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Still struggling with my betta and fin rot --- need advice


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It's been a few weeks since my last post, and honestly I am still at a loss. After two rounds of the Jungle Fungus Clear I "thought" I was seeing improvement with my betta Goldie Blue in the 55g. The betta in the 10g's fin rot looks like it's much better. I don't know what to look for in terms of "healing"... he was starting to get his coloring back, the bloody stuff where the tail meets the base looked less severe, but then today I look and he is starting to get pale again and it looks like the bloody stuff is more prominent. One whole section of his tail fell off a few weeks ago, and another big chunk is almost totally see through/clear.

I can't salt this tank because there are snails in it, I have already dosed the entire tank with 2 rounds of Fungus Clear, so I hesitate to medicate the whole tank again. Does he look like he is still suffering the fin rot? I have NO idea what to look for.

In my previous post (which I am including below for reference) it was suggested I might have old tank syndrome, I have since followed all the advice given to me, and serviced and fully cleaned my canister filter. I have always kept up with my water changes every week. My parameters for the last 3 weeks have been spot on ( pH 8.0, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate has been about 10ppm). The parameters are always where they should be so I just do not understand what is going wrong to cause him to have fin rot, and it's really frustrating!

I do know the flow in this tank seems to stress him out, and one of the things I keep seeing is stress can cause it as well. I have a splash bar in the tank (Eheim 350 classic canister) and the one time I tried turning the flow down last year the tank had a big nitrite spike. Again, no idea if that was related to turning the flow down, or was just something else going on at the same time.

I guess I am venting, frustrated, confused, and thinking I keep doing the right things but clearly my sweet boy is still struggling. 

I do not have a cycled QT set up, but I have the means to set up a tank right now and move him if need be. Knowing that he's had 2 rounds of Fungus Clear, should I medicate him again in a QT tank? Leave him alone and in the 55g and hope for the best? Would aquarium salt in a QT tank help? I don't want to stress him out more than he already is, obviously...but this is breaking my heart. 

I am including a photo of him from 2-3 weeks ago (the one where he is facing left), and another one I just took today (he's facing right). My profile pic is what he SHOULD look like. Does it look like he is healing? Are the bloody spots by where his tail meets his base fin rot, is that normal? I just don't know, and I am desperately seeking help/advice.

Thanks in advance for anything you can give me.

 

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On 6/10/2022 at 7:49 PM, Colu said:

Have you got a resent picture to compare it to old pictures 

Did the pics I posted not show up? If you can see them, the top one where he is facing left was 2-3 weeks ago after treatment, the bottom one is today. If you can't see them let me know, I will try uploading again. Thanks Colu!

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@Goldie BlueHonestly. I think you need to get the API or Fritz branded meds.  Erythromycin / General Cure (and ich-X) as well as the current med trio as your two options.

I don't think the med you have works effectively.  You've been treating for a while and it's still not showing enough improvement.  If you decide to continue to treat, offer food every other day a small amount to make sure he's getting some energy.  Salt will help with electrolytes and such as well.

You have General cure in there but only dose it initially.  Ich-X you change 30% of water before you re-dose per the directions on the bottle. The main thing is to specifically follow the directions on erythromycin as your guide for treatment and how often you would re-dose Ich-X and/or Erythromycin.
 

On 6/10/2022 at 4:11 PM, Goldie Blue said:

I do know the flow in this tank seems to stress him out, and one of the things I keep seeing is stress can cause it as well. I have a splash bar in the tank (Eheim 350 classic canister) and the one time I tried turning the flow down last year the tank had a big nitrite spike. Again, no idea if that was related to turning the flow down, or was just something else going on at the same time.

Get a tub, 10-20G sterilite or black from the hardware store. you can use your sponge in it and there is plenty of water for him to sustain with good parameters and not need to worry about flow. you're basically going to run 1 sponge and one additional airstone in the tub for the fish. 

Can you please verify what meds you have available, if you have a sponge, salt, airstone, etc.  The big question is going to be if you can get a tub, Ich-x, and Erythromycin in the very least.

@IreneDo you have any advice here?

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On 6/10/2022 at 8:25 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

Can you please verify what meds you have available, if you have a sponge, salt, airstone, etc.  The big question is going to be if you can get a tub, Ich-x, and Erythromycin in the very least.

