Betta Diseases: Environmental 3 (the most common cause)
Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives,
Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish
Improved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,
Environmental 4, Environmental 5, &
Disease 1, Betta Disease 2,
Betta Disease 3,
Betta Disease 4,
Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6,
Betta Disease 7,
Betta Disease 8,
Betta Disease 9,
Betta Disease 10,
Betta Disease 11,
Betta Disease 12,
Betta Disease 13,
Betta Disease 14,
Betta Disease 15,
Betta Disease 16,
Betta Disease 17,
Betta Disease 18 ,Betta Disease 19,
Betta Disease 20,
Betta Disease 21 Betta Health
22, Betta Health 23,
Betta Health 24, Betta Disease
Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) ,
& Bettas in
Betta Compatibility FAQs,
eBook on Amazon
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Betta Issue Not Listed; actually....
Nice informative site!
Bought 2 Halfmoon Double Tail Bettas 8 months ago; a rare (for
Houston) royal blue for my place, and peacock-teal for elderly mom and
Both are in 2.5 gal Betta Bow tanks which maintain 80 to 82 degrees.
Had to treat both w/BettaFix twice because of fin rot, most likely due
to initially using straight Ozarka Spring water the first few months.
After talking to local shops, starting using tap water w/Betta Bowl Plus
which has worked great! Fins & tails back in few weeks and no
issues until recently
w/mom’s getting clear color streaks in his fins/tail. They
do water/filter changes about every 3 to 4 weeks w/a half tank change
every 2 weeks.
<Mmm, better by far to do this changing out half every week;
best via gravel vacuuming the bottom w/ a small diameter tool for
aquarium purpose (need help searching?). NOT change out all ever... Your
issue/the Betta's problem here is almost assuredly principally
environmental... too much metabolite accumulation and too much
change/vacillation when it's changed>
When streaks were first apparent we tested for Ammonia, which was
negative, did water change anyway, ran two full treatments of BettaFix
w/o filter, then changed water, w/little results. Dorsal is
striped with clear streaks w/anal fin almost completely clear! (See
attached) In spite of the look “Nemo” seems hearty and eats like a
Both are fed daily about 3 small floatable pellets advertised for color
and balanced nutrition. Mine gets small amounts of chopped dried
bloodworms twice a week.
<Mmm, dried are better... than other formats>
I plan to show the nurse a safe amount of bloodworms for more balanced
diet for theirs.
Sorry for length, did not want to leave anything out so hopefully
someone can correctly diagnose the streaks and potential cause(s).
<Very common issue... do just use the search tool on WWM (on every page)
w/ the string "Betta Streaked Fins"... septicemia induced via env.
Should we start a salt treatment and can it be used in conjunction w/a
recommended medication for this condition?
<Mmm, no; no treatment necessary or advised. Just improvement in water
quality; akin to your first stmt. Bob Fenner>
Urgent Betta Problem 8/8/13
My brother has a beautiful reddish Betta fish that he keeps
alone in a relatively large, circular bowl.
<For how long has he been in there? How is it kept warm? How is it
She is active, eats well, and is presumably very healthy. I just went to
clean out the bowl, and at on top of the rocks at the bottom there is a
skin-tone bubbly-looking mass. It looks to be about 3 cm wide and 1 cm
tall. It consists of three solid tone circles that look as if they
melted together in the center, and two transparent tone bubbles of the
same peach color on either side of the solid toned mass. There
appears to be nothing inside of it. I want to know what it is before I
clean it away, because I fear it could be a sign off some sort of
<Unlikely; I would remove quickly though. No idea what it is. If it's
soft and gooey, it's likely uneaten food or decaying organic matter of
some sort, or something like that...>
I've also included a picture of the mass (it is circled in red) and I
can tell that it is definitely not a rock. Please respond as soon as you
Thank you in advance, Abigail
<Abigail, do have your brother review Betta requirements; this chap
looks underweight (a bit) and his fins look ragged from this angle, so
I'd be cautious about his future. Start here:
This fish needs, at minimum, a 4-5 gallon aquarium, a heater, and a
Sadly animals cannot survive on love alone, and do have a few
non-negotiable requirements. Cheers, Neale.>
Strange Coloration on Betta's Tail
I just set up my tank last week, so it had to go through a fish in
<Too new to stock>
However, I used Stability by Seachem for the seven days that it requires
to help the process along and gain all of the necessary bacteria. Also,
I use Prime when I do my water changes. during this process I've done
almost daily water changes, usually 25-35%. I did one 75% when I
switched from gravel to sand. In my tank I have live plants as well as
plastic. In my tank there are 4 Albino Cory Catfish, 1 MM Platy, and 1
male Betta. I am writing this message because The tip of my Betta's tail
has a waxy look to it. At first I was worried it might be the beginning
stages of Fin Melt.
He has one tear in his tail fin from snagging on an ornament about 5
days ago, however I haven't seen any signs of white lining his fins
except in one spot on a front fin that is just some fin growing back in.
He is eating normally and doesn't show typical signs of stress like
clamp fin. However, the reason I even notices his tail's waxy look and
slightly darker coloration is due to his sudden change in behavior. He
has gotten to where he almost constantly swims back and forth along the
back wall of glass along the length of the aquarium, which is 10 gal.
<Likely reacting to its (internal, you can't see it) reflection>
He has no signs of nipping and none of the other fish bother him. I
thought my filter may be too strong but the current is fairly light. I
also thought that maybe it was the light that was bothering him since I
has a fluorescent bulb. I only have one bulb in so that one side of the
tank is slightly darker. I have floating plants and places for him to
I don't understand why he is pacing or why the tip of his tail fin has
that waxy look to it.
<Not to worry re this last... happens; will repair itself>
Since I noticed the change, I did a 30% water change and started treating
with aquarium salt,
<... the Corydoras don't "like" added salts; stop>
no other medicines have been applied because I don't want to treat for
the wrong thing.
Since the salt was added there was slight improvement, but the pacing is
still almost constant.
<Try taping a piece of paper over one side (outside) the tank... the
side receiving the most ambient light is best>
Temp is usually a constant 79 or 80, it only changes slightly when I do my
water changes since room temp is cooler than my tank temp. I always
treat my water and let it sit before adding to the water. My PH is in
the 7s and my GH and KH are both 6. Please help me figure out what is
wrong with my Betta before it progresses, especially if it does turn out
to be Fin Melt.
<Patience and the paper, tape here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange Coloration on Betta's Tail
Thank you for replying so quickly! I did what you said and added the
He is still pacing, but I'm not ruling it out yet since I know these
things take time.
I won't add any more salt since I don't want to make my little cories
uncomfortable. For now, I'll just keep the aquarium lights off and leave
the paper up and wait for any improvement. I will keep you posted if I
see any improvements or turns for the worse.
<Real good. And I would be testing for possible ammonia, nitrite and
(hopefully accumulating) nitrate>
Betta with mysterious illness... too typical western
Hello, I have a beautiful black crown tail Betta that I had
found at a local Wal-Mart. I have had him for a few months now
and he was being housed in a 5 gallon aquarium with a internal tetra
whisper (rated 5-10) and a 2-5 gallon heater. When I had got him I
noticed that he had a few white "pimples" around his head.
<Likely "caused" by poor water quality... self-curing>
The largest one (about the size of a pin head) being behind his right
gill above his fin and the rest being around his mouth. He acted
normal<ly> and was eat fine despite the odd little white spots.
I began treating with Jungle All in One and aquarium salt
<... treatments not necessary... More harm than good. Only good care
because I have never seen this and could find anything specific on the
internet. Well that did nothing and the pimples are still there so I
figured that it may just be a harmless spot. After awhile I was
inspecting him and discovered a bunch of tiny white round bugs hanging
out on the glass of the tank.
I jump on the internet and find out that it could either be diatoms or it
could be fish lice but I don't have a microscope to determine.
So I started treating with Kordon's Rid Ick.
<... no; NO! Toxic>
After three days of treatment I noticed that he had started to wedge
himself in behind his filter and appeared to have a hard
time swimming and seemed to be unable to swim downward. Knowing that
this is a possibly swim bladder issue
<... stop, please. There is no such thing>
I turned his filter off
<Don't do this... likely the real issue is and was just poor water
No sense doing anything but refer you to WWM. Read re Betta
Systems, Health. No more drugs for you, it; these have poisoned this
fish. Bob Fenner>>
so that he maybe able to swim more comfortably with his issue until the
medication ran its course. Well, the next day I went to feed him and
noticed that now instead of not being able to swim down he couldn't swim
up to get his food. After some more research I made the decision to move
him into a smaller tank with about and inch of water to make it easier
for him to eat and breath.
Thinking it was swim bladder I have been giving him treatment after
treatment of different antibiotics with no improvement. I have also
discovered that the base of his right pectoral fin appears to be swollen
and also has little white pimples and he is now starting to gape his
right gill. He lays on the bottom of the tank on his side with his head
towards the surface to take breaths of air. He'll occasionally ventures
a swim but it he wobbles and the stops and assumes the same position.
The miracle is that he is still eating well and with that there is hope.
However, everything I have researched doesn't match all of his symptoms
and the treatments have not helped. So far I have tried
ethromycin, neomycin, nitrofurazone and of course aquarium salt.
Please help he is fighting so hard and I can't come up with
anything to make him feel better.
Floating Betta 2/10/13
Mr. Fish is approximately 5 years old. He has been active & inquisitive.
Lately, he has been floating on his side at the top of his bowl. He does
not dash for his food nor does he greet you when you approach
<Bowls aren't healthy… do you really mean a bowl? Not an aquarium?>
The only thing else is that there are cloudy bb sized globules in the
<Something has got in the tank and made a mess… likely endogenous (fish
waste, overfeeding, dead snails…) but could possibly be external… do a
series of water changes, 25-50% now… the same amount 6 hours later…
maybe again tomorrow if things haven't settled. Do also give the filter
a good clean, though of course taking care to keep the biological media
Some on artificial plants, some on rocks & some on bottom. They are
definite not bubblenests. They are sticky to the touch & dissolve to
nothing when smushed. I cleaned tank & rocks thoroughly. He seemed
a bit better, but is back to floating, lethargy & the bb sized
globules are back. Don't know if he is making them or some kind of
contaminate is. Any clues or advice? Thank you!
<Nothing in your message explains what might be wrong. Will remind you
the basics for Betta care: 5+ gallons aquarium, a mature biological
filter, a heater. Do 20% water changes weekly. Feed in moderation,
removing uneaten food within a couple minutes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Floating Beta 02/13/13
Thank you. Am just stumped by the bb sized globules. He's been in the
same 2 1/2 gal aquarium all his life. Has been frisky & comes to greet
you at feeding time until those globules showed up. Tank & filter Plants
& rocks were thoroughly cleaned with a weak solution of bleach water &
aired for 3 days. <<... cycled?>> Water added & aired for 3 more days
with an ick solution added. Have you ever seen those globules before?
<In bowls, almost anything can happen, especially if
water isn't being moved around through a filter. Globules could be
bacterial, could be algal, could be clumps of silt and mucous… it's
really hard to say. They're unlikely to be of benefit though! If
anything can accumulate at the bottom of the tank and form a distinct
shape, that's a good clue there isn't enough circulation. Since you've
kept this animal in the same container for several years, I dare say you
have the basics covered, but 2.5 gallons is a trivial amount of water,
and honestly not ideal for Bettas. It's like keeping a dog cooped up in
the garage all its life; yes, it might live, but hardly healthily.
