Betta fish sick-- Emergency!!

Nereid42

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?
2.5 gallon hospital tank
How long has the tank been running?
Fully cycled for about 3 months; before the betta, it housed a (healthy) guppy I had to separate
Does it have a filter?
No (again, meant to be temporary)
Does it have a heater?
Yes
What is the water temperature?
78F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
1 betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
1x/week
How much of the water do you change?
20%
What do you use to treat your water?
TopFin water conditioner, API aquarium salt
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
Have not been vacuuming the substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
Yes
What do you use to test the water?
API test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0-5ppm
pH: 7.8-- pH levels have always been on the high side, my fish haven't had a problem with them in the past

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
1x/day
How much do you feed your fish?
2-3 pellets
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
TopFin Betta Bits
Do you feed frozen?
No
Do you feed freeze-dried foods?
No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
Only 2 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
A couple weeks ago he started acting different, but only yesterday did he appear very sick
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
All I can tell is he's starving. I can't see any sign of actual illness, his fins aren't even clamped, but he's as thin as a stick, and now doesn't seem capable of keeping food down.
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Started feeding live brine shrimp, but no other signs of illness so can't treat him for anything specific
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
Lethargic and stays at the bottom of the tank; tail darkened; thin

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
I left my betta in someone else's care for a week (which I am learning is a very bad idea) and when I came back he was acting a bit off-- hiding more, mostly, but I couldn't find any signs of illness so I didn't think much of it. He's been hiding more and more until yesterday, when I realized why; the poor thing is thin as a stick, and I feel like an awful negligent parent for not noticing (he's always taken his food, but I think he's been throwing it back up). There's no other signs of illness, nothing to explain why he stopped eating in the first place. Yesterday I went out and bought live brine shrimp, which he attacked with gusto. Today, though, he's only picking at them, and it seems like he can't hold them down. He's now very lethargic, staying at the bottom (not even in his hide, just leaning against it) and only coming up for air. I have no clue how to help him, or even the cause of the problem. He's my newest baby-- please help!
 

grac3

Any long white poop? Any pictures?

You could try feeding him daphnia as a laxative to help clear him. Otherwise, I'd just suggest high quality foods like bloodworms, mosquito larvae, mysis shrimp, etc
 

Nereid42

Any long white poop? Any pictures?

You could try feeding him daphnia as a laxative to help clear him. Otherwise, I'd just suggest high quality foods like bloodworms, mosquito larvae, mysis shrimp, etc
No long white poop that I can tell, I’ll definitely try those foods. I’ve attached pictures, though the lighting is very bad. (I’m doing this on mobile so let me know if there’s a problem with the pictures)
5D32B282-F770-48F9-8AEC-FC64B2A3FC14.jpeg
26B37FF4-DD07-4AE6-B079-C1700F647C6F.jpeg
98A582B1-EFAB-49EB-AA83-5F748C470ACD.jpeg
02C9E973-ADB9-40C2-80B5-DF2C1AE7A346.jpeg
 

Rose of Sharon

Hi,

I was just going through some threads and saw this post.

Is your betta getting any better? You can feed him more than once a day if you feed small amounts. It's best to give him about 6 to 8 hours between feedings to avoid digestive issues.
 

Nereid42

Hi,

I was just going through some threads and saw this post.

Is your betta getting any better? You can feed him more than once a day if you feed small amounts. It's best to give him about 6 to 8 hours between feedings to avoid digestive issues.
He isn't doing much better, though for now he's still hanging on. I got him to start eating a bit with live food, but I live in the middle of nowhere and the one fish store around that stocks it is out, so I haven't had it in a couple days, and today he stopped eating pellets/flakes again. I'm just hoping he makes it until I can get live food again, and that he goes back to eating that.

Also, I think he might be showing signs of either velvet or ich. I'm not sure which it is, but I'm trying aquarium salt and turning up the temperature, since from what I've read, that helps for both. I actually wanted to ask on here what dosage of aquarium salt I should use, because the internet says different things in different places. Do you know, by any chance? And, would you happen to know any other treatments that work for both ailments?

