Wound On Betta Fish, Acting Lethargic Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by laschai, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    I apologize in advance that I do not have all the answers to the “sick fish questions”

    Tank


    What is the water volume of the tank?
    • 2.5-3 gallons, I think?
    How long has the tank been running?
    • Not sure what it meant by this. I started using this tank about a year ago for my Betta fish.
    Does it have a filter?
    • No
    Does it have a heater?
    • Yes
    What is the water temperature?
    • 78 degrees F
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
    • One male Betta fish named Benji

    Maintenance
    How often do you change the water?
    • Honestly, not nearly often enough. But I changed the water a few days ago.
    How much of the water do you change?
    • All of it (probably not best but I’m not trying to run a professional aquarium and I don’t really have time to do partial changes super regularly)
    What do you use to treat your water?
    • Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner and Bacteria Supplement
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
    • I do not have a vacuum for such a small tank

    *Parameters - Very Important
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
    • No
    What do you use to test the water?
    • I don’t (sorry)
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: N/A
    Nitrite: N/A
    Nitrate: N/A
    pH: N/A

    Feeding
    How often do you feed your fish?
    • Once a day
    How much do you feed your fish?
    • Two pellets
    What brand of food do you feed your fish?
    • Top Fin color-enhancing Betta bits (mini floating food pellets)
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
    • No

    Illness & Symptoms
    How long have you had this fish?
    • 1 year and 9 months
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
    • Maybe 3 days ago?
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
    • My fish has been sitting at the bottom of the tank in the corner quite a lot. He still comes up for food and still rises up when I turn on his light or get close to the tank (so he can flare at me), but he is spending an unusual amount of time sitting. He has what looks like a wound on his back, and part of his back fin looks like it is losing color.
    Have you started any treatment for the illness?
    • I started Betta Fix yesterday
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
    • No
    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
    • Lethargy and injury on back

    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 lethargy first, then the injury 2 days ago, though it could have been there much longer. I took these pictures while close to the tank, which caused him to start swimming around. But he went back to sitting after I walked out of sight.

    This is Benji and his injury:

    61E29DD7-6405-4257-822B-9A942BA1BE74.
    38F1BBCE-0D7C-4CA6-B477-AB65C1027C95.

    I really just want to know if this looks like something Betta fix will solve or if this will likely kill him, and if anyone knows what it is. I’ve grown quite attached to him as he is my only fish and I’ve had him for quite some time now. I started the Betta fix yesterday and he has not improved at all, the injury may actually look worse but I’m not certain as I didn’t get as good of a look at it yesterday.

    He’s normally a very hardy fish. He’s survived very cold temperatures twice (one from driving him from home back to college after winter break in January 2018 where the temp in the car was very low and I didn’t realize until arrival that he was freezing and upside down at the bottom of the cup barely breathing; he miraculously recovered when I warmed him back up. The other was when I moved into a dorm with very powerful AC in fall 2018, my old one was always 78 degrees and this one was 60. He was lethargic, I realized he was cold, I bought a heater, he was suddenly swimming giddily through the bubbles from his bubble maker and very active.)
    The thermometer strip reads 78 still, so I know this isn’t cold that’s causing his lethargy, and of course it wouldn’t explain the injury.

    If anyone knows what could be causing his injury, please let me know. I realize with the lack of parameters there’s a lot less to go on. Last water change I ran out of bacteria supplement and the tank didn’t get as much as usual. Not sure if that could be related. It still got the full dose of conditioner.

    Thank you in advance for any help.
     
  2. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    It looks like 1 1/2 years of less than ideal care has finally caught up with him. That looks like a pretty bad case of fin rot going on with the upper part of his tail not an injury. Get a filter for the tank, get some medication designed to treat fin rot and treat him for the infection. If you don't have the time to take care of him properly maybe you can give him to someone who does?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    Thank you for your response. What would you recommend for medication to treat the fin rot? I will also change out his food because it is probably expired and google says that could cause issues. Should I do a full water change? I will go to the pet store after work tomorrow as the store is closed now and get the medication and new food.

