What Happened To My Siamese Fighter And How I Can I Treat Him?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Briana Clifford, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    Hi there,

    I left my betta fish in the care of my family members when I went out of town for three nights. He was fed daily. Background info: I perform 30-40% water changes weekly, he is in a Blue Planet 70L (18gallon) tank with 8 neon tetras and 3 corydora catfish. Planted tank. No additional aeration. Built in filter. Heater on around 22C. Has driftwood. pH levels typically around 7.0. No added salt. I've had the betta for about 2-3 weeks now, have had the other fish for around 3-6 months.

    He looked perfectly beautiful when I left and showing signs of distress or illness. I come back home to his fins all looking clumped together and stiff. He keeps gasping and he can barely move due to his fins being scrunched up. His colour has gone very dull which I think is being caused to appear that way due to a faint white film over his scales.

    I have since moved him out of the tank in case it is contagious and put him my spare 24L (7-8 gallon) tank with filtration and a heater. I have put in some freshwater aquarium salt and stress coat for now. He is still unable to swim well and is gasping a lot/sort of looks like he's yawning very intensely. I have put the heater up to 24C in case maybe the water was too cold or something?

    Here are pics of him after and before.

    What is wrong with him and how can I treat him for it?

    Sorry, typo, meant to say that he was NOT showing signs of distress or illness before leaving.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2017
  2. filtered_light

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    It may just be my phone, but images aren't showing up for me. Don't have advice, but much sympathy and wishes for good luck.
  3. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    Oh thank you :) Hopefully I uploaded the images correctly, I'm not sure because this is my first post haha.

  4. mclemente06

    mclemente06Valued MemberMember

    Wow, that's pretty bad. That seems very odd to me. Are ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels normal in the tank? 22 is pretty low but should be just enough for a betta, and shurely shouldn't cause this type of issue.
  5. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    I spoke to my mum about it (she doesn't know much about fish) and her guess is that he was stressed out by the other quick moving fish and was hanging around the top corner by the filter intake thingy to hide. She reckons his fins are just scrunched up from not moving around for a while? Usually he'd be territorial and loved sitting in the grassy like plant and was very cute hiding in there like a lion in long grass or something :(

    I changed the water before checking what the levels were in the 70L.

    The water parameters now in the 70L are:
    Ammonia - 0ppm
    Nitrite - 0ppm
    Nitrate - 5.0ppm

    The water parameters in the 24L are:
    Ammonia - 0ppm
    Nitrite - less than 0.25ppm
    Nitrate - 5.0ppm
    (This is my snails tank and he's been in there for 3 months or so and I did a 50% water change before putting my betta fish in.)

  6. pixelhoot

    pixelhootValued MemberMember

    If you think he might drown, a breeding net would help keep him closer to the surface of the tank since his fins are gimpy at the moment. Other than that all I can recommend is just giving him time to recover from whatever ailed him. I hope he feels better soon!
  7. Shadow2331

    Shadow2331Valued MemberMember

    Severe case of clamped fins

    Signs of clamped fins in bettas:

    • fins look ‘stuck’ against the fish, pulled in close to their body
    • lethargic(tired)
    • quick jerky movements when it swims
    • wrapping itself around the filter input and/or heater
    • floats near the top with its body vertical
    • stays hidden (its usual behavior in some bettas but if this symptom coupled with stuck fins is new in your betta, it may be suffering from clamped fins)
    • fish stays at the bottom of the tank, attempts to hide in the gravel, squeezes between or underneath decorations.
    Does your betta share any of the above symptoms?? iam sure that its a clamped fins but still just wana be sure
  8. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    To answer:

    Sort of
    My betta did that a lot when he was healthy, isn't doing it now though.
    Not really
    Yes - is at bottom of the tank.

    How do I treat him for clamped fins?

    Thanks for the reply.

    Thank you :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2017
  9. Shadow2331

    Shadow2331Valued MemberMember

    Now i have a confirmed answer, it definitely is suffering from clamped fins,There are numerous causes for clamped fins which is a sign of stress in a betta. Finding the root problem will help you diagnose and treat faster. Some possible causes are:
    • Temperatures lower than recommended
    • Sudden change in environment.
    • Poor water quality.
    • Ich (Ick)
    • Velvet
    • Parasites
    What NOT to do to treat clamped fins
    • removing substrate i.e. gravel, sand, rocks at a grand scale.
    • doing 100% water changes.
    • adding aquarium salt without diagnosing the root of the problem or researching how much to use.
    • keeping the betta in a tank with a charcoal filter.

