I think Lava is sick!

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Phloxface

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I posted on the fish diseases forum already but I wanted some opinions here too... Lava seems to have some weird transluscent stretchy material on his tail. It looks puffy and ballon-like. Also, I may be paranoid but his eyes look a little bulgy (pop eye?). He's been wrapping himself around the plants in his tank (maybe he's itchy?) and the plants seems to have some white cottony slime on them that may have scraped off his body. I examined him closely with a magnifying glass and can't see any white spots on him. His gills have redness around them and his head has red streaks but he's been like that since I got him. It may be his normal coloring...
I'm thinking of treating him with Maracyn 2. I'm going to the store tomorrow to get him some.

I just bought him a new filter and it's a BioWheel. There's only one cartridge with carbon inside. Taking out the carbon would mean removing the whole cartridge. This would make the filter pretty much useless. What should I do? Should I also remove and clean the slimey plants?  I also noticed a lot of tiny white stringy things flying around the tank. Can't tell if it's debris or parasites. I did a 40% water change yesterday but they are still there.

I still have two packets of Maracyn 1 left from when I treated Phlox's fin rot.  Should I put some in tonight? Can I mix Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2?

He was in an unheated tank for a week so that may have caused his problems. It's heated now at 81 degrees. I tried to keep his water as clean as possible while it was unheated/unfiltered but he's still sick!  :'(
 

poefox

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I'd put it in...it sounds like either some kind of parasite or some kind of fungal infection. You would probably want to clean those plants--don't use soap but hot water and scrub then leave to dry--and maybe give the tank a good vacuuming. Mardel also works for that and also Fungus Clear but you should be okay with what you have. Don't apply the medecine till after you vacuum and don't forget to take the filter out.

Good luck and I hope you manage to deal with this...
 

chickadee

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With a bio-wheel filter the bacteria grows on the wheel and not the cartridge so you are still cycling even if you get rid of the cartridge. But you can do one of two things, there is filter bonded material that is VERY CHEAP that I used all the time and never holds carbon. I only used the carbon ones when I had to take out medication and then only got a small container of activated carbon and made a small package of it in a coffee filter and put in the place where the cartridge goes. Otherwise I just cut a piece of the bonded filter media to fit the spot and used it INSTEAD of buying the commercial made filter cartridges and spending a fortune. Here is what it looks like:



(get the UNCUT BLUE BONDED PADS) and cut off a piece equal to the size of the cartridge size and put in the slot and you are good to go until it won't let anything through anymore and you can rinse it out in used tank water many times and one of those pads will last you for a LONG time. It will save you hundreds of dollars in cartridges. For this time since you need something in a hurry you can get a bag of the stuff that they use to stuff pillows with (polyester fiberfill) at Walmart or some craft store and just put a piece in there loosely - all it needs to do is catch the garbage and junk that the water needs to have filtered out. Just don't PACK it in, just enough to loosely fill the compartment. A big bag will be pretty cheap and you can change it often if you need to.

If you have a filter cartridge for the biowheel that has carbon in it and you need the cartridge, just break the little cage a little on the bottom where all those slits (a screwdriver works very well for this) are just enough to pour out the carbon and dump the carbon out then put the cartridge back into the filter without the carbon and either get another small package of filter cartridges to put in one after the medications are removed or get a small container of activated carbon so you can put some back into THAT cartridge through the SMALL hole you made in the bottom of the cartridge.  That way you can keep using the same cartridge and dump the carbon out when you need to medicate and refill when you need to remove the medication.  Saves money on the cartridges.  If I didn't explain that well let me know my brain is misfiring today  .

Also, when it comes to medications, he needs Mar-Oxy instead of Maracyn-2 or Maracyn.  Mar-Oxy is of the same family of medications but is good for both bacterial and fungal infections and both of the others are ONLY for bacterial infections.  It sounds like he is in need of both types of meds and this should cover all of them.  I have not had personal experience with this family of products but from those who have I have heard good things.

