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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This forum has helped me many times in the past with my ('new') betta (I've actually had him almost 2 years at this point, but he's my 1st betta & I still feel new at this). For the past 18 months *peaches* has been happy, healthy, & comfortable in a 2.5 gallon tank (with heater & filter, & plenty of real plants).

I have done various amounts of water changes (& gravel/tank cleaning, depending on the amount of 'dirt' in the aquarium) over the course of the time I've had him - always testing the water. He has never seemed to be too stressed with this......until about 2 weeks ago.

At that time I did a thorough cleaning, making sure I added in about 1/2 gallon of *old/cycled* water. Since then, he has been listless, lethargic, & has had no appetite; he lays on the bottom of the tank (occasionally he'll swim to the top of the heater or a plant leaf & lay there), only coming up for air once in a while. He seems to *gasp* a little, but there are no streaks & no other signs of ammonia poisoning (no streaking, no discolouration outside of being just a *little bit* paler than usual).

At any rate....I've tested the water over & over, & all have seemed to be normal. However, I did not know until today that the testing kit does NOT test for ammonia (only nitrate & nitrite derivatives). I immediately went to the pet store & got an ammonia test kit, as well as Prime & a pH reducer (on the advise of the 'fish expert' -- just in case).

According to the test strip, there is 1.0 mg/L of ammonia, (so now I'm going on the assumption that it is, indeed, ammonia poisoning), & I carefully measured out an appropriate amount of Prime & pH reducer about 4 hours ago, in the hopes that it wasn't too late.

My question: if this is indeed an ammonia poisoning, any idea as to about how long b/f I notice if peaches will recover? (I don't know if he WILL recover; it may be too late, but how long does the treatment need to start working & take effect?) I know 4 hours is probably not enough time, & I'm trying not to worry too much, but it's a bit difficult. :-(

Don't know if any of this is important, but....

* when I first noticed his lethargy, I gave a couple days thinking he might have been stressed from the cleaning this time, so I continued with regular feedings for a few days (small amount each morning - he did not eat)

* after a few days I stopped feeding, thinking he may be constipated. No change.

* after about 2 days of not feeding, I tried a small, peeled pea. He was not interested.

* thinking I may be dealing with a bacterial infection I added a full-spectrum antibiotic to the water for 3 days (with filter off). Again, no change.

* I continued with 1/4 - 1/2 water changes every other day or so, plus, added a little salt every now & then.

* I did try feeding once the other morning, but again he wasn't interested (I removed the food after about 10 minutes). Yesterday, however, I discovered that my well-meaning visiting nephew fed him (I don't know how much) while I was away at work; there was food floating at the top & I don't know how long it was there, but I removed it immediately.

I'm not sure what additional information I can give you, but as I said, I did not know that testing for ammonia came separate from the usual testing kit & a good deal of the last 2 weeks has been 'guess' work.

I know he's a hearty little fellow, as he has survived a few bouts of fin rot, single cell algae, as well as once jumping from his bowl when I cleaned the tank (I found him on the floor while I was waiting for the water to heat up; he might've been on the floor for 5 or 10 minutes b/f being 'rescued'). I'm just hoping I'm not too late this time.

Is there anything else I should be doing????

The advice I've gotten on this forum in the past has been a blessing, so any advice given will surely be heeded.

Thanks to all!

~p
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I first got peaches I was told to make sure that I returned some of the water back into the tank. Maybe I'm not using the correct term, but when I clean the entire tank, I put peaches in a small bowl with water from the aquarium (b/f the water change). Then after cleaning, I fill the tank with new water (dechlorinated), except for the amount that's in the bowl. I was told this is healthy for the fish as it returns a good bit of good bacteria back into the tank.

Is this wrong to do? I've been doing it since I got him with no ill effects (until maybe now).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@dramaqueen: i actually considered that (loss of beneficial bacteria), but i am not sure how to get it back. any suggestions?

@ tikibirds: i have cleaned the gravel of poop. in fact, that's what i was doing when this all started. every so often i remove all aquarium items, including the gravel, & rinse them of debris. peaches doesn't really like it, but afterwards he's never reacted like he did this time. (usually, after i do this, he sulks for a few hours & then returns to his normal self. this past time - 2 weeks ago - after i did a thorough cleaning, he sulked, as usual, but he continued to stay this way. that's maybe why i think i didn't catch the high ammonia level this time).

also, i considered his age. is it normal for an aging fish to react like this for such a long period of time?

UPDATE: although he was still in the exact same spot this morning as he was last night, i did notice that he had made his way near the top (to rest on a leaf) after about 30 minutes of my 1st morning check. he seems a lot paler in colour, & there seems to be an accumulation of red on the end of his caudal, anal, & dorsal fins (the deeper colouring in those areas is normal for him, but they are much more noticeable today, perhaps b/c the rest of him is so pale.....maybe....) or perhaps it is due to high ammonia levels.

i (stupidly) changed 1 gallon of water (his tank is 2.5) b/f taking the ammonia reading, but i did take it afterwards & it was .5 mg/L. all other readings continue to be in the ideal range, with pH being around 6.8.

he DID show a little more interest in food (*smile*), but he seemed to struggle a bit to catch anything (& i'm not sure that he did). [he swims a bit erratic - & i'm sure the flow from the filter didn't help - so i intend to turn that off for, what i hope to be, future feedings].

after floating/swimming to the bottom for a few minutes, he's back up at the top, resting on a leaf.

(sorry for such a lengthy reply. i'm just really worried & i don't want to leave out any info that might be critical).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks, olympia! as it is, he has been fasting, but i will do 100% water change (should i also clean out the gravel & other aquarium items, too, while i'm at it?)

then i will let him fast some more for the next couple of days.

will all this cleaning & moving disturb him more? since he's so sluggish, i don't want to reduce whatever resistance he still has any more than i have to......but i think you are right; it needs to be done if there is any decent chance of survival.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again, Olympia!

The filter cartridge really isn't dirty. In fact, I rinsed the entire filter (which is what I do when I do a thorough aquarium cleaning) & changed to a new cartridge 2 weeks ago (I changed cartridges as needed) & the cartridges have stayed relatively clean until just a few days ago (when I noticed that it was catching a small amount of debris - perhaps a few morsels of leftover food that I was unable to remove). Otherwise, it is still pretty clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
it's a 2.5 gal tank, with heater & filter, & lots of live plants.

(update: extreme lethargy for the past 12-18 hours. VERY pale; definitely NOT looking good. i think it may be too late to save him.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thanks to everyone for your help.

as it turns out, peaches passed away last night. :cry:

i'm not entirely convinced the problem was ammonia poisoning (i tested the water daily - provided treatments as needed - & even after several 100% water changes, i still got a positive ammonia reading. i even used the test strips at several different locations & water sources - e.g., my home & my work - & they even tested postive). Plus, he never really had the 'bloody' streaks.

it's difficult to say at this point whether it was the natural aging process or, in fact, ammonia poisoning. (he was about 2+ years & had stopped making his bubble nests about 6 months ago).

anyway, i'm just hoping that i made his last few weeks as comfortable as possible.

again, thank you everyone.

(photo was taken about 2 weeks ago; just about the time i started this thread. so sad that i was unable to get his usual *flare* for the camera).
 

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