    The list of treatments is only for clamped fins. While some of the treatment can be used for other health issues, this list was organized for clamped fin treatment specifically

    • therapeutic additives (almond leaf, black water extract, peat moss pellets). Use these in the first signs of symptoms.
    • Betta Spa medication (using this in conjunction with a stress coat/water conditioner will not harm the betta)
    • almond leaves (you can find these on the cheap on a number of different websites and in fish stores under a variety of names)
    • other medications may be needed if your betta is showing signs of more than just clamped fins (parasites or a fungus)
    • stress coat
    • conditioner
    • 25% water changes daily (anymore could further stress your betta)
    • heating the tank! A tank with a consistent temperature between 76-82ºF/24-27ºC. A fish with the only symptom of clamped fins may have gotten that way because of insufficient heat. Please remember to only increase heat by 2 degrees/1 celsius every 24 hours.
    Identifying the root problem of a betta with clamped fins should be done as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may result in death. If your betta isnt treated at the first signs, it may already be too late to save them. Results will vary but still treat your fish. All the best hope your betta pulls through :) but please do try to identify the cause first.
  10. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    Oh dear.

    I think it would've been the temperatures being too low. Water quality was definitely not poor. How do I know whether my fish may have ich, velvet or parasites? I feel awful now that I added the salt to his aquarium. Would you happen to know by any chance a good website I could use to purchase almond leaves from (I live in New Zealand)?

    Thank you so much for the help.
  11. Shadow2331

    Shadow2331Valued MemberMember

    Note if your fish is covered in white specks or spots that look like salt or sand. This is a sign of fish ick or ich. The spots may be slightly raised and your fish will likely scratch against objects in the tank due to irritated and itchy skin. Your fish may also have respiratory issues and appear to gasp at the surface of the tank water. Ick attacks fish that are stressed due to irregular water temperature and pH fluctuations in the water.

    Shine a flashlight on your Betta to see if his body looks gold or rusty in color. This is a symptom of velvet, which is a parasite that is highly contagious. If your Betta has velvet, he may also clamp his fins close to his body, start to lose his color, have a lack of appetite, and may scratch against the sides of the tank or the gravel in the tank.
    • As velvet is a highly contagious parasite, you should treat all the fish in your tank if one fish shows signs of velvet.
  12. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    There are no white spots, and his overall colour is highly subdued but still iridescent and shimmery, doesn't look gold or rusty. He is still eating and doesn't itch himself on decor. Are there any methods that are safe to treat him just in case he has it, or are they all only for if he *definitely* has velvet?
  13. Shadow2331

    Shadow2331Valued MemberMember

    Perform the treatment i have provided you with in the above comments, those treatments are safe and for clamped fins only, looks like your betta has a simple clamped fins so treat it as per given suggestion. All the best :)
  14. OP
    Briana Clifford

    Briana CliffordNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much!!
  15. Shadow2331

    Shadow2331Valued MemberMember

    My pleasure :) , keep posting for any kind of aquarium and fish related problems :)
  16. bopsalot

    bopsalotWell Known MemberMember

    Ok. Just read through your thread. IMO, this could likely be just accumulated stress from being kept way too cold. 71-72 degrees F won't allow a betta to thrive long term. He will do best at 79-81 degrees permanently. This is a big deal.

    Clamped fins are not a disease. Not something to be treated. Clamped fins are merely a symptom. A symptom of what? It's a symptom of stress. Which can be caused by anything out of balance.

    What's out of balance here? One, the temperature. It needs to be higher. Two, the community. Bettas can be stressed by the mere presence of other fish. I recommend they be kept alone, but some can do ok in a community, provided the tank is large, and there are plenty of hiding places. Plenty. Three, trace nitrites in the smaller tank. Even very low levels of nitrite interfere with fish breathing, and are highly toxic. You must do partial water changes to eliminate any nitrite. The salt will protect him from nitrite to some extent.

    Other possibilities: the betta may have been overfed in your absence. This happens time and time again on this site. Does he look bloated? The combined stress of all these things can leave the poor fellow susceptible to disease and parasites, so this is a possibility, but don't treat with meds unless you see a clear sign of disease. Meds are stressful themselves, and may make things worse.

    You can try some of the things recommended in the above post about clamped fins. Indian almond leaves may help. Warm, clean water will help tremendously. Other than that, just continue to watch for signs of improvement or the clear development of a specific disease. I hope this helps!
  17. Danjamesdixon

    DanjamesdixonWell Known MemberMember

    I agree; the temperature is quite low for your Betta. I'd increase it to at least 24-26.

    What Corys do you have?

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