HELP Indra is sick but I don't know what's wrong!

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emilai333

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Indra is my first fish, I've had him just over a year. He was one of the fish who had fin rot recently, but the rot is gone and new fins have been regrowing since partway through the treatment with tetracycline.

After I removed the tetracycline, I noticed that he was acting strangely (up until that point he was just as friendly and active as ever). I'd been doing 2 gallon water changes at a time to get the tetracycline out (I don't use activated carbon in any of my tanks because I read a couple of places that it takes out chemicals at first, and then puts them back after a while - so I don't have any). I did each water change a couple of hours from the last one, and since then have continued to do at least two gallons worth of change per day (usually at least three every other day, more if needed). I have taken him out of the larger tank and put him in a QT jar, which I hate doing but it means that if I know what is wrong I can treat him individually. I've got my smallest heater in there to keep the temperature up, and I am doing 50% water changes twice daily (also some of that stuff that they put in filters to remove ammonia, I can't remember what its called...). I'm worried, however, that he's just getting old. I did a four gallon water change in the larger tank so that if the water conditions are poor, they will improve quickly - I've continued with three and four gallon changes since I moved him.

He has not developed any spots, he is still eating (you would think I'd been starving him, but he's gotten three pellets twice daily with the occaissional bloodworm and/or pea for variety, fasting one day a week when I have to go home to work, and I have two types of pellets), he is not bloated, his fins are still re-growing, he flared at the aquarium vacuum before I put him in the QT jar (probably mad that it wasn't feeding him)... but he's not active any more. If I hold my hand up as if I were going to put food in the water, he shoots to the top to eat, but when he realizes I'm not actually dropping anything in (or after he's done eating), he sinks slowly back down. If he does swim at all, he does so with his tail down, as if it was very heavy (illogical as the finrot rendered it 2/3 its previous size). He isn't scratching himself on things as if he were itchy, its more like he doesn't have the energy to pick up his whole body to move. I just took a good look at him from above, and it seems that when at rest his body develops an S-curve. I'm off to do another round of water changes.

Oh and I don't know my water parameters (**ducks rotten fruit**) I used test strips but was recently told they don't work so I'm saving up for the master kit. In the meantime, water changes are a full-time job.
 

Phloxface

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He's probably got a bacterial infection and constipation. My Betta Phlox was behaving the same way and died within days. I see you are keeping 4 male Bettas in a split ten gallon tank. IMO, this is far too many dividers for one ten gallon tank. I had a ten gallon split 3 ways and found it was much too small and stressful for my 3 females. They are split only 2 ways now and all my fish have 5 gallons of space. The lack of swimming space and stress of seeing so many other males near him probably lowered his immune system. It's also very hard to keep a 4 way split tank clean. While water changes are good, changing the water too often could really be damaging and stressing him, especially if you need to remove him every time. He would be healthier in a cycled tank with at least 5 gallons of space and do a weekly 20% water change and preferably where he cannot see the other males. Even if they are not flaring at each other it is still stressful.
He sounds like he needs some antibiotics (try something different than tetracycline) and a more stable tank as far as temp (no more than 2 degree difference throughout the day) water parameters, and some quiet time away from the other males to recuperate.
A one year old Betta is not old. However the stress of living in a four way split tank with little swimming space and the constant threat of other males living so close to his space will drastically shorten his life.
In the meantime, please feed him only pea treats and no pellets. Hopefully this will help him swim easier. Even if he is pooping a little he could still be constipated or have an intestinal blockage. Get him on antibiotics asap. They go downhill VERY quickly. If he is in a jar you may have a hard time treating him as he needs stable heat and you should not do water changes several times a day. This is stressing him too much.
Please consider getting another 10 gallon tank and having no more than 2 fish divided in each one.
 
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emilai333

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Cool, I'll be sure to puloin some more peas from the caf tonight (I'm developing a hobby of stealing fresh fruits and veggies from the caf to feed to my pets) and buy some different antibiotics while I'm out tonight. I'll probably move the guppy girls to the community tank for the duration of his treatment so that he can have their filtered, cycled tank. The community tank will be pretty crowded, but its short term so I hope it will be OK, I don't have any other cycled tanks open. At present I don't remove him from the jar every time I change water; I simply scoop water off the top and pour new water in slowly. When I absolutely must, I remove him to remove waste from the bottom of the jar.