Forget the hokum about Bettas being happy in jars and living in
water-filled hoof prints in the wild! They are naturally inhabitants of
ponds, ditches and paddy fields, and enjoy space as much as the next
fish. Their over-bred fins mean they can't swim in strong water currents
and they compete poorly with more agile fish, but that aside, they
deserve as good as any other fish. Providing an aquarium 5 gallons or
larger would be a huge benefit, even at this stage in the animal's life,
and if you moved across the water, heater and filter, you'd not need to
worry about the cycling process or exposing it to changes in
environmental parameters (temperature, water chemistry). Plus, you
wouldn't need to deep clean the rocks and things every five minutes
because a bigger tank would be cleaner, healthier. Done deal! Cheers,
Re: re: Floating Beta 2/14/13
Hey thanks for the forthright advice! Appreciate the honesty.
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Very Sick Betta :( just env. as usual
I just purchased a little female Betta from a wonderful PetSmart nearby.
After two days I realized that something is up with her, she has a
strange patch on one side and a film on her eye (same side). While the
other side near her face she has white film all over.
<Mmm, rough handling, poor circumstances likely the root cause here>
I've scoured all over and I don't think it is water mold or fungus, I
know for certain it is not Ick.
She swam around her new temp bowl
<... has to be, the same as male Splendens Bettas, in a tropical/steady
heated, and filtered setting... Read here:
and the linked files above>
vigorously the first day I put her in, now she just sits at the top of
the water in her plant making those little sickly bubbles, and she did
not eat her pellet this morning (she's still too small for much else).
<... the environment>
I am not really sure how to describe these patches, they aren't really
fuzzy but more of a film that has collected in specific areas. The one
side of her face is almost totally white now (she is a solid black
Betta). There is no heater in any of my tanks (Betta or otherwise) due
to the temperature my apartment stays at, (a heater would just cook
them, I actually have to have fans going to keep the room cool and at a
nice temp around 77, 78 for them). I have aquarium salt and Epsom salt,
left over from my dropsy epidemic (SIP Houdini and Dreamweaver), though
I am not sure if I should use this or not and I doubt Bettafix would do
anything, what other medications would you suggest? I will try to feed
her brine shrimp later this afternoon to see if she will eat at all.
<No sense treating this fish... it just needs to have its world fixed.
After scouring your FAQs this was the closest thing I could find to
Sick Betta, not tickled Elmo... 10/16/05
Re: Very Sick Betta :( 1/8/12
Ok, I figured I would regret coming to this site for help. I would very
much like for you to pass this case on to someone else who doesn't have
a stick up their you know what.
I'm trying to help this poor fish that I've had for maybe 4 days max
that I got at a PetSmart that handles all its fish with care and
even names every Betta and fish that they sell. (This store is
actually a Veterinary Clinic that converted to a PetSmart, hence why
their animals are treated with such care) There is nothing wrong with
her environment, I've raised Bettas for most of my life and never lost
one to poor environment or disease, and very much know what I'm doing.
The only thing I've lost them to was a couple freak cases of dropsy and
old age (6+years). The reason I have come to your site for help, is
because this is a condition I have never seen or come across before in
my time of owning Bettas/fish. If need be, I will take my case to*
www.bettafish.com *(throwing that
site out there for other Betta parents in distress), since they actually
help identify and treat Betta illnesses.
I don't appreciate the fact you refuse to help me treat my fish, "No
sense treating this fish"
<There is no sense in adding chemicals, medicines... Read where you've
been referred. The root trouble here is environmental>
she is a living breathing creature and needs help. I could say a lot more
about the statement you gave me, but I will not be inappropriate, since
that will solve nothing.
As to her environment, there is nothing wrong with it, and she was going
to move to a sorority tank after I knew that spot was nothing (which my
suspicions were right, it was very much something). I'm glad I kept her
<I as well; but your rudeness is inappropriate. IF you're seeking free
help of a more complimentary nature to yours, go elsewhere. BobF>
Potential Swim Bladder Problems – 12/13/12
My Betta fish, Kaos, is a little over a year and a half old. Yesterday
he was having a difficulty sinking. Today he can't manage to stay
afloat. I've done a lot of reading and it just seems like I can only
find information about one or the other condition - nothing that deals
<Mmm, could be that this lack of spatial control is due to two different
causes... the one from food not digesting (and gasifying) and the other
due to too long exposure to cold water (damage)>
It gets cold in our apartment
<...? Bettas are tropical animals. NEED heated environments; won't live
w/o a heater...>
and we read that the cold water slows down the digestive process which
could leave food blocking the gases that flow in and out of his swim
So we thought the initial floating problem was due that. We were
considering an infection, but he's still trying to be active and still
wants to eat (we give him about 1-3 pebbles/day, usually on the lower
end depending on how active he seems). We put a floating "bed" in his
tank to help him rest on and not have to come up so far for air, but do
you have any other suggestions that could remedy the problem? Thanks.
<.... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Betta has white strings on some fins and won't eat
Hi. I've had a Betta about 8 months. He lives in a 10 gallon tank by
himself with a filter.
<And a heater I hope/trust. This is a tropical fish, needs high constant
We vacuum it about every 1-2 weeks, and add new water. For about the
past 2 weeks, he's barely eaten. He mostly stays in his vase or on the
floor. When he does come up, it's short and mostly to get air oxygen.
Also, he doesn't flare his fins. I think he has fin clamp. I haven't
noticed anything bulging or spots. What can I do?
<Mmm, please read here:
for a quick review on needed habitat. Bob Fenner>
Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone
very wrong Emergency: 11/26/12
Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong
<Sarah; have read over your copious notes and don't see primary
information: Is/are the system/s for your Bettas heated, Not the room
itself) filtered? Are they cycled? Do you have test results for nitrogen
cycling (NH3, NO2, NO3?)... Have you read here:
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
26/11/12 Monday TODAY = What a stressful few days it has been in my
I have no idea what happened, everything was going so well with my
little adopted fish – even my known tail biter seemed okay and then
everything took a turn for the worst.
If you do not have time to read through all the observation notes posted
directly below that I have been
keeping regarding the last week that my fish have been unwell – then
please just skip down to the part in this email starting with the
section headed **EMERGENCY TIME!!! 23/11/12 ONWARDS.
Observation note Saturday 10/11/12:
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other
has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med Betta
floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the new toys – he was calm, seemed
happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations
but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding
any of the pieces.
Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming
straight through the floating Betta log, inside, outside, all around –
took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood
on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan
inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in
circles like I've never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat
watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back
inside the floating Betta log – it looked like once he was inside he
then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins
floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started
thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his
fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he
was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating Betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as
the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back
fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know
for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is
pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen
this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that
his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his
tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger.
I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest
in his tail until I gave him the floating Betta log – which once inside
that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out
through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and
playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same
behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set
him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction
caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and
all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are
touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he
can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark
time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested
that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and
that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back
properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a
towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him
a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is
I have Attisons Betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to
find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum
Observation note Sunday 11/11/12
Added one more silk plant to his bowl today. (3 in total now plus
He appears so much more confident and brave when it comes to the silk
plants today. I have been watching him try different and new routes of
getting around and between the plants – have seen him seem to be resting
on/squished between the bunched leaves of the pennywort.
Have not yet seen with my own eyes him spin in tail attack circles any
time the leaves have touched his fins.
Observation note Saturday 17th Nov 2012
Second fish was delivered to my apartment.
Previous owner purchased this little guy in October 2011 from Malaysia.
He is a half moon very dark midnight blue Betta with red pectoral fins
and some red lines through his tail – in most light and photos he looks
completely black though.
His fins are very long and look heavy for him – owner told me he needs
resting points near the water height because he finds it hard to swim up
to the top of the tank from the bottom because his fins are so heavy for
him. Looks like he does not really swim fast or very much at all – just
floats around slowly.
Doesn’t really explore or adventure around his tank like the tail biting
little guy does.
Observation note Sunday 18th Nov 2012
My door bell rang this morning and it was a parcel delivery: along with
the treasures inside were the higher/taller silk plants I had ordered
and they are great - very wide and very soft silk leaves, they are
almost as high as the water level which is what I was hoping for. I've
been watching the heavy finned new guy closely today to make sure that
he is feeling alright after his move; He has happily eaten his food
every meal time without hesitation. He has calmed down heaps as far as
flaring at the tail biter is concerned (I did move the bowls slightly
further apart). He seems to be a very laid back little guy - just floats
around slowly unless he is actually showing off/flaring. He does seem to
like to rest right on the bottom of his tank.
My tail biter on the other hand - is as active as ever. He is
very happy with his new tall and wide silk leaf hiding and resting
points and he has even taken straight away to the taller 'upside down
glass' resting ledge that I gave them both today.
<Need open access to the surface to respire ("breath")>
Observation note Tuesday 20th Nov 2012
Water change for both fish - First ever water change with new heavy
Added both the SeaChem prime and SeaChem stress to his new water like I
have been doing for Tail biter.
Took out all the floating lily pads because they were making it hard to
feed them/observe them properly.
Attison Betta pellet food delivery arrived this morning along with the
Indian almond leaves from the Betta Congress International association.
Attison Pellets are really tiny and instructions say feed up to 7
pellets in a feeding session twice a day. Both fish ate them no problem,
no spitting them out. Tail biter much more active/alert than heavy fin
guy when it comes to finding food.
Heavy finned guy will not eat anything that is not floating on the water
– he will not chase slowly sinking blood worms for example, and he
misses or doesn’t see or isn’t interested in the pellets unless they are
put right in front of him – even then he seems to wait for them to float
towards him instead of him swimming toward them to eat them.
Observation note Wednesday 21st Nov 2012.
My husband left me a note before leaving for work saying that both fish
seemed very aggressive/agitated this morning. He said they were flaring
around but he didn’t know if it was at each other or simply at their own
reflections in the bowl. Tail biter specifically was swimming up and
down repeatedly from top to bottom of tank and hubby said it seemed he
was using the side of the bowl to try and catch his tail to bite it.
I've watched them all morning, and for the first few hours I was awake I
did not see any signs of this but I’m pretty sure I have since seen my
tail biter doing what hubby saw.
I have now cut two squares of Indian almond leaves I received yesterday
and added them to his tank after washing them, also giving a piece to
the heavy fin fish tank – am doing this in another attempt to try and
make the tail biter happier and more calm to kill off this tail biting
habit. I have also taken out the upside down tall glass that was in his
tank to give him more swimming space – now he just has the two tall silk
plants. Funnily enough, I was reading about a tail biter this morning
who only bites his tail when the plants in his tank are too densely
planted – Arghh – some say he needs more plants/hiding spots/playing
areas and some say he needs less. Am pretty convinced now that tail
biter would benefit from a much larger tank.
Heavy finned guy does seem a little more active today – I am thinking
that could be due to the fact that this is his first day since I added
the SeaChem stress to his water, or the new food or…I don’t really know
1pm onwards – Tail biter is seriously agitated today, in an attempt to
calm him down further I have placed a black tea towel around the back
side of his bowl.
