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Old 05-31-2008, 08:15 PM   #1
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Question Male beta with white stringy poop with undigested food

Hi,
I am new to this forum. I have only had my beta about 2 months or so and am very new to owning betas at all. My daughter has one in her room and he is fine. I started noticing a couple of days ago that he had some white stuff (which I thought was poop) coming out of him. Well, it has gotten larger (about 1/2"-1" long) and it appears to have pieces of undigested food pellets in it. From reading on here and other places on the web it sounded like internal parasites so I went to PetSmart today and got some Jungle brand antiparasite medicated fish food. He seemed to want to eat this morning, so that is why I chose the food. Well, he won't eat it, even when I crush it in to smaller pieces for him. He isn't as active as he has been in the past and just kind of "hangs around". I did introduce a black snail to the tank a couple of weeks ago....could this have brought in the parasites? It is a two gallon tank with one male beta, a couple of artificial plants, and a "cave" for him to hide in and white/neutral gravel on the bottom. No filter and no heater. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 05-31-2008, 08:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site!!

Well if he won't eat the food, jungle labs also makes parasite meds that you can just add to the water.

By the way, why no filter or heater? Bettas are tropical fish and need warm water, ideally 78-80 degrees. What are your water parameters and how often do you do water changes? Warm, clean water goes a long way in keeping bettas healthy.
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:30 PM   #3
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Agree a heater is needed. There are little micro-sized heaters you can get. Also consider a small sponge filter. You'll need something for the beneficial bacteria to grow on.

Also, if you don't have them already, buy a set of liquid tests. You want Ammonia, NitrITE, NitrATE and PH. Posting the results will help people here help diagnose the problem.

And finally, WELCOME to AA!
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:37 PM   #4
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Great advice from Heidi and Sharon!

new2betas, please consider a filter and heater for the tank. Clean water with a stable, warm temperature is a great disease preventative for bettas.

In addition to crushing up the Jungle pellets, try soaking them in water to soften them first. They are very hard, and can absorb fluid in the stomach, causing bloat. Pre-soaking solves that problem and also may make it easier for the betta to eat the pellet.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:07 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for your replies. Since I am new to this I don't know all the parameters, but will buy some test strips soon. I don't have a heater because I live in the south and his water stays a pretty steady 76-78 degrees even when my air is on. The tank I got for him had a filter system, but even on the lowest setting it was causing too much current and he was having trouble swimming. I talked to one of the people at the petstore and she said it was fine not having a filter, just change his water once a week, which is what I do. Actually, I do partial water changes during the week, and then every 1.5-2 weeks a complete water change. I also use a water conditioner and let the water sit for a couple of days before using it. Like I said, he had been acting completely fine until about a week ago, which was about 2 weeks after introducing the snail. Could he be the culprit if it is a parasite? or, is it something that my fish already had before I bought him? Anyway - thanks again for your replies.
PS - Forgot to add that the tank also has a light above the hood that I could keep on for heat purposes if that will help. I was just not sure he liked the direct lighting. I will try that though and see how it affects his water temperature.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:01 AM   #6
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Stick with only partial water changes when ever you change water. Changing the whole lot at once is only recommended in drastic situations and even then, you need to carefully and slowly acclimate the fish to the new water conditions.

I also recommend that buy liquid test kits. They are far more accurate than the test strips

Personally, I disagree with anyone suggesting you don't need a filter, unless your tank is very heavily planted. I'd put a sponge filter in ASAP. It's small, cheap and won't create a current and will keep your Betta's tank healthy in the long run by hosting all the ammonia-eating bacteria. It sounds like your tank wouldn't be properly cycled, and you can't tell at the moment because you don't have any tests, so this something you need to address as well.