I have: Ich-X, Maracyn, Paracleanse, Kanaplex, API Fungus Cure, Jungle Fungus Clear, API Aquarium salt, epsom salt.

I have a sterilite tub, a heater, an uncycled brand new sponge filter for a 10g, and an airstone I can set up. 

On 6/10/2022 at 8:25 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

You've been treating for a while and it's still not showing enough improvement. 

Yeah, that is my main question, I don't know how long it takes, it seemed like he was getting slightly better, but now today he has that weird bloody spot on a fin and the blood by his tail looks more "fresh" I guess? I just don't know what to expect, and what is causing it might be a bigger question, since the other betta in my 10g seems to have gotten over his fin rot but this one still looks rough. 

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On 6/10/2022 at 7:03 PM, Goldie Blue said:

Yeah, that is my main question, I don't know how long it takes, it seemed like he was getting slightly better, but now today he has that weird bloody spot on a fin and the blood by his tail looks more "fresh" I guess? I just don't know what to expect, and what is causing it might be a bigger question, since the other betta in my 10g seems to have gotten over his fin rot but this one still looks rough. 

Yeah, it could be weakened due to the damage received. I still see the redness on the tail, some fins are freyed or torn.  It could just be a matter of time to recover, but I think it's critical to get the fish to a calm situation where it is very low stress compared to the flow issues in the 55G you've been having.  Whether you do anything now or not, I'd start running the tub right away.  Add a few pieces of media from your small canister filter or something so it can seed bacteria in the sponge.

Next, you can monitor the fish or continue treatment.   If I was in the situation I would treat Ich-X, Maracyn, API Salt.

Edited by nabokovfan87
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On 6/10/2022 at 5:11 PM, Goldie Blue said:

can't salt this tank because there are snails in it

Some snails, especially nerites, can tolerate the *low* medical level of salt. That being said, I think you would see improvement if he went to the smaller tank with less flow (sponge filter is perfect), with a lot of Indian Almond leaves, and start with 1 tbs/3 gallons of aquarium salt. Bump up the live and frozen foods, and see what he looks like at the end of the week.

https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/aquarium-salt-for-sick-fish#:~:text=1 Tbsp Salt per 3,small cup of water first.

Dim lights, lower the stress, and eliminate rough services and strong flow can do a lot of wonders for a fish who wants to be healthy and is struggling with too many stressors and not enough cellular support.

This has  been my first approach with my bettas for years, and was effective as long as they were still eating. There is peer-reviewed research about IAL boosting the betta immune system. 

Edited by Torrey
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On 6/11/2022 at 12:46 AM, Torrey said:

That being said, I think you would see improvement if he went to the smaller tank with less flow (sponge filter is perfect), with a lot of Indian Almond leaves, and start with 1 tbs/3 gallons of aquarium salt.

I read your reply on my other older thread that you made, and will move forward with getting him out of that tank tomorrow. I set up the temporary sterilite "QT" tank, but I honestly think I will just set him up in his own new tank. All I need is the actual tank at this point, which I can easily get tomorrow. 

My only concern is him being in an uncycled tank. I have no cycled filter to add to it, and although I can add media from my other two tanks, will this stress him out as well?

Something I did not notice when I initially posted this earlier today, in the before pic the translucent part of his tail is much shorter, and todays pic it's definitely grown out some. How long does it take for their fins to grow out and show visible recovery? The fact a huge chunk of his tail fell off a few weeks ago had me very worried about that part that is "translucent". 

He loves to eat, so feeding him the frozen and fresh foods won't be an issue. He comes to me to socialize and eats from my hand at each feeding. I also have Indian Almond leaves on hand I can place in the QT tank.

I am very thankful for your help, experience, and replies @Torrey ! 

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On 6/11/2022 at 2:01 AM, Goldie Blue said:

Did the pics I posted not show up? If you can see them, the top one where he is facing left was 2-3 weeks ago after treatment, the bottom one is today. If you can't see them let me know, I will try uploading again. Thanks Colu!

I thought both pictures were from a couple of weeks ago  it can take a couple of weeks from a severe case of fin rot before you start to see any  regrowth it's a slow process I think @Torreysuggestion of Indian almond leaves and salt is the way to go for now 

Edited by Colu
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I went to the store today and ended up getting him a whole new tank to be his permanent home. It's the Fluval Flex 9, and I don't really have any sponges or way to add filter material outside of opening up one of my canisters. I do have mesh bags I can stick gravel in to seed the tank, should I fill a small bag or two with gravel from my established tank and slip it into the new tank?