The towel is now blocking the direct light coming in through the window,
making his bowl seem a lot darker and completely blocking any view he
might have had of the other fish.
While I've been watching him I have noticed a spot on his bottom fin
that looks dark but photographs the same as his greenish body colour,
but he also has some black smudges on this bottom fin just under where
it connects with his body – I don’t know if these marks have always been
there – will check the previous photos – will also do a search online to
see if this could be why he is irritated/itchy etc.
Observation note 22/11/12 Thursday – everyone is happy today, both fish
calm and acting normally AND we have two big bubble nests that each of
them has been busy making under their new Indian almond leaf pieces –
Observation note 23/11/12 Friday: Heavy fin fish seems like he doesn’t
want his food today, no idea why, First noticed today because he went to
eat his breakfast but then spat it out multiple times - – then he just
stopped trying to eat it anytime I tried again with pellets. Tried
different pellet, same thing – he doesn’t want them. Both fish are
getting an early 100% water change just to be safe. Seachem prime and
SeaChem stress in new water as per usual. Both fish get given a new
piece of the same Indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it
on their tanks.
Observation note 24/11/12 Saturday: Heavy fin fish still refusing food
and now he is laying on the bottom of his tank. Tail biter looks happy.
Heavy fin fish that is not eating anymore and looks sick/lethargic also
now has a clamped and ragged top fin – I honestly don’t know if this is
how his fin looked when he arrived at my place, I didn’t inspect him
close enough because he came as the ‘healthy’ fish with zero problems
and I was so focused on the tail biter. He got worse and worse and I was
really worried and had done hours more research – which has been non
stop since I took them in. The only thing I had on hand was aquarium
salt. Late this evening I made up a little half gallon bowl with SeaChem
prime, SeaChem stress and half a teaspoon of dissolved aquarium salt.
Moved the heavy fin fish into this solution and watched him. No change
really. I left him there for a little while – the treatment I was going
to follow said to leave him there for 24 hours, then give all new water
and salt everyday for 7 days. But I had hesitations after he was in
there for a while because I really didn’t feel confident in the science
behind what I was doing to him so I took him out the salt after a little
while and into his usual bowl. He sank to the bottom on the tank and
laid there – I was certain he would be dead by the morning.
Observation note 25/11/12 Sunday:
Sunday morning – heavy finned fish is alive and looking better than
ever! What a relief! He is hungry and wanting food. Tail biter looks
good too. Both fish get given a new piece of the same Indian almond leaf
that was washed before putting it on their tanks. Heavy fin fish has
come back to life today and very keen to get back to his regular food
routine. Heavy fin fish still has a noticely ragged top tail. Tail biter
as happy as ever.
Observation note Sunday evening = I came home, went straight to the fish
tanks for dinner feeding – heavy fin fish is happy and eating well but I
cant see the tail biter, look for him and see he is lying flat on the
bottom on his tank!!! Tap the tank,
<Don't do this. Harmful>
no response, move the bowl around, no response…completely lifeless
except for a little movement of his gills – emergency time - I grabbed a
little bowl, put SeaChem prime and stress into it and tried to move this
little guy into – which was difficult because he was lifeless and I was
so scared of hurting him trying to carefully put him in a cup for
transfer. In the little new bowl he laid there, poor little thing! I
realised even in the half gallon hospital bowl he could not get up all
the way for air, so I took out half of the water and helped him up every
couple of minutes by slightly tilting the bowl. When I put a pellet by
his head as a test he eagerly grabs at it – no hesitation. Immediately I
took the almond leaves out of both the normal tanks.
Both tanks had been given a piece of the same leaf this morning – that
was washed before putting in their tanks everyday – nothing else had
changed – and a day later I had another almost dead fish. At this point
the heavy fin fish who was still looking fine and eating well was given
yet another 100% water change just to be safe, with SeaChem prime and
stress and I did not give him another of the almond leaves.
Observation note 26/11/12 Monday: (today)
Monday morning = heavy fin fish still looks good and tail biter is still
alive, just, laying on his side at the bottom of the little bowl I had
him in for the night. Still wanting to eat though – struggling to get
the top of the water for air so I'm still helping him by tilting the
bowl slightly to lift him up. Now this morning my little tail biter
seems to have some water cotton fluff around the edges of his bottom
fin, and flowing off from the fin slightly…
So at 10:30am I put all new water into a half gallon hospital tank,
Added, SeaChem prime, SeaChem stress, and SeaChem ParaGuard to the water
and moved tail biter into it. He seemed to immediately pick up a little.
An hour later he is now able to actually not just lay flat on his side
and can hang properly just below the water line for a few minutes before
laying back on the bottom.
After more hours of research I decide that the SeaChem ParaGuard could
help the heavy finned guy with this mystery fin rot he seemed to get at
the same time as he looked on the verge of the death the other day. So I
put a bit of this into his tank as well.
I am completely baffled – nothing science based is explaining the last
week of events for me.
I have been super careful since taking these two in.
Keeping their routine as similar as possible to what they were use to in
their previous home to reduce shock and stress.
The introduction of Seachem Stress to their water was initially to help
the little tail biter regrow his fin – no adverse reaction from either
fish for this addition to their water with every water change.
Both fish always get 100% water change twice a week, hasn’t been a
Both fish happily took to the introduction of the Attison Betta Pellets
– which I imported because reading and advice told me they were superior
to the Hikari Gold baby pellets these guys has always lived on.
The absolute and only factor which seems to have caused an adverse
reaction – at different times for each fish – is the placement of a new
piece of Indian almond leaf.
But both fish show completely different symptoms at each point there has
been a sudden emergency.
Heavy fin guy – went off his food, top tail ragged and withdrawn, ended
up lifeless after a couple of days of this off behaviors.
Tail biter – never off his food, never looked lethargic, just suddenly
laying on the bottom of his tank lifeless, the next day I can see the
white cotton around the edge of his bottom tail and he is also still
lifeless on the bottom of his tank.
Am I going crazy?
Is there any chance these leaves could have introduced a problem in the
To be honest, before my little tail biter was found on the bottom of his
tank, I was certain that my heavy fin guy had taken a turn for the worse
because he was stressed from the recent move to me, thus his immune
system was compromised, resulting in one of the bacteria that is always
present in the water being able to adversely affect him and take a hold.
But now that the tail biter fish suddenly got hit I am stumped – and am
now convinced the almond leaves are the common link.
I can not find any information regarding negative side affects of the
introduction of the leaves.
And I never would have gone to the trouble of importing them and
including them in my boys tanks if I thought they could in any way react
badly with them In fact – both fish seem to loved them – they both built
big nests underneath the leaves almost instantly – but then a day later
they were almost dead :(
I am confused and stressed – and I know that someone here will be able
to help me out.
As you can see, I have gone with the SeaChem ParaGuard as a first point
of medicated treatment.
Unfortunately I live somewhere that very little is known about animal
care and also the stores here almost stock nothing that I know is
recommended as far as medication options. I do not want to
medicate incorrectly - or over medicate.
As well as the aquarium salt, SeaChem stress guard, SeaChem prime,
SeaChem ParaGuard – I also have here with me right now but have not
opened = Myxazin (by Waterlife – formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite green
0.085% w/w, Acriflavine hydrochloride 0.055% w/w)
and also Jungle Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish food (Metronidazole 1.0%,
Praziquantel 0.5%, Levamisole 0.4%)
Heavy fin fish looks fine now back in his original 3 gallon with fresh
water plus prime, stress and ParaGuard – his fins are still ragged but
his behaviour and appetite are good.
Little tail biter is still now sitting in his half gallon recovery bowl
with prime, stress and ParaGuard. Please, what should I be doing
If you can offer me any support, treatment suggestions etc for my little
sick tail biter today – I would really appreciate it.
If however you require background information about how these little
guys came into my life, their environment and history - please see below
the older forum posts looking for help and my personal observation
journal notes that I have pasted below, they begin from the first date
that the little known tail biter came into my home...
Notes to self: *This Betta came into my home on Friday 2nd of Nov 2012.
I took him in because his owner was leaving the country and was not able
to find a new loving home for him. All her other Betta fish had found
new homes but this little guy wasn't chosen by anyone. She loved her
fish very much and was a great owner - none of her other fish ever
attacked their own tail.
* He had been living with his previous owner since January 2012.
* She had purchased him as a beautiful half moon Betta with zero tail
damage, in Asia and brought him back to this country packed inside her
*After he moved into her home, he has routinely chomped off over half
his natural tail length. Owner reports that his tail does try to
grow back, but once it does he always eats it back down to his
Observation note Fri 2.11.12 owner brought him over to my house so this
is the first day
with me. Bowl, products, food, bowl decorations all exactly the same as
always had. We set up his bowl together and I learned all I could from
about her ‘routine’ with him. Previous
owner says he looks very calm here, doesn’t seem stressed by move –
– enthusiastic to greet us at waters surface when we move near his tank.
4.11.12 Extracts from some of my Betta forum posts looking for help:
Really need to refresh my Betta knowledge as soon as possible - thanks
for your help
I have very recently adopted a Betta who is a known tail biter.
I have not had any fish for quite a few years now - and the only ones
I've ever owned were Betta's. None of my Betta's ever ate their own
tails though. So I have been obsessively searching the info to update my
care knowledge and also read up on this self inflicted tail damage
Hoping some of the very knowledgeable people here will be able to keep
me on the right track with this little guy. I have learnt from other
posters the importance of keeping photo logs to track progress so am
doing this also.
He was originally purchased by his previous owner as a beautiful
half-moon but his owner tells me that he quickly became a consistent
tail biter and in the 10 months since she bought him he has routinely
eaten more than half the length of his tail off. She tells me it does
start to grow back but despite her best efforts he just always chomps it
back down again (she had concluded that perhaps it is just too heavy for
him and he likes it shorter).
I am keen to troubleshoot this problem behaviour and help this little
guy to be happy and healthy if I can, hopefully breaking the tail biting
habit and grow back his fins to their gorgeous natural size. But I am
definitely not a Betta/fish expert. I have owned numerous Betta's in the
past and none of them ever bit their own tail.
I am using the Seachem Prime Water Conditioner (as was his previous
owner) and I was wondering if I could also start using the Seachem
Stress Coat as part of his everyday water content and if that would help
the growing process for his tail? Also looking for clarity about whether
this product is used WITH the prime water conditioner, or instead of, or
only ever meant to be used in a treatment/hospital tank to encourage
repair of visible wounds instead of as an always included product after
His previous owner assures me that although he has been a tail biter
since his day one with her - that he has never suffered fin rot as a
I have been shown the photos of how he looked when he was younger and
she had just purchased him and at that time he had zero tail damage –
his tail was full and beautiful so I know the behaviour started once he
made the move.
Since I agreed to adopt him - I have been researching like crazy about
ways people find work with their tail biters to break the habit and
repair the tail.
Poor little guy. :(
What I know of his history:
He was purchased in Asia and then transported in a suitcase.
Since then he has been living in a glass bowl that is about 3 gallons
(for about 9 months now).
At least once if not twice a week 100% water changes.
Owner’s feeding routine was giving him 4 Hikari baby pellets a day for
food (usually given at four spaced out / different times of the day, so
one pellet each feeding time) – on one day of the week though he was
getting frozen blood worms.