    Update: the local pet store has filters small enough for my tank according to the website, so I will buy one of those as well.

    ETA: the pet store website does not seem to have any bacteria supplement. Should I forego this due to the infection or buy a bacteria supplement online? I’m not sure how it really works, I apologize for my ignorance.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2019
  4. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    It doesn't matter if you're trying to have a "professional aquarium" or not, this is important. You may not be trying to be a "professional" parent or "professional" dog trainer or owner, but caring for your kid or training and caring for your dog is still important. It's your responsibility to ensure a healthy environment for your animal. You say you're attached to him but can't properly care for him? Sorry if I sound harsh, but I see this all the time online especially with dogs. It's a personal issue for me and I just can't understand people. I hope we can help you with your betta so he lives a longer, happy life.

    You can order meds on Amazon or other websites. Pry will be your best option, often cheaper too. There's a lot of possibilities. Paraguard works for fungus, viruses, bacteria, and external parasites. It may not be strong or fast enough right now but it's my personal go-to for many things. There's fin and tail rot meds from API. There's Jungle Fungus Clear.

    But meds will be pointless if you don't give him the proper care he needs. It really isn't that much. If you can't take 15-30 minutes out of your week or at least every 2 weeks to water change, maybe having a fish isn't for you.
    Testing your water will tell you how often you need to water change. Most people do it in a schedule but others do it when nitrates approach a certain number like 40, the max before it becomes toxic. This may be your preferance. In such a small tank though, toxins can build up fast and things can go wrong quickly.
    Understanding the nitrogen cycle is very important to fish keeping. By doing full cleanings or water changes, you could be destroying the beneficial bacteria necessary to keep the water non-toxic, meaning your fish is living in poison. Would you like to live your waste and in toxins? I'd think not.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    It may sound harsh but I think it was meant as a wake up call rather than just being mean, and I think it was a necessary wake up call. So, thank you.

    Re: meds, I was planning on getting API MelaFix. Does this sound sufficient or not strong enough? You mentioned fungus meds twice, do you think it is fungal rather than bacterial? If so I can get API’s fungal version instead. If you think it necessary, I could get both, as they are advertised that they can be used together. Based on how he looks and his lethargy, I’m thinking I need something strong, but obviously I don’t know a lot about this stuff. Should I stop or continue the Betta fix with the new meds? I don’t want to overload him and make things worse. I don’t want to wait for Amazon for the meds... I’m worried it’ll take too long and it’ll be too late for the meds by the time I get them. I want to treat him ASAP. The pet store has API.

    Test strips seem expensive at the pet store but they may be cheaper on amazon. I will look into this to make the decision of whether to change the water on a schedule or when the levels approach the max level.

    I did not know that full water changes were so risky. Had I known, I would not have done them. Thank you for informing me of this. I am unfortunately ignorant to a lot of important fish care information, it seems.

    Speaking of beneficial bacteria, I mentioned that I ran out of bacteria supplement last cleaning, and could not find it on the pet store website. Is this the bacteria that keeps the water non-toxic? Could that be a factor in why my fish is sick?

    Update on my fish this morning, he is still eating, which hopefully is a good sign that he’s not on his deathbed quite yet? I did see him swim up from his little corner without me giving any stimulus (like turning on the light) first, so that’s good too.
     
  6. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Finrot is caused by a bacteria that basically eats away at the fins and isn't true rot like you'd associate with rotting wood or rotting food. It's often caused by poor water quality and tank conditions although some bettas seem to be susceptible regardless.
    I don't think it's fungus, but Fungal Clear has ingredients that can treat fungus and bacteria.
    If you only want meds you can get at the pet store, API E.M. Erythromycin treats bacteria, as well as Fin and Body Cure, and Furan-2. If you're at PetSmart or PetCo, go online and price check. I just was at PetSmart and nearly bought some myself then decided against it for now as I have Paraguard and it's not a necessity right now. In store, it was about $16. On the website, it was $12.
    I use test strips myself but it's often recommended to buy a test kit. It's more time and effort but it's supposedly more accurate, although that depends on if you do them right. I've seen evidence that the accuracy of strips may not be as bad as people say.
    I did buy the API Freshwater Master Kit today. It was $32 in store. Showed the clerk the online price of $22.54 and saved $10.

