5 Gallon Tank Fin rot and lathargic betta

Pandurs

Hello! I have a koi betta girl that I've had since June, so about 4 months in a tank that has been cycled. My levels are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and about 5 nitrate. The tank is a five gallon with a dwarf aquarium lily and some underdeveloped salvinia natans. It's filtered with a sponge filter and has a programmed fluval nano plant light.

About August I noticed that her analfin had the tiniest tear in it, or thought it was a tear. Since then, her fin had become more raggedy, as has her tail and her dorsal is missing a sizable piece. What I chalked up to gravel and driftwood (don't know how, the driftwood isn't rough) shredding her fins since I couldn't see any black or bloody edges, I'm now sure is rot.

For the past two weeks I've had cyanobacteria/blue green algae appear in my tank and I wasn't sure if that also played a part in her being lathargic, or if her rot has become an infection. The cyanobacteria is being managed with Seachem's Pristine with each weekly water change, the amount of water being changed in treated ranging from 25%-50% with Prime, Stability, Stress Coat+, and Neutral Regulator. I also add fertilizer and a teeny bit of iron for the plants as well as almond leaf powder from Back Bay Bettas.

There was a good few weeks where the room was 68°F (her tank is kept at 82°F) and she didn't have a lid (I have since made one for her), and I was wondering if she could have gotten sick from that too? Her rot seemed to progress the most in those few days.

I have been dosing her tank with ParaGuard for the past five or so days, save for yesterday and today. I have other meds at my disposal (kanaplex, aquarium salt, erythromycin, methylene blue, furan-2, general cure, fin and body cure) but haven't used them.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. I would show pics but she is tucked in the back where I feel she feels safe. She eats a little bit, but has trouble swallowing it seems.
 

Fishstery

Hello! I have a koi betta girl that I've had since June, so about 4 months in a tank that has been cycled. My levels are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and about 5 nitrate. The tank is a five gallon with a dwarf aquarium lily and some underdeveloped salvinia natans. It's filtered with a sponge filter and has a programmed fluval nano plant light.

About August I noticed that her analfin had the tiniest tear in it, or thought it was a tear. Since then, her fin had become more raggedy, as has her tail and her dorsal is missing a sizable piece. What I chalked up to gravel and driftwood (don't know how, the driftwood isn't rough) shredding her fins since I couldn't see any black or bloody edges, I'm now sure is rot.

For the past two weeks I've had cyanobacteria/blue green algae appear in my tank and I wasn't sure if that also played a part in her being lathargic, or if her rot has become an infection. The cyanobacteria is being managed with Seachem's Pristine with each weekly water change, the amount of water being changed in treated ranging from 25%-50% with Prime, Stability, Stress Coat+, and Neutral Regulator. I also add fertilizer and a teeny bit of iron for the plants as well as almond leaf powder from Back Bay Bettas.

There was a good few weeks where the room was 68°F (her tank is kept at 82°F) and she didn't have a lid (I have since made one for her), and I was wondering if she could have gotten sick from that too? Her rot seemed to progress the most in those few days.

I have been dosing her tank with ParaGuard for the past five or so days, save for yesterday and today. I have other meds at my disposal (kanaplex, aquarium salt, erythromycin, methylene blue, furan-2, general cure, fin and body cure) but haven't used them.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. I would show pics but she is tucked in the back where I feel she feels safe. She eats a little bit, but has trouble swallowing it seems.
A picture would be a lot better so I can give you more sound advice. Some questions for you though,
Are there any tankmates?
What are you using to test the water (strips or liquid)?
Is it possible she got stuck to your filter intake?

As for treatment, I'd like to see pictures before I suggest medication please!
 

Pandurs

A picture would be a lot better so I can give you more sound advice. Some questions for you though,
Are there any tankmates?
What are you using to test the water (strips or liquid)?
Is it possible she got stuck to your filter intake?

As for treatment, I'd like to see pictures before I suggest medication please!

