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Ongoing fish & tank issues


HonourWest
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Hello everyone,

Can someone please confirm if my betta has columnaris? I have only just stopped treating him for fin rot, but just today I notice there is white stuff coming out of his mouth. It also looks like he is discoloured underneath (can be faintly seen in the second image). He has also just gone off his food and is lethargic. 

I have treated the tank with aquarium salts and primafix (this stuff).  The last fortnight I did 100% water changes and dosing with primafix and salts to treat the fin rot- which finally seemed to be getting better, and now this! :classic_sad:

I appreciate any advice as this is a very new hobby.

Thank-you1843648082_20210612_1643581.jpg.455a5b5e5e41cee34daeae680f966c62.jpg1324880575_20210612_1640591.jpg.5328d3fdfa5295be40bac0e0d057e823.jpg

Edited by HonourWest
(betta died and cory bronze is now sick) :(
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Hi there, it definitely looks like what you suspect. I'm sorry. Is your betta in the tank with the others? I might recommend finding a hospital tank situation for him to better treat him. I've never treated for it before, so I cannot speak from experience. My understanding is though it looks like a fungus it's actually a bacterial infection. 

Do you test your water? Can you advise what your water parameters are and temperature? I probably wouldn't do one hundred percent water changes that potentially could be stressful for everyone- but smaller water changes might be beneficial- as water quality will play into this. Do you feed a variety of food? Temperature can play into this as well. Tell us a little more about your situation if you can.  

If indeed this is columnaris you are going to need an antibiotic (like Maracyn).

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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I have only been able to afford a ph testing kit so far, but especially with the water changes I have been careful to keep it in the neutral range.

We live in tropical Queensland so temperature is usually not a concern (so I've been told.) I haven't purchased a heater.

He has been fed betta pellets.

Another thing is that my tank is still cycling. (It's been about 3 weeks.) When I first bought it the store owner said it only needed about 24 hours, especially if I was adding live plants. I have since found out differently but not sure what I can do about it now except keep a close eye on everything. 

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Aww, yes fish-in cycling is very rough. Hopefully we can help get you through this. Bettas in my experience are not as hardy through this process so it might be rough. This is likely why your fish is sick. You are correct at this point all you can do is keep an eye on things. Sorry you were misled. 

The reason I asked about temperature is that some sites actually recommend lowering water temp, some people keep their betta tanks at around 80 degrees F they recommend lowering to between 75-77 as it's harder for the bacteria to flourish, so I was wondering. I don't use a heater my tanks typically run between 75 and 80 all by themselves. 

Do you have access to any products that have beneficial bacteria? A quick start liquid of some kind? I use Seachem Stability for example. I have successfully started tanks with this method. You're going to want some way to test ammonia. 

I highly recommend partial water changes over FULL water changes, you might crash your developing cycle if you clean too much, which is weird I know. 

Get yourself a couple other foods. If you have access to frozen blood worms bettas are usually big fans. You might need to feed Mr Sicky by hand (I use tweezers), just a few. Variety is good for fish so they get all the nutrients, and bettas are notorious for being picky. We want him to eat. 

Aquarium salt will also be your friend make sure you get some of that. 

Do yourself a favor, whichever way you learn best, google or youtube search FISH IN CYCLING for lots more helpful info. We want the "NITGROGEN CYCLE" TO HAPPEN, this is a great video from Cory at the Co-op

 

 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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Fortunately it is winter here so the temperature in the tank is as low as it will get all year. (I can't give an exact estimate of the water temperature but today's low was 11° Celsius.)

When starting the new tank and doing the 100% water change (which I probably won't do again based on what you're saying) I added Aqua One Bio Starter. I've also added Aqua One Plant Food (1 per week) and been adding PH-up and PH-down powders from the testing kit every few days as needed.

There has definitely been a lot going on for this tank but at the moment it really feels like I'm fighting a losing battle. A number of fish died the second week in (while I was away and had to get someone else to feed them) and most of the plants are yellowing and rotting. I was hoping by keeping things natural and being careful I'd manage but unfortunately no. By now I've become quite attached to my betta too. Really don't want to lose the little chap but I reckon I'm over my head with this. Just can't afford having to keep getting all the expensive medication etc if that's what it takes.

(Didn't know fish keeping required starting up your own chemist! Lol)

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There are sadly a lot of things some sales people won't give you the education on - some truly seem to only want to make a buck or worse yet they truly have no clue- however what they don't realize is that they're not doing their business any good as people will try something like this, lose all their fish and quit the hobby. I get it, it's very disheartening.