It does sound like he is beyond what Melafix and Pimafix will take care of.  Although when you do start to stock up your fish pharmacy and have a bit of extra money they are drugs that may save you money on the more expensive stuff later on.  It is just that Lava is too sick for them right now.

Please keep a close eye on him and remember to remove the carbon BEFORE adding the medication and the medication of this type works best at 82 degrees.  (all of them seem to except Ich meds that need 85 degrees for 14 days)

Please keep us informed on how he is doing and how he is eating.  As long as he is eating like normal, he does not know he is sick.  If he is swimming around and active he is not uncomfortable so be thankful he is a youngster and happy.   

Take care of you and try not to worry too much, if you do not take care of you, you cannot take care of him.  You are doing all you can and clean water and the meds will do him some good.  He is a little fishie with a will and a good strong personality, you told us all about it.   

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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I think you are right, after reading the pamphlet of all the Mardel medication products last night I had already decided it was Maroxy that he needed. It looks like he has body fungus caused by ich.  I was thinking of adding Coppersafe as well to kill off any remaining ich that are swimming in the water. I don't see any white spots on Lava but it's hard to tell as his body is a shiny silvery color. I did see lots of thread-like white things in the water the past few days which I thought was debris. It's very possible it is ich. Lava only started wrapping himself around the plants and stuff in the past day or so as if he were itchy. He is still swimming and his appetite is good (although he still only eats one pellet every hour) He has been eating about 4-6 pellets a day total.
Last night I put in a packet of Maracyn just in case. (This was before I decided to use Maroxy) and removed his filter. This morning the moldy looking patches on his tail already look better so maybe it helped a little. His one eye still looks swollen.
I'll take your advice about opening the filter cartridge and dumping the carbon. I can always buy a new cartridge. They are not that expensive. I don't like leaving the filter completely off in his tank...  The temp is about 80-81 degrees. Should I raise it more?
 

chickadee

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When you turn the filter off for more than 30 minutes your good bacteria die off so your cycle will have to start over. I am so sorry you did not know this. You never turn off your filter, just remove the cartridge. It is better for it to run without a cartridge than not to run at all. All that happens is the gunk like leftover food and stuff gets by instead of being filtered out. It is better to have it in but you need the carbon out and so when the carbon is out of the cartridge just put the filter back and then realize you are going to have to watch the ammonia level like crazy because your tank is not cycled. It can go toxic on you in a couple of days. If he has Ich then he is going to have to be in 85 degree temperature for a minimum of 14 days to kill the ich parasite. That is not a request on my part but a necessity. Fish are able to recover from ich without medication with just raising the temperature and leaving it there, but since he has other problems he needs the medication too. The small threadlike things, do they look like little thread worms on the glass and floating in the water? About a quarter of an inch long? If so they are planaria. They are harmless and not a sign of disease. They generally mean there is food in the tank that is uneaten or they water parameters are not what they could be. Which is not unusual in an uncycled tank. We do need to address the problem of his health though. So back to the "Ich", I would raise the temperature by one degree about every 2 hours until 85 is reached and then he has to stay there for 14 days. NO let up or you will give the parasite a chance to settle on him again. Do a good water change to begin with so he will be okay before the medication starts and won't need to have the water cooled by a water change.

If you have questions or problems let me know.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Yeah, they are thread-like things swimming/floating in the water. Considering he's been spitting out his food the first few days I had him there probably is uneaten food in there. I did a 30% water change in his tank on Friday and another yesterday. I will thoroughly vacumn his gravel tonight and replace the water suctioned out before adding the Maroxy. That should give him a cleaner start.
The filter had only been running for a day as I had just gotten it so I doubt there was that much bacteria there yet. I'm breaking open the cartridge now and taking out the carbon and getting it started again. In the future I'll remember never to turn it off for too long.
 

