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FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 28

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Related FAQs: Betta 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 Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 27, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,
Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,
FAQs on Betta Medicines
: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/Antibacterials, Anti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s,


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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Betta with cloudy eye but no swelling  6/24/13
Hi Bob,
Just wanted to drop you a note that the Betta is better....it has taken a while but it seems his eye is pretty much back to normal :-)
<Ah good>
Thanks again for your quick reply and advice earlier.
<Pleased. B>

Strange Redness on Female Betta  6/23/13
Hi! This is Erin.
<Hello Erin,>
Well, I got my first female Betta, Eerie, on the 19th and when I got her I noticed she had this strange red.....mask, I suppose you could call it. I didn't think it was anything serious and it was actually part of the reason I picked her because I had been looking at this rare strain of "Red Head" Bettas online and the red color seemed to be the same color on her fins as it is on her head. Now that I've been thinking about it I'm a little concerned that it might actually be an injury to the head or some kind of infection and would just like your opinion or input.
<Really difficult to tell from your photos whether it's colouration or inflammation. The photos aren't sharp enough. If you can, try to send one, very sharp image; if needs be, net the fish, hold net against the glass, push the fish towards the glass with your hand, and that should stop her swimming out of focus.>
She's in a cycled 5 gal tank with a baffled filter and a heater and plenty of hiding places, including her favorite little box plant thing from PetSmart (Which you will see a lot of in the pictures I have included. Oh, and sorry for the poor quality I took them with my I-phone and she refused to sit still long enough to get a decent photo). I've also been doing 10% water changes everyday with a pinch of aquarium salt (pre-dissolved) just in case.
<Salt isn't especially helpful though it doesn't do any harm if used at very low doses.>
Thank you for all of your time and answers (And the amazing website!).
<Basically, you're trying to see if the colour comes from expanding patches of bloody skin or else mere colouration. Google for photos of Finrot, because that's what you're looking out for. Often the fins will be ragged as well, but on Bettas this can be very difficult to tell because they often have ragged fins anyway, deliberately or otherwise. Since you have just the one fish, the "just in case she's sick" approach would be to use a safe anti-bacterial medication (in the UK, I recommend eSHa 2000, but in the US, the Maracyn 1 and 2 combination has proven to be very effective).
Try to avoid medications based on plant extracts such as Melafix; while maybe adequate for preventative care after injuries, they're less reliable once an infection is established. Do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if used) during medication. All else being equal, an anti-Finrot medication will deal with most external bacterial infections, particularly mild ones (i.e., if the fish is still swimming and feeding normally).
Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Inquiry; hlth.   6/22/13
 I recently received a male Crowntail Betta (it was purchased from a chain pet store on 6th of June, 2013) from a family member because they could not get the fish to eat.
<... unusual... Is this fish in a heated (tropical), filtered setting?>

 After dabbling with a variety of foods, I finally figured out that he would eat freeze-dried bloodworms.
<A poor choice
... Please search, read on WWM re this and suitable environments for Betta splendens>
He has been his happy Betta self, although today (while his behavior has remained the same) I noticed that he appeared to be hiccupping of sorts and I was wondering if that was cause for concern.
 <Is. Bob Fenner>
Angela Simmons
Re: Betta Inquiry  6/23/13

Hello Bob,
 The fish is in a tropical environment suitable for Bettas that is properly heated and filtered.
<Ah good>
He refuses live food, although today I did manage to tempt him with frozen brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms.
<... I'd skip the sewer fly larvae... Again, just search WWM re rationale... And here re Betta nutrition:
I have had (and still have) numerous Bettas yet this one appears to be a picky eater. While the ‘hiccupping’ has stopped, I am still wondering what caused it.
 <Could be... parasite/s, something stuck in the buccal cavity, an aspect of water quality; many other possibilities. B>
Angela Simmons 

experienced keeper - Betta changing colours and swollen mouth - no visible illness (RMF???)    6/29/13
Dear WWM crew,
Firstly, love your site and your expertise, thank you on behalf of  aquarists everywhere.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
On to the issue: I've been in the hobby a long time, lived on forums, run a small maintenance business, kept everything for planted, Walstad, brackish, to marine, volunteered at a zoo, am a biology nerd etc etc and am generally able to diagnose most common illnesses, but I've been thrown a curve by my own pet Betta. I've scoured literature/forums and am still scratching my head, so maybe the guru's of wwm can help!
When i bought him for my established, planted 5g, he was a blue Crowntail with a red streak or two one the fins. After colouring up, there was more red, but colouring up with unexpected colours/patterns is not unusual ime. After some time, he split a fin mildly, and though it healed very well, the colour was different - a pale pink to ruddy red similar to that in pale red Bettas. This spread to his whole body in a 'wave', with his usual blue (black on the face) returning after. Now, he keeps changing colour in patches all over, eyes, fins, body, everywhere.  He has no sign off parasites, no slime, no swelling, no fungus, eats very well, and is active as ever, and the colours are actually quite vibrant.  It has been happing for about 8 months now. Once, his left fin went clear with a boarder of blue, like some of the fancier Betta colour patterns I've seen.
<I agree; his colour patterns are very unusual.>

The only other item of interest is his mouth.  He always had a bit of a 'fat-lip', but now the lower lip is protruding out quite far. It is stable (i.e., not getting worse), and he can eat normally. But it looks unusual. please see pic attached.
I've had him about 18months.
Tank parameters:
-temp: 25 C / 77F
-ammonia & nitrite: 0ppm
-nitrate: under 5ppm
-pH: 7.4
-GH: 4
- KH: 3 (i buffer it up with potassium bicarb as my normal KH is very low and the tank is heavily planted, and then reduce the pH down a bit with SeaChem Acid Buffer
- i monitor parameters before and after water changes to ensure no fluctuations)
-heavily planted
-water change: 30% weekly with Prime.
-Diet: NLS pellet staple, mix it up every few days with Hikari Bio-Gold, Spirulina flakes, 1/2 a skinned pea weekly, treats of thawed Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, white worm and a fast day every week or so.
Yes, the tank is filtered and heated. Small internal filter behind the plants and a stick heater set to 25 C/ 77F.
The only idea that has come up is that he may be reverting to the more dominant 'red' base pigmentation in the scales following his injury, with the blue kicking back in later.  Doesn't explain why it keeps happening.  Or, he's been poorly bred and all this is the result of that.  Still, unsure if the mouth issue is a co-morbidity of something related to the skin condition, or a separate matter.
Thank you for your wisdom on this issue.
Kind regards
<Do think the fins look a bit ragged, more so than usual, so would be looking out for Finrot. Would definitely review filtration… possibly water current too strong; always favour air-powered filters, e.g., sponges, over internal canisters, hang-on-the-backs, etc so far as Bettas are concerned. Colour changing is very odd, not aware of this being "normal" for Bettas but does happen in some fish for a variety of reasons… may be genetic, may be dietary, may be environmental, may be evidence of nerve damage. Can't really say what's going on here. The mouth is, again, odd, but not obviously something like Mouth Fungus (Columnaris) or Lymphocystis. I would tend to not medicate or treat beyond observation and ensuring good diet and water quality. Sorry not to be able to offer any concrete diagnosis. Cheers, Neale.>
<<The darkness, mélange/mix of coloring... something "neural" damage, genetic going on here... But what etiology, root cause/s? The alluded to damage? The "fat lip" is nothing to be concerned re... and nothing to change, treat for here. RMF>>

Re: experienced keeper - Betta changing colours and swollen mouth - no visible illness (RMF???)    6/29/13
<<The darkness, mélange/mix of coloring... something "neural" damage, genetic going on here... But what etiology, root cause/s? The alluded to damage? The "fat lip" is nothing to be concerned re... and nothing to change, treat for here. RMF>>
<<<Thank you Bob for this second opinion. Cheers, Neale.>>>
Re: experienced keeper - Betta changing colours and swollen mouth - no visible illness (RMF???)    6/29/13

Hello WWM crew.
I think i solved the problem with the colour - see this example:
It is exactly as described by the effect of 'jumping genes', seen in some marble Bettas, as well shown in the link article (extreme case).  My boy looks like the first few stages.  As my degrees are in genetics and I've worked in this industry, i understand how this would produce this effect well and how it can constantly change.  Certainly odd looking though!
<I'll say!>
Funnily enough, just found this info tonight.  Check the link, great new info.  This is exactly how he looks, though seems mines not finished the colour change, or he keeps reverting back.  Will be chatting to a Betta genetics whizz for more info on how it is practically expressed.
<Definitely an interesting article.>
On the filter - thank you for the idea, but yes i understand flow issues and Bettas, it is on very low setting with the outflow blowing into a wall to lessen it further, and to act like a cheat's 'lily pipe' as it directs water current around the back of tank gently for the plants.  He sits on it often and swims though the flow with ease, so i doubt it's stress.
His fins have always been ragged looking - never the same length. It looks worse when he's not displaying too.  It's half the reason i chose him.  I wanted a 'flawed' Betta for this wild tank layout and also felt a little sorry for him not being as beautiful as his companions.  No sign of fin-rot though he has had a split a fin once or twice. I just maintain excellent water quality and diet and he's quite robust, heals quickly.  Does make me think he may be poorly bred though that his fins never 'even out'.
<May well be.>
The lip is still a concern, he cant properly close his mouth and it seems as if it's been pushed inside out a little (apologies i cannot seem to get a better pic). There is a lump in the centre that looks even and normal, but should be on the inside. But again, as it's stable and he can eat well, then i suppose no reason to rush out and treat.
<Quite so. Do review Lymphocystis and Columnaris so you have two possible things to look out for, but medication at this point may not be particularly useful. Might be worth writing to/on one of the Betta-specific forums to see if anyone can share similar experiences with you.>
Thank you again all
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Betta w/ worm?     6/6/13
Hello, I'm Donetta and I'm having an issue with my Betta Ruby.  He has a short white stringy looking thing hanging from his Pelvic fin.  I thought it was something insignificant and it's been there for a while.  However it appears to be getting longer.   I was reading around on your site and others and it appears it may be an anchor worm.
<Might be; can't make it out in your pic>
He's behaving normally with good appetite.  However he's currently being treated  for Finrot with Kanaplex.  Previously, I treated him in a QT tank with salt and his fins healed 90% and I put him back in the 10 gal and he got sick again.  I should have left him longer, but he was getting very depressed in the small 1.5 gal.
Tomorrow is his last dose of Kanaplex.  It appears the rot has stopped, but the fins are not looking better.  I emailed previously and Neale helped me out.
Ruby is currently in his 10 gallon planted tank.  Not sure what I should do about this.
<Treat for it. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Re: Betta w/ worm?      6/8/13
Thanks for replying!  I read the article regarding the worms on your site. 
It was a lot of different information.  On my fish now I believe I see two potential worms. 
<I do too>
When I do my water change on Sunday I'm going to net him and inspect closely to make sure it is in fact worms.  Should these worms wiggle?
 What I see on him is still looking.  I want to prepare my self to treat him if I need to.
From what I gather people usually take the worms out with tweezers.
<The adult forms, embedded in their fish hosts, yes... IF the hosts are large enough; can sustain the damage, trauma. I don't think this is the case here. Put another way, I would NOT tweezer this fish>
 Is this a must?
<It is NOT a must>
  If I do this do I still need to put medicine in the tank?
<Yes; you need foremost to kill the intermediate forms (non-adults) NOT on the Betta>
  We have API general cure and Parasite Clear here.  Is it best to take him out of his planted tank?
<Not likely; No. I would treat the system, the fish in place>>
 I read that Parasite clear won't hurt your biological cycle.  If I remove him to QT tank do I still need to treat the main tank?
  Also it says follow with bacterial meds.  Is this just to prevent infection?
 If so can I just dab with Neosporin or one dose of Betta fix?
  Or if he's in QT put in salt water for a certain number of days?
<Better to utilize water soluble antibiotics... Maracyn I and II are good choices here>
Like I mentioned he just finished Kanaplex tx for fin rot, I'd rather be least intrusive as possible.  Also can parasites cause fin rot?
<Yes; can easily be related>
 I've been trying to figure out that for a while.  I know they say dirty water, but I believe I fixed that problem, but fins still not better.
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!  I'm nervous about the process.   We do have Maracyn 1&2 here.  I'm nervous because I read it can harm your beneficial bacteria,
<Mmm, usually not nitrifiers if this is your concern>
 but sounds like I got to get the other worms out the system.  Do you mean to treat Maracyn 1&2 at the same time or one after the other? 
<Use them after treating for the crustaceans, worms>
These meds won't kill my plants? 
<... read on the Net re the active ingredients in what you intend to employ. The Mardel products will not>
If my cycle crashes what should I do? 
<See WWM re...>
Should I be checking ammonia levels daily too?
<If so concerned>
  Usually what we do is add Prime daily when we're concerned about Ammonia,
<Not a good idea...>
but I know that Prime will detox my tank of heavy metals i.e.. the micro nutrients in my tank.  Have any suggestion on this?  I read about some type of ammonia absorber chips as well, not exactly sure how they work though. 
So at the end of this treatment the worms on his body should fall off?
<Likely they will cycle off. B>
Thank you
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

