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Betta Rescue Help

Discussion in 'Betta Splendens' started by Feathring, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Feathring

    Feathring New Member

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    Hello all,

    Quick background, I'm relatively new to fish ownership, but after seeing the conditions of a local summer camp "science project" I feel like I had to do something. For background, the fish I currently have is a young male (I'm fairly sure) that was part of a several week long science experiment. They kept several bettas in a few inches of water in the bottom of a 2-liter coke bottle for a few weeks with a plant in a funnel above it that I assume they thought would filter the water. Unsurprisingly the water the fish were in was fetid and they all died but this one.

    As for his current condition he seems pretty weak, and very pale though his color has perked up since he is in a new place. He drops to the bottom immediately if he stops swimming (so some sort of swim bladder issue) and spends most of the day laying on the ground. He is regularly moving around to new spots to lay though, and shows interest when someone is near or when I've added a pellet or two to the water to see if he will eat. He can swim to the surface too, and does on occasion to breathe, he just can't keep himself floating. I don't see any obvious spotting on him either, and he doesn't look bloated or pine-coned out which I was told by a friend to watch for.

    Unfortunately all I've had on short notice was a small 1 gallon tank to put him in with a few little nooks and crannies, a heater, and a moss ball that were donated by the friend. I know most people suggest a larger habitat for them, and am definitely open to getting a larger habitat in the near future but I felt like getting him out of the coke bottle was the first priority.

    I guess my real question is what is the best way to proceed from here?
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    The best way to help sick fish is by keeping their water clean and free of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and free of disease organisms that live in the water. The easiest way to do this is to change most of the water every day for a few weeks.

    Get a clean bucket that hasn't had any soaps, detergents, oils, or anything else in and keep it for the fish. Get a permanent marker and write "FISH ONLY" on the bucket. Don't let anyone use it for anything except the fish.

    Fill the bucket with tap water and add a dechlorinator to neutralise any chlorine/ chloramine in the water. Try to aerate the water and dechlorinator for at least 5 minutes (preferably 30 minutes) before using it.

    When you have the clean water that is free of chlorine/ chloramine, drain out most of the water in the current container, and then fill it back up with the new dechlorinated water. You want to leave enough water in the container for the fish to remain upright, but you also want to remove as much as possible.

    The big daily water changes will dilute any nutrients caused by the fish food, and it will dilute disease organisms in the water. Clean water will also help the fish feel better and help it to heal itself.

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    If the fish is looked after properly and kept in clean water, it might recover and be able to swim better in the future. But you need to keep it healthy and give it time.

    If the fish has trouble swimming up to the surface, you can reduce the water level so it doesn't have to swim up as much.

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    You should try to feed the fish more often and 3-5 times a day is fine when fish are trying to recover from an injury or stressful event. You can feed them on dry, frozen (but defrosted) and live foods. Make sure you remove uneaten food straight away and do the daily water changes to keep everything clean.
     
  3. Feathring

    Feathring New Member

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    When I'm doing the water changes what is the best way to add it back in without sloshing the poor guy all around?

    Also I will try to remove the food. What's the best way to do this? The bottom is about a half inch of rounded stones about the size of those flattened decorative marbles. The food likes to fall into the gaps between them, often with a very excited betta just barely missing grabbing them. I know there are vacuum hoses people use, but the only ones I have seen at my local pet store seem very large for the size he is in right now.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You can use a cup to add the new water to his tank, or put the bucket of clean dechlorinated water above his tank and use a thin hose to syphon the clean water into his container.

    The best way to clean the gravel is with a basic model gravel cleaner like the one in the following link.
    You can buy these from any pet shop or make them from a small plastic drink bottle. You cut the bottom off the plastic bottle and remove the cap and plastic ring around the top, throw these bits away. Stick a plastic hose in the top of the bottle and put the other end of the hose in a bucket to collect the dirty water.

    You can check on YouTube for how to use a gravel cleaner or ask your local pet shop to demonstrate it for you. They are pretty simple and you just stick the plastic bottle in the tank and fill it up. Get the water draining down the hose and then push the bottle into the substrate and lift it up. The gravel will circulate in the bottle and drop back down, while the gunk and dirty water is removed from the tank.
     

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