    Yes, and without a filter to provide additional "storage" of beneficial bacteria, killing off the bacteria in your substrate and decor can be detrimental to your fish's health. It's possible to not have a filter on your tank, but you gotta do proper maintenance and care to make up for it. That said, a filter doesn't do everything, but it does make things easier.

    If you mean something like Tetra Safe Start or API Quick Start that provides bacteria to the tank, then yes, if you don't "seed" the tank after (potentially) killing the bacteria, then there won't be anything to "eat" up the ammonia and nitrites and the cycle has to restart.
    Some water conditioners like Seachem Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates so that they aren't harmful. They aren't removed, but they aren't toxic.

    Yes, good signs. Fish can't take a turn for the worst fast though, so keep an eye on him.

    I'm glad. I don't intend to be mean, and yes, I suppose it was meant as a wake up call. I once was keeping fish wrong too; I think most of us made beginner mistakes. It doesn't help that store employees provide misinformation, either. As long as you learn, make adjustments, and move on, it's all good.
     
  7. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

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    Welcome to FishLore!

    I have just answered a post with a long reply, so I'm too lazy to write it again, so here's a link to the thread:
    White And Black Patches On Goldfish

    Most of my answer if not all will apply to you.

    Best of luck! Feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.
     
  8. Carmen79

    Carmen79New MemberMember

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    Hi Laschai,

    I feel very sorry for your betta. He looks very malnourished and in bad shape.
    I also believe his symptoms are of toxins poisoning.

    The first you'd need to do is to upgrade his tank to a bigger one, with a filter.
    A filter holds house for the beneficial bacteria that you need to break down his daily toxins. This is very important.

    Once you have enough bacterial colonies in your filter only then you can do weekly partial water changes. As long as you still have ammonia or nitrites in your tank, you'll have to do daily water changes. To remove manually your fish's toxins. Otherwise your fish will be damaged by them, permanently. As it seems to be your case, unfortunately.

    So try to keep his water clean with the daily partial water changes and test his water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, keep the ammonia and nitrites at zero and Nitrates between 5 and 20.

    For his fin damage clean water is the best prescription. If after 2 weeks of daily water changes he has not been able to grow back his fins maybe an antibacterial would help. Depends on his strength too.

    Come back with questions if you like.
     
  9. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Since the tank has been running with this fish in it for 18 months already, you may have the kind of bacteria in it you need already. You don't need to buy a bottled bacteria yet.
    Here- are some things you do need to do now to help your Betta in ways that have been proven to work for fin infections.
    1. Stop using the Bettafix for now. Don't buy any Melafix.
    Melafix is not recommended for bettas. You have bettafix. It's exactly the same thing-the difference is that Bettafix is diluted to 1/10th the strength of Melafix and may not harm your betta. HOWEVER-Neither Melafix nor Bettafix will cure finrot or any other bacterial/ fungal infection and are not recommended for long term use. Bettafix may be useful in preventing bacterial and fungal infection during short periods of stress but has not been proven to cure an infection that's already there.
    2. Get a product at your pet store labeled to cure finrot, or a good choice is Kanaplex. It is a good antibacterial/ antifungal that won't harm the beneficial bacteria you already have in the tank.
    3. Get a good liquid test kit. Not test strips. Strips are unreliable at best. I recommend the API Master test kit for freshwater. It seems expensive but is cheaper per test set (pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) than almost all of the other Strips or liquid test kits on the market.
    4. Test your water with the kit--read the instructions for each individual test and follow it carefully.
    5. Do not remove or scrub/clean any gravel or decorations in your tank. Don't do any more massive water changes until you have tested your water.