Hello again I want to be sure I'm understanding correctly.  From the prior response I thought it was suggested to treat the worms with Maracyn 1&2. 
Is this correct?
<.... no>
 Maracyn 1 is for the parasites  and Maracyn 2 is to prevent a bacterial infection?
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

<Search WWM re the original email/link below<<At top here>>
It was suggested here to not uses tweezers on the fish and to use medications instead.  I mentioned that we have API general cure and Jungle Fungus Cure however Maracyn 1&2 was recommended.  If that is not a good choice, do you know of an alternate?  Or have another suggestion perhaps?
Thank you
Re: Betta w/ worm? Lernaea, other possibilities      6/12/13

Hi again, ok I looked at the link and saw the meds under choose your weapon.  I'm hesitant to treat with the meds because I just don't feel 100% it's anchor worms
<Ahh! Good that you are cautious. I want to make known to you that I have seen Lernaea on Betta splendens... it's very hard to make out until the adults are "sporting" egg cases and are quite large. Ouch! And the host quite debilitated. This situation is one where treating on suspicion is warranted in my opinion>
even though he has this stiff thing hanging off him along with another white thing underneath his body.  Is it possible to have anchor worms without significant behavior changes?
<Initially, yes... As the numbers and size of parasites increases, the hosts become more lethargic, hanging out at the bottom>
 He does have the fin rot, but he is swimming around normally.  He's not scratching himself or lethargic.  He's eating normally etc.
<Please do a bit more, larger searching, reading... I would treat for both crustacean and worm parasites if this were a commercial setting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta w/ worm? Lernaea and real worm med.s      6/13/13

Hi Bob, I so appreciate your help on this!  It turns out I looked into Planaria treatment for my tank a while back and I purchased Fenbendazole under the brand name Panacur.  I still have the meds.  Maybe you know of this one, this is a general de-wormer and I know that it also treats Camallanus worms.
<Ah yes; am very familiar>
 Now that you mention it, my fish has that white thing under his body behind his ventral fins.  Maybe it's a worm sticking out his vent.   Is this the type of worm treatment you were thinking of? 
<Indeed it is; yes>
Also, now that I will treat with the anti-parasite meds and dewormer how do you dose?
<There are a few approaches... but these compounds can be used at the same time>
  Do you complete one treatment and wait a while to do the next or just right after each other?  Maybe a water change in between?  Which meds should I treat first?  I wouldn't think at the same time right?  After the crustacean treatment would I still need to do a bacterial treatment?
<Possibly; but doubtful. Most bacterial (and fungal) issues w/ aquatic life we keep are due to issues w/ the environment, and curable by fixing same>
 For this treatment can you just do something mild like MelaFix?
<No; not worthy>
 I know Betta People usually don't like that med, but I can do 20% dosing. 
I just busted my cycle with the Kanaplex  when I was treating the fin rot or maybe add 1 tsp salt or just skip the bacterial?
<I'd skip. B>
Re: Betta w/ worm? Now... suspected Ich overtreatment      6/16/13

Hi Bob, unfortunately I have another development.  I got the meds for the anchor worms(API general cure) and the de-wormer and was preparing to dose today when I could be home and observe my fish. 
Unfortunately yesterday I observed white looking patches under and around his mouth.  I thought it could be Ick, but it's not just tiny dots, but patches as well.  Then I read that Ick are cyst so I thought it could be Ick.
<Not likely>
  To me it looks like herpie patches.  Anyway, I had Quick cure( formalin/ malachite green)
<Not a good idea. Too toxic>

 on hand, so I added that on the way out the door.  When I got home the water looked normal and the blue was all gone.  I added another dose this morning and when I got home the water was the normal color again.  I don't have carbon in the filter only regular filter sponges.  I read your article on Ick and it suggested to remove all filters including plants.  Maybe the plants are absorbing the medication.
<Yes; and it's poisoning them>

 My tank is moderately planted and I can't take them out.  Any other suggestions.
<Stop medicating>

This situation is getting more complicated.  Maybe I need to transfer him to a hospital tank and treat the Ick, anchor crustaceans and worms there. 
If I did that I would have to treat the  anchor crustaceans, worms in the main tank too right?  Treat Ick in the main tank?
<Just treat for the worms, Lernaea in place>

This all seems a bit much.  Thanks for the help!
<Don't panic. BobF>

Re: Betta w/ worm?  6/19/2013
So I treated the tank with API general Cure and Panacur/ Fenbendazole.  Soon after I saw a white worm inching down the glass.  Next morning he had a giant poop, probably worms.
He still has white spots on the bottom of his chin.  Last night I raised the temp from 82 to 86, probably shouldn't have raised so much at a time.
<Yes; and don't fret otherwise>
 I didn't add more meds, but was scared about potential ICK.  Now this morning he has while lips. He's a little bit less active too, so I turned up the bubbles.
The tank is an absolute mess.  I have to wait until tomorrow night to do a water change as I have to wait 48 hrs after the API general cure.  Any suggestions?
<Patience. B>
Thank you!

Re: Betta w/ worm?... Hypochondria...  6/23/13
Hi Bob, not sure what I should do now.  As you know I treated with Panacur<e> last Saturday.   I soaked his food with Panacure and added the meds to the tank.  I treated one round of API General cure per directions and completed the water change on Wednesday.   Well the white worm that was protruding from him is back.
<... I don't think this is a worm... but instead is body mucus,
accumulating at this area... need to pull a bit off and look at under a 'scope to be sure>
 In addition he is hanging at the bottom of the tank and going up for a quick breath and down again.  There were several methods on the Internet in dosing Panacure, so I decided to put more in his food today and planned to do another dose tomorrow and again on the 6th and 7th day.
<... not a good idea. You're poisoning, have been poisoning this fish; the system>

 Maybe the one dose wasn't good enough.  This time I plan not to treat the water.  The Panacure in the tank made a complete mess and was heavily at the bottom of the tank for a while.  I've already done two water changes and had to replace some gravel to get it out.  I have to do another water change in the morning too. 
I also mentioned about white spots on the bottom of his face
<Again; this is almost assuredly due to the medication>

 and I increased the temp to 86 degrees.  He is missing scales above his lips now.  I'm thinking that may be a result of him forging around with all the Panacure in the bottom of the tank.  His eyes are also a little cloudy now.
<And this>
After the meds he had a big poop.  Not sure if it came from General cure or Panacure.  Should I do another round of General cure?
<I would add nothing further... period. B>

 I'm starting to worry that he won't make it.  Thanks again.

Betta with cloudy eye but no swelling     6/6/13
Hi WWM Crew!  First I wanted to thank you for all the great info you have given, searching your database has helped answer many of my questions over the years.   Ok on to the question I do have about my Betta and the suggestions I have received from my LFS, that I'm not entirely sure I should follow, especially after reading your page here about PopEye and cloudy eyes.  I bought my Betta in December 2012 from a very reputable LFS.
 He lives in a 6G aquarium with an Eheim 2213 filter and a 5W UV.  He shares the aquarium with a Gold spot goby (Stiphodon sp.) who spends most of the day in his burrow or cleaning plants, a rabbit snail and a Nerite snail.  At the moment (since March) he has had three juvenile Cory Sterbai for additional company.  These cories are staying temporarily until their owner gets his place back together.  On the rare occasion the Betta has flared at them (usually at night when the moonlight is on) but they don't seem to mind his presence. He ignores the snails and the goby.  The water temperature fluctuates between 81.3 and 81.7 degrees over the course of a day. With the CO2 injection
<Really? In such a small volume... on a regulator/monitor I take it>

the pH ranges from a max of 6.8 right before the CO2 turns on in the morning to a minimum of 6.4 during the day. The drop checker takes an hour or so to turn green and has never turned yellow.  I've gone back to look at the temperature and pH logs for the last week and there have been no anomalies outside that range.  Water parameters are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, KH 50, GH 260, Fe 0, chelated Fe 0,
<Need iron if you're raising plants... I'd supplement. Commercial or PMDD>

 phosphate 0,
<Need HPO4 as well>

TDS 280-343, copper 0, dissolved oxygen 8-12.  I haven't checked for Calcium or Magnesium specifically lately.  Water changes are automated and occur daily (1G/day) in small increments every 2 hrs from 10am to 6pm.
 Last week I stopped using tap water (with Nutrafin AquaPlus) because we had a boil water advisory for a few days. At that point I started using RO water reconstituted with Seachem Equilibrium and Discus Trace (LFS was out of Freshwater Trace but they said Discus Trace is nearly identical in its composition).  Three days ago I also started automated dosing of plant fertilizers (Seachem line). 
<Ah, good>