To refute some of your concerns (understand that I respect your advice, knowledge, and opinions): The boys in my divided tank can't see each other, I set up my (homemade) dividers in such a way that they can't see through, but water can get through. Each divider has multiple thin layers offset so that the holes don't line up. Also, I don't have to remove anyone to clean the tank - I set that up very carefully too so that water changes aren't hard to do and cause minimal stress to the fish. My concern with his age is, Indra was not a young boy when I bought him. He was one of the largest males in the store, and while they now sell younger fish, at the time their boys were all very mature. I don't know how old he is. I realize that the 10 gallon is small for the number of fish I have in it, but they do each have at least two gallons of space, so I don't freak myself out about the fact that they are far too crowded. The tank is filtered, heated, and well cycled - when I get a chance I will give them larger quarters but until then I figure that they aren't kept in cups or bowls. anyway, I have great plans for next semester because I will have at least one new, cycled, filtered 10 g tank (a friend has goldfish in it now but will be buying a new tank soon because the goldies are obviously crowded) and I hope to also build myself one or two tanks to go across my desk to keep my guppies in. There may also be a gigantonormous goldfish tank in my future (by gigantonormous, I mean in comparison to my current tanks, something like 40 gallon).
 

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I hope Indra will be alright. I'm glad he's going to a larger tank for meds but I do have to disagree with you that 2 gallons of space is not enough for a Betta. If you will be getting another ten gallon tank why not split the Bettas up so each has 5 gallons of space instead of getting more guppies? Bettas don't have long life spans. Why not let them have larger living spaces asap so they can enjoy what time they have left?
 

0morrokh

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I have to agree with Phloxface on this one...after seeing Dorado zipping around his 20 gal, and even Cas & Fuego in their 5 gals, I just cannot imagine them confined to 2 gallons. The problem, too, with a 10 gallon that's divided is that, just for an example, to the fish half a 10 gal is not as much room as most regular 5 gal tanks, even though they have the same number of gallons. This is because the 5s are made shallower, but much longer. They have the same amount of gallons, but more surface area = more room to swim around. When a bigger tank is divided multiple times, eventually you get sections that are higher than they are wide, which means less horizontal swimming space for the fish. What Bettas care about is mostly surface area, rather than volume. This means that, even if you might say a Betta is ok in 2 gals of water (though I would disagree with that), a 10 gal divided 4 ways would not provide much swimming space at all because the space is mostly vertical. Does that make any sense, or did I lose you?

Anyway, now about the carbon. Carbon will leach chemicals back into the water, but that is only once it is "full" and has been in the tank a long time. Leaving it in for a week or two has no danger. The meds need to be removed because they can be stressful if just left in there, but constant water changes can also be stressful. So, I would consider at least just using carbon for a week or so to remove meds after treatments, although I agree with you that carbon is not much more than a pain when used for general purposes.
 
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emilai333

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OK, shopping list for after dinner: antibiotics and activated carbon. Phloxface, I'm sorry if you misunderstood me - I'm not planning to get MORE guppies (well I might but not more than will fit in the tanks that would be designated as guppy tanks anyway). The guppies will be moving tanks, and that will free up the current guppy tank for betta housing. The new 10 gallon will also probably be available for betta housing, and with two divided tens and the two guppy tanks, that gives me space for six bettas, yay! Omorrokh, what you said did make sense, to summarize big surface area = fish. Yes?
 
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emilai333

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Wanted to give an update on my boy; he's in the 5 gallon undergoing treatment with Furan 2. He's off and on. Sometimes he seems to feel better and sometimes he doesn't. I guess its an improvement over always off. I'm on my third treatment of four and I think I'm going to have to try repeating treatment. If he doesn't respond to a second dosing I'll have to go see about buying some other kind of meds, but I'm scared I won't be able to afford it, I've had some unexpected expenses recently and yeah meds are only $7 or so but I only get $10 a week, and I need some food and such for me. **worries** . I don't have time to save up a few dollars at a time for fish meds.

I'm also getting worried about Notus, one of the other fish in the 10 gallon, because he was rather inactive tonight. I'm scared that this may be contagious. However, Notus was looking a bit bloated and also has a habit of moping whenever I change his environment (I rearranged the divided tank today so I could clean extra well), so I'm not panicking yet. ... praying...
 
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emilai333

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Another update - finished up with the first treatment of Furan, did a water change, and put in the activated carbon to get rid of the extra Furan while I was away for the weekend. After returning, I see that Indra has not improved while on the Furan. Should I try another treatment of the same, or try to scrounge money for something different? Should I add a couple pinches of aquarium salt? I've been fasting him and feeding him a bit of pea once in a while - once a day or once every two days, which irritates him to no end because his appetite is certainly healthy. He's giving me the, "cruel woman, why do you insist upon starving me, I'm just a poor, sick fish" look as I type.

My good news is that after not being fed all weekend, Notus has perked up and is not sick!
 

chickadee

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I would give the Furan-2 one more treatment course before I quit. I wish I knew more about his age.

Also, I am not at all sure the water flow in the tank is keeping all your areas totally circulated. If they are so shut off they cannot see each other, not much water is getting through.

Rose
 

lolagurl

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o yea...well imagine having one confined to a 1/2 galon container..thats what most people and my brother  : has his in...Im gonna give him my 2.5 gallon tank because i am getting a 10 gallon....so at leadt he'll have two more litres then they did have... i was watching a biological. study on sea horses then they went on to the betta fish in china.. they were saying how th bettas each have their own rice pattie (which is small as you know) and are very territorial about it. There are also bigger rice patties, but there are no  bettas in there. the biologist said it was because they felt more stressed in bigger rice patties, because they had to be more territorial always swimming around it. And usually if one betta decided to take a big rice pattie another one would fight them for it, so the bettas (especially females) felt safer in their smaller rice patties. Mind you the rice patties were looking like over a gallon of water for the whole pattie so i still dont obviously don't condone those fish bowls and little containers...i didnt know if i should say this because you guys seem to be decided the more room for the betta the better..but i think if they still have those instincts that bigger space might make them more stressed out. It was on the discovery channel so..which is why i think people are always talkin about how their betta lived longer in the smaller tank then when they gave their new betta more space... i dont know just a thought
 
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emilai333

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Rose, I'll check the circulation, but I usually keep a filter on one end and a bubbler on the other on the divided tank so I'm fairly certain that it gets around well enough. And thanks for the advice on the Furan. I'll give it another try.

Lola, I don't know that the bettas get stressed in larger tanks, unless they are kept with non compatible tankmates. I have never heard a report of this occuring. If nothing else, most people put lots of decorations in bigger tanks, so they can stake out a territory in between there.
 
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emilai333

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Update on Indra - Whats next?

Well, Indra STILL isn't better after the original tetracycline, and two rounds of Furan-2. What should I do now!?

He still has no external signs of illness, he's still thrilled when I put food in for him, but the rest of the time he hangs out either on the filter beside the heater (when I'm out of the room) or on the bottom in the corner when I'm in the room (he's keeping an eye on me). I just don't know what to do with him - I'm not totally sure but I think he's getting slightly worse. I don't want to lose my boy!

The one good thing is, everyone else is happy and healthy!
 

chickadee

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Have you tried Peas? Maybe it is just a bad case of constipation and they do get lethargic and do the hiding in the back and all when they have a tummy ache. Are the fins clamped? Another sign of tummy ache/constipation.

Rose
 

genie

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I don't know- so only take this advice it you think the theory is sound... He has been medicated with a few different meds for a fairly good period of time. Try no meds for like a week to see if he just needs to "clean out" his system. Think about how you feel when you are on several meds. It always messes with my stomach and I always feel better after the med cycle is over. Just a theory ???
 
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emilai333

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Rose, I have tried peas (I fed peas only for the first week and a half) and I am confident that this is not a digestive problem. I also fasted him for a couple of days in case (resulting in his being rather angry with me). His fins are not clamped, just ragged from having finrot which is now healing. His appetite is still in the range of "ravenous" (Indra is my "Look,there's something in my water, I'll bet its edible, I think I'll eat it" fish), but everything seems to pass normally and he isn't bloated at all.