chickadee

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I do hope you know I am not trying to boss you but I do not want you to be having a problem and wasting your medicine. It is hard to know what to do when your fish are new and I will only try to help when I think it is needed.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Oh no! I appreciate your help.  If I didn't want opinions I wouldn't have asked. I don't want to waste money and time buying incorrect meds either. It's really hard to describe what the stuff on his tail looks like. I wish I could take a photo and post it but it doesn't show up clearly. It just looks like parts of his tail are semi transparent and looks like blobs of mucous only it's not mucous. It's not on the ends of his tail, but more in the middle, right where the fringes start in the webbing. It looks like parts of his tail are "stretched" and flimsy looking like a deflated stretched ballon. I examined him with a flashlight and magnifying glass and can see no ich or parasites on him.  He's eating and swimming and has stopped rubbing against the plants. If not for the weird stretchy parts on his tail I'd say he looks fine. I'm really baffled as to what I should buy for him. Meds are expensive and I don't want to waste money on something he doesn't need. I don't know what to do now...
 

chickadee

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Sounds like finrot is attacking his webbing between the ribs of the fins. they get kind of transparent and stretched out looking. It is a bacterial infection and will take a long time to heal and needs really clean water and will need medications to heal. It probably got started due to the uncycled tank when he was held at the store and the conditions he was forced to endure there. It will need a warm and medicated and very clean place to go away. It should improve along with everything else with the treatment you will be giving him but will take longer for the regeneration of the fins to happen and will need to have Melafix and Pimafix to treat him even after the 14 days of treatment for Ich are over. When he is done with Maroxy then the treatment with Melafix and Pimafix should begin. I am so sorry to have to recommend so much at a time but he is one sick little betta and needs to be treated. Ich is serious and so is finrot. He was truly mistreated evidently before you got him and it is not going to help that the tank is not cycled yet. You are going to have to keep a very close check on the ammonia and nitrite and nitrate levels and the minute they get above the levels of tolerance you will have to do massive water changes which is going to interfere somewhat with the treatment hes getting with the meds. Just could you post your readings every day and we will get him through this. I promise I will be here for you to tell you how to manage this as it is going to be a bit complicated with everything to take into consideration. Get a cheap thermometer to check the temperature of the water you will be adding to his tank when you add it for water changes so the temperature will not fluctuate a lot. It won't cost more than a dollar or so if you get a cheap one even a baby rectal thermometer will do from the drug store but be more expensive. one of the floating thermometers from the fish store works the best but are kind of hard to read so I hope your eyesight is good.

You can wait for a couple of weeks to get the Melafix and Pimafix as you won't be starting them until you are finished treating for the ich. I hope that helps the finance a bit.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Actually I don't think he has ich as I have examined him closely and see nothing on him. I think what he has is probably finrot and in it's fairly early stages since he has not lost any length or parts of his tail. I have decided to treat him with maracyn 2 and also will add Coppersafe just in case of ich.  I treated Phlox's finrot the same way and he recovered quickly and his tail is already showing regrowth and looks nice and thick and healthy now. It should help but if it doens't I'll try something else. Finrot is really the best description of what he has.  I will use the Melafix and Pimafix after the treatment is finished just to help his healing along. Don't know if I can afford one of those good kits for doing water readings. Each one costs about $20 and it would cost me over $100 for all of them. I think I can pick up one of the Mardel 5-in-1 kits. I know they aren't as good but it's all I can do now. He's had massive water changes twice this weekend and will get another later when I vacumn his gravel. I already took out all his plants and ornaments and washed them in hot water and soaked them in hot salty water.  That planaria stuff is really GROSS! Even if it is harmless I want it out of there!

I went through a lot of problems like this with Phlox's tank too... cloudy water, foamy on top, planaria, finrot... His tank is probably almost cycled now and looks clean and clear.  I really wish I could have cycled the tank before Lava came but he was bought on impulse because he was suffering. He'll make it through this. The cloudy gross water probably bothers me more than him. If his ammonia levels are high I've seen some fizzy tablets you can buy that gets rid of it. Do you think they work well? I'll get some readings tomorrow.
 

chickadee

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The cloudy water is the bacteria establishing itself, do not get rid of it.  It is normal and needs to happen.  The planaria is something the little bettas will eat if given a chance.  My Alex likes them when they come around.  I don't have them often because I change my tanks about 50% a couple of times a week but he gets picky about his food sometimes and the Otos do not always eat all their wafer so once in a while I do get the planaria.  He just eats them off the glass and likes them.  Marty never gets them and wouldn't touch them anyway. 

