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FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 35

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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,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success

Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sick Betta (RMF, any better guesses?)<<None>>    4/21/18
Thank you for the opportunity to ask you about my sick Betta. I have a female Betta that has developed a whitish film first on her sides and now on the top of her head and gill plates. She has a good appetite, puts
forward enthusiasm when she sees me, but otherwise is not herself, depressed and not swimming around as usual, she is not flashing or scratching, her fins are clamped most of the time. She is in an established, filtered, heated bare bottom tank (I think it's a 3 gal) with weekly water changes. There is an air bubbler and two live plants in the tank. The film on her seems flat not real poufy or cottony and as far as I can tell does not seem slimy, it's just a film that I know is not normal.
She holds her anal fins close to her body. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Tina
<Hello Tina. Assuming good water quality and adequate heat, and no evidence of classic Whitespot (such as salt grain speckles and persistent scratching), my mind is turning towards Costia, sometimes called Slime Disease or Ichthyobodo. It's relatively easy to treat if caught early, but can become more stubborn with time. It's a protozoan parasite a bit like Whitespot that causes the skin to become cloudy with mucous. Often the cloudiness surrounds the scales, almost like mortar around bricks.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/CostiaF.htm
Many anti-Whitespot medications will work against Costia (I like eSHa 2000) but more often than not a second course is needed because Costia does seem to be quite stubborn and difficult to shift. The classic remedy was
formalin, but that's somewhat less widely used nowadays because it can be toxic, to both fish and aquarist! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: sick Betta (RMF, any better guesses?) <<Nothing more>>   4/23/18
Thank you for your quick response. I have attached a few pictures, I hope they aren't too big. If Betta does have Costia will Seachem "Para Guard" be effective? Thank you again! Tina
<Paraguard should work, being marketed as useful against ectoparasites, but I've not tried this particular approach, and Seachem are a little vague on specifics! Since it doesn't contain either copper or formalin, the two best treatments for Costia, it wouldn't be my first choice.
But definitely worth a shot, especially alongside elevated temperatures and/or salt water dips.
Costia struggles to survive at temperatures above 28 C/86 F, which Bettas can easily handle.
Dipping fish for short periods in seawater (35 gram sea salt/litre aquarium water) can help to shift the mucous and kill some of the parasites. Bettas aren't particularly tolerant of salt, so I'd use this with the usual caution of removing the fish at the first sign of distress.
The longer the exposure to salt, the better -- so obviously this approach is especially well suited to those fish that handle seawater well, such as Guppies and Mollies. Nonetheless, anti-Whitespot medications of all sorts, used on their own, should shift Costia, but as I've said before, it may require several treatments because Costia is a stubborn little critter!
Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Health Question    4/13/18
Hello Bob and WWM Crew!
<Greetings Jen>
I have been experiencing some issues with my Betta fish. I have 12 of them, and from time to time a few of them have exhibited symptoms where they have trouble swimming and balancing.
<Unusual behavior>
This has occurred in several different tanks with several different fish. Most recently it happened in a 2 gallon tank that had been setup for 3 1/2 weeks, when I added my established Betta to the tank, within a day he was having trouble swimming and balancing. I checked the water parameters (PH 8.1,
<Better for Bettas to be in neutral, soft/er water... a pH of 7.0 or so.
The pH scale is a base 10 log... so 8 is ten times more hydrogen ions (or ten less OH) than 7; a big difference. Do see WWM re pH control>
Ammonia .25,
<Mmm; this needs to be and stay 0.0 ppm; ammonia is even more toxic at high/er pH>

NO2 0,
NO3 10, I try to maintain temp around 77). The tank has a few live plants and fish safe gravel, and a filter with activated carbon. Here is the strange thing; when I remove the Betta to a cup (the cup they are in when purchased from the store) in the same water from the tank, within minutes to an hour, they are swimming perfectly normal, which leads me to believe it is not caused from the water, as I realize the PH is slightly elevated
and there is trace ammonia present. I am so frustrated trying to figure out why the Betta exhibits these symptoms in the tank, but when removed from the tank and placed in a cup, they almost instantly improve?
<Does seem strange>
I am hoping you might have some insight and suggestions for me, I have scoured your articles and FAQ's and couldn't find anything similar to this issue.
Please help!!
Sincerely,
Lizzy M.
<Do you have other fish species? Are they similarly disoriented? Do the tanks have gravel, that is, something other than a reflective bottom... ?
I'd do what you can to make the water quality better for now. Bob Fenner>

Super Delta Betta Fin Spot/RMF     4/9/18
Dear Wet Web Media,
<Hello Jacob>
I have read many of your threads on Betta diseases, but have been unable to find anything that matched my Betta’s current predicament.
I had kept my Betta in a 2gal tank for ~6months, about a month ago I had noticed the development of a white spot on his ventral fin. Initially I attempted to treat it with API Bettafix (a natural treatment for bacterial infections in Betta fish) which contained 0.2% melaleuca.
<Of no use>
After not seeing any improvement I tried using API Super Ick Cure, which contains 1% PVP.
<Ditto>
This also did not seem to rid of the white growth. In the past two weeks I transferred the Betta into a 5gal tank and have run a course of API Fungus Cure, which contains Acriflavine. Despite these numerous attempts, this white spot still remains.
The Betta is behaving normally and is eating well. The tank temperature is a suitable 80 degrees F. I have included photographs of the white growth that has split the Betta's ventral fin (note: the water is. Yellow from the Victoria Green B in the fungal treatment). The tank is regularly aerated and filtered. The Betta lives only with a Marimo moss ball as company.
Let me know if there are any other variables to consider and what the best course of action would be to keep my Betta alive and well
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Thank you,
Jacob Lasci
<Very unusual to state, but your images are too small to see what you're referring to. But I will state, as you mention your fish is fine other than the split fin, I would not be concerned re the spot. Do send along a larger pic file if you'd like/will otherwise, and cease these treatments. They are more harmful than of use. Bob Fenner>
Super Delta Betta Fin Spot/Neale      4/9/18

Dear Wet Web Media,
<Hello Jacob,>
I have read many of your threads on Betta diseases, but have been unable to find anything that matched my Betta’s current predicament.
<Oh?>
I had kept my Betta in a 2gal tank for ~6months, about a month ago I had noticed the development of a white spot on his ventral fin. Initially I attempted to treat it with API Bettafix (a natural treatment for bacterial infections in Betta fish) which contained 0.2% melaleuca.
<These tea-tree oil products are not reliable; perhaps even harmful in some situations.>
After not seeing any improvement I tried using API Super Ick Cure, which contains 1%PVP.
<While a better choice of medication, a single white spot is unlikely to be Whitespot/Ick, so this medication probably wasn't going to be helpful.>
This also did not seem to rid of the white growth.
<Indeed.>
In the past two weeks I transferred the Betta into a 5gal tank and have run a course of API Fungus Cure, which contains Acriflavine.
<Again, you're not dealing with a fungus, which can be characterised by its cotton wool appearance.>
Despite these numerous attempts, this white spot still remains.
<Quite so; when it comes to using medications, much better to identify the problem first, and then apply the right medication. The scattergun approach to medicating sometimes 'gets lucky' but isn't really an economical or useful way to approach things.>
The Betta is behaving normally and is eating well.
<Good.>
The tank temperature is a suitable 80 degrees F.
<And water chemistry? Water quality?>
I have included photographs of the white growth that has split the Betta's ventral fin (note: the water is. Yellow from the Victoria Green B in the fungal treatment). The tank is regularly aerated and filtered.
<Good.>
The Betta lives only with a Marimo moss ball as company.
<Also good.>
Let me know if there are any other variables to consider and what the best course of action would be to keep my Betta alive and well
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Thank you,
Jacob
<While I'm going to ask Bob Fenner for a second opinion here, my gut reaction is that this is a typical cyst or tumour of the sort frequently seen on Bettas. These are not necessarily malign or even fast growing, and many Bettas have them for life. While Bettas can get Whitespot and Velvet, these are usually easily diagnosed by the salt grain (Whitespot) or icing sugar (Velvet) dusting presented by them. Glugea is another parasite that produces small cysts on the body, but these spread quickly and have a very dramatic appearance, like round nodules 1mm or more in diameter. Anabantids are subject to Glugea, but it's rarely seen outside of wild-caught fish. Lymphocystis is one last consideration, a typical viral infection for fish that presents itself as off-white growths on the skin. It's untreatable, but rarely fatal, and usually develops very slowly, and then fades away even more slowly, if at all. Having dispensed with these, the various cysts and tumours that Bettas are prone to may be a result of inbreeding over the years, and appear as pimples on the body where the pale skin pushes out between the scales. These cysts are often small and discrete, but may, in more severe cases, be part of a larger swelling within the muscles or even the abdomen. Obviously these are unsightly, but if the cysts are small and away from anywhere important, i.e., not blocking the vent or gills, then the cyst does no harm. It may fade in time, but usually doesn't. Some aquarists suggest there's an environmental or dietary triggering factor that causes them. Bear in mind as air-breathers they're more exposed to toxins in the air, such as solvents and paint fumes, than regular fish, so they may be exposed to a lot more risk factors than we'd expect for a fish. Others put the cysts and tumours down to bad genes. Hard to say. But the benign cysts are very common in Bettas, and to a lesser degree, so are truly malign tumours that spread and kill the Betta quite quickly. Not much to be done with either, beyond good aquarium maintenance. Cheers, Neale.>

