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White Stringy Poop And Other Issues...

Discussion in 'Betta Splendens' started by pablothebetta, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Gosh, it's ages since I've been on here! I have had my betta for around 1.5 years now and he's in a 28L (7.4 US gallon) filtered and heated tank. Currently he's fed on freeze-dried bloodworms as his other food has run out, although he has unfortunately been on this for a while now (which I know isn't good/balanced).
     
    Recently, his poop has become white and stringy, he seems to have lost his appetite somewhat, his fins have become paler (almost grey) and he's rather lethargic. Each morning for the past couple of days I've found him motionless on the bottom of the tank, although he's got up and swam around a little after I've got him moving. I also noticed today that he seems to have developed white coloured patched near his gills, yet the outline of the scales can be seen (as if they have turned white themselves, rather than fungus etc, although I can't be certain).
     
    I've been trying to find a diagnosis online but the some of the symptoms (e.g. paleness and lethargy) seem to come up for different problems.
     
    Any advice/help?
     
    Thanks

     
  2. Wildbetta

    Wildbetta Moderator
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    First thing...can you get a couple of pictures?  Preferably one from the side and one from the top looking down on him.  White stringy poop is normally a sign of parasites which is possible but looking at other things first would be best before you start throwing meds at him.  What is the temp of the tank?  If it is too cool then that could explain the lethargy.
     
  3. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    To be honest, I don't have a thermometer in there since the last one broke. However the heaters on and feels the right kind of temp gauging from when I used a thermometer. Will try to get pics if they'll help. 
     
    Recently I have been having problems with the filter and the did tank have to go a couple of days without one while the new one came in the mail. I did wonder if it was due to this (water quality, etc), as the lethargy in particular came on at this time, but I'm pretty certain he already had white stringy poop beforehand.
     
  4. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    I'm struggling to get pictures. Any advice without them for the time being? He's almost constantly lethargic, laying on plants or just on the substrate. Would it be of any benefit to keep the light off? Should he be fed?
     
  5. Wildbetta

    Wildbetta Moderator
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    Ok first thing is to get a thermometer to get an accurate reading of the temperature in the tank.  Even something as small as a couple of degrees cooler than needed could cause lethargy in an otherwise healthy active betta.  Second is the food you are feeding.  You really need to get away from the freeze dried foods. These are not good for bettas as they are really bad to cause bloating and constipation.  This could very well be another reason for him to not be feeling up to par right now.  I know you mentioned that you have had him for over a year.  Where did you get him and do you know how old he is?  If he was a pet store fish, it is most likely he was around a year old when you got him which would put him at going on 3 years old.  Another thing about pet store fish is that he could have been harboring parasites at the time of purchase and he has been healthy enough to fight them off until here recently.  A recent stressor probably lowered his immune system just enough for them to get a good hold on him.  Feeding only the freeze dried bloodworms could have easily the "straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak.  I would try him out with some frozen goodies like frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp to see if that perks him up a bit.  Just make sure you are not giving him too much. Overfeeding bettas cause more issues than underfeeding them.  
     
    The deal with the filter -- did you use the cycled media from the previous filter when you added the new filter?  If not, you might be dealing with ammonia/nitrIte issues on top of everything else.  How often are you doing water changes and how much are you changing at that time?
     
  6. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Thanks. Will try to get him a thermometer soon. It had gone through my head about his age, as he could easily be getting on for 3 years of age now - he was clearly fairly old when I bought him as he had such full fins. What strikes me though is this fairly sudden decline which I suppose made me doubt that.
     
    The filter media was just popped into the new filter when I swapped em over. Is it true, by the way, that bacteria can die during a filter outage? Mine was out for a few days [​IMG]
     
    I'm going to be honest again and say that the w/c schedule has been somewhat dire which could well be a contributing factor [​IMG] I do prefer to do a weekly w/c of about 30% though, and while not ideal, I did get some stuff from the lps the other day which helps to keep parameters stable between water changes, which should help to keep nitrates down. There is a fair amount of plants in there too, which I suppose should help to reduce nitrates if I remember correctly...
     
    Would it be beneficial to try him to get to eat some mushed up/cut up pea? He's currently slumped on top of the heater near the surface and hasn't eaten properly for a few days now. I'm pretty sure that this has only come on since the filter died...
     
  7. Wildbetta

    Wildbetta Moderator
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    While he might be getting on in age, I believe your main issue is ammonia/nitrIte and possible parasites.  While having the filter go out for a few days is not the best thing to happen, it is not the worst either.  Did the filter media dry out or did it stay moist/wet?  If it stayed moist/wet, there is a high possibility that a good deal of the bacteria are still ok.  If it dried out, although it is likely that you still had some live bacteria, you would have had some die off which would be enough to cause a mini cycle.  
    At this point, I would start by doing 50% water changes daily to help see if this perks him up a bit.  I don't recommend peas for bloating issues.  I recommend frozen daphnia since it works in the same laxative way as a pea but is digested and more likely to be eaten by the betta.  NitrAtes are not going to be what you are concerned with as while they are harmful, they are not anywhere near as harmful as ammonia or nitrIte.
     
  8. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Thanks. Fortunately the media stayed wet the whole time - I'll check the water parameters tonight re the ammonia and nitrite. Luckily it's only him and a small tadpole snail that came in a few months ago on some plants (thankfully only one, I've made that mistake before :sly:) in the tank so there isn't too high-a bioload, although I can never seem to fully clean the sand. I was aware that nitrate wasn't as harmful, but considering my water change schedule, I'm guessing it'd have been pretty bad all the same :sigh:
     
    Ought I be finding some internal parasite medication then? I have checked the website of my lps and they don't seem to stock it, so if there are any brands you know of that'd be great [​IMG]
     
  9. Wildbetta

    Wildbetta Moderator
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    Where are you?  Recommending medications will differ if you are in the US or if you are elsewhere in the world
     
  10. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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     I'm in the UK, so seeing your in the US, the names probably won't be the same - I'll have a look on other sites for medication.
     
     
    Is there anything else that you would recommend I do? I greatly appreciate the advice.
     
  11. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Having done some more googling, I'm beginning to wonder if it's an internal bacterial infection that he's got:
     
    "Betta may have clamped fins, lay at bottom or at surface, not eat, lose its color, turn gray, barely swim around"
     
    "Physical: Paleness or loss of color, rapid breathing, fin deterioration.
    Behavioral: Hiding, lethargy, listlessness, loss of appetite"
     
    He's definitely paler, hides at times and is very lethargic as I've mentioned. Thinking about it, his fins aren't as good as they used to be, either. 
     
    Any thoughts? 
     
    Edit: Actually, scrap that, the symptoms of internal parasites seem much more fitting having read around some more, apologies.
     
  12. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Have tested for ammonia - test tube wasn't quite clean from last time but disappointingly it was still around 1. Guess I have lost some bacteria [​IMG] I figure I'll have some nitrIte in there too, then. Looks like some water changes are needed as well as medication!
     
  13. Wildbetta

    Wildbetta Moderator
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    You might get by with only having to do water changes.  I highly suggest seeing how he reacts with real clean warm water.  It could be an internal bacteria but normally white stringy poop signifies parasites.  I hate to medicate when things might just be a water quality issue since medications can be hard on an already ill fish.
     
  14. attibones

    attibones Member

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    I agree with WB. Do as large of a water change as you can. Your ammonia is pretty high, so you'll need a large water change to get it manageable.
     
  15. pablothebetta

    pablothebetta Member

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    Will try to get one done tomorrow, then. How large? With any luck the bacteria in the filter will get back up soon enough and things'll improve.
     

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