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Sorry I couldn't get them sooner, her light had turned off by the time I saw your reply. Also please disregard the heater's displayed temp in the back, it's actually 82, not 84.

She's very shaky as she swims, and she also seems to swim in short bursts, like she's trying to get off something that's attached to her but isn't there.

As for tankmates she's only had a mystery snail, but the rot started well before that and the snail is no longer with us. I test the water using the api master test kit. As for the filter, it's unlikely since it's a simple sponge filter.
 

Fishstery


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Sorry I couldn't get them sooner, her light had turned off by the time I saw your reply. Also please disregard the heater's displayed temp in the back, it's actually 82, not 84.

She's very shaky as she swims, and she also seems to swim in short bursts, like she's trying to get off something that's attached to her but isn't there.

As for tankmates she's only had a mystery snail, but the rot started well before that and the snail is no longer with us. I test the water using the api master test kit. As for the filter, it's unlikely since it's a simple sponge filter.
Cyanobacteria would not be the cause of her rot. However it may indicate some excess organic waste in the tank. Do you gravel vac regularly and do weekly water changes? Do you temperature match the new incoming water for water changes? I would take your temperature down to 76. It's a common misconception that bettas need overly warm water. They just can't do anything lower than 75. Warmer temperatures stimulate bacteria growth, so keeping a tank that hot is inviting trouble. I wouldn't recommend anything warmer than 78 for a betta. I keep mine at 76 and she is happy and healthy. For now I would stop trying to dose with medication. Just do smaller frequent water changes with temperature matched water, and keep treating with the tannins. Turn the temperature down and start documenting her fins via pictures to see if there is any new growth or more regression.

One last thing, retest the nitrate to be sure. API nitrate liquid settles in the bottle. Tap the bottles off the edge of a table and shake them both vigorously for about 1-2 minutes. Add drops for test #1, shake the vial, add #2 drops and shake again. wait 5 minutes to get an accurate reading and let me know if you got anything different.
 

Pandurs

Cyanobacteria would not be the cause of her rot. However it may indicate some excess organic waste in the tank. Do you gravel vac regularly and do weekly water changes? Do you temperature match the new incoming water for water changes? I would take your temperature down to 76. It's a common misconception that bettas need overly warm water. They just can't do anything lower than 75. Warmer temperatures stimulate bacteria growth, so keeping a tank that hot is inviting trouble. I wouldn't recommend anything warmer than 78 for a betta. I keep mine at 76 and she is happy and healthy. For now I would stop trying to dose with medication. Just do smaller frequent water changes with temperature matched water, and keep treating with the tannins. Turn the temperature down and start documenting her fins via pictures to see if there is any new growth or more regression.

One last thing, retest the nitrate to be sure. API nitrate liquid settles in the bottle. Tap the bottles off the edge of a table and shake them both vigorously for about 1-2 minutes. Add drops for test #1, shake the vial, add #2 drops and shake again. wait 5 minutes to get an accurate reading and let me know if you got anything different.
Good to know thank you! I've lowered the temperature, and gave the nitrate test another go with the super shaken bottles and it's between 0 and 5 nitrates. As I was getting the bottles prepped, I caught her flashing against her driftwood. Perhaps she has flukes or a parasite?

When doing the small water changes, about how much and how frequently? 10% everyday?

I do gravel vac, though the past two weeks I've left the gravel alone and just siphoned the water because each time I did a water change in her tank, it became cloudy and a sort of biofilm would appear on everything, so I thought I was disturbing the gravel too much. I was also thinking it was phosphates since I use city tap water. I do temperature match as best as I can, but my dad has these unreliable small electric water heaters hooked to each sink in the house that fluctuates temps frequently.

Thank you so much for your time and your help, it is very much appreciated.
 

Fishstery

Good to know thank you! I've lowered the temperature, and gave the nitrate test another go with the super shaken bottles and it's between 0 and 5 nitrates. As I was getting the bottles prepped, I caught her flashing against her driftwood. Perhaps she has flukes or a parasite?

