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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I start, I would like all of you to know that I know that I have made a huge number of mistakes, and I really am a complete beginner at taking care of fish.

Now, to introduce my fish, he is a male 5 year old (about) orangish-pink veil tail betta. His full name is Boo Radley (named so by his previous owner, my sister).
His first owners were our neighbors who were moving and gave him to us. They kept him in a clear, 1 qt. bowl with marbles in the bottom and fed him when they remembered. They cleaned his tank with water that they let sit out for 24 hours, and I don't think this was done a lot.
He was then given to my sister who kept him in the same bowl, but as far as I know, she fed him every day. She didn't clean his bowl a lot and when she did, she used distilled water.
After I continued to pester her about the care of her fish (no, I was not knowledgeable, but I didn't like to see fish treated like that either), she finally gave him to me. Honestly, now that I look back on it, I was not much better than her. I kept him in the same bowl he'd always been kept in. However, I did feed him every day, and I changed his water every 3-5 days with treated water, not distilled or 24 hour sit-out water.
My little sister had another betta who was in a 1 gal. tank with a filter, hood, light, gravel, thermometer (stuck to the side) and barrel caves. However, the filter was too strong and was tearing his fins. We didn't know about filter baffles, so we just removed it from the tank and I cleaned the tank a little more often. Anyways, this betta, Pickles, died due to a tank cleaning mistake (that I beat myself up over many times over).
However, after Pickles died, we now had a "bigger" tank that he could be moved to. This happened about half a year ago. So, we moved Boo to this 1 gal. tank and he seemed to like it a lot. Before, he'd only eat about 1-3 fish pellets every day, but he began to eat 3-6 in this tank, which we were happy about. I got him a moss ball, because I figured it would help keep his tank clean, which it has, somewhat. I would have gotten him a bigger tank, because I knew bettas needed more space than 1 gal, but I wasn't allowed to.

However, about 7 weeks ago, Boo stopped eating. He'd done this before with my sister and had gotten over it in about 2 weeks so, I didn't really start worrying until 2 weeks had passed. After that, I tried feeding him freeze-dried bloodworms. He wouldn't even touch them. I didn't really try anything else. I just kept cleaning his tank and feeding him (even though he wouldn't eat).
Then, after about 2 more weeks, he started swimming along the gravel. He could be sideways, or even upside-down. He would rest vertically, with his nose in the gravel which really scared me, and when I called my local pet store to explain my problem, they just said that 5 years was old for a betta and I could keep trying to feed him, but he would probably just die soon.
So, 2 more weeks passed, and Boo still hadn't eaten but he still had the "swim away" instinct when I would catch him with my fish net to clean his tank. So, I figured he still had the will to live and I wouldn't begrudge him that. I really didn't want to euthanize him yet.
However, over the past week, I've finally begun to read up on bettas and I found many things that I did wrong in the beginning and I've been trying to right them. I tried feeding Boo small bits if thawed peas, and I've even tried feeding him frozen daphnia, but he refuses to eat. I've given him Epsom salt baths (1 tsp. per gallon) twice, because his symptoms seemed most to fit with constipation. Then, I cleaned his tank last night and he didn't try as hard to swim away as he normally does and when I saw him trying to swim towards the top of the water, he had to struggle a lot. Since it's been 7 weeks since he last ate, and because I can no longer think of anything else to do, should I put him down? I've been looking up euthanasia for bettas online, and if I do euthanize him, I think I'll try to use the clove oil way. Should I euthanize him, or is there something I've missed? Please help!
 

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Sorry for your poor betta. He's been through a lot. I wouldn't jump into euthanasia yet. That decision is so final and his symptoms may be curable.
How sure are you of his age?
A 1 gallon is small, yes. It can however be kept as an ideal home if you clean it 100% every 2 days. This gets stressful on the fish so you could do 50% every day. Just gently cup him or let him hide and try not to disturb the water too much.
A 1 g is too small for many decorations. In mine I kept 2 nano moss balls and the smallest terracotta cup I could find.
I want to stress this- my Ludendorff was bought on Jan 16 or something and ONLY NOW is he swimming around like a regular betta. He was really particular with water changes and likes the water to be really warm. He's sensitive to ammonia and therefore I need to change his water 25% like every 2 days.
I wouldn't necessarily give up on Boo yet (btw, LOVE the name!!) Could you get us a picture, or even better, a video of his behavior?

I would look into getting Indian Almond Leaves. They are a natural antibiotic and slime coat thickener (if that's how you would describe it). Where do you live? Maybe someone can mail some to you quicker than would a supplier?
 

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Oh, poor thing... 7 weeks without food is a lot, even for a completely healthy fish. If you want to try and save him, I would recommend buying a sterlite tubberware, that's relatively long and large (they sell 4 gallon ones for a few dollars at target), and fill it up with maybe 5 inches of water or less. This will make it less of a struggle for him to reach air, yet will not compromise the water quality. If you don't have a heater, and dechlorinator, get them. He needs to be in an idealclean and warm environment. Apart from a hidey cave, leave the tub barren when you fill it. Personally, I'm not so sure what else you could do apart from keeping his tank clean (a one gallon would be okay with two 50% and one 100% water changes a week.), and trying to feed him. Add 1 tsp of epsom salt per gallon, and when you do water changes, be sure to add the proper amount back in to keep the levels stable

I'll be completely honest with you, euthanasia is something you have to decide to do for the good of the fish. He is old for a betta, so it might make recovery more difficult in this situation, if you think he is suffering and you don't want to prolong it, I would consider getting the clove oil.
 

