Help Diagnose Sick Betta?

  • Thread starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Our Betta, Moby, has not been feeling well for the past several weeks. He has classic symptoms of sitting at the bottom, sleeping/hiding behind the in-tank filter or just floating along the top. He keeps his fins clamped close to himself and only eats a little when we put the food right in front of his face. He doesn't chase after the food or attack it like in the past. His color has faded and he appears to have white patches around his face and isn't playful anymore.

We've had him for about a year now in a 1.66 gal tank with a Tetra Whisper in-tank filter. We usually feed him twice a day with a variety of Betta flakes, pellets and freeze-dried bloodworms. We change 25-35% of his water every 4 days, conditioning with BettaPlus several days in advance. His temperature is kept between 70-80 degrees heated by a hood lamp (tank too small for heater). His only companion is a 'Bridge' Mystery Snail who's thriving (fed algae wafers). We've been wanting to buy them a 10 gal tank with a heater and the works, but not until Moby is feeling better. On the advice of our LFS, we treated him for the past 7 days with Splendid Betta/Betta Fix Remedy (Melaleuca). The only other tank we have available is a basic fish bowl.

Water tests:
10/23/06: Ammonia-.25, Nitrate-approx 80, Nitrite-0, Alkaline-0, Hardness-150, PH-7.2
10/31/06: Ammonia-.25, Nitrate-approx 40, Nitrite-0, Alkaline-30-40, Hardness-150, PH-7.2

We've attached a picture. ANY advice/help is very much appreciated.
 

Stradius011

Well Known Member
Messages
1,865
Reaction score
1
Points
208
Experience
5 to 10 years
The betta definitely doesn't loook very well. I personally don't know a whole lot about them. Whisper Tetra In-Tank Filter is what I use in my 10 gallon tank and I think the current would be too strong for him. Bettas in the wild lived in rice paddles which didn't have any current so I think you should get a different filter.
 

Isabella

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
37
Points
358
Experience
5 years
First, welcome to Fish Lore Aquaman.

Your Betta is a beautiful fish, but he does indeed look very sick. My best guess would be the ammonia problem. Even smallest amounts of ammonia (and nitrite) can: not only make the fish very sick, but even kill them. If I had ANY ammonia or nitrite in my water, I'd be changing 50% of my water every single day, until ammonia (and nitrite) equal zero. These two compounds are very toxic to fish. Your pH seems stable, which is very good.

If you want to get a 10 gallon tank for the Betta - that would be great. These poor creatures usually live their entire lives in such small containers and terrible conditions that they truly deserve much better lives. Most fish stores will tell you "it's OK" to keep Bettas in tiny containers or tanks without filtration and heating - both of which are UTTERLY FALSE. Bettas need as much care as all tropical fish do. I personally wouldn't put a Betta in anything smaller than 10 gallons (and if I absolutely couldn't get that 10 gallon, a 5 gallon tank would be the absolute minimum).

If you decide to get a larger tank for the Betta (if he gets better - which I sincerely hope he will), please remember to cycle it before you put the Betta in there. If you do not know about the Nitrogen Cycle, please read: https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm. The rest of the articles are also very beneficial to read: https://www.fishlore.com/Beginners.htm.

Finally, maybe you'd like to visit another board of this forum, dedicated specially to Bettas, and moderated by a wonderful person Chickadee (Rose):
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
He is having an ammonia poisoning problem and the Nitrates are WAY too high and poisoning him also. The parameters are not to be more than:

Ammonia absolute 0
Nitrite absolute 0
Nitrate no more than 20

If the readings are more than this then there need to be massive water changes going on at frequent intervals to keep the levels down and perhaps a chemical like Amquel+ needs to be added to the water as well to help with the Nitrates. It will not take care of the problem completely but it will help. The other thing you may do is go to the grocery store and get SPRING WATER - NOT DISTILLED OR DRINKING WATER in gallon jugs and use that in proper temperatures. Bettas need to be kept between 78 to 80 and the temperature should not fluctuate more than 2 degrees in a 24 hour period. I am afraid your betta is not going to get better until his living conditions are improved. He is very ill and there is no medication that will help. At this point it is an environmental issue. You can try Melafix and Pimafix after changing his environment but until you get him into a better situation, they won't even help.

I am so sorry I cannot have more optimistic opinions for you. He is really in need of a lot of work if he is going to survive.

Rose
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Hi Chickadee,

First of all: Thank you so much for your time and guidance. He is our first fish and was given to us as a gift in one of those hated plant vases. I immediately read up on how bad those vases are and I moved him into his present home. Apparently though, I did not read enough to know that Bettas need much more than that. We are going to do our best to ensure he survives our mistakes.