Direct light is fine too BTW. Almost everyone here will run some sort of lighting on their tank.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:23 AM   #7
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Thanks Sharon!
Should any local pet store have this type of filter? I think the filter that came with this tank had a small sponge type thing in it...but like I said there was a current. Are there filters sold that don't create any type of current? He seemed so much happier when I took the filter out because he could swim without having to fight to swim. Anyway - does this problem he is having sound like it is parasites and will these fixes to the tank fix that or just the medicine? You can obviously tell I am very new to this.
I grew up at the beach and my brother and I kept a saltwater tank year round and I swear it wasn't as difficult as this....lol.
BTW, Sharon, I love your cat picture icon....he/she looks exactly like my favorite kitty that I grew up with.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:51 AM   #8
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picture

Here is a picture of what is coming out of my betta....
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Old 06-01-2008, 08:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new2betas View Post
Are there filters sold that don't create any type of current?
Certainly are, and I think that they are available from most LFSs over there, but I'm on the wrong side of the world to comment specifically!

I *think* you're after something like this. Someone chime in if I am off the mark here. In Oz, they look a little different.

Foam Aquarium Biological Filters: Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter 9

Filters & PWCs (partial water changes) won't fix parasites, but they are the fundamentals to fish keeping, so getting them right is most important. Everything else is added knowledge.

The jungle pellets suggested by An t-iasg will help if the problem is intestinal parasites. I've never seen them up close, so I can't give you any advice in that area.

And I just updated my avatar. Midajah, the one in the photo was being particularly feisty that day. LOL.

BTW, you have a very pretty Betta there! Great colour
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
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Thanks again, Sharon. I am going to go to my local Petsmart and see if they have these items....(see link)
https://www.drsfostersmith.com/checkout/modify_cart.cfm
Should all this stuff be enough to start me out??
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:45 AM   #11
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That's similar to the kind of sponge filter I have. But I have a cheaper one that's easy to find in chain stores. It's called a dirt magnet jr., and I think it was like $2. Or you can buy sponge filters online. fosterandsmith.com have almost everything you could want for your fish.

The sponge filter doesn't create a current unless you hook up an air pump to it, and even then you can adjust the current so that it is very slow and won't bother your betta.

Again, you can also get anti-parasite meds that are tablets or powders that you just add to the water. Jungle makes several of them as well as other companies.

I agree with Sharon about buying liquid test kits. API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) kits are excellent, and cheap if you get them on line at a place like bigalsonline.com

Here is a link to an article about the nitrogen cycle: Nitrogen Cycle

Don't worry about being new and asking lots of questions! I still do it all the time

(By the way, the link to your shopping cart didn't work)
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:02 AM   #12
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Ok - another silly question.....how does this filter work if it isn't hooked up to a pump? Do you just sit it in the tank? My link had my shopping cart at Drs foster and smith...but I wanted to go out today and get stuff instead of waiting on shipping, since I don't know exactly what his problem is or how quick he could go downhill from it....what was in my shopping cart (in the link) was ..... a small siphon for cleaning the gravel, the bio filter with sponge changes, and master freshwater liquid test kit and a parasite clear pack for the water (not food, since he isn't eating it).
I can't for the life of me find anything like this filter listed at drs foster and smith at petsmart (online)....what should I ask for when I go in there today?
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:25 AM   #13
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Here's a sponge filter I used when I had a 5 gallon tank with a betta:

Foam Aquarium Biological Filters: Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter 11

The Jungle Jr. dirt magnet is fine too. I used that one also.

You will need an airpump to run either of these sponge filters. I had this Rena pump, model #50:

Aquarium Air Pumps: Rena Air Pumps

You can use a gang valve between the air pump and the sponge filter if you feel the air current through the filter is too strong. The 2-way one is fine. It "bleeds off" excess air so that the full force of air generated by the pump does not flow into the sponge filter; it just harmlessly leaves the pump through the gang valve.

Aquarium Air Pumps & Plumbing: Ultra Plastic Gang Valves

I suspect that the small siphon you listed from DrsFosterSmith was too big - here's the one I have, from Petsmart. I use the mini (1 inch x 6 inch cylinder).

