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Worried about my betta 😔


Gabs19
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Hello there. I am new to taking care of fish and I am worried about my betta. I’ve had him since January and he has always been such a social, curious little guy. Active swimmer. I noticed some fin rot about a month after we got him. I treated him with Kanaplex and added some almond leaves to the tank for tannins. No change. Even though his fins looked shredded Kujo was still very active and had a good appetite. Last week I noticed a change in his behavior. He is very lethargic. He spends most of the day hiding or at the bottom of the tank in a kind of curled position leaning over to one side. I really have to coax him to come to the surface for food now. The water parameters seem ok, although I only have test strips. I can see no visible signs of disease, like ich or velvet. But I’m inexperienced, so any help is appreciated. Is this just advanced fin rot or is something else amiss? Any recommendations? I gave him a salt bath for the first time today with API aquarium salt. 
 

Water Parameters:

GH: 150; Nitrires: 0; Nitrates: 0; Ammonia: 0; KH- 40, pH- 6.4

He’s in a 10 gallon planted tank with 4 glow light tetras, 3 Pygmy Cory’s, 2 mystery snails, 1 khuli loach and 1 pleco. Here are some photos with and without flash. 

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So sorry to hear. How often do you perform water changes? What temperature is this tank being kept at? What foods are you currently feeding the tank?

Bettas are sometimes very hardy fish. But other times, they're old or inbred, disease-prone, etc. We've had both kinds in our hobby at home over the last few years. It seems like you're being attentive, and doing a good job. If the other fish in the tank seem happy as ever, it may be something with him. If your substrate is getting really mucky, sometimes these fancy Bettas get fin rot when they rest on the bottom over night a lot.

I'd just do a 25% water change, using something to treat the tap water. I'd make sure the temperature was warm enough. Almond leaves (Catappa leaves) are very beneficial. Make sure your food is not old / rancid . . . and take care not to overfeed your fish tank.

Others can chime in with thoughts on treatment. Different aquarists handle treatment decisions differently. Some isolate in quarantine early, and dose with focussed medicines. Others tend to work on the fish by carefully adjusting the environment and allowing healing to occur in their tank. It does depend on what's going on with him. 

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Thank you for replying! I’ve been doing 25% water changes every 1-2 weeks. The temperature is about 78 degrees. I feed Kujo ( my betta) and the tetras Hikari Vibra bites and the other guys algae wafers. I was feeding twice daily but had a low ammonia level reading a few weeks ago so I reduced to feeding once a day. Everyone else seems to be just fine in the tank. Only Kujo seems to be “off”. Heavy sigh. I was thinking about trying salt baths once a day this week and see if that helps. I’m hesitant to to medicate since I don’t really know what’s wrong. 

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Sounds like you're doing well. I'll suggest maybe investing in some new / different foods. Vibra bites are OK once in a while, but as a standard fare, they may lack some nutrients. Plus, if they get old or rancid, as with all fish food, nothing good follows.

@Colu might chime in with insights on medication and treatments. As for salt baths, I'm no help -- having never tried it with my fish before. ACO has a great article I'd refer you to though here: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/aquarium-salt-for-sick-fish

 

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I would start feeding him hikari Betta bio gold just a couple of pellets twice a day usually when fish are lethargic it's usually because there putting all there energy into fighting an illness or they are weak thought not eating with Indian almond leaves you need to add one leaf per gallon to get a beneficial effect what I would do is another course of kanaplex in food as fish typically only adsorb 20% of antibiotic medication when it's add to the water column it's a lot more effective in food as he's still eating feed a small amount twice a day for 7 days store any leftover medicated food in the fridge add a small amount of aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 10 gallons the salt will help with Gill function and add essential electrolytes at that level it won't harm your plants I wouldn't do salt baths they will just stress him out in his weaken state  

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Edited by Colu
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Wow this is so helpful! Thank you @Colu and @Fish Folk for your responses. I seriously appreciate it. At the level you recommended will the salt harm my loach or pleco? I definitely want to give it a try.

Also I just want to add that this forum is amazing. I posted to Reddit to see if I could get help and my post never even got seen. This platform is so easy to use and I really appreciate the response from kind and experienced people. Thank you!!!!

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On 4/26/2022 at 12:00 AM, Gabs19 said:

Thank you for replying! I’ve been doing 25% water changes every 1-2 weeks. The temperature is about 78 degrees. I feed Kujo ( my betta) and the tetras Hikari Vibra bites and the other guys algae wafers. I was feeding twice daily but had a low ammonia level reading a few weeks ago so I reduced to feeding once a day. Everyone else seems to be just fine in the tank. Only Kujo seems to be “off”. Heavy sigh. I was thinking about trying salt baths once a day this week and see if that helps. I’m hesitant to to medicate since I don’t really know what’s wrong. 

I suspect you lucked out with a sensitive betta. Stress is the leading cause of disease in all creatures, and can slowly erode the system with very few signs until suddenly there's an issue.

1. You said upthread you are using Indian Almond leaves (IAL). Typically it takes a minimum of 3 large leaves per 10 gallons, and lower quality leaves can need up to 8 leaves/gallon to reach a therapeutic level.

2. What is the light level? Bettas prefer to have floating plants to swim under (filtered light) and broad leaves to rest on (or they will rest on the bottom).

3. Is there anything in the tank that is rough enough for your betta to be tearing the fins on? because open wounds in an aquarium are access points for opportunistic bacteria to gain entry, and then the fish gets an infection. Fin nipping from stress can also lead to this.

4. Some bettas never do optimally at temps below 82 F.

Colu & Fish Folk already addressed everything else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have an update on Kujo. I have added more catapa leaves to the tank and added aquarium salt as suggested above. I could not find the Seachem Focus at my local stores to bind the Kanaplex to the food. I it ordered from Amazon but the package was lost. I FINALLY  got my replacement yesterday and made the recipe @Colu suggested above, but Kujo won’t eat😔. I put him in a jar so I could try and hand feed him and noticed some of his scales look like they are sticking out a bit. Is this dropsy? I can also see some discoloration around his face and he is breathing heavily. I feel like this might be the end 😞. Any thoughts? 

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Posted (edited)

I would try again to get him to eat the medicated food you could use frozen blood worms instead of pellets with medicated food it does look like some pineconing is a sign of Dropsy the most effective treatment I have found is kanaplex in food metroplex to treat the water column as it treats aeromonas that's a common cause of Dropsy and salt to help reduce the fluid buildup 

Edited by Colu
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Update on my betta: not sure if anyone will see this. 
 

I feel confident that Kujo has dropsy now. He looks bloated and his scales are definitely pine-coning. He refuses to eat anything I try to give him. Metroplex should come today and I will dose the tank. I also added 1tbsp of aquarium salt to the tank. I am so heartbroken. Is there anything else I can or should be doing? I am desperate to help him. I have stress guard from Seachem. Should I add that daily to see if it helps? 

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Posted (edited)

As you have live plants I would recommend doing salt baths 1 table spoon for 2 gallons for no more than 15 minutes for a Couple of days that will help with the fluid buildup  treat with kanaplex then follow up with a course of metroplex as he's not accepting food 

Edited by Colu
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