Help! My Betta Was Neglected For 3 Weeks!

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by frostmystique, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. frostmystique

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    Hey guys,

    Just recently I went away for approximately 3 weeks and decided to leave my Betta to be looked after by my sister. I had even written out more than 8 pages including details on how to feed, clean and treat the tank if anything went wrong.

    I came back today to find the tank in a terrible state. She had left a Betta banquet 7 day feeder in there instead of feeding him like I asked, which had all sunk to a pile on the bottom of the tank, untouched. The silk plants in his tank (two of which are pretty much brand new and were purchased the day before I left) have been turned from green to almost dark brown/black. Spots of algae are all over the walls of the tank.
    What’s more, she told me instead of using the separate equipment I provided which is specific for fish keeping, she has been using measuring cups and items from the kitchen to clean the tank, which is making me extremely worried as these are most likely full of food and soap residues.

    Most importantly, looking at my Betta I can see his fins have been reduced to almost half the size they were before I left, mainly on the dorsal fin which is showing signs of serious fin rot, and it doesn’t seem like he’s eaten due to all the food being on the bottom, however he also doesn’t seem to want to eat the pellets I put in (he only ate two after about 30 minutes of trying off and on).

    After just traveling on a flight from London back home to Australia, I’ve spent the night frantically cleaning out the tank instead of resting. So far I’ve scrubbed the algae, cleaned the sponges in the filter which were also filthy, and blasted most of the plants under hot water. I’ve put a lot of the stuff into a bucket which is soaking with broad spectrum antibiotics to try and salvage some of the decorations. I also added prime and tested the water which despite everything actually turned out to be in normal perameters (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 40 nitrate)

    I’m just wondering what else exactly I should do? I am most worried about the fact that she has used kitchen equipment and also about his severe fin rot. I have tried using many antibiotics for fin rot on him if he has shown signs in the past and none of it seems to work aside from just regularly changing water and giving him time. If anyone knows what else I can do to increase his chances of survival I’d really love any advice I can get. Thank you in advance and sorry for the essay!
  2. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    Is there carbon in the filter? I'd do water changes every day for a week or two, the larger the better. I would also drop the temp to the bottom of his range (78?) so the fin rot spreads more slowly.
  3. treadingwater

    treadingwaterValued MemberMember

    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I just had an incident with my betta boy and a Chinese algae eater yesterday and had to do some research on severe fin repair. The advice that I saw that was most consistent was
    #1 keep the water as pristine as possible with daily water changes. I have my boy in a 1.86L (half gallon) tank right now because he can hardly swim and do 100% water changes with tank water from the tank he came from.
    #2 Feed lots of protein. I'm feeding a rotating diet of blood worms, brine shrimp and Bug Bites.
    #3 I was given additional advice by Repolie "You can add indian almond leaves or Stressguard which have therapeutic and antisceptic properties to promote the healing process."

    How big is his tank and do you have pictures? Maybe his illness isn't as bad as you think it is and other members may have additional advise based on what they see.

    I really hope he recovers.
  4. Galathiel

    GalathielWell Known MemberMember

    Unless you have nitrates in your water, 40ppm is pretty high for a betta tank since they have such a low bioload. Lots of clean water is the best medicine for ailing fish most of the time.
  5. OP

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    Hi there and thanks for your help! Yes there is carbon in the filter. Last night I did about half of his water, however I’m just worried that if I do too many water changes it’ll affect the biological cycle? I’ve removed more than half of his decorations because they were so disgusting so I’m assuming a lot of the bacteria has also been removed. Will this be a problem?
    In terms of changing the temperature, it’s very cold over here in Australia at the moment so I’m not sure I can go much lower than it already is... thanks again for your help so far :)

    Hey! Funny you should mention your fish, I was actually just reading through your thread to see what happened! I hope everything goes well with your boy as well, he looked so sad in the photo :( I’ve only got one tank for him at the moment and he actually still swims really well so I’m thinking it’s probably not worth buying another just for this? Not too sure though. The stressguard is a good idea, I’ll have to pick some up tomorrow! However I cannot seem to find any store that sells almond leaves in Melbourne Australia so I’d have to get it delivered which could take ages! I’d love to hear from anyone who lives close by if there is a store that has them but I believe this is mainly an American site! I’ve added a couple of photos as well but they’re a bit blurry due to the lighting. He’s in a 3 gallon tank :) thanks so much for your help so far!

    Hi there :) I’ve always had between 20-40ppm of nitrates which I always thought was pretty normal. I’m not sure if it’s actually as high as 40, I tend just to round it up if I can’t quite tell on the colour chart. I’m just wondering as well what the general consensus would be for water changes? Eg daily, weekly, and how much? Thanks again!

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  6. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    Alright, so if you do decide you need to medicate him for fin rot you'll need to remember to take that carbon out. You could honestly change 50% of his water everyday and not harm the cycle, you will have lost a little bit of BB on the decorations but not enough to hurt the cycle. If the temp will be difficult to adjust then don't worry about it.
    40ppm Nitrates is a little high, but if it's normal for you then your betta is also adjusted to it.
  7. andrearamirezo91

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    I'm sorry this happened and I hope your boy recovers fast :( I'm gonna be leaving next week for a whole week and I haven't stopped stressing over how well my fish will be taken care of while I'm away. This isn't helping lol :arghh:

    I wouldn't worry too much about the cycle because your bacteria are all over the tank. Yes people say they mostly concentrate on the filter media, but the truth is that your gravel and all other stuff in the tank is covered in them too.

