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Rehomed, dull and raggedy


Amp912
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Hi! I'm a science teacher that has taken on another teacher's discarded Betta.

 

Backstory: The fish were originally given as gifts years ago, in vases with various plants for filtration. At the start of the shutdown, all of the fish were moved to my class because I had sinks and tables. Fast forward 14 months and only 4 are still alive. I have found homes with students for 3/4. The fourth looks very sickly and so I'm trying to bring him back to his former glory myself (to avoid traumatizing a student). With a little Googling and PetSmart advice, I am trying to prepare a 5 gallon tank for my Betta.

I need serious help and guidance. Where do I even start?

Pictures include new tank, close up from 5 months ago, close up today with plant moved to new tank. 

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@Amp912 your picture link doesn't work, maybe you can upload the file to the forum. It would help if you describe what  you've got in respect to substrate, filtration, lights, decorations, plants, no plants, whether you are using dechlorinator, or not, water values, ...and most of all what your patient currently looks like.

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46 minutes ago, Jungle Fan said:

@Amp912 your picture link doesn't work, maybe you can upload the file to the forum. It would help if you describe what  you've got in respect to substrate, filtration, lights, decorations, plants, no plants, whether you are using dechlorinator, or not, water values, ...and most of all what your patient currently looks like.

Tank was set up yesterday and I was hoping to add Betta before the weekend.

 

Substrate is just black aquarium gravel. 

Filter was part of 5 gallon tank kit: Top Fin Silentstream 10 Power Filter with cartridge instruction Manual

Bright white led in hood

Just a floating betta log atm for decoration

I put plant that was in vase, in the new tank but idk what it was (recommended by PetSmart associate).

Water testing kit hasn't arrived so I don't have values for tank or vase.

Water conditioner: Zoo Med Betta H2O Aquarium Water Conditioner

Edited by Amp912
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Ok, the vase plant likely has beneficial bacteria on it and will help seed the new colonies your tank will need. the filter needs to be turned down to minimum flow--those fins are not made for racing water AT ALL. Keep the tank light turned off, he doesn't need it to see and has not had one, so let him get used to things gradually. 

The short answer here is that the tank you are providing is better than where he was living, as long as the water flow is not over whelming. He will be better off moved, than not. skipping a few feedings over the weekend, and having a few quiet days to settle in will be beneficial. 

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5 minutes ago, Brandy said:

Ok, the vase plant likely has beneficial bacteria on it and will help seed the new colonies your tank will need. the filter needs to be turned down to minimum flow--those fins are not made for racing water AT ALL. Keep the tank light turned off, he doesn't need it to see and has not had one, so let him get used to things gradually. 

The short answer here is that the tank you are providing is better than where he was living, as long as the water flow is not over whelming. He will be better off moved, than not. skipping a few feedings over the weekend, and having a few quiet days to settle in will be beneficial. 

Thank you for your responses, very helpful and reassuring. There was what I'm assuming was a lot of poop and leftover food mixed in with the roots and glass pebbles- still put them in without rinsing?

Is there anything you recommend I add or change? Other than tank size?

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Ultimately he will be happier with some soft things (live plants, smooth stones or driftwood) to hide in and around, and floating plants (like frog bit, water lettuce)  would be very welcome. 

No I would not rinse the pebbles--just swoosh them in his old tank water to knock off the big chunks. You want the slimey coating that is on them to be moved with him to the new tank. 

haha, I see @Colu beat me to the decor suggestions, good advice!

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3 minutes ago, Brandy said:

Last thing, because you said you are new--if you are using chlorinated city water you will want to use a water conditioner like Prime to remove chlorine every time you change or add water.

That's the one thing I went in knowing at least lol thank you so much for suggestions. Best guess, do you think he can recover?

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All of the advice above is about the best you could get, from anywhere.  🙂Good on your for rescuing this betta.  I could be wrong but he doesn't look that bad and betta are very hardy (which unfortunately leads people to treat them very poorly). 

That said, he does look like he has fin rot.  I would observe him in the new habitat as you follow the above recommendations, that may be enough to make a big improvement in his health.  Look out for any signs of worms/external parasites (by checking his poop and closely observing the skin, also, if he scrapes himself on surfaces, that may be a sign of external parasites or fungus).  Or if he continues to be lethargic - that could be a bacterial infection (or unfortunately, a number of other things). Testing the water once your kit arrives will be very helpful.  Good water quality alone can do wonders.  

