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Have you checked the water parameters? Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates?
What size tank do you have?
Is the tank filtered?
The tank is 6.6 gallons and it is filtered. I use the Tetra EasyStrips which test the nitrates, nitrites, hardness, chlorine, alkalinity, and ph. All the colors come back in the "safe" zone.
In all honesty, the test strips are worthless and will not give you accurate readings. I suggest an API master test kit. It has test tubes and chemicals that help give you an accurate reading. Right now I suspect the Betta is suffering from Ammonia toxicity. Even if a tank is cycled ammonia can rise when chages or fish are added to the tank. I want to isolate Alfie, in at least a 1 gallon container. To the water you put in please add some AmQuel which removes ammonia and chloramines. I would also like you to add some Bio Spira or Fritzyme #7 which is a biological tank starter, 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water and some Stress Coat. Then add Alfie to this container. What we are doing is creating a hospital tank. The AmQuel removes, the water impurities, the Bio Spira or Friztyme #7 will cycle the water, the Aquarium salt will work several ways 1) Reduce stress 2) stops bacterial and fungal infections 3) helps with a parasite problem 4) helps create a natural body slime to protect Alfie.
You will need to do a partial water change daily and check the water parameters with a better test kit like what I have described.
What I suspect is Alfie is suffering from ammonia toxicity, which can cause the shredded fins, blood streaks on the body and fins, and even the bnd in the spine. Try feeding Daphnia, when you go to feed and feed very little. If Alfie does not eat immediately, remove the food with a net. I think we may have a chance to save him if we can get him in the hospital tank and watch the water parameters. Please let me know if youo have further questions and I will be happy to continue with you. Joan
I already have the snail and the oto in a separate small tank and have been medicating the 6 gallon tank with medicine harmful to the other two. How should I handle switching them around? Also, if not parasitic, then what was the white stringy thing?
If Alfie is alone in the 6 gallon tank, the do a 3/4 water change in the 6 gallon tank, and use the things I have suggested to restart the tank. The white stringy stool can be a sign constipation, a bacterial infections, or internal parasites, but with the bend it the body, it is usually constipation since the bend and white stringy stools are both indicators. Also the not wanting to eat can also be part. We need to try this protocol, to see if we can save Alfie. The Daphnea I suggested will help with constipation in a betta. Whe adding the new water, mix it all together and add after you have drained 3/4 of the old water off. You will need to do 1/2, water changes daily for a few days and add everything but the salt. The Salt is only a starter since it does not come out of the water, we do not want to add more. Joan
I got the APT Master Test Kit and his Ammonia levels are reading .50ppm, Nitrite is at 0, pH was between 7.6 - 8.0 (hard to read), Nitrate was about 5. I did recently replace the filter media a week ago (is that the black foam looking stuff?). I am now reading that was bad? Also since I have had meds in the tank should I replace the carbon part of the filter? What are the odds he will make it and how long before I could see a change?
The meds increased the levels and that made things worse. The Ammonia is high, it need to be 0, The nitrites need to be 0 and the Nitrates 20ppm or less. The Ph is high too. The change of the filter will be good. You need to do the water change with the AmQuel, Aquarium salt, Bio spira or Fritzyme#7 to add a biological filter to help balance the water. Once that is done, this should give him a fighting chance. The water parameters once correct should allow him to start healing and feeling better. You should see response within 24 hours with him perking up and wanting to eat. It may take a week or two to get back to really showing he is better. The key will be to make sure the water quality is spot on. Joan
Thank you for your help. Two more questions.. the guy at the pet store said the AmQuel will make the ammonia read high on in the test kit. If that is the case, how will I know when the ammonia is okay? They did not have Bio Spira or Fritzyme#7 but he gave me Nite-Out II Nitrifying Bacteria ....... will that work or should I track down one of the other two somewhere?
I have never had that type of problem with Amquel. You can use another chlorine and ammonia remover, if that would make you feel better. The Nite-out is fine. We need that nitrifying bacteria, to he cycle the water and prevent further problems. The water parameters were high that you posted and I believe you mixed up the Nitrites and Nitrates when you posted the numbers. If I am correct they were all high enough to cause the problems. Joan
I just wanted to check back in. I did everything you asked and he has perked up some but he is still not interested in eating. The water parameters are all reading correct now. Should I keep doing water changes? Or just keep checking the water? How long before I can introduce my oto back into the tank and how do I go about doing that?
I would check the water to make sure everything stays normal. Do a partial water change one a week. To move the otto, take part of the water he is in and part from te betta tank and add the otto and the water into the tank. That should be fine. Hopefully he will start eating again you can try a flake food which is sometimes more appetizing than the Betta pellets. Please do not forget to rate my service, as I strive for excellent service. Joan
I'm just following up on our conversation about Alfie. Were you able to get the otto back into the tank?
I have not tried to get the otto back in the tank yet. Alfie seems to have reverted back to his "sick" behavior. Yesterday he spent his day laying on top of the filter at the top of the tank (when it was off). If I turned the filter on he would swim down and lay against the intake. Today he is laying at the bottom under his plants, coming up for air, then going back down. I noticed some white "fuzz" on most of the plants, could that be contributing?
Yes that can be a problem. I would remove the plants and check the water parameters. You will have to do another water change of 50%. He should respond with the fresh water. The white on the plants indicates that there is some water quality issues. Joan
Ok. I will do that immediately. Is it okay to try and move the otto at any time? You have been so helpful, thank you. I will be rating excellent as soon as this is all worked out.
You can move Otto as soon as things are correct with Alfie. I do not want any stress or anything changing the water until he is doing better. Joan
Alfie is slightly more active but not much. Two days ago he shot up to the feeding hole so I put some in and he swallowed a flake for the first time since this all started. He hasn't asked to eat since but sometimes he pecks at the rocks on the bottom as if he is going after something. I am testing the water everyday but the ammonia is very hard to read. It always seems to be closest to .25ppm. I discovered last night that my tap water reads at 1.0ppm. How could this be affecting things? And how do I get it completely out of there before the water goes in the tank?
I like to use AmQuel to remove Ammonia and Chloramines in the water, when I do the water change. This water needs to be treated before added to the tank. Even the slightest amount of Ammonia, can cause problems. Since Alfie has been weakened, we need to be sure he has clear Ammonia free water in his tank at all times. 1ppm is considered too much Ammonia. Joan