Top Finģ Gravel Vacuums - Aquarium Maintenance - PetSmart

I agree that the pic of your betta looks like he could have parasites. If he isn't eating, the Jungle med you add to the water should help. I have never tried it but I have tried other Jungle meds and got good results with them.
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:40 AM   #14
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OK - the more I have been reading on here, the more inclined I am to go ahead and get him a 5 gallon tank. If I get one today how long should I let it "sit" before adding him to the tank and should I move over any of his stuff into the new tank (such as the cave, plants, snail, etc)? If I do set up a new 5-10 gallon tank should I treat the water in it with the parasite medicine?
Also - I am not finding any filter like the one people have mentioned at the Petsmart website. Would a local Petsmart possibly have it even if it isn't listed on their website? Again, sorry for all of the questions....I really like my betta and want him to survive this and be happy and if a bigger tank would make him more happy, then that is what I will get and possibly down the road I can add more critters to the tank.
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:35 PM   #15
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Bigger tank = happy betta! 5 gallons would be a great choice for him. 10 is even better...he'll love the space and there will be more room to add plants, decor, carefully selected tank buddies. First things first...read up on the nitrogen cycle and how to do a fishless cycle for the new tank before adding your betta to it.

Tips and tricks for your fastest fishless cycle!

Fishless Cycling Made Easy

Don't be in a rush...take your time and do your research...your betta and any other fish you get in the future will be happier and healthier for it!

My thought would be to treat him for the parasites in his current tank. When you get the new tank, you can always use the 2 gallon tank as a hospital/quarantine tank. Let him stay in the 2 gallon until the new tank is cycled and ready for fish.

I would give Petsmart a call and ask them if they have sponge filters. Like Deb said, you'll need an air pump for proper filtration of the tank as well.

So if you are set on getting a bigger tank: get the tank, make sure you have enough gravel, get a sponge filter, air pump, heater (25 watts should be enough for a 5 gallon tank), and a tank thermometer (cheap glass one is fine). Also get the liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, and ph. Set up the new tank with everything and follow instructions on fishless cycling. In the mean time, treat your betta with the parasite meds in the 2 gallon. Make sense? You may want to get two thermometers so you can monitor the temp in the 2 gallon to make sure it is warm enough. Also test the water in the 2 gallon to make sure parameters are ok.

I know this is a lot, and people at fish stores never tell you all the stuff you need to know to be a really responsible fish owner. I went through the same thing...I never knew it was this involved
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
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My thought would be to treat him for the parasites in his current tank. When you get the new tank, you can always use the 2 gallon tank as a hospital/quarantine tank. Let him stay in the 2 gallon until the new tank is cycled and ready for fish.

So if you are set on getting a bigger tank: get the tank, make sure you have enough gravel, get a sponge filter, air pump, heater (25 watts should be enough for a 5 gallon tank), and a tank thermometer (cheap glass one is fine). Also get the liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte, and ph. Set up the new tank with everything and follow instructions on fishless cycling. In the mean time, treat your betta with the parasite meds in the 2 gallon. Make sense? You may want to get two thermometers so you can monitor the temp in the 2 gallon to make sure it is warm enough. Also test the water in the 2 gallon to make sure parameters are ok.

I know this is a lot, and people at fish stores never tell you all the stuff you need to know to be a really responsible fish owner. I went through the same thing...I never knew it was this involved
I did all of this!! Yay! I decided on the 10 gallon tank because it was on sale! It included a nice filtration system and a heater! I have it intalled already with water and two live plants/gravel. I am keeping my betta, for now, in his small tank. I got the Jungle parasite clear and treated the water a little while ago. I have to say, that for a change, I was impressed with the young guy I spoke with at PetSmart today. He is has his own 10 gallon tank and was very helpful and his suggestions mirrored what I had been reading here. He definitely suggested to treat my betta in his small tank for now and then in 3-4 days, possibly a week, transfer him to the 10 gallon tank. He suggested, because I asked about possible future tank buddies, danios or white clouds. So, I feel good about my choices today. I didn't buy any fish at all today, just the tank, and I already have it set up and running! Now, just hope that my betta gets rid of these parasites!
I will keep you up to date and take pictures when I change him over to his 10 gallon tank!
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:07 PM   #17
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You're on the right track with your new betta tank! What type of filter does it have - can you adjust the flow so that the betta is not swimming against current?

