Should I euthanize?

Meredith

Hi, my little betta, Titan, is in pretty rough shape and I'm wondering if it's time to say goodbye. I've had him for almost 4 years and he's always been a fighter - the pet store gave him to me for free because he was a runt that they thought no one would want, and warned me he probably had health issues and wouldn't live long - his fins were raggedy and he was the size of a minnow.

WELL. He sure proved everyone wrong. I housed him in a 6g tank that I'd been patiently cycling (fishless) for months, and he absolutely thrived. Grew an inch, energetic, lots of personality, always swam over to say hello when I walked by. I even trained him to jump for food. Yeah he never developed long billowing fins or vibrant colours but he's always been my beautiful betta who surpassed all expectations and lived longer than any fish I've ever had.

Unfortunately though, his health has deteriorated in the last few weeks. He's become lethargic, got Popeye which resolved a bit with meds, but now it looks like the other eye is flaring up as well. Even before this I sensed he was going blind because he wasn't following my finger around with as much gusto and accuracy (but he tried). Now in the last week or two he's spent most of the time laying semi-sideways on the bottom of his tank, breathing heavily. I keep expecting to find him dead, but he continues to surprise me. He'll perk up and act normal for a bit, but then regress again. He still wants to eat but it takes a lot of coaxing to get him to the food (I don't think he can see it well) I think he has a fungus on his head, which also resolved a bit with meds but not much, and his spine looks curved/hunched (but I don't know if that's just old age).

I have some clove oil that I bought when my last betta had dropsy (but by the time I got home from the store it was too late that was when I decided to start all over with a new tank and a fishless cycle). I really, really, really don't want to have to use it for Titan, and the fact that he's held on this long and still has the will to live makes me hesitate even more. But I don't want him to suffer either. I check his scales regularly - I'm terrified of dropsy after watching it take down Alpha. If he develops that, knock on wood, I will use the clove oil for sure. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

I know 4 years is fairly old for a betta, but I would really love to see him defy every odd and surpass 5. Any thoughts are welcomed, thanks ❤

*Aquarium info*

A couple of years ago I moved Titan into a 7g tank - same water, gravel, filter cartridge, he adapted beautifully.

Last week I noticed that the sponge I put over the filter output (to reduce the current) was dislodged and pushed too far into the filter, causing it to not work properly. I don't know how long it was like that, I didn't test the water but it definitely didn't look as pristine as it normally does.

I moved Titan back to the 6g, again with same filter cartridge, some of the gravel, most of the same ornaments/hidey spots, about half the water (I know that's extreme but I had a bad feeling about the ammonia in that tank and didn't think Titan had time for a more gradual approach).

I've never had a problem with either of these tanks before (they have different but similar filters. I seeded the cartridge from the 6g when I moved him 2 years ago, until the new filter cartridge was cycled, and have continued to use it in my other aquariums since (I have a few bottom feeders in one tank and two African dwarf frogs in the other. Titan has always lived alone).
 

AcornTheBetta

Hi, my little betta, Titan, is in pretty rough shape and I'm wondering if it's time to say goodbye. I've had him for almost 4 years and he's always been a fighter - the pet store gave him to me for free because he was a runt that they thought no one would want, and warned me he probably had health issues and wouldn't live long - his fins were raggedy and he was the size of a minnow.

WELL. He sure proved everyone wrong. I housed him in a 6g tank that I'd been patiently cycling (fishless) for months, and he absolutely thrived. Grew an inch, energetic, lots of personality, always swam over to say hello when I walked by. I even trained him to jump for food. Yeah he never developed long billowing fins or vibrant colours but he's always been my beautiful betta who surpassed all expectations and lived longer than any fish I've ever had.

Unfortunately though, his health has deteriorated in the last few weeks. He's become lethargic, got Popeye which resolved a bit with meds, but now it looks like the other eye is flaring up as well. Even before this I sensed he was going blind because he wasn't following my finger around with as much gusto and accuracy (but he tried). Now in the last week or two he's spent most of the time laying semi-sideways on the bottom of his tank, breathing heavily. I keep expecting to find him dead, but he continues to surprise me. He'll perk up and act normal for a bit, but then regress again. He still wants to eat but it takes a lot of coaxing to get him to the food (I don't think he can see it well) I think he has a fungus on his head, which also resolved a bit with meds but not much, and his spine looks curved/hunched (but I don't know if that's just old age).

I have some clove oil that I bought when my last betta had dropsy (but by the time I got home from the store it was too late that was when I decided to start all over with a new tank and a fishless cycle). I really, really, really don't want to have to use it for Titan, and the fact that he's held on this long and still has the will to live makes me hesitate even more. But I don't want him to suffer either. I check his scales regularly - I'm terrified of dropsy after watching it take down Alpha. If he develops that, knock on wood, I will use the clove oil for sure. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

I know 4 years is fairly old for a betta, but I would really love to see him defy every odd and surpass 5. Any thoughts are welcomed, thanks ❤

*Aquarium info*

A couple of years ago I moved Titan into a 7g tank - same water, gravel, filter cartridge, he adapted beautifully.

Last week I noticed that the sponge I put over the filter output (to reduce the current) was dislodged and pushed too far into the filter, causing it to not work properly. I don't know how long it was like that, I didn't test the water but it definitely didn't look as pristine as it normally does.

I moved Titan back to the 6g, again with same filter cartridge, some of the gravel, most of the same ornaments/hidey spots, about half the water (I know that's extreme but I had a bad feeling about the ammonia in that tank and didn't think Titan had time for a more gradual approach).

I've never had a problem with either of these tanks before (they have different but similar filters. I seeded the cartridge from the 6g when I moved him 2 years ago, until the new filter cartridge was cycled, and have continued to use it in my other aquariums since (I have a few bottom feeders in one tank and two African dwarf frogs in the other. Titan has always lived alone).
I would wait a week to see if his condition improves and if it gets worse, I would reevaluate and consider my options.
 

Mamastacia3

I agree with Acorn. Unless he seems absolutely miserable, then maybe allow him to live out his days...? If he takes a turn for the worse you can always re-evaluate.
 

Debbie1986

I have euthanized fish before. But in his case, it sounds like age. I agree with others, let him go on his timeline.
 

Meredith

I agree with Acorn. Unless he seems absolutely miserable, then maybe allow him to live out his days...? If he takes a turn for the worse you can always re-evaluate.

Thank you!, ❤️ I don't know what miserable looks like, but he certainly doesn't look happy. Nothing like he did in his prime (second photo). I'm going to pick up some bloodworms or something tomorrow, he's having too much trouble getting the betta pellets - he'll make a valiant effort swimming to the surface and trying to bite at random, but then loses steam and sinks down again. I haven't seen him eat in 2 days. Poor baby But I'm glad you and the others are advising against euthanasia. I really don't want to do that unless it's absolutely necessary.
 

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Mamastacia3

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Bettas are really special, it’s so hard to see them suffer. It sounds like you’ve been a loving fish parent, Titan is lucky to have lived his life with you.

I’ve lost bettas before, it’s never easy, and I have a not-so-healthy guy right now, trying to treat some torn fins and/or bacterial infection. It’s hard.

Big “betta” hugs to you, hope he - and you - somehow feel ‘betta’ soon! ❤️❤️

-Stacia
 

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