Bleeding??? Help!

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Pepsi216

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Well, Polaris was doing great until this evening. He'd recovered from his bout with the gourami, his fins are back, and he seemed very happy. But tonight he was very listliss and just lying on the bottom of the tank on his side, rapidly pumping his gills. I watched him for awhile, and while he could go to the surface for air, it was hard for him, and after breathing, he would just sink right back down to the gravel. He didn't even have the strength to lie in the tall plants i have in the tank for him.

I added Marycin 2 to the water, but he kept looking worse so I moved him into a small plastic container so he wouldn't have to go as far to the surface. It's attached to the inside of his tank to keep the water warm during the night, and filled with mostly tank water and some dechlorinated tap water of the same temperature. As soon as I put him in there however, a small pool of blood collected in the bottom, coming from his gills. It's stopped, but I'm very worried for him. He's completely on his side at the moment, and while he has no trouble reaching the surface, he still looks very bad.

Tank readings are:
Temp: 81-82*
Ammonia: 0-.25ppm
Nitrates: 5ppm
Nitrites: 0ppm

Last water change was yesterday, about 50%. Used plenty of dechlor (but not too much), so it can't be a chlorine problem. There's nothing sharp in the tank that he could have hooked himself on, and there are no agressive fish in there with him; in fact, the two Ottos that share his tank are very happy and swimming about eating algae. I don't think it's constipation; I've been careful feeding him, and I've seen him pooping recently. He's not bloated, just very dull in color. I'm at a complete loss.

I'm desperately hoping he gets better, but this came on so suddenly and he looks so sick that I honestly don't think he'll live the night. Please, does anyone have any advice?

~Kelly
 

LZ Floyd

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Hi Kelly,

What's happening with Polaris is not good to hear.  I don't know what would have led to his spontaneous blood loss (though some sites suggest ammonia poisoning where the gills are involved), and the other symptoms are common to a few disorders.

Is the container you put Polaris in filtered and aerated?  When you added water, was the water aged? 

Here are some sites with disease sx and tx that might help:



http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/diseases.html

http://www.aquariumcorner.com/disease.htm

I wish you and Polaris the best and hope Polaris gets well soon.

Mike
 

chickadee

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I am so sorry to hear of Polaris' problem. I do not know what to say other than gill disease or problems are caused mostly by something in the water irritating them or some parasite. Since Polaris is not in with any other fish, I am doubting the parasites but even a small amount of ammonia can cause gill damage to fish. I would suggest a 50% water change and test the water again in about 4 hours to see if the ammonia is still present in ANY amount. If it is still present then do another water change. (50%)

Before you do this though, you may want to check the water supply (tap water) and see if you have some natural ammonia in the water that could be causing this. Also are you using the liquid tests or test strips? Test strips could be giving you wrong readings. It just does sound like ammonia or nitrate or chlorine poisoning. When you do a water change try doubling up on the dechlorinating agent and see if that will help. You may be having a boost in the chlorine in your tap water and the dechlor is not removing it all. If you have a Master Test Kit there should be a test in there for Chlorine that you can do to see if the water is still chlorinated.

I am saying prayers for you both and we all send our best wishes to you both.

Please do keep us informed of Polaris' progress.

Rose
 

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Bleeding at the gills sounds like Hemorrhagic Septicemia, It's a bacterial infection of the bloodstream, probably as a result of bites from the Gourami. You should medicate with antibiotics but the prognosis is not good. Once they become that sick it's unlikely that they survive.
All you can do is what you've already done. Keep him as close to the top as possible because he may not have the strength to swim to the top and medicate him. Unfortunately I think you may be right and he may not make it through the night.  :'(  Just be there to comfort him. My Betta Phlox had very similar symptoms except he didn't have bleeding of the gills. He had some sort of internal bacterial infection probably caused by constipation or some intestinal blockage. He would lay on his side and only swim to the top for air and then sink to the bottom.  Once these symptoms showed up he died within 3 days.  :'(
 
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Pepsi216

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If nothing else, Polaris has a fighting spirit. By some miracle he's still alive this morning, even after as bad as he looked last night. He still lies on the bottom, but can hold his dorsal fin up a little now, and he looks alert, if in pain. If there's anything I can do for him, I want to do it.

Right now he's in a 4 cup plastic bowl I was able to find that's attached to the side of the tank with clothes pins (talk about jury-rigged! ). It's very small, but he only has to go 4 inches to the top instead of 12, and he's not doing a whole lot of swimming right now anyway.

