Betta has a winter coat. :( Help

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Altari, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Altari

    AltariValued MemberMember

    Obviously, of course not, but that's exactly what it looks like. Last night, all was well with Benny. He was swimming happily and eating well.

    This morning, when I checked on them, Tom (the danio collective), Emery (the pleco) and the two unnamed gouramis were just fine. In fact, I found it odd that the gouramis were out swimming around in the open.

    Then I found Benny, curled up at the bottom of the tank, with a white fuzz all over his transparent fins. It's spreading down his belly, and the scales underneath it are discolored (a gross pink instead of their usual bright blue).

    Last night, his color was 100 times better than it had been when I got him. His fins had a nice, bright hue. Today, his colors are dull and fading. He's also got shiny (not a good shiny, from the looks of it) little dots along his tail.

    If it helps, I did notice him acting a little "odd" for the last day but, I guess as a n00b, thought he was just amusing himself. He'd swim under the filter stream and shimmy his tail and swam around the heater (imagine the stripes on a barber's pole-that's how he was swimming). It was out of the ordinary, but he does a lot of crazy things (like squeezing through the little openings for the castle) so I assumed he was just having fun. Anyway, I think I missed him "itching" last night.

    My readings are still the same. Ammonia/nitrites are reading between the "safe" and "stress" color strips and the nitrates are reading "stress." I've been doing 20% water changes two to three times a week, but I just can't get them down. I add a pinch of aquarium salt every other change, as I've been told that's beneficial to fish with scales.

    I put Benny in the little cup he came in, so he's been separated from the others. He's hanging out at the bottom of the cup and not looking too great.

    So, my questions.

    1) What, if anything, can I do to get him better?
    2) Will the Tom/Emery/gourami twins suffer the same fate?
    3) If so, what do I do for them?
    4) If I need to do a 100% change, how do I do it this right? My house is kept at a consistent 62 degrees, much lower than the 78 degrees of the tank.

    The big tropical fish store (it's pretty far away, but the only one I know of that carries any real medication/supplies) doesn't open for a while, so I need to wait. If you guys could give me some specific product names, it would help a ton!
  2. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I think it's been mentioned before that your fish really aren't compatible.
    This can lead to stress, stress can lead to illness. Something to keep in mind.

    Several suggestion to help improve your tank/fish have been given in previous threads.
    Salt can be irritant, personally, I don't use it. These are freshwater. Have you checked the salinity of your tank? Salt doesn't evaporate and if you keep adding it, the salt content will keep increasing. Also, from what I've read, salt forces fish to produce extra slime coat. Also pleco's don't tolerate it vary well.

    Float the cup in the tank, 62F is too cold for a betta, especially a sick one.
    Is it possible to post a pic?

    Again, know your exact readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will help rule out water conditions.

    Edit: Looks at your thread about your pleco and said your pH is 7.8 to 8.0. Which one is it? (another reason to get a reliable test kit)
    You're adding Ph down. Wha't the reasding after you lower it?
    Is the new water the exact same pH as it is in the tank?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  3. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    I've been working on my husband to get a new tank for Benny. He basically said what will be will be. He's in the cup in my daughter's lap at the moment-we're on our way to the fish store. They're the only place that sells a real water testing kit around here (well the petco two blocks from them do too). In any case I'm making the long drive now so I can't exactly test the water again.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2009
  4. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    If it is possible, could you either purchase a liquid test kit or ask your fish store if they'll test with liquid kit for you? some will do it free and others will charge a small amount. Like Lucy said, it would be really helpful to get accurate readings.

    I know that the API master kit is a lot of money up front, but it lasts a long time, does hundreds of tests. In the end, it comes out cheaper than the sticks. If you don't want to waste the strips, you could get the liquid kit and then use the strips regularly until they run out. Then you'd just have to use the API when your readings seem off, or once-every-two-week spot checks.

    If you have any ammonia or nitrites in your tank, it can kill your fish. It would be so much better if you knew for sure what is going on.

    I would agree with Lucy about the salt. Also, I think that your fish are stressed because of the overstocking and compatibility issues.

    When you do a water change, could you use a combination of cold and warm water to get it to the right temp.? Then you could do a fairly large (50-75%) water change.

    Also, if you can get your hands on a water conditioner like Prime, it would detoxify ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates for 24 hours at a time.

    **oops, you beat me with your post. Maybe the store can test the water Benny is in. I know this is stressful, but you'll work through it. We've all been there. Good luck!

    ***oh, and I think I read that bettas don't do well with meds. Don't waste your money without researching first.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  5. DigglyWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry to hear your fish isnt doing well. If you are adding a pinch of salt with every water change I cant see it being a problem, I have never seen ick in my tank since I started using a small amount with water changes.

    It is good that your pleco is going to a new home before he starts stunting and causing problems. Keep us updated with the readings :) and remember to do whats right by your fish, nothing beats the look of a happy fish greeting you when you walk into a room!

  6. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    ok. The lady at the store was SUPER nice. She tested the water (i got a tetratest laborett which was the one she used to test) and the nitrates were fine and the ammonia was a little high (she thought from him being in the cup). The nitrites were at .3. She put him in new water with perfect readings and suggested some $2 betta fungus meds. So I'm off to Walmart for a small tank and will tell my husband to deal I guess.
  7. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    :-\ Was the water fresh water or from the tank?
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound harsh but if he was just put in the cup this morning with fresh water, there'd be no way you'd have an ammonia reading let a lone a nitrite reading in that short amount of time.

