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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
Unfortunately, I don't have all the water and conditions criteria, but my questions for now are simple. Fishingham is a very sick little buddy (or maybe just near end of life...not sure the normal life expectancy of a Betta). Anyway, he's alive but lying mostly on his side on the bottom, and fins are very sparse and haggard. Upon suggestions from this forum, he's always had some Indian Almond leaf in his tank (1/2 gal), and I just started treating him conservatively with salt (1/2 tsp) and added API Stress Coat to his water (12 drops). I will be doing 100% water changes every day for 8-10 days, provided he hangs on. API says it removes chlorine and neutralizes chloramines. We already use Amquel Plus to prepare/condition the water. Is it okay to use the Amquel and API at the same time? Also, is the water ready for him as soon as it's conditioned with the Amquel, or should there be a waiting period? Really hope he pulls through. I have a very sad 9-yr-old son. :cry:
 

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Hello all, We already use Amquel Plus to prepare/condition the water. Is it okay to use the Amquel and API at the same time? Also, is the water ready for him as soon as it's conditioned with the Amquel, or should there be a waiting period? Really hope he pulls through. I have a very sad 9-yr-old son. :cry:
Amquel does a lot of the same things that Stress coat does (removes chlorine, chloramines, metals). Amquel detoxifies ammonia, so Stress coat would be unnecessary (I'm not a fan). The water is safe as soon as the Amquel is add and your temperature is matched with your tank. How old is this Betta?

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He's probably only a year old. I imagine their lifespan is longer than that. I've been doing forum reading, and not sure he has any of the symptoms of velvet,ick,popeye,etc....mostly fin/tail rot, very lethargic, not eating. He's been through a bout of tail/fin rot before and we nursed him back to health, but honestly his fins/tail didn't show a huge amt of improvement. Now he really just looks like he's on death's door, gasping for air and lying on his side. Thanks so much for the reply. Fingers crossed. If you have any addl advice, it would be welcomed.
 

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Does it seem like he has a lot of trouble swimming to the top and kind of just sinks down whenever he tries, or is he just really lethargic and sometimes floats to the surface. If it's the former, it's a swim bladder problem. I'm dealing with this in one of my own fish and some members here have been really helpful. I'm still in the process of treating him, but anyway, they have told me that a swim bladder problem that is not caused by constipation is probably a bacterial infection or parasites. He started fin rot a few days ago, too. I'm just telling you what they told me, but maybe they will jump in here. I started my betta on Tetra Safeguard last night so I'll see if he gets better.
Can you maybe describe better how his swimming is when he's not on the bottom?

If your fish is just lethargic and he doesn't look like he's struggling to get to the surface, it's probably not the same thing. What is the temperature in the tank? If it's too cold that will cause a betta to be very clamped and lethargic and make them prone to other sicknesses like finrot. I suggest getting a larger tank- at least a gallon- so then you can fit a heater in there.
 

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Let me start by saying I have never owned or seen a betta SBD be have seen hundreds of goldfish with the disorder.
Fish sinks to the bottom, struggles to rise up
Fish floats to the top, often upside-down
Swims with tail higher than head or head higher than tail
Struggles to hold its place in the water
With this disorder, the swim bladder does not function normally due to disease, physical defects, or mechanical / environmental factors. Affected fish will exhibit problems with buoyancy usually for the remainder of their life; With fancy goldfish they are culled so as not to pass the disorder on. A fish that can't swim is not a fish

