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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Urgent, please help. Cannot diagnose fish but it is certainly ill.

Hello! I've had my half moon betta, for just a little over five months ago.
I brought him home and I was instantly in love. Despite only having a .5 gallon bowl and single plant for him, he was always curious and excited and would swim around all the time. He was happy, I was happy.
But then I had to leave to work at a summer camp and while I was gone he got sick. Alas I could only see he was sick and couldn't do anything about it for two weeks.

I do not know what's wrong with him. He sleeps a lot on his plant, hardly eats, darts around oddly at times and the rim of his back fin is torn. However I do not see fin rot. Only a very light white rim to his fins that I am unsure of. I don't see white spots or velvet or... much of anything. Only signs of stress and tattered fins.

I've done a lot of googling and reading and the solutions conflict. I don't want to lose this fish; I'll do just about anything to save him.
So what should I do to help him?
Aquarium salt? 100% water change? Frequent water changes? Change out the plant?

And if so: how much, how often, how long?

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Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? .5 (cannot get anything bigger)
Does it have a filter? no.
Does it have a heater? no.
What temperature is your tank? room temp.
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? nurtafin.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets.
Freeze-dried or frozen? no.
Live? no.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 3 pellets a day.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform water changes? once a week.
What percentage of water did you change? 50%
What additives do you use? none.
What brand name of water conditioner? I've always just used room temp RO water. Recently I started using "nutrifin betta plus" in hopes of lowering stress.

Water Parameters:
I could not get any of these numbers, my apologies.

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? August 25. A little over two weeks ago.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Yes, his tail is frayed and lost it's red edge. He is over all less colorful.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He is very tired an often sleeps in the plant.
Is your Betta still eating? Only if I make sure he eats it.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I did some water changes but I'm very uncertain of how to proceed.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? no.
How long have you owned your Betta? 22 weeks.
Was he or she a rescue? no.
Was he or she ill when bought or given? no.

(my apologies, the pictures aren't the best quality.)
 

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I can tell you care about your betta. So I am curious as to why you cannot get a bigger tank. I am not trying to be critical but that is a big part of the problem. To put it simply fish pee and poo. So if you can imagine living in your own cup pee and poo for a week with out getting new water you would be sick. He is likely suffering from nitrate and/or ammonia poisoning.

RO water is a problem because it removes all minerals from the water which fish need to be healthy. Dechlorinated tap water is best. Tap water has minerals.

Somehow, some way he must get a bigger tank. We can explore some cheaper options if money is an issue. Even a 1 gallon where you change the water every other day would be better than the current situation.

Clean water and some Betta Revive from Petco might help. This is a very lightweight treatment but I trying to suggest something that I think you'd have immediate access to that won't cost much. If you can spend a bit more let me know and I will have other suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'll see what I can do. I believe my mother bred bettas at one point but I don't know if she would have anything left.

Edit: I understand the concern about size, however I don'tthink size is the issue since he lived very contently for many months in the same bowl.
It was only when I left that this issue arose.
 

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Your fish is likely suffering from nitrite/ammonia poisoning on top of being too cold as average room temp is not warm enough for bettas, not to mention the stressful fluctuations of temp.
The food you are feeding is very low quality and not healthy for your fish at all. It's full of fillers (corn, wheat, soy, etc). You want proteins, such as fish, to be the first couple ingredients, not grains. New Life Spectrum and Omega One are the two foods mostly recommended on the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That sounds likely.
Would changing the water and finding a bigger home for him resolve that?
And does the poisoning effect the fins?

Also I had no idea the food was nutrient poor! I'll have to find one of those recommended ones.
 

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The size of the tank is a problem, regardless of whether he seemed content before. Basically, your fish is producing poisonous waste and in a .5 gallon this builds up very quickly and is very harmful to your fish. He is living in a very high concentration of poisonous ammonia. He may have seemed fine before because bettas are usually quite hardy, but it does not mean he is not sick or suffering. In a .5 gallon you should be doing full water changes everyday.

What I recommend:

- get a 5 gallon tank
- get an adjustable heater (set to 78F; bettas are tropical fish!)
- get a filter; you need this to maintain a cycle
- I recommend new life spectrum brand of fish food

After making these changes, he should be much happier.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Alright, with the help of a few people I've been able to to find a larger tank and a filter. (no heater yet.) I will tansfer him over and fix his diet over as soon as I can.

I'm still a little worried about his fins.
 

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What size tank? We can recommend heater brands/types if we know how many gallons your tank is :)
His tail will get better on its own in warm clean water.
 

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If it's 2-5 gallons I recommend the 25 watt hydor theo heater. It may be a little wonky at first but after about a day or two of it adjusting it works amazingly well. It automatically shuts off if you accidentally turn it on when it's not in water. I think everyone has done that at least once. It's adjustable so if you have a smaller tank it doesn't over heat or if your betta is sick and needs the temp to be higher. And it's super good at keeping your tank temp from fluctuating. I have one in a 2 gallon and it always stays a 80 degrees. And it's pretty cheap on amazon.
 

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I hate to contradict you but I've had several Hydor heater seriously malfunction. One fatally. Some of them just stay "wonky". I've seen other complaints to that effect. I would be really watchful of your Hydor. They suddenly spike. Eheim is probably best but if the OP can let us know about budget and tank size then we can go there.

So Tiny if you don't see prompt improvement in your fish you will want to treat for nitrate/ammonia poisoning with methylene blue baths in another container.
http://www.aquarium-pond-answers.com/2009/07/fish-baths.html

Betta Revive could help if you cannot get MB it contains it as an ingredient the bottle is just really small.

You will want read the sticky in the Betta Care section about easy cycling with Prime water conditioner because the new tank if it's big enough can cycle and may have more nitrate spikes until the benificial bacteria kicks in to take care of it. Putting clean duckweed in your tank can help with nitrates. Ask about duckweed in habitat or planted tank.
 

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You should be far more worried about nitrItes than nitrAtes.
Actually, that's not quite true. Both can be equally deadly and found in both cycled and uncycled tanks. What makes Nitrates so lethal is some owners become lax once their tank is cycled and don't bother testing or doing water changes as often as they should and before they know it the Nitrates are at lethal levels.

IMO, an aquarist should worry about all parameters equally.
 

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Tinyfriendtinybowl,

I do also believe that your little guy is unfortunately suffering from ammonia poisoning. The best thing you could do for him right now is do a water change. I would do one a little bit bigger than 50% maybe more towards 75%. I completely understand that it is hard to get a bigger tank so quickly so at least in the mean time I would do daily water changing. As some have stated above the ammonia levels can build up in a tank your size very very quickly and can lead to be potentially deadly. Which is why many suggest a bigger tank as the water changing will sometimes not be as much. In a tank your size you would have to do daily water changing to keep your ammonia levels down.

You could use those pre treated betta water bottles, however the easiest and cheapest way if you could, is use your tap water and treat it with a good water conditioner...many on here use Seachem Prime but any water conditioner will do.

I understand that you are worried about his fins as well but it all plays hand and hand. Sometimes when bettas are under stress, especially in unhealthy water conditions they will sometimes bite. Which I believe I can sort of see from your pictures...is him biting. Once you get him all settle in some clean water, you could add a little but of Stress Coat to help heal his fins, however clean water would do just the same.

I also second about the heater. Bettas also do not do too well without a heater. you should get one...but dont fret as I was in the same situation as you are when I first brought home my little guy. I went off of what the pet store people told me and boy were they wrong lol.

AQ Salt is not a bad idea but then again it will not do anything for him that clean water will not. Also remember not to use AQ salt too long as it can then to more harm then good.

Sorry so long but in a short summary...give him a nice clean warm water change 60-75% add water conditioner to your tap water (if that is what you choose to do) and provide him with a nice high protein diet.

Side note: three pellets seems fairly little are they big pellets?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
New tank is two gallons! I'm just working on transfering him over now.
Once transfered, how long should I wait to see signs of improvement before I consider medication/etc?

edit: Also the filter is a bubbler thing that sits under the gravel, if that makes sense.
I've now switched food brands and plan to remeasure how much he eats.

I'm very nervous about purchasing a heater as I have also read many heater misadvantures and have a completely circular tank.
 

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That's great that you got him a 2 gal but still with a small tank like that you still need to watch your water levels. You could buy a testing kit which most on here use API Master water testing kit or take it to the pet store and have them check it however that's means you will be going there very frequently :)

Do not give him any meds as he does not need it. If you are referring to the stress coat I suggested you can add that straight to the water or during your next water change. If you are wanting to use AQ salt (which to me is not necessary) please just make sure you pre mix it in a little tank water before putting it into the tank.

Do not read too much into the heater thing. You will need one. Unless you live in a tropical climate it is necessary to have one especially during winter time. Bettas live in warm waters. Hope this helps and gl
 

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That's great that you got him a 2 gal but still with a small tank like that you still need to watch your water levels. You could buy a testing kit which most on here use API Master water testing kit or take it to the pet store and have them check it however that's means you will be going there very frequently :) as you will need to be checking your water to make sure the levels do not become dangerous. And so that you get a idea on how much you should be water changing a week. I would say every other day but that will depend on your water readings you get from testing.

That bubbler is not a filter it is a airstone bubbler and will not cycle your tank unfortunately. I got one as well with my hospital tank. It will not really benefit him in any way. Also be careful as most Bettas do not like strong currents and that bubbler may irritate him. If I were you I would leave it out.

Do not give him any meds as he does not need it. If you are referring to the stress coat I suggested you can add that straight to the water or during your next water change. If you are wanting to use AQ salt (which to me is not necessary) please just make sure you pre mix it in a little tank water before putting it into the tank.

Signs of improvement due to ammonia poisoning could be a little while. But his behavior (if the water quality is good) he should perk up very quickly.

Do not read too much into the heater thing. You will need one. Unless you live in a tropical climate it is necessary to have one especially during winter time. Bettas live in warm waters. Hope this helps and gl
 

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Sorry about the double post I realized I left somethings out and needed to add to it but my stupid phone would not let me lol
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Also of note, I've been cycling out 50% of the water every two days to change out water but not stress him too much.
I have not seen improvement at all however I hope the new tank will help him.
 

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No filter, no heater, and in a tank too small.... we need fresh numerical values for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. Otherwise anything we tell you is only going to be a guess.
 
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