What's wrong with Jaws?

sarpringle

I've noticed that my son's beta hasn't been as active as he typically has been. He hangs out on the ground or in his house. He's not swimming around or eating well.

I've read about all the things that could be wrong - from swim bladder disorder to velvet. I'm not exactly sure what's going on and I want to do what's best for him.

The top picture is of when we got him back in August and the bottom is today. He's in a 2.5-gallon tank with a filter (recently changed) and a heater.

Can you help me, please?

I really appreciate it.
 

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SavTheArtist

Oh dear... that is a very, very ill fish.

Is the tank cycled? What are the parameters?
 

sarpringle

Oh dear... that is a very, very ill fish.

Is the tank cycled? What are the parameters?


Oh no - that makes my heart so sad.

No, sadly, I don't. But I will from now on. What can I do?

Can I save him?
 

SavTheArtist

Oh no - that makes my heart so sad.

No, sadly, I don't. But I will from now on. What can I do?

Can I save him?
First, I'd read up on the nitrogen cycle. That is very important!

I'd say start with a 50% water change. You use water conditioner, right?

Also, please try to at least get some testing strips so we can see your water parameters.

Since your tank presumably isn't cycled, it may be ammonia poisoning.

Also, please fill this out so I can better help you! Fish Emergency Template | Freshwater Fish Disease 376562
 

Algonquin

a filter (recently changed)
Please elaborate on this... what kind of filter is on the tank? What did you change?

The majority of the beneficial bacteria that keeps your tank cycled & balanced lives in the filter media (in small tanks like yours, the media is usually a cartridge). Every time you change the cartridge (as per the manufacturers recommendation) you toss out all that good bacteria. They don't tell you that

If you did change the cartridge... any chance you still have it? If you do, cut the floss off of it and put it back into the filter box. If you don't have it, you are starting fresh so to speak. It can take 4 to 6 weeks for that bacteria to re-establish, so you'll need to do regular, large water changes to keep your fish safe while the tank cycles.

Hope that helps a little.
 

sarpringle

First, I'd read up on the nitrogen cycle. That is very important!

I'd say start with a 50% water change. You use water conditioner, right?

Also, please try to at least get some testing strips so we can see your water parameters.

Since your tank presumably isn't cycled, it may be ammonia poisoning.

Also, please fill this out so I can better help you! Fish Emergency Template | Freshwater Fish Disease 376562


I will read up on the nitrogen cycle and do half a water change.

I do use water conditioner. I will pick up some testing strips today.

Copy the template starting below the dotted line, and stop at the top of the line at the bottom of this template.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 2.5 gallon
How long has the tank been running? 9 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) one betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? every 3-4 weeks
How much of the water do you change? all
What do you use to treat your water? water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? no
What do you use to test the water? I don't - but will get test strips.
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? when he was feeling good - 2x per day
How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 pellets
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Top Fin Betta Bites
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 9 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 1 maybe 2 weeks ago (could be more but I thought I was just seeing him when he was resting)
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? lethargic, won't eat
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? yes - coloring changed

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) I noticed maybe last week that Jaws stopped being excited about eating. He's also been not as active. We changed out the filters and did a full clean on the tank with no improvements.
 

redmare

if this started since you changed the filter, it may well be related to that. the filter is the main source of your beneficial bacteria that convert toxic ammonia into relatively harmless nitrate, and changing the filter gets rid of all that. get a test kit and seachem prime- it's a water conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia and nitrite and helps get through spikes.
 

SavTheArtist

I will read up on the nitrogen cycle and do half a water change.

I do use water conditioner. I will pick up some testing strips today.

Copy the template starting below the dotted line, and stop at the top of the line at the bottom of this template.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 2.5 gallon
How long has the tank been running? 9 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) one betta

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? every 3-4 weeks
How much of the water do you change? all
What do you use to treat your water? water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? no
What do you use to test the water? I don't - but will get test strips.
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? when he was feeling good - 2x per day
How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 pellets
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Top Fin Betta Bites
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 9 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 1 maybe 2 weeks ago (could be more but I thought I was just seeing him when he was resting)
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? lethargic, won't eat
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? yes - coloring changed

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) I noticed maybe last week that Jaws stopped being excited about eating. He's also been not as active. We changed out the filters and did a full clean on the tank with no improvements.
Ooooh... full cleans and filter changes aren't good. That is probably what hurt him. You removed all the BB-
Again, I'd start with a WC.
 

sarpringle

Please elaborate on this... what kind of filter is on the tank? What did you change?