Questions:

1) What exactly do you mean by massive water changes? 25% everyday or more, or increased frequency? I've changed 25% of his water 3 days in a row now and I will keep testing everyday also. Should I just let the test strips be my guide?

2) I will find the Spring Water. How big a water change do I need to do with it? I know it should be at the same temperature but do I need to treat it with conditioner also?

3) I will go tomorrow for the bigger tank I've been looking at and add a couple of Danios to help get the cycling going. Is it a good idea to move some of the rocks from his present tank to the new tank to help speed things up?

4) Once Moby's (Betta) environment improves, you suggested adding Melafix and Pimafix. Will this affect our mystery snail?

5) Do you have any idea how long it takes Nutrafin BettaPlus Conditioner to properly treat new water?

Again, thank you so much for your help.
 

Isabella

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
37
Points
358
Experience
5 years
Hi Aquaman,

I see you've changed the results of nitrate reading from 0 to 40 and 80. In that case, in addition to ammonia poisoning, as Rose has said, the fish is also suffering from nitrate poisoning. Try and keep it at 20 MAX, no more. And at times when fish are sick, it's best to have 0 nitrate altogether. As I have told you in my previous message, you should be doing DAILY 50% water changes (until ammonia = 0 and nitrate is at least below 20) if you want to give your fish any chances of survival. You don't have to use bottled water unless you want to. You can use tap water after having dechlorinated it. You must know what your water company uses in your water: whether it is chlorine or chloramine. Then get a conditioner that removes chlorine (or chloramine). The conditioner should remove chlorine/chloramine instantly.

If you get another tank and put fish (zebra danios) in it right away, to cycle the tank with fish, ALSO be prepared for DAILY 50% water changes during all times when you'll have ammonia and nitrite in your water; otherwise you're risking sick or dying fish.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Hi Isabella,

Thank you so much for your help and advice.

I moved the post over to the Betta forum but I did not change any of the readings (at least not knowingly). Daily 50% water changes it is.
I will take all the advice I can get, Isabella, so thank you again for your help and experience. Please let me know if you think of anything else that might help.
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
Here are the best answers I can give:

1) Massive water changes are 50% a day until the parameters of the water are ammonia 0 nitrite 0 and nitrate less than 20 and stay there. This is going to slow down your cycle but your fish cannot stand more than that or he will die of poisoning.

2) When You get the Spring Water, get a 50% done and do not add any chemicals any more as you have already added chemicals for the water that is in there. After a couple of Spring water changes. You are going to do daily changes for at least a week so buy at least 10 gallons of the water, you should have the tap water watered down enough that the nitrates are down and he is going to be out of the poisoning attitude but not out of danger. He is still going to need the environmental change. The new tank is going to need spring water and medication and warmth and very clean water and a lot of care. NO tank mates

3) Please do not get the danios. He is not ready to have tankmates that he may not be compatible with and that may not leave him alone. He is MUCH too ill and they are not going to help with the cycle.

4) Please start the Pimafix and Melafix right away and keet them up for the full 7 days at least. Invest in a cheap set of measuring spoons in the kitchen aisle so you can measure the dosage exactly. Also use a temperature of 82 degrees as that is the temperature that the medication is working the best.

5) The Nutrifin BettaPlus Conditioner is made for use in the small (under 1 gallon betta tanks) and is generally useless in larger tanks and not much use in the small tanks. It is a sad thing but the makers of betta products see the loving betta owners coming and jack the prices up on "betta" products and sell them in small bottles to make them sell more product. Please buy something like Amquel + which is meant for larger tanks and will go further and will also help to take the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates as well as heavy metals out of the water when the tank is cycled and you can go back to the tap water.

Also Please stop using the tesp strips to test and get a Master test kit from one of the reputable labs (most of us use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) They are the only ones who are accurate and I have enclosed the link for the cheapest one I could find. If you do want to get one from Petsmart be sure to take a copy of the page with you and they will honor the online price (cheaper than the store price by quite a lot).



