New and Inexperienced with a Sick Betta Important 

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Hello, I'm SparkyShark43,

As of a few nights ago, I'm now the proud mother of a (probably) male betta fish! It all happened so fast I didn't even have the proper supplies to care for him. The thing is, I've only ever cared for goldfish so I'm new to the whole ordeal.

Here's a little information about my fish:
Finn was unwanted by his last owner, so I took him in. Unfortunately, his first owner had him for about a month and never changed his tank water. His small, 1 gallon, tank had no filter which helped the water become rancid (it smelled like a sewer). I brought him home and got him into a new tank as fast as I could (I know you're supposed to let things set before slowly introducing a new fish, but the tank was that bad). I used betta conditioner to get the tank ready as soon as possible. However, I soon noticed his lethargic behavior, and noted how his fins were falling off in chunks. He also refused to eat even when I offered him bloodworms! I took to Google and went crazy trying to research everything I could. I diagnosed him with fin rot after extensive research, and I undertook many trips to my local pet stores to ensure I had the right equipment and medication. I started off with Betafix, but eventually started using Melafix after he lost the top half of his dorsal fin. After four days of medication, he's started to explore his tank, zip around, and eat! His fins have also begun to grow back. However, I noticed that he might be missing a few scales around his face and part of his back, so I'm still worried the infection may have already reached his body.

Remember, I'm new at caring for bettas, so advice of ANY kind is greatly appreciated.
 

FinalFins

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Hi! Welcome.

Cheers to you for saving him.

How big is the new tank? Is it filtered and heated?

Can you get a test kit? For ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
I would say stop using the 'fix' medications. They are tree oils and to my brain, they are snake oil. So basiclly useless.

What I suggest is daily 25% WC and that should help alot.
 

BlackSkirtTetra

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Often the best thing you can do for sick fish is change their water. Since the tank wasn’t cycled, I’m assuming the water parameters weren’t good. Adding the stress from moving him and his poor tank conditions before I think it was this that made him start to lose hours fins. Not an external disease.

Could you show us a picture of the betta?
 
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FinalFins said:
Hi! Welcome.

Cheers to you for saving him.

How big is the new tank? Is it filtered and heated?

Can you get a test kit? For ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
I would say stop using the 'fix' medications. They are tree oils and to my brain, they are snake oil. So basiclly useless.

What I suggest is daily 25% WC and that should help alot.
Hi!

I'm a college student, so I can't have a very big tank, but I was able to get him a 3.5 gallon tank with a filter and a heater. I've also done a 25% tank change already. I've tried to include a few soft plants to give him plenty of places to hide and explore.

Thanks for responding!
 

FinalFins

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3.5 is close to minimum (2.5) but it can be done.

From your profile you are aware of the nitrogen cycle right? and cycling a tank?

With bettas, you want live plants. No risk of fin rip, cover/shelter and doesnt take away volume like how wood/rocks would go. In fact I also say go bare bottom to give as much water volume as possible,
 
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BlackSkirtTetra said:
Often the best thing you can do for sick fish is change their water. Since the tank wasn’t cycled, I’m assuming the water parameters weren’t good. Adding the stress from moving him and his poor tank conditions before I think it was this that made him start to lose hours fins. Not an external disease.

Could you show us a picture of the betta?
The lighting isn't great, but here's a pic:
 

BlackSkirtTetra

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Soft silk plants also works for bettas if you don’t want to or can’t take care of a planted tank. Just make sure they don’t have any hard edges.
 
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FinalFins said:
3.5 is close to minimum (2.5) but it can be done.

From your profile you are aware of the nitrogen cycle right? and cycling a tank?

With bettas, you want live plants. No risk of fin rip, cover/shelter and doesnt take away volume like how wood/rocks would go. In fact I also say go bare bottom to give as much water volume as possible,
Thanks for responding!

I've not only had goldfish before, but I'm also a biology major, so I know a little about how fish excrete nitrogenous waste. To my understanding, since fish live in aquatic environments they don't do much dilute the ammonia they produce like a mammal would, so tanks can get pretty disgusting pretty quick if you don't keep up.
 

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Yes, Welcome and congratulations on taking the poor guy and trying to save him! I believe that Betafix, Melafix and Pimafix have their uses, but are really meant to be used when symptoms are minor and just beginning. To your credit, you have done the right things by getting him into clean water, and using *something* to address his fin rot - which has obviously helped! I agree that frequent water changes will help, but will wait for you answers to FinalFins questions about your tank, equipment and water parameters before adding any advice. It sounds like your little guy has the will to live, so let us help :)
 
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BlackSkirtTetra said:
Soft silk plants also works for bettas if you don’t want to or can’t take care of a planted tank. Just make sure they don’t have any hard edges.
Thank you!

BarbaraLocke said:
Yes, Welcome and congratulations on taking the poor guy and trying to save him! I believe that Betafix, Melafix and Pimafix have their uses, but are really meant to be used when symptoms are minor and just beginning. To your credit, you have done the right things by getting him into clean water, and using *something* to address his fin rot - which has obviously helped! I agree that frequent water changes will help, but will wait for you answers to FinalFins questions about your tank, equipment and water parameters before adding any advice. It sounds like your little guy has the will to live, so let us help :)
Thank you! I'm so glad you guys are willing to help me! All I want to do is give him the best life possible!
 