If you do a fishless cycle, it will take longer than 10 days. I would recommend the fishless cycle. If you put the betta in the 10 gallon tank after he's done with the parasite treatment, you probably will be doing water changes daily until the good bacteria catches up with the bio-load of the betta. You may not see a huge ammonia spike with the betta in the 10 gallon - a betta is a relatively small bio-load for a 10 gallon tank, but you could be dealing with small amounts of ammonia - say .25 to .5 ppm - for weeks, and even these levels require a water change.

I would disagree on the tankmates the employee suggested. White cloud minnows, according to Liveaquaria.com, are best kept in water temperature of 64 - 72 degrees, which would be much too cold for your betta. Danios are active, lively fish and may not make good tankmates for the slow-moving betta. Danios are also members of the minnow family and prefer water a little cooler than what the betta requires.
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:17 PM   #18
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I know it is probably a little too soon to test the water (in the new tank), but I was curious to see how easy it was....here are my results...
my pH was a 7.0-7.2
my ammonia was a 0
my nitrItes were a 0 (is this strange for a new tank?)
my nitrAtes were a 0
water temperature is around 74 right now, but the heater has only been on for about an hour.....
The filter that came with the tank is a TopFin power filter #10. It is quiet, which I like! The heater is a submersible aquarium heater 120 volts, 60Hz? Is this okay?
I also got a small gravel vacuum, which I have never used before and have no idea how to use...lol. Is there somewhere on the web where I can see a live demo of one being used?
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:43 PM   #19
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I just now tested my betta tank(the smaller one he is still in)....
nitrIte - 0
ammonia - 0
pH - 6.6 (seemed low so I put in some pH tablet)
nitrAte - 0 (seemed AWFULLY low) How do I get that to come up? I don't have any drops or tablets for that.....
His water temp is still a steady 76-78 with hood lamp on.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:18 PM   #20
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Sounds like you are on the right path. Like Deb said, a fishless cycle will take longer than 10 days.

If you take a look at this chart, you'll see why there are no readings yet. The cycling takes some time and the nitrItes and nitrAtes won't show up right away. The good bacteria you establish in the tank will eventually convert the ammonia to nitrItes and then to nitrAtes. You have to wait to see the ammonia spike before you see nitrItes. You'll need a source of ammonia to start the cycle for the 10 gallon. Normally it would be fish waste, but if you are doing a fishless cycle, you'll need something like pure ammonia. When the tank is cycled, you'll see the nitrAtes rise. You then do regular partial water changes to keep the nitrAtes to an acceptable level.

If you are doing weekly water changes in the 2 gallon, it's not surprising that you aren't seeing any nitrAtes. There's nothing you need to do to change that. Just keep doing regular partial water changes every week, maybe 25-50% until the 10 gallon is cycled and ready. Don't forget to use a dechlorinator when you do the water changes.

Also, I would be cautious about adjusting the ph up and down and messing with it too much. The most important thing is to keep it stable. I think I am correct in saying that anything from 6.5-7.5 is fine for a betta, as they like slightly acidic to neutral ph. But bettas are pretty adjustable and stability is key. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong about this).

Here's a video about gravel vacuums. Don't vacuum the gravel or do water changes in the 10 gallon though when you are cycling it, as this would remove beneficial bacteria you are trying to colonize.

The more you do your own reading about cycling, the more it will all make sense!

How to Start a Gravel Vacuum video and other Fish videos at 5min

All right AA veterans, as I am still new too, please correct anything that doesn't sound right!
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