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 please help my fish :(

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Sara-Lee
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PostSubject: please help my fish :(   Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:31 pm

I've had my betta for about a month and a half/two months now. My boyfriend and I bought him being sold as a "baby". The last two months we've been watching him grow and develop into a very playful, colorful fish. He lived by himself for a few weeks until he was old enough to be put in a bigger tank. He now [normally] resides in a 29 gallon community tank and gets along perfectly with everyone (as long as they stay out of his corner when he's eating).

About a week ago, (the 9th I believe) we went to a specialty fish store. They said they had live food, so we figured we would get it as a treat for our fish. Not a single one of our fish has had live food before that day. We only feed them Hikari foods. However they do occasionally get frozen food, never anything live. All this store had was black worms. We weren't sure about it so we asked the worker there (who apparently turned out to be the manager/owner). We told him what kind of fish we had and asked if they could eat them/would be ok with them. He ensured us that all of our fish would be fine and have no problems eating black worms. We went home and gave them to our fish. They all seemed to love the live food and went crazy for them.

The next morning our male betta seemed to be bloated, but other than that he seemed fine. We assumed it was swim bladder/constipation. We didn't want him to eat but we also didn't want to take him out of the tank so we separated him with a breeding box. At first he seemed to be doing better in there. He wasn't fed all that day or the next day and the bloating was starting to go down significantly. On the third day we attempted to feed him a pea. He didn't seem to take any interest in this. He picked at it a little, but the majority remained uneaten. Later that afternoon we let him out into the tank. He didn't seem to be interested in anything. He seemed better, didn't look bloated anymore, but almost seemed depressed. He normally hangs out in the plants at the surface of the water and swims around happily. Instead he was laying on the bottom of the tank looking miserable. He would come up to eat a little bit, but would then spit out most of his food. He acted like this for a couple days.

When our betta first started showing symptoms we had started looking up black worms with bettas and it turned out, it's not recommended they eat them due the complications they can cause. So we threw away the rest of the black worms. Unfortunately at this point all of our tanks had been fed the worms already.

On Thursday night he was still hanging out on the bottom of the tank. I had been trying to feed him daphnia because if he was still having problems with constipation I knew it would help a little if he would eat. Unfortunately he still wasn't too interested in his food. He was still laying on the bottom of the tank, only now he was hiding in the plants. Around 11:00 pm Thursday night he went from laying on the bottom of the tank to acting in a manner that I can only describe as having a seizure. He bolted across the tank faster than I've ever seen him move, then jumped a good 3 inches out of the water, darted to the center of the tank and swam in a tight circle "chasing his tail", and finally darted back to the bottom corner of the tank and into the plant. We could literally HEAR him bouncing off the sides of the glass as he was doing this. It only lasted about a minute, and when he was done he seemed to be "gasping". We didn't know what to do so we put him in a quarantine tank.

He's been in the quarantine tank since. We have been treating him for parasites since last night, although we're not 100% sure that's the problem it seemed most likely.

I haven't seem him have any "episodes" like the one before we moved him, but I also can't watch the tank 24/7 and if I hadn't happened to be up late Thursday night I never even would have seen him that time. However just a couple hours ago he started acting strangely again. He's been darting in circles and flailing, listing aimlessly, folding himself in half. He's clearly not in control of what he is doing, he's been slamming into the sides of the tank and even got stuck in the roots of his plant once. At one point he spun in spirals from the top of the water to the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll stop and sit in the bottom corner but it almost looks like he's twitching. Also, when he stops it doesn't seem to be for more than just a few minutes.

Everyone keeps telling me "darting is normal behavior in bettas". But this doesn't seem like normal darting. Something is clearly wrong.


Around feeding time we also noticed in our 14 gallon tank that one of our tiger barbs has separated himself from the group. He didn't seem to be hanging out with the rest, and when we fed them he didn't go anywhere near the food. We even tried dropping the food right to him, but he just ignored it. Shortly after he hid in a corner in one of the plants. He doesn't seem to have anything physically wrong with him other than he is just acting strangely. He's been sitting there for an hour and a half now and we're not sure what's wrong. If what my betta has is a parasite then maybe it is possible the tiger barb has the same parasite.


The episodes my betta has been experiencing almost look as if he has whirling disease. But I am told this is not possible in a betta.

If anyone knows what my betta might possibly have or how I should treat him please let me know. We don't know what else to do and we really don't want to lose him.

Also, is it possible that what is going on with the tiger barb is connected to what my betta has? We're pretty sure the black worms are what made the betta sick, but we don't know what exactly it is or what to do about it.