I'm using a Master Test Kit, but there isn't a test for chlorine. I tested the water once before and found some nitrates, but no ammonia or nitrites. I always assumed the chlorine, so I use dechlor.

As far as medications, all I have are Maracyn2 and Jungle Labs Fungus Clear. Unfortunately, the pet stores around here don't sell anything stronger that I've seen.

Here are the questions:

Since he's in such a small container, are 50% water changes still safe? Will it disturb him too much? Can he be medicated in there? How much do I use for a 4 cup container? Do I still feed him, in which case, what and how much?

Thanks everyone for your help!

~Kelly
 

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I would avoid the Jungle Labs Fungus Clear (see my recent post on this subject)
You can take a little water out, put some clean water in and keep doing that slowly and gently until you think you've changed a decent amount. Test the water after a couple hours. As long as the ammonia is not high you're okay.
As for how to measure the meds, you will need to waste a lot. Best thing is to mix the meds into a cup of water and then measure how much water you are keeping him in and figure out how much of the pre-mixed medicated water to put in his container. I believe someone here has had to do this before. Hopefully they will see this and tell you exactly how to do it. You'll need to throw out the leftover meds as I don't know if it loses it's effectiveness once mixed. With him being that sick you don't want to take chances that he isn't getting the full strength.
 
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I'll give it a try. I read a post by Rose that says to mix in 10 oz of water, and then add 1 oz per gallon into the tank. If his container is about a quart, should I add 1/4 oz, or just add the full 1 oz to his water?

I flipped through the links that Mike sent, and I agree with you Phloxface, it looks like Hemorrhagic Septicemia.

~Kelly
 

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Pepsi216 said:
I'll give it a try. I read a post by Rose that says to mix in 10 oz of water, and then add 1 oz per gallon into the tank. If his container is about a quart, should I add 1/4 oz, or just add the full 1 oz to his water?

I flipped through the links that Mike sent, and I agree with you Phloxface, it looks like Hemorrhagic Septicemia.

~Kelly
This is a case where I'd go with the Maracyn 2 as I believe it is a stronger med.  As for the measures, IIRC the first Maracyn 2 dose is two tabs (or packets) for a 10-gal tank.  Then it's 1 tab (or packet) per 10 gal tank for Day 2 through Day 5.  Check the directions to verify this, but I think that's the called-for dosage.

For tanks of different sizes, dissolve one tab (or packet) in 10 ounces of dechlorinated water (should take about an hour) - or crush the tab between two spoons to help it dissolve more quickly.  For each gallon of tank water, add one ounce (except for Day 1, when you would add 2 ounces) of the Maracyn solution to the container with your Betta in it.  In a 4-cup container, you have 1/4 of a gallon; so you would use 1/4 ounce of the solution, except for Day 1 when you want to use 1/2 ounce.

I think the challenge here will arise from Polaris being in such a small container.  I don't know with what frequency water changes will be necessary.  But, every water change will dilute the meds and that amount will need to be replaced with each water change.  The best we've come up with so far is to replace the amount you are removing with an equal amount.  If you change 2 cups, you'll need to replace the lost 1/8-ounce of solution (or 1/4 ounce for Day 1).  These are small amounts and doing these replacements with accuracy will be the challenge.

Typically, the suggestion has been to use what is needed of the solution and toss the remainder as antibiotics in fluid tend to lose their strength somewhat quickly.  Some of the material available suggests that the half-life (the amount of time needed for 1/2 of a given dose to lose it's effectiveness) of Maracyn is pretty long (as high as 22 hours).   What I don't know (cause it isn't really well-advertised) is if the stated half-life is determined by pre- or post consumption conditions.  (Radioactive decay is measured in terms of half-life.  But that's with the stuff just sitting on the ground, not swallowed.  If swallowed, there may be metabolic processes that speed up the decay, and thus, reduce the half-life.)  As such, you may be able to refrigerate the leftover solution and use it for partial water change dosage replacement on that day.  The current thinking though, is to toss the remainder after 24 hours and start the next day with a new tab or packet.

Mike
 
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Pepsi216

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Half-lifes! You mean that stuff I learned in Calculus can actually be used for something? Awesome!

I added 1/2 oz of the Maracyn 2 to his water and put the rest in the refrigerator. I'll try another water change in a few hours when I'm out of class, and probably do a last one later this evening. After that, I can put whatever is left of the solution in his regular tank. I figure it would only help the ottos if there really is some kind of bacterial infection going around, even if the solution would be diluted at that point. Or would you recommend against it?

