My account is having problems so I had to open a new one. You had been working with me and my ammonia poisoned betta,

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Customer: My account is having problems so I had to open a new one. You had been working with me and my ammonia poisoned betta, Alfie. He finally started eating healthy a week ago. Today I noticed he was having trouble swimming... he would swim in a vertical position and as soon as he stopped moving his pectoral fins he would sink tail down. When he stops swimming and at the bottom of the tank he kind of just tips over. He is breathing very heavily.
Answered by Jav917 in 4 mins 9 years ago
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Jav917
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Hi,

I was hoping Alfie was out of the woods. It sounds like w have a water quality issue again.

Do you have filtration in the tank now?

Did you do water quality check? Can you tell me the readings?

Joan

Customer

My tank has always been filtered but I do not run it all of the time. I took my water into the local aquarium store and it read 0 on ammonia and she said a little low on the pH. I just tested the Nitrites and Nitrates, both are zero.

Hi,

Are you still using the test strips, or did you get the better test kit?

Have you changed the filter cartridge recently?

Joan

Customer

I got the API master test kit the day you asked me to. I have not changed the filter since before he was sick but I have rinsed the media twice since he has been sick and I just rinsed it out again while I was waiting for your answer.

Hi,

I am still concerned that there is a water quality issue going on. The symptoms that he is showing is nitrate toxicity. Since you did the water change and cleaned the filter material (I usually suggest replacing the filter cartridge once a month), you have done everything right. I would like you to recheck the Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. I am not really worried about the PH right now. The Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates will cause the problems you are seeing. I suggest that you run the filter all the time. My Bettas each have a 5 1/2 gallon tank with a in tank power filter. That seems to cut down on any water quality issues. I add water as needed when it evaporates. Tomorrow, I would like you to do a 25% water change and retest the water. If the water parameters are off we may need to try some bottled spring water for a couple of the water changes, to see if we can get Alfie feeling better. Joan

Customer

I few extra things... I have noticed when I am syphoning the gravel it lets off an almost "glitter" as if it's color is falling off or something... could this be harmful?


 


Also, looking closer I can see his little mouth opening with each gill movement. Is that normal?


 


I am afraid to run the filter at the moment because he keeps sticking himself to the intake. ???

Hi,

You may need to use a box filter temporarily. They take charcoal and filter material and will bubble, but Alfie cannot stick to that type of filter and at least we can keep the water clean. There may be an issue when you syphon the gravel it is stirring up impurities and sending gasses into the water and causing the water parameters to go off. That may be the answer as to why Alfie is having issues. I would leave the gravel alone ater these water changes and see if that may be part of the problem. I never touch the gravel unless I do a full water change. I would also feed very little, so I do not get a lot of debris in my gravel. In my tank I have a small cory cat that eats the left over food. I would not suggest cat cory until we get the water straightened out, but maybe once we get Alfie back on track. Joan

Joan41488.0559214931
Customer

I do have a charcoal filter that I can replace part of the filter media with.. should I put that in?


 


Another symptom I forgot to mention is.. his underside and "chin" have turned a metallic silver color.


 


I do have my little otto but I still have him in a separate unfiltered/unheated 1 gal. tank and he is hanging in there like champ.

Hi,

I really suspect the siphoning of the gravel may be the issue. Lets try the box filter, since Alfie is sick and he should not stick to it. The filter will add oxygenation to the tank. No siphoning of gravel for now. The metalic color can be part of the water toxicity. They will loose color if ill from water parameters. Glad the otto is doing well! I have two and love them. Joan

Customer


What is a box filter? What should I do for tonight? It is 8:30 and all the pet stores are closed until the morning.

Hi,

This is a link to give you an idea about the box filter: http://www.csupomona.edu/~jskoga/Aquariums/Cornerfilter.html

They are rarely used anymore, but good for this type of situation. You will need a small pump to run it. They may even have them in Walmart pet dept. I would do another 25% partial water change tonight and see if you can get the box filter tomorrow. We are limited tonight as to what can be done, but Alfie should be ok with a water change, but do not stir up the gravel. Joan

Customer


Ok thank you very much. Do I only use part of the AmQuel dosage with the water change?

Hi,

You cannot overdose the Amquel, but a partial amount would be good for the 25% of water change. Joan

Customer

If there is any change in Alfie today it is that his swimming has gotten worse. He does try but really struggles. It's like he doesn't have control of himself. I did a %25 water change last night and another one just now. The nitrite readings don't really match anything on the color chart so I don't even know what to say. It's a much darker blue than the one on the chart but it doesn't really look like there is any purple. The ammonia always looks at if it is at .25ppm but when I take the same water into the store they have readings of 0. So I am really confused on what to even tell you the parameters are at. I have put the filter intake closer to the side of the tank so he would have more trouble getting at it so that doesn't seem to be a problem anymore.

