Betta seen betta days

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JanDW

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**Parameters (obtained with API Freshwater kit)**
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrites: 0
- Nitrates: 0 or very low (haven't measured in last week)
- pH: 7.4
- KH: 2dKH
- GH: 9dKH
- Temperature: 78F

On Nov 13, 2023, I set up this 10 gallon dirted, sand-capped, and planted tank. I don’t vacuum the sand.

Contains:
- a Betta, added Nov 25. Currently sick.
- 2 Nerite snails added Nov 25.
- 3 harlequin rasbora, added Dec 17.

Fish or snails were not quarantined.

The tank contains rocks and oak leaves. No wood or decors. Filtration happens with a sponge filter, rated to 20 gallons. I heated with a 75W heater set to 80F. The thermometer in the tank reads the temp as 78F.

Light is provided by an AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum. The schedule is 4h on, 4h off, 4h on, without direct sunlight exposure.

I change water infrequently I can’t paste this as a link as this is my first post, but more detail can be found at tanks.jandewil.de Clicking on the dates where a Water Change happened in the first calendar, will show the number of liters changed.

Twice daily, I feed Betta flakes, a few times per week I substitute with frozen blood worm. Twice a week I feed once a day.


**Abnormal signs/symptoms**
- Over the last two days, my betta’s fins are rolled up. They don’t relax. (photo)
- Noticed last night and today that there is a curvature on his spine. This might have been present earlier and I didn’t notice. (Photo)
- Increasingly listless

**Appearance of poop**

I just noticed a round, pellet shaped piece of poo—at least, that’s the only thing I can imagine it is—about 2-3mm in diameter.

**Appearance of gills**

Normal

**Treatment of fish ahead of diagnosis**

Last night I placed him in a hospital tank, the setup there is:

- 13 liters (3.5 gal) 50% water from his tank + 50% tap water with 0.1ml Seachem Prime per liter added via drip
- Heater set to 82F
- air stone
- silk plants
- no substrate

**Meds used**

~2tsp API Aquarium Salt in hospital tank

remco-tank.jpg
remco-curved-spine.jpg
remco-rolled-fins.jpg
 
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Rbishop

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Is this your only tank? If I read correctly, you just set it up. I don't think your tank is cycled at all, especially with zero nitrates considering your heavy feeding. You should be changing water at least weekly o 30-50%.
 
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JanDW

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I have another 5 gallon tank that I started at the same time. It has two shrimp and a snail, no fish.

Yeah, it doesn't look like it's a stable environment does it…. :-/

The tank is about 7 weeks in. I had set it up before that, but with gravel as a substrate and no live plants—for about 4 weeks with a sponge filter running.
I then realized that was not how I wanted to approach it, and decided to go for a dirt/sandcapped aquarium with real plants.

I transferred the sponge filter as I hoped some bacteria that help with the nitrogen cycle might have started to colonize it. In the new setup, I started having nitrite spikes toward the end of november, for about a week. I did daily waterchanges then.

I haven't detected ammonia or nitrites for weeks. Nitrates have been barely detectable (API kit + occasional tetra strips), which I assumed to be because the aquarium has a fair amount of stem plants + floating plants.

I moved the rasboras to their own hospital tank, and they seem better now. It made an immediate difference, and they held their orientation.

Could you explain the feeding heavily? I find that one hard to figure out. On the one hand I read you should feed a little food often, because of their tiny digestive tracts. Other people seem to say you should not feed your fish every day. I always remove whatever isn't eaten in a minute…
 

NoodleCats

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I have suspicions in this case of columnaris infection
The tail also seems to have a grey colored film to it, which I've seen with columnaris, especially longfinned bettas.

Fish are most at risk of this bacteria when they are in a new environment.

I would recommend kanamycin based medication in this case, it's most effective with columnaris
 

fishorama

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Your planted tank has enough plants so you may not have even seen nitrate etc. That's good. But I thought dirted tanks usually showed ammonia at first. I haven't done that so I'm not sure...

It looks like the chronic form of columnaris to me too, as Noodle said. Are you located in US? We can get different meds than someplaces. Kanamycin would be my choice too. It especially likes warmer temps. I would try 77-79F for now. Not much of a change but it can help. Your betta can be fine at a slightly lower temp. Maracin 2 is also a gram negative treatment if you can't get Kanaplex. Follow the directions with big water changes between redosing meds.

Does the tank get direct sun or bright light? My 1 time tank that had chronic columnaris did get (western, hot) sun at certain times of year. Not for long, maybe an hour or less, but it was enough. Block the window or tank side that lets in most sun. It will help too.

Good luck & let us know how you get on.
 

JanDW

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Sorry that image is misleading. I think the phone's image sensor couldn't quite properly handle the high contrast between the lit vs. backlit parts on his body. He never had a white sheen!

The rolled fins seems to be improving in his hospital tank with just API aquarium salt (dosing 1tbsp/gallon I think they're almost back to normal right now.
Again, not the greatest video capture, but even so, I think the improvement is obvious:


I'm in the US. The tank doesn't get direct sunlight—I light 8hr per day (4hr on/4hr off/4hr on) with a cheapo LED bar for aquariums. I detected ammonia for about 10days, but it never went beyond 0.5ppm. Nitrite spikes went up to 2ppm (again, did waterchanges for those).

These are my first tanks, so I have no points of comparison either !¯\_(ツ)_/¯

However, I'm still struggling with the rasboras. I haven't seen them go topsy-turvy anymore, but they look very pale, the black triangles are much fainter than normal. In this photo the contrast is realistic:


I have them in a tupperware hospital tank with conditioned tapwater, heater set to 82, 1t bsp/gal API salt, a silk plant to provide some cover, opaque lid, dim environment. Here's a video from when I just moved them:


Any ideas?

Thanks for your replies, your kindness is appreciated.
 
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Rbishop

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If columnaris part of the issue, treating them in a hospital tank won't cure the issue in the main tank. While many believe there are meds that help, my personal experience is euthanize the fish and bomb the tank completely.
 
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JanDW

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Well, if further symptoms point in the direction of columnaris, maybe I'll take the whole setup in the backyard and blow it up with TNT. But the betta seems, well, betta (to a Bostonian anyway), so maybe it won't be necessary.
 

fishorama

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I think if it was the virulent form of columnaris you'd have seen bloody streaks & death by now. That is what Bob means I think. I'd euthanize too, it doesn't get better. But there is a slow chronic form of it too. That is the form that can be helped by meds.

But I also think if a fish is swimming upside down & pale, it's time to think very hard about euthanasia. They don't often recover from that extreme, never IME. It's not a really terrible option & can prevent other fish from the same fate. Do not wait until an illness is extreme, research when & how to put fish down & be prepared to do what is right if you need to. It is a part of responsible fish keeping. It never gets easy but does prevent suffering & maybe more deaths. Most of us here don't have your flippant attitude toward killing our pets, even humanely.

I know you were kidding about nuking your tank but I lived in MA too. We did what we had to because we were tough. But killing pets is not an trivial thing either. Would you do that to a pet dog or cat? If they were dying & in pain? That's my kind of Boston tough ;) but with good music through the tears too...

With your new better pic of your betta, his pectoral fins look frayed in an ammonia burn way. Many times fish can heal from that with frequent large water changes, as much & as often as you can. I'm less optimistic about your rasboras...especially the upside down 1, I'm sorry :( it doesn't look good for it. But as I always say, water changes often can work miracles! You've put them in a very small container & will have even more work to help them. Do the best you can for them...a tiny food tub or beaker is not great...I think you know that...
 
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