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Fish Stories

Ikaika [R.I.P.]

By: Giovanni

One of the most tragic betta stories I have to tell. This is really what kicked me into high gear to provide simply the best for my bettas and all my fish. Ikaika (ee-Kye-kah) was a betta I had to baby-sit for my neighbors. Out of all the mistreated bettas I've seen, none of them were as bad as this poor little girl. I was asked to pet sit for my neighbors as they were going on vacation for a week. I was given a key to the house, and given the information on what to do and how to do it. The next day (the post-departure day), I went over to check on the animals. I went upstairs to see the betta. When I thought "betta" in that household, I thought maybe minor fin rot, cloudy water, you know, the mild stuff. Until I saw her. She was in water that looked like it had NEVER been changed. She was in an unheated, unlighted, unfiltered 1 gallon container that was by far repulsive. I want you to take note what diseases and disfunctions she actually had, and I'll list them:

  • 1. Finrot nearly down to the body
  • 2.Mild case of ich
  • 3. Ammonia poisoning from EXCEEDINGLY unfavorable water conditions
  • 4. Enflamed gills that were damaged so badly by the poor water, she relied on her air breathing talent to live, like a dolphin would.
  • 5. Internal parasites
  • 6. External parasites (not just ich)
  • 7. Bloat from being fed goldfish food instead of betta food
  • 8. Ammonia BURN on the body
  • 9. Shedding scales
  • 10. Pale colors
  • 11. Scoliosis
  • 12. Swim bladder disfunctions, so she could barely swim upright
  • 13. Mild paralysis of the body
This had to have been the worst experience I've ever had when it comes to fish. I fed the other animals and watered the plants, and then sprinted home for transfer supplies. With me, I brought my betta formula, a stress reliever and a mixture that adds nutrients, some garlic juice to boost her failing immune system, a cup to transfer her in, and a net to capture her. I removed the lid of the betta's tank when the aroma of rotten eggs (I'M DEAD SERIOUS) slithered up my nose and filled my nasal cavity with an sickening scent WAY to much for me to bear. I gagged. I caught her and brought her home in my cup filled with stinky water. The owners had never told me a name, so I named her Ikaika which means "strength", and that is exactly what she was going to need during this time. I took her in, acclimated her, and put her in my empty 20 gallon tank that housed only a clown plecostomus (seven years old, and NEVER been sick). I medicated her, gave her betta food, clean, warm, lighted waters, added some garlic juice, and supplied her a sufficient home with many hiding places. ONE WEEK LATER... After one week of treatment and TLC, almost everything was normal. I consider myself an experienced aquarist, having 9 years experience, but never had I done such a... miracle, so to speak.
  • 1. Fins regenerated
  • 2. Ich parasites gone
  • 3. Poisoning had subsided dramtically
  • 4. Gills healed, but damge remained
  • 5. Internal parasites gone
  • 6. External parasites gone
  • 7. Slimmed down after much defecation
  • 8. Burns on the body healed
  • 9. Scales no longer were shed butshe remained bald in some areas
  • 10. Colors Intensified (she was a purple, blue and red veiltail)
  • 11. Scoliosis remained and always will
  • 12. Swim bladder improved
  • 13. Mild paralysis of the body remained mild

Sadly, she was returned to her homewaters (after giving the tank a good scrubdown of course) Soon after... Despite great efforts to heal the worst, Ikaika passed away a few months later. I'm setting up a tank in memory of her, and it will be the home Ikaika longed for, for such a long period of time. "The female betta that I had cared for and nursed back to health has passed away. She was an awesome betta and really made a big change when brought into cleaner waters, even if it was only a week long. She had many diseases and deformities, but diseases were cured and deformities were not a factor when it comes to true ownership. Before passing away she was given the oppurtunity to swim in fresh clean water and get some excersise going, a chance to eat betta food, and experience the flavor of garlic, a chance to feel happy and healthy, a chance to not feel bloated, a chance to experience a caring owner, a chance to see a male betta display before her previously unnatractive appearance, a sign of love, and a chance to thrive in a healthy environment. She was loved by me, and she will be remembered as the one who was given a second chance. Rest in peace, Ikaika. I'll miss you...