Hi,

Just came in and I see Alfie is still having problems. If we have not used any salt recently, we may have to do another 3/4 water change using Bottled Spring water. Once that is done, we can tru using some aquarium salt at 1/2 teaspoon full per gallon of water. He may have the onset of swim bladder which can be from the water parmeters. I really suspect the siphoning of the gravel released gasses into the water that is upsetting the water parmeters. Hopefully with the 3/4 water change with spring water and the aquarium salt, it may reduce the stress and help him. Joan

Customer


I just got home. The last time I used salt was probably a little more than 1 week ago and it was about a tablespoon. Will that be too soon?


 


I have frozen daphnia.. should I be feeding him?

Hi,

Since we have done almost a complete water change, it should not be a problem. That is why I suggest another 3/4 change. It would not hurt to try the daphnia, but if Alfie will not eat, you will need to scoop them put with a net. I want to try and keep the water as clean and clear as possible. I am pretty sure we are dealing with a water quality problem, but we need to pin it down. I spoke with another Expert who agrees that the siphoning of te gravel may have started this new issue. Joan

Customer

Ok. Thank you. It is 10pm here... can he wait until the morning or should I go and find some bottled spring water? Is this something from a pet store or just any bottled water?

Hi,

It is 11pm here, so I would not stress him any more. I use Zepherhills spring water when I have problems, but you can use store brand spring water. Do not use distilled or purified. Joan

Customer

This is possibly a really dumb question but I have to ask... using the spring water.. do I need to add any chemicals to it?

Hi,

Not dumb at all. No the water has no chlorine or impurities, so it is more pure and balanced. The only thing we will use is the aquarium salt. I would love to see you add some Bio Spira or Fritzyme #7 to the tank, if you can get it. They are Nitrifying bacteria which help build a natural biological filter in the tank and may prevent further problems. Joan

Customer

3/4 water change with aquarium salt and Nite-Out 2 (the nitrifying bacteria I had from before) is completed. I also got new heater.. one that I could control the temperature. What is the best to have it on?


 


He seems to be breathing better today but swimming is still a problem. What should I be looking for or doing next? If he is going to get better when will I start to notice a difference?

Hi Kourtney,

I would do a 25% change of the water today again. It may take a day or two for him to start showing a lot of improvement, but with using the spring water and the nitrifying bacteria, it should help balance the water and stop the problems that have made Alfie sick. I keep the temps at 78 for my Bettas, which seems perfect for them. Joan

Customer

Over the last few weeks I have come to learn just how fragile the ecosystem of an aquarium is. Even if Alfie doesn't make it, I would like to continue on fish keeping so I really want to make sure I get it right.. So I am trying to think of anything else that could possibly be responsible.


 



  • There always seems to be some type of film at the top of the water with particles.

    • There are two large (8x3in) openings at the top of the tank.. maybe dust is floating in?

    • The tank is plastic and bought an algae scraper that appears to have scratched the tank.. possibly releasing plastic particles into the water?

    • The gravel is neon colored and cheap from Petco... when I did water changes (stirring the gravel) I could see a lot of color coming off of the gravel... is there such a thing as "bad" gravel that can cause problems?



Hi,

I use a natual stone in my tanks. I find it may not glow in the dark or be pretty, but it is natural and causes less problems. Pet store employees are paid to sell products. The animals are what they consider disposable. It is a shame, but I have delt with several larger pet chains and have been asked to leave because I stopped people from buying products that were unecessary and actually dangerous.

I like a good filtration system and use a 5.5 glass tank with an Aqueon filter. The film and particles are from the food you feed. It has natural oil as well as food particles will collect on top of the water. It is important to start a tank with Nitrifying Bacterial to establish a good biological filter which breaks down the Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates in the water. Siphoning the tank is not aways the best since it releases gasses trapped in the gravel. I use the Aquarium salt in my tank as a tonic for my fish. It is better than most medications sold. If you have specific questions, please ask, becuase there is so much to cover, but I am trying to give you the basics. Generally water conditions and husbandry play a big part in the health of a fish.Joan

Joan41490.702801088
Customer

I really appreciate the information. Do you think it would be beneficial to put him in something different or just continue in this crappy plastic tank with bad rocks?

