Hello everyone! I am currently taking care of a neighbor's betta, who I finally convinced to let me treat it. I have had it since last night. After a few months of my neighbor's care, the fish's fins are about 2/3 gone, and ragged. I tested the water of her aquarium and it had about 0.25-0.5 ppm
of ammonia, 0 nitrates, around 5 ppm
of nitrates, and 8.2-4 pH. It is a dumbo betta, but the rot is so bad there that now the pectoral fins are nearly nubs with only one long piece left on it. The dorsal and anal fins are better, but the caudal fin rot has almost reached its body. The problem is, I have researched for countless hours and know my way around hypothetical situations, but I have not much experience at all. I've never had to treat a sick fish, and much of the advice on fin rot is contradictory. After a quick stop by the LFS
last night, now I have API fin and body cure. However, I'm starting to doubt the pet store employee's recommendation. I don't usually trust what they say, but I was in a rush. But back to it -- I haven't treated the betta yet, but I'm keeping water quality good in the temporary hospital tank. I don't want to use an antibacterial without being sure that it'll be effective. The hospital 'tank' is a 5 gallon bucket only filled halfway (otherwise it's too tall for the betta to swim to the surface for air), with a small heater (set at 78-80 but the temperature is currently at 75) and an airstone. I don't have an extra filter for the setup, and the neighbor's filter is attached to her tank, which is at her home.
As far as the betta goes, he's having trouble swimming. At the surface, the 'current' from the air stone is too much for him to fight against, and he ends up becoming still and letting himself be moved to be against the wall, going into a slight 's' position. He bottom-sits frequently but still moves often, quickly, and is lively. I haven't noticed any fungal growths or fuzziness on his fins. He still eats happily as long as he notices the food. It may be important to note that he had a small growth near the rear of one eye when he was first purchased (from petco). Another one developed on the other eye a month or so ago, but neither had grown considerably and tumors are quite common in bettas, so I didn't see it as a cause for concern.
The question is, how should I medicate him? I have heard bettafix/melafix recommended by some, but others say it is only effective with very few gram-negative bacteria. Others say aquarium salt, but some say it isn't effective enough on its own and that it's too irritating to bettas. My API fin and body cure is hard to dose for a 2.5 gallon, because the packets it comes in are meant for 10 gallons. I don't want to dose the wrong amount if I estimate the amount needed and I definitely don't want to kill someone else's fish!
Thank you so much if you read through this! I didn't mean to write a novel but I wanted to provide enough information for you guys.
P.S. - Sorry for the bad quality pictures. First are the 'before' photos, and the second link is now.