I did try taking him off of the meds - for several reasons including what you said, Genie, about meds making you feel crappy. The other reasons are that I don't know what else to try with him, and I am 100% broke at the moment so it will be almost another week before I can afford something new. Once I have some money, I don't want to buy something that is unlikely to help. I don't know. He has been off of meds for several days and seems just barely better, but still spends 90% of his time laying on the bottom or on the filter. I guess... if I want to be optimistic he doesn't seem to be getting any worse... if I want to be pessimistic, he isn't getting any better. This whole situation is confusing me because I can't figure out what is wrong.
 

genie

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I have loads of sympathy-- I know what it is like to feel like there isn't anything else that you can do. good luck-- I hope your betta gets better!
 
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emilai333

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Well, Indra hasn't improved any and is starting to get worse again. Guess I'm going to have to go shopping for fish meds tomorrow. I still have no idea what to give him. This is very frustrating and stressful, I just want him to get better. I hate to say it, but I'd rather he have ich or something else that I could positively identify.
 

aqua man130

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i dont think there is anything wrong but maybe he just got used to the chems u put him in with and when u removed them he been acting strange???

but im not sure cause i dont like bettas i reckon they are boring im more into chichlids

aqua
 

COBettaCouple

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emilai333 said:
Well, Indra hasn't improved any and is starting to get worse again. Guess I'm going to have to go shopping for fish meds tomorrow. I still have no idea what to give him. This is very frustrating and stressful, I just want him to get better. I hate to say it, but I'd rather he have ich or something else that I could positively identify.
We're sorry for all Indra's been through. We know how much you love your little Bettas.. I don't recognize his behavior as anything I'm familiar with and it is confusing for sure. How long has he been off meds? What's his current diet & feeding schedule?

How long have you had Indra? In your 1st post, you mentioned he might be getting older.. I think when Bettas get older, they do tend to rest more while still being happy & healthy. Does this sound right to our more experienced Betta owners? If so, what is good to perk up or just take care of older Bettas? NovAqua, vitamins, etc?

Also, have you checked: https://www.fishyfarmacy.com/fish_diseases/locomotor_disorders.html to try to diagnose him?
 
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emilai333

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aqua, I'm sorry you don't like bettas, I love them a ton. They have such great personalities. I don't know chichlids as much, so I can't compare the two. I don't know if adding and removing chemicals from the water would create problems or not... it seems that they shouldnt but I don't know.

FLBettaCouple, Indra has been off meds for a week. Although I have tried adjusting his feeding schedule, he now is back to the same feeding schedule as everyone else - two to three pellets or a piece of pea, twice a day. Changing feeding did not affect his behaviour so I chose to return him to what he is used to.

I have only had Indra for 14 months. I don't know how old he was when I got him. His simply being less active would bother me less if he had slowly lost the activity level. Also, when he stays still in the water, his tail sinks... I thought that was indicative of a swimbladder problem, but I am not familiar with chronic swimbladder problems in bettas. I know goldfish get them, and I had a molly with it, too. However, at least with goldfish, changing feeding usually affects this at least some (it doesn't cure the problem, unfortunately. My best friend just lost her favorite goldy to swimbladder problems that progressed until he could no longer orient himself to eat... we did tons of research and I hope that we improved his quality of life for as long as possible).

Does anyone know about swimbladder problems in bettas? Could this be what is causing the problem?

Thank you for the link to the disease chart. I have actually investigated that chart on several occaissions, both for Indra and for a couple of mollies who started showing signs of illness in QT. I can't find anything there that seems to be what is wrong with Indra. I might try Triple Sulfa if I can afford it tomorrow; it is recommended for a couple of the swimbladder problems and I know people on here have used it.

Anyway, he isn't happy... this is my boy Indra! When he's happy, he comes over and waggles his whole body at me, "Hi mommy, I want food now! Yay! Food! What do you mean, that's all? Well can I have some in two minutes? How about if I blow this nice bubble nest? Well if you won't give me more food can I have a girl to spawn with? But I have the bubble nest... don't you think I'm a sexy betta man deserving of a sexy betta lady to have cute betta babies? Well, yes, I might kill her or she might kill me, we're bettas what do you expect?" and so on. Now he just lies on the rocks or on the filter and only swims around when he's fairly certain I have food (and the little bugger can tell, cause I keep the canister beside his tank. I grab the food for my goldies and he knows he's next.)
 
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