It would be my recommendation if you are going to start a pharmacy for your fish that you begin with Melafix and Pimafix as they can be used for a lot of things and they are herbal and your fish will not buld up an immuntiy to them like they will to a lot of the other meds. As far as the heater goes, make sure that it is at least a 25 watt for a 5 gallon and should not have a HIGH/LOW setting but have a thermomstat where you can set a real temperature or it is useless. The best ones are Marineland Visi-therm Stealth as they carry a LIFETIME warranty and most other heaters will last about a year. By the time you replace the others once a year, You have easily spent the cost of one Stealth heater in just a couple of years. You can have up to a 50 watt heater in a 5 gallon tank if you have difficulty finding a 25 watt heater, but I am enclosing a link to a fairly inexpensive outlet for the heaters in both sizes.
There is also a product that produces an instant cycle "Bio-spira" and is available over the internet mostly. If you find it, make sure it has been properly kept refrigerated, there are many imposters on the market and they are USELESS (Cycle, Bio-Zyme, StressZyme to name a few).

HEATERS


BIO-SPIRA


This comes in two different sizes but the small 1 ounce size should be fine and during this colder weather the slower shipping rates should be fine to save on postage but they usually do insist on at least priority shipping as it is coldpacked.
You just add to the tank and then immediately add your fish and the tank is cycled. MIRACLE.

You are welcome to take whatever of the above advice you can use or afford and leave the rest and leave the rest, I hope I have been able to give you some information that will give you some help and that Mr. Red is going to do fine. Please keep us informed of his progress.

Rose
 

Isabella

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
37
Points
358
Experience
5 years
Aquaman, I'm sorry if you didn't change in your post (after you've transferred it) nitrate readings. Maybe I made a mistake - if I did, I apologize Though it seemed to me that you had said your nitrate was 0 at first, or you didn't give nitrate readings at all. But ... never mind all of that, as we now have all of your readings and that's all that matters

As for my thinking of anything else that can help ... well, with respect to Bettas, that is the most I could have told you. I've never owned any Bettas and my advice was a very general one (that is also an essential one in your case because of high ammonia and nitrate content). Rose is the one who has Bettas and is really an expert here. You should listen to her - you won't regret it
 

Phloxface

Well Known Member
Messages
1,194
Reaction score
3
Points
208
I would remove the snail until you get them a bigger tank. Keep the snail in the other bowl you said you have (make sure it is covered so he doesn't escape) As I've said in another post, I have a snail in one of my 10 gallon tanks and he produces a TON of waste! If you already have an ammonia problem why have another creature in there producing more ammonia and waste? Your fish would have a better chance of recovering alone and not having to live in the snails waste. Even daily 100% water changes don't help, snails poop constantly.
I really hope Moby survives.  :-[  Best of luck and keep us updated.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Hi Stradius,

I'm sorry for not responding to you earlier about the Tetra Whisper In-tank Filter. For the 1.66 gal tank we were using the 3i size which is for up to 3 gallons.
The current seems very low to me and doesn't seem to bother Moby at all. I unplugged it during feeding times (sometimes he'd lay his head in the spout while it was off-strange fish).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Chickadee,

50% water changes were done. As of 11/3/06 the AP Master Test Kit readings in the 1.66 gal tank are now:

Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate-10, PH-7.6

Spent Thursday and Friday after work picking up items for the new tank and all of the things we discussed:

A) Found the Bio-Spira at a LFS (the linked store you provided is out until November 8). I made certain the LFS had it stored in their refrigerator.
B) 10 Gallons of Spring Water
C) 10 gallon glass fishtank and cabinet
D) Stealth heater (50 watt for up to 15 gallons)
E) Pimafix and Melafix
F) AquaClear 5 to 20 gallon Power Filter
G) Amquel+ and NovAqua (NovAqua recommended by LFS)

Whew! There goes my lunch $$ for the week. The glass fish tank has been in the bathtub filled with water for 24 hours to make certain there were no leaks. I will rinse the rocks with a collander before layering the tank. I have a few questions:

1) You said to use the Spring Water for the new tank. Won't the Spring Water lack the natural minerals needed by the Betta?
2) The LFS lady said to use the Bio-Spira on the Sponge in the filter. Does this sound right to you?
3) Once before when Moby didn't feel well, we used Jungle's Fungus Clear and he seemed to get better within a couple of days. Do you think it would be a good idea to use this in the new tank first, before we try the Pimafix and Melafix? (The LFS lady stated that Pimafix and Melafix were very strong medicines.)
4) I read in another forum that Amquel + can interfere with the Bio-Spira. Is this why you suggested using Spring Water in the new tank?
5) Should we wait 24 hours or so after adding the Bio-Spira before we start floating Moby in a plastic bag in the new tank?