full size pix

Re: Super Delta Betta Fin Spot (Bob, second opinion?). Comp.     4/10/18
<<Nothing more to add. B>>
Thank you very much for the wise words Neale.
<Most welcome.>
I have been keeping up with weekly water chemistry tests (using paper strips). Everything has been within the recommended guidelines for Bettas.
<Ah, that's good to hear.>
Sorry to bother you again, but I have a follow up question. Is it a bad idea to get the Betta a few tank mates?
<Yes and no! More specifically, farmed long-fin Bettas are miles away from their wild ancestors, and find it difficult to interact with other fish, whether competing for food or backing off from territorial aggression. So yes, it's a bad idea to casually mix Bettas with community fish because they're at a real risk of starving or getting damaged. However, there are fish that simply ignore Bettas, and conversely, Bettas ignore them. Benthic
fish are particularly good choices in this regard. Given sufficient space, I'm sure you would do fine with the smaller Corydoras species, Whiptail cats and Bristlenose cats. With a bit of luck, perhaps even very peaceful
schooling fish like Ricefish and Dwarf Rasboras.>
He is in a 5gal aquarium now.
<That's your limiting factor though: few, if any, community fish would be happy in a tank this small.>
I have read articles suggesting that neon or ember tetras, loaches, rasboras, and some Plecos make for suitable tank mates.
<Quite possibly. When it comes to Plecs for example, yes, anything goes because they don't view fish as food, and even the most psychotic Betta isn't going to have any impact whatsoever on these heavily armoured
catfish. Tetras, loaches, and so on are more of a gamble because these sometimes harass Bettas, nip them, or steal their food. So the default advice is, apart from Loricariidae, keep Bettas away from other fish UNLESS
you are sure the combination will work.>
All the best,
Jacob
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta sorority blues ... Mysterious female Betta losses     4/9/18
Hi there WWM folks …
I am an avid (freshwater) aquarist with an addiction to all things aquatic (~20 or so tanks running at any given time), but these Betta girls are giving me a heck of a time!
<Oh?>
I recently decided to break up one of my Acara breeding pairs due to that all-too-common “way too many darned babies to grow out” disease, which left me with an empty, well-established, moderately-planted tank to play with.
<Understood!>
While shopping for filter media at the local big-box store, a handful of nice-looking female Bettas caught my eye, and I ended up bringing home six of them that appeared healthy to attempt my first sorority. I drip-acclimated them over the course of an hour, then netted them out of those horrid cups they’re sold in and added them all at the same time. After watching them for about an hour to assure that no undue bullying was happening (mature Anubias do wonders for breaking line of sight!), I turned the lights out to let them rest. I don’t know if the variety matters, but there was one crown tail, one Dumbo ear, and four veiltail.
<Some people do report different aggression levels in some varieties, but I don't think it's a particularly significant factor.>
Tank parameters when the fish were added were pH 7.2, dH 4, 0 ammonia/nitrite, and 5 ppm nitrate (I usually keep NO3 around 15-20 for the plants, but when adding new fish I like to keep it a bit lower).
<All sounds fine.>
The tank had been given a 50% water change and deep gravel vacuum after its former occupants were moved, and had been empty for less than 8 hours before the fish were added. It is filtered with a 200 gph HOB filter and heated to a constant 25C. I also tossed in a few (3-5) small catalpa leaves because I planned to add a small school of Otocinclus once my LFS got them back in stock.
<Right.>
When I awoke the next morning all of the poor girls were recently deceased — and I say ‘recently' because 1) they had been added less than 12 hours earlier, and 2) the tank parameters were STILL fine (0 ammonia/nitrite, although nitrate had inched up a bit to between 10 and 20 ppm). 5 of the 6 had no visible signs of disease (other than being dead, that is!) and the last, who had wedged herself under a piece of wood and thus took me the longest to find, was covered in white fuzz.
<Oh dear. White fuzz, if distinctly fluffy, is usually fungus. Columnaris, or Mouth Fungus, tends to be less like threads and more like slimy patches or spots, though with more three-dimensional depth than typical Finrot. They are difficult to tell apart to be sure, but true Fungus usually has that cotton wool appearance that Columnaris lacks.>
The rapid decimation of the livestock coupled with the white fuzz caused me to suspect Columnaris, so I gravel vac’d and drained the tank completely, refilled, and nuked the system with Kanamycin + Nitrofurazone according to the package directions.
<Understood. But I would be aware of the fact Columnaris, as well as Finrot and Fungus, are to a great extent triggered by environmental stress. Water changes are not a bad idea, of course, provided inbound water chemistry matches that of the water being taken out. Similarly, taking apart a tank for a deep clean is fine, but only if you keep the filter working 100%.>
Once the treatment was complete, I vacuumed, drained, refilled, and re-cycled the tank with plain ammonia.
<Was the tank cycled before the Bettas were added? If so, and assuming you kept the filter media alive while cleaning the tank, adding ammonia was not required here, and potentially another source of water pollution.>
I then added a trio of panda corys that had been hanging out in my albino Cory breeding tank just to keep the nitrifying bacteria fed.
<Okay; but do bear in mind these catfish don't like very warm water, whereas Bettas do, so while 25 C/77 F might suit both, it's at the top end of what C. panda approves of.>
About a week later, being a glutton for punishment, I decided to give the sorority another go.
<How were the Corydoras? What were the ammonia and/or nitrite readings at this point? I would NOT be adding additional fish to this tank without knowing that the (re-)cycling process of your aquarium was complete, and that the initial batch of fish (i.e., the catfish) were thriving.>
This time, I bought eight veiltail juveniles (~2 cm) from a different store, figuring that the correspondingly lower bioload couldn’t hurt and letting the fish grow up together might keep bullying to a minimum.
<Yes.>
I removed the corys (who were, and still are, healthy), drip-acclimated the Bettas as before, and added them to the tank with virtually the same parameters as above.
<Understood.>
By the next morning, I had lost two of the eight; not good, but not as bad as before. Once again, the dead fish had no visible signs of significant damage or disease and water parameters were normal as above. A day later, I was down to three (water still fine!); and the next day only two remained. Again, no marks on the bodies, and the survivors were behaving normally and appeared healthy. I am hoping that they will remain so tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath.
What am I doing wrong? Is there some secret to Betta sororities that I am missing?
<I would first try and establish if the water chemistry in your tank is very different to that of the pet store. If one has soft water and the other hard, that can be an issue. Similarly, is your tank similar in terms of temperature and water current strength? I'd probably let the new tank settle for another couple of weeks before adding any more fish. Let's be sure the tank is settled. I would not be adding any medicine -- unless the Corydoras panda got sick -- but instead focus on optimising living conditions. Remember, Fungus, Finrot and likely Columnaris are sitting about in all fish tanks, but only become dangerous when fish are damaged or stressed. It's not like you can eliminate them from your aquarium permanently. Their spores are in the air, and on plants and new fish, and eventually will find their way into your tank, even after using antibiotics.>
Should I just treat the tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic when I add them, as a preventative? Please help!
<See above.>
Thanks in advance,
Linda
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Betta sorority blues ...     4/10/18