Thank you to anyone that can help in any way.
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Sara-Lee
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:53 am

So the tiger barb from last night wasn't removed from the tank. We kind of watched him and he stayed in the plant for a little while but when the lights went out he joined the rest of the group again and this morning was eating. So I'm not sure if something was/is wrong with him anymore or if I should take him out of the tank.

However this morning while doing the water changes on the tanks I noticed one of the blue ram cichlids kind of going on it's side. I'm not sure if it's sick or if it didn't like the situation it was in. It almost looked like it got trapped in a corner and was trying to ram it's way past the other fish. As soon as it was out of that corner it seemed to be swimming normally again, but with everything that's going on right now every little movement any of the fish makes has me on edge. There was also an albino cory that seemed like it was spinning now too. I watched him do what looked like a "torpedo spin" in place two or three time and then swim to the back of the tank. The new water wasn't added yet so it wasn't temp or forgetting water conditioner or anything like that. I don't know if this is related to what's going on with my betta but I'm really freaked right now.

I have someone getting me methylene blue right now, it was recommended I try that with the betta. But now I don't know if maybe there's other fish that are also ill and maybe not showing symptoms. I don't want to treat my whole tank because I know it will kill all the good bacteria and going through a cycle is probably just as bad for them as being sick.
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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:13 am

Sara-Lee wrote:
About a week ago, (the 9th I believe) we went to a specialty fish store. They said they had live food, so we figured we would get it as a treat for our fish. Not a single one of our fish has had live food before that day. We only feed them Hikari foods. However they do occasionally get frozen food, never anything live. All this store had was black worms. We weren't sure about it so we asked the worker there (who apparently turned out to be the manager/owner). We told him what kind of fish we had and asked if they could eat them/would be ok with them. He ensured us that all of our fish would be fine and have no problems eating black worms. We went home and gave them to our fish. They all seemed to love the live food and went crazy for them.

The next morning our male betta seemed to be bloated, but other than that he seemed fine. We assumed it was swim bladder/constipation. We didn't want him to eat but we also didn't want to take him out of the tank so we separated him with a breeding box. At first he seemed to be doing better in there. He wasn't fed all that day or the next day and the bloating was starting to go down significantly. On the third day we attempted to feed him a pea. He didn't seem to take any interest in this. He picked at it a little, but the majority remained uneaten. Later that afternoon we let him out into the tank. He didn't seem to be interested in anything. He seemed better, didn't look bloated anymore, but almost seemed depressed. He normally hangs out in the plants at the surface of the water and swims around happily. Instead he was laying on the bottom of the tank looking miserable. He would come up to eat a little bit, but would then spit out most of his food. He acted like this for a couple days.

When our betta first started showing symptoms we had started looking up black worms with bettas and it turned out, it's not recommended they eat them due the complications they can cause. So we threw away the rest of the black worms. Unfortunately at this point all of our tanks had been fed the worms already.

On Thursday night he was still hanging out on the bottom of the tank. I had been trying to feed him daphnia because if he was still having problems with constipation I knew it would help a little if he would eat. Unfortunately he still wasn't too interested in his food. He was still laying on the bottom of the tank, only now he was hiding in the plants. Around 11:00 pm Thursday night he went from laying on the bottom of the tank to acting in a manner that I can only describe as having a seizure. He bolted across the tank faster than I've ever seen him move, then jumped a good 3 inches out of the water, darted to the center of the tank and swam in a tight circle "chasing his tail", and finally darted back to the bottom corner of the tank and into the plant. We could literally HEAR him bouncing off the sides of the glass as he was doing this. It only lasted about a minute, and when he was done he seemed to be "gasping". We didn't know what to do so we put him in a quarantine tank.

He's been in the quarantine tank since. We have been treating him for parasites since last night, although we're not 100% sure that's the problem it seemed most likely.

I haven't seem him have any "episodes" like the one before we moved him, but I also can't watch the tank 24/7 and if I hadn't happened to be up late Thursday night I never even would have seen him that time. However just a couple hours ago he started acting strangely again. He's been darting in circles and flailing, listing aimlessly, folding himself in half. He's clearly not in control of what he is doing, he's been slamming into the sides of the tank and even got stuck in the roots of his plant once. At one point he spun in spirals from the top of the water to the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll stop and sit in the bottom corner but it almost looks like he's twitching. Also, when he stops it doesn't seem to be for more than just a few minutes.

Everyone keeps telling me "darting is normal behavior in bettas". But this doesn't seem like normal darting. Something is clearly wrong.