    Let us know when you have your filter, medication and test kit that measures pH, Ammonia, Nitrites AND Nitrates (ALL of those are important) and we can help you proceed from there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  10. OP
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    laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    Update: the pet store did not have any real antibiotics, so I have ordered some (Furan-2, which was labeled for fin rot) on amazon prime. I bought and installed a filter yesterday, and bought new fish food yesterday, which he has been happily eating.

    He was up (not at bottom of tank) when I woke up this morning, but his fin rot honestly looks like it may be worse. His change in behavior gives me hope, though.

    I did a 25% water change today, and I will do one tomorrow before I give the antibiotics. Do I turn off the filter before giving the antibiotics?

    I am going to order a liquid test kit online. I used an old test strip my dad had from when my family kept a 100 gallon fish tank, and it said pH was 7.6, nitrates and nitrites were zero, but of course it was an old expired test strip, plus it has the inaccuracy of it being a test strip in general.
     
  11. e_watson09

    e_watson09Well Known MemberMember

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    Hello! It looks like you got a ton of information already, I used Furan-2 on one of my guys with success.

    For the antibiotics you'll want to leave the filter on but take the carbon out. If you have a cartridge filter it has the carbon inside of it. The carbon will remove the medication. I personally don't use carbon in any of my tanks so I'd just cut it out honestly. I never replace the sponges in the tanks I just rinse them in dirty aquarium water.

    Follow the instructions on the package for water changes. I would do a water change before just to help him out. Once you're done with the treatment you can do more frequent water only changes. The extra water changes will help encourage fin regrowth.
     
  12. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Good job so far!
    However, a betta does not deserve a tiny tank. In the wild they live in acres of shallow water rice paddies that have a continual flow of fresh water or in brooks and streams. They do NOT live in mud puddles as you have probably heard. Bettas are a unique fish (along with gouramis). They have developed a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air in addition to getting oxygen through their gills. They breathe surface air through a small hole in their heads, much like whales and dolphins do. They developed the labyrinth organ over ages, to survive short periods of seasonal drought. When they are confined to isolated pools of water, the ability to breathe oxygen allows them to leave a pool of water that has become too hot, too polluted or otherwise undesirable, and flip themselves across dry stream beds to other (hopefully) better pools of water. They can be trained to do simple tricks and seem to recognize their caretakers.
    Get your betta a bigger tank. AT LEAST a 5 gallon (10 is even better) He deserves it!
     
  13. OP
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    laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    I got the liquid test kit at a pet store today. I read the instructions carefully and did the tests.

    pH: 7.8
    Ammonia: between 0-0.25 ppm? I took a picture because I wasn’t certain
    5F4311B1-C4E6-46FA-B99B-F5D56911CA23.
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 5-10 ppm, closer to 5? Pic attached
    F1058B8D-4284-47A1-B23B-273C3918233A.
     
  14. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Those are good results! You want your ammonia and nitrites at 0 and your nitrates to stay well below 20 in that small tank. How is he acting? Any better?
     
  15. OP
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    laschai

    laschaiNew MemberMember

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    He’s been up at the top of the tank all day, I haven’t seen him at the bottom once today! He hasn’t exactly been zooming around, he’s just slowly swimming around, but he’s not sitting anymore, so that gives me a lot of hope that he’ll recover! When I fed him this morning one of his pellets sank and he saw it falling and zoomed down for it. Fingers crossed!
    Are nitrates the number that will rise and I should change the water once it reaches a certain number? Or was that something else?
     
  16. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Nitrates. Do 25% water changes every week anyway, even if your nitrates are low. Fish need fresh water every week. Then check your nitrates once a month to make sure your water changes are big enough. Nitrates need to be kept less than 20 ppm.
     
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