The boil water advisory has been lifted but I've continued with the RO water because my fish (and shrimp) in the other tank (tetras, dwarf Gourami, Pleco (Ancistrus sp.), Synodontis hybrid and clown killifish) have responded positively, they have more intense colouring and everyone is more active.   My Betta gets two Hikari Gold pellets and 3-4 thawed bloodworms per day.
<See WWM re these last. I'd discontinue; sub something else>

  However, since the cories moved in the Betta also enjoys sharing their sinking pellets. I often see the four of them huddled together around the same pellet.  This morning I noticed  his left eye is starting to get cloudy, it hasn't developed into what others have described here as PopEye, it doesn't appear to be swollen yet, he can see well enough to come get his worms and pellets at the surface and is active, other than when he is relaxing on his leaf, and since it is just one eye (for the moment) is it more likely an injury?
<Yes; unilateral... a trauma. Will heal on its own>

 I went to the LFS to get Ampicillin just in case - they didn't have any.  They made two alternate suggestions: Furan-2 by API or Indian Almond Leaves that they told me to boil until I get a dark "tea" and that I should add that "tea" on a daily basis (50 ml per day).   The tea doesn't sound different from using Melafix and I don't know if it would do more harm than help?
<The Almond leaves are much better than the API non-Fixes... but still, I wouldn't use either. Unnecessary>
 Should I try the Furan 2 (I've seen mixed opinions online about whether it is safe for snails), or wait and see what happens?
<The latter>
 Since his eye is not swollen yet, would the Epsom salt help (in a separate tank)?
<... I wouldn't add anything>
Do you think the shift to the reconstituted RO water or the plant fertilizers may be a cause or a contributing factor?
<Not likely>
 The salesperson suggested that I should not use reconstituted RO water for a Betta and that it will make him sick in the long term, but this doesn't make sense since people keep much more sensitive fish with reconstituted RO water without problems. There is some driftwood in the tank so perhaps he could have hurt his eye.
<Yes... Bettas are rather "autistic"... Do bump into things>
 None of the cories nor the goby are affected.  I bought a new ammonia test kit that can separate free ammonia (NH3) from ionized ammonia (NH4+), thinking perhaps my other kit was missing something since it tests for both at the same time and you have to use a conversion chart to find out the free ammonia - but zero ammonia should still be zero regardless of whether the two are tested for separately?
   Thank you for any suggestions you have to help him get better!!
<Just time going by, your good care. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta with cloudy eye but no swelling     6/7/13

Hi Bob
Thank you very much for your quick reply!   I will let you know how he does.
<Real good. Thanks, BobF>

Please Help Bob (the Betta)     4/19/13
I recently changed my roommate's beta tank and well when i did i used this "tap water conditioner" by aqua plus .. well what i didn't realize was that it had expired Oct-2011 i didn't notice bob (beta)
>//// Betta>
 acting strangely until a couple hours after putting him in the expired water i guess you could say ... ive looked and searched for solution's to help bob get better most of his symptoms are common except one i will attach a picture if i can but the common symptoms include laying @ the bottom of the tank on his side, loss of color, swimming more like spinning gasping for air then returning to the bottom of the tank .. ok this is the one that bother's me he has what does not look like droopy or what not but his chest has a red bulge appearing out from under his scales around what would be our collarbone area it looks almost like he would be pregnant but in a weird area i know this is not possible because he is the only fish in the tank and have had him for approx 2years and it appears to be getting bigger i will circle the area im concerned about on the picture and i will send it in doubles marked and un-marked
-i have tried only one of the things to see if it would help that i read up on and it was to change his water enough times to filter out some of bad water that did this to him and so far it has made him more lively but he still isnt doing well (still has all symptoms i provided) he just spins a little more and his breathing is a little better not by much tho
please help bob i love this fish ��
thank you and i hope to hear from you soon
<? IF you believe this fish has been poisoned somehow, I'd move it or change out most of the water for (treated) new... as gone over and over on our site; along w/ the limiting of file sizes... Your email was automatically shunted to trash due to being oversized. Bob Fenner>
Please Help Bob

this is another message regarding my roommate's beta .... i really hope to get a response soon because his action's are changing and he is starting to spaz out ... I really love this fish and it is killing me to see him like this and i dont want to resort to killing him to put him out of this tornment please im sorry you must be busy just could you try to respond as soon as possible i dont want to have to ... i just hope to hear back before i feel its necessary to end this for my little Bob
Please Help Bob-     4/19/13

i could not bear seeing him in the condition he was in i have gone ahead and hopefully rid him of his pain please do not reply to my emails as of now i do not want to know if he was going to be just fine or if there was a way to treat him he is gone and i want to leave it as i did what was best for him
thank you anyways
<... I do hope you've learned something of use from this experience... B>

Help?... Not using WWM     4/13/13
Hey I’ve been searching far and wide for answers to these two questions. I got my Betta fish and my two ADF’s from Petco (horrible store with rude people and treats there aquatics very poorly)
<?... as a consumer, vote w/ your feet: Go elsewhere to shop, cast your votes w/ your money>
within the first day my Betta fish started tilting up vertically with his head facing the surface of the water
<Not an entirely unnatural posture>
and I quarantined him and gave him ick and salt treatment
<? Not recommended... simple temp. elevation will cure Ich in most FW fishes... see WWM re... And Hymenochirus don't tolerate such exposure well>
and he got better within the day. Now a couple of days later his belly looks round and I’m wondering if he’s sick again.
<... not necessarily>
 Also one of my African Dwarf Frogs has a pink spot on his nose and floats on the surface of the water handa and legs spread, is it bloat or is it just normal?
<?... you've sent too large an image file... and not searched, read on WWM ahead of writing us. See WWM re ADF disease/health>
Please let me know,
<... help yourself.>
 thanks. As well, is this the problem? Cause I lifted my tetra whisper filter a bit out of the water and it doesn’t bubble but still provides the flow for filtration, is that okay? Thanks
<Yes... Bob Fenner>

Betta Splendens fin problem, and general life stuff - III - 03/09/2013
Hi Sabrina
<Gordon!  My gosh, what a delay in reply....  I thought I'd cleared out my box.  Cat got sick, been away....  back(ish) now.>
Thanks for your help.
<Hope all turned out well.>
I just read a profile on Protopterus annectens annectens. Bad, bad Sabrina, suggesting more oddball fish that I like the look of!
<You mean GOOD Sabrina!>
Have you kept one of these? They look enormous!
<They are.  Though P. amphibius stays small(er) at only 18" or more.... but is notoriously delicate.>
Really cool though, it can walk and breathe air! I really like these sort of "evolutionary link" creatures.
<Me too.>
Mudskippers will definitely be on the agenda at some point. I think I'd need a bigger house to keep Protopterus,
<Me too!>
but never say never. It would be pretty cool to take your fish for a wee stroll around the back garden in the summer. (I'm kidding, just in case.)
I think I'll leave the Betta be in that case, since the fish is behaving normally and it's not really bad.
"<Uhh, I think we both share both of those traits, actually!  *grin*>" -
Yeah, I suppose I'm guilty as charged!
<The liking and learning fishy stuff?  Yup.>
Hmm. Now that you mention copper and shrimp it occurs to me that the little internal filter that I'm using was in the Betta's tank when we first treated him for fin-rot. I seem to be getting a steady attrition on my little Cherrys, no mass wipe-outs, just less and less every day.  They were fine for weeks, though, but I've just had a quick read about and found that algae can bioconcentrate copper, so that might explain why it is only happening now. I think I'll take that internal out.
<I would, as well.  This might be the culprit.  Make sure you're dosing Iodine, also; for me, that was always the difference between losing them regularly though slowly, and having them happy and reproductive.>
I've got an air driven sponge filter that I had running in another tank. I had swapped them over originally but replaced the internal when I thought that maybe the sponge wasn't seeded enough to keep up just yet.  On a side note, we got our Ctenopoma acutirostre today. They are so wee and cute! I'm very much looking forward to giving them their first feed tomorrow.
<I hope they are doing well.  And I hope you are enjoying them!>
<Best wishes always,  -Sabrina>

Re: Betta healing, guppy hanging near surface 12/28/12
Hi Rick,
I promised you an update so here it is with a few additional questions.
My Betta  with Finrot seems to be recovering. This was not without additional challenges as I'm sure you can imagine. I continued using the healthy tank water for water changes and will continue to do so going forward. Upon completion of the second Maracyn treatment I put a big piece of used filter floss in from my healthy tank and this immediate cycled and now all parameters are perfect. I put in a few Amazon Frogbit plants and a new patch of flame moss in addition to the java fern. His tail appears to be slowly healing and growing back. I am going to leave him in the 2 1/2 gallon for now until I feel he is ready for a move, I would just rather let him heal before a big change.
<Sounds good>
In my healthy tank I have 2 questions. I am currently having a cherry shrimp breeding frenzy. Apparently my ADF has not successfully picked off the baby shrimp, can I put 2 of the shrimp in my 2 1/2 gallon with the Betta?
<I'm not that up to speed on shrimps but I don't see why not. They are relatively small shrimp. The Betta might pick on them or worse. I just don't know.  Personally, I'd get another small tank and try to raise the shrimp and trade with other local aquarists. Cherry shrimps are pretty popular and not especially cheap at stores, at least not in my area.>
 Also I have a fancy guppy in the healthy tank that for days has been floating at the surface, barely moving. If I open the lid he will dart around but just floats in the plants at the surface. Parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates under 5, pH 7.6, temp 77. Last time I checked about a month ago (using test strips) my hardness was moderate to hard. I have since run out of strips. All other fish (6 zebra danios, 1ADF, 4 ghost shrimp and about 1 million and counting cherry shrimp) seem perfectly fine.
There are no visible signs of damage, chasing, etc. Any suggestions for the guppy?
<Regarding the guppy, do you see any other symptoms?  Is he gasping for air? Lilac-colored gills, or perhaps any discoloration or markings? Body shape is healthy or thin and gaunt?  Could just be old age, could be something else.  Neale wrote some general guppy guidelines here but not necessarily all that helpful for your issue.
Thanks Rick for reading this and for all your help and wise guidance.
<Welcome and good luck.>
Betta healing, guppy hanging near surface 12/28/12

Hi Rick,
Thanks for your response. No gasping, no markings, no discoloration, hard to tell color because he is kind of purple/blue anyway. Well I have just left him be because no one else seems to be affected. Will see what happens as he doesn't appear to be suffering. Thanks again,
<Good luck with him.>

