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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've had my Betta fish for 4 months now and it's been doing very well until today. The skin has cuts and wounds in a few places. I do regular water changes weekly and sometimes a few days a week.

My 10 gallon tank is over populated with other fish and plants. I have:
- One bronze cory
- One siamese algae eater
- Two male guppies
- One male platy
- One female platy
- Six baby platies (half size)
- Three Tetra Serpaes

At first I thought that he got into a fight with the serpaes because they don't like each other very much, but the wounds are too big for that. They also usually avoid being close to each other to begin with.

I am posting some pictures for reference.
I just removed the carbon filter and added "API Pimafix antifungal fish remedy"
I also noticed the ammonia was at 0.5ppm so I added a new ammonia absorbing bag. I also have something for potassium.

Any help is appreciated
Thanks

I am trying to post pictures, but I think i won't be able to
http://www.waelsedky.com/mediac/400_0/media_2009/DIR_26/temp/DSC_0133.JPG
http://www.waelsedky.com/mediac/400_0/media_2009/DIR_26/temp/DSC_0136.JPG
http://www.waelsedky.com/mediac/400_0/media_2009/DIR_26/temp/DSC_0137.JPG
 

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First of all there are a bunch of fish in there that will savage your betta and he will not see them as threats so will allow them to do it with no aggression toward them. Tetras, except for Cardinals are known to be nippers towards bettas, and since your tank is so overloaded those fish are going to be aggressive just because of frustration about not having room to live in.

It is surprising that the betta is not being aggressive too as they do not do well in cramped quarters with tank mates.

The betta needs to first of all STOP getting any medication like PIMAFIX, MELAFIX, or BETTAFIX in any tank they are in as it will eventually kill your betta due to destroying its labyrinth organ. It contains a substance that coats the surface of the water and your betta and any other fishes that have this organ need a clean surface to be able to get to the top to get to air or they can drown. A film on the water will eventually destroy their ability for this organ (located in the top of their head) to absorb air from the surface and cause them to suffocate. It may not happen the first or second or even the thirtieth time you use it but it has an effect that builds up and some fish die the first time and some die later but it will kill your fish. They are wonderful drugs for all other fishes but NOT for fish with these needs.

I would remove the betta from that tank and put him in a hospital tank if nothing else but a clean NEW bucket that has not ever been used for cleaning or any other chemicals. Put it in clean dechlorinated water and keep it warm and either put an antibiotic in there like Maracyn or if you cannot get it just get some Stresscoat and use it to dechlorinate your water instead of the regular conditioner. it contains aloe and will help to coat the scrapes and cuts and help your fish to heal. The clean conditions will be the thing that will heal him more than anything. You will need to change half to three quarters of the water in the hospital tank or bucket every day to keep it from building up ammonia or toxins and to keep it clean. it is important that you do not put gravel or anything else but the fish in the water. This will help to keep it clean and do not overfeed the fish so it does not have a build up of uneaten food in the water. Just give him one piece of food and when he has eaten it give him another so all the food it eaten until he has had 5 or 6 pieces twice a day or so until he is better. He will not starve but it will help not to have the food uneaten and fouling the water.

You absolutely need to get that other tank either uncrowded by increasing the size of it or somehow dividing the fish load and you cannot put that betta back in there. the cory will eventually need to be put with others of its own kind or it will not make it, they do not do well with less than 3 in their school. the tetras really need at least 6 to make a school and to settle down. I would not own platies with a betta as when he is feeling better he will confuse them with female bettas and there could be problems with fighting.

You are going to continue to have ammonia problems with this tank no matter what until you get rid of some of those fish as you have enough fish for a 30 gallon tank cramped in that tank and the filter will never be able to handle it. You could run 3 filters and there is just not enough water in that tank to support those fish. I am sorry to say the kindest thing you could do would be to find homes for a lot of them or return them to the fish store where you got them if you cannot get a tank they actually fit into. I cannot find any other answer for you but I do know that if you want that betta to make it he cannot stay in there and once he is healed he cannot go back in there unless the tetras and the algae eater and platies are gone and i am not too sure about the guppies.

Also don't take what you see during the day as what is happening to your fish. Most of the time I find the actual injuries happen at night when the fish are doing things they would not do when the lights are on. I would not even put it past the Algae Eater to being eating the slime coat off some of your fish. I have seen that happen too. Also have you checked out all the decorations in your tank and any plants (plastic?) for sharp edges or little nubs that could tear or rip at a fish's hide or fins? It is surprising what a fish can be injured by. Remember they are very fragile and while they do have scales (at least most do) they can still rip their hides pretty easy on rocks and resin ornaments. Plastic plant leaves are notorious for tearing fish open too the edges are just like razors when they are wet.

If I have sounded harsh here I am sorry but this is a really serious situation and there are really no nice answers to this. There are no easy things for you to do to help your fish. It is going to amount to giving them more room and improving their living conditions and helping them to be healthy and to be what they need to have instead of what you want to have.