Rick
 

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I am thinking ammonia poisoning and severe fin rot. A 1/2 gallon tank should always have its water changed 100% everyday or at least every other day in order to keep ammonia levels in the safe zone, not doing so will cause ammonia poisoning and can cause fin rot.
The fin rot is not the big issue, although it can become one. The biggest problem would be the ammonia poisoning, symptoms of which are lethargy and gasping for air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for replying. He's really not swimming at all right now. He's hanging on his side on the bottom. Temp is about 78. I'm really concerned that he hasn't had anything to eat in 4 days. I'm giving him salt and some API Stress Coat right now, and he's always got some Indian Almond Leaf. When I changed his water he did do a panic swim, but that was all he could muster up. Hoping for the best. Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for helping. Everyone (fish store staff, forum members, etc) seems to have a different opinion on normal care and treatment. We were told to make sure that we change the water at least once a week, and only 25% change. My daughter's fish gets the same exact care, and her guy is fine. ?? I dunno. Gonna continue the salt and Stress Coat treatment for 8 days if he hangs on that long and pray a little.
 

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1) Stop the Aquarium salt.

Aquarium salt contains sodium, which causes fluid retention, bloating and buoyancy issues. Bettas are sensitive to salt, and using it is a common cause of buoyancy issues and bloating.

2) Use a low dosage of Epsom salt.

Epsom salt does not contain sodium. It has a fluid reducing/laxative effect in people and fish. It helps with buoyancy issues, bloating, or constipation.

Mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt into 1 gallon of water that is the same temperature as his current tank water. Add conditioner. Stir/shake until the Epsom salt is completely dissolved. Use this solution for his water changes.

If you don't have Epsom salt, it's available at supermarkets and pharmacies (but not petstores). Look for magnesium sulfate. (No dyes, additives or perfumes.) It is not expensive, and can be found at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Publix, etc.

3) Do more frequent water changes.

A half gallon tank will build up toxins, wastes, ammonia and bacteria quickly. If these are present in the water, his fins won't heal and he'll be susceptible to disease and infection. I would either increase the water changes, or move him to a larger tank.

4) Can you post a photo of him so we can see his fins and overall condition?
 

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The pet store employees are not always as knowledgeable as they'd like you to believe, and almost every pet store employee will tell you something different (i.e., one employee told a member here to put 2 females, 1 male, and several other fish into a 1 gallon tank, and they would be fine - not only were they not fine, but the females brutally attacked the female). They are also often trained to tell buyers that Betta fish are low maintenance and need very, very little care.

That being said, a Betta fish kept in a small tank, with not enough water changes, can live several months to a year (sometimes longer depending on the genetics), so it's very possible that yours has reached his end, while your daughter's may have stronger genes, and will live a few more months.
A Betta kept in perfect conditions can live several years - there have been people here who have had Bettas live longer than 4 or 5 years, though not many live that long. 3 years is about average.
 

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If you're still not sure, and hesitant to believe us, get a water testing kit and see what the ammonia levels are. (Start with ammonia, it's the most lethal, although, you should be keeping an eye on the nitrite and nitrate levels too.) When the ammonia levels are higher than 0, you need to change the water immediately. So change your water every time the ammonia is above 0, and that is how often you need to change it. If you only do a 25% change, test the water again, to make sure the ammonia level is back at 0, if it's not, you'll need to change out more water until the ammonia is at 0.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I really do appreciate all of you weighing in on this. I agree that some store personnel are clueless. It gets very confusing, as I said, only because everybody seems to have a different method. I just got done reading a very long post on this forum saying not to use epsom salt. Certainly, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get him back to health, and I have been changing water more frequently for both fish in recent months. Now I'm changing his water daily, as suggested. Also, read that API Stress Coat was good stuff and to stay away from Bettafix and Melafix (sp?) was not good or at least a last resort. Then others say that API is not particularly great. I need to get a water test kit (tomorrow)and do regular testing for him and my daughter's tank. So the ammonia levels should always be 0? Lastly, I am grateful for all of your input, not hesitant to believe. Probably quite the contrary, not knowledgeable in this area, and eager to believe everyone. Not sure if I can get a good photo of him as he is pretty meager and laying on the bottom (but still breathing). Will get some epsom salt tomorrow and try that with the combination of API almond leaf, and daily water changes. Will keep you "posted". Thanks to all of you. Very caring and responsive forum.
 

