My newest boy may have an internal parasite?

Catzenhaft

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My apologies for the length of this post but there's a lot to cover...

I purchased my newest betta, a male opal plakat Wednesday of last week. He is not my first betta, he is the third betta I currently own and my fifth overall.

My tank is a 12 gal, planted, cycled aquarium that I've had waiting for just the right betta. He has no tankmates. Right now he has the tank all to himself. I used dr.Tim's liquid ammonium and seachem's stability to cycle the tank. I made sure that the tank was cycled before I even purchased my betta. I use tap water and I use seachem's prime to condition my tap. I probably use about 1ml more than needed because I have very hard city water. This is something I've done before and had no problems previously.

When I added him, my peremeters were: ammonia, 0ppm; nitrite, 0ppm; nitrate, 5ppm, and a pH of 8. I am using an API liquid test kit. The peremeters have remained the same over the past 5 days. The temperature in the tank has maintained a constant 80 degrees.

When I acclimated him I tested the store water and discovered it was very close to my own tank water with the exception being the pH was a bit lower. I still acclimated him as I normally would. I floated his cup for 30 minutes and then gradually added a little tank water to his cup over the course of 30-40minutes. I then netted him and added him to the tank - none of the store water was added into my tank. I watched his behavior closely until the tank lights went off and he appeared to be fine. I did notice the store water had a very medication/fragrance smell to it. That's really the only way I can describe it.

It wasn't until the next morning that I noticed he was "twitching". He wasn't rubbing on decor, glass or the substrate. He would just randomly twitch. Sometimes two to three times in a row. Sometimes they were small, other times he would twitch so hard he would dart. They were completely random and very hard to capture.

So I consulted two of the groups I'm apart of on FB, many were stumped and echoed my concern that something wasn't quite right. I finally got some sort of a response from another owner who seemed to believe he may be experiencing an internal parasite.

I was kind of a bit skeptical, but I didnt completely rule it out.

In my personal opinion, I don't think it's a parasite. His poop is normal, he's eating regularly, he's behaving normally -besides the random twitching, there is no ammonia reading whatsoever so it can't be because of that and he was acclimated properly to the pH.

So in an effort to start a bit of trial and error, I started by adding a bit of freshwater aquarium salt to his tank to give it a try and see what happens after 24hrs. I also noticed him flaring at his reflection and took some wax paper and covered up 2 of the more reflective sides of his tank. The next morning no twitching.

I've continued to watch him closely since then and I haven't seen him twitch like he was before. I don't know if this is just how he is when he's in a new environment, maybe perhaps his reaction to his reflection or the light on the glass of the tank, or if the salt fixed the issue... or what.

So my question is, what do you think? Could it still be a parasite of some sort??

** I did give him a water change 2 days ago to remove the salt from his tank. Also, I do have ParaGard and Polygaurd on hand in my medication kit incase it's needed. I fknt like treating my bettas for something I'm not 100% sure is effecting them.

** The water in the photos and videos is yellow due to tannins from the driftwood. (Feel the need to add this because I get a lot of people complaining about my water clarity.)

IMG_20191211_183050_362.jpg
 

lilirose

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I think it's very likely that the problem was part "new tank, unfamiliar water" and part "I can see my reflection". From your video, I'd bet that the cause is the pH change- although you did the right thing by slowly acclimating him, full acclimation to any pH change takes days. Even if the difference was only a few "points" of a full number, remember that the pH scale is logarithmic, and each full number is a tenfold difference.

Now you know what your Betta does when he's stressed out! This is good because you can't see stress stripes on a white Betta.

I have never known of an internal parasite to cause a Betta to twitch. They may "flash", or dart around the tank rubbing on things, if they have external parasites, gill flukes, or Ich.

Aquarium salt does nothing to help Betta fish- they come from extremely soft, non-saline water in nature and forcing them into brackish water will weaken a sick fish and do nothing to a strong, healthy one. The advice to add salt for every problem is another gem that has "leaked" from other fish species- a lot of aquarium keepers assume that if something works for one species, it will work for them all, and whenever something doesn't outright kill a fish, people will jump to the conclusion that it helped if their fish survives, which has led to 75% of the Internet recommending salt for all Betta ills.
 
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Catzenhaft

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lilirose said:
I think it's very likely that the problem was part "new tank, unfamiliar water" and part "I can see my reflection". From your video, I'd bet that the cause is the pH change- although you did the right thing by slowly acclimating him, full acclimation to any pH change takes days. Even if the difference was only a few "points" of a full number, remember that the pH scale is logarithmic, and each full number is a tenfold difference.

Now you know what your Betta does when he's stressed out! This is good because you can't see stress stripes on a white Betta.

I have never known of an internal parasite to cause a Betta to twitch. They may "flash", or dart around the tank rubbing on things, if they have external parasites, gill flukes, or Ich.

Aquarium salt does nothing to help Betta fish- they come from extremely soft, non-saline water in nature and forcing them into brackish water will weaken a sick fish and do nothing to a strong, healthy one. The advice to add salt for every problem is another gem that has "leaked" from other fish species- a lot of aquarium keepers assume that if something works for one species, it will work for them all, and whenever something doesn't outright kill a fish, people will jump to the conclusion that it helped if their fish survives, which has led to 75% of the Internet recommending salt for all Betta ills.
Interesting, thank you!

I've added many betta fish to tanks with differing pH. The store pH was 7.8 and my pH is 8. Same as the other two I already own. Realistically, yes that's a jump, but not a crazy one. Glad to know he's just a little more sensitive than my other two.

Everyone has their own beliefs in aquarium salt and thanks for echoing yours. I'm well aware the adverse effects of keeping bettas in tanks where aquarium salt is consistantly used. I've discovered with some cases it does help, especially if it's something like external bacteria. I've found if you use it like a medicine dip it'll kill most bacteria almost instantly, but usually not something I'd use if I was certain a betta had ich, body rot, or any severe fungal infection. Most of the time I rely on tannins and warm, clean water.

I added maybe 1/3 of a teaspoon, if that and it was removed with a water change 24 hrs later, so realistically in a 12 gal tank that's way below what the majority of Hobbyists I know reccomended if you're treating an entire tank for ich.

As for how he reacts to his reflection, this fish will flare at his reflection on the water's surface. I've never had a betta do that before - so yes, some can act really strangely when it comes to their reflections. I wouldnt put it past him to "twitch" if he caught glimpse of himself.
 

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