Please do let us know what happens as we do want to help.

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice. Even though the tetras are aggressive as you mentioned, it is only one tetra that keeps bugging him, but most of the time they avoid each other. Each of my three tetras have their favourite spot in the tank. They don't move much since the day i bought them. Even when it is feeding time, they wouldn't eat unless the food falls close to them. I dont have plastic plants and the betta sleeps inside a cave which other fish don't go. Anyway, I am 100% sure that the damage is not caused by any attack. For now, I do 50% water change twice a week and I use filtered tap water.

I now isolated him in a separate bowl with filtered water, no gravel or plants. I took it to the pet store and he adviced me to put the antifungal medication. He didn't seem to know about the antibiotic.

I was planning to buy a 38 gallon tank, but I have to prepare a place for it first. I guess now I have to work on that.
 

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The antifungal medication will probably help to keep it from developing a fungus infection but the Stresscoat that I was asking you to use would be like a bandaid on it and cover the scrapes and tissue damage to decrease the chance of infection so the fish could heal itself. the med will not hurt but cannot promise it will help with the healing either since I do not know that there was a fungal infection there to begin with.

The prpblem may not be from an attack but it was from that or damage from something in the tank. It may not have been from an actual fish attack but from aggressive action and aggressive swimming during the night and hitting things in the tank, I do not know as I am not aware of the set up in that tank and I do not know if you used the rule of thumb with your decorations. This is basically the rule that means that if your thumb can be easily put in and out of each and every hole in each and all decorations in your tank it is safe for the betta to be around. If there are any holes that are too small for your thumb then it is not a safe thing to have around your betta. The betta will try to go through that hole and can be seriously injured or even get caught and cannot get out and die of drowning as it will not be able to get to the surface to breathe through its labyrinth organ. Are there any decorations close to the walls of the tank that the betta could have swam behind and scraped himself on? Those are the possibilities.

The reasons that your tetras each have their own spot is that there are not enough of them to make a shoal or school. They need to have at least 6 or even better 8 to make a good showing in your tank. Perhaps when you get your larger tank you can bring the schools of both the tetras and cories up to the recommended levels and truly begin to enjoy these fish in the way that they should be. You will notice a large change in the behavior of them when they have their schools established. It is a marvelous thing and a lot more fun to watch.

As far as listening to pet store employees, do be careful. Some know what they are speaking of and some are simply trying to sell products. At least here we have no reason to tell you anything to sell you something. It is because we have had the same experiences or know of someone who has had them and we are just trying to help. I have seen some real disasters from following advice given in pet stores but it is up to you.

Rose
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Now I isolated him in a large container and I put a tiny drop of the antifungal medication. Although I do have stones that I have sharp edges, I cover them in gravel so they give me the look I want without endangering the fish and he hardly goes that far down. At night time once the light is turned off, he goes into hiding inside the house shaped cave. It is very smooth from the inside. All my plants are real and everything is placed about half an inch to an inch from the glass.

For the store employee, I've tried a few at different stores and ended up going to one in particular because all the advice he's given me so far has been true. Many times he convinced me of not buying things that I didn't need. I know what you're saying, I've seen others who would sell me things that I didn't need, etc. When I got my tetras (they were the first in the tank), it seems they were sick. I didn't realize that until a week later when i noticed that one of them had a problem with its eye. Now it lost it completely. They kept getting sick after and the medication didn't work. Surprisingly after I stopped putting the medication, they all seem fine now.
 

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Well the fish is definitely injured but more than that the swelling behind its gills is indicating that it is overfed and beginning to develop swimbladder problems. I would cut the amount of food you are feeding him for sure and make sure that he is kept in warm water conditions so that he is not going to develop problems with his swim bladder or constipation problems which in a betta is not a joke at all.

What foods are he eating? Does he get pea treats at all? If not you could try to give them to him at least one time a week and hopefully the digestive system problems he is starting to show will clear up. You can feed him a bit of defrosted frozen peas by taking one frozen pea and putting it in the microwave for about 20 seconds with no water. You are not trying to cook it just defrost it. Then peel the outer skin off it and chop the pea into small pieces about half the size of the fish's eye and put the piece on the tip of your finger and slip it into the water so that he sees it and he should go after it like a pellet of food if he is hungry. Try holding a meal and not feeding him before you try this the first time so he will be hungry and he will nab the pea chunk easily. He can have 2 or 3 of the pea chunks at a time when you do this. This works as a type of laxative for the bettas and keeps their system in good working order. Then give him no more than the amount of food that would fit in his eye for a meal. His stomach is the same size as his eye and when you feed him more it is too much.

I still think that clean water and clean conditions will probably heal those areas that are raw on the fish. They do not look that wide open and nature will heal them if they are kept clean and slime coat protected. To add Stress Coat to the water would be helpful to allow the fish's natural defense to infection take over. It is like a bandage over the cut areas.

Rose
 
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