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Aww.. sad story :(

Instead of Epsom Salt baths.. those tend to not work.. what you would want to do is place him in it continuously. At 1-2 tsp per gallon, daily 100% water changes and see how he fares then.
Unfortunately, he is at the end of their life span range.. but doesn't mean he's ready to give up just yet. If anything, the Epsom will help him feel a little better. It's gentle and safe and they can be in it indefinitely. But I definitely would go that route first.. I would give it a week to ten days to see if there is an improvement.

A 100% every two days in a 1 gallon is too sterile of water.. not idea. The only time you should do multiple 100%s in a week is when doing a treatment on an ill fish.. The recommended and safest routine on a 1 gallon unfiltered is 1 50% and 1 100% per week with water conditioner.

He has lived a long life, and you are giving him the best you can and it sounds great.. it's heartbreaking I know.. wishing you the best.
 

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No worries! I made the same mistake and was over cleaning them when I first got them myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, you all! I'll certainly try some of the things y'all are suggesting. I tried putting up a video of him swimming to the surface, but the file was in the wrong format and I don't know how to fix that.

Here's some info a few of you all were asking for:
I'm not completely sure about his age, but I'm positive he is 4-5 (I think closer to the 5) years old

Yes, I do have a heater and dechlorinater

Here's my questions for the suggestion y'all gave me:
Now, if I did only do partial water changes, how do I clean out the gravel? The way I do it now, I do a 100% water change and clean everything with hot water when I take it out. With a partial, how would you do that?

If I did do 100% water changes with Epsom salts every day, would I do every day for all 10 days? Would that stress him out too much?
 

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You can stir up the gravel and use a cup to scoop out the debris floating in the tank.. that is really the only way to do it in a 1 gallon- as siphons would remove the water too fast to be of any good. Otherwise, no filter then the 1 50% would be water only, and then the 1 100% per week.

I would use the salts until (if) he gets better.. 10 days is for AQ salt.. Epsom is much gentler and won't harm him- he can be in it indefinitely if need be.

Go ahead and try that daily change with the Epsom for the next 3-5 days.. if you see no improvement then you can stop and just.. wait him out. But if you see improvement, continue until he is pretty much back to normal.
 

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What temperature is the tank? Raising is to between 80 and 82 can give a boost to a flagging immune system. :)
 

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The kindest thing you can do for any sick or injured animal is to end their suffering. Animals don't think about the future, they think only about the present. Your fish is miserable right now, it has been a long time since he has eaten or had much "life" to him. Euthanasia, no matter how hard, would be the kindest option.
 

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Do you have any pics of him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All right, just to make sure I am doing this right, I can put Boo in treated Epsom salt water (1-2 tsp. per gallon) for 3-5 days or until he seems to start getting better. Is that correct?

Oh, and will the Epsom salt kill my moss ball?
 

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Personally, I only euthanize when the fish is injured or dying from an illness while I am treating the illness. If your fish is simply old, he has lost some life quality, but that is a part of aging. He isn't going to swim, play, or eat as much now as he did when he was younger. As long as he isn't suffering from illness, he can live out the rest of his life peacefully with a few adjustments to his tank. :)

Based on the pictures, it seems like he just wants to rest near his favorite decore and only move for air. If you gave him decore he can rest on that also keeps him near the surface, he should be more comfortable. I don't know how big your 1 gallon tank is, but can it fit a betta log? That is something he could rest on that floats him near the surface so it's easier for him to breath. A silk plant with flat large leaves can also be an option. Snowy liked to rest on my silk Arrow Head plant, as one example. There are other silk plants that are small enough for a 1 gallon with leaves a betta can rest on near the surface.

As for eating, soaking pellets in garlic not only gets fish to eat them more readily but also helps boost the immune system a bit. If you have any fresh garlic lying around, you can give that a try.
 

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epsom salt will not hurt your marimo ball. If anything, it might help it :).

if possible, you'll need to find a way to make it easier for him to reach the surface. Like I suggested before, a longer/larger sterlite tubberware filled up several inches to about 1 gallon will probably give him more surface area and make it less of a struggle to reach air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
HE ATE 1 PELLET THIS MORNING!!! He's still swimming on his side and doesn't look much better, but he ate a pellet! :DDDDD Thanks you guys! so, should I keep him in the Epsom salt for a few more days or return to his normal water?
 

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Aww hope he gets better! He's so pretty!
 

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That's good to know! :D

Keep him in there until he's better. Just make sure that when you do your one 50% and one 100% water change each week that you add back in the proper ammount of epsom salt to the water you are adding into the tank.(1tsp per gallon)
 
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