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Old 06-23-2004, 07:24 PM   #1
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Help with sick Betta!

Our betta has been with us a little over a year and he is the wife's fish. He is in a 2 gallon eclipse explorer. We just came back from a 10 day vacation and found that he was spending all his time sitting on the bottom and breathing heavily. I had used one of those 7 day feeder blocks to feed before we left, so immediately I did a water change and changed the filter. This morning he is still sitting on the bottom and breathing heavily, other than the breathing there is no noticeable symptoms other than you can see his gills really moving when he breaths. I've tried nothing other than the water change so far. What might be the best first course of treatment? TIA
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:31 PM   #2
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An t-iasg is probably the best one to help you. If she doesn't pop in, drop her a PM.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:53 PM   #3
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Have you always had the betta in the Eclipse tank? I'm asking because most Eclipse filters generate a powerful current - especially in the smaller tanks like yours. It may be that the betta is just exhausted from fighting the current to get to the surface.

Those 7-day feder blocks can play havoc with the water chemistry. Some contain flour as a binder, others contain calcium carbonate. Have you tested the water for ammonia and pH? The feeder block may decomposed and have caused a spike in ammonia. If it had CaCO3, it may have increased the pH as well. Both of these could result in the symptoms you describe. Best thing to do is 25% water changes every other day and keep a close eye on it
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Old 06-23-2004, 08:30 PM   #4
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Test results are in:

pH=8.0
carbonate hardness=2.0 dKh
ammonia=at least 0.25mg/l maybe higher, not much resolution on test kit
nitrite=undetectable.

Obviously, the ammonia level is now my first concern. I figured before I bought it that the food block was a bad idea. For now I will continue with water changes and keep the betta under close watch. The only other problem in the tank that has me concerned is everything is coated with a slimy green algae, I will try to manually remove some of it and do the water changes with RO water in hopes of clearing it up. I had been adding anti-algae chemical which probably didn't help matters.

Oh yeah, the betta has always been in the eclipse, it doesn't usually seem to mind the current.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:11 PM   #5
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Yup, probably the ammonia making the poor guy unhappy. Since it's such a small tank, you could easily do a 10% water change every day for a few days. That should bring the ammonia down quickly and hopefully invigorate your betta.

The algae bloom is another story. It could have been worsened by the same excess nutrients that caused the ammonia spike. I just hope it's not cyano (blue green algae). Cyano is slimy and grows in sheets. It usually smells awful and it's unaffected by the algae chemicals.
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:24 AM   #6
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I believe the algae is cyanobacteria, what is the best way to rid the tank of this? I've been doing water changes with RO water to limit the intro of nutrients into the water. The betta only gets fed once a day and I know he is not overfed. I will continue with the daily water changes and deal with the cyano after the betta episode has played out I guess.
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:19 PM   #7
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Hi jackdp,
QTOFFER's advice about doing water changes is excellent. Keep doing small water changes until you get all the food from the vacation block out. This just feeds the algae.

Also, the pH seems a bit high at 8.0. Ammonia can become more toxic at higher pH levels. Doing water changes with RO water is good and will get the pH down too. But don't have all RO water in your tank. There are some beneficial minerals in tap water that fish need. (freshwater fish, anyway!) When you've replaced half the water in the tank with RO water, then do your water changes using a 50-50 mix of tap and RO water. My tap pH is 8 or 8.2, and I use a 50-50 mix of tap and RO water.

The cyano bacteria really isn't that hard to fix. I got a horrible outbreak when I used my under-cabinet halogen lights for the tank lighting. The two-gallon Eclipse has a biowheel filter but no light, correct? I taped newspaper (2-sheet thickness) around my betta tanks (I have two 5.5 gallon tanks) so no light would get through. Lay some newspaper on the top too, to block the light from getting in the top. I taped a narrow strip of newspaper to the top of the tank, but didn't tape it to the bottom, so I had a piece of newspaper to lift up and check on the betta. Your betta will be fine in the dark. If you feed him during this dark period, feed him half of his usual amount, or feed every other day. It wouldn't hurt him to go for about 3-4 days without food also. Is he eating now?

I also put some erythromycin in the tanks. I used about 100 mg. per 5 gallons. I took the sponge filters out of the tanks, and put them in those freezer zip-lock bags, with some tank water. I then put them in the refrigerator. The frig is dark inside too, so the cyano on the sponge will die in the dark. You could put your bio-wheel in the frig too. In such a small tank, though, I would see how the dark treatment does first, then use erythomycin for 5 days (about 50mg for 2 gallons) if the cyano is persistant.

I would keep the tank dark for 5 days while continuing your water changes. Hopefully that will turn things around for you, and the betta will perk up!
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:27 PM   #8
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Sadly today my wife's betta passed away, maybe whatever happend started while we were on vacation and we just got back too late to do anything to help him. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 06-25-2004, 01:33 AM   #9
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I'm sorry about the betta, jackdp. My previous betta acted like this before he died -- lying on the bottom, and rapid gill movement. I tried an antibiotic, but it didn't work. I was looking for a post that described the antibiotic treatment that I used, but it's too late. I didn't think antibiotics would really help my betta near the end either, but I wanted to give something a try.

Also if you had your betta for a little over a year, it may just have been his time. From all that I've read, about 2 years seems to be a normal betta lifespan. Some can get up to 3 years. But I think if you had him for a year, that's pretty good. We never know how old they are when we get them. I had my previous bettas for a year and 10 months, and a year and one month, when they died. The two I have now, I've had for 6 months. I got them at a hatchery, and the owner estimated that they were 6 months old then.

Sorry for your loss.
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