Urgent: Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by LadyButterfly, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. LadyButterfly

    LadyButterflyNew MemberMember

    I'm extremely worried for my six precious betta fish.

    The circumstance may sound strange, but this is a true situation that I honestly need legitimate help with.

    I ended a toxic relationship recently, with today being the day he was forced to leave my home. His goodbye present to me was him crushing up xanax pills and putting them in each of my bettas tanks.

    Water change day is tomorrow, so I had five gallon buckets of fresh, treated water for the change already set aside and I took all of my babies out of their regular five and ten gallon set ups and put them each in a 1.5 gallon bowl of their own temporarily to get them into fresh water while I tackle their main tanks.

    In this case, a 100% water change should be done, correct? What about the filter? If any remnants of the medication is in them do I need to change everything out completely and lose my cycle? Gravel needs to be thoroughly cleaned too, right?

    This is going to be a long process, but I want it done as soon as possible because their bowls aren't heated, but I do have them in my spare bathroom with a room heater running to keep their temperatures fairly stable.

    Any advice on how to handle this would be appreciated so, so much! Also, is there any symptoms in the fish that I need to look out for? Everyone seems alright I guess, just somewhat more sluggish than usual. I'm hoping so hard that they all pull throw this.
  2. kuhlkid

    kuhlkidValued MemberMember

    God, that's horrible, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I don't know much about the chemical components of Xanax, but I doubt it's anything good for your fish--you'll probably need to abandon your cycles, clean out and start over.

    If you can, set up a heated quarantine for them in the meantime. You may be able to accomplish this by setting their bowls on the floor of a plastic tub (like a shoe storage box, any large plastic box would work well), fill the tub with water almost as tall as the bowls so that the bowls become their own partitions, then place a heater in the tub. The surrounding water will carry the heat to all the bowls, and your babies will be safely separated but also have a nice stable temp. Without filters, you'll want to monitor their ammonia and nitrates regularly and change water at least once a day. But it'll keep them warm and safe until you can sterilize their tanks and establish a new cycle.

    Do you have an LFS? If you go there and explain the loss of your cycle, they may be able to provide you with some substrate or filter media from a healthy tank, to start reestablishing your BB.
  3. AllieSten

    AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Omgosh. How incredibly devastating! What the heck?! I am relieved for you, even though it is hard. You will do better without him.

    Okay so glad you were able to get the bettas into their own tanks for now.

    I would definitely scrub the tanks, but I would run the filter with carbon in it. Can you get some media bags and carbon from the fish store? It should absorb all the meds in the tank. So even if there was any sort of remnants, it should be gone within 24-36 hours.

    As far as the fish are concerned. Not a whole lot you can do but wait it out. I would do lots of water changes, until you can get them back into their bigger tanks. I would expect them to be sluggish. Maybe a bad appetite for a few days. Hopefully they all pull through.

    Good luck!

  4. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    We kept bettas in unheated small bowls forever. It is what was done. Mine lived for 3 and 4 years. Yours will be fine until the tanks are done correctly.
    Put new carbon in all your filters. It will take out what ever medicine is remaining after you do the 100% water change. Your bacteria is probably fine. Xanax effects chemicals in the brain. It is not a antibiotic that targets bacteria.. Take your time, calm down. I will be thinking of you.
    I'm so sorry this is necessary.
  5. California L33

    California L33Well Known MemberMember

    Yeah, change the water, clean the tanks, put lots of carbon in the filters, restart. If your fish were going to be harmed I think they'd have shown it immediately, so probably no long term damage.

    The bad news, your Bettas might be super aggressive until it wears off. Yes, there's scientific information on how Xanax affects fish :rolleyes:-  

    My instinct, don't take this loser back even if he starts taking his meds and stops giving them to fish. I just don't trust anyone who tries to hurt living things. I know he was trying to get to you, and may think, 'they're only fish,' and may even be jealous of them, but lack of empathy for small animals is how most serial killers start. Not saying he'll become one, just that you can do Betta :)
  6. OP

    LadyButterflyNew MemberMember

    Thank you all for the excellent advice!

    I've already began the water changes, and I also took the advice given and placed the bowls in tubs of water with a heater to keep their temperature stable. Thank you, @kuhlkid for that idea.

    As far as he goes, after this stunt there is no chance I'd ever take him back. He's just become too unstable. It's scary, honestly.
  7. kuhlkid

    kuhlkidValued MemberMember

    Again, so so so sorry you're going through this. I'm glad that loser is out of your house. Also really glad that other folks had such good info on the effect of these drugs on fish!! Sounds like you're already taking all the right steps, I'll be sending good vibes to you and your fish <3
  8. JesseMoreira06

    JesseMoreira06Well Known MemberMember

    no disrespect or anything but 3-4 years, Bettas can live up to 10 years in optimal conditions.

    people keep bettas without heaters when they don't know what their doing because LFS dont show the proper steps , but Bettas come from stable warm waters 78-80f, cold water makes their immune system weak.

    for the OP , so sorry about everything that has happened, you've done a great job thus far!! It shows you really love and care for your bettas. Everyone basically gave you great information on what to do . I'm sure they will come out fine , got my fingers crossed for you!!
  9. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Bettas live 3-5 years in optimal conditions. 10 years??? Call Guinness. All 6 of my bettas are now in heated, filtered tanks and I have more problems with them than I did when they were in small glass vases with plants hanging out the tops. They do not live as long either.
    Their water changes are now more frequent,Twice a week vs once every two weeks. They get medicated when needed. Water parameters are tested weekly where they NEVER were before. Bacteria and other pathogens like heat. Don't try to compare what you have just read and haven't actually experienced.
  10. JesseMoreira06

    JesseMoreira06Well Known MemberMember

    wait what ? It's the truth tho I've had a male halfmoon Betta for 6 years nearly going on 7, so have many others so what are you talking about ? I guess your experience in Betta hasn't worked out in your favor...ooopss

    also don't try school someone when you have no idea what I have lol , I have 8 bettas all in separate 5g tanks with heaters , filters and token care of right the way it should be.

    as fish keepers you try to adapt their natural environment as best as possible. glass vases, no filter , no heater?? I have a hard time believing their doing worst being token care of the proper way .

    anyways no need to argue I just wanted to mention that they do need to be in heated, filtered water for long term success just in case new members would see.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  11. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    How are they doing today?
    Hopefully they are back in their tanks and behaving normally.
  12. OP

    LadyButterflyNew MemberMember

    I just wanted to update this, everyone survived the ordeal except for my oldest male. I'd had him since November of 2013 and he was fully grown when I got him, so I'm guessing his age may have played a factor as in why he didn't make it while everyone else did.

    On a more positive note, I'm getting three beautiful boys next week from a breeder to put in my three recently cycled 7 gallon tanks. All of my others have been rescues from either Walmart, pet stores, or Craigslist who I got when they were sickly and nursed them back to health. While the fish themselves may have been free, the cost of their treatment sure wasn't. This time, I wanted to start myself off with healthy fish so more time can be spent simply enjoying them instead of treating them for various illnesses. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited. :)
  13. kuhlkid

    kuhlkidValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much for the update, I'm glad so many of your fish pulled through!! Sounds like you have exciting days in fishkeeping ahead :)

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