When doing the small water changes, about how much and how frequently? 10% everyday?

I do gravel vac, though the past two weeks I've left the gravel alone and just siphoned the water because each time I did a water change in her tank, it became cloudy and a sort of biofilm would appear on everything, so I thought I was disturbing the gravel too much. I was also thinking it was phosphates since I use city tap water. I do temperature match as best as I can, but my dad has these unreliable small electric water heaters hooked to each sink in the house that fluctuates temps frequently.

Thank you so much for your time and your help, it is very much appreciated.
Use the tank thermometer and run it under the tap until you get a temp within 2 degrees and then fill your water change jugs or containers if you can. If it was a parasite, the paraguard would have taken care of it unless it is flukes. In which case prazipro is a better medication. Prazi is a very gentle treatment IMO, it may be worth your while to try dosing that. Take a pic of her with the tank lights off and your phone flash on and post it. It could also be velvet
 

Pandurs

Use the tank thermometer and run it under the tap until you get a temp within 2 degrees and then fill your water change jugs or containers if you can. If it was a parasite, the paraguard would have taken care of it unless it is flukes. In which case prazipro is a better medication. Prazi is a very gentle treatment IMO, it may be worth your while to try dosing that. Take a pic of her with the tank lights off and your phone flash on and post it. It could also be velvet
Prazi I also have, I'll try that tomorrow after her water change. I tried to get a picture of her but she likes to hide in the back at night lately. That being said, from what I could see, I didn't spot any of the gold dust.

Part of me just wants to break the tank down completely and restart with new gravel and water, but I know that wouldn't help her and just stress her out.
 

Pandurs

I did a 25% water change and added the Prazi. She's very weak it seems. She stays at bottom and hides and has no interest in bloodworms. Could this be a bacterial infection?
 

Fishstery

I did a 25% water change and added the Prazi. She's very weak it seems. She stays at bottom and hides and has no interest in bloodworms. Could this be a bacterial infection?
If it's not velvet then it's probably bacterial. That's why I suggested shining your flashlight on her with the room dark to see if it's velvet. It will look like gold dust all over her head body and fins when you put a flashlight on it. Look up pictures of velvet for reference. If it's velvet then the fin rot is a secondary infection from the velvet going untreated. If not velvet I'd say bacterial. Doesn't look fungal to me.
 

Pandurs

If it's not velvet then it's probably bacterial. That's why I suggested shining your flashlight on her with the room dark to see if it's velvet. It will look like gold dust all over her head body and fins when you put a flashlight on it. Look up pictures of velvet for reference. If it's velvet then the fin rot is a secondary infection from the velvet going untreated. If not velvet I'd say bacterial. Doesn't look fungal to me.
Caught her in the front and definitely didn't see the gold dust. I have kanaplex and furan-2 for bacterial infections, as well as aquarium salt. Should I consider any of those for treatment?
 

Fishstery

Caught her in the front and definitely didn't see the gold dust. I have kanaplex and furan-2 for bacterial infections, as well as aquarium salt. Should I consider any of those for treatment?
Kanaplex is pretty aggressive. Any of the bacterial meds call for removal from the tank and into a hospital tank because it will kill your cycle. I'd suggest a hospital tank with heater and airstone and fake plant to rest in. Get some methylene blue and dose slightly less than the instructions (you don't want the water to be so dark blue it's hard to see your fish). Do every other day 50% WCs with temp matched water and redose methlyene blue for the new water. Feed very very lightly, once every 3 days or so while in there. If you don't want to buy methlyene blue furan is also good. Some people are against anti bacterial meds unless it's a last ditch effort. You may accidentally make the bacteria immune to the med in the future.
 