He has had the 3 gallon bowl all to himself but I believe his glass tank
was sitting next to another glass Betta bowl in his previous home.
I have taken him in and purchased the bowl he has been living in from
his previous owner.
I am just about to place an order for completely new decorations such as
plants / floating log / mirror etc to just experiment and gradually swap
out one by one all of the decorations he currently has and has always
had in his bowl and see if perhaps one of the objects in his environment
has been the tail biting trigger.
I've also read that sometimes just moving the position of the tank or
the lighting in the room etc can be enough to break the cycle (depending
on why the fish is doing it) and so will wait a week before changing
decorations to see if he is happier just from being in his new location
inside my home.
Very keen to help this little guy repair his beautiful tail because the
photos of him are truly stunning before he ate his fins back to kind of
delta size but also because this behaviour doesn’t seem to be an
indication of a happy, stable, content little fish.
From all my research, and in trying to pin point the WHY he is doing it
- he does not fit the criteria of a 'highly aggressive' or
'skittish/neurotic' fish...so I'm leaning toward he may have always been
too bored, too hungry or it is a hereditary bad habit. He seems like a
happy guy, doesn’t act sluggish, or scared and is always eager to come
straight up to the surface to greet me for food. Spends most of the day
just calmly swimming all around this bowl.
I have read about the possible solution of getting him some companion
fish to see if that keeps him more occupied and less interested in his
tail but as he has never ever had tank mates before I would like to try
all the more subtle changes first. If it gets to this point; How many
companion fish would you say is a happy and safe mix in a 3 gallon tank
with just one Betta? (and which companion fish would be most
So any other advice you can offer regarding successfully repairing his
fins – but most importantly stopping the biting would be appreciated.
I am also interested to hear from Betta owners who swear by or swear off
the Moss balls (both the Marimo live Balls and the Fluval imitations –
and the pro’s and con’s of live v’s artificial in an uncycled tank).
Lastly, is anyone able to tell me if you have ever heard or seen any
info regarding whether dried blood worms are known to cause constipation
/ digestive problems with Betta's. As compared with using the frozen
blood worm cubes?
His previous owner loved him very very very very much and I’m sure she
took very good care of him and all her other Betta's (he was the only
tail biter she had) – She had tried many things to break his bad habit
and is knowledgeable about Betta's but I still have my fingers crossed
he may be able to be helped.
He has been with me a few days now and I have not actually caught him in
the tail biting act – but I am preparing myself because I have been
shown pictures by his previous owner of him with part of his tail still
hanging out of his mouth!!! :eek:
Thank you very much for any help you can offer and also for sharing your
Reply to forum questions 4.11.12- Previous owner described his behaviour
to me as 'being his own barber' because he always eats his tail back
whenever it starts to grow back to healthy/normal size for a half moon.
I have not really read anything concrete on the subject though - as you
say everyone seems to be experimenting with different solutions for
every different little fish.
I am certainly not an expert and at this point I still feel this habit
is so sad and he must not be happy - because I have not read anything
that supports that it is 'natural or normal' for these guys to 'trim'
their own tails to their desired lengths.
Have you seen anything supporting this behaviour as completely healthy
in some of the Betta's who just don't want a huge tail?
-His previous owner told me she kept her house at a constant 24 degrees
So before I took him in I turned my climate control unit setting to 24
degrees Celsius also, so as to reduce the stress induced by all the
changes/moving house for him. I've been trying to keep everything as
consistent as possible for him since taking him on so I could avoid a
sudden shock death and also monitor his usual behaviuour.
He has been with me two nights now and despite his previous owner never
doing so and feeling if the room temp stayed consistent so will his
water - I have inserted a digital thermometer into his tank so I can
monitor what I assume will happen even with the climate control set,
thus being unavoidable changes throughout the day just based on night
v's day time etc and sunlight/warmth/heat through the rooms windows at
different levels throughout the day.
I realised today his water was still reporting too cool for him though -
so I have pushed my room climate control aircon up to 26 degrees. Am
hoping once the room warms up this will have a positive effect on his
water temp rising.
-He has been in a 3 gallon tank.
I've kept him in the exact same tank at my place.
He has a little house down the bottom that I am told he has always had
and he likes to pop in and out of there, especially likes to sleep in
There is a little penny wort plant on top of the house.
And there is a fake floating lily that I have been told he likes to make
bubble nests under.
I can see that at present there is not enough hiding, playing or resting
space scattered inside the main space of the tank though as the shape of
the tank means the base is quite small and fits only the sleeping house
and the penny wort that sits on top of the house is too small to provide
'near surface' resting spots or for him to play/hide between foliage
So I have today placed an online order for a few new things to switch
around and experiment with which will hopefully arrive in about two
Exercise floating mirror
Mini floating Betta log with feeding hole
Different types of floating lily options
Variety of different types and sizes of silk plants to try out
Seachem stress guard
And I am going to keep an eye out for a different little sleeping house
to sit on the bottom where his current one is that he really likes, just
in case something about the shape or colour of the current one is
upsetting to him.
Observation note Tuesday 6.11.12 My lounge room now reporting at
26 degrees. This is the first day of blood worm feeding
with me – seems like he absolutely loves them. Grabs them at the surface
and even swims down to get them as they start to sink. Then later this
night was his first water change with me. Used the Seachem Prime from
his old owner, and did not put his green elephant house back into
his bowl because the space inside it is really small and I have read
about tail biters who do it when they are inside their ‘cave’ or ‘house’
and removing that object can stop the tail biting trigger. I am
going to buy him another house but one that has a much bigger space
inside so perhaps his fins feel less squashed or irritated when he tries
to sleep inside it. After I changed the water I put him back into his
bowl and he seems very happy and calm.
Observation note Wednesday 7.11.12 Today I added some Seachem Stress
Coat to his bowl (because my order for it arrived today).
He didn’t really react at all after I added it BUT later in the evening
when I went over to talk to him he flared at me – which his owner says
he never does and which I had never seen him do to us.
So I watched him for a while from a distance. He actually seemed
agitated. He was swimming all around, up and down, but his swimming
seemed a bit frantic, not his usual cruising calmly swimming around. I
was quite worried but did not know if perhaps this was him ‘at his
best’, or not feeling hungry, or maybe with warmer water than he was use
to so just acting ‘natural’….not sure if it was a good thing or bad
thing….worried he was reacting negatively to the Seachem Stress I had
added to his water earlier because I know that product has never
been used with him in the past. Later on he did seem to settled
down a little and go to rest/sleep on the bottom of his bowl like he
usually does when the lights are turned off.
Observation note & forum post Thurs 8.11.12 He came up for his breakfast
pellet, did not flare when he saw me and ate the pellet normally.
He seems calm again today. His water is reporting colder this
morning though as the sun is not coming through the window properly yet
and the room is reporting at 25 degrees. Seems to be hanging out just
kind of staying near the surface of the water. I am staying home
today so will keep a close eye on him, The good news is – Since he
here on Friday – I have not seem any damage to his tail, nor have I
caught him attacking or even being interested in his tail.
But that could change because his owner said he only eats it once it
starts to grow back past the length ‘he likes’…and at the moment, the
tail is short and I can not actually see any ‘new growth’ or transparent
ends that look like it is growing back, so, fingers crossed IF it tries
to grow he will just leave it alone now.
Delivery information for his new decorations that I ordered online looks
like they will arrive on Monday which is great. Bad news is I can not
locally source either of the food pellets that were recommended (Omega
One Betta Pellets & New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets) – and Amazon
suppliers will not ship either of them to my location. Planning to
have a look for a different source online that I can order and have them
1) Does anyone know a reliable/trusted supplier online who will ship me
the food products mentioned in the notes at a reasonable price and who
accepts pay pal?
2) Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use an artificial ‘Fluval
Moss Ball’ (the fake version of the live Marimo Balls) inside a 3 gallon
tank? I am asking because the product specs on the Fluval Ball say it
treats tanks from 10-20 gallons, so am wondering if it would be ‘too
strong’ in however it is supposed to work or harmful at all to put it
inside a 3 gallon tank. (Just looking at it for entertainment purposes
really – but if it does help with the water then that is a bonus).
3) Can anyone suggest the most likely reason for the sudden change
of ‘frantic/aggressive’ personality I saw on the night of
Wednesday 7.11.12 – Could it have had something to do with the Seachem
Stress liquid I added to his bowl – and from your experience, can you
tell me if it does actually sound like it was a negative or positive
Thank you very much for your time and help.
From a very tired and worried Onbu.
Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong
Thank you so very much for responding.
Yes I have read that article, and I am aware that the ideal environment
for a happy healthy Betta is a large tank, with a gentle filter system
and a very consistent tank temperature maintained by an easily regulated
These little guys have never had that in the past
<... the real issue here: Poor, highly variable environment>
with their previous owner and they have only been with me a few weeks -
the previous owner reported that neither of them have ever been sick in
their time with her (not including the ongoing behaviour problem with
the known tail biter).
So since moving into my place, their setup has been kept the
same as it always has been:
- 3 gallon vase,
<... won't work>
-100% water changes twice a week
-water dip stick tests I had done were reporting safe Ph/No3/No2/GH
- I had my house climate control set to 24 degrees Celsius before the
week before the first fish moved in because when i inquired this is what
the previous owner told me her house was set at. Soon after he arrived
and I was checking on the thermometer I decided to insert and I realised
that with my room at 24 degrees his water was not 24 and was way too
cold for him, I then pushed my room setting up to 27 degrees Celsius and
since then it seems their water stays roughly around 3 degrees under
whatever the room setting is. Today though I pushed the room pre-set
temp up to 31.5, and it was hot in here, but now it is night time I see
even though the room is set to try and maintain temp 31.5 it is only
reporting an actual temp of 26.5 right this minute.
I was really trying to keep things as consistent as possible for them
straight after the move to me to reduce the stress, except for the one
by one decor changes etc I have been trying with one of the fish to stop
his tail biting habit, also the change of food brand and inclusion of
SeaChem stress to both of their water.....And of course the recent
introduction of the Indian almond leaves which was suppose to be a big
positive but is the only 'what's just changed' variable I can identify
for both fish.
Each fish got so sick so suddenly each time over the last handful of
days that I did not retest with the dipstick the water that I quickly
pulled them out of, I realise now I should have - but unfortunately when
the heavy finned guy first was acting off we were assuming it was just
the stress from the move because the tail biter appeared to be doing so
very well here.
The heavy finned guy now looks and is acting completely fine - back in
his 3 gallon bowl. His top fin is ragged but not clamped anymore and his
appetite is better than ever. To be honest I do not know if his top fin
actually just looked ragged like that when he arrived here or not, I
didn't take serious enough notice because he wasn't acting sick and he
came from a loving owner who reported perfect health. He is a very dark
blue/black colour in most lights with red markings/stripes all through
his fins which makes looking for 'dark fin edges' or 'red bleeding bits'
near impossible :(
My little tail biter is still now sitting in his little half gallon
recovery bowl. I am reluctant to move him to anything bigger because he
is so weak and I don't want him unable to reach the surface for air.
I can report that this evening using my torch, I can clearly see a blood
spot where the white fluff was coming off from around the edge of his
bottom fin this morning (that is no longer so obviously hanging off).
