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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sterling isn't doing very well. Ever since the heater went kaput on Easter weekend (I was out of town, so I don't know how long it was out after I left) he has been having issues (I replaced the heater the day I got home with a better heater 25 watt marina. He is in a 4 gallon planted (obviously) tank). He has been scratching so much he has rubbed the scales off one side of his gills and a little on his side.

I treated for ich with Kordon rapid cure when I first got home. I treated with aquarium salt. Kicked the heater up to 81 degrees (it won't keep the cube hotter without a lid which I don't have clips for yet, hopefully they arrive today. Gave up on the lid I ordered which hadn't shipped even 1 month after I ordered it. Buying some glass today instead).

There is no velvet, no film, no fuzz, no redness, just itching, listlessness, lethargy and rapid breathing at times. He lays in the bottom of the tank in the corner and sometimes swims to the surface for air, or chills in his hammock.



He was curling like he had nitrAte shock, but my water parameters checked out. When I changed to a sponge filter I kept the old sponge from my last filter on top of it, since that's where the water is drawn in to keep the BB. I also added stability so I don't think the tank went through another cycle. Every water change I add prime, stability and stressguard.

Here is a video: https://www.facebook.com/s.j.hystad/videos/10158488679890316/

He is still eating so I take that as a good sign. When the ich treatment didn't work I treated with prazipro, hoping that it was a parasite that I couldn't see. He didn't respond much. I went to another fish group I belong to on facebook and a girl who is a vet tech (I believe) gave me some suggestions. So I treated with the API fungus cure that I have because it treats secondary bacterial infections, with victoria green and whatever else. Everything was closed so I couldn't get anything last night. I'm hoping he responds to it while I'm at work today and if not I can go to a petsmart near me since it is open until 9.

My ammonia and nitrites are at 0, my nitrates are at .25. I have done daily water changes at 20%, a big one at 60% before I added the prazipro. That was 3 days ago now, and I need to let the treatment run its course before another water change. The girl said that I could use it in conjunction with the API cure, so I did last night. He wasn't curling today at all, or itching. He also swam a little this morning when I woke up. He isn't doing any worse, but he isn't doing well.



Kind of all consuming at this point. I bought another betta of aquabid that will arrive in a couple of weeks so I want to make sure that I have it all under control. I will have another tank divided for him by the time he gets here, but will likely keep Sterling in this one for awhile after he arrives.

Regardless... I just hope he gets better and that I have gotten him the help that he needs. I don't know what else to do at this point. Is there something I overlooked?


**The only I changed besides replacing the heater and filter was about 2 weeks ago I started half dosing flourish excel once a week
 

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Turn off the LED and wrap the tank with a towel and leave it for 2 days. It might make him a bit better.

While white sand is pretty, some betta don't like it. LED with white sand can make the habitants too bright for them. They are more comfortable in dimmer tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will try that tonight when I get home. Thanks for that. :) I have had him for about 3 months, and he has had white sand from his first tank to this one, his second. This is a sudden behaviour that has only developed over the last two weeks.

After doing some sleuthing, it looks likely that he is having an adverse reaction to flourish excel. His symptoms are the same, and only some betta's react to it.

I found a post that outlines why it may occur, and its chemical properties. Other searches have shown up listing the symptoms that some betta's have displayed. So in the same way that some betta's don't like white sand, some don't tolerate flourish excel. I will keep up with my current regimen, and darken the tank. I'm also going to pick up an air stone today to help the sponge filter to aerate the tank.
 

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I didn't know some betta have bad reaction to excel. I used to dose excel but stopped because I got lazy... Darken the tank should definitely comfort him :)

Hope he will get better soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you. I put the night light on as soon as I got home and bought a piece of glass to cover the top of the cube to keep it a more stable temperature so he doesn't lose as much heat. We will see what tomorrow brings :)
 

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Does his tank have a heater? If not, I strongly recommend to get an adjustable one. It's best to keep betta tanks at 78 - 80F. It can boost his immune system also :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I just replaced his old one which stopped working over Easter weekend. Which is the genesis of this whole problem :( because I was out of town when it happened. It is because it is an open rimless cube, he loses a lot of heat from the surface of the water. So the glass is to trap the water that otherwise evaporates and or gets drank by my cat '-_-
 

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STOP ADDING CHEMICALS!!!!!!

NO more medicines, or anything beyond a water treatment and the stability!!!!!!!

