Elephant Ear Betta with Tattered Fins

raincoat

Hello, I'm new to this website but I wanted to make a new thread for my poor baby. My betta is an elephant ear, I've had him for seven or eight months now. (He's from Petco. I didn't know better at the time.) He's not super active, but he always gets really excited and greets me when I approach him. He hasn't been, for the past maybe two weeks, and I've noticed his fins beginning to turn dark and tattered at the tips.
I keep him in a 2.5 gallon with a small shrimp and a snail, a good filter, a heater (steady at 78), some moss, and a small anubias. I've been giving him aquari-sol and I went from vacuuming gravel and doing a 50% water change once a week to twice or three times, to make sure his water is clean and the meds don't build up. But, for some reason, my (granted, pretty old) ph test says that his water is bad! I tested last night and it said that it was almost 8.5, which gave me an absolute heart attack. I changed his water, and added a lot from my ten gallon in which all my fish are super healthy, but it's still testing too high. I'm starting to panic, and I'm heading to Petco to get some new water tests and aquarium salt.
Please help me, I'm not sure what to do, and I don't know what I would do with myself if something happened to my baby. I've included a photo of his fins currently, alongside what he normally looks like.
(update: Holy goodness gracious he's laying upside-down. I'm terrified, I would do anything to help him, he's my heart. Oh gosh.)
 

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raincoat

update:
I went to Petco and talked to their fish specialist. She said to dose him with aquarium salt in a cup for thirty minutes a day (in a cup since it would hurt the plants), to rinse out his tank and do a 100% water change, condition the new water really, really well, take out the carbon filter, and add medication. I bought some Melafix that I believe is made with tea tree oils.

I'm planning on doing a 50% water change every two or three days, as well as adding Melafix daily. The bottle says to dose for 7 days and then do a 25% water change, but I would rather try to keep the water clean. I'm going to be super careful acclimatizing from the cup with aquarium salt into his new water, and I'm currently waiting for it to heat up before testing it with some strips she gave me and making sure the temp is right.
Hopefully he doesn't have an issue with his labyrinth or bladder-- it looks like he's swimming okay, he just doesn't have any energy. I'm still very, very worried, but now I have a plan.
 

raincoat

update:
please help.
I soaked him in a cup of completely dissolved aquarium salt for maybe 45 minutes. I rinsed his entire tank: gravel, plants, heater, and put in 100% new conditioned water with a little bit of tank water from my healthy tank to kick start good bacteria just in case. I added the proper amount of Melafix. I acclimated him from the salt water into the new tank very well, and the temperature is perfect. I tested everything and the /only/ aspect of his water that isn't ideal is that it's very hard, but that's just water in my area, and he's lived all his life with hard water, so that should be fine. I left the house for a few hours.
I just got back. I was hopeful at first, since now he's at the top of his tank, instead of laying at the bottom. But now I'm terrified. His fins were only frayed, but now they're tattered. There are rips going a good ways up the back fins. I have no idea why he's gotten so much worse. He really looks terrible, and I'm very, very terrified.
The only factors that could have impacted him:
The salt soak
The Melafix
The 100% water change

I'm moving his tank mates and stopping medication until I can figure something out. I'm going back to the Petco fish specialist tomorrow as soon as they open. Please help. I'm looking everywhere else I can online but I just need advice.
 

raincoat

update:
it was the shrimp. i'm DONE with other animals hurting my boy. I don't even know if i'm going to get advice here, i'm just organizing my thoughts.
going to look up if fish can have bad reactions to melafix or aquarium salt. the fins were definitely from the shrimp, but he's so pale now, and i'm worried that it's because of the medicine. I don't know if having the shrimp attack him could turn him that pale. stress, maybe? i'm so scared.
 

raincoat

update:
turns out melafix can coat his labyrinth and make it malfunction. it looked like he was having trouble getting air, so I replaced the water in his tank with water from my healthy tank. I only filled it a couple inches so he won't have trouble getting to the top. i'm going to have to keep an eye on the heater, since i'm not sure how well it'll work with such a small amount of water. no filter, since it just bounced him around, but i'm going to do maybe a half water change every day, I think.
my dad suggested not doing the salt soaks, since he looks so fragile that he might not be able to take it. I think even if the salt helps, i'm worried about the transition from the tank to the cup hurting him. so, I suppose I'll just keep him in good water for the next few days.
going to talk to the specialist tomorrow, either way. he's very pale and very weak.

he's bounced back several times in the past from being attacked by other fish, from being in terrible conditions when I first got him from petco, from outgrowing his first tank, etc. he has to bounce back from this. when other fish ripped his fins, they grew back in like a week. he's going to be fine.
i'm still afraid.
 

raincoat

update:
he's gone.
 

dansamy

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think the panic and throw everything at it approach is quite stressful.

I have other animals with my betta, but they're in a 10 gallon and graduating to a 29g. 2.5g may not have been sufficient room for peaceful cohabitation.

Perhaps in time, you'll feel ready to try again. They're lovely fish and quite an addition to the hobby.
 

Lucy

HI welcome to FishLore
Wish it were for better reasons that your poor betta. I'm sorry for your loss.
Sounds like he down hill quickly.
 

raincoat

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think the panic and throw everything at it approach is quite stressful.

I have other animals with my betta, but they're in a 10 gallon and graduating to a 29g. 2.5g may not have been sufficient room for peaceful cohabitation.

Perhaps in time, you'll feel ready to try again. They're lovely fish and quite an addition to the hobby.

Well, it was definitely stressful for me, if that's what you mean. I don't think it was that which ultimately hurt him, though, since I only gave him medicine and salt soaks in the beginning, and then realized that it wasn't helping and literally just kept him in clean water.
I also have a betta with a few tetras and shrimp in a 10 gal. I was actually planning to buy Hecate, my 2.5 gal betta, a bigger tank, but he was very healthy and acted super happy for a number of months in the 2.5. I know they can outgrow, but I'm not sure that was the problem, either.
I actually have another betta in a different tank, though I doubt I'll get another one for a very long time, just because I can't bear to try to replace Hecate. Thank you for the well wishes, though.
 

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