Hi,

If you are planning on keeping him or another Betta should something happen to Alfie, I would suggest a 5.5 gallon tank with the good power filter, natural rock. You can actually get the tank at Walmart with a set up for about $30.00. You may need to change out to a better filter, which is what I did. Start the tank with Bottled water, the Nitrifying bacteria and you can add Alfie. Watch the water parameters because it may go through new tank syndrome: http://www.bestfish.com/breakin.html . I can suggest if something does happen to Alfie, Walmart does carry some beautiful Bettas both regular and Crown in the pet section of most of their stores. I actually have a Sponge Bob Scene set up in the tanks for my Betta's. The problem as I said is the pet shops sell merchandise and figure the pets are replaceable. Joan

Customer


Alfie is from Wal-Mart! He was incredibly gorgeous when I got him but not so much anymore.. His house is actually the pineapple from Sponge Bob too. :-) Is the Aqueon filter's water flow adjustable? I have a fluval right now but the low setting is incredibly loud and since he is not feeling well the high setting is too much.


 

Hi,

The Aqueon is not adjustable, it is an outside power filter but it is very quiet and is is self powered without ading a pump. It pumps up to 10 gallons an hour. It is sold at Petco, Petsmart and other large pet shops or on line. I love it because it keeps the tanks sparkling clear. I have a blonde Betta named Peachy and a Red/Blue- Little Red who is a small Crown tail. I think you will find the Aqueon a better filter. We had the small one like you and changed it because it did not do the job. Joan

Joan41490.8125574653
Customer

Alfie is not any better still. If anything he is more lethargic and not even trying to swim. Should I lower the water level so it is easier for him to get air? Is there a point where it becomes clear that he is not going to get better and you think about just putting him out of his misery? It has been exhausting watching him suffer almost every day for 4 weeks now and not knowing if he's going to get better.

Hi,

We can try to put him in a container like a Betta bowl, which is small with Bottled water no filtration or bubbles and see if he responds to that. Bettas are normally kept in small containers, and may be enough to help him recover. The one problem with Bettas is when we buy them we do not know how old they are. The normal life span of a betta is 2-3 years of age. It may be that Alfie was older when you had gotten him, which may be another issue we are facing. I have had to euthanize fish before, but I usually will try everything before going to that level. The fact he was eating before he got worse, makes me think we may be able to bring him back. Joan

Customer

I have my little otto in a one gallon. I could just switch them? Would I do a daily 100% water change then? How would I keep it heated?

Hi,

You could switch them. A Betta Bowl would not need the heat their temps in the 70's are fine. This is worth a try to save Alfie and try and pull him out of this slump. Do not do any water changes, unless the water starts to get cloudy and then only a partial 50% water change. Joan

Customer


Chemicals?

Hi,

As long as you are using Spring Water, we will not use anything. the Spring Water does not have chlorine in in it and should be fine. We are going to try and detox Alfie. Joan

Customer


Ok. Thank you. Can I put plants and rocks in there though?

Hi,

I would not put any plants in.The rocks that you use do not wash if they are from the other tank, since the can help with the biological filter, since they may have some algae on them. We want to be as simple and pure as possible. Joan

Customer


He has been in the little tank for a few hours now. He is completely on his side at the bottom and wont even move if I tap the tank :-( His gills are still pumping but he hasn't come up for air.

 

Update: He started moving around quite a bit but it's hard to watch because he really has no control of himself. He darts around uncontrollably and then ends up back on his side at the bottom.

Hi,

I just came in and see he is having problems. This sounds like he is still having problems with Nitrate toxicity. The flashing is part of it. I am hoping that his body will start to detox and he will start getting better. I will be here the rest of the night, so please update me. We are doing all we can and now it is up to Alfie. Joan

Customer


He died.

Oh No!

I am so sorry! I was hoping he would pull out of it. I feel so bad! Please accept my condolences for this loss. We did all we could to try and help him. He was a fighter. You are a great fish mom. I hope you will not give up on fish keeping. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. Joan

Customer


I really appreciate you working with me on trying to save him. I will not give up on fish keeping. Alfie was my first and what this taught me is just how informed you need to be. I also learned how much I like having fish :-) even though this part sucks. I am thinking about going saltwater but nothing will be done before several hours/days/weeks (whatever it takes) at the library. Once again.... Thank you.

Hi,

I have done salt water and did not like it. The ecosystem is way too fragile and way too expensive to do an up keep. The fish prices are outrageous. What I suggest is looking into african Chiclids. They are unique, colorful and a lot less costly than salt water, but yet very hardy fish. Right now I have one tank of Gold rams whic are Dwarf chiclids: http://www.tropicalfishandaquariums.com/DwarfCichlids/RamGold.jpg

I will be here if you ee further help so do not hesitate to ask for me using this link: Joan

Joan

Joan41492.6487532292
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