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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm going to save some time and tell you that I was NOT prepared in the way I should have been when I purchased my bettas. I used to have them as a kid, but I wasn't the one who really took care of them. I am a teacher, and I thought the fish would liven up the classroom. I made a lot of mistakes starting out, but I have read through many, many, MANY threads on this website to inform myself. I have read thousands of articles and watched hundreds of videos on tanks, conditions, and care for bettas. I LOVE my bettas. They're my pets just as much as my dog and cat, and my students are now in love with them as well.

This is how it started:
I bought two male bettas (both veil tail) from Petsmart because they looked just sad and run down. I bought a 10 gallon tank with a divider. The divider was mesh, but they didn't seem to bother each other much. I had some plastic plants and decorations for them. At this time, I had not the slightest clue about water levels. They seemed to be doing fine. I took them to school, and they were very active, happy fish.

Then it was time for Spring Break. I took them home in their cups, and set up two 1 gallon bowls with a heater and a betta log for each of them. Spring Break was only five days, and I was an idiot who still didn't understand. They seemed fine. They built bubble nests and were pretty active. Then I took them back to school. From day one, they were at the divider constantly. I thought they would get over it, but they didn't. Then I noticed one of them (Cap) had a pretty jagged tail. I researched and thought he had fin rot. I took him home, cleaned (without soap! I knew that at least) his bowl, and put him in there with aquarium salt to treat the rot. After about two weeks, I saw fin regrowth. So I took him back to school. Then I noticed the other fish had jagged fins, and figured out ammonia could do this too (his didn't look like fin rot). I tested the ammonia, and it was a 3! I felt like absolute crap. So I did some research and actually set up their new tanks with super care.

I now have two, five-gallon tanks with brand new rocks, plants, decorations, and filters. I have sanded down the decorations to make sure there are NO sharp or tough edges. ALL plants are silk. The filter has a sponge (filter sponges meant FOR FISH) around intake to keep tails out, and a sponge to buffer flow back into tank. Their light is on for nine or ten hours a day. Their temperature is a solid 76`. They seem pretty active. They come to me when I feed them. One in building a bubble nest in the corner of his tank.

Today, I was sitting with them and noticed Cap's fins are a little dull. So I shined a light in the tank, and the clear parts look YELLOW! It is just his tail. There are no signs of Velvet anywhere else. Then I looked at the other one (Stark), and a small tip of his tail looks like it could be fin rot!

What am I doing wrong!?! I am trying with these babies, and I just keep messing up! I will list their specifications below, but I don't understand what is going on! I know they have been through A LOT with me, but I want them to be happy so badly. Please help! ANY advice is welcome!

I'M SORRY THIS IS SO LONG!

These are the specifications for each tank:
Tank size: 5 gallon
Betta type: Veil tail
Filter: Yes
Heater: Yes
Temperature: 76/78 (It doesn't fluctuate. One tank is just a little higher.)
Light: Yes/ 9-10 hours
Food: Pellets/ 3 a day with two days (the weekend) fasting
Ammonia level: 0-.25
pH level: 7.4
Nitrate level: 0

All of the pictures are of Cap. His tail looks yellowish with the light on it, so I'm afraid he has Velvet. He doesn't show it on any other part of his little body though.
 

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AQ salt will do the trick if he does indeed have fin rot. Also, you can get Stress Guard to help them calm down and get faster regrowth on their tails. How many water changes do you do a week and how much? Moving them all the time can easily stress them out too. Also, try to get a timer for the light; bright lights for too long of a time will also cause tail biting. You can set the timer to 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do a 25% water change once a week. I test my water on Monday to check from the weekend, and I test it again on Friday. I didn't think about the light being too much. I'll look into a timer. Thank you!
 

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Hi there,

I can share my perspective but at the end of the day only your opinion will matter to your fish. Here are my thoughts:

Any amount of ammonia is harmful to fish. A cycled tank will show zero ammonia and nitrite. Until you have a fully cycled tank, do 25% water changes every day, and use Prime by Seachem, two drops per gallon, every day that you either do not test your water or that your tank shows more than zero ammonia or nitrite. The Prime will detox your water and lock up the ammonia and nitrite so it can't cause further harm to your fish.

Clean water, I always consider that to be essential in treating illness. Do the 25% daily with a good vacume. Make sure to use the Prime, two drops per gallon daily. Do this regardless of any medication you use.

If you believe this is Velvet (which is basically ick on steroids) then begin treatment. If this were my fish I would treat daily with a medication such as Kordon Ick Attack plus Kordon Malachite Green. A more stubborn case of Velvet may call for Kordon Copper, that product requires the use of a copper test and it must be monitored carefully. Velvet is difficult to cure but not impossible. Begin treatment ASAP. I would not use aquarium salt. It can dehydrate your fish, and I would not use any product that doesn't specifically state it is for Velvet and/or ick.

More medication options:
http://www.seachem.com/downloads/charts/Medications-Chart.pdf

I would add a hang on the back filter to your aquarium until it is fully cycled or consider changing to a hang on the back filter permanently. The more filtration you have right now the better, add aeration as well if possible. Remove any carbon from the bio pad or replace with carbonless filter pads. Do not remove the sponge until the new filter is established as the positive microbes are living there. You can pick up a product like Stability by Seachem, positive microbes to jump start your new filtration. But I would not use it for more than a week - they say you just can't have too much positive bacteria but I don't think that claim is correct. I'd use it just to jump start 7-10 days max.

76 isn't a bad temp but Betta do better a little warmer, I'd up it to 78 in general and 78 to 80 during treatment.

If you do not have a fully cycled tank and your tests are reading ammonia, you should be testing your water every single day. You can be more flexible with testing when your fish are healthy and your tank is cycled but if you have ammonia right now you could be having spikes higher than .25 during the week, and in the case that you have .5 or more I would do a 50% water change daily until its back down to .25. Get the test strips they are convenient especially if you are at work.

Wear gloves when working with medications or tank water. I view my fish as very healthy yet I use cattle exam gloves they go all the way to the shoulder. Fish carry disease. You should protect your skin. It doesn't need to get any more complicated than that, better safe than sorry.

Good luck, sending positive thoughts your way today.
 
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