~Kelly
 

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Whether to treat the ottos or not is hard to call.  Though I don't like treating a disorder that hasn't materialized, treating tank-mates for a disorder that one fish has contracted is not exactly unheard of.  I'm wondering if the ottos are acting, appearing, or eating differently than usual? 

If you do decide to treat them also, I wouldn't use a diluted dose of the drug as it may not knock out the target bacteria, but actually give the bacteria an opportunity to build a resistance to the drug.

Isn't it nice to find a use for your calc?  It's almost what will be needed to calculate the dosages for your tank.

Mike
 
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Pepsi216

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LZ Floyd said:
Whether to treat the ottos or not is hard to call.  Though I don't like treating a disorder that hasn't materialized, treating tank-mates for a disorder that one fish has contracted is not exactly unheard of.  I'm wondering if the ottos are acting, appearing, or eating differently than usual? 

If you do decide to treat them also, I wouldn't use a diluted dose of the drug as it may not knock out the target bacteria, but actually give the bacteria an opportunity to build a resistance to the drug.

Isn't it nice to find a use for your calc?  It's almost what will be needed to calculate the dosages for your tank.

Mike
Nope, the ottos are acting fine and happily cleaning the glass of my tank. You have a very good point about the bacteria building an immunity; I'll hold off on medicating until I see evidence of sickness in them too.

Polaris still looks a little gray, but he seems to be fighting it as best he can. I hope it's enough.

It's great to find a use for the calc! We know that it's actually used for stuff, but it sure doesn't seem like it when toiling away in class on problem after problem. Now for the nerdy question. When I do a water change after class and I add more of the medicated solution, do I take into account the half life of the Maracyn and how much is left in the container, and then calculate how much of the solution to add? I know I have the equation around here somewhere.....

Who knew that taking care of fish could be so math related!

~Kelly
 

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That's good to hear about the ottos.  As far as the water change, I'd just replace what you take out med-wise.  In other words, if you do a 50% water change today (being Day 1), that means you will be extracting 1/4-ounce of Maracyn 2, and that's the amount you want to put back into the tank.  The solution in your refrigerator will be close enough to the same strength as that in the tank, which will allow you to use it in your replacement water.

Tomorrow, however, is a new day and a new med dosage.  Not only will you be cutting the daily dose in half, but you will be using new meds wrt the quality of the meds in the Day 1 solution in your refrigerator (which you may now toss).  (That's where the half-life stuff comes in: Your solution will be sufficient for the day it was made.  After that, it will be weakened to the point where it is no longer viable.)  On Day 2, after making a new batch of solution, you'll be adding 1/4 ounce of solution to the tank.  That is the daily dose for Day 2 through Day 5.  For each 50% water change afterward, throw in an 1/8-ounce more from the remaining Day 2 solution you've kept in the refrigerator.  If you do a water change immediately prior to giving a daily dose, I'm inclined to suggest that all you need with that dose and that water change is 1/4 ounce.

Day 3 through Day 5, do the same as Day 2.

When it comes to specific med dosages, this is the smallest amount I've seen worked with here.  You're not only working with a very small amount of tank water, the parameters of which will require your close attention, but the med doses are going to be difficult to measure.  I do wish you the best in working with these amounts.  And I certainly hope Polaris pulls through.

Mike
 
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Pepsi216

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Thanks everyone for all your help and advice.
Sadly, Polaris passed away while I was in class these last few hours. I'm sad that I couldn't even be there to comfort him.
At least he's out of pain, and moved on to a better place. Doesn't make losing a friend any easier though :'(

Kelly
 

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I'm so sorry to hear that Polaris passed away.  It seems that whatever it was that ailed him came on pretty fast and I think you did all you could to help him. 

You are absolutely correct, it's not easy losing a friend.

Take care of yourself and the ottos.  You and Polaris are in our thoughts and prayers.

Mike
 
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Pepsi216

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Thanks for all your help Mike. Polaris would have been in a lot more pain in the end if not for your advice.

I'll keep an eye on the ottos over the next few days to make sure they don't catch anything too.

Kelly
 

chickadee

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You have my deepest sympathies and I hope you stay with us. I know how hard it is to lose a betta but Polaris had a good life, much better than he would have had without you. You did all you could and it was not to be. Please let us know if we can help.

Again, I am so sorry for your loss. :'(

Rose
:'(
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss. :'( :'( :'(
Having recently lost a fish too I know who bad you feel. He is no longer suffering and up until he got sick he had a good life.

Take care.
 
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