Rescued sick betta (fin rot?)--what now? Help

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by sweetclare, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. sweetclare

    sweetclareNew MemberMember

    Hello! I'm writing this post because two weeks ago I rescued a pretty sick-looking betta from a colleague who wasn't taking care of it at all. It had been stuck in a 1/4 gallon bowl with dirty water and no filtration for at least 2-3 weeks. I was able to transfer it to a 1 gallon tank with undergravel filtration but unfortunately had to leave it with the original owner for that first week when I was called away unexpectedly. Of course, when I got back, the tank looked really bad--uneaten food and an even sicker fish.

    I'm pretty sure he has fin rot--his fins are kind of clamped, fraying at the edges, and thinning. He has also stopped eating and spends a lot of time hanging around behind his plant at the bottom of the tank (not lying down, but not swimming much either). He also seems to have funny greyish skin under his mouth; it doesn't seem "fuzzy" like with fungus though.

    I have been making 25% water changes with treated water for the last four or five days and have tried to keep the water as consistently warm as possible. Sometimes his fins are out and he swims around like normal, but sometimes he's drifting around with his fins clamped for hours on end, so I'm pretty sure he's not getting better. I'd like to get him a bigger tank, but as a poor college student in a tiny shared room that's just not a possibility right now (hence the reason I wasn't planning to own a fish...). Hopefully this summer I can make an upgrade.

    Sorry if that's a lot of back story! I guess I really have two main questions (1) Do you think the fish might have something besides fin rot that is causing the lethargy/funny skin/not eating? and (2) How should I go about treating the rot? I'm going to buy a heater, thermometer, and water-testing kit this week, but I'm confused by the multitude of medications/ conditioners/ vitamins that are out there. Where should I start?

    Please let me know! This was definitely a surprise fish, but now that he's here, I'd really like to help him get better, even if I don't have the best resources for taking care of him.

    Thanks :)
  2. Tigerfishy

    TigerfishyWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome sweetclare. First of all, well done for doing your research!
    The grey skin under his face is normal, 2 of my boys have had it, it's part of their colour... OK, one problem sorted!!

    Best thing for him is to keep his water pristine with daily changes and keep the temp around 80 and as consistent as possible (also when you get the heater, it will be a ton easier).

    Soaking his food in garlic juice or garlic guard is good for him, and adding stress coat to the water will also help him heal and good for his slime coat. Basically, the pristine water will do wonders for him, and again, test your water the second you get your testing kit (Liquid test kits recommended, the strips are a bit pants!). Test mainly for the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (Levels should be, in order, 0, 0 and under 20.).

    Let us know the water test results when you know, and keep up regular (and preferably daily) water changes with Prime, add stress coat and feed him garlic soaked pellets for his immune system.

    If there's anything else, someone will add it.

    Good luck!!!!
  3. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello SweetClare and Welcome to Fish Lore!

    In addition to Tigers great advice, Vita Chem will help him to heal and help to grow the fins back if they aren't too badly damaged.

    Vita Chem, Garlic juice (jarred, or fresh) or Garlic Guard and Stress Coat would be what I would use if I were faced with this same situation.

    Best wishes and please keep us posted.
  4. Tigerfishy

    TigerfishyWell Known MemberMember

    Ah Vita-Chem, how could I forget, I swear by that product?!! (Can you tell I've still to wake up properly haha?) Was going to add that we would love a picture when he feels all better!
  5. uprightandlocked

    uprightandlockedWell Known MemberMember

    I'm going to second and third the recommendations for Vita Chem. I use this product in all of my tanks and I swear by it. If you want proof, look for my thread called "Monster Post: My fish on the move." You'll see before and after pics of my guy Vanguard who had severe fin rot when I bought him. Through water changes, Vita Chem and garlic in his water he's growing his tail back now.

    If your little guy is in a 1g tank I also second (and third!) the daily water changes. Its the best thing you can do if you have a small tank for your betta. I am also not sure about your under gravel filter. I don't know too much about them because I've never used them but from the little I have read on here, they aren't highly recommended. I think they're fairly ineffective. Hopefully someone else will know more about that.

    Good luck with your new little guy. Does he have a name?
  6. Furallicah

    FurallicahWell Known MemberMember

    I was going to say someting on this thread until Tiger attacked it (rofl). Lets see maybe there is something I can add......Nope lol. But I will watch this thread with intrests! Best of Luck!
  7. OP

    sweetclareNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all of your advice, everybody. I managed to get a little heater today but haven't installed it just because I'd like to have a thermometer first. The tank's so small and I'm afraid it might overheat quickly. I kept up the water change and plan to continue doing so.

    The fish--I'm calling him Vermillion, because he's a really deep red color--doesn't seem to be any worse. He has been hanging out at the bottom of his tank pretty much all the time though. Is that just because he's feeling sick?

    I'm ordering the things you recommended, the testing kit, and a thermometer offline tonight because (as I found today) the only accessible pet store -- Petco -- is pretty miserably stocked. Hopefully they'll get here soon. I'll definitely keep you posted and hope to have some good news soon :)
  8. Tigerfishy

    TigerfishyWell Known MemberMember

    Attack haha :angelnot: :;nin2 ! Well I thought I'd try to be useful and share my limited knowledge. I say limited, as that is about all I know haha!! I do know it works though, which is how I know it.
  9. jerilovesfrogs

    jerilovesfrogsFishlore VIPMember

    hi sweetclare, he might be hanging in one spot cos he's cold. the heater will help just keep an eye on the temps, as you know.

    i assume the tank's not cycled? the water changes everyone mentioned is a good idea....and adding prime(a water cond./detoxifier) will detoxify the ammonia for 24hrs in between changes.

    i also vote for vita-chem! it's helped my boys a lot! a couple drops in daily while he's recovering will help :;bn
  10. marina3

    marina3Valued MemberMember

    Hi sweetclare!!! Congrats in saving a life...With what you have already acquired, is going to make a huge difference in Vermillion wellbeing. For now, concentrate in giving him pristine water, stable temperature and watch him closely...Later on, when you can, get the filter so you can start the cycling process, but for now I will be more concerned in getting him stronger. What kind of heater did you get? I am asking because the ones fitted for 1 to 3 gal will not get the water "too hot" so you don't have to worry about waiting to have a thermometer to install the heater. Those mini heater just warm up the bowl (or little tank) a few degrees so keeping a lid over it will help keep a nice warm enviroment (in case that your room is below 73-74 degrees)....Keep us posted!!!