Urgent Help For A Betta - 11/06/2012
Hello. My Betta is very sick, though I can't figure out what's making him sick. I've had him for 2.5 years, I got him at the pet store so I'm assuming he's around 3 to 3.5 years old.
<Unfortunately, this can actually be considered "old" (or old-ish) for Bettas, these days.... It is really quite surprising how their lifespan has shortened in the years I've known this fish. It's getting pretty rare to see a store-bought Betta exceed a few years in age. A fellow I knew who studied fish pathology once obtained several Bettas from various stores local to him and was able to determine that most or all of them, even those not showing symptoms, had Mycobacteriosis, or something similar.... my memory fails me a bit here.>
He lives in a 5 gallon tank that is heated but not filtered. His tank stays at 78 degrees. I also have a bubbler in his tank controlled with a gang valve so there is no current from it. I do frequent water changes of 100% weekly and two 25% changes in between, and use Prime water conditioner. I have tested his water, and there is no problem there.
<To be sure, I hope you mean ZERO Ammonia, ZERO Nitrite, and Nitrate of 20ppm or lower, and a stable pH somewhere between 6 and 8.>
The symptoms started close to 3 weeks ago. I noticed he was breathing heavier than usual. I had done a partial 25% water change that day and had accidentally filled the tank up closer to the lid than usual. There was still room for air to enter the tank, so I don't know if lack of oxygen was the problem, but that is when the symptoms started.
<As long as he had space to stick his nose out and suck in air, I'm sure this was fine, considering that there was an "air input", if you will, from the bubbler, helping get fresh air in there.>
About 2 weeks later he began having swim bladder disorder issues,
and always sank to the bottom of the tank where he would sit on his tail, or lay on his side.
<Quite possibly symptoms of Mycobacteriosis, and I am not surprised. A friend's Betta is going through this same sort of problem, has been "sinky" for a month or two now.>
I first thought it may be constipation, so I fasted him for 2 days and fed him a bit of a thawed pea.
<Certainly a good thought, and wouldn't cause harm to try.>
But he is having bowel movements with normal looking feces, so I'm assuming that was not the problem.
I thought maybe he may have a bacteria or parasite infection, but there are no outward signs of one. I've looked him over many times using a flashlight and even a magnifying glass, and I could see no discoloration, parasites, or sores.
<Very observant of you.>
He looks completely normal from the outside other than the gasping. It is the gasping that I'm most worried about because it's not a symptom of swim bladder disorder. He seems alert, and his appetite is very good, but every time he tries to swim to the surface, his bottom half seems to drag him down. He will keep trying until he gets the food, but is completely exhausted from the effort. I feed him pellets and freeze dried bloodworms, although I've stopped with the bloodworms for the time being.
<I don't think these would be problematic, given that his problem is probably something he's had much of his life, and is only now starting to show symptoms.>
Right now he gets 2 or 3 Hikari Bio-Gold pellets a day. I soak them in garlic guard to hopefully boost his immune system. I also use Indian Almond Leaves. His past history with illness has been 2 mild cases of fin rot that have cleared up.
<Sounds like you're taking very good care of him.>
People have warned me not to medicate unless I know for certain what's wrong with him.
<YES. Good. People, in this case, are being smart and advising you very well. I do agree - do NOT medicate this fish.>
It's hard for me to watch him struggle like this, and I feel helpless not being able to give him something that may cure him. I have both Maracyn 1 and 2, Jungle Fungus Clear and Lifeguard, and external parasite medications on hand.
<If it IS Mycobacteriosis (which can't be diagnosed with certainty without histopathological examination), there is some suggestion in some texts that very high, prolonged doses of Kanamycin sulfate MAY have some success, the risks of damage to the fish's liver from treatment is so great that it probably should not be chanced, at all. Especially considering the fact that the fish may live a long while yet, and just be "sinky".... Treatment is really not recommended. At all.>
Right now I'm doing daily 25% water changes and keeping the water level lower. I want to start doing daily 100% water changes for maybe a week and adding aquarium salt.
<I don't think I would do 100% water changes daily here.>
Is there anything else I can do other than keeping his water clean and warm?
<Lower the water level even further. Be CERTAIN that the substrate is clean and SMOOTH - he's going to probably spend the remainder of his life sinking and really needs to have smooth, non-jagged, clean substrate, especially if he is a long-finned Betta. Consider also that, as granulomas from the Mycobacteriosis form or change, he may stop sinking and start floating. Add some floating plants in case this happens, so he has places to hang out to remain completely submerged. You might consider a larger tank so that you can have that lower water level without compromising volume, if it's possible for you to do so.>
I care for this fish dearly, and I'm so worried about him.
<Boy, do I understand that. I recall very fondly a Betta splendens female I had who, after a few years, started sinking, and would alternate between sinking and floating over months of time.... She was a cantankerous fish - more aggressive than any male Betta I've ever had - and I cared for her greatly. She lived several years, even despite the messed-up buoyancy, and never seemed to have a real problem with it. Her attitude was never diminished, that's for sure.>
I'll do whatever I can to save him. I just need to know what the problem is, especially with the gasping.
<Ah. This gasping is possibly a combination of things - one, he has to work REALLY HARD now to get to the surface to breathe. Drop that water level further, make it easier on him. And two, he's probably really "frustrated" (as much as a fish can be) with this turn of events, and hasn't yet learned how best to optimize his swimming to compensate for his handicap. He'll get there. Or, worse, there may be granulomas from the disease affecting his ability to breathe or to process air, and this is something you can do nothing about.>
I would really appreciate your advice on what to do for him.
<Just as above.... You are doing well. Also bear in mind that all I've stated is based on one big, fat guess that you're dealing with this specific disease. Perhaps I'm way off base. But I've seen this in so many Betta splendens, including the current, ongoing case of my friend's Betta, that I feel pretty confident about it.>
Thank you.
<And thank you for having such compassion for your Betta pal. Best wishes to you both, -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - II - 11/08/2012

<Hello again.>
Thank you so much for the information and taking the time to help me and my Betta.
<You are very welcome.>
I have been doing research for literally days and the only thing I could find that matched his symptoms with the gasping was gill flukes which I very much doubt is the problem.
<Agreed.  This is very unlikely.>
Mycobacteriosis does sound possible, and that he has had it all his life and only showing now. I looked up the symptoms for it, and read that it might not cause any symptoms, or obvious ones like scale loss, loss of color and appetite, and lesions on the skin, none of which my fish has.
<He may, over time.  Or may not.>
He still eats like a pig, and there are no physical signs of illness other than the gasping and sinking, so I'm guessing he has a form of this disease that isn't so obvious.  The reason I stopped giving him bloodworms was because he has such a hard time snatching them from the surface of the water.
Even when he was healthy it took a while for him to be able to grab them.
It's much easier for him to get the pellets, but even that can take really long now because of his bottom half sinking all the time.
<Very good.>
He keeps having to lunge up and often misses them, and the effort really exhausts him.
<Oh, you might consider a sinking pellet instead, which he can pick up off the ground.  It might take him a bit to learn, but it would make life a little easier for him, for sure.  I like and recommend Spectrum pellets.  I think they produce a Betta pellet now, actually.  My friend's Betta, who also sinks, eats them quite easily.>
Unfortunately I would not be able to get him a larger tank right now due to not having enough room, but I don't mind doing partial changes everyday to keep the water pristine. I know 100% changes everyday would stress him out too much, so I'll stick partials with once a week full changes. I do have to fill the tank up to a certain level, though, because of the heater. It's this long one that has a line near the top that shows it needs to be submerged at least up to that line.
<Perhaps you can find a fully submersible heater instead, which might allow you to drop the water line further?  However, having a heater in too small a volume of water can be very chancy, too.>
I'll quit with the aquarium salt since I doubt it will help him in this case.
<A little salt likely won't hurt, but I don't think it's very helpful or necessary, either.>
He's actually still pretty alert. Even if he can't move that much now, his eyes will move around, still curious about his environment. If I want to get him to swim a bit, I just wave my hand over the top of his tank. His predatory instincts thinks it's food, and he'll almost always swim upwards to investigate.
<All sounds very good.>
He was always a super aggressive Betta. That's actually how I noticed him at the pet store, he was trying to swim out of the cup at me full flare!
Whenever someone looked into the tank at him, he would take it as a challenge and charge forward flaring like crazy! I would worry at times because he sometimes would crash into the wall of the tank pretty hard.
Now, because of his heavy breathing, he's no longer able to flare, and because of him sinking, he can no longer swim around like he used to. It's really sad and hard to watch him like this.
<I do understand.>
I can see how the gasping could be related to him being frustrated or stressed. When I moved him from a 2.5 gallon bowl to a 5 gallon tank, it took him a bit to get used to it and he was hyperventilating for a few days. But this time it's not stopping. His breathing has been like this for almost a month now. I've noticed that sometimes it's a lot harder, and other times it's not as obvious, but his gills are always moving rapidly.
<He really does need to have easy access to the surface....  If you can't lower the water level, consider having a lot of floating plants or.... something.... that he can try to rest in/on near the surface, if he chooses.>
What I don't understand is why the breathing started 2 weeks before the sinking. Maybe he was starting to not feel good and was stressed out about it?
<Maybe.  Or maybe the sinking had already begun, and he was compensating for it as best he could until it got bad.  Or maybe something else entirely.>
If it is something that is affecting his breathing, that would be horrible.
<It could be, I'm sad to say.  But let's hope for the best, okay?>
I feel so helpless not being able to cure his problem.
<I do very much understand this, having been through it.>
I wish I could have my aggressive, active, flaring little Betta back, but it seems like that will never happen.
<It may, once he becomes accustomed to his situation.  My friend's Betta still has quite a personality.  My own female that I mentioned from years ago, she was certainly active.  And even when she was completely sinky or completely floaty, she'd still do everything in her power to try to attack me if I reached in the tank.  With all luck, your boy will find his comfort, and get back to his sassy self.  And if he doesn't....  Well, if he doesn't, he's had a great time in your attentive care.>
It's so depressing seeing him gasping at the bottom of his tank. I wish there was something I could give him that would make him feel better.
<Easy access to the surface, special treat foods occasionally, sinking pellets....  Anything to make his life easier will make him feel better.>
At least I now have some clarity on what this mysterious illness he has could be. Thanks so much for your help.
<I do wish I had a magic fix for him, and I'm sorry I don't.  But your compassionate husbandry is the next best thing to a cure.  Best wishes to you and your beautiful Betta pal,  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - III - 11/15/2012