Personally, I would stop trying to chase PH that could be causing some of the stress here. You might want to see if you can get your hands on some crushed coral, if your pH goes too low the acid will eat at the coral and bring the pH back up- this is a very slow process but more stable than the chemicals however you can put that aside for now. Just focus on keeping the water clean and treated. I'd probably do partial daily water changes. Treat the tank with aquarium salt. If you can isolate your sick betta in a hospital tank (no need for a new tank just a decent container will do (lots of youtube stuff on that as well). If the other fish are showing signs of illness or you suspect they might have something you could treat the whole tank but it could be harder on your plants which you are trying to establish.

What kinds of plants are you trying to grow? Do post a picture, it helps us help you.

Sadly yes keeping certain medications on hand is pretty much necessary, emergencies never seem to happen when there's somewhere you can go get them. I don't know what is available to you in Australia but if you go on the aquarium co-ops website Cory has a med trio he recommends and it pretty much covers everything you could potentially get in a tank (plus always have aquarium salt)

I know you feel like you're over your head, trust me, we've all been there over one thing or another in this hobby whether at the beginning or in the middle. It happens. Don't give up. I'm headed to bed here in Cali but I hope others chime in and give their advice as well. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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My betta has gotten worse overnight. However I was fortunate to have a pet store open (not in my area but accessible) and they had both Seachem Prime and Seachem Stability. I got both and had a good talk with one of their employees who seemed very nice and knowledgeable. They gave me Blue Planet Aquari-Cycline tablets and told me to monitor and re-dose if there isn't an improvement in 3 days.

Here's a couple of photos of Alphonso (my betta) as he is now.20210613_121851.jpg.6297c43066f41b6207dbe9d4c2e2fda8.jpg20210613_121635.jpg.904759ebfded3ce54c05cbc6cf79b5cb.jpg20210613_121646.jpg.e208c5e8fdadf0ae84ac888499e5be96.jpg20210613_121726.jpg.a43d18a187ccd900f4a5a1c46c0b54f3.jpg20210613_132040.jpg.31bef58e36be764409b325b527c1527e.jpg

Edited by HonourWest
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Well I'm sorry to hear that there is no improvement but it appears you have the right type of med to treat what is going on. Stability will help with your new tank syndrome- hopefully that will help even things out- make sure you dose exactly as the bottle says (7 days). The Prime will help in emergencies- lets just say it neutralizes the bad stuff for 24 hours so you do have to redose. It's also a good water conditioner if you want to use it for that. It's multi-purpose which is why I recommend its use. 

I really hope the meds help your poor Betta, Alphonso, he looks miserable. 

I think your tank will look really nice when this is all over and the plants can be filled in. I know it's disheartening but if you're determined you'll come out better in the end. The diving helmet is actually really cool, it will look neat surrounded by plants and fish. Fish like hiding places, there's nothing wrong with it. On my profile under about me you'll see my own little man made caves. We all have different styles- that's what so cool about this hobby. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 6/13/2021 at 1:25 PM, Trish said:

You mentioned Ph up and down powders.  What is the actual Ph?  It is always better for fish to adapt to your actual ph instead of trying to stabilize it with chemicals.  

From what I gather my ph level averages at 7.2

The pet store told me that I have been overcompensating. I thought the ideal was in the middle at 6.8 so whenever it was a bit higher (or lower) I'd dose with ph-up or ph-down.

Now it seems I've been stressing the tank out by being over particular. The employee told me I shouldn't dose unless it fell out of a certain range (don't have the numbers on me at the moment to specify) and that bettas actually prefer it slightly higher anyway.

So I've been stressing my tank out and probably killing my fish and plants by constant ph jumps. ☹️ 

I want to get some ph stabiliser later when I have a bit more money. But for now I might just check the water in a weeks time (as advised by the store) and dose for ph (only if outside that safe range) then.. (I have the Seachem stuff now too, mentioned earlier in the thread but I've been told by the store not to use any yet so the antibacterial stuff can help my poor betta)

Edited by HonourWest
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On 6/13/2021 at 1:19 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

Well I'm sorry to hear that there is no improvement but it appears you have the right type of med to treat what is going on. Stability will help with your new tank syndrome- hopefully that will help even things out- make sure you dose exactly as the bottle says (7 days). The Prime will help in emergencies- lets just say it neutralizes the bad stuff for 24 hours so you do have to redose. It's also a good water conditioner if you want to use it for that. It's multi-purpose which is why I recommend its use. 