When fish are sick we tend to over-react and throw every solution we can think of at them, and all that continual change is the hardest thing for a fish. What they all need is STABLE conditions, so keep the temp constant, the water chemistry constant and don't add extra chemicals.

It sounds like whatever happened while you were gone effected his gills, whatever that may be, whether inflammation, parasite, physical damage the best thing for him is to enable his immune system to do what it is supposed to do. The best way to enable it is to keep his water ultra clean and ultra stable. So frequent water changes and ensuring that the temp and other chemical elements are as close to identical as possible when you refill.

Every time you change something in the tank you're adding stress.

Also make sure your new glass lid doesn't seal the tank, he'll suffocate without gas exchange.

I hope he pulls through for you, I know you two are close <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
STOP ADDING CHEMICALS!!!!!!

NO more medicines, or anything beyond a water treatment and the stability!!!!!!!

When fish are sick we tend to over-react and throw every solution we can think of at them, and all that continual change is the hardest thing for a fish. What they all need is STABLE conditions, so keep the temp constant, the water chemistry constant and don't add extra chemicals.

It sounds like whatever happened while you were gone effected his gills, whatever that may be, whether inflammation, parasite, physical damage the best thing for him is to enable his immune system to do what it is supposed to do. The best way to enable it is to keep his water ultra clean and ultra stable. So frequent water changes and ensuring that the temp and other chemical elements are as close to identical as possible when you refill.

Every time you change something in the tank you're adding stress.

Also make sure your new glass lid doesn't seal the tank, he'll suffocate without gas exchange.

I hope he pulls through for you, I know you two are close <3

Thank you. This is a fair point, and I'm just trying to do what's best and sort of floundering in my research paired with ignorance. I will do a small water change now and another one each day. I don't want to reverse shock him by changing it all too soon again. He is my first betta in 5 years and I just want to do right by him.
 

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Thank you. This is a fair point, and I'm just trying to do what's best and sort of floundering in my research paired with ignorance. I will do a small water change now and another one each day. I don't want to reverse shock him by changing it all too soon again. He is my first betta in 5 years and I just want to do right by him.
That is the perfect approach - always avoid dramatic swings in chemistry.

You got this!
 

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1 day at a time. Thank you for your wisdom that shone through the fog of my despair. (I'm rather poetic when I'm not so busy being funny)

Also make sure your new glass lid doesn't seal the tank, he'll suffocate without gas exchange.
Also I got the glass cut an inch shorter than the actual tank so there is room for some escape, and the heater and airline tubing.



That's enough space yeah?
 

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Looks good from here.

Lids are a good idea, bc frisky bettas like to jump. Though if you ever top your tank up so high that the water is in contact with the lid you'll run into low oxygen issues-- but the way you have it now looks just right.

edit: I meant to add that his fin color seems to be good and his appetite being good are both good signs, I think he still has some fight left even though it's clear he's not felling good at all. So keep looking for those hopeful signs :)

I've also heard bettas like to be talked to - some people might say I'm crazy, but they're smart enough that some happy, reassuring tones might not go astray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks good from here.

Lids are a good idea, bc frisky bettas like to jump. Though if you ever top your tank up so high that the water is in contact with the lid you'll run into low oxygen issues-- but the way you have it now looks just right.

edit: I meant to add that his fin color seems to be good and his appetite being good are both good signs, I think he still has some fight left even though it's clear he's not felling good at all. So keep looking for those hopeful signs :)

I've also heard bettas like to be talked to - some people might say I'm crazy, but they're smart enough that some happy, reassuring tones might not go astray.
I actually have him on my desk specifically so I can talk to him while I suffer through homework. He sits on his leaf while I'm working and watches me. After I did the mini water change he came right back up to the leaf. He still has his colour, he is still eating, he isn't just hiding under the driftwood where I can't see him.

Little signs. :) I'll get him through this. Thank you. This has been the most helpful thing so far for me.

He has always seemed a little shy, but curious. I have the water about an inch, maybe a little less, from the top. Thanks for kindly walking me through this. He's swimming a little now too. *deep breath* Gonna be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So how is Prince Sterling doing now??? Hope he's showing a little progress for you!


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Ahhh I didn't see this because the topic was depressing, but he is doing so much better! (Also all the water changes)

I outlined in my latest update the changes I made and how much better he is doing.

All it took was a high dose of aquarium salt, some silk plants and a tank without a dead spot to get him back to his princely self :3



He has taken to flaring at my husband every time he sees him because of that one time he put his hand across the face of the glass and scared him.

Don't think Sterling is too fond of him. ;)
 
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