Hi. Thanks so much for your reply.
<Glad to help....  or at least, to try to help.>
Some things have changed since I last e-mailed you. For one thing, his fins have become paler, but his body seems to still be a normal color. I think the pale fins are from stress, but I'm not sure.
<A reasonable guess.>
Another thing is his eyes, they seem to take longer to adjust to the light.
I have the light dim in his room to reduce stress, I just have a small lamp in there that sits further away from his tank. But I turn on the room's light for a while before feeding him so his eyes can become adjusted. They look like a pale color, and it takes longer to darken than it did before, but they eventually do so. It doesn't seem to affect his sight, though.
<This may just be stress, as well.>
Another thing he's been doing is hiding. He often seems spooked and doesn't like being out in the open. I have fabric plants and a little house in there for him to go in, but he chooses to stay underneath the heater. I know it's not because he's cold, but he just seems to feel safer there. When he's done coming up for food, he'll right away dash under the heater again and not want to move, but he still will look at me and notices his surroundings.
<Probably for some reason this spot seems to him to be the safest, or most comfortable.>
His breathing has slowed a bit, but it's still heavy. His gill cover still expands far out when he breathes.
<This is still concerning, and I do hope he has clear and easy access to the surface.>
I have actually tried to sink his pellets. I would leave them in a cup full of tank water for a while, and they would sink when I put them in his tank.
But he's rarely fast enough to catch them, and once they hit the bottom, he loses interest completely. He won't even try to eat them off the bottom.
<He might learn, in time; or he might be too stubborn.>
The good news is that he seems to have gotten better at snatching them off the surface of the water. He doesn't miss as often, therefore it doesn't tire him out so much.
<Very good.>
Here's a picture of him that I took last week if you want to take a look:
<He does look a bit stressed, huh?  Do be sure to continue to monitor water quality, just to be safe.>
He had a mild case of fin rot a few months ago, and it ate away the end of his tail. :( But it's gone now, and the fin is slowly growing back.
<Very good.  I know I mentioned it once already, but it's really important now, since he's going to be spending much/most of his time in direct contact with the substrate, to keep the substrate as clean as possible, and make sure that it's a smooth, non-abrasive substrate.  This is imperative, in order to reduce the chances of fin damage and infection.>
Just so you know, the black specks and his pink face are his natural colors.
Considering this disease may progress into something worse, I do have to bring up the subject of euthanasia, as much as I hate to do so.
I do not want my little guy to suffer, but I really don't know how to humanely euthanize a fish. I've looked at some methods online, but none of them seemed to be proven that the fish dies a quick and painless death.
I've never had to euthanize a pet myself before, but the vets around here know nothing about fish, and I wouldn't feel comfortable if they didn't know what they were doing. Could you tell me the best way that is proven to be quick and painless?
<The best way is to use MS-222 (Tricaine), dissolved in tank water, at about 300mg/L or more, even up to 600mg/L (larger fish may require more - a Betta is quite small).  You would NEED to buffer the water with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, not to be confused with baking powder) to bring it back to the pH of the tank water, as MS-222 will drop the pH.  You might find it sold as "Finquel".  If so, just follow the instructions provided with it.  This anesthetic will be basically painless, though he may respond to it some.  It's like putting Chloroseptic in your mouth, it feels really funny, right?  Same thing happens here, only to their gills.  When I anesthetize or euthanize fish at work, sometimes they make "chompy" motions, but that's usually the extent of their response.  Basically, the anesthetic will make him unconscious, and eventually he will die.  It won't take very long at all for him to go unconscious, maybe a few minutes, and then another 10 to 30 minutes for him to die.  I would suggest to leave him in the anesthetic for an hour or so after that, to be completely sure. 
Another method is to use clove oil, the same as what you might use on a tooth ache.  It doesn't dissolve in water very much, but that's okay. 
Several drops of clove oil vigorously stirred/mixed into a container of tank water will work similarly to the way MS-222 does.  Again, just leave him in it for quite a while after he stops breathing, to be sure.  You can also Google "euthanize fish clove oil" to find detailed instructions.  I would not recommend the clove oil plus vodka "methods".  The last way I'll suggest, and I am loath to suggest it as I know it may upset you, but it is effective and quick: decapitation with subsequent destruction of the brain / pithing.  This would be far more stressful for you than the fish, but if you cannot obtain MS-222 or clove oil, is certainly a quick option.  I, personally, hate this method, but have had to use it in the past.  It IS quick, as long as you are quick about it, but it's not for the squeamish.  And it's certainly disturbing to consider doing to a beloved pet.>
I still won't be able to do it personally, but I could direct someone else who is willing to do it for me. I would prefer he die peacefully in his sleep, but we all know that is pretty rare, and I need to be prepared to end his suffering when, (hopefully if), it comes to that.
<Anesthetic like MS-222 or clove oil is the best bet.  If you have someone else do it, just PLEASE make sure they understand exactly what they are doing.>
Thank you so much for your help. I've been desperately seeking answers by asking people online, and you definitely have been the most helpful and you were able to tell me what he has which I never would have figured out otherwise.
<It's still not 100% certain that it's Mycobacteriosis, but it does seem a distinct possibility/probability.>
There doesn't seem to be much information on most fish sites about Mycobacteriosis, and it seems not many Betta caregivers know about it. So thank you, I really appreciate it.
<I am glad to have been of service, even if it's a grim service.  I do wish you and your Betta all the best.  Don't write him off as lost just yet; as long as he eats, he's enjoying life enough to keep going.  Just because he's lost buoyancy control doesn't mean you should love him any less.  He's still the same tough little guy, and it's very clear how much you care about him.  Thank you for that.  Warmest regards to you both,  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - IV - 11/17/12

Thank you once again for your informative reply.
<Glad to do what I can.>
Unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worst for my little guy. His breathing is just too terrible. He's just laying at the bottom of his tank, hardly moving, and gasping. At times he'll shoot to the surface, and because of his lack of control, he'll end up crashing into the tank wall sometimes. His body looks normal, but his fins have lost almost all their color and are practically transparent. He's still eating, and his eyes still move around looking at his surroundings, but his quality of life is all but diminished.
<I'm very sorry to hear this; I know it must be very difficult to see him like that.>
Just a note, the bottom of his tank is bare, and everything in it is smooth and won't hurt his fins. But regardless, his fins are looking pretty ragged. It looks like they've become thinner. I still don't see any other symptoms that could indicate a common problem like parasites or an obvious bacteria infection, so I'm guessing mycobacteriosis is the most probable explanation.
<I do feel like it's possible.>
I really hate to do this, but I think it's time. If it was just buoyancy that was the problem, I know he could still live a good life, but not with that gasping that he's doing. He is constantly under stress, although I don't think he's in pain because he's still eating. Once in a while he'll have an aggressive  moment for a few seconds where he's almost back to himself, but then he'll just sink and hide again. The vast majority of the time he's laying at the bottom, gasping and obviously very stressed. I have waited too long before with other pets to make this horrible decision. It's just so hard to know when it's actually time, especially when they're still eating. But I don't think my poor little fish is at all comfortable, and it's such a struggle for him.
<I know you won't make this choice lightly, and if you think it's right, then it is.>
I gave my vet a call a few days ago, and apparently they are familiar with euthanizing fish. Even though they are not fish doctors, they have done it before, and told me the fish don't feel anything. They use a small amount of euthasol with a very tiny needle. Do you think this is an acceptable and humane way?
<I am not familiar with this for small fishes, but I am also not a vet. 
The commonly accepted method in the pet fish and scientific industries are immersion in anesthetic solutions....  though I am sure your vet is safe to rely upon.  Just make sure they understand that this is a very small fish, and that they're confident in performing it.>
I would actually feel a lot better if it's an actual vet that's doing it.
They aren't likely to mess it up like I might. I just want his passing to be painless, humane, and quick as possible.
<I understand, and I do very much believe you can trust them with this.>
Thank you so much for helping me through this. It's been very hard to see my little Betta boy so sick, and now having to make this decision. I'm glad I was able to get some expert advice to help us out and make this difficult time a little easier to handle. :)
<I am very glad to have been able to help in some small way.  My thoughts are with you; I wish there were something more I could do.  Best wishes always,  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - V -      11/21/12

Hi. Thanks so much. Just to let you know, my little fishy is still among the living. I haven't been able to make that decision just yet.
<I am very confident that you are making the best choices day-to-day.>
Maybe I'm being selfish because I don't want to lose him, but I just can't make such a drastic decision for an animal that is still eating, and is still alert to movement.
<I completely understand.>
Even though he needs to lay at the bottom of his tank, and even though his heavy breathing is probably causing his discomfort, the fact that he's still eating says to me that he still has a will to live. Do you think I'm doing the right thing by waiting?
<I.... believe, very strongly, that you are in the best position to know the best course of action.  I doubt that you are being selfish, as seeing an animal that is truly suffering is far worse than allowing it a peaceful death.  If you don't think he's ready to go, then frankly, I think you're probably right.  I believe I mentioned previously, but if I didn't, here's how I tend to look at it....  I work with a naturally short-lived east African killifish in a genetics lab.  We love our little guys, and I try to give them happy lives, even though they only live for a handful of months. 
I *hate* killing things.  I like seeing fish thrive and be happy.  As our fish age, we sometimes see dramatic changes due to the aging process. 
Sometimes, some of those changes cause the fish to suffer.  My personal rule of thumb in the fish room is that if a fish eats, it wants to live. 
If it stops eating, it's time to put it down.  No matter what other condition(s) the fish may have, if they're eating, they stay alive.  I am sure I've had exceptions to this general rule in extreme situations, but it's a pretty safe rule for the most part.  That said....  Only YOU are qualified to know if your Betta needs to be put down.  You see him every day.  You observe him.  You feed him.  You know his personality, behaviors....  If the time comes, you'll know.  Trust yourself.>
It would be a different story if what he had was something like dropsy, or if the Mycobacteriosis were causing blisters on his body. Then it would be obvious that he was suffering and I would know I would need to end his pain. But I don't believe he is experiencing pain right now because he still has an appetite.
<Exactly what I would be thinking in your shoes.>
If he suddenly takes another turn for the worse, or if he stops eating, then that would be a sign that it's time. I hope I'm doing what's best for him. 
<I think you are.  I think you can feel safe in trusting yourself with this.>
Thank you once again. I very much appreciate your help and advice, and I'm sure my little Betta is just as grateful. :)
<I'm just glad he has such a very conscientious person looking after him. 
Hats off to you.  My best wishes to you and your finny pal,  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - VI - 11/22/12