I've tried getting pictures that show the ich/velvet, but it's very fine so it isn't really visible in pics-- that sort of makes me believe it's velvet, but I don't want to do a chemical treatment for that and have it do more harm than good.
 

Rose of Sharon

Hi,

Sorry to hear that he isn't doing well.

If he has ich, he will have small white dots on his body that look like a sprinkling of salt. For velvet, you will need to turn off the lights so that the room is completely dark, and then shine a flashlight on him. Velvet will look like gold dust covering his body.

For the salt treatment, I would recommend a half teaspoon per gallon. Don't use this in your main tank if you have invertebrates. You will need a separate hospital tank, or will need to move your invertebrates. When dosing with salt, please remember that aquarium salt doesn't evaporate, so you don't want to over dose him when you change his water.

When you up the heat, you can set the temp to 84 degrees.

As far as meds, both Coppersafe or Cupramine will work on both velvet and ich. The Coppersafe is copper chelate while Cupramine is copper sulfate. I have read in various articles that copper sulfate seems to do a better job.

If you do end up trying either of these, please stick to the dosage instructions. Copper is something that will end up staying in your tank for a while, as it can actually get into the sealent in the seams of your aquarium. You will also need to remove the chemical filtration from your filter for this.

It is very hard to treat a sick betta once they get to the point of not eating. They need to eat to keep up their immune system in order to get better. If it gets too bad, and you think he is suffering, you might want to consider euthanasia. It is with a heavy heart that I recommend this. You can use clove oil. If you want to go this route, do not add clove oil to your aquarium. Use a separate container that is disposable. Add a few drops of clove oil to some water in a disposable water bottle. Shake it up really well, and then add it slowly. He will freak out at first. Then slowly add a few more drops. He will eventually fall asleep. It may take up to 20 minutes or more. Again, I hate even putting this in writing. :(


I hope that he can bounce back!!!!
 

Nereid42

Hi,

Sorry to hear that he isn't doing well.

If he has ich, he will have small white dots on his body that look like a sprinkling of salt. For velvet, you will need to turn off the lights so that the room is completely dark, and then shine a flashlight on him. Velvet will look like gold dust covering his body.

For the salt treatment, I would recommend a half teaspoon per gallon. Don't use this in your main tank if you have invertebrates. You will need a separate hospital tank, or will need to move your invertebrates. When dosing with salt, please remember that aquarium salt doesn't evaporate, so you don't want to over dose him when you change his water.

When you up the heat, you can set the temp to 84 degrees.

As far as meds, both Coppersafe or Cupramine will work on both velvet and ich. The Coppersafe is copper chelate while Cupramine is copper sulfate. I have read in various articles that copper sulfate seems to do a better job.

If you do end up trying either of these, please stick to the dosage instructions. Copper is something that will end up staying in your tank for a while, as it can actually get into the sealent in the seams of your aquarium. You will also need to remove the chemical filtration from your filter for this.

It is very hard to treat a sick betta once they get to the point of not eating. They need to eat to keep up their immune system in order to get better. If it gets too bad, and you think he is suffering, you might want to consider euthanasia. It is with a heavy heart that I recommend this. You can use clove oil. If you want to go this route, do not add clove oil to your aquarium. Use a separate container that is disposable. Add a few drops of clove oil to some water in a disposable water bottle. Shake it up really well, and then add it slowly. He will freak out at first. Then slowly add a few more drops. He will eventually fall asleep. It may take up to 20 minutes or more. Again, I hate even putting this in writing. :(


I hope that he can bounce back!!!!
Thank you for your reply. I did end up having to euthanize him this morning. As I mentioned, he hasn’t been able to eat in a couple days and the fish store is still out, and on top of that, he had started acting like my first betta did right before he died, which I can only describe as “swimming deliriously”. I hate euthanasia, of course, but I hated seeing him suffer more, and now that I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to make it, I think it was a better decision to end his suffering. But again, thank you for your help :)
 

Rose of Sharon

So sorry for your loss!!!!!

It is never easy to euthanize.
 

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