You have to do what you want to do with the medication and all because you are there and I am not.  It is you seeing the situation and not me.  If he does not have white areas and is not flicking on his rocks and stuff then he probably does not have Ich.  But if he does start any of these things you can probably treat it without meds by simply raising the temperature to 85 slowly and leaving it there for at least 14 days, this is what most of us do.

That is a lot to pay for a master test kit.  Here is the best price for a kit that includes ALL of the test kits you will need and is available in all the countries that I am aware of

.

(Where it says type just drop down to put in Freshwater Master Test Kit)

Now I realize that PetSmart is not the most popular place right now but if you copy the page above and take it into the store showing the cost of the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit $13.49 for all the tests you need (not just ONE) they will honor the online price - they are the only chain store that I know of that will do this.  Otherwise the one online from Big Al's is cheaper but there will be postage on it to pay which will make the price higher.  Now this will make the testing withing a reasonable price and it is VERY important unless you want to do daily or every other day water changes on this tank just to be sure that your fish is not suffering ammonia poisoning as it can build up quickly without you noticing and if he has finrot he cannot stand much ammonia at this point.  I am sorry to sound so forceful but the health of the fish is important.  If you cannot afford the test kit then do the water changes but the Maracyn 2 will be diluted down and you will need to add more each time you do a water change.  It is a trade off either way.  you decide.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Wow, that test kit is the exact one I was looking at in the store but it costs about $60 here (I'm in Canada so maybe that's the difference). There are also individual test kits for each thing (ammonia, Ph, Nitrate, Nitrite etc.) but they are about $20 each!
I am so broke now after having to buy everything else I can't afford anything! My Petsmart store did say that if I brought in samples of water from my tanks they would test it for free. Next time I get a chance to go there (this weekend is the soonest) I'll bring water samples of both tanks. It all I can do for now.

Lava seems to be doing okay now. When I went to the store yesterday the shelves were nearly bare! They said their shipment of stock for the week hadn't arrived due to some problems with the delivery truck breaking down.  The meds I wanted were not there. The associate recommended PimaFix so I bought that as you Rose did say it was good stuff. We'll give him a few days and see how he does on it and if needed I'll get something stronger. I vacumned his gravel and made a big water change before starting the meds (40%). I did manage to find a big bag of this cottony fluff at Petsmart to put in his filter. It was pretty cheap too, about $3 for a big bag. I tried opening the cartridge I had yesterday to remove the carbon but couldn't get it all out. When I put it in the filter and turned it on bits of carbon were sent flying all over the tank. Lava went crazy chasing the pieces. He was so cute! I was quickly trying to grab the little pieces and he was racing around trying to get them before me! He even bumped into my hand a few times in his frenzy to get the pieces before I could. Don't know why he wanted them... they were too big to eat!  ;D He's just like a little puppy chasing his toys! 
Lava's appetite has improved and he's now eating 3 pellets/meal twice a day like Phlox. Hopefully his tail will start getting better in a few days. He can't be too sick otherwise, or he wouldn't be acting and eating like a normal little baby Betta brat! 
 

chickadee

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It is always a good sign for them to be brats. But if he has been acting a little funny the Pimafix will never hurt him and it is herbal so he will not develop a tolerance to it like he would the other medications, even Maracyn or Maroxy. If you have Pimafix and already have started it in your fishie pharmacy then my advice would be sometime when the money is not too tight and you don't have a sick fishie, get the companion Melafix and even if it is a small bottle you will have them to use together if you need them for any emergency.

I am so glad that he is being a bad boy. It does mean that he is at least feeling good.