Pandurs

Kanaplex is pretty aggressive. Any of the bacterial meds call for removal from the tank and into a hospital tank because it will kill your cycle. I'd suggest a hospital tank with heater and airstone and fake plant to rest in. Get some methylene blue and dose slightly less than the instructions (you don't want the water to be so dark blue it's hard to see your fish). Do every other day 50% WCs with temp matched water and redose methlyene blue for the new water. Feed very very lightly, once every 3 days or so while in there. If you don't want to buy methlyene blue furan is also good. Some people are against anti bacterial meds unless it's a last ditch effort. You may accidentally make the bacteria immune to the med in the future.
I have a 2.5/3 gallon I saved for a hospital tank that I just cleaned and filled. I'm waiting for the water to warm a bit more. I also have methylene blue, I just never thought of it as a anti bacterial and more of an anti fungal. I added 18 drops to 2.75 gallons instead of their recommendation of 10 drops per gallon. I was going to add tannins to there as well, is that okay?
 

Pandurs

While she is recovering I am going to give her a new scape finally since her tank is kind of sad. Her tank right now has this film coating pretty much everything, and it appears every water change. Is this something I should be concerned about?

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Pandurs

Currently she is like this. Not that I expected her to bounce back right away, but she's refused garlic guard soaked worms and shrimp.

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Fishstery

Currently she is like this. Not that I expected her to bounce back right away, but she's refused garlic guard soaked worms and shrimp.

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Do not add any tannins. Just an airstone and heater. Methylene blue is a decent all around treatment. It's most commonly used as a disinfectant, which is why I suggested it. You should try and treat the wound before jumping into heavy antibiotics. I'd give her a week in there and see how she does. The point of the methylene blue is to keep her rot clean and allow it to heal up on its own. I'm not sure what that detritus is in your tank, but it there's that much settlement in there I think you may need to up your tank maintenance. Gravel vaccing every water change is important. Check the filter, it may be clogged as well.
 

Pandurs

Do not add any tannins. Just an airstone and heater. Methylene blue is a decent all around treatment. It's most commonly used as a disinfectant, which is why I suggested it. You should try and treat the wound before jumping into heavy antibiotics. I'd give her a week in there and see how she does. The point of the methylene blue is to keep her rot clean and allow it to heal up on its own. I'm not sure what that detritus is in your tank, but it there's that much settlement in there I think you may need to up your tank maintenance. Gravel vaccing every water change is important. Check the filter, it may be clogged as well.
I'll have to keep this treatment in mind if this happens again (hopefully not).

I have new gravel coming in the mail for her so she'll get a full rescape. I just thought it odd that it blooms/explodes like this every water change.

Right now she's still refusing food, soaked in garlic or not.
 

Fishstery

I'll have to keep this treatment in mind if this happens again (hopefully not).

I have new gravel coming in the mail for her so she'll get a full rescape. I just thought it odd that it blooms/explodes like this every water change.

Right now she's still refusing food, soaked in garlic or not.
Starting fresh is not a terrible idea because it will allow you to have a fresh start on keeping up with tank cleaning better from now on, however just know a good bit of beneficial bacteria is in the substrate. Since you just have a betta in there it shouldn't disrupt things too bad, but when I do a rescape that involves replacing or disturbing a lot of substrate its always followed by an ammonia spike and mini cycle for a few days following. Make sure you keep the filter bacteria intact while doing this, it should help. Monitor your water parameters closely following a major rescape. If anything spikes without you knowing it will cause more harm to your betta if she is back in the main tank by then.
 

Pandurs

She's not doing good. At all. Checking in on her, she was on her side and is barely breathing. I have her floating in a cup with the hospital tank water so she has better access to the surface.

I don't see her lasting more than a few hours, and since I have to go to work I don't have the heart, or time to put her down gently right now.
 

Fishstery

She's not doing good. At all. Checking in on her, she was on her side and is barely breathing. I have her floating in a cup with the hospital tank water so she has better access to the surface.