With this being a brand new tank, is it alright to move him in today, add the salt/Indian almond leaves? Will that not stress him out with a fish-in cycle? If I am following the level 1 salt treatment, should I just put him in and follow the instructions and monitor parameters at the same time? @Colu @Torrey @nabokovfan87 Thank you!

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I wouldn't recommend doing a fish in cycle with a  fish that already weak  the stress could affect your fishs immune system making him more likely to have his fin rot progress further could you get some seeded sponge from your LFS or get a sponge filter and leave in the tank he for a couple of days before moving him to his new tank 

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On 6/11/2022 at 4:11 PM, Colu said:

I wouldn't recommend doing a fish in cycle with a  fish that already weak  the stress could affect your fishs immune system making him more likely to have his fin rot progress further could you get some seeded sponge from your LFS or get a sponge filter and leave in the tank he for a couple of days before moving him to his new tank 

The issue is right now the Betta is in a 55g with extremely higher flow than desired.

On 6/11/2022 at 4:04 PM, Goldie Blue said:

I do have mesh bags I can stick gravel in to seed the tank, should I fill a small bag or two with gravel from my established tank and slip it into the new tank?

Take some media from the canister and put it in the flex. Take the media that came with the flex and put the little bag into your canister. Then you should be starting with a cycle going partially.

On 6/11/2022 at 4:04 PM, Goldie Blue said:

With this being a brand new tank, is it alright to move him in today, add the salt/Indian almond leaves?

I will say yes.

On 6/11/2022 at 4:04 PM, Goldie Blue said:

If I am following the level 1 salt treatment, should I just put him in and follow the instructions and monitor parameters at the same time?

Correct

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On 6/11/2022 at 6:11 PM, Colu said:

could you get some seeded sponge

Status update: I got the new tank set up and pulled some of my old canister filter media out, both the bio ball things, and a huge piece of the padding that was in there and put it in the new tank.

However, I tested the water about an hour after adding all that in, and the ammonia is sitting at about 1.0 (pic below yellow is from my 55g tank the fish is in now, green is the new tank I set up today)

@nabokovfan87 advised I show you a pic of what the fish looks like today to see how urgent it is to move him, so I am attaching that as well. He looks worse today than he did yesterday. 

I always let my tanks do a full cycle before adding fish in the past, but this is really scaring me and I don't know if I should be moving him into the new tank this fast, even with the seeded media in there now. How fast can the cycle go? Should I be leaving it alone or doing a water change? 

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On 6/11/2022 at 9:07 PM, Goldie Blue said:

However, I tested the water about an hour after adding all that in, and the ammonia is sitting at about 1.0 (pic below yellow is from my 55g tank the fish is in now, green is the new tank I set up today)

Can you test the other tank as well? You moved some gravel into the tank? Besides the media what is in there from the old tank?

Salt will help a lot to ease ammonia burn as well.  The only thing that explains high ammonia right now is ammonia from the tap or from the old tank so we need to isolate where it's coming from. If you're seeing ammonia that high in the old tank, it explains some of the issues.

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On 6/11/2022 at 9:07 PM, Goldie Blue said:

@nabokovfan87 advised I show you a pic of what the fish looks like today to see how urgent it is to move him, so I am attaching that as well. He looks worse today than he did yesterday. 

What do you think is best to do for the redness in the gills.  Airstone, salt?  @Colu @Torrey ?

Edited by nabokovfan87
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On 6/11/2022 at 10:04 PM, Goldie Blue said:

The pic with the two tubes side by side, the one with 0 Ammonia is the 55g (the tank he is in now). That is the tank I pulled the filter media out of too. That is why I am confused, if 55g has 0 ammonia, why is it so high in the new one?

If you're saying you put something like this in the filter:

Image result for bio balls black

I could've just been full of waste and that caused the spike.

That media is often used for something like diffusing flow (slowing it down) so that the big muck gets trapped inside of that instead of the "good media"

This is the media that I believe is what you have. You'd put some of that into the flex to start it cycling and then it may have chunks of waste in the center as well.  You can rinse them in tank water and should be fine without causing any disturbance to the bacteria.

image.png.41e3bf8cd4d205646dd2d2418ed3d65a.png

Edited by nabokovfan87
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Last night I took the media I placed in the Flex from my 55g (the bio balls and filter padding) and rinsed it out in tank water as @nabokovfan87 suggested and did a water change, and since it was already 2:30am by that time, I left the tank alone for the night and went to bed. 

Tested ammonia again this morning, and it's still 1.0 ppm. I tested my tap water and it's even higher, closer to 2.0 out of the tap.

I added Prime to the Flex of course, and if the tap water is just this high to begin with, I really don't feel like it's safe to move Goldie Blue in there?

It's obvious he needs some kind of action today, but not having an established QT tank set up I don't know how to proceed.

Goldie Blue looks very bad today, noticeable spots on his tail that weren't there yesterday.

 

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The prime will help with the ammonia, it's likely chloramines showing up. Definitely keep an eye on your water and conditions from the tap.

I think it was Colu had mentioned in another thread, to get a container, put some lava rock or something in the bottom and then go ahead and add a pump so the water can stay agitated, then you'd condition your water so it can remove the ammonia and such before you use it for water changes. Have it ready to go beforehand.  Unfortunately, a lot of hobbyist have to do that.

I think getting him out of the 55 is going to be critical. Maybe you can move him to your 10G but there's a Betta in there and they will likely stress him out.

Unfortunately, it seems like the only place is a tub with water from the 55 (can do it in the flex also) and removing the ammonia water and getting him somewhere asap.

 

Then the issue is trying to make sure the 55 doesn't have issues with water being added.

 

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Do you have a breeder box?

Or, do you have plastic canvas mesh to make a breeder box?

When we are stressed, we aren't going to be able to calmly give best care.

Water quality in the 55 gallon appears to be testing well, and has established beneficial bacteria... I suspect stress from the flow, plus rough surface, have been contributing to deteriorating fins. I'm thinking a very larger breeder box (bought or homemade) to reduce the water flow would be a huge help. Partially cover he bottom with some moss, or hornwort/guppy grass in a pinch. Max depth 6 inches. Cover the other half of the bottom of the breeder box with Indian Almond leaves. Place the heater under the breeder box to ensure his water is sufficiently warm (hopefully this will create cooler spots for white clouds). Place an airstone under the heater to help the warm water rise and to protect your heater.

This will buy you some time to get the new tank set up for your betta.

Your tap water sounds like it has a lot of chloramine. It may be worth using distilled water and only filling the new 10 gallon for your betta halfway until fins of healed. You can mix 1/2 distilled with 1/2 55 gallon tank water, and ghost feed the new tank until you aren't detecting ammonia or nitrites. Half-way filled will also make any meds you need to use last longer (most give dosing per 5 gallons or 10 gallons. Measure 5 gallons into the tank, then put a piece of masking tape there so you know where 5 gallons is as water evaporates and you do water changes).

You can also take water directly from the 55 gallon (a gallon at a time) and fill the new 10 gallon halfway for an immediate treatment tank. I would boil some Indian almond leaves (let them cool) and just use those as the substrate. Add the cooled water to the new tank as well, to maximize therapeutic relief. Feed lightly, and watch that he eats all the food. At this point, with a seeded sponge filter, it's going to be healthier for all parties involved if he eats less at a time, but eats more often of highest quality food you can afford to get.

Whichever method will help lower your stress, is the best option.

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I ended up taking a sterilite tub and filled it with 4 gallons of the 55g tank water, dosed with aquarium salt (2 teaspoons), and acclimated him for about an hour in a cup before adding him.

Honestly I was expecting him to freak out, but he's very calm and actually swimming around slowly and exploring. With daily water changes from the 55g I am hoping that this can help him heal enough while the new Flex tank is cycling. I have a totally brand new sponge filter, heater, air stone, and his seeshelter in there with him in the sterilite tub. I hope I did the right thing, but I knew I had to do something fast because he looks awful.

The Flex is seeded with media from the 55g, and with the ammonia being this high on the same day as set up, realistically how long do you think it might take to see safe numbers to transfer him? He is going to LOVE this tank if he makes it, the flow is so gentle.

What a weekend, it was SO busy for us and on top of the fishy emergency we had an outdoor party scheduled for today, in this Texas heat is was 108 real temp. I hope Goldie Blue and I can both start to relax and recover after this crazy weekend. I can't thank you guys for your experience and knowledge enough.

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