With the torch his body does look like it has the metallic/gold shimmer
that I've read about but i really don't know if that is actually just
his natural colouring (he is a mustard).
He is still interested in food.
Due to the fact that he is more alive tonight than he was this morning I
am wondering if the SeaChem ParaGuard could already be having a good
effect on this fungus (this is fungus right?) and if he would further
benefit from a stronger solution one hour dip bath tonight?
Or, if either of the other medications I mentioned in my first
email would be better suited?
<None will work here... the real issue is...>
Very confused though because the heavy finned guy had no signs of white
fluff etc, and he picked up so quick the day after I had him in the
subtle salt solution a little while the night before when I had no other
treatments on hand.
I'm sorry if this is way too much information, and for any typing errors
I've missed that the iPad doesn't help with.
Thank you for your time and any help you can offer.
<Re-read... and provide suitable habitat. This is all that will
Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong
Okay thank you Bob, I understand - but as I am not going to be able to
completely give them a whole new setup this evening do you have any
advice for how I can best help this little guy get through the night?
<Mmm, stop feeding period, don't disturb this system at all...>
Is there anything at all that I could do to help him out of this very
rough spot and feel better?
<Not really, no. Most any ameliorative action could be more stressful,
stress-inducing than it's worth>
Or anything that i definitely shouldn't do to or for him right now?
Update: Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone
very wrong 11/27/12
<There is no sense writing us Sarah... the issue has been clearly
stated. The "world" these Bettas are in won't work. Pouring medicine/s
in will not solve the basic problem here of improper environment.
Read till you understand this and act. Bob Fenner>
I'm updating this email chain and asking for your expert help again
because now that this fish can get off the bottom of his tank and float
under the water surface I've noticed his body is kind of curved
around...He has never looked like this before.
Now he seems to be calmly swimming/floating slowly in circles and his
body looks pretty straight/normal, but when he tries to actually swim in
a direction with intention he can not swim exactly where he wants to go
because of this curved in the body that then becomes very pronounced
(I've just watched him trying to get one little pellet).
Does this new symptom ring any bells with anyone regarding a specific
Summary: The fish I am most worried about at the moment - has visible
white fluff coming off his bottom fin and I can see red blood spots
around the edges, the fin edge has holes in it. with the torch he
does look metallic/gold dust covered but I couldn't tell you if that is
just part of his mustard colour. He is a Betta, I found at the
bottom of his tank lifeless two days ago. I moved him into a small
recovery tank with SeaChem prime + stress, he was barely able to reach
the surface for air. The next day I added SeaChem ParaGuard to his bowl.
Today he can now float just under the surface water for a few minutes,
still a little lopsided and weak and then just rests laying on his side
on the bottom of the tank. Still has appetite. He has improved slightly
since being put in the small recovery bowl with fresh water every twelve
hours a doses of SeaChem ParaGuard - but I need to know if I can do
anything else for him or if the ParaGuard is even the right thing to
really help him???? The other fish is not acting sick today, in fact his
activity levels and appetite are better than ever - but his top fin is
still ragged looking.
Thank you very much for your time.
Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency: Pls help
if you can, something has gone very wrong... Still not reading,
This morning I have found a supplier I can get these from in about 3
Can you please advise me whether either of these IQ models are actually
ideal for a Betta or just a gimmick tank that would not suit a Betta due
to the specs or the size/pump/filter/light etc
<They are not suitable... There's no heater for one... Why are
you not reading where you've been referred to, reasoning this out for
This morning I have found a supplier I can get these from in about 3
days after ordering:
Are either of these IQ models actually ideal for a Betta or just a
gimmick tank that would not suit a Betta due to the specs or the
I have the same question for the BiOrb tank models please
(although I can not get them locally so they would have to be brought in
from overseas suppliers which would take longer).
<Not suitable either. Search, read on WWM w the name...>
IF the IQ models are a good choice, would it be possible for you to
please tell me whether the IQ3 water volume and filter etc is
recommended or suitable for just one Betta or is the IQ5 being a little
larger the only way to go.
I would also great if you are aware of the information regarding which
accessories and filter products etc are required for this setup but do
not come inside the box with the tank purchase so I can try to order
these all at the same time.
I have spent hours glued to my laptop and reading information which
routinely contradicts or disagrees with the last advice I've read - not
to mention the multiple different aquatic advice forums I have turned to
for genuine emergency help regarding treatment options; only on most
occasions to be informed that these little fish will never be healthy
because they are not in a heated, filtered, much larger cycled tank
environment. I am not a fish expert, which is why I was immediately
looking for help when they showed negative signs and I am now completely
aware from my reading that Betta's will thrive in those perfectly
regulated and consistant tank conditions but these two little guys have
never lived in an environment like that (always a 3 gallon vase) and
their previous owner reported zero past health problems and they've only
been in my home for the last few weeks.
I feel absolutely terrible, and devastatingly guilty that these little
guys are unwell - and whether they were already unwell when i took them
in doesn't change how upset i feel looking at them and watching them
every minute of the day worrying because they are very obviously
I now know I should not have taken them in - i did it with the kindest
intentions and thinking I was doing a really good thing because the
person who owned them was leaving the country and could not find any
loving homes who wanted to adopt them - I knew they were stress
sensitive little creatures and so I went above and beyond to find out
everything I could from their previous owner before they arrived at my
place with regards to their history, environment and her care routines
with them...I knew then that I could commit to her 100% water change
twice a week schedule and I was sure that from reading and learning I
might be able to tweak their water conditions and food brands etc to
help them be even happier (especially the poor little guy who I found
out later from the owner that he was an ongoing tail biter - I have
invested tons of time trying to learn about the why's behind this
behaviour and the different methods suggested for breaking the habit).
Anyhow, it is what it is now so I will try to rectify this series of my
I do appreciate your time and advice.
<Please re-read WWM re Betta Systems... B>
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency
Thank you for your reply.
When I spoke to the IQ3/5 distributor here I did confirm that I can also
source the lid and heater for these tanks.
An owner who has had these models has mentioned that they felt the
current in the smaller IQ3 tank could be too strong for a Betta, but as
the system is the same in both units it seems less strong with the
larger water volume of the IQ5.
I was just wanting to cross check this information with you in the event
that you may have seen or knew about these models in action with happy
<Have not seen these systems, but others like them, and they work fine.
Do keep the water level down a few inches to prevent the Betta jumping
if not employing a complete cover. B>
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta
Thank you so much for your feedback.
<Am happy to try/help you>
I have been reading articles on your webpage with specific regard to
Betta care and 5 gallons (at a minimum) seems to be the consistently
repeated ideal water volume for a system housing a single Betta.
The information I have found on the web seems to be that IQ3 comes in at
about 2 Gallons and IQ5 is 3 gallons (please correct me if these details
I do understand that bigger is better, but would you be able to please let
me know how you feel about these smaller 2 or 3 gallon filtered, heated
setups - given the smaller water volume, is it still not an ideal
environment for a Betta?
<I think you're right re these products volumes, and they're fine for
housing a Betta>
(or is it considered cruel even if the water specs are perfect because
they just don't have enough room to swim/explore etc?).I'm sorry to keep
asking you all these questions. But honestly, if the IQ models are too
small to keep a happy healthy fish in then I will import something a
little larger. In my original email to you I had enquired about the
BiOrb range because I could see on the web they do come in larger sizes
(9 gallons) to the IQ's.
<Search WWM w/ the product name and you'll see my, our opinions re>
The heavy finned little fish seems to be happier, more active, alert and
hungrier than he has ever been. The little tail biter is sadly really
sick - now at the bottom of his little hospital tank, still with visible
fungus coming off and floating in the water etc.
<Re below... one last time (hopefully) the "disease/s" you're
seeing here are due to environmental stress, and WILL NOT be cured w/
medicines. These compounds will further harm the fish. Bob Fenner>
I can see from this article
that you recommend the machelite green treatment (which is in the
SeaChem Paraguard) for the fungal infections....
and then here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqbizsubwebindex/bettabiz.htm
"For Betta's that are really suffering'¦ from chilling, poor water
quality, improper nutrition, there are two "silver bullets" that I
endorse, Aquatronic's BettaMax "¢ and Spectrogram "¢'¦ these are blends
of antibiotics and more'¦ and they work'¦ on fin rot, bacterial
conditions that have not progressed too far."
I can not get BettaMax from anyone here but when I looked up the active
ingredients:"BettaMax Ingredients: 250 mg capsule, Nitrofurazone,
Methylene Blue, PVP, Vitamins, NaCl, Sulfas: Methazine, Diazine and
Diseases: Specific for Bettas, guppies, and all fancy fin fish. Treats
listlessness, poor appetite, splits and holes in fins and tail, poor
colour, poor water quality, vitamin deficiency, bacterial infections,
I see that BettaMax has Methylene blue in it which I'm pretty sure I did
see on the shelf of a petstore where I live. Would you recommend that I
go and grab the bottle of Methylene blue, and then could you advise me
of a safe dose?
I was actually going to place an order for JBL Fungol and JBL Ektol
Cristal this morning because someone recommended using them together and
I can get it here in 3 days - but only if you thought these might help
at all, seeing as the Seachem Paraguard has not lead to a quick recovery
(I am aware the Paraguard is suppose to be a 21 day treatment though).
I have been reading emails from other people to you who have had fish
exhibit very similar symptoms but could not find anyone who ended up
writing back saying "I did this....<fill in the blank>....and then he
got better over night!" :(Thank you for your help.
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta
<Not recommended. B>
I can also get this here, it says it will attack both gram negative and
gram positive bacteria but I don't understand the science behind how it
does it."JBL Furanol-THE prime medication against external and internal
bacterial infections. The effective ingredient, Nifurpirinol, works
faster and more powerfully than classical antibiotics. Is absorbed by
affected organs within a few hours and kills bacteria faster than other
medications. Heals open ulcers, protruding eyes and dropsy in the early
stages.JBL Furanol: is a high-potency preparation which effectively
combats most gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria such as Aeromonas,
Corynebacterium, Columnaris, Streptococci and many others with the
exception of fish tuberculosis. JBL Furanol is well-tolerated and is
easily taken in through the gills. After only a few minutes, effective
therapeutic concentrations can be detected in all organs. Symptoms :
Ulcerous, blood-shot ruptures and crater-like depressions (common in
coldwater fish), wounds, „nibbled“ fins, swellings, loss of areas of
skin or flaking are usually signs of bacterial infection. Distended
stomach (dropsy) with protruding scales, protruding eyes, darkening of
the skin colour, abnormal swimming movements and wasting away are among
the symptoms which may appear in advanced stages of disease."
I know this little fish did not have a good chance to stay healthy in
his inadequate setup, but please: If you can please advise me how best
to treat him now that he is sick I would really appreciate some guidance
on which of the meds I have access to for him could maybe help - and
also at which doses they should be used.
Thank you very much for your time.
Sick Betta, the usual inadequate env.
I got my Betta about two months ago and all has been well. This morning
when I came in to work, I saw he is not doing so well. He is very
listless - just lying at the bottom of his bowl or hiding away in his
<Mmm, is this system heated, filtered? Too likely not>
Every so often, though, he swims around wildly in the bowl.
