Sick Betta, Inflamed Gill?

Bayli

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I'm so sorry if I'm posting to the incorrect forum, but I'm looking for help regarding a sick fish. I posted in another forum but wanted to get as much help as possible. Please let me know if I've violated any rules by posting here.

Hi everyone! I'm currently trying to help heal my one year old male betta fish. About 3 days ago, I noticed he was breathing a bit hard, and he wouldn't really come out for his feedings. Once he missed two feedings (evening and morning), I figured something was wrong, so I did a 25% water change that evening. He seemed a lot happier, and more responsive. He was back to eating on his regular schedule, and swimming around like normal. His behavior has continued to be good like that since then.
Yesterday night, however, when I got home from work, I noticed his gill was really puffed out, and he was still having some difficultly breathing. That got me thinking that that was what caused his lethargy to begin with. I went to Petsmart to have the water tested, and it came up with high nitrates and slightly high ammonia. I added some good bacteria to the tank, as I talked with one of the employees and she reccomended that to help treat the nitrates. I also bought Melafix under the employee's reccomendation, and administered just one drop, as my betta lives in a 2.5 gallon tank and I did not want to overdose it and risk hurting him. Overall he seems to be doing better, although his gill is still a bit puffed out, but I'm just wondering if I'm doing the right things? This is my first time owning a fish of any kind, and I just want to do everything I can to help my little dude out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
 

Colin_T

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

You have not broken any rules by asking for help here and on other forums :)

The first thing to do if any fish ever looks unhappy, sick, or stops eating, is a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate each day until you know what is going on. This will dilute any nutrient build up or disease organisms in the water and buy you some time to get help.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

What sort of filter do you have on the tank?
How often do you clean the filter and how do you clean it?

How often do you normally do water changes and how much water do you change?
As a general rule I recommend doing a 75% water change each week unless there is a problem with water quality. Then I suggest doing a 75% water change each day for a week, or longer if needed. If you only do small water changes 25% once every few weeks, you eventually get a build up of nitrates and the fish suffer. Likewise any ammonia or nitrite in the water will also harm the fish so do daily water changes to get these levels down to 0.

Stop using Melafix because it can leave an oily film on the surface and affect the fish. Just do water changes and gravel clean the substrate.

If you can post a picture of the fish and maybe a short video clip of him having trouble breathing, it will provide us with more information.
 

seangee

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Bacteria won't help reduce nitrates. Most people recommend a 50% water change every week. Changing 50% or more is important because it only dilutes nitrate but does not eliminate them.

Since your fish has become accustomed to high nitrates replacing a large amount at once may cause a shock. I would change 25% every day for a week and then get into a routine of changing 50% once every week. Make sure your water is dechlorinated and you shouldn't need any other treatment or medication.
 
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Bayli

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Bacteria won't help reduce nitrates. Most people recommend a 50% water change every week. Changing 50% or more is important because it only dilutes nitrate but does not eliminate them.

Since your fish has become accustomed to high nitrates replacing a large amount at once may cause a shock. I would change 25% every day for a week and then get into a routine of changing 50% once every week. Make sure your water is dechlorinated and you shouldn't need any other treatment or medication.
Thank you so much for your help! That makes a lot of sense, I'll definitely try that. I read it's not good to do weekly water changes, so that's why I haven't been doing that. I skipped yesterday, but I'll make the 25% change when I get home this evening. The water conditioner I use I use is Topfin Betta Water Conditioner, is that a decent one to use? I follow the directions for my tank size and everything.
 

seangee

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The water conditioner I use I use is Topfin Betta Water Conditioner, is that a decent one to use? I follow the directions for my tank size and everything.
That one is fine. It does contain aloe vera which is not beneficial to your fish. I would not use it for that reason as I try not to put in anything that is not beneficial to fish. I would finish the bottle but when you rplace it buy one that does what it needs and no more. I'm sure someone can recommend a brand (I filter my water so don't require conditioner).
 
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Bayli

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

You have not broken any rules by asking for help here and on other forums :)

The first thing to do if any fish ever looks unhappy, sick, or stops eating, is a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate each day until you know what is going on. This will dilute any nutrient build up or disease organisms in the water and buy you some time to get help.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

What sort of filter do you have on the tank?
How often do you clean the filter and how do you clean it?

How often do you normally do water changes and how much water do you change?
As a general rule I recommend doing a 75% water change each week unless there is a problem with water quality. Then I suggest doing a 75% water change each day for a week, or longer if needed. If you only do small water changes 25% once every few weeks, you eventually get a build up of nitrates and the fish suffer. Likewise any ammonia or nitrite in the water will also harm the fish so do daily water changes to get these levels down to 0.

Stop using Melafix because it can leave an oily film on the surface and affect the fish. Just do water changes and gravel clean the substrate.

If you can post a picture of the fish and maybe a short video clip of him having trouble breathing, it will provide us with more information.

Oh good, I think I got a message on my other one from someone asking to take my post down because I posted to both, so I just wanted to make sure. Thanks!

I use Topfin Betta Water Conditioner when I do my cleanings to treat the water. I'm open to suggestions if that's not a good one to use. I also use the Topfin Element Filter Cartridges for the filters. I would say I try to clean the tank every two weeks, I was under the impression that cleaning more often was detrimental to the environment. But now I'm thinking cleaning every week would be fine? I typically go for a 25% water change each time. I generally just change the filters for new ones when they get gray/dirty.

That totally makes sense, I'll definitely try cleaning more often!! I liked what the other commenter said about doing a slightly smaller change at first and working up to a bigger water change so as not to shock my fish. But I'll certainly be doing bigger water changes in the future.

I'll stop using the Melafix. Should I also quit using the good bacteria? I only used each of those once.

I have a couple pictures from behind showing the way one gill looks a bit bigger than the other, I'll try to take more later from the side.

Thank you again for all your help!!
 
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Bayli

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That one is fine. It does contain aloe vera which is not beneficial to your fish. I would not use it for that reason as I try not to put in anything that is not beneficial to fish. I would finish the bottle but when you rplace it buy one that does what it needs and no more. I'm sure someone can recommend a brand (I filter my water so don't require conditioner).
Cool, sounds good. Thank you so much!!
 

seangee

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I'm not familiar with those filters. Do they also have a sponge or is it just the cartridges? The problem with replacing cartridges is you throw out all the good bacteria in them and its like starting your cycle all over again. The chain stores love them because you keep coming back to spend money on new cartridges and then spend more money on medication when your fish get sick.

If there is no separate sponge try to get a piece of filter sponge and cut it to the same size and shape as the cartridge. Replace the cartridge with the sponge and when you clean your tank just rinse the sponge in the water you have removed from the tank. Some of my sponges are over 10 years old and still going strong. If there is a separate sponge don't replace it until it falls to pieces - just rinse in the same way.

Otherise you can get a simple sponge filter like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KZJYC9G/?tag=ff0d01-20 - you will also need an airpump, some tubing and a non-return valve.
 

NickAu

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You have not broken any rules by asking for help here and on other forums
While the OP hasnt broken any rules it is best to get advice from 1 place only this way you dont get contradictory advice for example when dealing with medications.
 

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