or New Life Spectrum. He's going to need all the protein he can get to heal.

I recommend against using ammonia test strips. Test strips are fine for nitrate, nitrite, pH, etc. if you can't get a master test kit, but ammonia should be tested using a liquid kit.

Definitely do not change your filter cartridges monthly. That gets rid of a large portion of your beneficial bacteria. Your filter media should be shaken/squeezed out in old tank water during your weekly water changes. I highly recommend reading this and properly cycling your tank:
http://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fish-care/507585-cycling-two-sentence-tutorial.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the information.

I will get him some better food for sure. If you think it's fin rot, do you think he still has it? I did a treatment with betta revive (but didn't know to take the carbon out) so not sure if it worked. He did perk up after treatment, doubting fins will grow back right? The aquarium store advised tetracycline, so I did a dose last night. I just feel like maybe this is just Mr. Blue now with swim bladder/loss of fins and color...and I am treating him even though he doesn't need it. What do you suggest? I turned the heater on again. He has looked this size for a long time, people say I over feed him with 2 pellets in the am and pm, is that too much? not enough? Is swim bladder treatable? Since he has issues swimming should I switch him to a air bubbler or continue the filter running? Sorry for all the questions. I will try to upload pics below..sorry not the best pics but just what I have on phone.
 

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His fins will grow back as long as he doesn't progress to body rot or anything. I personally wouldn't medicate with anything unless the clean, warm water and high protein food doesn't help. He probably could stand to be fed more and all the fillers in the food you're using definitely aren't helping his case. I feed Omega One Betta Buffet pellets, 3-4 pellets twice a day. You want to feed until the stomach is softly rounded. You could also add in a bit of Seachem Stress Guard.

Just turn your filter back on and baffle it to the best of your abilities, get a liquid ammonia test kit, and follow the cycling tutorial. That should help you keep your tank sufficiently clean for healing. I recommend getting a gravel vacuum for water changes and a turkey baster to remove food and waste in between water changes.

Swim Bladder Disorder can be treated, recurring, or chronic. Depends on the fish. Make sure he has plants that reach the surface of the water that he can rest on.
 

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It could just be the angle and the water distortion, but the first picture makes him look a little thin. I attached a picture of the softly rounded belly you should be aiming for when feeding
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I went by the pet store last night and picked up Omega one Betta pellets, Liquid/test tube type Ammonia, filter sponge to help slow output current and some Seachum Prime.

Tested the water last night. Ammonia was present at 0.5. Changed 3/4 water and cleaned tank, gravel and plants. Added Prime, tiny amount of aquarium salt. Turned on filter with new baffle and heater has water at 78 degrees. Fed him the new pellets. Checked ammonia today 0.0 in the tank. I am sort of upset b/c the store had me using ammonia test strips which always read negative. I wish I would have known to get the liquid test kit, I am sure his ammonia has always be present and/or high at times.

Today. His color is better. He did eat (but not his usually perky swim to the front glass to be fed, had to put in front on him). He is swimming but not much. He is lying on his side in the back corner of the tank or on a tall leaf near the top. He has done this before and perked back up, so I am not sure if he is old, tired, sick or if he is simply dying. he is not breathing hard or anything and doesn't seem to be in distress.

Poor Mr. Blue, only time will tell. For now, going to keep testing his water, keep it warm and feeding him good food. I have attached a picture from today. Thanks for checking in!
 

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Better color is good! Baby steps! It's generally best not to listen to pet store people. Most don't know what they're talking about.

Do you have a picture of him you could post from when he was healthy?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't a a picture from when he was healthy. This picture is my aunt's Betta Blueberry... however this is how Mr. Blue looked. It's a long story but my step mother in law made centerpieces for our rehearsal dinner with vases, Bettas and plastic plants... I did not want this at all and was very upset because I felt sorry for the fish and thought people would simply throw them out somehow. She did it anyway and that is how I ended up with Mr. Blue. Guests did take the fish and most left them in the vase pictured above and many are still living...infrequent water changes, no filters, no heaters etc. and they are beautiful, making bubble nests and so on. So... I feel I did harm to Mr. Blue by putting in an aquarium when all his friends from the wedding are doing much better than he is.