    I have always heard about some people including vitachem in their fish's diet but I never really paid much attention to it. Not long ago, my new betta chomped away at his tail pretty badly and someone suggested I give it a try. I let his food soak in the liquid for a good 20 minutes before giving it to him and not only does he love it, but his tail has been growing back in at an incredibly fast rate. Maybe you could consider giving that a try to help him recover faster and grow his pretty long tail back.
  8. OP

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    Hi again, I think I’m gonna definitely go with more frequent water changes this time round rather than the antibiotics, as they never seem to help! Thank you for the remibder though! How long would people generally recommend doing 50% water changes daily? Thanks again :)

    Wow I’m so sorry! From your other thread it sounds like you know a lot of people with fish keeping experience, so hopefully you’ve picked someone slightly better than my choice to look after him! A true least it’s only 1 week though! I’m sure everything will be fine!

    That Vitachem stuff actually sounds amazing. Is it generally supposed to be used for everyday use, or just a treatment thing? Only problem is (as with every good product in the fish market) it’s going to take weeks to get to Australia :(

    Bit of an update as well, I decided to actually purchase the Fluval Spec V which I see talked about so often on this forum, and so hopefully I’ll be able to transfer him when the biological cycle is done! Honestly he needed the upgrade, and I figure it’s worth it to get him out of the disgusting tank he’s in now, and just long enough to cure his fin rot (hopefully) before he goes into a newer, cleaner tank. Thanks again for everyone’s help!
  9. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    Since this is a more severe case I would do 50% for as long as three weeks to help home out. After that I would do 25% a week just for regular maintenance
  10. andrearamirezo91

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    I haven't been using it for long but it's supposed to be like a vitamin supplement for your fish. The instructions say to soak the food in it and also dump some in the tank, but I never really dump any in there as I feel like it would dirty my tank up lol. So I just soak his food in the stuff every day before feeding him and the rate at which his fins regenerate is crazy. He's a fin biter so he's constantly chomping off pieces of his tail and has done quite a bit of damage to it. The first time I saw the damage he had done to himself I thought it would take forever to regenerate and was completely heart broken, but it manages to grow back almost fully before he nips at it again (I have noticed that he only does this when he spends too much time alone, so usually on week days when I'm at work lol. During the weekend all is fine. Needy little thing :rolleyes:) I had two other fish with serious fin nipping habits in the past and I can tell you that their tails took twice as long to even start growing back in. So based on my own personal experience, I totally recommend it :) It might give your boy the strength he needs to recover from the finrot too. Remember this is only a vitamin supplement though. Pristine water and daily water changes are still imperative.

    Some people here might not agree with me at all, but I have cured finrot in the past with daily water changes and a little help from Bettafix. Some claim that it harms the fish's labyrinth organ (while others disagree - or claim to have had success with it) but I have been using the product for years and have always had great results. I have also heard people question how an "all natural oil" would be able to cure an infection, but I have an organic garden at home and treat tons of fungal infections in my plants with all natural neem oil, so who is to say that bettafix won't have the same effect on your fish? I always keep one at hand when I have bettas and if I do need it, I always under dose (just to play it safe). It's up to you to research a little and decide if you'd want to try it out or not :)
  11. Orion1066

    Orion1066Valued MemberMember

    Sisters ..... Don't you just wonder sometimes if your fish would be better off without "sitters?" I know you were gone for a long while. I have left my tank on autopilot for two weeks before, and all was well when I returned home
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  12. OP

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much! Been doing daily water change since and he’s still pretty active and eating his high protein diet. However there is still no change to his fins (I’ve heard people talk about seeing small white areas on the ends when they’re growing??) and I’m not sure how long it should take on average to grow back, but I’ll persevere!

    Thank you so much for your recommendation and help, I’m definitely going to try out the vitamin supplement if I can find a supplier in Australia!

    Absolutely.... I’d love to know how you took care of the feeding side of things while you were away though!! :)
  13. andrearamirezo91

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    New fin growth looks more clear than white to me. I’ll see if I can take a pic of my boy before heading out to work so you can see. (Running late so cant promise anything! Lol but if not I’ll get back at it tonight
  14. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    I find it easier to just make sure they've stopped shrinking. It can take a while for them to visibly grow back
  15. OP

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    No worries! I can actually see the more clearer areas now which is giving me hope. He is very physically active so it seems like he is completely fine other than the fin rot thank god, so now I guess it just giving it time to heal! Does anyone know how long it normally takes to heal? :)
  16. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    Depends on the age of the fish, but typically it takes a few months.
  17. OP

    frostmystiqueValued MemberMember

    I've just run into a bit of a problem with the parameters of the water. I was doing the water changes (this will be the second week since I came home) and the pH has increased massively from about 7.4 to 8.2-8.4. This has never happened before in the last year that I have been running the tank. However this is also the first time I have been changing the water so regularly. Ammonia was still 0, Nitrites still 0, and Nitrates about 20, so everything else is fairly normal.
    I'm just concerned that this increase in pH is going to have some sort of negative effect on my Betta? Is there any way I can fix this without adding chemicals? Thanks!
  18. nikm128

    nikm128Fishlore VIPMember

    Test your tap PH, as long as it's below 9 I would say the betta won't really care and you won't have to change anything.