Around feeding time we also noticed in our 14 gallon tank that one of our tiger barbs has separated himself from the group. He didn't seem to be hanging out with the rest, and when we fed them he didn't go anywhere near the food. We even tried dropping the food right to him, but he just ignored it. Shortly after he hid in a corner in one of the plants. He doesn't seem to have anything physically wrong with him other than he is just acting strangely. He's been sitting there for an hour and a half now and we're not sure what's wrong. If what my betta has is a parasite then maybe it is possible the tiger barb has the same parasite.


The episodes my betta has been experiencing almost look as if he has whirling disease. But I am told this is not possible in a betta.

If anyone knows what my betta might possibly have or how I should treat him please let me know. We don't know what else to do and we really don't want to lose him.

Also, is it possible that what is going on with the tiger barb is connected to what my betta has? We're pretty sure the black worms are what made the betta sick, but we don't know what exactly it is or what to do about it.

Thank you to anyone that can help in any way.

Hey and welcome to the forum. Shame it has come through a difficult time.

One point I will make straight away is as you have mentioned Whirling Disease and have been told it is not possible in Bettas that you are sadly mistaken. It is entirely possible for a Betta to succumb to WD and having read through your post thoroughly (a few times to make sure) I am pretty sold on the fact that your fish have indeed got WD.

WD affects the nerves and causes involuntary twitching and flailing. The parasite responsible for WD can live for nearly 20 years in water before eventually dying if it is not picked up by another fish which is impossible to prevent in an aquarium.

I would suggest radical action be taken.
It is not the norm to completely disinfect your tanks but that is what I would suggest.

Remove all the fish from their respective tanks and ensure the ones suffering from the WD are kept separate. You obviously need to ensure that they have sufficient living space during the cleanup

You will need to keep a small amount of the water to gradually allow the fish to acclimatise to their new surroundings but make sure they are all out of their main tank.

THIS IS GONNA BE LABOUR INTENSIVE!

Ensure your tank(s) is/are completely empty and scrub every inch of them until they are squeaky clean.

You will then need to cycle your tank(s) briefly with the old filter but keep doing big water changes as the parasites will be in the filter too.

HERE IS THE BAD NEWS!

The fish who already have the WD will have to be euthanised as the parasite can survive in their tissues for ten years.

This (as much as I hate to say it) will include your Betta. However it is the most humane thing to do.

Rob

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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:16 am

It also seems that when you fed your fish the blackworms you inadvertently introduced the parasites to your tank.

Sorry to say it but WD doesnt come on all of a sudden.

Save the rest and do whats best for the sufferers!

WD is incurable.

Crying or Very sad
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Sara-Lee
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:04 am

When it first started happening and I started researching I was almost POSITIVE that it was whirling disease. I started to doubt myself when I started posting my question online and everyone pretty much told me I was crazy and repeately quoted "it has only been documented in the salmonid family", which I had obviously read while researching but had also read cases of it in all sorts of aquarium fish. I found it a little funny that all of those people must also have been "crazy". But I figured, hey these guys have been doing it longer than me so maybe I should listen to them.

Is there ANY possibility that it is any other sort of disease or parasite? If not then I have no choice but to do what needs to be done. I hate to have to lose anyone, but I'd hate to make them suffer/spread the disease more.

I have nothing cycled to put my fish in other than the tanks they are in now that are probably infected. What do you suggest I can do with them, and can I make the cycling process quicker/easier on them in any way when refilling/reintroducing them to the tanks again? It would be terrible to save them from a disease just to kill them in a cycle.

Also, what can I clean the tank with? I know bleach is bad but I'm not sure if vinegar would kill the bacteria.
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:20 am

Also, is there anything I should look for in the fish that aren't showing any signs? Early signs that may occur before the convulsion-like episodes? They've all been exposed to it and I don't want to go through all this and realize in a week I may have missed someone who is infected.
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:52 am

Hey,

if none of the others are showing signs then you can get round it by removing and euthanising the infected fish. Then make sure you do DAILY water changes of at least 30% (considering you have nowhere else to put the others).

And just keep going with that. As I mentioned WD is incurable and highly contagious and I suggest trying to 'nip it in the bud' as soon as possible.

It may seem a harsh thing to have to do but it is the only way (in my experience) to save the rest. xx
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:26 pm

We ended up euthanizing him today. It was quick and he didn't suffer. It was really depressing on my part though Sad

Thank you for your help and advice.
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Diana
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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:54 am

Sorry about your fish Sad

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PostSubject: Re: please help my fish :(   Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:30 am

Thank you. It was for the best though, he was suffering.
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