He seems to have some kind of whitish layer or film over his body -
especially visible on his dark head. It does not seem to be spots - more
like a continuous kind of layer. His fins are also clamped against his
body. The only good thing is that he is still eating at least! I tried
doing some research but it seems like his symptoms fit almost all
ailments and I am not sure whether this is bacterial or fungal.
<Is environmental at root>
Please help! I am in South Africa and we do not have too many good pet
shops around here - the one I bought the fish from did not even tell me
half of the things I am finding out with my research today! Point I'm
trying to make is that it is difficult to find things like kits to test
water quality and also certain medicines so please also tell me what is
the best way to look after the fishy without being able to test the
water. I will do a 50-90% water change daily from now on (at least I use
distilled water as I work in a lab!)
<Don't use distilled... Please read here:
and the linked files above... till you understand the all-too-common
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Betta 11/21/12
Thanks for the reply. The system was a Betta bowl by Tetra (you would
imagine you could trust a manufacturer to know what is appropriate)
<Ahh, my time in the trade spans way past to when U. Baensch sold (1976)
the co. to Warner Lambert, to others in turn, to its present much poorer
state... Am very sure the originator of the company would NOT have made
so no, it is not heated or filtered. I was not aware that it was necessary
and was also not informed by the pet shop from whom I bought the bowl
and the fish.
<All too typical I'm afraid...>
I have since changed the water to tap water with a conditioner in and
have the bowl heated to 27,5 degrees. I am working on getting a heated
and filtered system.
He seems more responsive but now has trouble eating. He grabs his food
(Betta pellets) but then spits it out. This worries me as he was still
eating fine on Monday.
<Not to worry overmuch... the feeding/eating will improve w/ time...
Bettas are actually very tough>
The whitish layer is still present on his skin - might be tiny tiny
I treated for Ich yesterday as the pet shop suggested but it does not
look better today. His fins are still clamped and he still secludes
himself even though he is more responsive. What else could possibly be
the problem - or will it just take time to get back to normal now that
his conditions have improved.
<Just improving the environment, elevating the temperature for a while
(a week or two) should suffice>
How often should i do a water exchange while the bowl is still
<Any time there's any detectable ammonia>
Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!
I have looked all over your website, but I'm still not sure what is
wrong with my Betta, Blue, other than fin rot. My kids and I are very
attached to the little guy.
Blue lives in a 1 gallon hexagonal tank (pet store where I bought him
said this was a good size) that has always had a filter, without any
His current filter is a Hagen Elite mini filter.
<A useful appliance here>
His tank has gravel on the bottom, and I recently got rid of his fake
plants and added real ones when he got sick. I usually do partial water
changes weekly and full water changes monthly.
<I would never change all the water>
I always use bowl buddies when I change his water. I didn't know that I
was supposed to test his water, so I haven't, but I usually let it sit
out for a day or so and use the bowl buddies. His tank is
usually at 80 degrees.
<Usually? Is there a heater?>
We have had Blue for almost a year, and he has always been a beautiful,
happy fish until recently. After a power outage, his bowl got very dirty
and he got sick.
I changed his water and noticed that he had a reddish spot on his body
and also some blue had changed color to a brownish, rusty color.
He also stopped eating. I wasn't sure if he had velvet,
<No... just environmental... where would a protozoan infestation come
but I was pretty sure that he had some fin rot. The attached pictures
show Blue's current condition. If they aren't helpful, I'll try to take
some more that are clearer.
I went to a pet store and they recommended Melafix.
<Worse than worthless. See WWM re>
After 2 days, and Blue looking worse, I went to another pet store that
told me to use Melafix and aquarium salt.
The next day I did a full water change because his water didn't look
good and went to another pet store, which recommended Melafix (go
figure) and Pimafix.
<... both API products are scams... high mark up/profit items... that do
nothing to help>
In addition, I bought some plants to add to his tank. I did another full
water change 2 days later. I also wrapped his tank in a towel because I
read on a Betta blog that it will help some diseases and help maintain
tank temperature, currently 82 degrees.
After a week, he just looked worse, so in desperation, I bought some
Tetracycline and dissolved it in 5.5 1/2 tsp of water so I could figure
out how to dose a gallon fish tank. I did another full water change,
rinsed everything in the tank to get rid of the Melafix, and refilled
the tank with water directly from the tap, a Bowl Buddies tablet, 1/2
tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of the diluted Tetracycline.
<... I hope so... the HCl radical will drop the pH too much too soon>
The next day, more of his tail was gone
and he just looked worse; he has a reddish brownish sore where part of
his tail used to be. He may be gasping a bit. He stays close to the
surface of the tank and frequently takes breathes of air. He doesn't
appear to like the light. He may have eaten a pellet today - I tried
I'm not sure what I should do at this point. Should I stop the
Tetracycline and go buy Maracyn
<A worthy choice to try here. Erythromycin>
(one pet store told me not to use)? Although money is tight, I'll put
him in a bigger tank if you think it will make a difference.
<Would be better. What this fish needs is a stable, optimized
environment... this is gone over and over on WWM>
I did buy some glass pebbles
<Of no functional value>
to cover the gravel with in case he is hurting himself on the gravel,
and I also bought some Aponogeton bulbs to add to his tank. I think one
of his other plants is a Java fern, but I'm not sure what the other one
How can I help Blue?
Thank you so much for your advice.
|Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!
I keep a thermometer in his tank to monitor his water temperature. When it
drops a bit or when the room is cold, I plug in a small bowl heater until
his tank reaches 80 degrees
<Mmm, really not good enough. DO look into a small thermostatic heater...
there are a few companies nowayears that make then for one-two gallon
. It is almost always within 78-82 degrees, unless we have a power outage in
the winter, When that happens, I wrap his tank with a blanket to try to keep
him as warm as possible.
Is the Marineland Eclipse system with a BioWheel a good choice for a 5
Forgive me for asking again, but do I stop using Tetracycline and switch to
Maracyn, Maracyn 2 or Erythromycin?
<Yes I would... change a good 50% of the water out, allow a few days to go
by (w/ carbon added to the filter flow path if possible), then dose w/ one
gallon's worth (a pill splitter is useful here) of the Mardel product (the
Blue is still alive, but more of his tail is gone. He seems to be a bit
more active today, but not an unusual amount. Should I do a 50% water change
when I add the new medicine?
I've never used a water test kit before. Do they tell you how to adjust if
levels are off?
<Not often or really; but this information is readily available on WWM>
We also have 2 African Claw frogs, regular size, in a 10 gallon tank. So
far, they are great, if a bit boring (my son's school was going to flush the
tadpoles, so we took them).
My children, my dog (who is strangely attached to Blue), and I thank you
from the bottom of our hearts!
<All certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help! 8/12/12
Update: I bought a 10 gallon tank for Blue.
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!
The fish tank came with Maracyn and Maracyn T-C, but both are expired. Is it
still safe to use these?
<Yes... antibiotics only lose part of their potency w/ age. B>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help! 8/12/12
The fish tank I bought (used) comes with an undergravel filter set-up and a
Whisper 20 Power Filter. Should I keep these or buy and Aquaclear filter?
<Would be better to have both filters, yes>
Is it o.k. to use these for a while until I can better afford a different
<Ah yes. B>
Thanks for all your help.
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help! 8/15/12
Sorry to bother you again, but I need more advice. Blue is in a 10 gallon
tank with an under gravel filter and a Power Whisper filter with the carbon
taken out and replaced with a bonded filter pad cut to size. I let the tank
cycle and heat to the correct temperature before I put Blue in. Once he was
in the tank, I immediately started Maracyn and Maracyn 2. I have been
testing the water a few times a day because the PH was very high.
I finally got the PH to an acceptable level, but the Nitrate level was a
and the water looked cloudy.
<Yet, it's cycled?>
I did a 25% water change to be on the safe side. Blue seems to really like
the extra space, and his gills don't look as swollen as they had been.
Although he is mainly swimming near the surface of the water, he is not
sucking in air as often as he had been. However, his tail is gone. I hope it
will grown back, and his sores don't look changed. His other fins are
looking more brown than blue.
My question is how often should I do a water change?
<... after the system is thoroughly cycled... once a week. See WWM re>
Is there something I should be added to lower the Nitrate level?
<... please understand, I have no idea what the present level is...>
Is it o.k. to use PH Down
<... nor the pH...>
(I already did, but I want to make sure I should going forward), and does
it matter that our water is soft?
<... it does. See WWM, Neale's articles re>
<This I CAN respond to: Welcome. B>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!... Need... to READ
I think part of the problem is my confusion. I'm getting PH, Nitrite, and
Nitrate confused. PH was reading a dark blue, but is now a 7.0. Nitrate is
fine, Nitrite is showing "caution" on the test strip (.5).
<See WWM re... Toxic>
The Total Alkalinity on the test strip is reading "Moderate" (80).
<Not a worry for this species>
Everything else is reading as it should.
Our water is actually hard, but we use a water softener with salt.
<... See WWM... I'd bypass this exchanger>
I'm not sure, after reading Neale Monks soft water article, if there is
anything I should be doing, since we soften our hard water. I'm also not
sure what I should be doing about the Total Alkalinity reading and the
Nitrite reading, if anything.
Do I need to buy a different test? I have the drops for Ammonia and PH. I'm
testing the rest with the 6 in 1 Test strips.
<Test strips are largely worthless. Neither accurate nor precise.
PLEASE learn to/search before writing us>
I also noticed, tonight, that the plants and ornaments in the tank appear to
have a white fuzz on them.
<Too much food, waste, not enough filtration, circulation, water changes>
Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get a good picture of this. I shook
the fuzz off as best I could and increased the flow on the filter. Is this
algae? Should I use Algae Destroyer
<... no, toxic>
Advanced on it (received from previous tank owner). The water didn't look
cloudy until this evening; it was perfectly clear yesterday and today. The
temperature in the tank has been a consistent 80 degrees. Do I need to wrap
the tank in a towel to darken it? We are not using any extra lighting.
I'm not sure what to do about the "fuzz". Any advice?
Cold Betta splendens? 7/1/12
Hello! This is my baby, Charlie. I've had him for a bit over a year, now
(and the picture was taken five months ago, by the way). Unfortunately,
I'm going to have to admit I had fallen for those malicious lies telling
me that those small, boring tanks advertised as "Betta tanks" are great,
but now I realise they are NOT the way to go. So, this weekend, I went
and got him a five gallon tank, with lots of plants, a floating Betta
log, and a small heater I'll put in for him soon. However, he is still
in his smaller tank, and to my horror when I let a thermometer sit in
there, it was only seventy degrees! And to think he's been acting lively
all this time! He's still in there because it hasn't yet been 24 hours,
but the thing is, I don't know what to do about that. You see, a few
weeks ago, I noticed a small, grey-ish bump (about the size of how big a
dot would be created if I took a pen to the tip of my finger, not big at
all) and it didn't effect him in the slightest. I didn't know if it was
caused by a collision with the lid of his tank, seeing how he gets VERY
eager when it's food time some days.