I would focus first on getting the water stable and cycling his new tank, which could take 4-6 weeks (tons of information on cycling a tank here on the forum and on aquarium coop website/youtube if you need that info).  Afterwards, if his fins still look raggedy, you could try the treatments in this article: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/fin-rot

Other ideas for decor/tank additions that could be good for your betta are driftwood or almond/cattapa leaves to add tannins to the water.  

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35 minutes ago, SWilson said:

All of the advice above is about the best you could get, from anywhere.  🙂Good on your for rescuing this betta.  I could be wrong but he doesn't look that bad and betta are very hardy (which unfortunately leads people to treat them very poorly). 

That said, he does look like he has fin rot.  I would observe him in the new habitat as you follow the above recommendations, that may be enough to make a big improvement in his health.  Look out for any signs of worms/external parasites (by checking his poop and closely observing the skin, also, if he scrapes himself on surfaces, that may be a sign of external parasites or fungus).  Or if he continues to be lethargic - that could be a bacterial infection (or unfortunately, a number of other things). Testing the water once your kit arrives will be very helpful.  Good water quality alone can do wonders.  

I would focus first on getting the water stable and cycling his new tank, which could take 4-6 weeks (tons of information on cycling a tank here on the forum and on aquarium coop website/youtube if you need that info).  Afterwards, if his fins still look raggedy, you could try the treatments in this article: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/fin-rot

Other ideas for decor/tank additions that could be good for your betta are driftwood or almond/cattapa leaves to add tannins to the water.  

Thank you for informative response and I've actually got almond leaves on the way (feels like a win)! I hope you're right- he just looked the saddest out of the bunch. 

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He does look like he has a mild case of rot or possibly fin nipping or injury--they can do this out of boredom or stress or just from rubbing on things. He needs clean water, the tank to cycle, some peace and quiet, and quality food in TINY amounts. Feed him only what he will eat in 30 seconds to a minute at first, and try not to feed him so much that it falls before he gets to it--he wont eat it later, they are picky. Just focus mostly on clean water, his fins may never get back to their full glory, but they will be healthy and that is the best you can do.

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I haven't seen anyone mention a heater yet. Betta's need to be in the upper 70's. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.) If he's been living in a vase, then one thing that's been stressing him is being cold. 

(Which is exactly how I kept a betta, last time I had one. 😞 )

If you buy a heater, too small tends to be safer than too big. They sometimes get stuck on, and overheat the water.

By the way, the plant you mentioned is pothos. Once it grows roots, it will start pulling toxic stuff out of the water and turning it into leaves. 👍 You'll probably see the beginnings of roots in a week - maybe 2.

Edited by CalmedByFish
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Just to put on the list for later: Once you're to the point that he can be safely fed plenty every day, it helps to have a snail or two to eat whatever he missed. It just helps keep the tank clean, so keeps the water quality better. 

Others will have to give more detail when the time comes. I don't know much.

@Colu, can snails be in water with salt?)

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44 minutes ago, Brandy said:

He does look like he has a mild case of rot or possibly fin nipping or injury--they can do this out of boredom or stress or just from rubbing on things. He needs clean water, the tank to cycle, some peace and quiet, and quality food in TINY amounts. Feed him only what he will eat in 30 seconds to a minute at first, and try not to feed him so much that it falls before he gets to it--he wont eat it later, they are picky. Just focus mostly on clean water, his fins may never get back to their full glory, but they will be healthy and that is the best you can do.

They were also clustered together on my counter so I think that might have stressed him too.

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Hi teacher friend!!  

I agree with everything said above!  He looks like he will recover!  I am excited for his new adventure with that sweet tank!