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I would recommend a botanical mix. you can either add adler cones and almond leaves right to the water OR you can boil some water and make a tea with them (and once cooled down add it to the tank). This will release tannins into the water which has beneficial properties for bettas. This will help fight off any infections and help promote scale/fin regrowth. completely natural and not as harsh as the medications. He will LOVE it.

Also, maybe add a small piece of cholla wood as an additional source of tannins. Note, the water will change colors but that will go away with time. If you are concerned about that natural fungus that will no doubt appear on the wood then get yourself a single mystery snail (no babies that way).
 
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LHanna61 said:
I would recommend a botanical mix. you can either add adler cones and almond leaves right to the water OR you can boil some water and make a tea with them (and once cooled down add it to the tank). This will release tannins into the water which has beneficial properties for bettas. This will help fight off any infections and help promote scale/fin regrowth. completely natural and not as harsh as the medications. He will LOVE it.

Also, maybe add a small piece of cholla wood as an additional source of tannins. Note, the water will change colors but that will go away with time. If you are concerned about that natural fungus that will no doubt appear on the wood then get yourself a single mystery snail (no babies that way).
Thank you, I will defiantly try this! I'll look into potential tank mates, but it's going to take a lot of research. I had snails with my goldfish but I read that bettas are more hit or miss depending on their individual personalities.
 

BlackSkirtTetra

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SparkyShark43 said:
Thank you, I will defiantly try this! I'll look into potential tank mates, but it's going to take a lot of research. I had snails with my goldfish but I read that bettas are more hit or miss depending on their individual personalities.
If choosing snails go with one mystery Snail (no population explosions that way) or one Nerite Snail, you could keep more (young can’t develop in freshwater) but your tank is too small. They’ll stay out of the bettas way and East the food he does not eat.
 
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BlackSkirtTetra said:
If choosing snails go with one mystery Snail (no population explosions that way) or one Nerite Snail, you could keep more (young can’t develop in freshwater) but your tank is too small. They’ll stay out of the bettas way and East the food he does not eat.
Sounds like a plan, thank you!
 

LHanna61

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Snails you would have no problem with. The only issue you would run into would be in the betta confuses the antennas for worms but I have never experienced that first hand. The snails usually retreat before that happens plus my Bettas have all been very well manners (but maybe I'm just lucky).

I wouldn't add any fish or shrimp if he's staying in the 3-gallon. I lost track of the comments but I think that's what you said he was living in? Shrimp would get shocked from the amount of water changes (plus you'd have to monitor the GH levels) so unless you decide to upgrade to a 10-gallon then I would say just snail(s) as tank mates. I have 4 snails in with my Betta at the moment and no issues. (One mystery and a few chopstick snails; chopsticks forage under the substrate so they pick up stuff that settles deeper.)

Here is a bottled botanical extract that I use and my betta LOVES it. It's a little expensive but it lasts a long time. (dosed at 1ml for every gallon). I have three tanks (30 gallon, 10 gallon and a 5 gallon) and I've had the same bottle since June-- almost at the end.

(HIGHLY Recommend) BrightWell Fish Recover Botanicals: Amazon.com : Brightwell Aquatics Fish Recover Freshwater Natural Herbal Medication for Open Sores, 500ml : Pet Supplies

Bulk Leaves for tea or adding to tank as is: Amazon.com : 4"-5" Indian Almond Leaves for Freshwater Shrimp, Bettas, Tropical Fish Aquariums & Terrariums - 100 Count : Pet Supplies
 

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BlackSkirtTetra actually must counter that.

A 3.5 is fully stocked with a single betta and with snails that would probably make you have more PWC weekly and less room for errors.

For fish tankmates, a 10 gal is good. For shrimp/snail tankmates a 5 gal is better.
 

LHanna61

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FinalFins said:
actually must counter that.

A 3.5 is fully stocked with a single betta and with snails that would probably make you have more PWC weekly and less room for errors.

For fish tankmates, a 10 gal is good. For shrimp/snail tankmates a 5 gal is better.
I thought that's what I was say haha-- sorry if that's not how it was interpreted. Pro bigger tank for sure!
 

FinalFins

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LHanna61 sorry I meant i must counter BlackSkirtTetra 's statement.

Yes, pro bigger tank
 

LHanna61

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FinalFins said:
LHanna61 sorry I meant i must counter BlackSkirtTetra 's statement.

Yes, pro bigger tank
oh duh! very obvious @ there!
the new layout of everything is taking some getting used to
 
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FinalFins said:
BlackSkirtTetra actually must counter that.

A 3.5 is fully stocked with a single betta and with snails that would probably make you have more PWC weekly and less room for errors.

For fish tankmates, a 10 gal is good. For shrimp/snail tankmates a 5 gal is better.
Good point.
 
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