Yesterday, before I set up the tank, he was doing just as fine as ever,
we do the wiggle dance, you name it, he's great! I've even noticed he
understands the word "behind" now when I say it, because sometimes
in his eagerness he loses where his food pellet is, and it goes behind
his head (other times, causing me to giggle at him, it goes on top of
his head, and he just keeps staring at the surface of the water until I
can get him to come to some senses!) Anyway, since the tank would be
heavy after I got it all filled with water and everything, I decided
just to set it up on the same chest of drawers as Charlie's current tank
is on. After I got done, he acted fine for a bit, pigged out on his
pellets (however, they are NEW pellets, he's had the same ones since I
got him in April of last year, they may be
the cause of what I'm about to explain), but then he began acting weird.
I noticed vertical stripes on his gill plates, but today they're gone.
He's very lethargic, as in he's sleeping a LOT, I have to slowly wake
him up because I'm so worried, and he does the wiggle dance with me for
a bit just as usual, follows my finger a few times, and then darts back
behind his plant at the bottom of the tank, under some of the "leaves"
all of the sudden, which is completely unusual. He seems a bit pale, but
not much, he's still got some red but it's dulled down a bit. Earlier,
he just completely stopped swimming while we were "playing" toward the
top of his water, clamped up his fins (they've been clamped anyway since
I noticed the stripes, but he flares up when he sees me, not out of
aggression either), and just sat there. His eyes still followed me
around, so he wasn't asleep.
He just stopped. When he isn't sleeping, he keeps circling around the
top of the water
and breathing, and it's quick, not like the big, hearty gulps he usually
gets. He was also yawning, and moving his head the way that Bettas do
when they're swallowing (or eating, really I've no idea) their food
after they get some in their mouth (hopefully you know what I mean!),
and the left side of his head brushed gently against the side of his
tank, which he never does. The bump I mentioned earlier is located
off-center of his head, toward the right, and about two millimeters away
from the top of his eye.
Was it the new food?
Should I fast him today and tomorrow?
<A good idea>
Should I go ahead and put him in the new tank, so he will get better, or
should I wait until he's back to normal?
<I would place your Betta, with his existing water in the new tank, and
slowly (a couple degrees F. per day) raise the temp. to the upper 70's,
low 80's F>
Or will that happen unless I put him in the new tank?
Please help, if you can! Thank you in advance for your time, I'm sorry I
basically wrote you a book, but the more details the better in these
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
Rescue Betta... not getting Betta? 6/23/12
Hello! Recently I was in one of the retail pet stores and I happened to
stop in and look at their Bettas (force of habit). I was so heartbroken
by the conditions (some dead, velvet, lots of fin rot... all emaciated.)
<Sad to experience such apathy>
So I took pity on one of the double tails and brought the little guy
Now I'm currently waiting on bigger tank while I treat him for fin rot
in the bowl I used to use. Its a one gallon bowl (small I know,
the bigger one is on the way.), it has a small heater but no filtration.
<Do monitor water quality, keep new/stored water on hand for change
I started treating him with Maracyn Two and aquarium salt this past
Saturday. I waited until Tuesday to do a water change and only did 50%.
He started eating on Monday, which looked like a good sign... and the
tips of his fins were no longer dark black. Since then I've been doing
50% water changes everyday, adding more salt and M2 but today I
noticed he has a white stripe down either side of his body, faded
coloring and almost appears to have velvet on his head. It is possible
he came home with that in early stages (the velvet) but I am unsure.
<The fish would be dead if this was Amyloodinium>
I wanted to include pictures but the stripe really isn't coming out every
time I take one. I'm worried that I might be making this poor
rescue Betta ever sicker than he was at the store. You can also see his
fins are a little rattier but as there is no black edges I'm almost
wondering if he's doing it himself out of stress?! I don't want to start
over medicating the poor guy and it may just be that I need a second
opinion on what's wrong with him. Please help!
<Need to monitor ammonia, nitrite. These were and are probably the root
cause of trouble here. Bob Fenner>
Betta Question; bowl, rdg. 6/17/12
Hello! I've had my Betta fish for 9 months now and he is housed in a one
<Sans filter and thermostatic heater I take it... the too common
situation, and source of trouble>
I'm not sure quite how long he's had this problem but I recently noticed
it's escalation. I'm not sure if he is constipated or has a bacterial
infection or something else. I change the water weekly and treat it with
BettaSafe and feed him TopFin Color Enhancing Betta Bits, about 3-5
pellets a day. I didn't know until recently (about last week) that I
shouldn't be cleaning his habitat and decorations with soap but I've
since then stopped doing that. I don't want my fish to die or be
permanently damaged. How should I proceed?
Thank you in advance for the advice and have a nice day.
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
SOS! CT's stomach swelling... Betta, rdg.
Hello! I will make it easy and start with the background of my crowntail,
Stanley. I bought him almost two weeks ago at Wal-mart with my boyfriend
who also bought a crowntail. I started out with a ½ gallon tank
<... with filtration and heating. Read here:
that I changed him into that night. I treated the water and made sure
the temperature in his jail cell of a cup that he came in and the
temperature in the new ½ gallon tank were the same. I added dark blue
gravel, a Betta leaf hammock, and a small cave for him to hide in.
He lived in that for just over a week and in that amount of time
the tips of some of his fins were curling and it began to worry me.
<... nitrogenous waste accumulation... burn.... Uncycled system>
I never know what to belief when I search for answers online so I
treated him with a small amount of Bettafix
to help improve his fins. Two days later I did a 50% water change using
Aqua Culture Betta Water. He has always been energetic, curious, and
friendly. Ill spare all of the details of his health and just say he
seemed quite happy after I moved him into his slightly bigger home. Two
nights ago I moved him into a new 10 gallon tank with a lid, light,
and soon an air pump with an air
stone. The filter causes a current too strong for him so I pull the tube
out of it a little bit to lessen the flow and only run it for a few
hours a day.
I have been doing a lot of research since the day I got him and frankly,
it has all made me a bit paranoid about him falling ill. The day before
I moved him from the ½ gallon to the 10 gallon I noticed his stomach
seemed a bit swollen. I had been feeding him 3-6 Betta pellets a day,
spread out by am and pm and supplementing with freeze-dried bloodworms
as a treat once every couple of days. I realized that I probably
overfeeding him and gave him only two pellets the next morning and none
until the next afternoon. I thought that he might just be constipated or
bloated from eating too much. Although he has a healthy appetite, plenty
of energy, smooth colorful scales, and for the most part(minus the
slight curling) nice long crowntail fins. His water has stayed between
76 and 80 over the course of time I've had him with a gH of 120-180 ppm,
kH of 180-240, ph of 7.5, and Nitrate/Nitrate very minimal, if not none
at all. When I moved him from the ½ gallon to the 10 gallon, I also
moved him from my boyfriends house (which kept the tank around 76-78 f)
to my house which stays a little warmer (keeping the water from 78-82).
<... needs a thermostatic heater>
He also went from the higher end gH and kH to the lower end I mentioned
in his new 10 gallon tank. His new tank did have an Anacharis but it
seemed to be rotting in some places and I was worried that it might have
infected my fish with something from Petco (where I bought the live
plant) and caused him to bloat. Today it seems like his swollen stomach
has definitely become more obvious. Im really worried he might have a
bacterial infection or a parasite. I removed the plant as soon as I
noticed it was bigger. He also has a large silk plants for hiding in and
swimming through, his leaf hammock ( which he likes to lay on, its very
cute!), his cave, a bigger rock type of decoration for him to hide
behind and swim through, and a lily bulb that I hope will grow. When I
first got home tonight he seemed very lethargic like he didn't feel well
but after a good 15 minutes of me freaking out thinking he's going to
die, I turned on his light to examine his swelling and he began to swim
around normally, although he did start swimming up and down, all around
the tank quite quickly. I thought this was kind of unusual. He's still
doing it a little bit. I grabbed a pea leftover from dinner last night,
ran it under warm water until it was no longer cool from the
refrigerator and cut it up in small bits for him. I've heard this is
good for constipation as they cannot digest the plant matter. We will
see if this has any effect on his swelling, however he didn't eat much
of it at all. He seemed more preoccupied with swimming around the
parameter of the tank. He seems happy though and I finally got him to
flare for me a few minutes ago, which calmed me down a bit. Maybe he's
not feeling as bad as I thought he was. At any rate, his swelling looks
uncomfortable and unhealthy and I want to save him before he gets dropsy
and its too late. I know I've only had him for a short time but I love
him and he's not just a fish he's an intelligent beautiful tropical
fishy friend that actually gets excited to see me! I want him to have a
long happy healthy life. I hope I have given enough detail to help you
with your assessment! Please help me figure out what is wrong with him!
I really look forward to hearing back from you. J
Thank You so much!
<Please read... Betta splendens are easily kept given what little they
require... Bob Fenner>
SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)... Betta hlth.
I forgot to attach pictures!
I hope the links work and I hope the pictures help!
Sorry for the poor quality. It's hard to capture a fish's picture with
<Please can you just send regular pictures attached to your e-mails (and
please keep them no bigger than 500 KB or so, crop them or downsize them
as necessary, e.g., with iPhoto). Your last message seemed to be a bunch
of links. Given the number of e-mails we get, we don't have time to
follow through e-mails to image and video hosting sites. Thank you for
your understanding! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures) 6/6/2012
Okay sorry for the links. I hope I did this right. I had to get on the
desktop because my iPhone wouldn't attach multiple photos to email.
Im not sure if they're the right size. Im sorry if they're not!
<Umm, pls read where you were referred... re Betta system needs... B>
No heaters, filters...
SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)... Still unheated,
uncycled sys.... not reading 6/10/12
I don't mean to be difficult but I tried to find the Bob Fenner book
<Not a book; a web page, here:
Let's cut to the chase. Most Bettas get sick because they're
kept badly. I honestly can't remember your previous
correspondence, so forgive me if we've been over this. Bettas need an
aquarium (not a bowl) 5 gallons or bigger, with a heater and a filter.
That aquarium needs weekly 25% water changes, and all new water needs to
be treated with a good quality conditioner that removes chlorine,
chloramine, ammonia and copper. Next up, they should be fed a variety of
foods, but sparingly. Flake is fine, but occasional offerings of live
brine shrimp help to minimise problems from bloating, and cooked peas
will be taken, especially if the Betta is starved a few days beforehand.
Bloodworms are taken, but do seem to cause problems for many fish, so I
wouldn't recommend them.>
you suggested and I couldn't seem to find it anywhere on wet web or
anywhere else. Also, is this what you mean when you said to read what I
<Bob's point was that if you read that article, looked to see how your
care differs from how Bettas should be kept, the difference will likely
explain the problems. Fix what you're doing wrong, and medicate if
needed, and things should improve. To cover all eventualities, let's
recap. Bloating through constipation typically reveals itself as
abdominal swelling but the fish itself is otherwise alert and active. It
may have trouble keeping its balance, but won't lack energy. The scales
on its body should be lying more or less flush against the body.
Bloating through Dropsy (Oedema) is more serious and means the internal
organs are failing somehow, and fluids are building up inside the body
cavity. Such fish demonstrate obvious stress and lethargy, they aren't
able to swim much, if at all, they react slowly to stimuli, and the
scales on their bodies rise up from the body so when viewed from above
the body looks like a pinecone. Constipation can be treated with Epsom
salt and heat, plus high fibre foods (ideally peas); see the "Floaty,
Bloaty Goldfish" article for more. Dropsy-type infections are rarely
curable in small fish like Bettas, and euthanasia makes more sense.
