Betta got sick suddenly and seems to be getting worse

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Scribbled

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I posted this in the wrong place the first time. but I had to quarantine my male delta tail betta a little less than a week ago because a gold zebra loach was nipping at him plus he was having difficulty swimming. He was fine that morning but by the time I was heading to bed I had to quarantine him. Since then, his swim bladder problem(?) has gotten worse and he often is bent in a U or S shape and can’t control his buoyancy and has to float at the surface. On top of that, I think he’s developed fin rot and maybe popeye, but I’m not entirely familiar with betta diseases since it’s been a while since I’ve owned betta fish. I think I need to get the right medication for him, but all I have right now is aquarium salt, ich treatment, and anti fungal medicine. I’ll try to get a video of him today, but he’s in a not so great container because I have another fish in my quarantine tank, so the video may not be that good.
He’s still relatively reactive and kinda active, he still has an appetite too, if that means something
 
A photo / video will help us understand the problem, but from your description it seems like he can’t be helped.
How long have you had the betta? Despite what you hear that bettas live up to 5 years, you’ll be lucky if you get past 2 years for fancy bettas.
Old bettas go downhill very quickly, they eat and behave normally one day, then start fading away and die a week or 2 later :(.
 
A photo / video will help us understand the problem, but from your description it seems like he can’t be helped.
How long have you had the betta? Despite what you hear that bettas live up to 5 years, you’ll be lucky if you get past 2 years for fancy bettas.
Old bettas go downhill very quickly, they eat and behave normally one day, then start fading away and die a week or 2 later :(.

 
Fortunately, his condition doesn't appear quite as bad as it sounded, especially if he's still eating. His swim bladder isn't making him swim abnormally at least, even if he's staying near the top.

This doesn't sound like a sickness, you saw what happened to him, he was beaten by by the zebra loach(es?) Those fish should never be kept together. Bettas are solitary fish and need their own territory, they don't belong in community tanks, especially with much larger and more aggressively territorial fish like botiid loaches! So he needs his own tank. A 5-10 gallon to himself would be much, much better than the community tank, or what he's in now. While he's in that container though, some things to help him recover...

How to help him heal:

Keep the water impeccably clean. Large water changes daily. Don't catch and move him to do water changes, just use a jug or cup to remove about 60-70% of the water, then refill the tank with clean fresh water after temperature matching it to the water in his tank, and using a water conditioner to declorinate.

Add a filter of some kind. A cheap internal filter or sponge filter will do, so long as it provides some water movement at the surface to allow gas exchange, and can begin cycling the tank/container. Remember that bettas are labyrinth breathers, so he will go to the surface a lot to breathe, and they build their bubble nests at the surface too. If you can provide some live plants and/or decor that allows him to rest on them while still being nearer to the surface, that is ideal for bettas, especially one recovering from having been knocked about by a loach. While labyrinth breathers can breath from the surface, they can still suffer from ammonia burns and nitrite poisoning, so changing the water daily - especially in an uncycled container with no filter or live plants - is essential!

Clean water with zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and low nitrates boosts a fishe's immune system, helping them to recover and to fight off any secondary infections.

Add more live plants (or fake as a second choice) both to process ammonia and improve water quality/give him things to rest on - but also to reduce his stress. Stress is the biggest killer of fish, and fish don't like to feel as if they're in the open and exposed to predators. They don't know that there are no predators! They feel safe with decor/plants and ideally floating plants overhead too, to hide among. I see some frogbit and red root floaters in the videos, from your other tanks? Add more to give him more overhead cover, and some more submerged plants if you can. Reducing his stress by making his environment calming will help.

To that end, also keep the lighting low, and add a background to the container he's in. Black paper or even a black plastic garbage bag taped over the back and one side will help him feel less exposed and safer, while you're still able to view and check on him. Feed him high quality food, and keep a close eye for secondary infections.
 
Fortunately, his condition doesn't appear quite as bad as it sounded, especially if he's still eating. His swim bladder isn't making him swim abnormally at least, even if he's staying near the top.

This doesn't sound like a sickness, you saw what happened to him, he was beaten by by the zebra loach(es?) Those fish should never be kept together. Bettas are solitary fish and need their own territory, they don't belong in community tanks, especially with much larger and more aggressively territorial fish like botiid loaches! So he needs his own tank. A 5-10 gallon to himself would be much, much better than the community tank, or what he's in now. While he's in that container though, some things to help him recover...

How to help him heal:

Keep the water impeccably clean. Large water changes daily. Don't catch and move him to do water changes, just use a jug or cup to remove about 60-70% of the water, then refill the tank with clean fresh water after temperature matching it to the water in his tank, and using a water conditioner to declorinate.

Add a filter of some kind. A cheap internal filter or sponge filter will do, so long as it provides some water movement at the surface to allow gas exchange, and can begin cycling the tank/container. Remember that bettas are labyrinth breeders, so he will go to the surface a lot to breathe, and they build their bubble nests at the surface too. If you can provide some live plants and/or decor that allows him to rest on them while still being nearer to the surface, that is ideal for bettas, especially one recovering from having been knocked about by a loach. While labyrinth breathers can breath from the surface, they can still suffer from ammonia burns and nitrite poisoning, so changing the water daily - especially in an uncycled container with no filter or live plants - is essential!

Clean water with zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and low nitrates boosts a fishe's immune system, helping them to recover and to fight off any secondary infections.

Add more live plants (or fake as a second choice) both to process ammonia and improve water quality/give him things to rest on - but also to reduce his stress. Stress is the biggest killer of fish, and fish don't like to feel as if they're in the open and exposed to predators. They don't know that there are no predators! They feel safe with decor/plants and ideally floating plants overhead too, to hide among. I see some frogbit and red root floaters in the videos, from your other tanks? Add more to give him more overhead cover, and some more submerged plants if you can. Reducing his stress by making his environment calming will help.

To that end, also keep the lighting low, and add a background to the container he's in. Black paper or even a black plastic garbage bag taped over the back and one side will help him feel less exposed and safer, while you're still able to view and check on him. Feed him high quality food, and keep a close eye for secondary infections.
Okay, thank you! There was only one loach that was picking on him but I’ll separate the fish. He improved a lot since when I made that post he really couldn’t move away from the surface.
 
Okay, thank you! There was only one loach that was picking on him but I’ll separate the fish. He improved a lot since when I made that post he really couldn’t move away from the surface.

That's typical loach behaviour though, and loaches need to live in groups, they're a highly social fish with strict hierarchies, and when not kept with enough fellows of the same species, will often turn that curious, pushy and bossy behaviour towards other fish. How many golden zebra loaches do you have?


Even one loach can do a lot of damage to a betta, and we have no way of knowing what internal injuries he might have sustained. But the fact he's survived for a week, is still eating, doesn't look to be doing too badly in the videos, and you've seen a lot of improvement all bodes well for his survival! Which is great, it's good that you got him out when you did. But he absolutely should never go back into that tank no matter what. Are you able to set up a betta only tank for him?

We can help with stocking issues if you'd like? If you let us know the tank size and stocking, we can give further advice. My current concern is that the zebra loach will now just select a new target, now the betta is gone.
 

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