Poor little Turboberry!!
He does certainly have quite a few serious issues bombarding him at once. And with so much immunological stress, we need to appreciate that he does have a guarded prognosis at this stage. Therefore, we must do our best to address all of these issues but know that with so much already having transpired this will be a uphill battle.Now first if possible, could you take a photo of what you are seeing? If you can do so and post them online, it will let me see what you are seeing. (To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar. Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, etc) and paste the web address here.)
The reason I especially would like a look at Turboberry is these white spots you are seeing. Now it may be Ich (and goodness knows a non-quarantined plant would certainly be a potential carrier that could have lead to an Ich infection) but it sounds a bit strange to see this developing at a later stage. Rather if it was Ich, we'd usually see that first and then see secondary fin rot +/- pop-eye as the immune system is stretched thin. And because of that, I would be keen to confirm that you are seeing white sand-like cysts of the Ich parasite and not a secondary bacterial (columnaris) or fungal issue.
Since we have so many issues at hand, we do need to take care with how we are treating. Especially since we have a possible parasitic issue (Ich), definite bacterial (with the pop-eye, which is essentially an bacteriemia and early stage dropsy and the most worrisome issue for him), and possibly fungal (though often fin rot is just bacterial as well). The reason this is so complicated is because we do have a lot of different issues to tackle that unfortunately do not respond to the same treatments. And that means we do have to be aware of overmedicating but also the possible compatibility of our treatments themselves.
So, first consideration is the water status. Now I am glad you are not doing full water changes, because that is a major faux pas in fish keeping. Not only is it stressful as you have noted but it is detrimental to the tank's biofilter (the good bacteria). And if you destroy the biofilter, then you will be even more at risk of nitrogenous waste build up in the tank quicker because those good bacteria are not there to break them down. Therefore, partial water changes are always the way forward. And if Ich is present, then consider vacuuming the gravel or removing any gravel/plants/etc. alongside the partial water changes to help remove as much as the parasite as possible. As well, with frequent water changes and medication, you may need to use a biofilter bolus (ie Tetrasafe Smart Start) to address the tank's good bacterial levels. As well, you didn't note if you have a filter (I appreciate a lot of bettas aren't kept with them), but do be aware if you have one that the carbon filter needs to be removed to ensure that your drugs are not being removed from the tank before they can aid him. Furthermore, I understand you do not yet have a test kit (which is something you do want to have for situations like this since it will allow you to know how successful your water changes are and the state of your water) but most pet stores will check a water sample for free. Therefore, it would be ideal to get a water sample checked now while you are waiting for your kit. It will tell you the status of your nitrogenous wastes and give you a clue to whether your current water changing regime is enough for him this tank. So, even though the kit is on its way, consider getting a sample checked at the pet store now to get an idea of the tank's state right now.
After addressing water quality, then we can turn our thoughts to treatment for diseases at hand. Now if the Maracyn is out of date, then it is of no use to us (perhaps you can return this to the store). While it could still have some effect, we have to assume that by being out of date it will not be the full effect. And if its effect is compromised, then we have to question whether we are giving a proper dose to address the infection or if the lower dose is just aiding the bacteria in developing resistance to the drug. And since there is no way for us to ascertain what % functionality the out of date meds has, we cannot even amend dose to address this. Furthermore, I don't tend to treat with Maracyn alone with pop-eye or bacterial fin rot cases since we our most common bacterial culprit (aeromonas) does have some resistance to the erythromycin alone. Therefore, when I do use Maracyn, its typically in combination with Maracyn-2 (minocycline) to give the best chance of tackling all strains. Alternatively, Kanamycin would be a good choice for his ongoing issues. And if he is still eating and since you are struggling with water issues, then it would be ideal to use Medi-gold (LINK
). Medi-gold is medicated food for goldfish that contains Kanamycin. It would get you around having to worry about further biofilter compromise and would take away some of the worry that you are properly managing your water parameters (which can be even harder to do and a bigger deal when you are medicating fish in their water). So, that would be an ideal option for addressing the pop-eye and bacterial differentials for the finrot.
Since there is a lot of medicating going on, I'd be tempted to initially withhold treating for fungal fin rot at least first off. Rather if you treat for the bacterial causes (since the aforementioned antibiotics will address both the internal bacterial infection and bacterial fin rot) and do not see the rot improving then I'd say to add in the anti fungal agent. And the one I'd tend to use alongside these antibiotics is Melafix. This is a natural antibacterial made from the melaleuca tree. It may help with the fungus if the water parameters are appropriate. So, I'd have the on stand-by initially but use it if the fin rot isn't responding to antibiotic treatment and therefore hinting that it is a fungus like Saprolegnia .
Now if he does have Ich, then there are typically two options for treatment: medication vs. salt therapy. (of course, alongside your water changes). Since we have an early stage dropsy, Ich present, and are already treating with medications (that we don't really want to mix with the typical Ich treatments), aquarium salt and alteration of the water temperature would be indicated in this instance to address the parasite. Furthermore, salt treatment (in moderation) will help pull some of the fluid from him and should reduce his swelling and pop-eye while you are treating the underlying agents. So, in Turboberry's situation, salt therapy would be indicated along with the other treatments.
Now the reason we change the tank water temperature during Ich infestation is because the increase does affect the rate of life cycle development for the parasite. This is important because not all life cycle stages are vulnerable to our treatments (this is also why we have to keep treating for another cycle length after signs have disappeared to make sure they are all destroyed). To speed up the lifecycle, you can increase the water temperature (gradually to not shock him) to ~78-80F, as this will quicken the Ich lifecycle to 3-5 days. That said, remember to do so slowly and monitor him to make sure he can tolerate the increased temperature. If he struggles while you are raising it, you may have to use a middle ground and treat for longer. As well, do make sure you have good tank aeration when you are increasing the temperature since his oxygen demands will increase with the warmer water.
For aquarium salt treatment against Ich, you usually you are aiming for a 0.3% salt concentration, which would be three teaspoons per gallon. To get to that 0.3% salt, I'd advise adding 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water to your tank 3 times, with each teaspoon being 12 hours after the last. When adding the salt, I usually pre-dissolve the salt in tank water before adding. And then do so slowly into a high water flow area of the tank. Alongside this, you want to keep up on the water changes and do at least 20% water change every 2-3 days. This coupled with hoovering/removing the gravel will l help decrease the amount of cysts hiding in the gravel and free swimming stages of the parasite in the water while you work to eradicate the infestation.
Overall, Turboberry is in a very serious and advanced state. We do have to be quite concerned that his body's resources and immune system are already stretched very thin and therefore his prognosis is very guarded at this stage. Still to give him the best chance, we need to act quickly to see if we can get this under control for him. Therefore, I'd advise that Medi-gold would be ideal (if he is eating) to address the bacteria without putting further strain on the tank. If the fin rot doesn't seem to respond to antibiotics, then Melafix can be added. And if we are sure this is Ich, then our salt therapy and change or tank temperature would also be indicated. Finally, while you are waiting for your water parameter kit to arrive, do consider having the pet store check a water sample for you; as it will give you some important answers that are best to know sooner rather then later in trying to help Turboberry in his very compromised state.
I hope this information is helpful.
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