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API Stress Coat is just a water conditioner that has aloe added to it. Some people feel the aloe is soothing and healing.

Other people prefer Prime, which is a water conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia (which is toxic) by converting it to ammonium (which isn't toxic). However, it only converts it for about 48 hours. After that, you either have to redose it, or do a water change to remove any built up ammonia.

IMO, the minimum requirements are that you use a water conditioner that neutralizes/removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. I feel that the decision on whether to use a condition that does something more than this is a matter of personal choice/preference, as well as each person's unique aquarium conditions. (See below.)

Yes, ideally, the ammonia level should be zero. If yours isn't, test your tap water. Some public water municipalities use ammonia or chloramines to disinfect water. If yours does this, there will always be some ammonia in your tap water. If this is the case, then a conditioner like Prime can be worthwhile.

The API Master Freshwater test kit is often recommended on this forum. It's about $30 at petstores. But you can usually buy it online (at Amazon) for less than this.

As for Melafix and Bettafix, they contain an oil (tea tree oil). Tea tree oil has been shown to have minor antimicrobial properties. There's a lot of controversy on this forum about using these "-fix" medications. Some people believe they coat the breathing organ of Bettas and can suffocate them, others don't believe this to be true. However, people seem to agree that Bettas are sensitive to this chemical (which is probably why Bettafix, a diluted version of Melafix, was created).

My personal opinion is that if antimicrobial medications are needed, I feel there are options that are more effective, and have fewer potential side effects. For bacterial infections, there are antibiotics. For parasitical infections, there are antiparasiticals. Etc.

There have also been studies on Indian Almond Leaves (IAL), which show they release tannins into the water. Tannins have minor antimicrobial properties. They also lower the pH of the water slightly, which can mimic the natural habitat of Bettas. (Indonesia has soft, slightly acidic water.) Also, tannins can help speed wound healing. (They're used on people who have suffered burns.)

As for Epsom salt, my personal opinion is that it's OK to use it short term for issues such as bloating, constipation and buoyancy issues. It has a fluid reducing/laxative effect.

If your Betta isn't currently bloated, constipated or having buoyancy issues, then you can skip the Epsom salt.

Clean, warm water and good nutrition is the best way to keep them healthy. This means keeping ammonia, toxin and bacterial levels low by either doing frequent water changes or having a cycled tank. And feeding quality meals which will give them the nutrients they need and help strengthen their immune system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
API Stress Coat is just a water conditioner that has aloe added to it. Some people feel the aloe is soothing and healing.

Other people prefer Prime, which is a water conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia (which is toxic) by converting it to ammonium (which isn't toxic). However, it only converts it for about 48 hours. After that, you either have to redose it, or do a water change to remove any built up ammonia.

IMO, the minimum requirements are that you use a water conditioner that neutralizes/removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. I feel that the decision on whether to use a condition that does something more than this is a matter of personal choice/preference, as well as each person's unique aquarium conditions. (See below.)

Yes, ideally, the ammonia level should be zero. If yours isn't, test your tap water. Some public water municipalities use ammonia or chloramines to disinfect water. If yours does this, there will always be some ammonia in your tap water. If this is the case, then a conditioner like Prime can be worthwhile.

The API Master Freshwater test kit is often recommended on this forum. It's about $30 at petstores. But you can usually buy it online (at Amazon) for less than this.

As for Melafix and Bettafix, they contain an oil (tea tree oil). Tea tree oil has been shown to have minor antimicrobial properties. There's a lot of controversy on this forum about using these "-fix" medications. Some people believe they coat the breathing organ of Bettas and can suffocate them, others don't believe this to be true. However, people seem to agree that Bettas are sensitive to this chemical (which is probably why Bettafix, a diluted version of Melafix, was created).

My personal opinion is that if antimicrobial medications are needed, I feel there are options that are more effective, and have fewer potential side effects. For bacterial infections, there are antibiotics. For parasitical infections, there are antiparasiticals. Etc.