The majority of the beneficial bacteria that keeps your tank cycled & balanced lives in the filter media (in small tanks like yours, the media is usually a cartridge). Every time you change the cartridge (as per the manufacturers recommendation) you toss out all that good bacteria. They don't tell you that

If you did change the cartridge... any chance you still have it? If you do, cut the floss off of it and put it back into the filter box. If you don't have it, you are starting fresh so to speak. It can take 4 to 6 weeks for that bacteria to re-establish, so you'll need to do regular, large water changes to keep your fish safe while the tank cycles.

Hope that helps a little.

Bummer - we tossed the cartridge.

So instead of a 50% water change, you suggest full water change?



Should I test the water as it is prior to that?

Also is there a particular test strip I should get?

if this started since you changed the filter, it may well be related to that. the filter is the main source of your beneficial bacteria that convert toxic ammonia into relatively harmless nitrate, and changing the filter gets rid of all that. get a test kit and seachem prime- it's a water conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia and nitrite and helps get through spikes.


Dang - and I thought I was being a responsible fish owner. So much to learn.

I will pick up that conditioner. Is the test kit something like: API® Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit?
 

redmare

strips are next to useless. get a liquid test kit- api master test kit. and i would say daily 50% water changes with a double dose of seachem prime
 

Algonquin

When you do a 'full water change', are you removing him from the tank? That's really not recommended.

Doing weekly partial water changes is much better all around.

In a 2.5 gallon tank, changes every 3 to 4 weeks is definitely not enough.
 

redmare

Dang - and I thought I was being a responsible fish owner. So much to learn.

I will pick up that conditioner. Is the test kit something like: API® Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit?
wow this thread is going so fast there's hardly time to reply! first of all, don't beat yourself up. we all make mistakes the first time around, and you're here now and willing to learn my first betta lived in a 1/4 gallon, unheated, unfiltered box that i changed with distilled water!
 

SavTheArtist

Bummer - we tossed the cartridge.

So instead of a 50% water change, you suggest full water change?



Should I test the water as it is prior to that?

Also is there a particular test strip I should get?




Dang - and I thought I was being a responsible fish owner. So much to learn.

I will pick up that conditioner. Is the test kit something like: API® Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit?
No, no- DON'T do full water changes. Never, really.
 

Algonquin

first of all, don't beat yourself up. we all make mistakes the first time around, and you're here now and willing to learn

Agreed. It's unfortunate that most stores that sell fish & tanks don't tell beginners all the things they need to know to be successful.
The good news, Sarpringle, is that you are seeking help and information, and Fishlore is a great resource! Lots of excellent info and helpful people here for you!

sorry, this post isn't working well, i'm quoting myself with something i haven't said yet lol
 

sarpringle

wow this thread is going so fast there's hardly time to reply! first of all, don't beat yourself up. we all make mistakes the first time around, and you're here now and willing to learn my first betta lived in a 1/4 gallon, unheated, unfiltered box that i changed with distilled water!


Know better. Do better. I had a few betta's in college and that was how they lived as well - in their own tanks. I thought I was doing better.

Thank you for your empathy.

When you do a 'full water change', are you removing him from the tank? That's really not recommended.

Doing weekly partial water changes is much better all around.

In a 2.5 gallon tank, changes every 3 to 4 weeks is definitely not enough.


Good to know. I will be much more proactive.

No, no- DON'T do full water changes. Never, really.

Roger that.
 

redmare

once you've got things back to normal, weekly 50% or twice weekly 30% changes are a good start
 

Algonquin

Any chance you know anyone that has an established tank? You could get a bit of media from them and add it to your filter.

Can you post a pic of the filter (or describe it)? Since you are using new media anyway, now's a good time to put in better stuff Coarse sponge and bio-rings are great, they last forever (which is what you want) and can be fit in pretty much any filter box
 

redmare

getting a bottle of bacteria, while not perfect, can help speed things along as well. i've heard good reviews about tetra safe start. and in the future, less cleaning is more! never clean your filter pads. if they are getting really nasty, swish them in a bucket of old tank water, maybe that you just took out from your water change, to get some of the gunk out. don't scrub your gravel or decorations, don't disinfect your glass (or anything in your tank, really!) cleaning should look like siphoning water, poop, and debris, perhaps scraping algae, trimming plants occasionally if you have any.... that's about it. also, if you don't have any live plants, you should consider it! they are good for all sorts of things and bettas love them. java moss and java fern are stupid easy to grow- therye as much work as a silk plant
 

Pythia

Hmm...maybe do water changes a bit more often? (Sorry, I know it's not helpful.) Try doing water changes every 1-2 weeks instead.
 

redmare

by the way sarpringle, i am now incredibly invested in Jaws' well being so i expect regular updates!! let us know your progress and we are all here to help you out every step of the way
 

sarpringle

once you've got things back to normal, weekly 50% or twice weekly 30% changes are a good start

Good to know - I can do that!

Any chance you know anyone that has an established tank? You could get a bit of media from them and add it to your filter.