Hello again Neale, and thank you for the quick reply!
<No problem.>
I have to apologize for my previous email … it was written while I was up past my bedtime, distraught from finding dead fish. After re-reading it with your reply this morning, I realized that I’d somehow forgotten to include even the tank volume ... talk about scatterbrained! Anyway, I think I wasn’t completely clear about some of the details initially. I re-cycled the (empty) tank with ammonia after the first round of Bettas died, because the combination of Kanamycin + Nitrofurazone pretty much crippled my biological filter (I left the bio media in during treatment because I wanted to make sure that none of the nasty bugs were hiding out in the filter).
<The thing with most of these opportunistic bacterial infections is that you can't really eliminate them from the system, any more than antibiotics eliminate bacteria from our homes, cars, workplaces, etc. All the medication is meant to do is kill the bacteria inside the sick fish, or at least slow them down enough the fish's own immune system can kick in. For sure the bacteria should be killed off in the aquarium, and perhaps the filter too, but the various Aeromonas and Pseudomonas species would be back in no time at all. Ideally, you'd remove sick fish to a hospital tank with a chemical filter (i.e., Zeolite/ammonia remover in an air-powered box filter or similar) so that could treat the fish without stressing the filter bacteria. But failing that, you can remove some filter media to a bucket and leave it there, warm and wet, until such time as it could be put back into the main aquarium AFTER you'd finished with the medication. That said, many aquarium medications are filter-safe, if used correctly. As you probably know, not all antibiotics work against all bacteria (or else we'd only need to use penicillin in all of medical science!) so the manufacturers choose antibiotics or antibacterials that don't seriously affect the filter bacteria.>
I only removed the (filter floss + carbon) cartridge because it would have adsorbed the meds.
<Correct; carbon would be unhelpful here.>
It took about a week of dosing ammonia before the filter was back up to capacity, and I replaced the filter cartridge with a new one at this point. The corys were added in as ‘placeholders’ for a week or so just to keep the bacteria fed, and removed once the new Bettas were added because I was essentially quarantining the Bettas in their display tank. Thanks for the info about C. panda, by the way … I guess I’ll have to stick to C. aeneus once I get the tank stabilized ...
<Corydoras aeneus and Corydoras panda are the same so far as temperature goes, 22-25 C being ideal; of the widely traded Corydoras species, Corydoras sterbai is the only real 'hothouse flower' seen, doing well between 24-28 C, hence its moniker as 'the Discus aquarium Cory'. The somewhat bigger Brochis species are tolerant of warmer water, too.>
I am happy to report that my two surviving ladies are still with us, and so far they appear healthy; eating and swimming normally, no signs of distress or disease.
<Good news.>
Tank parameters as of this morning were as follows:
US 29 gallon, 25 C, pH 7.2, dH 5, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate ~5 ppm.
<Sounds good.>
As far as how my parameters and temp/current strength compare to the pet store conditions, these ladies were packaged in unheated cups like their male counterparts — I did test the pH in the cups before adding them, and all were between 7.0 and 7.4. I didn’t take the temperature, but I’d guess that room temperature in the store was about 22-23 C, whereas my house runs about 25 C. As far as current, the turnover is a bit over 6 times/hr and I keep the water line fairly high so that the current doesn’t penetrate too deeply below the surface (also so the filter doesn’t make a huge racket). I could definitely add a sponge over the intake to slow the current a bit, if you think it would help.
<If the Bettas seem to be struggling, then diffusing the outflow of water might well be useful -- directing the outflow at the glass wall of the tank or through a spray bar can help. I wouldn't block the inlet unless that was the only option -- forcing the filter to work harder than it's designed to could shorten its life.>
The current is fairly strong right under the filter output but they aren’t being blown around the tank or anything.
<Which sounds fine.>
The fish were drip-acclimated to the tank water over the course of about an hour since they couldn’t really be ‘floated’ in a cup. I will definitely check the gH of the store water next time just in case they are using liquid rock (definitely a possibility around here, if they are using tap water), as my water tends to be fairly soft.
<Definitely a consideration.>
What would be a reasonable time frame over which to acclimate any new fish (in a separate quarantine tank) to a lower gH with water changes?
<Really hard to say. Some scientists reckon such adaptation actually takes days, if not weeks. Certainly if at all possible, I'd have the new livestock in a tank of their own with tap water similar to the retailer, and then do, say, 20% water changes each day, until the end of the week, by which time any differences between the quarantine tank and your own would be trivial. Alternatively, and perhaps more practical if you don't have a quarantine tank, is to adjust the main tank to close to tap water across one week, add new livestock, and then adjust it back again over the following week. Of course you'd now be exposing any existing fish to a water chemistry change, but done slowly this isn't necessarily beyond what they're evolved to handle. So not ideal, but better than flinging in fish from one set of conditions to another if you suspect the water chemistry change is severe.>
Further, should I add new fish one at a time or try to do it as a group (again, after a reasonable quarantine period) like before?
<Oh, I'd stick to adding two one week, two the next week, that sort of thing.>
Cheers,
Linda
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick Betta. No data    4/4/18
I just noticed my Betta fish has this sore on his side. I’m not sure what’s wrong and it seems to have just appeared. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
<Your file is an order of magnitude too large, and you've presented no data re the system, water quality tests, tankmates, the history of your having this animal. Send useful information. This appears to be a trauma; but from what? Bob Fenner>
-Jordan

Betta Erratic Behavior     3/22/18
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have a beautiful Pure White Dumbo Ear HMPK Betta, that I plan to breed soon. I have had him for 3 months, he swam calmly until now. Now he dashes around the tank when he wants to air and
then he dashes back to the bottom or into the java moss just to hide there until he needs air again. I have been feeding him medicated food now. I have recently changed his diet to frozen bloodworms from pellets to
condition him.
<I am not a fan of bloodworms, sewer fly larvae. There are a few companies that do a good job of cleaning (e.g. Hikari), but there have been many reports of troubles with their use. I'd switch to another food; perhaps Tubificid worms>
I do have the female in a breeder box, but I had her in it since I got them 3 months ago and he had normal behavior until now. I have had her in there for that long due to failed breeding attempt about a month ago. The nitrogen levels are fine, pH level is fine and temp is at 80. The temp did spike to 83 in a period of 2 weeks, but I was able to lower it back to 80 overnight. I don't know what is wrong, it might be the female in the breeder box? Or the temp?
<I don't suspect either the female, nor this small upward change in temperature are at play here. Again, all I'd do is switch the food. Use the search tool on WWM re "Bloodworms" for more>
Please help and thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior     3/23/18

Ok, it is Omega One Blood Worms, but I will switch as he does have trouble eating it.
<Good>
Will Frozen Black worms work?
<Yes; when I was much younger, I worked at a Betta (splendens) breeding, rearing facility. We fed black worms extensively; including for bringing breeders into conditioning>
I heard they're great as long they're not live. Are there any other frozen foods you would recommend to condition Bettas for breeding?
<Yes; Brine Shrimp/Artemia, Daphnia, Cyclops...>
I just have bloodworms because I use it to feed my Butterflyfish and Moorish idol. Works great for them, but didn't
know it was bad for Bettas.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18

So my Betta seems to be getting worse. He just stays at the bottom. He dashes to the surface to breathe and then drifts to the bottom. His fins are clamped, nothing wrong with scales. He won't eat anymore, not even live black worms nor medicated flakes. What is going on? I think this happened ever since I fed blood worms, which I just started feeding last week, but I am not sure. Do you have an idea what's going on?
<Perhaps something awry with the fish's nervous system; could be a parasite at play... Only time can tell. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18

What can I do for now?
<Perhaps raise the water temp. to the mid 80's>
I do really care for him as he is certainly special.
He did eat a black worm. I plan to starve him for like 5 days to make sure he clears his digestive system, is that ok?
<I'd only go w/o feeding for three days>
Thank you for replying.
<Welcome. BobF>

New male Betta with one spot     3/22/18
Hi y'all, I have a male Betta that has been in a three and a half gallon quarantine tank for about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I just noticed, because I just purchased a magnifying glass, a little spot on a lower fin and it shows through on the other side. I don't know if this is Ick or something that has been there all along and I just now noticed it. I'm sending 2 pictures,
one from each side; what do y'all think? TIA!
<Not ich, white spot disease, but a sort of "blemish" I have seen/encountered many times.
It may well persist for the life of this fish, but is not dangerous, nor catching for others. Bob Fenner>
New male Betta with one spot, additional     3/22/18

Because I know you will want to know, he is in a heated filtered Aquarium.
The temperature was about 77 now it's up to almost 82.
<Ah yes; had looked at this msg. before responding to the first. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: New male Betta with one spot     3/22/18
Thank you! You all need to have the award for the fastest turnaround time for questions answered.
<Heee! We aim to please. Cheers Barbara. BobF>

New male Betta with one spot /Neale     3/23/18
Hi y'all,
<Howdy.>
I have a male Betta that has been in a three and a half gallon quarantine tank for about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I just noticed, because I just purchased a magnifying glass, a little spot on a lower fin and it shows through on the other side. I don't know if this is Ick...
<Nope.>
...or something that has been there all along and I just now noticed it.
<Possibly, or simply a subcutaneous cyst of some sort. It doesn't seem to have the classic viral 'cauliflower' texture of Lymphocystis, which is good. More than likely it's harmless, if unsightly, given its location on the fin membrane. Sometimes tears in the fins fail to heal properly, and become lumpy-looking. Or it may be genetic, environmental otherwise... hard to say. Assuming the fish is otherwise behaving normally, I'd merely observe from time to time to check it isn't getting bigger. Benign tumours are not unknown in Bettas, but if slow growing, and not obstructing an
essential organ, they pose minimal threat to a fish that doesn't usually live for more than a couple years anyway.>
I'm sending 2 pictures, one from each side; what do y'all think?
Because I know you will want to know, he is in a heated filtered Aquarium.
The temperature was about 77 now it's up to almost 82.
TIA!
<Hope this helps. Will ask for Bob F for his two penny worth, but otherwise, I'd not fret Nice looking fish, by the way! Cheers, Neale.>

A couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18
I’ve had my Betta, Ting Krit, for about 15 months. He’s always been outrageously healthy, building bubble nests, hitting his food like a hungry bass hitting a lure, swimming very actively. He’s in a 5.5 gallon heated, filtered tank with 1 assassin snail I added to deal with a pond snail infestation.. Temperature stable at about 77 degrees, pH stable at 7.0 to 7.2. I check chemicals every week and change out a gallon of water. Ammonia and nitrite always zero, Nitrate less than 5. I used to check KH and GH as well, but they were always stable and not a problem (I checked that with you earlier). I let his water sit in a tank for a week before water changes with a couple of Catappa leaves in it. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a white spot on his left side. He still acts completely healthy. I thought it might just be a normal discoloration. Today, I noticed that the spot is raised, like a wart, and there seems to be one developing on his top, well behind his head. His right side still looks normal; he’s always had a bit of uneven coloring. I’m attaching 2 photos of his right side (one from the top) and one of his left. His tank is growing a bit of algae. He was moved cross-country recently, but I moved him in a large covered tub with his heater plugged into the car plug, so he stayed warm the whole time and water stayed clean. The only change I’ve made in the last 3 months is to start occasionally feeding him some thawed (previously frozen) brine shrimp. Is this something to worry about?
<I don't know specifically what these spots are... Looks too big to be a Protozoan parasite issue... Do you feed live freshwater food/s? If this were my fish I would not treat it with medicine/s, but just provide the good care you detail above and be patient. Hopefully the dots/spots will resolve themselves soon. Bob Fenner>

Fwd: a couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18
One additional bit, the only explanation I can think of. Right before the bump appeared, I was trying to drop a bit of brine shrimp to the Assassin snail. Ting Krit went nuts trying to catch the brine shrimp and shoved himself against the heater in the back of the tank. Could he have burned himself?
<Could have; yes. I am inclined to think these are blobs of body mucus... from physical trauma/s. BobF>
Re: a couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18

Thank you. That was my inclination since this spot doesn’t match anything I can find as a parasite or disease - also he continues to act very, very healthy.
<Ah, good>
I just fed him. He immediately swims to my side of the tank when I approach and he almost grabs the food pellets from my hand these days, Then he spends the next few minutes patrolling the tank hoping I dropped something else. He never rubs against things in his tank as though his side bothers him. Also, I think I imagined the spot on his top, or it is disappearing already - today it looks like no more than his usual uneven coloration.
I never feed live food because I’m too afraid of parasites or disease. I even destroyed the freeze-dried blood worms I’d bought him after my biologist brother explained all the diseases blood worms can transmit and how hard it is to be sure that they are safe.
<Yes; I too am not a fan of these sewer fly larvae>
Ting Krit only gets dried pellets and thawed, frozen brine shrimp.
Thank you again for your time and reassurance. I’m pretty attached to the little guy and want to keep him healthy.
<Glad to share with you. B>

Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning      2/7/18
Hi Crew,
<Kath>
I'm sorry to trouble you,
<Never a bother>
but I could use some help with my sick Betta, Samson. To cover the basics, Samson normally lives in a 5 gallon heated, and cycled tank (had been cycled for 2 years now). Tank gets a 25% water change every week.
<Great so far>
Our tap water here has ammonia in it, so I've been adding Ammo-lock as well as a water conditioner that deals with chlorine and chromomine.
<Chloramine likely>
Two weeks ago I went on vacation, I had someone come in to feed the rodents of the house, and asked them to feed my two Bettas occasionally as well (don't worry, they are in separate tanks).
Long story short, the filter in Samson's tank died while I was gone. I came home to a tank growing grey algae, food sitting on the bottom, and a not so great looking fish. Samson was hanging out right at the top of the tank,
his colour had faded from vibrant red to red with a gray tone to it.
I immediately did a 50% water change, and went out to get a new filter for him. I wanted to buy test strips for ammonia but my LFS was all out. I did buy test strips for Nitrates and Nitrites, both of which read (and continue
to read) 0ppm.
I installed the filter, and did another 30% water change the next day.
Samson perked right up about a day later and his colour came back. I thought the problem was mostly dealt with, as long as I kept up water changes 2x a week.
<Good>
All weekend he seemed fine, then on Monday he suddenly stated acting extremely ill again. His colour faded once more, he started clamping his fins, and he was back to either staying right at the top of the tank, or laying on the bottom. I did another 30% water change, which did not make any difference to his behaviour.
I got home from work today and just did a 100% water change, making sure to scrub out my gravel and silk plants. I know it means restarting my tank, but I was worried that I had missed some of the gray algae and that that
was making him sick.
<I would've done the same>
I swapped the filter media in from my other cycled Betta tank, to speed the cycling process along.
<Good move>
During the tank cleaning, I had set Samson up in a small holding tank, with some Methylene blue added. I've read it can help repair damage from ammonia poisoning. I added him back into his main tank a few hours ago, and so far
all he's done is hide, but he's still not looking great.
<The repair will take time. A few weeks>
The problem is my LFS is STILL out of ammonia test strips, and since Samson is a red fish, I can't determine if he has the red ammonia burns or not.
I've looked him over pretty closely with a flashlight and can't see any obvious signs of a parasite (at least not on the outside). He is still interested in food, just struggling to reach it.
I'm concerned that I've misdiagnosed the problem, or that he got such severe poisoning that he's going to need more help than simple water changes and filtering can fix. I'm also concerned that he's not bouncing back like he
should due to his age. He was full grown when he came to me (he was a rescue) and I've had him just over 2 years.
Any suggestions on how to help him along in recovery? I really appreciate any advice you could give.
Thanks, Kathryn.
<I would continue to do as you are doing; perhaps raise the temperature to the low to mid 80's F. Patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning      2/7/18

Hi Bob,
<Kathryn>
Thank you for the quick response. Just an update, It's been 12 hours since I broke down the tank and cleaned everything. Being put into a holding tank, and then back into the main tank stressed Samson (the Betta) out,
though I tried hard to do it as gently as possible.
My tank parameters at the moment are 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, ph 7, temp of 26.5C, not sure on hardness, but I know we typically do have very hard water here. I still don't know the ammonia amount but I will be checking back at my LFS tonight to see if the test strips came in.
<Okay>
The bad news is he's been hiding for the full 12 hours.
<To be expected... not to worry>
No interest in food at all. I haven't seen him swim around at all either, but when I check on him he has switched hiding places a few times, so he is obviously swimming slightly. He is just laying on the bottom in his various caves and gives no reaction when I come to the tank. I have lots of plants that reach the surface, so he could hang out up top if he wanted too, but he is either too weak to get there, or just prefers to be on the bottom right now.
<The stress of the move...>
The good news is he seems to be breathing easier, it is not laboured at all, he is laying upright, and I think his colour has improved just marginally, it's more red and less grey, but still not back to normal. He is honestly acting like he does when he sleeps, but I've never seen him sleep for 12 hours straight before.
I took a good look after his Methylene blue bath for any signs of staining, to try and identify any cell damage. I couldn't see anything noticeable, but of course I'm no expert and may have missed something.
<Methylene Blue is very safe, mild>

My best guess is that his filter was out for a week while I was gone. So I think the ammonia buildup get pretty bad.
<Could have been>
I do understand if he is going to recover that it's going to take time. I just hate seeing him in distress. I think I need some tough love here, does he have any chance at recovering?
<Sure>
Is there anything else I could be doing to help the process along?
<Not really; no. Just time going by>

I want to give him the best chance I can, but if there really is no hope, I also don't want to prolong his suffering
needlessly.
I really appreciate that you and the rest of the crew take time to answer questions like mine.
Wishing you all the best,
Kathryn
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning   2/15/18