I really hope the meds help your poor Betta, Alphonso, he looks miserable. 

I think your tank will look really nice when this is all over and the plants can be filled in. I know it's disheartening but if you're determined you'll come out better in the end. The diving helmet is actually really cool, it will look neat surrounded by plants and fish. Fish like hiding places, there's nothing wrong with it. On my profile under about me you'll see my own little man made caves. We all have different styles- that's what so cool about this hobby. 

How hard is it to take care of planted tanks really? I was hoping to avoid artificial stuff to keep the environment as idealistic for my betta as possible- but all my plants (save the ones on the logs) are yellowing and rotting.

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You don't need a ph stabilizer, a Ph of 7 to 7.8 is normal and in the safe range.  You would be better to get a basic master test kit that tests for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, it should also contain ph drops.  Basic water changes, salt for fin rot  ( be aware it will affect your plants )  and a stable temperature.  Always treat your replacement water with Prime and Stability will help with the cycle.  Your betta has a lovely home.  

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Well it sounds like you have a low tech set up with no heater, same as how I do it. I don't dose fertilizer. Now because of that my plants may grow a bit slower than those who dose fertilizers- my oldest tank right now is 9 months, I'll attach a picture. I chose "easy" plants because of this, so Anubias, Aponogeton, Amazon Swords are some of my favorites, but I'm experimenting with other "easy plants". They are all listed in my profile under About Me with pictures of all my tanks. 

I started with larger river gravel and a bit of planting substate at the back to put some Swords. Anubias and Java don't need substrate, they need to be attached to something. It looks like you might not have much for planting substrate for those kinds of plants that root into it to grow? Besides the tank already being new and stressed that might be part of the issue as they aren't getting the nutrients they need yet from an established system. You might do as I did in my main tank and EVENTUALLY add substrate in places or put in pots to place more plants. It takes a while for things to grow in but it's very satisfying when you can run a low tech tank. 

Resized_20210605_183042.jpg

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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I am very sorry. I'm sure you're very discouraged. The answer to me if you still really would like to try is a resounding YES. But with the caveat- don't get one right away, continue with what you have left and get your tank cycled. I'm sorry did you have other fish left? Are they showing signs of illness?

It wasn't that YOU couldn't keep him alive, it's that you got bad information. Now that you know, you can get your tank cycled and do some more research on tank and Betta care. To me this is the fun part of the hobby. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 6/13/2021 at 6:22 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I am very sorry. I'm sure you're very discouraged. The answer to me if you still really would like to try is a resounding YES. But with the caveat- don't get one right away, continue with what you have left and get your tank cycled. I'm sorry did you have other fish left? Are they showing signs of illness?

It wasn't that YOU couldn't keep him alive, it's that you got bad information. Now that you know, you can get your tank cycled and do some more research on tank and Betta care. To me this is the fun part of the hobby. 

I do want to have another go, but I really don't want another fish to suffer the way poor Alfonso did.

How best should I go about getting the tank cycled? It has four tetras, a cory bronze and a snail in it still. The dose of medication for Alfonso has been added to the water. My plants at the back are in rough shape. Should I worry about doing a partial water change yet? (Did one just yesterday)

The cory bronze had a damaged tail from when the betta attacked him. It had a white discolouration on the tail too where the damage was (not like a fungus- rather like the tail lost some colour) but other then that they all appear in good health.

I have watched Cory's videos but as things are obviously not a fresh start was wondering if I should strip the tank down and completely start over first. 

 

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There are several ways you could approach this.

You *could* leave the tank as is treating the whole tank, finish the medication cycle, if anybody else is sick- the body damage you're describing could lead to bacterial infections so may be good to medicate. I believe using Stability through that might work to keep things from going sideways but the meds might also kill beneficial bacteria. So doing the med course (changing water if needed by testing water quality and then redosing) and then starting with some water changes when it's over then restart with Stability.

You *could* potentially move your plants out during treatment into a bucket which might be easier than you setting up a hospital tank since you're new to the hobby I'm guessing you're not quite set up for that yet. To keep the plants fresh you could do water changes there if need be and fertilize them, you'll just to have to make sure they get light too. That way maybe you can bring some of your plants back and replant them when the med course is over. 

You *could* clean out the tank as you said by removing inhabitants putting them into a bucket temporarily and cleaning the tank, refill and start with Stability. The only thing you're risking here is maybe some of the fish do still need meds and you end up having to medicate the tank anyway- BUT everything could go well and get a lot better once the water is clean/tank is clean and you start with Stability then Prime. 

