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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off, I've never posted here before, so apologies if I mess this up! Please let me know if I should be posting somewhere else/did this incorrectly.

I have a betta (named Kylo) that I got from Petco back in June. He's usually very active, swimming around his tank and eating 3-4 pellets a day. I have him in a 3-gallon tank with a Whisper filter, and I do a partial 50% change every 2 weeks.

When I do the water change, I generally scoop him out and put him in another bowl, wash out the tank and his toys (using tap water, no soap). I then add new water to the tank, use a dechlorinator and wait 15-20 minutes for the water to adjust before adding Kylo back in. Usually, he's back to his super active self within the hour.

THE SITUATION: I was traveling for work these past two weeks and had a friend housesitting. I came home to a bubble nest and he was swimming around like usual. Since work was insanely hectic and he seemed happy, I waited another week to clean his tank - yesterday, though, I noticed there was algae in his tank and he was acting a little lethargic, hanging at the bottom and hiding in his log.

I freaked out and did a 75% water change (more than I normally do) to clean off the algae. I followed my usual process - but now, poor Kylo is lying on the bottom of the tank. He looks like he's having trouble breathing (keeps opening and closing his mouth a lot), and he refuses to eat. His fins are limp and he doesn't move even when I tap the side of the tank.

What do I do? Please help - I don't want him to die! Here are photos of him a week ago + today:

Before:


This morning:


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No - but keep the fish tank by my apartment heater
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees
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? Aqueon Betta Pellets
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 3-4 pellets a day in the morning

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Every 2 weeks
What percentage of water did you change? 50%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dip out water
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? NutraFin Betta Plus Water Conditioner

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? I'm actually unsure how to test this. I asked at Petco, and they weren't very helpful.

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Yesterday
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Fins are limp
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He's VERY lethargic, doesn't move even when side of glass is tapped
Is your Betta still eating? No
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I tried cycling the water. Made him worse.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Since June - he's always been very healthy and active
 

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Well a sudden shift in water parameters can be shocking to them. I hope he will acclimate himself and bounce back. I will also tell you that doing a partial water change every 2 weeks for a 3 gallon is not sufficient. You really want to shoot for twice a week or at the very very least once per week (I've gotten away with doing 1 time per week in a 3 gallon tank but you can't miss water changes).

It's very important to invest in a home test kit...they are expensive but will last a very long time. Those test kits allow us to keep an eye on things in the tank...and if illness strikes this is the first thing we do...test the water. You will also never really know if your tank cycles (or if there is an issue) if you don't have the test kit.

It's also critical that betta's have a heater. I know your apartment is warm but it's not a constant temperature...and that is what a heater provides...constant safe temps ...no ones that are always fluctuating.

Another important thing is a gravel vacuum. Dipping the water out can't get out all the funk that accumulates at the bottom...and boy there is a lot of funk.

I would also invest in the water conditioner called "prime" because it looks up the bad stuff in the aquarium. It helps with cycling the tank because you can add it to protect the fish while the tank is cycling or if you are late with a water change it can buy you some time by adding Prime.

I really hope your buddy bounces back ASAP. Please keep me posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well a sudden shift in water parameters can be shocking to them. I hope he will acclimate himself and bounce back. I will also tell you that doing a partial water change every 2 weeks for a 3 gallon is not sufficient. You really want to shoot for twice a week or at the very very least once per week (I've gotten away with doing 1 time per week in a 3 gallon tank but you can't miss water changes).

It's very important to invest in a home test kit...they are expensive but will last a very long time. Those test kits allow us to keep an eye on things in the tank...and if illness strikes this is the first thing we do...test the water. You will also never really know if your tank cycles (or if there is an issue) if you don't have the test kit.

It's also critical that betta's have a heater. I know your apartment is warm but it's not a constant temperature...and that is what a heater provides...constant safe temps ...no ones that are always fluctuating.

Another important thing is a gravel vacuum. Dipping the water out can't get out all the funk that accumulates at the bottom...and boy there is a lot of funk.

I would also invest in the water conditioner called "prime" because it looks up the bad stuff in the aquarium. It helps with cycling the tank because you can add it to protect the fish while the tank is cycling or if you are late with a water change it can buy you some time by adding Prime.

I really hope your buddy bounces back ASAP. Please keep me posted.
He looks like he's doing a LOT worse, and it's only been a few hours. Now he switches between being upright on the floor and floating onto his side. I've attached another photo:



What can I do?? Is there any hope? I'll definitely get the testing kit and the heater ASAP but what do I do to make sure he doesn't die/recuperates before then?
 

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I'm sorry I can't view the picture (they block me at work). But if I could figure out what the heck is wrong with these fish only half of the time I'd be rich!

You are matching the temperature of the water when you do water changes...right?
 

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Your boy looks to be in pretty bad shape. It's hard to tell with a dark Betta but he looks to be bloated and have severe fin rot. The treatment for bloating is Epsom Salts but I'm not sure it and treatment for severe fin rot can be combined. For the fin rot it's time for antibiotics of some sort. Even with that I'm not sure he will make it.

Jungle Fungus Cure: Use a separate container as it turns the water green/blue. You'll need to cut the tabs as they are for, I believe, 10 gallons.

Tetracycline

Erythromycin

API Fungus Cure.

I used to keep Maracyn on hand but I'm not sure it's still available OTC.

The root cause of 99% of the cases of fin rot is environmental; i.e., poor maintenance. Unfortunately, pet stores are notorious for advising fewer water changes than Betta actually need. One 25% water change with vacuum has always kept my 2.5 gallons very clean. I use a piece of airline tubing to remove any waste or leftover food.

If your boy does make it please consider investing in a heater. As mentioned above, fluctuating temperatures are dangerous for fish and can weaken their immune systems.

Good luck. And please keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for the insight. I'm so sad about this - I had no idea I wasn't providing him the right conditions to thrive! I'll go purchase the medicine you noted, I'm really hoping he will make it :(
 
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