There have also been studies on Indian Almond Leaves (IAL), which show they release tannins into the water. Tannins have minor antimicrobial properties. They also lower the pH of the water slightly, which can mimic the natural habitat of Bettas. (Indonesia has soft, slightly acidic water.) Also, tannins can help speed wound healing. (They're used on people who have suffered burns.)

As for Epsom salt, my personal opinion is that it's OK to use it short term for issues such as bloating, constipation and buoyancy issues. It has a fluid reducing/laxative effect.

If your Betta isn't currently bloated, constipated or having buoyancy issues, then you can skip the Epsom salt.

Clean, warm water and good nutrition is the best way to keep them healthy. This means keeping ammonia, toxin and bacterial levels low by either doing frequent water changes or having a cycled tank. And feeding quality meals which will give them the nutrients they need and help strengthen their immune system.
Thanks LittleBlue. I am using Amquel as the initial water conditioner, and the API Stress Coat to hopefully boost healing. I have Indian Almond Leaf in the tank as well. I'm also changing his water daily now, but have added aquarium salt, which I was just cautioned not to use. So, since he's sitting/laying on the bottom, I think I'll get the Epsom tomorrow and hopefully that will be more therapeutic. We normally only feed them once every 3 days (3 pellets) as we probably killed a few in the beginning from overfeeding, and were told to cut way back. That seems to be working, but now this little guy has stopped eating, and I'm worried that he's not going to get healthy by starving on the bottom. yeesh! Anyway, I think my nurse-back-to-health plan is a good collection/compromise of all the suggestions you and others have made. Thank you again for all your help.
 

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In your previous post, you said you using aquarium salt. What dosage are you using? You also said that you were going to use Epsom salt. Have you done this, and if so, how much did you add?

It's not advisable to use aquarium salt and antibiotics simultaneously. Both are metabolized and eliminated by the liver and kidneys. Using both will put a lot of stress on these internal organs. This can lead to other problems, beyond the initial infection.

I also think you're underfeeding. IMO, 3 pellets every 3 days is far too little food. I don't know what brand of food you give him, but I feed each of mine about 6 Omega One pellets per day. So mine get about 40 pellets per week, while yours only gets 6-9 per week.

Could you please fill out the form below? This will give everyone information about his symptoms in a format that's recognizable to most of us. It'll tell us (in one place) what his symptoms are, and you're doing to treat them (as well as what you've already done for them). Answer the questions that you can. Leave anything else blank.

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Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Housing
What size is your tank? 1/2 gal.
What temperature is your tank? 78-80
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes. teeny tiny heater when it gets cooler
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1x every 3 days

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 1x/week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? approx. 66%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Amquel water conditioner and a little bit of Almond Leaf

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Yes. Fin rot.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Can't swim and sustain buoyancy. Stopped eating. Now completely lethargic on his side on the bottom. Gasping.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 4 days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes. 2 days ago. Water change each day. Started with Aquarium salt (1/2 tsp) & API Stress Coat and still have Indian Almond Leaf in tank. Then switched to Epsom salt today (1/2 tsp) w/API and Almond Leaf. Condition worsening, so got antibiotic (API Furan-2) in new water with no salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Fin rot once before, but not too severe. Just did a little salt and IAL and he recovered, although fins never really looked quite the same.
How old is your fish (approximately)?Est. 1 yr.

Hope the antibiotic does something for him quickly. He really appears to be on his last leg....and as a result of his condition, he hasn't been eating. To your point, he was probably underfed to begin with. Say a little prayer. Thanks for all your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sad Day

I would recommend treating him with Betta revive. That's what I use for my Bettas. My Bettas were never that bad, but it did wonders. Best of luck!!
Thanks for the input Melissa. Unfortunately, he didn't make it. Very sad 9-yr-old boy. We tried everything suggested, but I think he was too weak to begin with. :cry::cry:
 
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