Freshwater Fish Beginner With Sick Betta, Please Help!

  1. C

    Caitlin Legere Initiate Member

    Our two-year old betta fish Dana has become increasingly lethargic over the last month. At first, he noticed a small bump on his left chin that resembled a fish pellet under his skin, however it seems to have completed disappeared and our local pet store had no idea what it was (they confirmed it wasn't a bloated stomach or anything parasitic they could tell, etc). In precaution, we immediately changed his tank while keeping 25% of the original water aside and adding Essentials BioBoost Biological Water Conditioner and Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner to the water, however we are very new to fish care and want to get some expert opinion on what we should do.

    We have been adamant about scooping uneaten food out of the water, but he is eating a lot less than he use to so we've reduced feeding to once a day (two-three pellets of Elive Betta Bites). Upon a recommendation from an online source, we purchased Essentials Betta Salt and administered .5 tbs to his 2.5G heated (79º) tank yesterday with hopes he would perk up. We also have been testing the water with Tetra 5-in-1 EasyStrips calculating the most recent results below:

    Nitrate [NO3]: 20 mg/L -Freshwater
    Nitrate [NO2]: 0 MG/l - Freshwater
    Total Hardness (GH): 150 - Freshwater
    Total Alkalinity (KH): 40 - Freshwater
    pH: 7.6

    We're not sure how to fix the problem or what's wrong with our fish, but we're looking for any specific suggestions you can give to us. We're also looking into purchasing a larger tank and live plants to hopefully help him be more comfortable. It is a learning curve for us to learn how to properly care for him, but we are up for the challenge as he is an important part of our household. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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  2. Krysty

    Krysty Well Known Member Member

    Could be any number of things. A Betta's life span is 2-3 years, so it could be aging and therefore not as hungry as a younger Betta. Do you have any way to check Ammonia levels? Also, you said that you changed his tank and kept aside 25% of the water. Could you be a little more specific about your cleaning routine? If you are completely emptying the tank, you may be destroying beneficial bacteria.
     




  3. Discus-Tang

    Discus-Tang Well Known Member Member

    Not really. The bacteria doesn't swim.

    ? Ammonia?

    I would also recommend that you use a liquid test kit. It's so much more accurate!
     




  4. BettaNation

    BettaNation Member Member

    Bettas supposed life span is 3-5 years right? Or close to that. But there have been more than one cases of bettas living to the many more years than 3. I believe a betta that is genetically healthy and is taken care of properly can live many many years. Their lifespan is underestimated because the information is mostly crap in pet stores who are trying to just make a sale. I assume since they got the betta from the petstore, makes are usually sold around 9 months or close to a year while females like 3 months or something like that because that's when they reach peak coloring. You are right about the slowing down though, bettas as with everything else tends to slow down with age.
     




  5. BettaNation

    BettaNation Member Member

    I'd recommend raising the temperature to 80 or 81 because the Warmer the water the more it encourages the betta to be more active. I have mine in the 80's. And a bigger tank, even a five would be good and some soft plants to sleep on . And I suppose if you got your betta from a petstore ( unless you got him as a baby betta) would be around 3 years old. Just a guess but that's my assumption but some slowing down is only natural if there are no other signs of illness. Maybe in the bigger tank make sort of steps with the betta leaf hammock so he can rest on his way to the top of the tank if that makes sense. Also a 5 gallon long or a ten long is better because it's longer than it is taller and that means the fish has to swim less to get to the top compared to a regular 5 or ten ( idk if they make long tanks in 5 or ten but hopefullu you get the idea) because it's longer in width than it is taller I height.
     
  6. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogToo Member Member

    Hi. Can you please take a photo of your betta from overhead? The photos that you posted already from his side look as if his scales might be sticking out (pine coning), but I can't make out enough detail to be certain. If you post a picture from overhead we can tell for sure.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    C

    Caitlin Legere Initiate Member

    Thanks for all the replies. As mentioned, I've been taking 25% percent of the original water and putting it to the side when cleaning the tank, then filling the remaining water from the tap with the water conditioner (brought to the same temperature as the rest of the tank). Our water is reading that it's harder, but at this time we can't afford a softening system so we're hoping to counteract this by using live plants that help with water softness (again very new to this, still researching).

