Severe Betta Illness - Medication Not Helping

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maninahat

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Beverley - Yorkshire
Hello there folks. I've been having problems with a bacterial infection with my betta fish. I've been treating for what looks to be severe fin rot, but medication has yet to have any positive effect. Over the week, the condition has worsened, and the bacteria is continuing to spread. Further details are below:

Tank size: 5 and 1/2 gallons (Fluval Edge)
pH: 7.4-7.6
ammonia: 0.0ppm - 0.2ppm
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 0ppm
kH: ? Hard water source
gH: ?
tank temp: 80F

Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): The problem manifested when a part of my betta's fin turned grey/decolourised. As it was sudden, I assumed this was just damage sustained from grazing or age (betta has been in tank for over 6 months). When the grey section expanded, I realised I had an infection and started treatment for fin rot. After daily water changes and daily doses of Myaxazin (2ml) for five days, the bacteria has continued to spread to other fins. Today, I saw some scale damage too, nearer the infected areas (see photos). The fish is still active continues to eat, chase off the Otos, and even make bubble nests. No unusual signs of behaviour.

Volume and Frequency of water changes: Since treatment began last week, daily water changes with 1/3 of water changed.

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: medicine - Waterlife's Myxazin for fin rot treatment. For water changes, I pre-treat added water with Prima's Seachem anti-Chlorine, anti Ammonia stuff

Tank inhabitants: 1 Betta, 3 Otos, 4 amano shrimp, a couple of assassin snails

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): none (established tank set up)

Exposure to chemicals: none

Digital photo (include if possible):
p1040230g.jpg

p1040232a.jpg


Other notes: as you may see from the photos, I've been having a problem with brown algae. This has been the case for over a month now, and I haven't seen anyway to get rid of it. The otos aren't stopping it by any means. The lousy design of the fluval edge generally makes it hard to reach all the visible green spot algae, and the brown algae is harder still to remove from plants and objects. I don't know if the spread of brown algae is relevant.
 
Hi there i can't really tell by your pictures, but your fish sounds healthy to me (especially if hes building a nest). Please can you post some more pictures of him from a side view, then i might be able to tell you what it is. :)

As for your brown algae it should go away on its own within a few weeks, once your tank become established. I have heard that otocinclus catfish will eat it, and Otto's but they can be super sensitive in new tanks. Your aquarium light should only be on from 8 to 10 hours, and putting your aquarium in direct sunlight will cause algae growth.
 
Hi and thanks for the reply. Here are a couple more photos, one with the discolourations highlighted. It's hard to get the little guy facing the right way!

p1040243i.jpg

p1040239marksjpg.jpg


It might be hard to tell with the lighting, but the circled parts on the fins have turned completely grey within a week. Meanwhile, the circled black patches on the scales appeared just two days ago. I don't know much about betta colour changes, but doesn't it take longer than that for a betta to change colour naturally?

As for the brown algae, the tank has been established for a long time - over a year, and the betta and ottos have been there for a good six months or so. The brown algae is a sudden development from last month, and I'll try reducing the lighting some more, like you suggested.
 
the one thing that screams out to me is that your ammonia is 0.2ppm and you have no nitrate, are you using a liquid based kit or paper strips to test the water? as your tank is so tiny the ammonia will build up even quicker which can cause illnesses like fin rot, even with 3 otos its, i would say, a little overstocked what is the usual maintence on your filter, have you ever cleaned it, if so how? it might explain your water stats
 
Right, first off your tank is overstocked. The oto's really prefer to be in groups like 5-6 rather than 3 and the Amano shrimp get pretty big(about 2" each) so you really need to keep it to just your betta and the Assassins in a Fluval Edge. Secondly, your ammonia is high and you have no nitrates... What test kit are you using and is it in date and everything. Also, have you cycled your tank or taken pet shop advice and left it running and "cycling" for a week before adding fish? If you have cycled the tank then have you cleaned the filter or changed the media recently? By this time it shouldn't really matter whether you did cycle it or not because if it's had fish in for 6 months itself. My main concern is A. That you are using Anti-Ammonia stuff(doesn't work) and B. The betta's damaged areas are where a shrimp would be able to grab him if he was resting on the bottom :( Are they definitely Amano shrimp as there is a Species called Ghost Shrimp which get sold as Amano and they can grab and kill fish...
 
I use the API freshwater master test kit. It's a liquid test kit and it still works, as far as I know. I don't see any sell-by dates on the thing.

I say Ammonia is 0.0 to 0.2 ppm because of the ambiguity of the colours produced during testing - yellow means zero ammonia whilst light lime green means 0.2. The results always takes on a colour that's somewhere in between, even on water that's been treated and never put in the tank. As for the lack of nitrate, could it be because of the daily water changes?

It's been a couple of months since I did anything with the filter media, but I have a replacement on hand if you recommend a change. The media is composed of two sponges (one within the filter, one in the outflow to act as a baffle), and a bag of pre-filter media (the white stone things). The fluval set comes with bags of carbon too, but I left it out so as to permit the build up of tannins from the bogwood and oak leaves (NB, I thoroughly washed, baked and dried out both before putting in tank). I can put that back in if you recommend it.

The filter itself, I completely disassemble and clean once a month, taking out the motor and the plastic spinner thing. For cleaning anything, I always wash with water removed from the tank, rather than risk chlorinated tap water. Aqualife, you say the anti-ammonia stuff doesn't work. Could you recommend a decent brand for treating tap water before it goes into the tank?