Can you post a pic of the filter (or describe it)? Since you are using new media anyway, now's a good time to put in better stuff Coarse sponge and bio-rings are great, they last forever (which is what you want) and can be fit in pretty much any filter box

It's a top fin one that came with the tank. So just toss in a bio-ring or coarse sponge and that will keep all my bacteria happy?


getting a bottle of bacteria, while not perfect, can help speed things along as well. i've heard good reviews about tetra safe start. and in the future, less cleaning is more! never clean your filter pads. if they are getting really nasty, swish them in a bucket of old tank water, maybe that you just took out from your water change, to get some of the gunk out. don't scrub your gravel or decorations, don't disinfect your glass (or anything in your tank, really!) cleaning should look like siphoning water, poop, and debris, perhaps scraping algae, trimming plants occasionally if you have any.... that's about it. also, if you don't have any live plants, you should consider it! they are good for all sorts of things and bettas love them. java moss and java fern are stupid easy to grow- therye as much work as a silk plant
All good things to know! I greatly appreciate it.

by the way sarpringle, i am now incredibly invested in Jaws' well being so i expect regular updates!! let us know your progress and we are all here to help you out every step of the way


You have no idea how much this means to me.
 

redmare

It's a top fin one that came with the tank. So just toss in a bio-ring or coarse sponge and that will keep all my bacteria happy?

I actually like topfin filters. they are quiet and have adjustable flow. The thing with the sponge is just that it will hold the bacteria even if you have to change filters, so you can move the sponge into any filter box and have the bacteria ready to go. It's just a home for the bacteria!
 

sarpringle

I actually like topfin filters. they are quiet and have adjustable flow. The thing with the sponge is just that it will hold the bacteria even if you have to change filters, so you can move the sponge into any filter box and have the bacteria ready to go. It's just a home for the bacteria!

for the sponge - can i use this?
 

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Algonquin

So just toss in a bio-ring or coarse sponge and that will keep all my bacteria happy?

Yup! Bio-rings are little rock like rings that come usually in a mesh baggie. They have tons of surface area for bacteria to grow on.

I'm not sure how or why but i keep quoting myself LOL
 

redmare

for the sponge - can i use this?
yep! you can cut it into the right shape. i have a bunch of pieces cut and put into my hob filter to cut down on noise, its super easy
 

Algonquin

I have those specific sponges in all my tanks. They're great - last forever too. They catch lots of gunk - which you can just swish/squeeze out in your jug of old tank water after a water change. Then... pour all that nasty water & gunk onto your plants - they will love you for it
 

sarpringle

Here's my plan:

I will look up the nitrogen cycle.

I will not do full water changes and focus on 50% weekly - maybe start 30% biweekly as he gets better?

I purchased API® Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit, Prime Aquarium Water Conditioner by Seachem (will double dose the water with this), and the foam thing for the filter.

Should I also get Tetra® SafeStart Aquarium Cycling Water Conditioner and use both?

Also, when do I test the water?


THANK YOU so much for helping me. I was flipping out this morning not knowing what to do and you guys helped so much.
 

Pythia

Also, when do I test the water?
You should test the water frequently because the parameters can change and when they do, you need to know.
 

redmare

for now, do daily 50%. until you get through this rough patch. i would test daily, before each change. if your levels are reasonable (we can discuss that later) then you can skip a day
 

Algonquin

For now, when you do your Ammonia/Nitrite & Nitrate tests, those numbers will help determine how often and how much water you need to change. Keep in mind that if you have a reading of 2ppm Ammonia (for example), doing a 50% water change will bring that down to 1ppm Ammonia. You get the idea.

No amount of Ammonia or NitrIte is 'safe' for your fish. Once your tank is cycled, those 2 readings should always be 0. You will likely have a small amount of NitrAte at all times (which is the end product of the Nitrogen Cycle), which is fine when kept in check (in your tank it will probably be 5ppm or less). You remove those Nitrates by doing water changes.

There's lots of great info on this form on how to do a "Fish-In Cycle", which is essentially what you are doing. If you read up on that, you will have a better idea what to expect with testing & tank parameters over the coming weeks.
 

sarpringle

Here are the results from the test.
 

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redmare

well the good news is, that looks really good! how recently and how much did you change your water?
 

sarpringle

We did a full change last weekend. So maybe 10 days ago - I am switching out half the water now.
 

Algonquin

Ok so the good news is that your tank is cycled. Despite tossing the filter cartridge, enough beneficial bacteria is established on all the other surfaces in your tank, since it's been running for 9 months.

At this point, I'd keep doing 30% - 50% water changes every 4 or 5 days, to keep the water clean. Test regularly.