You *could* do the complete cleaning, put back the inhabitants you think are the most healthy and quarantine the others in a hospital container of your choice and medicate them there. 

You could do any of the above in combination. Whatever you think will be easiest for you and your inhabitants. 

I'd be worried about the snail, make sure the medication is invertebrate safe. Maybe it could live with your plants if you quarantine them while medicating make sure any fertilizer you pick is invertebrate safe too. 

There's so many ways you can approach this. 

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The cory bronze is looking pretty bad. I don't know what is wrong. It almost looks like he's lost a layer of skin towards his tail. I haven't done anything yet with the tank. (Still cycling through the antibacterial medication) 

Do you know what this is/what I should do?

He isn't happy and has just been staying at the bottom of the tank.

Tested the ph this morning and it was  at 7.5 which is just outside the "safe" range the store gave me. I didn't want to add the ph-down yet as the tank has been through so much and I wanted things to settle.

 

20210614_115722.jpg

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I think you made a good choice to not try to change the tank PH.  I personally think anywhere from 7.0-8.0 is pretty safe for most fish.  My PH is 8.2 and I keep neons, a betta, corys, and more just fine 🙂 I would avoid treating PH with anything other than water changes.  Most fish can handle a wide range of PHs so long as they're stable.

A lot of the stress and health issues are probably from the tank cycling.  I'm not sure what's going on with the cory, but it looks rough.  It's hard to know where you're at in the cycling process without knowing ammonia/nitrate/nitrite readings, but I'd encourage dosing daily with Seachem Prime, which I believe you said you had, along with frequent partial water changes, at least until you see some good plant/algae growth.  That's usually a good signal that a tank is approaching a "balance."  Prime helps to neutralize ammonia and nitrate for about 24 hours, which will help reduce the stress from cycling and hopefully help your fish heal. 

It's so discouraging to lose fish, but you're actually probably in a better place science-wise with fewer fish as you try to cycle the tank.  The more fish, the higher the amount of waste they produce and the more bacteria you need to process it.  It can be hard to build that all right away.

For what it's worth, I know what a stressful situation this is to be in--I started with a Betta, a brand new tank, and some bad pet-store advice before I'd done my research and learned about cycling, etc..  That betta didn't make it despite my best efforts to fix my mistakes, but I've come to really enjoy the hobby and have some good successes since.  It can get better. 🙂  I'd do what you can to get the tank cycled and plants growing well--and to help any any surviving fish heal--and then you can start planning out what else you want to add.   Another betta down the road when you've achieved a stable environment would probably do quite well and be very enjoyable.  

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On 6/14/2021 at 12:30 PM, KaitieG said:

I think you made a good choice to not try to change the tank PH.  I personally think anywhere from 7.0-8.0 is pretty safe for most fish.  My PH is 8.2 and I keep neons, a betta, corys, and more just fine 🙂 I would avoid treating PH with anything other than water changes.  Most fish can handle a wide range of PHs so long as they're stable.

A lot of the stress and health issues are probably from the tank cycling.  I'm not sure what's going on with the cory, but it looks rough.  It's hard to know where you're at in the cycling process without knowing ammonia/nitrate/nitrite readings, but I'd encourage dosing daily with Seachem Prime, which I believe you said you had, along with frequent partial water changes, at least until you see some good plant/algae growth.  That's usually a good signal that a tank is approaching a "balance."  Prime helps to neutralize ammonia and nitrate for about 24 hours, which will help reduce the stress from cycling and hopefully help your fish heal. 

It's so discouraging to lose fish, but you're actually probably in a better place science-wise with fewer fish as you try to cycle the tank.  The more fish, the higher the amount of waste they produce and the more bacteria you need to process it.  It can be hard to build that all right away.

For what it's worth, I know what a stressful situation this is to be in--I started with a Betta, a brand new tank, and some bad pet-store advice before I'd done my research and learned about cycling, etc..  That betta didn't make it despite my best efforts to fix my mistakes, but I've come to really enjoy the hobby and have some good successes since.  It can get better. 🙂  I'd do what you can to get the tank cycled and plants growing well--and to help any any surviving fish heal--and then you can start planning out what else you want to add.   Another betta down the road when you've achieved a stable environment would probably do quite well and be very enjoyable.  

I was told to take the charcoal medium out of my filter when adding the anti-bacterial medication to treat the betta. Should I add this back in with the prime do you think?

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