Hi. I have to say, your e-mail reply had perfect timing because it helped me from making what would probably be a mistake. I'm not superstitious, but from time to time I can't help but admit that sometimes fate sends us signs to guide us to make the right decisions.
<To each their own!  *smile*  If that's what makes things work for you, then that's how you should see them.>
I have been questioning myself for a week now whether I was doing the right thing for my fish by waiting, and decided maybe I wasn't. Even though he's eating, his breathing looks so terrible, and his fins have lost most of their color. He looks in pretty rough shape. So I called my vet yesterday, wanting to talk to her first before I made an appointment, just to get some reassurance that he indeed would not feel any pain. But she was too busy to come to the phone, and I guess the secretary never gave her the message or maybe she just forgot because she never called me back. So I was planning to call this morning again, and to make the dreaded appointment for later in the day, but a few things that have happened this morning have stopped me from doing so. One thing was your e-mail, then after that it was the way my Betta was acting. I know this sounds silly, but I outright asked him if he was ready to go, if he was suffering too much to stay with me. I left the room for a little while, and when I checked on him again, he was sitting on top of his heater like he used to do when he was healthy. Not only that, but he suddenly had an energy burst and did his little wiggle dance for me the way he used to.
<This does not sound like "suffering" to me.  You'd know better than I, as you see him every day, but it sounds like he's still excited to see you (or maybe at least try to convince you to feed him!).>
He still sinks of course, but he seems to have accepted his condition and is willing to live with it. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic and calling these things signs of fate, but I've always been connected to all my pets, and I feel that he's telling me he doesn't want to leave me just yet.
<You'll know when/if that time comes.  Let's try to look at it more as an "if" than a "when", right?>
He had torn his fin a few days ago. I don't know how, I have nothing in his tank that could have torn it.
<Happens....  Long-finned Bettas don't have the best luck these days.  Many even will wind up attacking their very own finnage, thinking it's an opponent's.>
Mild fin rot had started to set in, but I keep his water very clean, and I can see it has gotten better so that's another good sign.
<If he's overcoming a mild case of fin rot with good water quality alone (as a Betta should, mind you), that's a sure sign that he's doing okay.>
I already have a couple of tall fabric plants in his tank that he doesn't seem to use very often, but I plan to buy more today and pretty much fill his tank with them so he can stay closer to the surface.
<Cool.  Great, even!  Just do make sure that he has a clear shot to the surface from the floor of the tank, or that he can easily wiggle his way into the plants.  The friend I've mentioned who has a Betta in a similar condition has the tank jam-packed with live plants, and it seems his Betta has no trouble reaching the surface.>
I know the time is coming soon.
Maybe it's just delayed for a few days, or perhaps a few weeks.
<Or months....  years....  Said friend's Betta has been "sinky" for several months.  He's still vibrantly alive.>
But until my Betta gives me a clear sign that he can't go on, I will do what I can to keep him as happy and comfortable as possible.
<Very good.>
What you wrote in your last e-mail gave me a lot of comfort and I feel more confident that I am in fact doing what's right for him.
<I'm glad for this.  You should be confident; you're to trust with this.>
I appreciate so much that you take the time to reply to my e-mails to help me and my little fishy. Thank you.  
<My very sincere pleasure.>
<Wishing you and your Betta a happy Thanksgiving,  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - VII - 11/25/12

Hi. Well, my little fishy is still alive and kicking. It's not his sinking that is the real problem, it's his labored breathing that made me question if he is suffering or not.
<Stick with that basic standard - if he's eating, he probably wants to keep going.>
It hasn't gotten any better since it started almost 2 months ago. Since the sinking started a couple of weeks after the breathing, I wonder if they are caused by 2 separate things.
<Possible, but not possible to know with certainty.>
Whatever is causing the breathing problem may have weakened his immune system and caused another illness to set in which is affecting his buoyancy.
<Or vice verse....  Whatever's effecting his buoyancy may have taken longer to "set in", but weakened his immune system enough for the other....  Or all caused by the same issue(s).  Really, impossible to say.  Not a great many things that damage the health of a small fish can be easily identified without killing the fish.  Sucks.>
I've noticed that his gills expand more on one side than the other, and I'm wondering if he may have gill hyperplasia. Apparently it's caused by toxins or injury.
<Among other things, like parasites in the gills.>
Since I keep his water pristine and always make sure nothing dangerous gets into his tank, I'm wondering if he may have injured himself by ramming into the tank wall which he tended to do once in a while when he was being particularly aggressive.
<I would think it'd be difficult for him to actually damage his gills in this way.  Even when a Betta's flaring, the gills are pretty well protected.>
Gill hyperplasia would explain why the labored breathing doesn't get any better.
<Mycobacteriosis can affect the gills directly, as well, as I've just read.
 Try Googling Mycobacteriosis and gills, you'll likely find some of the sources I've just read.  I'll also refresh in some of the fish health/disease texts I've got laying around here.>
I went out and bought him a couple of leaf hammocks that you can stick to the sides of the tank just under the water surface. He didn't seem interested in them at first, but I did catch him sitting on one this morning, but he swam off it right away.
<Sounds like that might have been a good choice!>
Most of the time he prefers to stay at the bottom of his tank, sometimes hiding beside his heater. I'm thinking that he may feel vulnerable now because he can't flare anymore due to his breathing. He seems scared to be close to the surface of the water, like he doesn't want to be exposed in the open.
<Understandable.  No sick critter wants to be in an exposed, vulnerable place.>
That's probably what is causing him extreme stress, hence the pale fins and eyes. I wish he wouldn't feel so stressed.
<Perhaps this will lessen with time.>
I really miss the active, aggressive little Betta that he used to be, but I'm happy he's still with me. Right now I'm feeding him 4 pellets a day, 2 in the morning, 2 in the evening. I think anymore than that may cause further problems. I want to try feeding him bloodworms again so he has some variety, but he'll probably have a lot of trouble snatching them.
<You might try other foods too, just to give him some variety and more things to enjoy in life.>
Thanks again. I need to learn how to best take care of him in his condition now,
<You're doing very well already.>
and your guidance has made it a lot easier for me.
<Thank you for these kind words.  I am glad to have helped you (and him.) 
My best wishes to you both.  Take care.  -Sabrina>
Urgent Help For A Betta - VIII - 11/28/12

Hi. Unfortunately I have some very bad news. My little guy took a turn for the worst on Sunday.
<Oh, sad!>
I was hoping he would feel better once I changed his water, but it didn't help at all. He only ate 2 pellets on Sunday, and nothing yesterday or this morning. He just lay at the bottom of his tank, only coming up once in a while for air, then quickly sinking back to the bottom completely exhausted from moving that little bit. He stopped responding to me, and looked completely miserable laying on his side gasping for breath. His eyes were dull, and he no longer seemed alert at all. He didn't have the energy to snatch pellets from the surface of the water, or even look at pellets that sank and were laying right beside him. I knew it was time.
<I believe that was the right choice, at the right time.>
I made the appointment with the vet this morning, transferred him to his old 2 gallon tank, and wrapped the tank in a blanket. I think he must have gone into shock because he didn't move anymore once I got him to the clinic, just his gills were moving. I couldn't stay in the room when they euthanized him, but they assured me he didn't feel a thing.
<What a hard decision.  I know this must have been very upsetting for you.>
I brought him home in a little makeshift coffin and put it in the shed we have in our backyard so I can give him a proper burial in the Spring.
<This fish was clearly precious to you.  Consider planting a flower over him when you bury him, a rosebush or something else hardy, as a memorial; his body can now nourish new life.>
I didn't want to have to make this decision, but I promised myself I wasn't going to let him suffer. Once he stopped eating and responding, he was telling me he was ready. But it didn't make this any easier, and I'm just devastated. That fish was so special to me. It hurts so bad to lose a beloved pet.
<It does, I do know that, and I am deeply sorry for your loss.>
You have helped me so much during this terrible time, so thank you very much.
<I am glad to have been able to offer some support.>
It was really comforting to be in contact with someone who cares about fish, and understands how attached people get to them even if they can't hold and cuddle them. Fish have their own little personalities that you just can't help falling in love with.
<So true!>
I loved my beautiful little Betta boy, and I will remember him always. I just wish he could have stayed with me longer. Thank you for helping me through this difficult time. You have been so kind, and I'm happy that there are caring people like you out there making the effort and taking the time to help fish and their caretakers.
<Michelle, your words are very touching....  Thank you so much.  It means a lot to hear this.  I do wish there were some small comfort I could offer.>
<My warmest thoughts to you.  -Sabrina, who is now listening to Yes' "Survival"....  "Don't doubt the fact there's life within you / Yesterday's endings will tomorrow life give you / All that dies, dies for a reason / To put its strength into the season"....>
Urgent Help for a Betta - IX - 11/30/12

Thank you so much for your words of comfort and understanding. Right now I just keep remembering over and over how I ended up with my little guy. I rescued him from those horrible little cups they keep Betta in at pet stores.
<A note, more to our readers than to you - please always bear in mind that "rescuing" a Betta from a cup in a shop just rewards the shop and encourages them to bring in more.  On the other hand, some of the shops that do the "cup thing" also do it well, keeping them properly warm, water changes daily, and in suitably large cups.  Considering the high turnover rate of Bettas in chain shops, that's not such a bad plan.  The thing(s) that bother me most in such scenarios is the offerings of and recommendations for unfiltered, unheated, tiny boxes and vases to permanently house the animals....  deplorable.>
My little Hikari was the only one who was trying to swim around in that small space. He was trying as hard as he could to charge at me through the cup, flaring like crazy. I knew right away that he was meant to be with me.
I think it was his way of choosing me. He was the exact fish I had in mind too, with the right colors, except he was even prettier than I imagined.
Even if he hadn't been the exact colors I was hoping for, I still would have taken him home just because of his aggressive personality.
<Sounds like a great, beautiful animal.>
Thank you for the suggestion about putting a plant above his grave. I never thought about it, and it's an excellent idea. I will need to find a very hardy plant that can survive our harsh winters.
<Maybe a native tree?>
I'm so glad I was able to talk with you during this time. I really believe he had the disease you suspected, and knowing what he very likely had made it easier to understand even if it didn't make it easier to accept.
<I'm glad i was able to help, Michelle.>
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to all my e-mails, and for helping our little finned friends.
<And thank you, again, for your kind, encouraging words.>
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis   9/13/12
Hi Bob! It's me again. (from Sacramento aquarium society) My fish got better from velvet, and I haven't lost any, but today, I noticed that one of my male Bettas is pineconing, and is bloated looking. I've had dropsy in my tanks before, but that was a year ago. I'm not sure what type it is, but the last fish with dropsy had something like Ichthyophonus, and ended up popping before I could euthanize it. (terrible death!)
<I'll say>
This one is lying on his side, breathing rapidly, and has other symptoms of dropsy. I'm nervous about it because a female in another tank looks bloated. (could be from over feeding, as feeding can be tricky with Bettas ) I also just bought some Betta imbellis online, and my package was shipped today. (uh oh!) I was going to prepare a tank for the females, but that tank now has dropsy in it. So right now, the space I thought I had is gone, and I have more fish then I have room for. My questions are, A. how long should I quarantine my fish that looks bloated?
<Indefinitely... until it is NOT bloated... I would treat w/ Oxytetracycline... 25 mg./gallon, changing the water out every three days and re-treating... for three times>
B. Are there any ways to painlessly
euthanize a fish without crushing it and without clove oil?
<Quite a few... I am a fan of freezing... as in a bag w/ some water... in the freezer>
C. Can I keep male Betta imbellis with female splendens without them spawning?
<Don't know>
The tank is planted part way and has plenty of hiding places, and the imbellis are 3 months old. D. If I get more males then I had anticipated, can I keep them in jars in my closet if they're used to warm water?
<Yes; I think so>
I have one splendens in there, and he's doing well. E. Will Methylene blue help cure dropsy?
(I'm stopping with the abc thing as I'm going to run out of letters if I continue)
Also, is there a good way to get Methylene blue out of carpet or off the wall without damaging either?
<Mmm, yes; spot cleaner... I use one from Costco>
(just asking in advance as it likes to spill on its own!) After my fish dies, is there a way to kill the dropsy without killing my snails?
<Won't affect the snails>
I have a fish floating in a jar in the infected tank, is it safe as long as no water gets in except through evaporation?
I know I have a lot of questions (and problems) and it would be much appreciated if you could give me an answer ASAP as my imbellis are getting here tomorrow.
Thanks so much!
<Welcome Josh. BobF>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis    9/14/12