He is chasing the carbon to TRY to eat it. It may be too big but he is too little, young and dumb yet to know that. He thinks anything that goes into the water that way is to eat so do be careful what goes into the water as it will go into HIM if he can manage it. He is getting more than enough to eat so don't give him any additional food unless it is the greens or peas. That is way enough pellets for a tiny body. Such a funny little boy.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Lava seems to be doing well on the Pimafix. He's lively and eating well. I'm picking up a small bottle of Melafix tonight and using both together to help his tail heal faster. His tank is still infested with those disgusting planaria worms but Lava seems to like eating them and chasing them. After his meds are finished I'm doing another vacumn and water change and I think I will put my snail into his tank for a while to help clean up those nasty worms! I hear snails really love to eat them! My snail "Zilla" has quite an appetite. I've seen him devour most of a large spear of zuchinni including the skin in a couple of hours! He should have that planaria problem (and a bit of algae) fixed in no time! The sides of the tank are furry with them!  YUCK!

Lava has become a real mommy's boy lately! He loves to be "petted" before he eats. When I get home from work he won't settle down until I put my finger in the tank and gently stroke his tail and fins (I just barely touch him so I don't damage anything) and he wraps himself around my finger and nudges me with his head. It's so sweet! Then he's ready to eat and his appetite is great.

Phlox doesn't let me pet him but he goes crazy when I come home. He's like a puppy. He wiggles like crazy and follows my finger around and it takes him a while to settle down before I can get him to pay attention and see the pellets I drop in.

Most fish get excited when they see a human hand hovering over the tank because they know it means food. It seems Bettas actually MISS their humans and seeing you is more important than food. Just like a pet mammal. 
 

chickadee

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bettas DO get amazingly close to their owners, especially the young ones. You are their MOMMY and they will get to love you very much. It will really hurt their feelings if you scold or discipline them by doing what they see as a slight. It is going to be very important for them to have quality time with you and it wil be painful to them emotionally if you do not spend some time with them. They are very intelligent and learn what to do very quickly and they will be so very quick to do what they see pleases you. There are a few of them who are stubborn in nature and will be cantankerous but even they warm up to their owners and seek their approval to some degree.

It sounds like you have a "lover" and a "cutie" and you are very fortunate as they will be easy to train.

I am so glad that Lava is doing well. I do not know about the snail eating the planaria. When Alex had them in his tank the snail would not touch them. He was strictly a pellet and algae eater. Alexander loved them though and had the problem taken care of in a hurry. In fact he would eat them before his betta food.

Yes the Melafix and Pimafix together will help with the regeneration of the fins faster than alone but I do know it is a bit to spend so I do congratulate you on your choice.

Keep up the good work, you are a great betta Mommy!!!

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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I'm as attached to my little guys as they are to me. The first thing I do when I get home is go see my fishies and talk to them.  I tend to their tanks before I even make myself dinner. I've always spoiled my pets and fish are no different. I'm always browsing the fish store looking at plants (live) and things to make their tanks more beautiful and fun for them. They've become quite an obsession!  ;D I figure it's going to take until about December to get their tanks looking the way I want with plants, rocks, driftwood and so on.

I got so fed up with trying to see my baby through a wall of furry slime (planaria) I took matters into my own hands. I tore off a big lob of the filter fiber I had bought and just cleaned the glass, ornament and plants with it. It seems to work really well and the glass is clean and clear now! My filter input tube was all clogged with the slimy mess and after I cleaned that it took about 20 minutes for the filter to clear out the rest of the planaria that was flying around. Blech! That stuff just makes me sick! After his first course of meds are through and I'll do his 25% water change and I'll vacumn up the rest of the planaria from the gravel. I think I'll continue the Pimafix and Melafix for another week just to make sure everything is healthy.

I have to clean the inside of the tank carefully to avoid squashing Lava into the glass. He's so curious about what I'm doing he gets in the way and follows my hand around the tank.  ;D  Phlox does the same thing!
 

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Rusty does the same kind of thing, though he's more cautious about water changes than he was before; he still comes to admire the flow but doesn't try to get in like he used to. Bettas can be so curious. You might want a snail in that other tank with Lava, unless you think some new living creature might freak him out too much. Keep the tank nice and clean. Nameless, my snail, does.
 
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