Hi Bob and Crew,
Sorry to trouble you again, but my Betta fish Samson seems to have gotten worse.
<Oh?>
I emailed last week about my sick Betta Samson, who we thought had ammonia poisoning. We got a new test kit and have been checking the water daily.
The ph is between 6.5 and 7, the temperature is 27c, no nitrites or nitrates ever registered. We have ammonia in our tap water (registers at 0.5ppm after adding water conditioner), so we use API AmmoLock.
<If I haven't stated this before, I strongly encourage you to treat and save new/change out water a week or more ahead of use>
We had swapped in the filter from our other cycled Betta tank, which seemed to be working on dealing with the tap water ammonia and were doing 25% water changes daily. For 3 days the fish was doing better. He was still
lethargic
and had a pale colour, but he started eating again and wasn't hiding or clamping his fins at all. He would swim out to see me when I came to the tank, he just needed to have a rest afterwards. He seemed to be on the road to recovery.
Then on Saturday he seemed to be a bit worse, so instead of the daily 25% water changes I'd been doing, I did 30% water changes. On Sunday he started acting very ill again, he would swim to the surface to breathe and not
have the energy to settle himself back down again, instead just falling onto whatever was below him (ending up hanging upside down from a plant at one point). He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't react to anything. I would have
thought he was dead except that his gills were still moving.
With nothing else to try, I set up a 1 gallon hospital tank with Methylene blue and moved him into that. I'm completely at a loss to explain why he has now twice improved and then become much worse very quickly. I would suspect water quality but the tank readings seem great and I had done a complete tank clean and 100% water change the last time he started getting worse. I have another Betta tank set up with the same parameters, same food, and that fish is thriving! Samson's been in the hospital tank for 3 days with 50% water changes. He's now able to sit upright again and decided he was willing to eat a small amount again last night.
I've checked Samson over several times with a flashlight looking for anything that could explain this weird cycle. I can't see any visible deformities, no scratches or scrapes, no broken fins. The only thing I can see that seems wrong is a greenish/brown colour on his tail fin that is not part of his normal colouring (when healthy he was a vibrant red). I've dealt with velvet in tanks before and this doesn't look anything like it to me. I'm not even sure this colouring is a sign of a specific disease or simply a change in colour due to illness.
I was hoping for some help in identifying what could be wrong so that I can begin a targeted treatment instead of just leaving him in Methylene blue and hoping that works. I'm assuming since this started with a broken filter that we are still dealing with ammonia poisoning but also possibly a secondary infection.
List of symptoms that I've seen:
-lethargic
-rapid gill movement (this is a new development in the last few days)
-loss of appetite (this comes and goes)
-struggling to stay upright (this also comes and goes)
-loss of colour
-greenish brown colouring on tail fin
<... nothing jumps out other than stress from all the changes>
Standard symptoms I have not seen:
-No gold specs
-no white growths
-no streaking or dark tissue
-no fin or body rot
-no eye glassing or swelling
-gills are not visibly swollen
-no trouble eating when he wants to eat
-no obvious weight loss
-no body swelling
-no raised scales
-no scrapes, holes or missing scales
-no bleeding
-pooping just fine
Any advice at all would be very much appreciated. I've dealt with sick Betta's before (I used to work in a pet shop that sold Betta's and I treated any that came in sick), but I'm honestly at a loss for what I'm dealing with here.
Thank you,
Kathryn
<I urge patience and caution here against doing anything else... Likely the best course of action is to do nothing further.
Bob Fenner>

A couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18
I’ve had my Betta, Ting Krit, for about 15 months. He’s always been outrageously healthy, building bubble nests, hitting his food like a hungry bass hitting a lure, swimming very actively. He’s in a 5.5 gallon heated, filtered tank with 1 assassin snail I added to deal with a pond snail infestation.. Temperature stable at about 77 degrees, pH stable at 7.0 to 7.2. I check chemicals every week and change out a gallon of water. Ammonia and nitrite always zero, Nitrate less than 5. I used to check KH and GH as well, but they were always stable and not a problem (I checked that with you earlier). I let his water sit in a tank for a week before water changes with a couple of Catappa leaves in it. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a white spot on his left side. He still acts completely healthy. I thought it might just be a normal discoloration. Today, I noticed that the spot is raised, like a wart, and there seems to be one developing on his top, well behind his head. His right side still looks normal; he’s always had a bit of uneven coloring. I’m attaching 2 photos of his right side (one from the top) and one of his left. His tank is growing a bit of algae. He was moved cross-country recently, but I moved him in a large covered tub with his heater plugged into the car plug, so he stayed warm the whole time and water stayed clean. The only change I’ve made in the last 3 months is to start occasionally feeding him some thawed (previously frozen) brine shrimp. Is this something to worry about?
<I don't know specifically what these spots are... Looks too big to be a Protozoan parasite issue... Do you feed live freshwater food/s? If this were my fish I would not treat it with medicine/s, but just provide the good care you detail above and be patient. Hopefully the dots/spots will resolve themselves soon. Bob Fenner>

Fwd: a couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18
One additional bit, the only explanation I can think of. Right before the bump appeared, I was trying to drop a bit of brine shrimp to the Assassin snail. Ting Krit went nuts trying to catch the brine shrimp and shoved himself against the heater in the back of the tank. Could he have burned himself?
<Could have; yes. I am inclined to think these are blobs of body mucus... from physical trauma/s. BobF>
Re: a couple of white bumps on my Betta     2/11/18

Thank you. That was my inclination since this spot doesn’t match anything I can find as a parasite or disease - also he continues to act very, very healthy.
<Ah, good>
I just fed him. He immediately swims to my side of the tank when I approach and he almost grabs the food pellets from my hand these days, Then he spends the next few minutes patrolling the tank hoping I dropped something else. He never rubs against things in his tank as though his side bothers him. Also, I think I imagined the spot on his top, or it is disappearing already - today it looks like no more than his usual uneven coloration.
I never feed live food because I’m too afraid of parasites or disease. I even destroyed the freeze-dried blood worms I’d bought him after my biologist brother explained all the diseases blood worms can transmit and how hard it is to be sure that they are safe.
<Yes; I too am not a fan of these sewer fly larvae>
Ting Krit only gets dried pellets and thawed, frozen brine shrimp.
Thank you again for your time and reassurance. I’m pretty attached to the little guy and want to keep him healthy.
<Glad to share with you. B>

Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning      2/7/18
Hi Crew,
<Kath>
I'm sorry to trouble you,
<Never a bother>
but I could use some help with my sick Betta, Samson. To cover the basics, Samson normally lives in a 5 gallon heated, and cycled tank (had been cycled for 2 years now). Tank gets a 25% water change every week.
<Great so far>
Our tap water here has ammonia in it, so I've been adding Ammo-lock as well as a water conditioner that deals with chlorine and chromomine.
<Chloramine likely>
Two weeks ago I went on vacation, I had someone come in to feed the rodents of the house, and asked them to feed my two Bettas occasionally as well (don't worry, they are in separate tanks).
Long story short, the filter in Samson's tank died while I was gone. I came home to a tank growing grey algae, food sitting on the bottom, and a not so great looking fish. Samson was hanging out right at the top of the tank,
his colour had faded from vibrant red to red with a gray tone to it.
I immediately did a 50% water change, and went out to get a new filter for him. I wanted to buy test strips for ammonia but my LFS was all out. I did buy test strips for Nitrates and Nitrites, both of which read (and continue
to read) 0ppm.
I installed the filter, and did another 30% water change the next day.
Samson perked right up about a day later and his colour came back. I thought the problem was mostly dealt with, as long as I kept up water changes 2x a week.
<Good>
All weekend he seemed fine, then on Monday he suddenly stated acting extremely ill again. His colour faded once more, he started clamping his fins, and he was back to either staying right at the top of the tank, or laying on the bottom. I did another 30% water change, which did not make any difference to his behaviour.
I got home from work today and just did a 100% water change, making sure to scrub out my gravel and silk plants. I know it means restarting my tank, but I was worried that I had missed some of the gray algae and that that
was making him sick.
<I would've done the same>
I swapped the filter media in from my other cycled Betta tank, to speed the cycling process along.
<Good move>
During the tank cleaning, I had set Samson up in a small holding tank, with some Methylene blue added. I've read it can help repair damage from ammonia poisoning. I added him back into his main tank a few hours ago, and so far
all he's done is hide, but he's still not looking great.
<The repair will take time. A few weeks>
The problem is my LFS is STILL out of ammonia test strips, and since Samson is a red fish, I can't determine if he has the red ammonia burns or not.
I've looked him over pretty closely with a flashlight and can't see any obvious signs of a parasite (at least not on the outside). He is still interested in food, just struggling to reach it.
I'm concerned that I've misdiagnosed the problem, or that he got such severe poisoning that he's going to need more help than simple water changes and filtering can fix. I'm also concerned that he's not bouncing back like he
should due to his age. He was full grown when he came to me (he was a rescue) and I've had him just over 2 years.
Any suggestions on how to help him along in recovery? I really appreciate any advice you could give.
Thanks, Kathryn.
<I would continue to do as you are doing; perhaps raise the temperature to the low to mid 80's F. Patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning      2/7/18

Hi Bob,
<Kathryn>
Thank you for the quick response. Just an update, It's been 12 hours since I broke down the tank and cleaned everything. Being put into a holding tank, and then back into the main tank stressed Samson (the Betta) out,
though I tried hard to do it as gently as possible.
My tank parameters at the moment are 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, ph 7, temp of 26.5C, not sure on hardness, but I know we typically do have very hard water here. I still don't know the ammonia amount but I will be checking back at my LFS tonight to see if the test strips came in.
<Okay>
The bad news is he's been hiding for the full 12 hours.
<To be expected... not to worry>
No interest in food at all. I haven't seen him swim around at all either, but when I check on him he has switched hiding places a few times, so he is obviously swimming slightly. He is just laying on the bottom in his various caves and gives no reaction when I come to the tank. I have lots of plants that reach the surface, so he could hang out up top if he wanted too, but he is either too weak to get there, or just prefers to be on the bottom right now.
<The stress of the move...>
The good news is he seems to be breathing easier, it is not laboured at all, he is laying upright, and I think his colour has improved just marginally, it's more red and less grey, but still not back to normal. He is honestly acting like he does when he sleeps, but I've never seen him sleep for 12 hours straight before.
I took a good look after his Methylene blue bath for any signs of staining, to try and identify any cell damage. I couldn't see anything noticeable, but of course I'm no expert and may have missed something.
<Methylene Blue is very safe, mild>

