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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

New here, appreciate your help and advice:

We got our first Betta, Schmoby, a few months ago from Petsmart. He was in good health and we kept him in a 4.5 gallon, unfiltered, heated tank with aquarium salt and 3 moss balls. He was very happy and healthy, blowing bubble nests and always socializing with us.

Last Thursday, we got him a 5 gallon, filtered tank (Fluvia Chi) and some tank mates: neon tetras, a pleco bristlenose, along with a few live plants from PetCo. Over the next few days, Schmoby began acting strange and then we realized the new fish were sick and then within hours, they all died (a couple died before that, Schmo may have eaten one).

Of course once we realized the new fish had been infected, we put Schmoby in a clean, 4 gallon tank (heated to 82* but unfiltered). He clearly had ich and was very lethargic, anti-social and no appetite. Since he has been in his clean tank (Sunday) we have done a 100% water change with aquarium salt every day and, Monday we began to medicate him for the Ich with Kordon Copper-Aid. Monday we also gave him a salt bath, which we will do again tonight when we do another 100% water change.

We saw on Sunday he had a bit of fin rot but, but realized yesterday it is severe, as his fins had have turned red are now very tattered. He is also sleeping on his side or will hide in his house and float to his side (assume this is bloat). He is not eating and I suppose we will not feed him for a few days if he has bloat. Since Monday after his bath, he has perked up quite a bit, swimming around until he gets tired but today his fins look worse and he is getting very tired very easily. He will curl around or lay on top of the heater or his hammock and I swear he is dying/dead when he stays like that.

Any help or advice is very welcomed. Though he is swimming around a bit, he seems to be getting worse and I fear he won't make it through the whole ordeal.

When can we replace the moss balls in his tank? Are we medicating/treating correctly? How do we reintroduce him to the 5g filtered tank? Are these plants safe for him and/or do we need to do anything but quarantine them? Anything we are missing?

Please note: we realize our mistake of buying fish from Petco. We went back and inspected the tank they came from and looks like all the fish are sick. We boiled all the gravel, quarantined the plants and disinfected the tank, accessories and filter with white vinegar and hot water. We will not replace him in the 5 gallon until after the 14 day medication period.

-Very worried fish parents

Fish Questionnaire:

How many gallons is your tank? Prior, 4.5g, then 5, now 4g
Does it have a filter? Prior no, 5g yes, now 4g no.
Does it have a heater? Yes. Now set to 82*
What temperature is your tank? 82*
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? not anymore. For a few days had neon tetras and pleco bristlenose.

What food brand do you use? Aqueon Betta food
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? Occasional blood worms
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? twice a day, he usually eats 3-5 pellets

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? In 4g, 50% change 2-3x/wk and 100% 1x/wk. Now 100% everyday (since sunday)
What percentage of water did you change? see above
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? no. Changed 100% and cleaned entire tank 1x/wk
What additives do you use? Water conditioner and aquarium salt: 1tsp/g

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you.

pH:8 (approx) we use strips
Hardness (GH): 240 (max result)
Alkalinity (KH): 180 (max result) though we use extra conditioner and filtered water!

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Friday-Saturday
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Red tattered fins, white spots
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Lethargic, floats on side (anywhere in tank), now socializing more
Is your Betta still eating? no
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes: salt bath 1x/day, Kordon Copper-Aid, 100% daily water changes, 82* water
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? He had bloat when we first got him.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? a few months. Petsmart Betta :(


1,474 Posts
The only fish you can put in a 5 gallon tank is 1 single betta. No additional betta or other types of fish can be placed in a tank that small. Neon Tetra need at minimum a 10 gallon tank, and they must be placed in a tank that has an established nitrogen cycle of at least 6 months or longer. Bristlenose pleco.. some sites recommend no less than 30 gallons. Definitely not suitable for a 5 gallon tank.

This is very important: Fin rot is a bacterial infection, so if you raise the temperature in the tank then that bad bacteria is going to grow at an alarming rate. ICH often causes secondary infections, which is why I hate seeing people recommend the natural heat treatment because it will wipe your entire tank and kill everything.

Lower the temperature in the tank to 75F very slowly.

Stop the current treatments. Do enough water changes to ensure you've removed all of the medications.

Get a 1 quart container, a bottle of Methylene Blue (treats Ich and fin rot and acts as a binding agent for other medications), some Seachem KanaPlex and some API Furan 2 (both are for fin rot). Call the 800 number on all of those and ask how much to add for a medicated bath in a 1 quart container.

Fill the container with clean dechlorinated water and the 3 things I mentioned previously. Give the fish a 30 minute bath every day until the fin rot is gone. Do not dump the contents of this into your tank.

As for the tank itself to treat the Ich and infection and to help remove the bad bacteria causing the fin rot: Perform a 45% water change, and after that add 1 cap-full of Seachem ParaGuard per 10 gallons of water. Do this every 24 hours until the fin rot is gone.

Be certain to add a filter, and remove the activated carbon because it removes medications from the water column.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

Thank you for your help.

We began lowering the temp last night, we are at 78 now and Schmoby is swimming around this morning and seems to be in a better mood. We have him in my office while we finish the 5g sanitation and I think he enjoys the company :lol:

I had not thought of the raised temp creating a bacteria feeding ground. It makes sense. I can sympathize with your frustration because everything I have read/been told is to raise temp for Ich, so we did.

I will go get the other 3 ingredients and begin the process today. Can we put the plants back in the tank?

As for the disaster of our 5g community.... It did seem too much for a 5g tank but we were assured it was fine, no doubt we made a big mistake. Unfortunately it was at the expense of several fish and my poor Schmo.

Thank you again for your help.

1,474 Posts
You're most welcome. I hope that things work out and your fish gets better.

I would wait to put the plants back in. I'm personally not that great with aquatic plants, so I've no idea which plants can handle ParaGuard. Seachem does not share the ingredients, so there's no way to know for 100% certain without asking the company about your specific plants.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Today he is much happier. He is swimming around, has not been as lethargic and is not floating on his side or sleeping. However, he does not want to eat. He's going to be mad here in a few minutes when I pull him out again!
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