Again, thank you for all of the help and caring you've provided. We are very very grateful.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Hi Isabella,

Not a problem at all. You tried to help and for that I am very very grateful.
Your recommendation brought me to Chickadee who's been very patient and helpful through all of this.
Moby's water readings are a whole lot better (and more accurate) now that I've switched to the Master Test Kit.
I will keep everyone updated on Moby in hopes that the info may help other people.
Thank you again, Isabella.
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
First and MOST IMPORTANT. The Bio-spira gets dumped into the water right before you add the fish - like minutes before not in the filter. IN THE WATER. It will circulate through the water into the filter but SHAKE the bag before you open it so the stuff is well mixed or all the good stuff will stay in the bag.

No the SPRING WATER has the minerals in it, that is why I asked you to get it instead of drinking water or distilled water which do not or are unstable. Spring water is just like the water we get out of the tap but no chlorine or chloramine or junk from the sewage disposal plant or stuff. I know it sounds icky but if you looked up what your tap water has in it you would never drink it again let alone put your fish in it. The guy saw you coming and sold you the extra treatment for your tank. You do not need anything in there if you are using ALL spring water. The only way you need the treatments is when you need to add tap water and then ALL you need to add is Amquel+. Be careful how many things you add to the water because each thing you add changes the character of the water and the ability of your fish to adapt and he is a bit compromised from being in a hard position already. Just the spring water with the Bio-spira and if he is not doing well the Melafix and Pimafix at the directions for a 10 gallon tank as listed on the label. (Give the Bio-spira about 4 hours to set in before adding the medications) Set the temperature at 82 degrees to begin with as that is the normal temperature to which medications work the best (except for Ich and that is 85 degrees). When you need to add more water I would mix it up ahead of time in the gallon jugs the spring water came in unless you intend to keep the spring water coming. That would give it a while to settle and you can mix the tap water with the Amquel+ and let it set for a while until it is needed. Since you are using the Bio-spira you can just plan on doing the first water change in a week as you would normally do. Your tank will be considered cycled immediately. Lucky you and lucky fish. This is absolutely the easiest way on the fish and on you. Do not be concerned to see a small spike of ammonia in a day or so that is normal and will not last. It is the Bio-spira settling into the filter.

Okay, I see I haven't covered everything. Melafix and Pimafix are GOOD medications but not STRONG medications and much more desirable than any of the other types for 2 reasons. They are meant to be used together and cover MANY conditions and can treat almost anything. Most other medications are meant for just one or two conditions and you can spend a fortune on a drug chest of stuff you will never use again and may or may not work on what you have to deal with. Second, they are herbal medications and the fish do not develop a resistance to them the way they do to the anibiotic or antifungal medications. You can only use the other medications one or perhaps 2 times and they lose all effectiveness on the fish when the Melafix and Pimafix are herbal and they do not trigger this type of reaction in them. If you OVERDOSE the fish and do not follow the instructions they can act a bit on the "dopey" side, but if you follow the instructions and give one dose a day for 7 days and then do a 25% water change and then repeat if necessary you are okay to reuse the medication. Just be sure that if you are going to medicate ANY fish at ANY time to remove all the carbon from your filter or it does no good to medicate as the way to REMOVE medication from your tank is to put the the carbon into your filter. Only put the carbon back into the filter when you are finished medicating your fish. Most of us do not ever use carbon except to remove medications anyway as it loses its effectiveness quickly and unless the tank has an odor, there is no reason to use it and with only one fish there should be no odor.

Now about putting Moby into the tank. He needs to go into the tank within minutes after you put the Bio-spira in. He is already acclimated to your water so put him in a bag and float him to get him used to the temperature and right before you are going to let him go into the tank put the Bio-spira go into the tank. The tank will be cloudy for a bit after the Bio-spira is put in as it is the good bacteria in the water - that is normal and will not hurt him. It needs to settle on the gravel, decor, and into the filter. It knows what to do and your little fishie needs to let it happen and it is a good thing so he is going to love being there. He may just float for a few hours after being in a small space and being put in a 10 gallon. They have a little difficulty getting used to having all that room but do not fear, when he finds out that all the room is HIS he will go to town investigating and then he will work at it for days. He will let you know where his favorite spots are and where he does not like to go and where he likes the "furniture" and where he is not too thrilled with the arrangement. It is going to be very entertaining for a while. Just give it a while.

I am so thankful that you are doing this for Moby. He is a very lucky betta.



Please do continue to let us know how things are going and if you need to know anything else.

