Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a picture of my Betta. He's been extremely lethargic (sits at bottom, only comes up for air) and is developing white patches on his gills and now a little at the base of his dorsal fin. His dorsal fin also looks tattered (possible fin rot?). I had my tank water tested at a local pet store and they said ammonia level is good, nitrites are a little high, and that my water is very hard (I use tap water that I treat, but we don't have a water softener in my house). I was told to add aquarium salt (added 4 tsp. total to my 10-gallon tank), so I have done that, and I was told to do a 25% water change one a week for 2-3 weeks, so I have done one of those so far.

I'm very new to taking care of betta fish. I know that I have not been cleaning my tank regularly enough though because I've heard so many different opinions on how to do that while avoiding disrupting the nitrogen cycle, so I opted to not clean it much at all--it is apparent now that that was a bad idea.

Can anyone tell what is wrong with my fish by this pic/my description and what I should do now and for the future to avoid this from happening again? Thank you!!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? 4 zebra danios, some snails

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta pellets
What BRAND of food do you feed it? Ocean Nutrition
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day
How MUCH do you give at each feeding? 3-4 pellets

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Rarely
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra BettaSafe water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness: High
Alkalinity:

Not sure for these. I have an ammonia test kit which by the color shows that the ammonia level is less than .25 ppm

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Gills and face turning white, base of dorsal fin turning white, and base of dorsal fin looking tattered and wearing away
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? lethargic, sits at bottom of tank, still comes up for air and feeding though
When did you start noticing the symptoms? approx a week ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, added aquarium salt to tank (4 tsp for 10 gallon tank) and did a 25% water change (before adding salt)--also changed filter cartridge
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No, I have had him for almost a year and he's been fine until now
How old is your fish - OR - How long have you owned it? Almost a year
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
Changing water often won't disrupt the cycle. Scrubbing everything down and replacing the filter media does. He looks like maybe he's just suffering some effects from long term exposure to high ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels. I can't see his dorsal very well, but it does look frayed, maybe from a gradual decay. I'm not seeing actual rot. The light areas are most likely from getting washed out from a general decline in his well- being.

If you do a large water change, at least 50% soon, and give him a couple more 25% ones every other day or so, there is a good chance you'll see him start to perk up with the better conditions. You don't need to keep adding aq salt if you don't see any black or red on the edges of his fins.
After the first week or so, you can lighten up on the water changing, it's just to get most of the toxins that may still be lingering in there. I'd also look into getting him a better quality food. This can make a big difference in some bettas. New Life Spectrum betta pellets and Omega one Betta Buffet pellets are the most reccomended.

How long has that tank been running? The whole time you've had him? It should be cycled, so once you get the ammonia and such to manageable levels, it should be able to keep up with all that with a reasonable water change schedule.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I set up the tank and got my betta almost a year ago, so yes, it should be cycled. I will do the 50% water change today then, thank you so much! I really feel like I need a good lesson in how to properly keep an aquarium clean and the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels at a good level. I never really completely understood that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
They are pretty easy to maintain once the cycle is going. Much easier than a small 1 or 2 gallon. You just have to keep to a schedule for changing out water now and then, because things can still build up over time, and fresh water replenishes good minerals in the tank. My 10 gallon is cycled, but I change around 30% every 10 days or so. It only takes about 15 minutes, and even if my readings are ok, it certainly doesn't hurt anything.
Since you said you replaced the filter media, and really, even if you hadn't, I'd try to pick up a test kit to keep an eye on things. Liquid ones are most accurate, but when money is an issue, test strips are better than nothing :)

I'm a little worried about his dorsal though. I feel like the pic doesn't really show the extent of the damage. Do you see any fuzzies on it, or discoloration other than paleness?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
Can you get a clear pic of the area? That kinda shows the red parts?

If it's looking bad, keeping some aquarium salt with it can help, as well as very clean water, but if it has an infection of some kind setting in, it may need something else.

Edit: also, I am not sure how the danios and snails will do with the aq salt being added. have you got a small tank or container of some kind you can use as a hospital tank for treatment?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, so I've tried for the past half hour trying to get a better picture, but with my terrible camera it is just not working very well. To be honest though, it really looks like most of the front of his dorsal fin is gone. He's very white looking all over and redness on his dorsal. I just went to petco and picked up an API test kit and my nitrates are REALLY high, like over 100 ppm. What do you think the best action is to take now? I'll continue with the water changes, but even after that 50% change yesterday, I can't believe my nitrates are that high still!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
Oh, yep, definitely just go ahead and do another really large water change. Have you got some Prime water conditioner? That'll neutralize nitrates for a day or two, but then it breaks back down into nitrates, so it's only temporary and should be dosed 2-3 drops per gallon every day til you get it under control.

