New Betta, inflamed gills and gasping for air

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by BettaLover4491, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    Last week I was in my local Petco and I saw a male king betta and I fell in love. I had to wait a few days to purchase the little guy. When I went back I saw that he was laying on the bottom and his gills were swollen and red underneath. He was also gasping for air and would, every once in a while, dart to the top of the bowl and gulp air, or so it looked. I informed a petco worker and she said that I could purchase the fish and if anything happened within 30 days I could bring the fish back and get a refund. She agreed that he didn't look well. I asked her if she or anyone else at Petco would treat him and she said that if I left him he probably wouldn't be treated. I got the impression that they would just leave him there and if he got purchased great but if he didn't then they would be content with letting him die. I decided to buy him and try to treat him and if he died, at least I had attempted to save him.
    I took him home and placed him in a gallon hospital tank with fresh water. I read online that often times swollen gills are caused from ammonia poisoning, so I wanted to get him in fresh water as fast (and as safely of course) as I could. I also added some salt and Melafix for bacterial infections. I have Maracyn two as well, but I haven't added it yet.
    How best do you treat inflamed gills? Also, can I add Maracyn two to the Melafix already in the tank or do I have to do a 100% water change before I add it? I read that ampicillin is best for inflamed gills but my pet store only carried Maracyn two. Thank you for any help!
  2. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    First, remove the salt. Bettas really don't respond well to it. They shouldn't have melafix either. You could try the Maracyn 2, as it's effective against quite a few things. The best thing for him right now is nice, clean water. Are you familiar with cycling your tank?

  3. WaterSpiritValued MemberMember

    Putting him in fresh water with good water parameters did the trick. Melafix is only an antiseptic and is usually used as a temporary solution for fin rot. If he isn't showing signs of fin rot, don't use it, especially not Melafix (instead use Bettafix, but keep in mind that alone could kill him). Treating him with a broad-spectrum antibiotic is probably going to be stressing him out too much; between the ammonia, lack of oxygen in his previous Betta bowl and the move, he just needs fresh, conditioned water and some darkness for a little while. He probably had what you feel he had: inflamed gills due to ammonia levels. Betta normally swim to top of water to gulp air and swim back down; they are labyrinth fish who are capable of breathing under water and air (which is why labyrinth fish are sooo cool!

  4. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    Some websites were saying to add salt and melafix to start with, which is why I did. I'll change to maracyn 2.
    I also wanted to get him in fresh water and out of that tiny bowl with the cloudy disgusting water as soon as possible. So that was my reason for buying the gallon hospital bowl. I added "betta water" that I purchased from the pet store and some tap water I had prepared (set out for 24 hours and added condition to) for another tank I own. I also made sure the temperatures were the same. As for cycling, I am familiar but I would be lying if I said I was an expert. I have read so many different "ways" to prepare and cycle a tank. I do plan to purchase a proper tank for him. Tonight I just wanted to get him some help and fresh water fast because he was not looking well at all.

  5. ZiabisWell Known MemberMember

    OMG, I love your passion. Not many would have even made the attempt. I applaude your actions...
    And of course great job in saving his life. Now you have a new best friend....
    I truly feel bad for any fish in inproper habitats such as a tiny little cup. I hate seeing that...
  6. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    OK. Sounds like a good start.
    You could fishless-cycle a tank for him, but that would take awhile. Another viable option is using Tetra Safe Start.
  7. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    Ok, thank you! Maybe I will wait until tomorrow to add the maracyn two if he isn't doing better. I just don't want to wait too long in case it was something other than the ammonia levels and have him die. If it was just the ammonia levels, should he look better by tomorrow? Or at least improving.
  8. WaterSpiritValued MemberMember

    Yup! He will probably turn right around! Yay for BettaLovers!
  9. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Ammonia causes a lot of damage, so I don't know. :/
  10. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    OK, thank you very much for all of your help! Since the water he is in has the melafix and salt, should I change his water again tonight? I don't want to stress him out too much with all the water changes. I do have bottled water I could use or I could condition some tap water as well. Sorry for all the questions!
  11. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    Ziabis: Thank you =) Hopefully I can save the little guy! I agree, I truly feel bad for the fish that are treated so inhumanely at some pet stores. I was once in a pet store that had bettas in such such small containers they couldn't even turn around or stretch out their fins. It made me sick.
  12. BettaLover4491New MemberMember

    Here are some photos of him.In some you can see the red inflamed gills if you look closely. Thank you again for all of your help!
  13. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah, change it; just use the same water source you had him in and do your best to match the temperature.

    Colder water holds more dissolved oxygen than warmer water, and warmer water encourages bacterial and fungal infections - just something to keep in mind, though you wouldn't want to freeze the little guy. Maybe slowly bring him down to the lower end of betta temperature range and keep him there. Make sure to keep the water well-oxygenated.

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