Even though your cycle wasn't lost, only doing water changes every 3 or 4 weeks is likely what's causing your betta's health issues. Just because your Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate are in the right places, that doesn't necessarily mean his water is optimal. Keep up with those changes, and I think he'll likely return to his perky self.
 

redmare

thats actually remarkably good. you must have a good supply of BB on your gravel and ornaments! however, this does leave us with a problem other than just water quality. my expertise on medications is very low, so i will get someone else to chime in here- but something like general cure might be a good thing to use now.

yeah go with what algonquin said, not me lol
 

sarpringle

So still double dose the seachem prime? And should I hold off on feeding until he's more active?
 

Algonquin

HOWEVER.... keep a very close eye on him for any visible signs of infection or disease. I know you said his behaviour is 'off', so that does indicate he's not feeling his best. Sometimes clean water is enough to right what's wrong, but not always. Do some research on common fish diseases so you will know what to watch for. There's lots of good info in the Freshwater Fish Disease section of this forum.
It's also a good idea to know what kind of meds you might need for treating specific illnesses, and where to get them. If you in the USA, most Petsmart/Petco and I think Walmarts carry the basics that you might need (someone on here from the US could confirm that).

No need to double dose the Prime. Just the usual amount you would add with water changes.

Only feed what he will eat. Leftover food in the tank isn't going to help anyone
 

sarpringle

Perfect - we have a petsmart just up the road - it's where I bought the things for today. I initially came on here thinking it could be swim bladder disorder to velvet - but I will check out that area of the forum and stay proactive and watchful.
 

redmare

i was just looking back at the photos you posted- has the greyish spot on is head always been there? and is it sunken in at all? to the other people helping out here, does that look like it could be hole in the head?
 

sarpringle

i was just looking back at the photos you posted- has the greyish spot on is head always been there? and is it sunken in at all? to the other people helping out here, does that look like it could be hole in the head?

Oh my. Here are some more pictures.

No - it wasn't always there. That's new.
 

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Algonquin

Does that grey spot look fuzzy or fluffy at all? Hard to tell from the pics but in person might be easier.
 

sarpringle

It looks fuzzy like it's something that's on him. But it's so hard to get a good look.
 

Algonquin

Hmmm could be a fungal infection? If you can try to get some more pics and post them others may be able to weigh in. I have to sign off for the night. Will check back tomorrow morning.
 

sarpringle

Here's another picture.

He's is not swimming around much today.

I will test the water later on.
 

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Algonquin

Do you mean he ISN'T swimming around much?

I know you said the grey patch looks a little fuzzy, but does it look like he's got a couple of scales missing in that spot, or that the grey stuff is on top of his scales?

I'm just wondering if he's bumped his head on something in the tank (decor) and the injury has gotten a bit infected.
 

MacZ

strips are next to useless. get a liquid test kit- api master test kit. and i would say daily 50% water changes with a double dose of seachem prime

Strips by API and Tetra are useless, I give you that. Strips by Sera and JBL are not and these plus any liquid ammonia test are sufficient and financially not as crippling as the complete kit. Except if you have a high-tech tank and need readings exact to the 3rd position after the decimal the full test kit is nice to have but not a life-saving necessity. Especially with the current worldwide recession I'd not recommend the pricey stuff anymore but look for the "good enough and affordable" solution.
 

sarpringle

oops - coffee hasn't kicked in. Yes, he's NOT swimming around much.

I corrected my post.

Yes, it could also be that he bumped into something. It's really hard to tell - I've been working hard at getting a good look.
 

Algonquin

So I'm not one to recommend throwing meds at an unknown illness... but based on his behaviour and the 'grey thing', I think he might need a little help.
In Canada, fish meds for 'in home' use have been banned for a couple of years now, so we no longer have access to all the common ones that you guys south of the border can get easily. I'm hesitant to recommend something specific for him since I don't use those meds (I do have a few things on hand from the pre-ban days, but they're mostly parasite treatments). I'm hoping others in the US will help out - I'm thinking the API All In One Cure might be a good idea in your case. Another option would be their Fungus Cure. I'm sure there are other brands with similar ingredients, but I'm 99% sure you can pick up either of these at the Petsmart near you.

Can someone with specific experience with these meds make a recommendation for our fellow Fishlorian and his under-the-weather betta pal?
 

ayeayeron

I have no experience with medicines, so I can’t tell you which EXACT one to start with.

But I will say, I do not recommend starting with an antibiotic.

It does not seem to me like your fish has a bacterial infection. I would start with a general cure, or maybe a fungal cure.

Some common antibiotics are Macaryn 2 and Furan 2 (correct me if I’m wrong)
 

Algonquin

Correction - I referred to API's General Cure as 'All In One Cure". The proper name of it is General Cure - thanks erinw347!

Agreed, antibiotics are not a medication to be taken lightly - I believe you will see a few of those on the shelves at Petsmart in the USA as well - Erythromicin is their main one I think.
 

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