Again, treating him may be easier in a smaller tank than the 10 gallon, as well as being able to keep him in pristine water til he's doing better. I can't really advise what to treat him with besides an AQ salt solution, since it's not really clear what exactly the issue is with the fin. At least the salt will help prevent infection, if he doesn't have one yet, and encourage healing. He can't be left in that though for more than 10 days, as too long of exposure to salt can lead to other issues.

If you don't have a spare little tank or bowl around, what might work better anyway, to keep him warm, is using a medium sized tupperware container or something like that, that will float in the 10 gallon. The water'll need changing every day, but it's easier to work with than a big tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, I've got him in a quaratine tank floating in the 10 gallon and just added the salt sol. Do you know anything about API bettafix? I picked some up in the store just in case. Says its supposed to fix damaged fins. What do you think about me adding that in conjunction with the salt? It says it contains melaleuca....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
Medications I am not very knowledgeable about. Anything with -fix at the end though, seems to be pretty controversial. There are a lot of similar medications out there that are deemed safer to use.
Personally, if it was my fish, I'd try to get ahold of some maracyn2, because I know that is used to treat body rot. It's possible your boy had fin rot that ate the fin down to the base, and has started on the body. When that happens, you generally don't mess around, and get right on it.

But since I can't really say for sure that is what has happened, all I can say is google betta body rot and see if any of the pics look like your guy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
There is maracyn, and maracyn2. One treats gram negative bacteria, and one treats gram positive. I don't remember which is which offhand without looking it up, but it's like fish penicillin. The maracyn2 is the one that treats most types, like 9 out of 10 types, but you can use both together to achieve a broad spectrum antibiotic.
Fish stores *can* carry it, but many do not, so I'd call them and ask. it can be ordered online, but of course that will take longer.

EDIT: Just looked up an old thread.. KanaPlex (Kanamycin) is another broad spectrum antibiotic you can look for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
You can leave him in the salt til you get something else to use, but if you start medicating, just use fresh unsalted water with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
I sure hope so :)

It's the owner who cares enough to go through all the trouble who is the real lifesaver, though :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
"...nature and more elaborate aquarium filtration systems continue to further break down nitrate. Within this stage of the nitrogen cycle, another bacteria set converts nitrate into nitrogen gas, which is then released at the water's surface and absorbed into the air. This natural process of nitrate removal from your aquarium is known as complete nitrification or de-nitrification.

The conundrum of complete nitrification, however, is that the process relies on special bacteria to convert nitrate into free nitrogen. These bacteria require low-oxygenated, stagnant water to survive. In fact, the oxygen-rich water of most aquariums and filtration systems creates a deadly environment for these essential denitrifying bacteria."

"In fact, nitrate causes stress to fish and invertebrates, which opens the door to diseases and reproductive failures. In addition, high nitrate levels can quickly change water chemistry in your aquarium and are often the source of serious algae blooms. Therefore, nitrate removal is vital to your aquarium's overall health."

"Control of nitrate and nitrogen cycle imbalances in freshwater aquariums relies on a multi-step approach. The easiest way to help foster complete nitrification is by keeping your aquarium clean. Routine water changes are vital to toxic waste removal and should be performed regularly, regardless of the filtration system you employ.
The addition of live plants will also help control nitrate. Nitrate and other nitrogenous compounds are vital for plant growth and aquatic plants will pull these chemical compounds from the water column. There are also chemical media that help detoxify nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. Finally, products such as the Nitrate Reductor help create a low-oxygen chamber inside, beside, or in the sump of any aquarium to house bacteria that break down nitrate."

This was incredibly helpful for when I had an over saturation of nitrogen in my goldfish tank a while back.

Heres the whole article.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=2224
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Also: When it comes to his dorsal fin, I would first try treating it with warm, clean water. (large water changes daily.) Continue that treatment for around 2 weeks. If there is no improvement or a decline in his condition, or if you see any signs of infection, then I would move to medicating... But that's just my opinion X3 whatever you choose to do, good luck! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you! I have a question though about Prime or other chemicals that neutralize nitrate... if I neutralize it, will it still show up in the water tests that I do? Because I need to know when the nitrate level goes back down...
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top