I'm surprised to hear that I'm over stocked. I think it was somewhere on these forums where it was suggested that 1 betta and 3 otos would be okay in 23l. As for the Amanos, I was told that they produce comparatively little waste, and shouldn't be a problem. For those concerned about the size of the Amanos, only one of them is female - the other three are puny males. Even the female isn't as large compared to the others I've seen elsewhere. Whenever the Betta notices them, They tend to keep away.
 
I use the API freshwater master test kit. It's a liquid test kit and it still works, as far as I know. I don't see any sell-by dates on the thing.

I say Ammonia is 0.0 to 0.2 ppm because of the ambiguity of the colours produced during testing - yellow means zero ammonia whilst light lime green means 0.2. The results always takes on a colour that's somewhere in between, even on water that's been treated and never put in the tank. As for the lack of nitrate, could it be because of the daily water changes?

It's been a couple of months since I did anything with the filter media, but I have a replacement on hand if you recommend a change. The media is composed of two sponges (one within the filter, one in the outflow to act as a baffle), and a bag of pre-filter media (the white stone things). The fluval set comes with bags of carbon too, but I left it out so as to permit the build up of tannins from the bogwood and oak leaves (NB, I thoroughly washed, baked and dried out both before putting in tank). I can put that back in if you recommend it.

The filter itself, I completely disassemble and clean once a month, taking out the motor and the plastic spinner thing. For cleaning anything, I always wash with water removed from the tank, rather than risk chlorinated tap water. Aqualife, you say the anti-ammonia stuff doesn't work. Could you recommend a decent brand for treating tap water before it goes into the tank?

I'm surprised to hear that I'm over stocked. I think it was somewhere on these forums where it was suggested that 1 betta and 3 otos would be okay in 23l. As for the Amanos, I was told that they produce comparatively little waste, and shouldn't be a problem. For those concerned about the size of the Amanos, only one of them is female - the other three are puny males. Even the female isn't as large compared to the others I've seen elsewhere. Whenever the Betta notices them, They tend to keep away.

Females get to about 2.5" long when fully grown ;)
Any chemicals that claim to remove ammonia don't actually work. It's a money scam so that you keep spending money. Whoever told you 3 oto's would be OK in a Fluval Edge was wrong... I had my oto's in a 2ft long tank and it still looked a little crowded round the bottom, especially since oto's get to about 2" themselves :/
Also, I see you are using de-chlorinator...? May I ask why?
Btw, the bit that says 'Aqualife...' is just my member title, my username is Paradise<3 :lol:
 
Ah sorry Paradise<3

De-chlorinator? I use it because I can't just add untreated tap water to the tank during the partial water changes. There's chlorine and all sorts of other junk in it. At least, that's what I thought you're supposed to use; a product for making tap water aquarium friendly.
 
Ah sorry Paradise<3

De-chlorinator? I use it because I can't just add untreated tap water to the tank during the partial water changes. There's chlorine and all sorts of other junk in it. At least, that's what I thought you're supposed to use; a product for making tap water aquarium friendly.

Never used it myself, even bred betta's(siamese fighting fish) in normal tap water. I never alter my tap water, just use it as it is.
 
What really?! Huh. I thought that it was compulsory because the chlorine kills the bacteria. I'll have to look into that...
 
if you left a bucket of tap water standing it will diminish the chlorine over time, but as a general rule you should always use a dechlorinator with water changes
 
if you left a bucket of tap water standing it will diminish the chlorine over time, but as a general rule you should always use a dechlorinator with water changes

I've never used de-chlorinator... At all. Not even when setting a tank up or in waterchanges. I don't leave water to stand, I use it straight from the tap. Never illed any bacteria in my filter and never killed any of my fish.
 
Huh, I'm reading around, and I've suddenly realised that this might not be fin rot at all, but the betta just naturally changing colour. Apparently whiteness can indicate stress, but judging by this link, it can be simply a quirk in the genetics. Nothing else seems to be indicating that the betta is stressed (he's behaving as normal, and I have done nothing to change the conditions of the tank in a long time), so perhaps it is just a natural thing.
 
Huh, I'm reading around, and I've suddenly realised that this might not be fin rot at all, but the betta just naturally changing colour. Apparently whiteness can indicate stress, but judging by this link, it can be simply a quirk in the genetics. Nothing else seems to be indicating that the betta is stressed (he's behaving as normal, and I have done nothing to change the conditions of the tank in a long time), so perhaps it is just a natural thing.

He's not a marble betta, I can tell you that now. If he was he'd have changed a couple of times before now, even young marbles are constantly changing.
A true marble example is a friend of mines betta, Gandor.
This change happened within a week and he wasn't even a year old.

Gandor1.jpg
- Monday.
Gandor2.jpg
- Wednesday.
Gandor3.jpg
- Saturday.
 
UPDATE
 
Sorry to bring this back from the dead, but I have a couple of updates since a fortnight ago.
 
So the white patches have continued to spread, which leaves me to believe the betta was stressed and turning white, either as a consequence of water conditions, diet, temperature etc. I've been extra careful in trying to eradicate these issues, from buying an extra heater to ensure the added water is an identical temperature, to ensuring the food is sufficiently varied, to buying a new water conditioners and getting zero ammonia.
 
Here is the result...
p1040253k.jpg

 
The white parts on the fins and body are turning red. I don't know if this is a sign of things getting worse, a sign of recovery, or just a demonstration that the fish was naturally changing colour over time. No other symptoms have developed, and the fish seems as happy and alert as ever.
 

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