I don't see her lasting more than a few hours, and since I have to go to work I don't have the heart, or time to put her down gently right now.
I'm sorry to hear that :( don't give up on her yet. Mine just jumped out of her tank the other night and I found her on the floor almost dry to a crisp. Her fins are tattered but she's still alive. I treated a betta with dropsy once too. He only lived another 4 months or so but I did the impossible and brought him back from the brink of death. I hope her health takes a turn for the better!
 

Pandurs

I'm sorry to hear that :( don't give up on her yet. Mine just jumped out of her tank the other night and I found her on the floor almost dry to a crisp. Her fins are tattered but she's still alive. I treated a betta with dropsy once too. He only lived another 4 months or so but I did the impossible and brought him back from the brink of death. I hope her health takes a turn for the better!
Thank you for your kindness and for your help, I was at least able to give her a fighting chance. She unfortunately didn't make it. I wish I reached out sooner, she might have had a better chance.

I'll be cremating her tomorrow and if the gravel I ordered comes in, I'll be tearing her tank apart and sanitizing everything. Again, thank you for your help.
 

Fishstery

Thank you for your kindness and for your help, I was at least able to give her a fighting chance. She unfortunately didn't make it. I wish I reached out sooner, she might have had a better chance.

I'll be cremating her tomorrow and if the gravel I ordered comes in, I'll be tearing her tank apart and sanitizing everything. Again, thank you for your help.
Sorry to hear that. However the best thing you can do is take it as a learning experience for next time. A lot of us have gone through this before
 

SarahPar

Sorry for your losd :(
I am pretty sure it was an internal bacterial infection because it was so acute and resulted in death. Usually fin rot alone doesn't kill and especially not so fast. Going by that it would of required a course of oral antibiotics infood. Like cephalaxin. And if that didnt work, likely trying different ones to try and target the correct gram bacteria.
As for the fin, daily swabbing with fungus cure should of helped and adding salt.
 

Pandurs

Sorry for your losd :(
I am pretty sure it was an internal bacterial infection because it was so acute and resulted in death. Usually fin rot alone doesn't kill and especially not so fast. Going by that it would of required a course of oral antibiotics infood. Like cephalaxin. And if that didnt work, likely trying different ones to try and target the correct gram bacteria.
As for the fin, daily swabbing with fungus cure should of helped and adding salt.
Thank you for the condolences and the advice. I just have a couple questions.

What brands do you recommend for the cephalaxin? And is adding it to food the same process as medicating with kanaplex, metroplex, and focus?

Also for the fungus cure, how is that applied to the fins, desolved in water first and then swabbed, or kept in powder form? What is recommended for the dosage for aquarium salt? I googled this last question and follow various betta rescues on Instagram and I get multiple answers.
 

SarahPar

Thank you for the condolences and the advice. I just have a couple questions.

What brands do you recommend for the cephalaxin? And is adding it to food the same process as medicating with kanaplex, metroplex, and focus?

Also for the fungus cure, how is that applied to the fins, desolved in water first and then swabbed, or kept in powder form? What is recommended for the dosage for aquarium salt? I googled this last question and follow various betta rescues on Instagram and I get multiple answers.
Hi there, thanks!

  • ciprofloxacin (Thomas Labs Fish Flox Forte) $40
  • cephalexin (Thomas Labs Fish Flex) $20
IF you can't get those, the same antibiotic you could get from a GP or vet.
Those treat 80% of gram negative and 80% of gram possitive bacterial infections.
So they are the most effective broad spectrum antibiotics.

https:///index.php/10-3-11-treating-bacteria/

Kanaplex is kanamycin and treats mostly gram negative bacteria.

In terms of the fungus cure, get a fine makeup brush and dip it in and then paint it on infected area avoiding gills. Doing that daily will improve and kill fungus.

In terms of aquarium salt I would say about 2 teaspoons per gallon max.

My fish had a severe fungal infection and its almost gone using these methods, and I used fluconazole infused in fish food with seachem focus and a geling agent (agar) and salt in the water, plus the swabbing method.
 

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