Thanks, but the male died. How do I tell if the male had tuberculosis?
<Mmm, through culture mostly... perhaps through microscopic examination>
 I know it's contagious to humans... Will raising the salinity help?
<It might>
 I think I'm going to empty the tank a bleach it.
<This is what I would do as well>
 Are there any special things I should be worried about? I'm going to quarantine my female. Is there any way to tell if it's dropsy or over feeding?
<... see WWM re>
I had a female that was bloated for a while, and finally started pineconing. Another non related question is about feeding my fish salmon eggs. I am a salmon fisherman, and was wondering if that's good food. I know salmon carry Ichthyophonus, so I
don't know...
<I wouldn't feed these or other fish eggs... for a few reasons. B>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis    9/15/12

"<... see WWM re>" I don't see it. Should I wear gloves?
<Yes; I would. B>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis     9/15/12

Thx. Will nuking the tank with hydrogen peroxide
<I'd use chlorine bleach per the protocol posted on WWM. B>
 before I syphon it out (just to be safe) be good? I was thinking, and was wondering how well it would work to dump a lot of hydrogen peroxide in the tank, and leave it for 48 hours while the hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water, and I wanted your opinion on it. Do you think it will work?
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis

I'm not going to risk my life with bleach as if I spill a drop, my mom will kill me.
<Heeeeee! Could you drain the tank, move it outside or in the garage to bleach, clean?>
 Would alcohol work? I don't want to kill my imbellis, but if it evaporated in the air, would it kill my fish? Are there any other treatments that don't really stain? I think I'd rather risk it with siphoning it out, then with bleach.
<I would go w/ the H2O2 if the bleach can't be used. B>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis

I could bleach it in the backyard. I think I'll dump H2O2 in, siphon it out, then bleach it, and after that, leave it for U.V, sterilization.
<Sounds good Josh. BobF>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis, Betta forums    9/17/12

Thanks so much for all the help!
P.S. How active is your forum? I have tired of a different forum, and am looking for a new one.
<Not very active... I'd search, seek out a specialty one on Bettas. B>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis

Btw, I joined under the username Betta man.
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis
The 3 that are out there, are ultimate Bettas (which is a VERY unfriendly forum and I have a -19+ reputation there as I said stealing is wrong) bettafishforums.com which is currently down, (I'm a member there, and it's a really nice forum) and there's also bettafish.com which has some inappropriate adds. I was thinking of creating my own Betta forum, but I decided against it and decided on an aquarist's version of YouTube. I have a feeling that'll flunk, but it's worth a try. :)
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis    9/17/12
btw, what's your username on that forum?
<I don't participate on bb's/forums... BobF>
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis    9/17/12

It sure could use you. So far, mine is the last post.
Re: Another sick fish/question about Betta imbellis    9/18/12

Someone finally responded.
<Yippy Skippy>

Betta Illness, need data      8/3/12
Good Day,
I have a male Betta and he has developed a white patch on his back and it seems to have destroyed his top fin.
<Mmm, not good. Almost always such secondary infections are the result of water quality issues, and/or physical traumas>
We are currently administering a product called Betta Fix.
<Of no use... see WWM re all the AP products that are "fixes"... they're shams/scams>
We have him in a very small container while administering the medication because it is easy to change the water every day and it takes less medicine to administer. The medicine does not seem to be working as the white spot appears unchanged. We have been administering the medicine for about 4 days.
He normally stays in a 2.5 gallon tank with a low flow filtration system and he is in the tank by himself. I have read about fin rot and it doesn't seem to be that. It seems like some kind of bacterial infection, but I don't know how to fix him.
<Need to know water quality test parameters, temperature... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above; particularly the FAQs on Environmental Disease>
Thank You,
Mike Maxwell
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My Betta is dying     6/22/12
By the time I finish writing this - or I receive an answer from you all - I think my Betta will have passed away.
<Oh dear.>
But I am hoping you can provide some insight as to what has happened to him. We adopted him last July. I'm not sure of his age, since he was given to us by a friend (probably purchased at a place like Wal-Mart/PetSmart). We kept him in the fishbowl for a few months until we were able to fishless cycle a tank (a couple of live plants and aquarium decorations).
<Ah, now, this could very easily be the reason things went bad here. These are tropical fish and do need a filter.>
He has been in a 6.6 gallon Fluval chi since late fall 2011.
<Better. In fact Bettas are about the only fish I can think of that would do well in the Fluval Chi, but there is a risk a Betta could jump out because the Fluval Chi lacks a lid.>
The water parameters have always been good: Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate all 0 ppm, pH ~7.6
<All good.>
In mid-May we moved (a 4.5 hour drive), and he handled the transition very well. The tap water in our new home is almost identical to our previous home. Up until last week he was doing very well (very active, ate well), although his color has been fading over the past several months, and he seemed to have difficulty chewing his bloodworms without spitting them back out and lunging at them a second time.
<Does he eat anything other than bloodworms? A varied diet is important, including some greens -- most Bettas will take cooked peas if sufficiently motivated (i.e., hungry/starved).>
I have done bi-weekly testing of the water parameters, and 20-30% water changes with dechlorinated water (same temp as tank) every 2 weeks.
<Sounds good.>
The last few weeks have been chaotic, and it was 3 weeks since a water change.
<Shouldn't cause any real problems.>
Within the space of a couple of days (last Wednesday or Thursday) I noticed he was spending more time moving around the bottom of the tank. He would still come up to the surface for food, and was eating well until 2 days ago. The lethargy continued, and 2 days ago I noticed some redness around the gills. Yesterday I noticed a red streak on his head. I know this is indicative of ammonia or nitrite poisoning, but all of the readings have always been zero. I use the API test kit, and it was dated mid-  to late 2010, so I doubt it is expired.
We also have another freshwater tank (10 g with a bio-wheel filter) with 2 Platys, same water and parameters, although the pH was a tad lower, same temperature as Geppetto's tank (80-82 degrees), and they are healthy.
<A trifle warm; I'd be keeping a Betta around 26 C/79 F. Anything warmer will not deliver any great advantages, and the flip side is that that fish pollutes more (or at least faster) and its lifespan is shortened.>
I scoured the internet and read up on Betta diseases, examined his body, fins, etc., but saw no exterior symptoms of anything until the other day, when his gills appeared red/swollen. No velvet, no fungus, no Ich, no enlarged eyes, no bloating, no nothing. There was a bit of gray coloring on his head/around the mouth, but I thought this might be due to ageing.
<Could be. In the wild, Bettas are basically annuals. However, in aquaria life spans of 3-4 years are not uncommon. The only mystery is how old your Betta is. The specimens on sale are typically around 6 months old by the time they're sent out from the fish farm, but who knows how long he'd been in sale? With that said, turnover in most pet shops is pretty quick, so it's unlikely he'd have sat around in the pet store for more than few months.>
I moved him to a very shallow bowl with a small heater and some gravel and the skull he likes to hide in. He tries to lunge for food at the surface, but doesn't have the strength. He won't take the food if I place it next to his mouth. I know he won't be with me much longer, but can you tell me how he could develop the toxicity if all of the levels were zero?
<Ammonia and nitrite aren't the only poisons. Think about airborne contaminants: insecticide spray, paints, tobacco smoke for example. Because Bettas are air-breathers, they're even more sensitive to these than regular fish.>
Is there some disease I somehow missed? Can they age gradually and then all of a sudden be gone? Should I euthanize him?
<Difficult to say, but I tend not to euthanise unless the fish is clearly dying/in distress (e.g., breathing heavily). If it's merely weak, I tend to let things be.>
I know he is suffering, but I don't know if there still is a chance to help him. He has tried so hard. I am devastated. I managed to get him onto a silk plant leaf which has been propped up on some rocks so that he can obtain oxygen from the surface. Three-quarters of his body is submerged, and the rest of his body is moist but not completely submerged.
<That's not good. Dry skin is dangerous for fish.>
I hope this helps, but I don't know if he might be too far gone. I forgot to say that 4 days ago I had added 1 tsp aquarium salt to his tank after doing a 50% water change. Thanks, Anastasia.
<Sorry can't offer any great insights here, Neale.>
Re: My Betta is dying    6/23/12

Dear Neale,
Thank you for responding.
Geppetto did pass away very early Thursday morning :-(.
<Too bad.>
I appreciate the insight you were able to offer. He did eat primarily bloodworms, brine shrimp a few times. I tried other foods (not the peas, though) but he was not crazy about them. His appetite was very good until 2 days before he died. I don't know if he did not come to the surface because he was unable to, or because he was not hungry. He tried a few times to get the surface, but was unable to stay there for longer than a few seconds.
<I see.>
While I was very careful about keeping potential toxins away from the aquariums in our previous home, it is possible that this was not the case after the move; we live with family who are unfamiliar with fish. Then again, maybe it was just aging or something inexplicable? Are there cases in which a keeper can do everything correctly and still have a fish become very ill? Perhaps similar to humans who take excellent care of themselves but still die from cancer or other diseases?
<Cancer generally not; cancer is (almost entirely) a problem that happens when cells age, and since most aquarium fish only live 2-20 years depending on the species, benign tumours are rare and true cancer rarer still. But other mysterious ailments, for sure, yes. Incorrect diet shortens the age of many fish, particularly fish that are either herbivores or carnivores and have been offered too much of the wrong stuff. Live feeder fish and some live invertebrates (Tubifex especially) can introduce all sorts of mystery diseases and shouldn't be used. Water chemistry is an issue as well, and things like Neons may live a while in hard water, but rarely live anything like the 4-5 years they can live in soft water. Because Bettas are so widely kept and essentially domesticated animals (wild Bettas look very different) there are few if any mysteries about their care. But sometimes you just have to deal with bad luck -- a Betta that has bad genes, is already quite old, was badly treated or poisoned at some point… whatever! Medications for example are poisons, and even if a Betta is medicated "correctly" and seems to get better, who knows if a mistake was made and damage was done to the internal organs? You get the idea.>
I plan to maintain the aquarium in the event we decide to get another Betta. Can you recommend a good book on Bettas, one that includes advice on how to choose a breeder?
<The International Betta Congress is probably the place to start. They have members all over the world, as well as a forum, and they'd be able to tell you some good breeders and stockists. The SeriouslyFish.com site is another great website and forum run by a chap who really knows his freshwater fish, and keeps (and collects!) lots of interesting species, including Bettas. There are some excellent books on labyrinth fish -- I've got Jorge Vierke's book, and it's an excellent read, even if the translation from the original German is a bit laboured at times.>
If we do get another Betta I want to purchase from a reputable source.
Thanks again,
<Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: My Betta is dying
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for the suggestions and insight. You have provided a lot of information which I know will be extremely helpful.  I really appreciate your taking the time to go into such detail even though Geppetto didn't make it.
Take care,
<Glad to help and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.> 

I need your help, please. Betta hlth.... mixing angels/discus, BR cat... 4/6/12
<Hi there>
My name is Allison,
I've owned fish for quite a while now and have had no issues keeping my aquariums healthy.
Recently I took a female Betta from my older sister because she was not keeping good care of her, (no water changes, friends adding beer into the fish bowl)
<... Yikes!>
I've kept her in a 1.5 gallon tank with a air pump- driven filter (not sure of the name), but I have not been able to buy a small heater for her.
<Do need one>
It's been about 4-5 weeks and she has developed what almost looks like a hernia,
<I see this>
She eats, and acts normal for the most part.
I change her water daily, and have added Melafix (anti fungal) with no change.
<Of no use. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseBloatF.htm>
I would really hate to see her die this way,
I've attached a photo, if it isn't already shown.
I was wondering if perhaps putting her in the heated aquarium would help,
<It would>
(55 gallon, 2 angelfish, 1 Columbian catfish, 1 tiger Pleco, 1 Farlowella)
<Mmm, not w/ the Angels, nor the Cat... better to add a heater to the small system, and Epsom Salt. Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
but I wouldn't want any bullying going on,
<Me neither>
my angels have bred but they're not very aggressive at all even while caring for their eggs.
Please help me and let me know what I can do for her.
<The heater and Epsom>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

I need your help, please. /Neale 4/6/12
(55 gallon, 2 angelfish, 1 Columbian catfish, 1 tiger Pleco, 1 Farlowella)
<<Would add that the Colombian Catfish is a brackish/marine species, and cannot be kept in a freshwater system. Will surely die kept in such indefinitely.
Cheers, Neale (in hotel lobby, with unexpected time on his hands.