My best guess is that his filter was out for a week while I was gone. So I think the ammonia buildup get pretty bad.
<Could have been>
I do understand if he is going to recover that it's going to take time. I just hate seeing him in distress. I think I need some tough love here, does he have any chance at recovering?
<Sure>
Is there anything else I could be doing to help the process along?
<Not really; no. Just time going by>

I want to give him the best chance I can, but if there really is no hope, I also don't want to prolong his suffering
needlessly.
I really appreciate that you and the rest of the crew take time to answer questions like mine.
Wishing you all the best,
Kathryn
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Saving Betta from possible Ammonia Poisoning   2/15/18

Hi Bob and Crew,
Sorry to trouble you again, but my Betta fish Samson seems to have gotten worse.
<Oh?>
I emailed last week about my sick Betta Samson, who we thought had ammonia poisoning. We got a new test kit and have been checking the water daily.
The ph is between 6.5 and 7, the temperature is 27c, no nitrites or nitrates ever registered. We have ammonia in our tap water (registers at 0.5ppm after adding water conditioner), so we use API AmmoLock.
<If I haven't stated this before, I strongly encourage you to treat and save new/change out water a week or more ahead of use>
We had swapped in the filter from our other cycled Betta tank, which seemed to be working on dealing with the tap water ammonia and were doing 25% water changes daily. For 3 days the fish was doing better. He was still
lethargic
and had a pale colour, but he started eating again and wasn't hiding or clamping his fins at all. He would swim out to see me when I came to the tank, he just needed to have a rest afterwards. He seemed to be on the road to recovery.
Then on Saturday he seemed to be a bit worse, so instead of the daily 25% water changes I'd been doing, I did 30% water changes. On Sunday he started acting very ill again, he would swim to the surface to breathe and not
have the energy to settle himself back down again, instead just falling onto whatever was below him (ending up hanging upside down from a plant at one point). He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't react to anything. I would have
thought he was dead except that his gills were still moving.
With nothing else to try, I set up a 1 gallon hospital tank with Methylene blue and moved him into that. I'm completely at a loss to explain why he has now twice improved and then become much worse very quickly. I would suspect water quality but the tank readings seem great and I had done a complete tank clean and 100% water change the last time he started getting worse. I have another Betta tank set up with the same parameters, same food, and that fish is thriving! Samson's been in the hospital tank for 3 days with 50% water changes. He's now able to sit upright again and decided he was willing to eat a small amount again last night.
I've checked Samson over several times with a flashlight looking for anything that could explain this weird cycle. I can't see any visible deformities, no scratches or scrapes, no broken fins. The only thing I can see that seems wrong is a greenish/brown colour on his tail fin that is not part of his normal colouring (when healthy he was a vibrant red). I've dealt with velvet in tanks before and this doesn't look anything like it to me. I'm not even sure this colouring is a sign of a specific disease or simply a change in colour due to illness.
I was hoping for some help in identifying what could be wrong so that I can begin a targeted treatment instead of just leaving him in Methylene blue and hoping that works. I'm assuming since this started with a broken filter that we are still dealing with ammonia poisoning but also possibly a secondary infection.
List of symptoms that I've seen:
-lethargic
-rapid gill movement (this is a new development in the last few days)
-loss of appetite (this comes and goes)
-struggling to stay upright (this also comes and goes)
-loss of colour
-greenish brown colouring on tail fin
<... nothing jumps out other than stress from all the changes>
Standard symptoms I have not seen:
-No gold specs
-no white growths
-no streaking or dark tissue
-no fin or body rot
-no eye glassing or swelling
-gills are not visibly swollen
-no trouble eating when he wants to eat
-no obvious weight loss
-no body swelling
-no raised scales
-no scrapes, holes or missing scales
-no bleeding
-pooping just fine
Any advice at all would be very much appreciated. I've dealt with sick Betta's before (I used to work in a pet shop that sold Betta's and I treated any that came in sick), but I'm honestly at a loss for what I'm dealing with here.
Thank you,
Kathryn
<I urge patience and caution here against doing anything else... Likely the best course of action is to do nothing further.
Bob Fenner>

Betta fish sick - Bubba. help? 27 megs...    1/12/18
Esther; Pls re-send your msg. w/ a file size a few hundred Kbytes.
re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/12/18

hi! sorry, this was my message:
<Ok. We have to limit file size for two principal reasons, dinky storage space by our ISP, and slow download rates while out traveling at times>
hello hello
my name is Es. my fish is sick! he's been sick since November. it all started with a black dot on his mouth area. then it spread to his top head.
<Unusual... such "blackness" is generally a matter of response to poor water quality (e.g. ammonia burn), neural damage (generally traumas) and some parasites... Is this genetic change here? Is this fish very young?>
now fast forward to today, underneath his mouth is turning white! like pale, lacking color. in Dec, parts of his fins started to become thin and rip. his gills underneath are blackish. he's a Betta fish in a 2.5 gal filtered, heated tank (80F).
<Good>
I tried Kanaplex and dosed 3x but it killed my nitrogen cycle! (
<Ah yes>
new tank-
started it end of Aug, had my fish since then). didn't seem to work. also tried the All-In-One Remedy Marineland medicine where you drop it in the tank. I'm trying to feed less bc ammonia levels are around 1.0ppm.
<... need to be 0.0... I'd have pre-made new water available, be switching out half daily without touching the gravel or filter media, feeding VERY minimally>

i don't know what he has and would love any advice or feedback. please see attached photos.
<Nothing attached. Try sending emails to yourself to assure their attachment. IF the files are very large, upload them elsewhere and just send links along>
everyday that goes by, he's on the gravel more. but he still moves around, just doesn't seem as curious. he is still eating, surprisingly. I don't want to spend a ton of money and would LOVE to find the REMEDY! are you
able to help me save him?
<You've got to get the ammonia down...>
let me knew your thoughts...
Thank you very much,
Worried, helpless girl
<Try the water changes for now Esther. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/13/18

thanks for ur reply!
<Welcome>
I'll try daily 50% water changes w.o touching gravel, etc. poor fish!
<Good. BobF>
Esther Lee
re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/13/18
and, yes he was a young fish when I got him. an elephant eared Dumbo Betta (: I think he could've had a parasite. it was weird. one time I got an Anubias plant.. I didn't realize when I purchased it but it wasn't the best condition. maybe something infested the plant and got into my tank because there were some small white/yellow teeny eggs when I took it out. weird!
<The eggs more likely a snails>
regret! could be a mix of things. hope he makes it alive. I'll do the daily 50% water change like you recommended. thanks.
Esther Lee
<Cheers, B>
Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/14/18

ah snails... I see.
<Yes; common hitchhikers on plants>
update: I just decided to upgrade to a 5 gal tank. used Poland spring water.
<Mmm; don't know what this is "made of"... Treated tap would likely be fine>
currently heating it up so I can put him in. just starting a nice clean environment. I made sure to use the existing gravel, but also got new pebbles!
I tested my water now & I'm back to 0ppm
Esther Lee
<Good. BobF>

Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help? Beh. f'      1/17/18
hey bob!
<Esther>
hope you're having a great day.
<Thank you; yes>
I noticed my fish keeps burping or puffs his gills out, I think there really is something internally wrong with him.
<Mmm; these are natural behaviors for Labyrinth fishes... not to be concerned>
do you have any idea why fish might burp or make small air bubbles come out from their gill (not bubble nests) ?
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>
Esther Lee
Re: Betta fish sick - Bubba. help?     1/17/18

Oh I see. Maybe I should quit worrying too much, & think "less is more" with this new tank rescape. Haha! Thanks for your input! Appreciate it.
<Certainly welcome. Many Labyrinth fishes are also called "Bubblenest Builders"...>
*Have a wonderful day! *
Esther Lee
<Trying to! BobF>

Betta Sick and NOTHING is working     1/5/17
Hello, so around 5-6 months ago my Betta became sick with a bacterial infection.
<Mmm; almost always such situations can be traced back to other, more primary influences... Genetics no doubt plays a role at times, but environmental issues (low, fluctuating temperature, water quality, esp. biological pollution) and nutrition are where we find root causes; and cures
>
I assume it was due to bad water quality as I had gotten a bit lazy with water-changes as of that time.
<Ahh!>
As well, before symptoms occurred a mosquito eater insect somehow landed in the tank while I slept and grew white mold/fungi overnight,
<?>
the next morning the first symptom, PopEye, appeared. I immediately took action and cleaned his tank and did multiple water changes that day.
<... more than one in a day?>
I did some quick research and decided to order Maracyn two. Over the next 2 days his condition RAPIDLY decreased, his PopEye got so bad one eye was halfway out of his head and there was fungus growing in the open wound. I was extremely worried at this point because of the fast progression, he also began to get fin rot on his tail fins. He soon stopped eating completely and became extremely thin and lethargic.
Soon after starting his Maracyn 2 treatment there were already rapid improvements. The dead and fungus infested part of the eye fell off, his
eyes weren't swelled as bad, the fin rot disappeared in the back fins. He started eating again promptly, at the time his water was at 74-74 as I was
in the process of getting a better heater. He has stayed eating and without fin-rot in the back and not too bad of pop eye. However his PopEye never
completely healed, his gills stayed inflamed, and his side fins started to get fin rot. I tried daily water changes for a while hoping that clean
water would finish the process.
<Is this animal in a filtered, heated system?>
After that didn't work I tried a second run of Maracyn 2 in the tank, which also seemed to do nothing. I continued doing regular water changes around 2-3 times per week. I then tried treatment using Seachem Metro-plex and Focus in frozen blood-worms, I fed these for around 3 weeks with no change in his condition. I then tried Metro-plex dosing in the water itself to see if that would work, I am on about week 2 or the end of it and still see no signs of improvement. I am wondering if you guys have any idea what I can do to help my Betta.
<Need to state this; for you, and others who will read this in time:
Aquatic life is different than tetrapod terrestrial (mammals, birds...) in that it "cures" more slowly. Likely fixing the environment, improving
nutrition will fix your Betta. Too many water changes destabilizes biological filtration... DO you have ammonia, nitrite present here? How
much accumulated Nitrate? I would STOP the used of medicines, fix the environment>
Other Info: I house him in a 5 gallon Fluval Spec, with a pre-filter sponge over the filter so the water is peaceful for him.
<And a heater... the temp. kept near... what?>
I do 1-3 water changes per week depending on how much waste is produced.
<Should only change some of the water weekly... Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/betta_splendens.htm
I feed him 1-2 New Life Spectrum Community Pellets each night, 1 when the water is being dosed since I can't change the water due to the medication. I use Seachem Prime on his water when I change it, I also do 75% percent water changes whenever I change his water. He is housed with a plastic stump hide, underwater artificial flower, sitting leaf, and a Marimo moss ball. I want to have more plants for him but cannot due to a weak light. He is on white sand that I gravel vacuum each water change, he appears to be very active a majority of the time. The filter has two different sections of bio-media and 3 different sections of sponge, his heater keeps his tank in the low 80's.
So, if you guys have any idea of what else I can do, I would love to know, if you would like to have pictures just say so. Although all of his
symptoms point towards a bacterial infection but nothing seems to be able to kick it. Thanks for the help,
Regards, Drew Meier.
<The reading, changing the interval of water switching, water testing/reporting, and no more medicine use is the route I would go. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Sick and NOTHING is working      1/6/18

I don't quite understand your final comment, do you mean use no more medicine,
<Yes>
set up a definite water change schedule, not change as much water,
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm
and testing the water regularly?
<Keep reading>
Thanks for the fast reply.
<Thank you for reading first. B>
Re: Betta Sick and NOTHING is working      1/6/18

Ok, I tested his water, there were low nitrates (5-10 ppm) 0 nitrites, and a small amount of ammonia, which I am unsure of how it has gotten there because of a well cycled tank,
<Likely from the water changes and med.s>
I did a 40% water change,
<...>
dialing it back a bit but since ammonia was present still substantial, added prime as well as a cap of stability to add more good bacteria. I will begin testing daily, if ammonia or nitrite is present a 25% water change as well as prime and
stability, and see how that goes for the time being. Once cycle is back on track I will do 2 25% water changes a week.
Thanks again.
<Cheers>
Re: Betta Sick and NOTHING is working      1/6/18

Thanks again for all the help!
<Welcome>

Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17
Hi there me again sorry! My boy is doing ok, still a tad bloated so continuing with non pellet diet for now with Epsom salts in the tank.
<Ok>
His fins are now deteriorating however.
<Yes! Very>
A couple of the rays have snapped off his dorsal and overall they look thin. Does this look like fin rot to you?
<Mmm; no. More like environmental stress. How much Epsom is in this water?
You don't have ammonia or nitrite present?>
I'm now wondering if his bloat was bacterial after all and I should treat him for that? His eating and energy levels are fine. TIA!
<I would change most all the water out here. Bob Fenner>

Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17
Thanks for your reply! Ammonia & nitrite 0 and nitrate around 10. Ph is 8.2 but it's always been that. I used about a tsp of Epsom salts in my 19l tank - maybe I've left it in too long?
<No... all the above should be fine>
I'll do a couple of big water changes tomorrow. His rays have been getting thinner gradually. Aside from regular water changes and high protein diet is there anything else I can do to build them up again?
<Am given to suggest 25 mg. of Kanamycin, Kanaplex per gallon... changing the water every three days, three courses.>
Thank you so much for your help :)
<Welcome Karan. BobF>
Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17

Thanks for your quick response Bob! I'm in the UK and cannot get hold of Kanaplex. What else would you recommend?
<To go see your Vet re; or a sympathetic MD>
Would Seachem Paraguard do it?
<... no>
Am assuming you're thinking it's fin rot?
<Yes. B>

Re: bloated Betta       10/25/27
Hi wwm! Am after some more advice please as I'm unsure what to do next. I couldn't get hold of Kanaplex as advised by Bob for fin rot but had Furan 2 so have treated him in a hospital tank with that. I think the fin rot/melt has halted but his top fin looks stiff now. He also has done a couple of clear poos and appears a bit more lethargic. The poo yesterday was clear and very long and stringy and took ages to come off. Would you think this indicates internal bacteria or internal Parasites?
<Might be or no. The only way to tell for sure is to look at a sample under a microscope>
He has had brine shrimp which may account for clear poo. My problem is I have Kanaplex arriving in the next few days but not sure to use it or worm him or leave him with daily water changes for a bit?
<I'd stick w/ just the water changes>
Here's a pic of him now after the Furan 2
Pic of him before Furan 2
<Bob Fenner>

 

Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17
Hey all! A few years ago, I had a couple of Bettas succumb to "bloat", unspecified. All advice in other forums start off with "feed it a pea", "he's constipated". I have found that never to be the case in my situation.
<Mmm; most cases of "bloat" are bacterial infection derived>
When the last bloat sufferer had to be euthanized, I did some researching and came across an article and a few other sources that suggested Malawi bloat in Betta fish. One particular instance, the owner had the swelling of his Betta aspirated and they found acid-fast bacilli (Mycobacterium perhaps??).
<Could be>
The disease appears similar in Betta and cichlids, save for one thing: Bettas seem to do pretty well and stay relatively active much longer than the cichlids. They do not succumb quickly. A quote from the article (I am sorry but I cannot remember where I found this or I would cite the author):
“Malawi bloat may be caused by the same pathogen, (acid fast bacillus) but I think it’s important to differentiate the symptoms in a Betta...
*Here are the symptoms in a cichlid:*
*QUOTE “The first symptom is usually a loss of appetite. Other characteristics follow if treatment if not begun at this point. These secondary characteristics include abnormal swelling of the abdomen (hence the name-bloat), an increased respiratory rate, reclusiveness, white streaky feces, and sitting on the bottom of the tank or lingering at the
surface. Red marks around your fish’s ***** or skin ulcerations might also be apparent. Symptoms only appear in the latter stages of the disease; therefore, it is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed, otherwise you will lose your fish.”*
*Here are the symptoms in a Betta:*
Acts normal in every way except for ever expanding abdomen: doesn’t lose appetite, continues to swim and flare and no visible sores anywhere else on the body. A long, stringy discharge is often noted.
​Since so many people treat their Bettas for bloat by starving, giving them incompatible food (peas) etc., I wonder if more could be done in the way of finding a better way to treat this?
<... have you searched, read on WWM re? Useful antibiotic use and ameliorative use of Epsom Salt are standard approaches>
If only I still had my scope ( former microbiologist and micro teacher ) I would love to have a look at aspirates
to see if AFB were to show up in more cases.
<Me too>
What say you, I would love some insight. I think this is a very interesting concept.
​Once again, thanks for all you do!
Kimberley Mitchel​
<The search tool... on all WWM pages. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17

Well, all I seem to find re: Malawi bloat has to do with cichlids and not Bettas; but, I will keep searching!
Thanks again Bob!!
<Sorry for not being more explicit, please use the two words "Betta bloat" in the WWM search tool, and look for the highlighted FAQs. BobF>
Bettas and Malawi Bloat /Neale chimes in

