Betta Scales Appear To Be Missing

Austin Decker

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Hey everyone, looking for some help here.

I got a Betta fish about a week ago with a new aquarium. I am currently in the process of doing a fish in cycle. I saved this Betta from PetSmart because I couldn't stand seeing him in those little bowls on an endcap looking so sad. Anyways long story short I didnt notice a scale problem when I got him but after having him in my own tank for 3 days maybe it appears we might have a scale issue? (still not sure.) I noticed it yesterday but today it looks like whatever is happening is growing as well. I will post photos at the bottom of this post.

I did a 50% WC tonight because the water I had in the tank looked dirty, for the first 2 days there was no lid on it. Someone suggested I do a 50% change because it looked like I had some dust or dirt issues with the water so I went ahead and did that. Just prior to this change when I tested the water it didnt appear to have any issues. The temperature sits around 78 degrees, Nitrite was about .25 ppm, Nitrate 30 ppm, PH was a little high at 7.75 and my GH was high around 180 ppm. (in the WC i used spring water which I conditioned with prime in order to try and help bring the GH down.)

Can someone help me understand why my Betta is having these issues (if they are indeed issues.) Did it get an infection from the bad water or treatment at PetSmart will he just naturally get better? Do I need to get some Methylene Blue? Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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I am really not the one for asking about medication but I recommend doing daily 50% water changes this is a great way to cure fin rot so I can't see why it can't help out with the missing scales.
 
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Austin Decker

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Daily? I'm really new at this so i don't know to much but isn't that a lot? Might that be hard on the little guy? And while I'm in cycle could that throw some stuff off? Again I really don't know just questioning for clarification and further information
 

Fashooga

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It’s hard to tell where your at with the cycle if you don’t have a test kit to see what ammonia levels are at.

It’s likely that since the tank is new there’s no beneficial bacteria in the tank to establish a system. So you will have to do daily water changes.

The ammonia levels, assuming it’s high since the tank isn’t cycled is probably stressing your Betta more than it was when it was in the cup. Which opens up to diseases as well as problems for the Betta fish.

So you will need to do daily water changes to reduce ammonia. Add some Prime or API Stress coat to help keep ammonia to 0.25 ppm.

In fish cycles are sometimes harsh (sacrificing a fish) on fish and considered cruel vs. a fishless cycle. Since you have a fish in there it will require more work.
 

Ulu

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I consider that a fish-in cycle is only cruel if you don't change the water enough.

But "enough" might be twice a day or every 8 hours.

I have fish living in things that get water changes two and three times a day and will never cycle, but the fish are okay.

In the old days we never did anything but fish-in cycle, which may not be the very best way but it is not necessarily cruel if done correctly.
 
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Austin Decker

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I am going to go get a test for the ammonia in the water as soon as my daughter goes down for a nap and then I can update you guys on those levels. I did a test earlier this morning and my nitrites and nitrates we're both are 0, PH around 7.5 and my GH and KH off the charts. Could my Hardness levels have something to do with it. I used spring water for the WC hoping that would bring the hardness down but it apparently didn't.
 

Ulu

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Spring water has extra minerals which raises the hardness. Neutral water like distilled water can reduce it and there are some acidic bottled waters that will reduce it more.

I tested 8 or 9 different varieties of bottled water to find out what the ph actually was and they vary a lot.

I did this after making the same mistake that you're making.

By the way, if your nose works okay, you can tell when the ammonia goes up. That's when you need to change the water

Go smell some tap water right out of your tap, then smell a sample of water from your tank.

You should always be able to detect a faint scent, even in a tank which has just had a major water change.

But if you know what it smells like when it's clean and healthy, you will easily be able to detect the smell of excess ammonia or nitrate levels.

That doesn't mean your nose will substitute for an ammonia test kit in all circumstances, but in serious circumstances it always works.

If I can smell it I start doing a water change.
 
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Austin Decker

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I got an API ammonia test kit and it is pretty solid matching color for .25 ppm. I did the 50% WC yesterday night, should I do another 50% today or maybe just do 30% (its a 10 gallon tank.) all the stuff I read on here and other parts of the internet said a fish in cycle would be alright so I am sorry if what I’m doing is “cruel” to my betta but I just want to heal up whatever problems he may be experiencing.

Since my GH and KH are so high right now when I do the WC what type of water should I replace it with.
 

Ulu

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Chances are very good that all he needs is repeated freshwater changes. Try to change 50% each day until you are certain that you have cycled the tank.

I have used various bottled products with aloe vera & simulated fish slime in the past, and they might help prevent infection, but clean clean water is the only guarantee.

As far as what type of water you should use, you should use a water that is softer. You can use a pH buffer to lower and stabilize the pH of your water; and if you need it, this is something you'll have to do every time you change the water.

My practice is to buy fish that can live okay in the water where I live. I really don't like to buy water, and I am a minimalist when it comes to water treatments.
 
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Austin Decker

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Okay thanks guys, I did another WC tonight with some co ditioned RO water and will continue to keep doing so. I will post updates if things seem to not get any better or get worse.
 

Ulu

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By the way I have never used methylene blue before except to disinfect water before I introduce eggs. I have been trying to buy some locally without success and I guess I will have to order.

Anyhow just a drop or two in the water will keep the level of pathogens down.

Otherwise you can use it in the tank with caution..
 
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Austin Decker

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Here is an update. I have since done a couple 50% WC and a couple 25% WC. Each time I did a water change I treated the water with Seachem Prime water conditioner. When I do my tests I am still getting a reading of about .25 ammonia and with the test strips I have I really can't tell whether there is any Nitrite or nitrates (if there is it's very minimal). My PH is about a 7.6 consistently and the water temp is always around 75.8 to 77.0

Given all of this I would have hoped he would be healing but his head doesn't seem to be looking any better. I can't tell if it's getting any worse though. Let me know what you guys think. I ordered some slime coat water treatment from API that has some aloe vera in it and that should be getting here Wednesday.

If there are any suggestions please let me know and maybe tag someone you think might be helpful. Thanks for the help guys
 

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