Rose
 

Isabella

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
37
Points
358
Experience
5 years
Aquaman said:
Hi Isabella,

Not a problem at all.  You tried to help and for that I am very very grateful. 
Your recommendation brought me to Chickadee who's been very patient and helpful through all of this. 
Moby's water readings are a whole lot better (and more accurate) now that I've switched to the Master Test Kit. 
I will keep everyone updated on Moby in hopes that the info may help other people.
Thank you again, Isabella.
You're very welcome
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Well, now I guess it's my turn to write one of those posts no one likes to read. Despite all of our efforts our 1st fish, Moby the Betta, passed away sometime Wednesday evening. :'( As far as I know, we'd done all we could to try and pull him out of whatever was wrong with him. My girlfriend and I discussed all of the advice we'd received and everything I'd read online, so we made the decisions together. Once we moved Moby to the new tank we'd decided to try the Jungle Fungus Clear Tank Buddies that had worked so well once before and if that didn't help we were going to move on to the Melafix and Pimafix. The Jungle Fungus Clear was in the tank for 3 days before Moby went on to that great aquarium in the sky. Maybe he was just too weak from being sick for so long, we don't know for certain. That night we checked on him just before going to bed and he seemed stuck to the filter inlet. The filter was on it's lowest setting and we unplugged it immediately which freed him and off he went to hide on the other side of the tank. We left the filter off all night but it was the next morning when we found him.

We wanted to thank everyone for all the caring, help and advice we received here on this forum. I'd looked over a number of fish forums before settling on this one for help because everyone here is so kind and knowledgeable and responsive. Here's a picture of Moby and his pal Lenora in happier times.

Chickadee - we miss Moby so very much and we'd like to try again with another Betta. How do you recommend we proceed? We definitely do not want to go through this again with a new Betta. We can filter out the medicine with charcoal but do we need to completely empty out the brand new 10 gallon tank and start over? We'd like to move Lenny over to the new tank ASAP.
 

Isabella

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
37
Points
358
Experience
5 years
I am very sorry that your beautiful Betta died :'(

Aquaman said:
... we'd like to try again with another Betta.  How do you recommend we proceed?
I know this wasn't a question for me, but I just wanted to say that definitely do start over by first cycling the tank (and having a tank larger than something between 1-5 gallons, if it's possible for you to get such a tank), and then add the fish to the tank. If you plan to add many fish (as opposed to one Betta), do stock the tank very gradually, even after it's cycled. I hope your next tank works out well. Patience and research are key necessities in this hobby
 

chickadee

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,628
Reaction score
22
Points
358
Experience
5 to 10 years
I would do a 50% water change and then let the tank cycle completely before thinking of adding another fish.  It will make the chances of survival a much better one.  Bettas are just too fragile to do the cycle process well.  It will take a while without bio-spira and if you can find some of that you can get a fish the same day you add that in fact you will have to add the fish the same day.  There are, I have heard some larger PetSmarts that do carry the Bio-spira but always ask them if it has been kept refrigerated because if it has not been it is no good.  Otherwise you will have to order it online if you want it.

I truly do hope that you do not give up on being betta parents.  You make lovely parents and care sincerely about your pets.  I am hoping that you get another and give it all the love you have given Moby.  If you are like me, it is so hard to see the tank empty as I have such a hard time seeing a tank in my house without a betta in it.  I have one now and have decided to use it for a quarantine tank but it is hard to not have a baby in it. 

I am so sorry that Moby did not make it, but do comfort yourselves with the fact that you tried to make him as comfortable and loved as he could be in his last days.  You do not know what kind of life he would have had for sure, but it would not have been pleasant in the store being in the cup and in the small tank.  You did the best you could and he had some good times.  And you loved him and he felt that I am sure so do not beat yourselves up.  There are many people out there who do not love their fish the way you did.  You need to remember that.

Rose
:'(
 

0morrokh

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,476
Reaction score
7
Points
208
Experience
5 to 10 years
I'm so sorry about Moby. :'( :'( Don't be too discouraged...we all made mistakes our first time keeping fish.
Let use know how you're doing, and definately get another Betta.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

Aquaman

New Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Thank you Phloxface, Isabella, Chickadee and Omorrokh for your kind words, wisdom and encouragement.

My girlfriend is so upset. When she used to go up to the tank Moby would do that Betta dance thing moving side to side and my girlfriend would dance right back at him. We held a short memoriam for Moby and she cried a lot. Okay, I did too. I think we're going to take a few weeks at least before looking for another Betta.

In the meantime I did a 50% water change to the new 10 gal tank as Chickadee suggested, found some more Bio-Spira to quick-cycle the tank again as Isabella suggested and moved Lenora the snail in. She has it all to herself for now. At least I think it's a she. I'll let everyone know when I finally get another Betta and I'll keep reading the forums and researching online regarding Bettas and keeping a freshwater fish aquarium. Thank you so much everyone.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom