Help Me Save My Betta!

Olivia Knestrict

Member
Hi, something is currently happening with my betta. About a month ago, his fins started to look frayed. There was no red or black on the edges or anything. So I started to do 50% water changes every other day. The fins continued to get worse. So I moved him into a smaller quarantine tank, and treated him with aquarium salt for 6 days. The fins continued to get worse. I am now doing 100% water changes every day in his smaller quarantine tank, but today one of his fins split in half. It's not all the way to his body, but the split is pretty long. I cannot tell you the water parameters of his actual tank because it is currently in the process of being cycled because I just found out about that. But it is 5 gallons and has a filter and heater. I really really need help. I'm really worried about him and I feel like I've tried everything but nothing is helping. I'm at a loss. Thanks in advance.
 

KimberlyG

Member
We will need pictures. Continue doing the water changes.
CindiL

Is there anything wrong with his body or is this all happening with his fins?
 

navarro1950

Member
It sounds like fun rot. I don't know what chemical medication to use but you can ask someone in LPS or maybe someone on the forum may know. My wife keeps bettas and I told her to add a piece of my Indian almond leavers to her Betta tank and she hasn't had any problems. Try the leaves more as a preventive but what I've read about the IALs they help with fin rot.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Just his fins. He's eating well and has lots of energy. Sorry, this is the only picture I can get of him, he's swimming around a lot because he is in a bowl while I do the water change.
 

saket

Member
keeping a betta (and probably any fish) in a bowl is a very unhealthy thing. do not worry about him you can do a fish in cycle with him as he is a very hardy fish and can survive the cycle easily.
do 50% water changes for him in the 5 gallon. check water parametrs and see that is he eating or not. water chamges will help him clear water is all he need right now. I do not think it is fin rot if you have any shark silk or plastic plants take them out at once. he fins will be back in shape soon then.keep temperature between 78 to 80.best wishes for your betta
 

KimberlyG

Member
Dalmation? They are beautiful. Yeah I can't tell much from that picture but it is good that he is swimming all around. Would like to see his head as well but I know they seldom cooperate. It could just be the picture but he looks extremely thin. Does he eat as he should? It's late at night, the person I would like to take a look at this will probably not be on until tomorrow.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
He only goes in the bowl for about 5 minutes while I do my water change. I think that's okay. I'm worried about doing a fish in cycle as I've heard its bad for them. And there's nothing sharp in his tank at all. I didn't think it was fine rot either, that's why I'm so confused. That's the best I can get for a headshot. The lighting is really weird in that picture because his eye looks red and I promise it's actually not. There's no white speckles on him or anything that looks like velvet. And I don't know about him being skinny. I mean he gobbles up three pellets a day. Hopefully your friend responds, I really need all the help I can get. I'm so worried about him.
 

Freshwaterfishkeeper

Member
Go to the store and buy some quickstart bacteria it will help a lot with the cycling and make it safer for him, make sure his water is heated and there isn't huge fluctuations in heat when you are doing water changes (make sure the water you are puting in is the same temp) I would recommend some stress coat because of the cycling and betta fix if his fins are not getting better

Also buy some frozen brine shrimp for him feed his 3 pellets in the morning and 3-4 tiny brine shrimp at night for now
 

saket

Member
it is okay to do fish in cycle with betta. I am also currently doing a fish in cycle with my betta that too in a 20 gallon tank and he pretty active and happy no problem at all. they are hardy fish so they can survive easily don't worry he will be okay for a fish in cycle. water changes is all that matters his water should be clean, clean water keeps diseases away always remember and also helps in healing.
 

BeanFish

Member
How big is the main tank?
Here is what I would recommend:
1- Move him back into the main tank, aka the bigger tank. Water quality is easier to keep in bigger tanks.
2-Get methylene blue and give him 30-60 minute baths for 5 days.
3-Perform daily 30% water changes in the main tank.
You just said you just found about the nitrogen cycle. Do you have your tank filtered and most importantly, heated?
 

saket

Member
Freshwaterfishkeeper said:
Go to the store and buy some quickstart bacteria it will help a lot with the cycling and make it safer for him, make sure his water is heated and there isn't huge fluctuations in heat when you are doing water changes (make sure the water you are puting in is the same temp) I would recommend some stress coat because of the cycling and betta fix if his fins are not getting better
betta need cold water 78 to 80. warm water will be uncomfortable for him as well as it will decrease the efficiency of the water to hold oxygen and will also hamper his healing process.if his fins are clamped up when he is swimming or is not eating and always hiding then we should use stress coat I think.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
I don't know how to do a fish in cycle, and I've already started with the fishsession cycle. I don't really know if I'm doing it right though. There's currently ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates in it. I think the ammonia is going down though.

BeanFish the tank is 5 gallons. It has a filter and a heater. It's like in the middle of establishing a fish less cycle right now. So I don't know if I can put him in like this. I mean the ammonia is at like 3ppm right now.
 

BeanFish

Member
Olivia, your fish is sick, he will appreciate a bigger tank and not being moved around when you do 100% water changes in a bowl.
No, you can not put him in there if the water has 3ppm ammonia right now, he would die.
Here is what I would do:
1- Throw away all the water in the 5 gal.
2- Fill it with dechlorinated clean and fresh water.
3- Put the betta in.
A fish in cycle will be much better here. How is living in a bowl that is not cycled is better than living in a bigger tank that is not cycled?
Run, do that, the Betta will appreciate it, when you do that come back with us and I will tell you how I do fish-in-cycle.
 

Freshwaterfishkeeper

Member
Betta fish are tropical they need a heater if you live in a cold climate which changes temp alot. Put him back in the tank continue with his water changes, make sure you are using something like prime to prepare your water that should bring down ammonia. I suggest bacteria because it will ease the stress on the fish while a Bett may be ab,e to survive a fish in cycle it will stress them out and there are ways to prevent that
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
I'm not sure why everyone thinks he's living in a bowl haha. I said he is only in the bowl for like 5 minutes while I do water changes with his quarantine tank (2.5 gallons). But alright, if you say so, I'll put him back in the bigger tank as long as you teach me how to cycle the tank with him in it. Thanks
 

BeanFish

Member
A misunderstanding, still, you have no other fish so keeping him in the hospital tank all day isn't really useful, it will be only helpful if I you use methylene blue baths (see later).
This is how I told a member to cycle his betta tank, he did not have test kits but you do have so it will be easier for you:

Weeks 1 to 4. This are the most important weeks, during this 4 weeks bacteria will start to grow. This is also the most dangerous stage because beneficial bacteria still haven't grown so ammonia and nitrite can buildup and kill your fish. Because of this we are gonna do frequent water changes. During weeks 1 to 4 you want to change 50% of your water every other day, for example, if you do a water change on Monday your next water change should be on Wednesday. This will make sure bacteria get some ammonia to grow but it will also make sure you get rid of the ammonia before it builds up too much. If you see any signs of stress just do a preventive water change.

Weeks 4 to 6. Some beneficial bacteria should be already in your filter so we are gonna start to slowly make water changes less frequent. During this weeks we are gonna do 40% water changes every 2 days, so, if you do a water change on Monday your next water change would be on Thursday.

Weeks 6 to 8. By now all your beneficial bacteria should be ready, but we still want to go slow and steady that way we are on the safe side, when you don't have test kits you really need to do everything as safely as you can. During this weeks we are gonna do 40% water changes every 4 days. So, if you do a water change on Monday you would do your water change on Saturday.

Finally, after this 8 week period your aquarium should be cycled and you can start doing weekly 50% water changes.
Some tips:
1- If you see any weird behavior or any symptoms of ammonia/nitrite poisoning do a preventive water change, better safe than sorry! (In this case you have a test kit so you can make sure the ammonia levels are good enough for the fish to still live. If your ammonia creeps up higher than 0.25 ppm you want to get it down again to be under 0.25 ppm)
2- Do not overfeed!!! Be very careful with your feeding, you want to make sure your betta eats all his food, if you see any uneaten food remove it. If you let food rot it will produce a lot of ammonia which will be dangerous.
3- Be patient, slow and steady wins the race.

Probably my water changes are too big, but in this case your fish has some problems in his fins so I am sure he will appreciate the big water changes I recommend.
Also, as I said, if you can get methylene blue that would be pretty helpful, it is a very soft medication that will destroy whatever fungus/bacteria your betta may have. The methylene blue is given in forms of baths and the baths have to be in separate tanks because this medication will destroy all kinds of bacteria, including your beneficial bacteria and it will also stain decorations silicone blue so if you don't want your hospital tank´s silicone to be stained you can do this in a 1-2 gal container or something like that (if you could add an airstone and make sure the water temperature matches the tank temperature that would be very nice and preferable). The baths should last from 30 to 60 minutes, I personally keep my fish in the baths for the full 60 minutes.
You want to do this baths for 5 days.

All of that is what I would do if that betta was mine, some may disagree with what I say but that is what has worked with me based on my experience with methylene blue baths and fish in cycles.
 

Freshwaterfishkeeper

Member
I agree 100% with beanfish. I'm a huge believer in bottled bacteria and if you want to you can add that with every water change it will make a difference and because your fish is a little ragged looking that is the only thing I would do different in a fishin cycle although not necessary at all will help.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Thank you so much for all of the helpful information. I do have two questions. First, I read somewhere that most of the good bacteria lives in the filter. I have one of those carbon filter cartridges that's supposed to be replaced like every month. Should I not be using that because wouldn't that mess up the cycle? Second, you said the ammonia levels should never be above .25 ppm. What should the nitrite levels be below before doing a water change? Thanks again.
 

BeanFish

Member
Carbon filter cartridges are not helpful for the average aquarist in my opinion. I have a HOB I personally just got all the cartridges out, threw in some bioballs (in my case little chunks of PVC #DIY) and a sponge so it filters particles. It works great for me that way.
I believe keeping nitrates at or below .25 ppm will be good. I don't think you will have a problem with ammonia or nitrite if you follow my routine tho.
 

KimberlyG

Member
BeanFish
Really Bean, no Prime? My fish would be dead.
Stop changing your profile pic, your messing us up. lol
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Does anyone have any suggestions of things to put in the filter?
 

FishL:))

Member
Olivia Knestrict said:
Hi, something is currently happening with my betta. About a month ago, his fins started to look frayed. There was no red or black on the edges or anything. So I started to do 50% water changes every other day. The fins continued to get worse. So I moved him into a smaller quarantine tank, and treated him with aquarium salt for 6 days. The fins continued to get worse. I am now doing 100% water changes every day in his smaller quarantine tank, but today one of his fins split in half. It's not all the way to his body, but the split is pretty long. I cannot tell you the water parameters of his actual tank because it is currently in the process of being cycled because I just found out about that. But it is 5 gallons and has a filter and heater. I really really need help. I'm really worried about him and I feel like I've tried everything but nothing is helping. I'm at a loss. Thanks in advance.
What kind of filter do you have ?
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member

KimberlyG

Member
Olivia Knestrict said:
Does anyone have any suggestions of things to put in the filter?
You are going to leave whatever filter material you have in the filter. You already have bacteria starting to build in it. I have tucked two pieces of filter foam in front of my cartridge. (I don't ever change that cartridge, I just swish it out in tank water when I'm doing a water change/filter clean. It will stay in there until it falls apart. One of my filters has a little meadia bag of ceramic bio bead placed in back of the filter cartridge it came with. I will occasionally use charcoal in a media bag if I need to remove med after treatment is done or I have a piece of driftwood that is still leaching tannins.
 

CindiL

Member
Good morning and welcome to the forum

I agree with the others on moving him to the larger tank but treating him separately in the smaller tank is a good option if you use something like Kordon Methylene Blue or HikarI Betta Revive. You're basically cycling both tanks. If you have a fish then you are in fact cycling it either way which is why everyone has told you to move him to the big tank where there is more water for him. You only do fishless cycling before you have fish. Once you have fish then no matter what its a fish-in cycle.

The fact that his fins haven't gotten better with either salt or with frequent water changes leads me to believe its bacterial and should be treated. If you want to treat him in his main tank treat him with Nitrofurazone, found in API Furan-2 or Tetra Fungus Guard, HikarI Bifuran or Jungle Fungus Clear tabs (this one is at Walmart). They all contain the same medicine with different marketing names. I'd do at least 2-four day rounds.

There is a much easier way to cycle though the advice given above is solid advice. Do 100% water change on the 5g, dechlorinate the water and heat. We can simplify it greatly by you just following this formula by using Seachem Prime and Stability. Prime detoxifies ammonia + nitrites up to 1.0 when dosed daily for the 5g.

If ammonia + nitrites is less than 1.0 – dose prime for the full volume of water and stability and re-check in 24 hours.
If ammonia + nitrites is 1.0 or greater – do a large water change, dose prime for the full volume of water and stability and re-check in 24 hours.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Okay. He's making the move back into his big tank today. Kimberly, do you agree with what Fish Bean or whatever said? Taking all the water out of the tank that's cycling and restart it with him in it? Also, methylene blue is safe and won't hurt him?
 

CindiL

Member
Did you see my post above? we may have posted it at the same time.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Thanks Cindy! So let me get this straight because I don't want to mess it up. So instead of doing cycling the way I was told above, I check his water every day, and if the ammonia and nitrite is below 1 ppm, I put Prime in his tank for 5g. If it is above 1 ppm, do like a 50% water change and put prime and stability in?
 

KimberlyG

Member
I learned how to do a fish in cycle from CindI when I unexpectedly came home with a pretty beat up betta. I've done two more since. I prefer to do a fishless cycle, but when I've walked in with a fish I'm trying to save, I do as CindI describes above. I haven't lost a fish yet.
 

CindiL

Member
Olivia Knestrict said:
Thanks Cindy! So let me get this straight because I don't want to mess it up. So instead of doing cycling the way I was told above, I check his water every day, and if the ammonia and nitrite is below 1 ppm, I put Prime in his tank for 5g. If it is above 1 ppm, do like a 50% water change and put prime and stability in?
Yep, that's it. Keeps your fish safe and lets the cycle finish up.

I'd suggest getting some Seachem Stress Guard as a place to start for his fins (Not API, its not the same thing). It is an anti-septic, promotes healing, reduces overall stress. It binds to wounds and allows the healing to take place. It can be used in your main tank. If its truly bacterial it won't be enough by itself and you'll need to do separate HikarI Betta Revive or Methylene blue dips. (Betta Revive has methylene blue, and also malachite green and neomycin) so makes an excellent bath. You don't want to use either of these latter products in your tank as they'll harm the cycle.
Alternatively like I mentioned above there is nitrofurazone which can be used in tank later if necessary.
 

BeanFish

Member
KimberlyG said:
BeanFish
Really Bean, no Prime? My fish would be dead.
Stop changing your profile pic, your messing us up. lol
Oops forgot about Prime, we don't have it here, well we do have it at Petco but it is probably twice as expensive as it in other countries so I forgot about it a long time ago.
I love that profile pic lol, I took it a long time ago and wanted to make memes with it but inspiration never came to me.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
CindiL so how do I know when the cycle is finished? Do I just keep checking it and once it gets to .25 ammonia or nitrite do a 50% water change forever?
 

KimberlyG

Member
When ammonia & nitrites read 0 for several days in a row with out huge water changes you will be cycled. Yes you will do water changes forever, lol. The end product of the Nitrogen cycle is Nitrate. Nitrate is not lethal like ammonia and nitrite but in high amounts it stresses out the fish and weakens their immune system making them susceptible to the bacteria that is in every fish tank. You should keep nitrates at 10-20. Some people accomplish this by weekly 25% water changes. You will know what you need to do by testing nitrates before and after a water change. My main tank is overstocked intentionally because of the fish I keep and it requires 2, 20 gallon water changes a week. It will be a while before you know how much and how often. If you have problems then, let us know.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
CindiL KimberlyG Sorry to be asking so many questions, I'm just trying to learn and do this right. So I'm putting Prime and Stability in every day when the levels are below 1.0. Which it has been every day. Will it ever be above 1.ppm? And since I'm adding prime and stability in every day, I just wanted to make sure that was safe. Ithe just seems like a lot to be putting in the tank every day. And I'm confused how I know when the cycle is finished. You said once it reads 0 for several days. Well it has read 0 for several days but as per the instructions above I've been putting in Prime and Stability every day. So I don't really get how this works, I don't feel like my tank should be cycled already. Thanks!
 

KimberlyG

Member
Your ammonia and nitrites have been reading 0 and you are showing nitrates as well? (Until you answer, yes the Prime is safe everyday.)
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
My ammonia and nitrites are 0, my nitrates are at like 10 ppm. Not sure what's going on.
 

KimberlyG

Member
Olivia Knestrict said:
My ammonia and nitrites are 0, my nitrates are at like 10 ppm. Not sure what's going on.
That is exactly the kind of readings you want! If you have been reading ammonia 0, Nirtites 0 and Nitrates 10-20, that is perfect. That is a cycled tank. If the ammonia and nitrite are 0, you do not need to add prime. There is nothing for it to bind because the bacteria has taken care of it! Fish waste and food creates ammonia, bacteria turns ammonia into nitrite, nitrifying bacteria turns nitrite into nitrate, we reduce nitrate by doing weekly water changes to keep the nitrates under 20. Keep an eye on the readings for a while longer but I think you are cycled.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
With this methylene blue, it says to dip the fish for 10 seconds. Is that the kind of dip you we're talking about, or did you mean longer to help his fins?
 

BeanFish

Member
My methylene blue has 20 mg of methylene blue and 3.7 mg of formaldehyde per milliliter.
10 drops are 1 ml as far as my understanding goes and I use 2 drops per liter of water which means I use a ml of methylene blue per 5 lts of water.
Soooo I use 20 mg of methylene blue per 5 lts of water.
I put the fish in the methylene blue water and leave my fish for an hour. That is how I have always done it and what works for me, I have no experience with dips but my guess would be that they are much more concentrated.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
I'm not sure if KimberlyG And CindiL said I should do dips or the more prolonged ones. I found a video of my fish from a couple of months ago today and his fins we're so long and flowy. And now they're short and stubby and not good. I really want him to get better but it seems like nothing I do helps him.
 

BeanFish

Member
I can't read Cindi's mind but from other threads where we have both been present she has agreed with me on baths.
What product are you using for the methylene blue?
I personally think baths are better than dips, they also sound less stressful.
Is the Betta getting worse?
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
I don't think he's getting worse, but I also don't really think he's getting better. I mean he did have a long tear down the middle of his fin which has now healed back together. But his fins don't seem to be getting any longer and they're still tattered and it's been several weeks. It's kordon methylene blue. I'm struggling a little with what you said you do because I use gallons rather than liters for measurements and I haven't done the conversion. I'm trying everything I can to help the little guy and I'm starting to get discouraged. :/
 

KimberlyG

Member
Can you get a new picture of him? Fins don't grow back over night. I wish they did.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
KimberlyG This is one of the better pictures I've gotten of him because he actually held still for a second. I've attached what he looked like a couple months ago and what he looks like now. I feel awful. I never miss wate changes and I am buying all this stuff and putting all this time into helping him and he's only getting worse. Please help.
 

KimberlyG

Member
That's a great picture. Thank you. I had to go back through the thread to see what medication you used. Did you treat him with Furan-2 or Jungle Fungus Clear?
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
Thanks haha. I treated him with API Fungus Cure. And I did the Aquarium Salt for 7 days. I have the methylene blue, but I'm not exactly sure how to use it.

Other than that, just a lot of water changes.
 

KimberlyG

Member
I would have liked to have seen some new growth by now. The methylene blue we do in a bath (Small container outside the tank)
I'm off to hunt for Cindi's directions. (I have MB, but have not had to use it. I think bath directions differ from instructions on the bottle)

Found it. 1/2 teaspoon Methylene Blue added to 2 1/2 gallons of water. Bathe fish for up to 60 minutes. Do this once a day.
I would do 1/4 teaspoon in 1 1/4 gallons. (20 Cups of water) Take the water out of your tank with a measuring cup so you know the exact amount.
You will need to watch him while you do this. 30 to 60 minutes is good. As close to 60 as you can get but some get really stressed. I would then transfer him briefly to a second very small container of clear tank water (not even taking him out of the net, you're just rinsing him) because Methylene Blue will destroy the bacterial cycle. (Most people don't do this and have no problem, I just know how I am when it comes to broken cycles. lol)
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
In your experience do you think methylene blue will be effective? And do you have any speculations as to why his fins haven't gotten better yet? Even with the water changes, cycle, salt, and fungus cure? I'm stumped.
 

KimberlyG

Member
For fin rot I would not have used the API Fungus Cure. I just dosed one of my babies and I used API Furan-2. The Fungus Cure contains acriflavine and malachite green,victoria green or basic green whatever you want to call it. It's all the same. I would use this on ICK. API Furan-2 contains nitrofurazone and furazolidone along with methylene blue. It is really the first two ingredients that I would be looking for when treating fin rot. (Jungle Fungus Clear fizz tabs at Walmart also have nitrofurazone and furazolidone just not the methylene blue) I would have used either of those I just happen to stock API Furan-2 in the medicine kit. The water changes and aquarium salt work fine with mild thing, but in my case and your case, it was not mild. Right now I'm just doing daily water changes and aquarium salt to help heal and grow but I'm watching closely because I think he might have benefited from a second round of Furan-2.
 
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Olivia Knestrict

Member
So I was told to buy methylene blue, but you're saying I should buy this other product called Furan-2 because it has nitrofurazone and furazolidone along with methylene blue, but all that really matters is the first two ingredients so buying the methylene blue was pointless?
 

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