Re: I need your help, please. Re Colombian Cats 4/9/12
I'm rehoming him in a few weeks. the store I purchased him from told me he was freshwater.
My stupidity to believe them and not do my normal research.
<Good to hear they're finding a new, more appropriate home. Superb animals, and wonderful pets, and very easy to keep. It's a shame they're sold under false pretences so often. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need your help, please. And mixing Angels and Discus 4/6/12
Thank you,
I put in a heater and the salt as well after receiving this,
the "hernia" has grown larger over night,
I will email back if the heater doesn't help...
Hopefully we can get this solved!
I also had another question because I keep getting mixed answers everywhere.
I've seen people keeping Angels and freshwater Discus together,
<Not generally a good mix... The Angels can/do become much more aggressive, hog foods...>
but I've also heard that angels carry some type of disease or parasite that can be fatal for Discus,
<An olde myth that I used to circulate as well (Octomita/Hexamita)>
and they shouldn't be kept together.
What is your opinion on this?
I love both fish and would like to keep them together, But it's $20 for a Discus around where I live and I certainly would not like to waste that kind of money and a poorly thought out mistake.
Thanks again.
<Better by far to keep separately. BobF>

Re: I need your help, please.... Mixing Angels/Symphysodon... and Betta hlth.... 4/9/12
thanks for the input.
I guess I'll wait on the discus for a few years until I have no angels left.
(that'll be a long time! haha)
<How about another system, eh?>
It's only been 4 days since I brought my problem with the Betta to you.
I'm not expecting fast results but s he has not gotten any better.
<Takes time...>
She doesn't act strange though, still eating and what not.
But is there a chance this is a really horrendous case of bloat?
<Of what cause/s?>
This is my first Betta, I usually keep and breed angels, and I've heard they can become constipated,
<Yes... the same olde possibilities of relief... Epsom, laxative foods, improved environment...>
Would it look something like what she has?
<Possibly... use the search tool on WWM re these terms, this species...

Re: I need your help, please.   4/10/12
I cannot afford to buy another tank right now  sadly.
Or else I would've quite a while ago.
Can always take more tanks. (:
I 2 other 55 gallons but one has African cichlids, and the other houses 2 small Oscars.
So I don't have anywhere to put those fish to clear room for a discus tank, but I'd love to, I'll just gaze at other peoples' tanks.
<Ahh! Or visit aquariums, perhaps volunteer...>
and thanks for the tip.
although the search is a little hard to navigate on the website...
<How would you improve the search, navigability?>
I'm smart, I'm sure I can figure it out.
<Cheers, BobF>

Brand new Betta with too much energy, no info. or reading 2/1/12
Hello WWM crew, I purchased a new delta tail Betta today and put him in a 10 gallon tank all to himself. Usually my Bettas calm down after an hour or two after being added to their new home, but this little boy is a different story. I placed him in the tank 7 hours ago and he is not acting right at all. He twitches for a moment then bolts across the tank, kicking up the gravel even. I can hear it hitting the side of the tank.
<... is this tank cycled?>
The water is fine and I acclimated him before putting him in his new home. I at first thought it was pent up energy from having to stay in that cup for so long, but now I'm worried about him. I'm afraid he is going to hurt himself.
<... Need data... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta fish swimming sideways 1/31/12
My Betta has been eating good <well>. Then he started to swim and lay sideways on the top of the tank.
In doing searches on the web it seems that he is constipated. He still is hungry and i gave him a few pieces of a pea. It doesn't seem to have helped. Should i do an epson salt bath. Is it safe for him.
<Epsom... see WWM re. Is safe. Bob Fenner>

sick Betta fish :(, rdg. 1/19/12
Hi! My name is Andie and I recently brought home 2 Betta fish to my dorm room. They are both in their own tanks and can't see each other. The first one, Munch, is in a 1 gallon tank and has a small water heater that maintains the temp at 78 degrees. There is also a small pineapple house (as in SpongeBob).
<Do be careful w/ such decor... Bettas sometimes get stuck in them... and drown>
He was fine when I first brought him home but since has developed redness and swelling under his gill cover. His movements are jerky and fast. I'm wondering if this may have been due to a water change from last weekend?
I wasn't sure how to do it and I fear it was pretty traumatic for him. Is there any way for him to recover from this?
<Yes... Please read here:
and the linked files above... There's not a great deal to know and practice re the keeping of this fish, but they do have specific requirements. As you'll learn, they are quite often killed off prematurely due to a lack of these simple needs. Bob Fenner>

Sickly Betta 11/25/11
Good afternoon WWM Crew,
<Now AM here Steph. Howsit?>
First, thank you for providing and maintaining such an excellent resource on the web. I've found information on your site for all of my previous questions, but haven't found anything fully applicable this time around. So after extensive reading, I'm writing you with yet another Betta question in hopes that you might be able to help.
Here's some contextual information:
I purchased my male half-moon Betta in June 2011. He has been kept in a 7 gallon aquarium since I brought him home. The tank is heated to 80 degrees with a submersible heater, has a small hang-on-back filter running on the lowest setting, and an in-canopy light set on a timer (it's on for 8 hours a day). The tank was cycled before I put him in, and has a small-grade, smooth river gravel substrate. There is a mix of porcelain ornaments, plastic plants, and a fast-growing live plant in there (I don't know what it's called, but the stems are covered in short, narrow blades from base to tip and the plant spreads across the water surface -- I wanted something to break up the water re-entering the tank from the filter). Ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate is less than 10ppm, pH is 7.0, and I test them once or twice a week. I do water changes weekly, alternating between 30 and 50%, and use water conditioner with each change (the water temperature of the new water is the same as the tank temperature, verified with the tank thermometer). When I first introduced the Betta to the tank there was a 3-year-old clown Pleco (2 inches long) living in the tank, but after a couple of months of intermittent 'not getting along' (they both seemed to want to hang out in the same ornament, regardless of how many other ornaments were unoccupied, and would attempt to intimidate the other without actually touching each other) I relocated the clown Pleco to my 30 gallon community tank so they'd both be able to live in peace. The Betta is fed every other day with freeze-dried blood worms, which until recently he ate voraciously.
<Mmm, the only "thing" that appears of concern to me is the use of the FD bloodworms. These have proven problematical in recent years>
The situation:
Approximately five weeks ago, my Betta started to act and look sickly.
He began to spend long periods of time on the bottom 'lounging,' he became less interested in food, and his colours paled slightly. After a couple of days, I noticed the edges of his dorsal fin and tail looked ragged and there were a few small patches of white fuzz on the edges as well. His eyes started to pop out and they got a bit of a milky-grey sheen to them. As I was going out of town for the next two nights and my LFS was closed for the holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) I did some research and used what I had on hand - I did a 50% water change and left the water level a little lower so he could swim to the surface more easily, raised the temperature up to 84 degrees, turned off the filter,
<Don't do this>
added a few teaspoons of Epsom salt, and put the appropriate dose of "Jungle Buddies Fungus Clear" in the water. When I came back two days later he looked a little better and was much more active. I did another 50% water change (since the filter was off) and went to my LFS the next day. After describing his symptoms, the manager gave me some erythromycin and directions for treating him for 6 days. I went home and did a full water change before adding the erythromycin and salt again, and restarted the filter (to help keep the water aerated more than anything else). By the end of the 6 days of medication the Betta's eyes were less bulging and there was no sign of fungus anywhere. He was more active and eating a bit again. I did another full water change, and restarted the filter with some carbon to get any lingering medication out of the water before re-cycling the tank (with seeding from my other tank and Seachem's Stability product). I've continued to use regular aquarium salt, though only at approx. one teaspoon for the tank volume. Since the erythromycin improvement, he has still not returned to his usual activity levels, does not eat as much or as vigorously, and his colouration is still duller than it was. His fins aren't getting shorter but they don't seem to be growing out at all either, and his eyes are still not as clear as they were before he got sick. Over the last week he has only eaten once, and spends all of his time on the bottom of the tank.
Yesterday he started to curl his body into a C shape when resting on the bottom (I've never seen him do that before), and when he swims it looks like he is holding his head up higher than the rest of his body (in an awkward, strained fashion). He looks thinner, and his forehead seems more pronounced than it did before (though perhaps it's because the length of his body looks thinner?). This morning I tried to coax him to eat some food by defrosting from frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp, etc (usually they are a hit) but he wouldn't come to the surface, even after turning off the filter for a few minutes to eliminate all water movement. There are no signs of fungus, patches, or raised scales, and his gills are the same colour they've always been. His respiration rate looked a little fast this morning but he was alert enough to notice my fingers near the side of the tank where he was resting.
So here are my questions: What can I do to improve his health?
<Enlarge the diet; even give up on the bloodworm/insect larvae, and pre-treat and store change-out water between uses. I don't think your Betta has or had a biological disease... so no treatments are advised>
Does this sound like any particular disease or sickness to you?
<Nutritional/deficiency and possibly environmental (some aspect of new water)>
And would you recommend changing anything about how I've been caring for him?
<Just the change-out water>
If a photograph would help, I'll send one in--just let me know.
<Not necessary or useful>
Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy letter!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sickly Betta 12/3/11

An update on my Betta
Hi WWM Crew,
Special thanks to Bob Fenner for the promptly provided advice. Sadly, it may have come too late; despite switching to Hikari Betta Gold bites and aged water immediately, my Betta still didn't make it.
Perhaps I'll re-do (clean, cycle) the tank and try again some time in the future...
Thank you again.
<Thank you for this follow up. BobF>

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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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