    We're picking up an ammonia kit tomorrow and then I'll be able to post the results on here. I've attached a picture below of the fish from top view for the user who asked and I'm currently looking for a 5-10G tank to transfer him to. However when I was taking the most recent photos, he was barely moving or responding to me so I feel like I'm running out of time. :(

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  8. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogToo Member Member

    His scales appear to be pine coning to me. Does it look that way to anyone else? If we’re looking at dropsy here that’s pretty bad news. So I don’t want to call it without a second opinion.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    C

    Caitlin Legere Initiate Member

    I'm also very concerned that is what it might be. We're starting to administer salt baths every day in hopes it'll help, but I don't know if there's much else we can do.


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  10. Rtessy

    Rtessy Well Known Member Member

    Epsom salt or aquarium salt? Aquarium salt can make it worse, epsom salt helps. Looks like it might be early stages, try to do 2-3 epsom salt baths a day, make sure the epsom salt is unscented. Also, if you can get your hands on some kanaplex it'll help a lot.
     
  11. phenris

    phenris Member Member

    I can see the pineconing too. I think we're definitely looking at dropsy.

    As others said, epsom salt and kanaplex is the best - and only, really - path to go. Also, indian almond leaves do wonders for softening water and there's no science to them (and they're cheap).
     
  12. Goldiemom

    Goldiemom Well Known Member Member

  13. puffer boi

    puffer boi Well Known Member Member

    \
    Rtessy honesty just said to use epsom salt instead of aquarium salt. Next time you may want to slow down a bit.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    C

    Caitlin Legere Initiate Member

    We used 100% epsom salt - 1/2 teaspoon diluted in .3125 of a gallon because we were using a smaller container for the salt bath and left him in for 12 minutes since it was our first time doing it.

    We’re going to try again tomorrow, no improvement yet. Thanks for the advice though, we will be looking into the kanaplex!
     
  15. phenris

    phenris Member Member

    Simple mistake, no need to be abrasive. I edited the post.
     
  16. Goldiemom

    Goldiemom Well Known Member Member

    Don’t know why my post didn’t go through a moment ago. I just successfully treated dropsy in a goldie. I put a gallon of tank water in a bowl with one tsp of Epsom salt. Put fish in for 2 minutes. Longer can damage his kidneys. Do this 2-3 times a day. Add Kanaplex and furan-2 to the tank and slowly bring temp to 80F. Don’t Change water due to meds in tank. Change only after 48 hrs per Furan-2 instructions. Do this for 10 days. Be sure to remove any activated carbon from filter. Good luck! I hope you have the success I did.
     
  17. Rtessy

    Rtessy Well Known Member Member

    Don't worry if you're not seeing any improvement yet, it's not expected. Dropsy is hard to treat, and the treatment can take a while. Expect him to continue to swell slightly each day, you may see another row start to pinecone every other day even with the baths. The same thing happened with my fish, and I did the full 6 day treatement of kanaplex, and I was extremely worried because at first my fish continued to worsen. About four days after the end of the kanaplex treatment, there was a reduction in swelling. One week after, she was back to her normal size and most scales had settled. I continued epsom salt baths for another week, then dropped them to once a day for another week. After the extra week of baths all scales returned to normal. I also did 50% daily water changes, which are recommended to do if you can. I have heard of IAL helping, as phenris said, and second that they may help due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties.
    Edit: lol guess we posted at the same time. I did 1tbsp per 5gallons in the main tank at all times, be sure to replace it during water changes if you choose to do so. I also did 1tbsp per gallon for 10-15 minutes. This would be the more extreme method, but many argue that since dropsy is an extreme disease it should be treated with extreme methods. That being said, you do have options. Kanaplex is a very important part though.
     
  18. Goldiemom

    Goldiemom Well Known Member Member

    Actually, it could have been a costly mistake. Need to be careful when giving advice.
     
  19. Goldiemom

    Goldiemom Well Known Member Member

    But if you do water changes you are depleting half the Kanaplex. Did you use it everyday or every 2 days as instructed. Just curious.
     
  20. Adriifu

    Adriifu Well Known Member Member

    Good luck. If there's no improvement within a week or so, you may want to consider clove oil for euthanasia.