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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've made posts about this before, but I recently saw something like it again, so I'd like to share the pictures and see if anybody has figured it out. It's much more dramatic and visible now. Maybe if we can collectively figure out what it is, we can stop it.

Housing
What size is your tank? 10 gallons.
What temperature is your tank? 78 F.
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, AQUA Tech 5-15.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Only for emergencies, my fish doesn't like it.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once per day, 5-10 pellets, it's hard to get him to see them anymore though.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Weekly.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 40-50%.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? AquaSafe or Stress Coat (ran out of that recently).

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
Just now tested:
Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: Somewhere between 5-10 PPM (water change time lol)
pH: 6.0
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? It has been very gradual, but his color has been lost, ALL fins have shortened and look slightly mangled (with slight brown spots), his eyes have become swollen and covered over/foggy, and a white spot on his side has grown outward into a very large bulge. The pictures say a lot more than my words can.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He has stopped being as active, and he bottom-sits a lot (although he does still swim around sometimes, and he comes up to the top when I open the lid). He can barely see, he does bump into stuff, but I think he can still see because he can still follow my finger across the tank.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Months ago... last June is when I really started noticing the color change and fin shortening.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I treated him for bacterial infection sometime around last August, and fungus a couple weeks ago. Have tried to keep the water pristine, haven't used anything else because I was advised to try not to intervene with medications.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? It almost seems like he's always been ill. I got him December of 2012, and starting in the summer months of 2013 he has gradually undergone all the above-listed changes.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I don't know, because he was an adult when I got him in December 2012, but I have had him for a year and four months. He is probably two.

Here are the pictures. They tell the story like I can't. Starts from when I first got him up until last night.















And last night...



 

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Poor thing! It sounds like you've been doing everything right. Unfortunately he might just have bad genes or he could be older than you thought. Definitely looks like a tumor which is probably beyond treating yourself. Is taking him to a vet an option?
 

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The fact that his fins are receding and that there is a measurable ammonia and nitrate in the water makes me think that he's been having water quality problems. Neither Aquasafe nor Stress Coat neutralize ammonia, and the fin issues are very typical for ammonia burns and ammonia poisoning. The eyes could be a result of that or a secondary infection.

I would get him in pristine water (that means ZERO ammonia, zero nitrites, ZERO nitrates) ASAP (preferably with a conditioner like Prime), and make sure the water is changed completely each day (you may find it easier to take him out of the 10 gallon to do this). Some StressCoat+ will help also, but since a lot of tap water has ammonia in it, a water conditioner that neutralizes ammonia would be very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Taking him to a vet is unfortunately not an option, I'm a college student trying to pay bills and most small animal vets are outrageously expensive :(

It just seems odd to me that in a 10g by himself, in which I do weekly water changes, that it would be water quality that deteriorates him over the course of a year, but I want to do anything I can to help. Should I buy purified water from the store and use that? What would you recommend as a quarantine tank? I think Petco's DPG sale is going on, maybe I can get an empty smaller tank, should I use a filter in it or no?
 

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It may even be that tap water that is the culprit -- lots of tap water has ammonia and other contaminants in it.

A bottle of Prime will only run you $6 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay! There's actually a brand-new Petsmart opening up in my town tomorrow, so I (hopefully) won't have to go far in order to get it and will do so when I get home from class.

Do you think tap water contaminants would have shown up in my other fish? My DT was already a tail biter from the day I got him, so his tail randomly becomes ragged, and my CT is a Wal-Mart fish who had ammonia burns when I brought him home... it would be difficult to tell with those two. My goldfish, though, are in pristine health. Are they just more hardy than bettas?
 

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I had a betta with a similar tumor and I've been looking for old photos of him but I can't find any...What I came to think it was is Lympcytis (SP?) Pretty much to my knowledge it's an abnormal growth of cells and is "suppose" to be realitivly harmless and eventually fall off. Though I don't know much about it and any information I've googled about it comes up with marine fish..it might be something to look into!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got a 2.5g tank ($5, thanks discount) and some Prime, currently drip-acclimating him to it, how long do you think I will have to do this with 100% daily water changes? I'm worried that's going to stress him out enough to push him over the edge :/
 

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I had a fish who loathed water changes, too, and that made me question the value of daily changes if it was hitting the fish too hard. If you have him in a 1 gallon hospital tank, you'd probably best do them every day. You might be able to get away with every other day in a 2 gallon or more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So how long should I continue this?
 

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Just some info about Prime: There are a few different conditioners that deal with ammonia. All including Prime "lock in" the ammonia compound for 48hrs. Meaning the chemicals in Prime bind to ammonia, changing it's molecular make-up and therefore neutralizing it (for 48hrs). To make sure your ammonia levels stay at 0ppm you should dose every 48hrs. So every 2 days, I think. And the regular dose is 2 drops per gallon.

To answer your most recent question: If this is the only treatment you're doing I don't see why you'd need to keep him in a 2.5gal QT tank because dosing Prime regularly is similar to doing water changes. That is, it eliminates the harmful compounds (for a little bit). So if you put him back in the 10gal and dosed the tank with Prime every 48hrs you'd still have to change the water by 40-50% every week. But at least you wouldn't have to keep him in the small tank with 100% WC every other day. As a sidenote, the regular amount of water changes for a 2.5gal is usually 100% once a week and 50% in the middle of the week.

However it might be good to keep up your experiment for a few weeks, long enough to see if the frequent water changes and Prime dosing in the small tank help his fins grow back.

I'm sort of curious about your other two fish. If they've spent enough time with you (a month or so) to recover from their fin issues you should be seeing some regrowth, like some white where the fins were damaged. Even if you bought one with ammonia burns the fins will regrow. If their conditions haven't changed and you've had them long enough, that would strengthen our "too much ammonia" hypothesis. On the plus side it looks like you're doing everything else correctly, very pretty 10gal and nice silk plants :)
 
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