I've got a classroom betta fish (and, I'm babysitting another for a coworker on maternity leave), and here are a few suggestions:

  • He's going to need CLEAN water to recover, and you're probably going to want to do partial water changes multiple times a week...at least until your tank is cycled.
    • I would get a siphon with a squeeze ball (like this one, or something similar) and stick the end in a sink, that way you can remove about a gallon from the tank very easily.  You don't need to scrub...just get about a gallon of old water out to put a gallon of fresh treated back in!
    • I would keep a gallon of treated/dechlorinated water near to the tank and use that to top off.  I usually use an old distilled water jug.
  • Keep an ammonia test kit close!  And, consider using a bottled bacteria to get that tank cycled quickly.
    • If the ammonia registers above 0.5 ppm, you should probably water change.
    • Bottled bacteria is something that I use regularly, and in my experience it gets the tank ready for fish faster.  If you choose to use it, be sure to follow the directions carefully!

You've got this!!!  Kudos for upgrading the guy's tank!  He will be a happy dude in no time! 

Edited by Betsy
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32 minutes ago, CalmedByFish said:

I haven't seen anyone mention a heater yet. Betta's need to be in the upper 70's. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.) If he's been living in a vase, then one thing that's been stressing him is being cold. 

(Which is exactly how I kept a betta, last time I had one. 😞 )

If you buy a heater, too small tends to be safer than too big. They sometimes get stuck on, and overheat the water.

By the way, the plant you mentioned is pothos. Once it grows roots, it will start pulling toxic stuff out of the water and turning it into leaves. 👍 You'll probably see the beginnings of roots in a week - maybe 2.

Heater is another thing I already knew to get thankfully, arrives tomorrow. Thank you for plant identification, there were multiple ones and he was only surviving one with it so I was worried it wasn't good for him. I left the roots on- should I have broken them off?

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19 minutes ago, CalmedByFish said:

Just to put on the list for later: Once you're to the point that he can be safely fed plenty every day, it helps to have a snail or two to eat whatever he missed. It just helps keep the tank clean, so keeps the water quality better. 

Others will have to give more detail when the time comes. I don't know much.

@Colu, can snails be in water with salt?)

Oh boy, do I have to touch it beyond putting it in the tank? Lol

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9 minutes ago, Amp912 said:

Thank you for plant identification, there were multiple ones and he was only surviving one with it so I was worried it wasn't good for him. I left the roots on- should I have broken them off?

No, keep them on. They're great actually. They'll even have bacteria on them that will help clean the water. I just assumed you'd used pothos cuttings without roots because I couldn't see roots in the picture.

 

10 minutes ago, Amp912 said:

Oh boy, do I have to touch it beyond putting it in the tank? Lol

Haha! No! Unlikely. If snails gross you out, but shrimp don't, they're an option. They'll just take a lot more research than snails. Snails are almost a "plunk it in" critter.

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33 minutes ago, Betsy said:

Hi teacher friend!!  

I agree with everything said above!  He looks like he will recover!  I am excited for his new adventure with that sweet tank!

I've got several classroom fish, and here are a few suggestions:

  • He's going to need CLEAN water to recover, and you're probably going to want to do partial water changes multiple times a week...at least until your tank is cycled.
    • I would get a siphon with a squeeze ball (like this one, or something similar) and stick the end in a sink, that way you can remove about a gallon from the tank very easily.  You don't need to scrub...just get about a gallon of old water out to put a gallon of fresh treated back in!
    • I would keep a gallon of treated/dechlorinated water near to the tank and use that to top off.  I usually use an old distilled water jug.
  • Keep an ammonia test kit close!  And, consider using a bottled bacteria to get that tank cycled quickly.
    • If the ammonia registers above 0.5 ppm, you should probably water change.
    • Bottled bacteria is something that I use regularly, and in my experience it gets the tank ready for fish faster.  If you choose to use it, be sure to follow the directions carefully!

You've got this!!!  Kudos for upgrading the guy's tank!  He will be a happy dude in no time! 

Thank you for the linked recommendations! I hope he perks up!

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21 minutes ago, CalmedByFish said:

No, keep them on. They're great actually. They'll even have bacteria on them that will help clean the water. I just assumed you'd used pothos cuttings without roots because I couldn't see roots in the picture.

 

Haha! No! Unlikely. If snails gross you out, but shrimp don't, they're an option. They'll just take a lot more research than snails. Snails are almost a "plunk it in" critter.

Oh boy, guess I'll have to do some research and see which I can stand lol thank you!

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