Hey all! A few years ago, I had a couple of Bettas succumb to "bloat", unspecified. All advice in other forums start off with "feed it a pea", "he's constipated". I have found that never to be the case in my situation.
<Indeed. The key issue is that bloating (Dropsy) is a symptom rather than a disease. Superficially similar to constipation, which can indeed be fixed by providing extra fibre in the diet. But Dropsy is an issue with fluid retention within the body, and that can be associated with bacterial infections, environmental stress, and likely other factors as well. There really isn't a 'one size fits all' treatment.>
When the last bloat sufferer had to be euthanized, I did some researching and came across an article and a few other sources that suggested Malawi bloat in Betta fish. One particular instance, the owner had the swelling of his Betta aspirated and they found acid-fast bacilli (Mycobacterium perhaps??). The disease appears similar in Betta and cichlids, save for one thing: Bettas seem to do pretty well and stay relatively active much longer than the cichlids. They do not succumb quickly. A quote from the article (I am sorry but I cannot remember where I found this or I would cite the author):
“Malawi bloat may be caused by the same pathogen, (acid fast bacillus) but I think it’s important to differentiate the symptoms in a Betta...
*Here are the symptoms in a cichlid:*
*QUOTE “The first symptom is usually a loss of appetite. Other characteristics follow if treatment if not begun at this point. These secondary characteristics include abnormal swelling of the abdomen (hence the name-bloat), an increased respiratory rate, reclusiveness, white streaky feces, and sitting on the bottom of the tank or lingering at the surface. Red marks around your fish’s *****
<I have no idea what part of a fish is its five asterisks.>
or skin ulcerations might also be apparent. Symptoms only appear in the latter stages of the disease; therefore, it is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed, otherwise you will lose your fish.”*
*Here are the symptoms in a Betta:*
Acts normal in every way except for ever expanding abdomen: doesn’t lose appetite, continues to swim and flare and no visible sores anywhere else on the body. A long, stringy discharge is often noted.
<Here's the thing. Those 'symptoms' are completely generic. They simply imply the fish is sick and stressed. Swelling can be a variety of things as we've mentioned. Loss of appetite and reclusiveness simply mean the animal feels bad; white stringy faeces indicate mucous rather than uneaten food are being passed out of the gut; red streaks on the body or fins are indicative of bacterial infections causing inflammation or necrosis. Absolutely nothing in that list that is specifically one disease, let alone Mycobacteriosis. The only way you'd know if Mycobacteria are to blame is by doing microscope work on a sample of tissue. Anything else based on external observation of fish behaviour and generic symptoms is wishful thinking on the part of the aquarist.>
​Since so many people treat their Bettas for bloat by starving, giving them incompatible food (peas) etc., I wonder if more could be done in the way of finding a better way to treat this?
<I'm sure. The vast majority of Betta deaths are surely down to poor environment. The fact they're widely sold as "dorm room" pets to be dumped in tanks holding half a gallon of water pretty much sums are the state of play. Any Betta kept in an unheated, unfiltered bowl is already facing an early death, and couple that with their perceived 'disposability' you can see that the biggest issue we have to deal with here is simply convincing people their Bettas need heat, good water quality, and a suitable amount of living space.>
If only I still had my scope ( former microbiologist and micro teacher ) I would love to have a look at aspirates to see if AFB were to show up in more cases.
<Precisely so. It's done, of course, but with relatively low-value pets like Bettas very few people do the necessary microbiology work.>
What say you, I would love some insight. I think this is a very interesting concept.
​Once again, thanks for all you do!
Kimberley​
​<I will direct you to some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/mycobactera.htm
I think you'll find this very useful. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17

Thanks Neale, for your reply. I suppose I should've kept it short and sweet and asked: since there have been instances of acid fast bacilli pulled from the swelling of Bettas with bloat, (forget the other symptoms in the quote,
comparing cichlids symptoms), would there be a better way to treat IF AFB was shown to be the cause in a Betta that is well taken care of?
<I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer this, I'm afraid. There are, certainly, medications explicitly sold for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. But otherwise your best approach here is to research the medicines on salt, identify the contents (Minocycline, erythromycin, etc.) and use them accordingly.>
My Bettas were well cared for and lived a long while, even with the bloat.
And it's true, the cheaper and more expendable the animal, the less anyone would take the time to find out.
I'm surely not trying to frustrate anyone...this is my curiosity.
<Laudable.>
Anyway, thanks again for all of your great advice and replies. No need to add to my musing here. Just thinking out loud with people who understand what the heck I'm talking about!
Kim
<Glad to be a sounding board! Neale.>

Black Spot (Neale?)     9/13/17
Hello,
<Howsit Whit?>
I'm having a bit of a mystery with my Betta. He has this black mark on his head that showed up in the last two months or so.
<Mmm; first off, I REALLY like your photos. Second, am really NOT liking this spot>
He is in a 10 gallon heavily planted tank with neon tetras and Neocaridina shrimp. Tank parameters are ph 7.4-7.6, ammonia: 0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0 (0 nitrate is normal for my tank due to all the plants).
<I see>
He did injure his tail a few weeks ago on something in the tank but that is healing nicely. I don't recall if this showed up at the same time.
Do you have any ideas what it could be our if I need to treat it?
<This blackish area looks like a growth... perhaps a melanoma. Some folks might advocate cutting it off... Am going to ask Neale Monks here for his individual input. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Thanks,
Whitney

Black Spot, Betta, Neale's input       9/14/17
Hello,
<Whitney,>
I'm having a bit of a mystery with my Betta. He has this black mark on his head that showed up in the last two months or so.
<Looks to me like less of a mark and more of a growth, blood blister, or some other type of mass inside the nostril.>
He is in a 10 gallon heavily planted tank with neon tetras and Neocaridina shrimp. Tank parameters are ph 7.4-7.6, ammonia: 0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0 (0 nitrate is normal for my tank due to all the plants).
<Understood.>
He did injure his tail a few weeks ago on something in the tank but that is healing nicely. I don't recall if this showed up at the same time.
Do you have any ideas what it could be our if I need to treat it?
<Short term, I'd observe. Give a couple weeks and see if anything changes.
Perhaps run some antibiotics if you have them handy, as per Finrot, but likely unnecessary so not a priority. If, after a couple weeks, the growth or mass is smaller, then leave things be for another couple weeks. If it's an actively growing melanoma or tumour, there's nothing to be done except humanely destroy the fish as/when quality of life deteriorates. If it's a cyst, it probably won't enlarge quickly, if at all, so there's no pressing health issue to worry about. No treatment, either. Sometimes cysts heal under their own steam, sometimes not. Vets can remove them from big fish (such as Koi) but it's hard to imagine this being viable with a fish as small as a Betta. If it's a blood blister, for example caused by hitting the head against the glass when jumping, it should heal in time, just as with humans.>
Thanks,
Whitney
<Good luck, Neale.>

bloated Betta     9/13/17
Hi there
Hope you can help. My Betta is a bit bloated and not pooing so often.
<Mmm; yes; looks a bit prolapsed>
He's been fasted for 2 days and then fed frozen daphnia.
<Good>
He was still bloated so
I gave him an Epsom salt bath.
<Even better>
He's still a bit bloated and then I noticed this protruding from his anus - any idea what it is?
<Yes; the cloaca (communal sex and excretory opening)>
He's done a thin poo that is clear in places but took ages to come out. Been advised to worm him with ESHa or treat with Octozin but not sure what to do.
<Octozin would be my choice here; along with the Epsom in the system. They are fine to use together>
Any advice would be welcome thanks!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: bloated Betta     9/13/17
Great thank you. Would the Octozin be for treating internal parasites that cause the bloat?
<Hopefully... this situation might involve bacteria, Protozoa>
Can parasites also cause constipation?
<Oh yes>
I'll continue with daily Epsom salt baths and get some Octozin.
Thanks
<Please do keep us informed. BobF>

Re: bloated Betta     9/19/17
Hi there
I did the 3 day course of Octozin coupled with daily Epsom salt baths and daphnia. He did a couple of small poos but is still bloated and not regular. We went on holiday for 10 days a few weeks ago. He was fed daily but his tank was a mess when we got back and some of the uneaten pellets had white fungus growing on them. Wondering if this is the cause and perhaps its bacterial?
<Could be contributing causes>
Any suggestions are welcome.
Thanks
Karan
<I'd just keep this fish in (clean) Epsom treated water for now; and continue w/ laxative type foods like the Daphnia/Water Fleas, frozen/defrosted Brine Shrimp/Artemia. Bob Fenner>
Re: bloated Betta     9/19/17

Thanks. Do you mean add the Epsom salt to the tank or continue with baths?
<To the tank itself; per Neale's article I've linked, sent to you. B>

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