In the meantime, do peruse the Betta health, disease questions we've
already answered at WWM; as you can see, we've gotten a gazillion of
them already, and very often the causes are the same:
See the links at the top of the page? Use them to browse back through
other answered queries as well as relevant articles.>
I was really hoping that you could read the background info I gave you
and look at the pictures to make an experienced assessment of what might
be wrong with him.
<Send a useful photo around 500 KB in size, and we'll do our best. But
links, YouTubes and suchlike aren't much help. We're volunteers here --
I've just got back from a short vacation, and I have to start unpacking
and then cooking in a little bit, but I want to spend a few minutes here
at WWM helping out any urgent questions. I hope usefully!>
I understand my tank isn't totally set up how it should be just yet.
I plan on buying a heater soon.
<Ah! There you go. Bettas are tropical fish. Buy the aquarium first,
then the filter, then the heater, and only when they're all set up and
been running a few days (ideally 2-4 weeks, with you cycling the filter
with ammonia) BUY THE FISH. We do tell people this again and again, and
as you're learning, rushing forward and skipping the first few weeks
ends up creating problems down the line. Do also bear in mind that
randomly medicating fish will likely kill it even faster. Just as with
human medicines, fish medicines are all poisons of some sort, and used
improperly, do more harm than good.>
All I really want to know is whether my Betta has an infection,
parasites or only constipation.
<<... the poor env. B>>
<Read, review, react. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)
Thank you so so much! You've been extremely helpful. You're awesome!
Peace love and all that stuff. :)
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Black Stuff on Betta's head; likely env.
First off all, I've looked through your articles (They're kind of
hard to read)
<? Reading level? Some aspect that's incomplete? What?>
but it's really hard to find anything about black stuff appearing on a
Betta's head, so I thought I'd just write you. Hope you're still willing to
answer questions? Anyway, I have an orange Betta (uncreatively named Orangie)
that I bought from Wal-mart. He was the healthiest of the fish and I've
never seen an orange Betta before, so I bought him. I've been keeping him in
a triangular tank that's not quite one gallon, and have been changing the
water weekly. He doesn't have a filter because the one I bought for him was
underwater, and the coals or whatever the filter uses seemed to be bothering
him, as he'd dart around a lot. I took it out and he was fine.
Well last week I noticed that his tank was a bit filthy,
so I went to change it out.
<? What? Is this system filtered, heated? Complete change-outs are a bad
idea... for reasons gone over and over...>
During the process of moving him out of the tank he decided to jump onto our
floor, where he remained for a minute or two as I desperately tried to get
him back into the cup with water in it. After putting him back in the
changed tank, he was in shock for 5 minutes (sitting at the bottom and
gasping, not doing anything else) then he was fine--back to attacking his
food, swimming around, etc. Luckily my mom had just mopped the floor the
night before this, so it shouldn't have been too dirty. I put stress coat
and a couple of crystals of salt into his tank, hoping to ease his stress.
But after that, he started darting around the tank and rubbing against
stuff. Figuring the only stuff he'd get exposed to on our floor is bacteria,
I did a complete water change and used Melafix as a soap to
clean the tank with (as I heard it's better for sterilizing tanks than
treating fish) and he was fine for the day. But the next day he's darting
around and rubbing against stuff again. I have a small x30 magnifying
lens that was supposed to be used in a telescope, but it's better used to
look at things up close. So I got that and a flashlight and started looking
at him up close, and I see there's black stuff all over his head. It's on
his lips and is all over the bottom side of his head. He's no longer
attacking his food like he used to, though he's still eating.
<Poisoned by the new water, change>
I've attached three pictures. One (really terrible and blurry) picture from
when I first got him, where you can see that his head was mostly orange.
The others is of him now, better quality than the first. Ignore the white
spot on his mid-area in that one picture--I believe that's something on
the outside of his tank, because I don't see it actually on him. As you can
see, his tail is also deteriorating, I have three things I can use on him:
Melafix, salt and a fungus stuff I bought from Wal-mart
that's not necessarily made for Bettas. If it's a fungus, that might could
work, but I'm afraid to treat him with it in the event that it's something
else, as that's what made my last fish (a pretty white one with blue fins)
die. I hope you can shed some light on what is bothering Orangie.
<... such color/markings are almost always environmental and/or genetically
determined... I suspect the former in your case. Read here:
Re: Black Stuff on Betta's head
They're hard to read because they're big blocks of text. Anyway, is
there anything I can do to make him feel better? He's still darting
around, rubbing against stuff and laying pathetically on the bottom of
He occasionally flare his gills when sitting idle.
<Please read where you were referred...>
Re: Black Stuff on Betta's head
If you're referring to the link you gave, I saw really no
information on how to help him after a "water poisoning." I use
well water, not tap water, and it's the exact same type of water he's
been hanging around in for months. I let the water sit out for a day or
so. And the thing is, he's been without a heater or direct light for
months and has been fine. I had a thermometer in the tank and was always
making sure it sat at the right temperature, which it did.
<... my young friend; no. Betta splendens IS a tropical species, AND
Also, this: What does it mean? <Poisoned by the new water, change> Is
the comma out of place or are you telling me to change his water again?
<Keep reading. The linked files above the citation. B>
Betta fish emergency – 05/13/12
Hello I emailed you a few years ago when my Betta was sick and you
helped a lot, now he's suck again and I really need help with him. I
left for college so my parents have been taking care of him... They
didn't realize that the water conditioner they bought didn't remove
chlorine. He's been in non treated water (changed frequently) for 3
months! I went right away and got the right chemicals and put him in the
clean water but he's just laying on his side unable to get to the
surface for air. I'm not sure if he can move his left fins. Is there
anything I can do?!
<Not really. If he has been poisoned, then frequent, regular water
changes and good water quality will provide the best conditions possible
for recovery. Read:
Warmth, filtration, adequate space are all important.>
Thanks so much for your help! Jj
Betta Very Sick 5/2/12
My Betta Kasan, has fin rot and it is severe, due to ammonia burn,
at least is what I think. He is set up in a 5gal. tank, with pad & foam
filters, water temperature at 78´F and I check the ammonia level about twice
a week and always come out at 0. Back a couple of weeks ago a left for a 5
day vacation, the day before I left I did a 50% water change, the new water
I prepared had (like with every water change, except that I normally do only
a 25% water change) 15 drops of API Tap Water Conditioner and 10 drops of
Top Fin Water Clarifier. I left a friend in charge of him, but probably soon
after or some time while I was away the pump from the filter stopped
working, and my friend didn't put attention, so it made the ammonia level go
*through* the roof. I saw this when I was back that Kasan has no
fins!!! I was mortified!!!
Immediately I did a 50% water change with all the preparations mentioned
above, but I added 2.5ml of ParaGuard,
I did this for 2 weeks, all seemed fine, until this morning, he wouldn't
eat (he always has 1 pellet of Aqueon Betta Food in the morning, he is
always waiting for me to get up in the morning for his food), not even when
I offered a Tetra Bloodworm Freeze Dried Food, and I noticed something
coming out of his belly, but I thought he was going #2, but tonight that I
came back I saw this thing is longer and he seems sluggish, but this might
be that it is night, but it still has me very worried!
What is it? Is he ok? Can I do something?
Ana & Kasan
<Is fecal material... Please see (search, read on) WWM re Betta Health and
nutrition. Bob Fenner>
Male Betta got through divider
I had two male Bettas in a 10 gallon with a divider. It turned out that
the divider was not secure and this morning the crowntail was in with
the Halfmoon. The halfmoon's tail is torn up and he has superficial (no
blood) wounds on both his sides. He is acting normal again and
even flaring. I am planning to increase the temp to 85F from 80F. There
is about a tablespoon of marine salt in the 10 gallon and I do have some
Maracyn, but I do not think I need to use it, at least yet.
Any idea on how long until his ragged fins grow back???
<A few weeks under ideal circumstances>
Or any ideas of anything else I can do,
<Nothing more I would do here>
besides not keeping Bettas together with a divider as obviously things can
happen. The crown tail is now in a cup for the next couple of days as he
may be rehomed. Thank you!!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Betta with ragged clamped tail
I have gone through some many websites and forums before someone told
me about you guys.
I have a Betta that haven't been doing well since a week ago. I
used to have a Betta, Loretta (it's a male). He was given to my
boyfriend as a gift but I have been taking care of him. He lived in a
fish bowl (come with the fish as a gift and we didn't bothered
getting a tank for him), about 2 litre of water.
<Far too small.>
I changed his water once every two weeks (sometimes three weeks), 100%
water change. He is always fine but he jumped out of his bowl a while
ago and died. It happened when my boyfriend and I were away for a trip
for three weeks and when his sister changed the water, she put the
water right to the top of the bowl which I guess that's how Loretta
managed to jump out of his bowl.
<Perhaps. In any event, Bettas are "jumpy" and should not
be kept in uncovered aquaria.>
Anyway, now I got myself a new Betta for about three weeks already
(with a tank this time, about 30L but at the moment it is 20L full). I
didn't go through the nitrogen cycle and have been doing 100% water
change (which I guess I shouldn't have done either of those).
<Actually, changing all the water won't do any serious harm, so
long as the filter media stays wet. When cleaning the tank, do nothing
more than rinse the filter media in a bucket of aquarium water. You
don't need to clean the filter media as such, merely rinse out any
Since a week ago, this Betta seems to have fin rot.
<Sounds like it from the below.>
His tail is ragged now, as if it has been bitten away. I wasn't
quite sure if it was fin rot but his tail does get shorter, especially
parts that are already ragged. I did a lot of reading over the internet
and went to a local pet shop yesterday to get Pimafix and Melafix
(that's when I figured out I shouldn't clean the tank
throughout as I washed away all the beneficial bacterials).
<Both fairly mild medications, and sometimes useless. Would not
recommend them. They have value, perhaps, as preventatives. Rather like
you'd add antiseptic ointment to a cut. But once the wound is
infected, you need something stronger and more reliable.>
I put in the medicine yesterday and this morning I woke up to find his
fin clamped together. Were the medicine not good for him?
<Likely doing nothing useful. But in any event, if ammonia and
nitrite are not zero, then the fin clamping is more about stress than
Now that I have started the treatment what should I do? I am over some
of the inaccurate information over the internet and
do not know what to believe anymore.
<I can imagine.>
He is still swimming fine and will rush over for food so I guess that
is a good sign.
<Don't feed him at all! Adding food raises the ammonia. For the
first week, don't feed at all. Second week, feed tiny amounts --
the size of his eye -- once every 2-3 days. Do the same thing the third
week. By the fourth week, you can feed this small amount ever 2 days.
Same for the fifth week. By week six, you should be okay to feed daily,
eye-sized meals once or twice a day, as required to maintain health.
Throughout the first two weeks, change 25-50% of the water daily, then
during weeks 3 and 4 change 25-50% every two days, and from the 5th
week onwards, change 25-50% every week.
Effectively you are cycling the tank with a fish in the aquarium. Not
recommended, but do-able.>
However, he is less active now. He used to swim around actively but now
sometimes he just stayed at the bottom of the tank. Maybe he is getting
tired and stressed out by the medicine?
Joyce (from Australia)
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
eBook on Amazon
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term
by Robert (Bob) Fenner