Imput needed: mysterious Betta Fish illness...
Alright, so I have currently asked this already on the Tropical Fish Forum, but I'm posting it here on the chance someone has any clue what's going on with my poor betta.
In advance, I understand as it is right now "technically" my tank is overstocked, although neither fish are full grown yet. I am planning to get a 10 gallon tank soon. I have been having to clean the tank often as a result of the pleco, so I don't think water quality is the issue.
I've had my male Crowntail Betta for about 3 weeks now, and I've been very religious with keeping up with the tank cycling(new tank setup) as well as the 10-15% water changes. Up until today he's been very active, happy, he built a bubble nest earlier this week, was eating fine, greeting me when I walk in the room, etc. However, today he's started acting very different and he has varying symptoms and I'm so far unable to pin down exactly what is going on. I originally thought it was Ich, but now I'm not so sure WHAT it is...
I know for sure he doesn't have swim bladder disease, or ammonia poisoning..
What size is your tank? 5 gallon.
What temperature is your tank? 78* F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? One Albino Bristlenose Plecostomus.
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? BettaMin Tropical Medley Flakes & Baby Shrimp(only on occasion)
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day in tiny amounts equivalent to 1 feeding a day.
How often do you perform a water change? Full water change twice a month- gravel vacuum.. Partial water change twice a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 10-15% for a partial change.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? No vitamins added, except dechlorinator (Tetra: AquaSafe). I also have a minimum 5 gallons of treated water standing by at any given time if I need to swap for any reason.
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I have been testing with strips, and I'm not convinced it's being very accurate.
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 1 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 8.5 ppm
Hardness: 0 ppm
Alkalinity: 180 ppm
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
Cloudy eyes, a grey-ish cottony spot above his right pectoral fin, and a few white spots on his head, and droopy fins.
The white spots don't look raised to me, but they don't look salt-like, like ich either. I just noticed he also has a few scales that used to be iridescent on his sides, but are now just grey and flat.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
He's not eating, if he does "eat" he spits it back out, when he goes up for air his gills flare rapidly a couple times after going below the surface, he's being lethargic; resting at the top of the water surface or in a corner on the bottom of the tank.
He's also just recently started to lay on the bottom of the tank against his hide "house" and seems to be only moving to get air.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I have so far treated the entire tank for Ick, and put the recommended 1 teaspoon aquarium salt per 2.5 gallons.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that I'm aware of.
How old is your fish (approximately)? About a year old.
I don't know what's going on. I'm grasping at straws with this. He seems to have a bunch of symptoms of various illnesses, almost none that make any sense. :?
I wish I could help :(
My previous betta had the EXACT same symptoms, and died about a month after he started to show them.
Does he have any sort of fin rot? Parasites? It COULD be a fungal infection, though I would think the white would be more pronounced.
Sounds like a fungal infection.
Do you add a bit of aquarium salt to your tank?
I agree with Redgate sounds like a fungus and not ick. There is a product by Jungle that is a tablet you put in the water and it turns it blue that I have used lots of times and have always had great success with it. You can get it a t Petsmart and I think Walmart has it to. As for your water changes with a tank that small and a pleco I would do at least 30-50% water changes a week. Plecos are very messy fish. Also the test strips are very inaccurate if you want a good test kit go with the API master test kit they are about $40 here but last a long time and are worth it.
Yeah, I have been doing about that much of a water change since getting my Pleco just because of the rate the tank gets dirty.
I really really want/need to get a master test kit, but at the moment I don't have the funds to.
I checked with my Fish Husbandry prof. today about any advice, and she recommended staying with the ick/malachite green treatment for 7-14 days and then going from there. I'm very hesitant to sit around and wait for something to take effect if it's not the right treatment though...
Is there any way you could post a picture of your fish? I really believe what he has from your description is a fungus and not ick. If it were my fish I would stop useing what you have and get this product Tetra® Lifeguard™ All-in-One Treatment - General Medications - Medications - PetSmart I have used it lots of times and it works great. As far as waiting like your prof said if its a fungus and you wait that long he will not make it.
ETA: I looked up more details on the product your useing and it did say that it works on mild fungus out breaks so it may work be sure you remove any carbin from the filter as it will make meds not work.
I will definitely look into getting that when I next go into town on Wednesday if he shows no signs of improvement by then. Thanks for the recommendation.
Yep, the entire filter media is removed until treatments are entirely done.
Alright, here is a pic of my sick betta. You can see his eyes are cloudy, and he has various grey/white patches all over his head and a few on his sides. His fins are perfectly ok.
I'm starting to think it is a fungal infection though, as most of these "patches" are fuzzy. At least I caught it sooner than later though.
Your betta looks like he's suffering from a combination of a fungal infection topped off with nitrite poisoning. Your tank isn't cycled (nowhere near it, actually), which is causing these problems. You need to be doing DAILY 50% water changes with a water conditioner such as Prime in order to keep your toxicity levels as low as possible. Right now, with your tank uncycled like it is, there's no amount of medications that are going to make your betta healthy because of the toxicity levels in your tank, and the fact that your pleco (which REALLY doesn't belong in anything smaller than a 29gal tank, even as a baby) is in this 5.5gal with your betta adding its waste to things doesn't help matters. Ammonia AND nitrites are harmful to fish in ANY amount. Getting those levels down and as close to zero as possible (with the help of DAILY water changes with Prime, which detoxifies the ammonia and nitrites, while keeping it available for your beneficial bacteria to feed on) is the only thing that is going to help your betta get back to health.
Also, it definitely looks like your betta has fin rot. The edges of his fins are black and curling (classic symptom) and his tail either looks like it's been rotted away or he's been biting at it. Both fin rot and tail biting are triggered by stress and high toxicity levels in the tank. The stress is probably from the ammonia and nitrites in the tank, plus the pleco being in the tank. Bettas are solitary fish and prefer the company of their human to other fish. Trust me, I've been keeping bettas for several years and have tried keeping them with other fish, but it ended very poorly in every single case.
Removing the entire filter media at this point in your cycle probably just killed whatever bit of cycling you had actually accomplished with your tank, essentially setting you back to square one. When treating with medications, NEVER remove the entire media, ONLY remove the carbon, as the carbon is added to "scrub" anything extra (like medications or tannins) from the water. That way your beneficial bacteria can remain to continue your cycle, while the medication can do its job. In my honest opinion, I find most medications utterly useless. Pristine water conditions (i.e.-no ammonia, no nitrites, and 5-20 nitrates depending on how planted your tank is) is usually enough to treat any of the common ailments found in the home aquarium. The only time I even think about adding aquarium salt to my tank is if I'm treating ich, and then I crank the temperature up to the high 80s and add a bit of salt to kill the ich spores, accompanied by daily 10% water changes with a good, deep, thorough gravel vac. Also, keeping your water pristine tends to PREVENT most of the common ailments found in the home aquarium.
My tank water is staying as clean as I can possibly keep it, and has been. My Betta just starting showing symptoms of being sick, so I'm doing what I can now to combat it. My tank has been cycling for 3 weeks.
This is my first Betta, I'm learning as much as I can. They are much different than other fish I have kept in the past. I feel terrible he's sick, and I understand I'm making some errors, but I'm doing my best to combat them. The only way to learn from mistakes is to be dealing with them in the first place.
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