March 29th, 2009, 08:51 AM
My mom's been taking care of my betta for the past 7 months, I just came home from overseas yesterday. She said he's been unwell since she did a full water change on his tank about a month ago, and about 2 weeks ago she started medicating him with BettaFix.
Since I got home I got a pH test kit and found the pH was above 7.6 so I did a partial water change last night with some distilled water to try and bring the pH down (because distilled water has a pH around 5.4ish) and added a spoonful of aquarium salt and about 5ml of Stress Coat.
When I tested the pH this morning though it was still above 7.6 (I don't know how much because the test kit only registers within a 6.0-7.6 pH.). Below are some photos I took this morning. I was having trouble getting a good shot (only had my DSLR), but you can see how his fins are kinda clumped, and he's got kinda a brownish colour on him (was a blue fish, and would sometimes go a little redish when stressed but this is more brown) and there are black specks on his fins.
From reading stuff online I think it is either Velvet or a fungus but I'm not sure which, or how to go about treating it. I have BettaFix and PimaFix on hand, its a 5 gallon tank, our tap water goes through a water softener and so is very soft (I don't know if that contributes to the high pH or not) and is well water not city water. I also have two other water conditioners: AquaSafe and EasyBalance.
What I'm thinking I would do is try and get the pH down and run a course of PimaFix, but I don't know if that it best. It would treat a fungus but would it work if it is velvet? Any advice would be helpful. If I don't hear anything back in the next 24 hours I may start the PimaFix because in either condition it isn't good to leave it too long...
April 3rd, 2009, 08:58 AM
if i had to guess from the pictures, velvet... but thats not conclusive.
a few things to point out-
dont ever do a full water change. this is why-
which is vitally important to keeping a fish of any sort in a closed system like an aquarium!!
it sounds like you guys are doing everything you can to treat this!! i have never had a fish with velvet before so i dont really have any more advice than one would had they done a google search on it. does it shimmer?? a fungus usually presents as puffy white or gray stuff, a bacteria would eat the fins off or cause bloating in some way.
has the bettafix or pimafix helped?? i would give a food based med a try first. try not to medicate the water unless you have to. -shrugs- google around and see what sort of info you can find. wetwebmedia (the link i sent you above) has top notch advice and a whole crew to answer personal emails if you have any questions. i -highly- recommend them!!
June 7th, 2009, 12:22 AM
Let me try to answer some of your questions....
because distilled water has a pH around 5.4ish
Distilled water doesn't have a constant pH, it has no buffering so the pH can swing back and forth wildly. You shouldn't ever add distilled water to your tank without knowing what your buffering capacity is. Never add ALL distilled water (because of the lack of buffering) and test your kH before adding large amounts.
On that note your pH of 7.6 is just FINE and you don't need to try and adjust it. pH swings will harm your fish more than a sub-optimum pH (and bettas do just fine in 7.6 water, the only reason you'd need to lower it is if you're trying to stimulate breeding conditions or something).
Some information puts way too much emphasis on pH. Most common aquarium fish do fine in varying pH, unless very high (8+) or very low (under 7) don't mess with it. If your test kit is not testing above 7.6 you need to get a high range pH test kit (I use API high range kit because my tapwater varies between 7.4 and 7.8, rarely it might get near 8)
Lowering the pH of water is especially difficult. This shouldn't be attempted unless absolutely necessary. You might bring the pH down temporarily and then it will swing back up to where it was, this stresses your fish. You can add a ton of distilled water to heavily buffered water and see almost no effect on pH. You can keep adding distilled water and see no change until finally you've lowered the buffering capacity to the point where your pH suddenly swings significantly downward to dangerous levels.
The best way to lower pH is to start from scratch with pure water (with no fish in it btw) and alter the chemistry yourself with something like RO right (but like I said this is not necessary....I keep my discus in my 7.4-7.8 pH water and they have absolutely no issues...neither do any of my other so called soft water/ low pH fish).
our tap water goes through a water softener and so is very soft (I don't know if that contributes to the high pH or not
Softer water generally has a lower pH, not the other way around. Hard water generally has a higher pH. Softer water can have less buffering capacity which can cause pH swings and that will effect the health of fish, but every time you've tested you say the water is above 7.6 and you don't seem to be having wild pH swings.
Too be honest I brightened your pictures and I don't see velvet or fungus. There is definately no fungus that would be visible, velvet is possible I guess but I don't see it in your pictures.
I actually don't see anything wrong in your pictures and am not certain what leads you to believe your betta is sick.
The discoloration could just be because he's in different water conditions than when you last saw him. Fish will change color depending on pH and all kinds of other water chemistry factors. It doesn't really mean he's sick.
His fins don't look especially clamped, he looks relaxed and bored to me and bettas usually look like that when they're bored.
Sorry I can't be more helpful, I just don't see anything in the pictures to lead me to any type of conclusion other than the fish is NOT sick.
If he's not sick treating him with all kinds of stuff is just going to add unnecessary stress. I don't wanna give advice on medication when there's no obvious illness. Not to say there's nothing wrong, the pictures just don't show anything.
Doing a 100% water change shouldn't have caused a recycle, really. I've moved fish and their filtration to new tanks a ton of times and I never change over water, I have honestly never had a recycle unless I do something to kill the bacteria on the filter (we accidentally did this last move because we didn't oxygenate the media enough) and I still haven't seen it cause a full cycle, usually takes a few days to build back up.
That said, there are other reasons not to do 100% water changes, causing a massive change in water chemistry is one of them.
You do need to test your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates more than anything. These levels can also effect pH btw, so you should always be testing them first. (I also use API master test kits to test this stuff). These things you should be testing periodically even if your fish doesn't look sick (it's best to catch issues BEFORE they cause symptoms).
Your nitrate levels will determine water change schedule (because you will be shooting to keep them below about 40).
So what you need before moving on with treatment or anything else is a freshwater master test kit and a high range pH test kit.
June 8th, 2009, 02:45 PM
I looked at your pics again and the only thing I see that MIGHT possibly be wrong are some blackish spots on his top fin.
They look more like bumps than anything.
Possibly that could be some type of parasite, or it could also be an injury or some kind of issue from poor water quality.
You can try prazipro for external parasites, I do not know of any negative effects on bettas when used as directed and I haven't had any issues using it with even sensitive fish.
I still don't see a sign of velvet (Remember that velvet looks like your fish has been sprinkled with a whitish or goldish dust all over his body, do you see this?), and fungus generally is fuzzy patches or spots (I don't see this, do you?). Columnaris (often called fungus, but actually a bacteria) looks like whitish peeling patches of slimecoat which will eventually spread accross the whole body (Do you see this?).
If you see a definitive sign of one of these pick a treatment. If the disease doesn't match any of these symptoms completely you're shooting in the dark by picking random treatments.