    If it was water from the main tank, I'd suggest daily water changes instead of twice a week especially with the pleco in there. They're huge waste producers and will foul the water quickly.

    I'm glad you're getting him a decent tank. 5g's would be good. Hopefully your husband will be understanding. Mine wasn't at first but I think he's given up now. lol

    Best of luck, I think you'll see a huge improvement once the tank is cycled.
  8. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    Well Benny is dead. I checked on him before I set the new tank up. He was still just swimming in a circle at the bottom. 15 minutes later-right when his new home was ready and hubby and I fought over it-he was dead. Can tanks without filters cycle? Hubby has a "no more living things" rule but he may let me get another betta (or some tetras) for my bday in January. I'll just let it sit until then I guess. RIP Benny.
  9. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    :( I'm so sorry you lost the little guy. That really stinks. I can tell you really tried, even going so far as taking him to a store to see if they could help him.
    It's my thought (which may be wrong lol) that you can't cycle a tank without a filter.
    The majority of the beneficial bateria grows and lives on the filter media.

    Did the tank you bought come with a filter? How many gallons is it?

    It can take a month to cycle a tank. Maybe just in time for your birthday. :)
    In the mean time here are Four Methods of Fish Less Cycling
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  10. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I'm so sorry Benny didn't make it!

    I was thinking just like Lucy, that you could cycle for a few weeks and then add a new fish.

    Lucy, I know that the beneficial bacteria from the nitrogen cycle lives on filter media, but couldn't it attach to any porous surface. For example, if Altari isn't getting a filter (I would recommend getting one, to be clear), couldn't she scatter some of the bio-max media in with the gravel? And I know Ken uses terra cotta in his tanks as another place to grow the bacteria.

    Altari, it seems with no filtration, you will have a tough time getting the water parameters balanced, and it will create a more labor-intensive situation for you, with more water changes. It also seem like it will create a more tenuous situation for the fish, and with every gravel vac, the tank could go into a mini-cycle.

    Just my thoughts, though. Seems like a small filter would be the way to go - make everything a bit easier. If cost is a factor, maybe there is an inexpensive D-I-Y project for a small tank? I haven't looked around, but maybe someone else knows, or maybe there's something in that section of the forum? If it is the distance to the store, maybe an online order, or the nice lady you just went to may even be able to take the order over the phone and ship it to you?

    I hope you stay with our forum - I'm fascinated to see if you guys decide to go forward with the narrow-tank-between-the-rooms project!
  11. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Yes, the bacteria does grow on the gravel, deco etc. I don't understand all the ins and outs of it, but I believe it has to do with oxygen and other aspects I don't understand. Sitting water will get stagnant.

    I have taken a seeded filter sponge from my 30g, stuck a hole in it and inserted an airline attached to an air pump. The ammonia in the Q tote stayed at 0. The bio-load was minute (a tadpole that morphed into a frog and a few small snails). However, I did over feed.
  12. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    It's not a cost issue so much as a "I have no idea what kind of filter to get" issue. I got   kit. The lid has a small section that can be punched out to accommodate, I'm assuming, a filter. Of course, I'm fairly handy with a Dremel for I could probably rig something else...
  13. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Gosh, I just feel like I keep giving you bad news. I'm sorry, I don't mean to.
    That tank isn't really suited for a betta. They prefer a longer tank than a taller one.
    An internal filter is going to take up a lot of room in that tank and you'll need a heater.

    Walmart has 5g mini bows that come with a filer for about the same price. Better yet, they have 5g kits (with filter) that I think are great. I think it's a little longer and shorter than the mini bow.
  14. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    Then I guess it just isn't suited for a betta. :p

    I already bought it. No going back now. I have a very very small heater that attaches to the side. It's slated as "under gravel filtration" but I read some bad things on that (?).
  15. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember


    here are a couple of possibilities
  16. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    Thanks, mommybaby. My point was more that I've already purchased this tank. There has to be something suitable for
  17. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Here I go again, sorry. :rolleyes:
    Personally, I don't like under gravel filters. Gunk can build up under the plate really fast. You can't see it because it's on the bottom.
    It's a mess to clean under it because you'd have to take the gravel deco etc out.
    Maybe others have had better experience with them.

    Depending on how round it is, there are some internal filters that are suited for 3g's that may not take up much room.
    I've got a Hagen mini elite in a large Kritter Keeper that I really like.
    It has an adjustable flow, which is cool to have.

    Perhaps someone else will chime in.
  18. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    maybe something other than a betta? Lucy, is there anything appropriate, like maybe 2 male guppies or something? Or do they need more space?
  19. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    A few people still recommend UGFs, but most people are wary of them. One of our LFSs once told me nothing else is necessary, and they refuse to sell any other type of filter because they don't want people wasting money. (They are actually pretty good - priced are high, but they give decent advice and carry TSS)

    **BTW altari, I'd steer clear of tetras - they school, so you'd need more than your tank can hold.
  20. OP

    AltariValued MemberMember

    The undergravel filter thing didn't strike me as too plausible, either, lol. I was hoping someone would chime in and say "oh no they're great!" but....ah well.

    Yeah, I need to put a filter in. I'm considering a DIY. I have an aquarium pump left over from our foray into aquaponics, but that might create too much "pull" for the smaller fish (it moves about a gallon of water every 2 minutes). Anyway, I'm good at make-shifting, but bad at the fish selecting.

    I initially considered tetra or danios, but wouldn't they get lonely really fast?

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