The other thing strange about Mr. Blue is he was always way more active then the other Bettas. He swam around like he thought he was a gold fish (maybe it was the filter flow).. the other Betta seem to just rest in the water looking all pretty.

Although I didn't want a fish it is crazy how I have become so attached to one! I have actually enjoyed learning about Betta fish and think they are so entertaining and exciting. I will probably have more when something happens to Mr. Blue if I can get over the guilty feeling of being a bad "Fish Mom".
 

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You have not been a bad fish mom. You gave him a tank and tried your best. Sometimes people get lucky and get very hardy bettas with great genes that can survive in a vase but they'll most likely die a slow death due to toxicity. And a fish that simply sits there is not a healthy fish. They should be active and constantly exploring.

Right now all you can do is keep his water warm, follow the cycling instructions, and feed him a couple times a day. Add Stress Guard and/or IAL to the water. You can try feeding him a very small piece of a blanched pea (no shell) and see if that helps his SBD. Bettas feel most secure with lots of plants, so if you can add in some more silk or live plants, whichever you use, making sure he can easily rest on the surface.

Actually, could you post a picture of the full tank? And I can for the life of me remember if I mentioned this already or not, but to check that fake plants and decorations are safe for your betta you need to drag some nylons over them. If the nylons snag it could tear fins. Your betta has gone from a veil tail to not even a plakat though, so I highly doubt decor did all that. And since it's all his fins missing I would be very impressed if it was strictly biting.

When he started losing his fins how did it look? Was it U shaped pieces missing? Tears? Did a black or red edge form along the tattered fins?

Take a look at this and let us know if either of these look like the process he went through
http://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-fish-diseases-emergencies/346377-lets-talk-fin-rot-vs-fin-biting.html
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was discussing this with my husband last night... I cannot recall how quickly he lost his fins and how it looked, but it was rather quickly. I do not remember him having red/black on the fins. I feel like he has shrunk in size too, he is a very small fish. I almost have wondered if the original Mr. Blue was replaced by a fish sitter at some point, yes sounds crazy. I have heard about the nylons so I switched out his plastic plants to silk ones and they do not snag. I would love real plants but had no experience so I went with silk.

I don't have a pic of the whole tank. It's a 2.5 gallon (I think Aqueon, but cannot find it online anymore) glass tank. It is taller than wide and I have it on the kitchen counter (He seems to like watching us there). It came with a filter (carbon square replacements) and I placed a sponge thing over the intake to help slow flow, and I added a 10 watt heater. His substrate is acrylic blue pieces and small natural stones, 2 silk plants ( a tall leafy green one and shorter purple one).

I know that a wider not taller tank would be better, larger, slower flow filtration system etc. I don't want to implement this all right now and stress him out. Maybe next time. And perhaps I can get some help on what exactly to purchase for the best set up.
 

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Don't worry about wide vs tall and all that fun stuff. Just shove as many silk plants as you can manage in there.

Aquarium salt can be a bit of a controversial topic, as some think it's highly beneficial and others think any kind of salt has no place in a freshwater tank. I generally try to avoid mentioning it to avoid arguments/debates. Personally, I think it can be very useful for healing and if I ever had a disease outbreak I would keep it in the tanks at a very low dose indefinitely. That being said, I personally would put a bit of aquarium salt in with your betta to make sure any wounds on his fins are clean. I would do 1 tsp per gallon and add it very gradually over the course of a day, making sure to fully dissolve the salt in a cup of tank water before add it in the tank. If you would like I can give you a few resources and quotes from both sides of the salt debate so you can decide for yourself.

And if you can, a picture of your betta with a flashlight shined on him to confirm he doesn't have velvet. Velvet will look like gold dust under the light
 
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