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FAQs on: Betta Diseases: Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal...); Bloating, Dropsy, Pop-Eye, Fin Rot... 2

Series FAQs: Infectious 1, Infectious 3, Infectious 4,

Related Articles: Betta Diseases, Betta Systems, Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishImproved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,

Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2Betta 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 28, 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,


New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fin rot - antibiotic treatment... Treating symptoms, NEEDING to address cause       2/11/16
Hi there,
I have a 10 gallon tank which I'm cycling with a single Betta fish (called Superman by my son).
<Up, up, and away! Wait; you're currently cycling a system WITH the Betta in it? Not good. Too much environmental stress; poisoning. MUST NEED FIX THE CYCLING FIRST. NOTHING ELSE WILL/CAN SAVE THIS FISH
Tank is filtered and heated, silk plants, dark gravel. Betta has developed fin rot, which has become quite advanced, despite 25% water changes every two days (testing with API kits daily - ammonia has not got above 0.25, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0).
I have set up a heated hospital container (approx 2 gallon).
<Of no use w/o....>
Cannot get aquarium salt in HK, so I plan to dose him with Interpet's Fungus and Fin Rot treatment. It says one treatment, then wait 7 days, then if you need to redose change 30% of water first. This implies I should not do water changes during the treatment? Shouldn't I do daily 100% water changes to ensure water is super clean? If so, should I replace the
medication each time? Any help much appreciated!!
Many thanks, Karen
<Please READ here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fin rot - antibiotic treatment      2/12/16

Dear Bob. Thank you for your reply - however you didn't answer my question regarding whether/how to do water changes whilst using antibiotics?
<There is no sense doing any treatment unless you can reduce to eliminate ammonia and nitrite. DID you read where I referred you? One way (of course) to limit exposure to these metabolites is water changes...>
Telling me I should have cycled the tank first is fair enough, but I didn't have a choice,
<Please... >
so perhaps you could tell me what I can actually do now that the opportunity to do a fish less cycle has passed - should I keep the Betta in the hospital container whilst I try and cycle the tank fishless?
<Whichever system can be kept/made more stable, optimized. BobF>
Thanks again, Karen
Re: Fin rot - antibiotic treatment      2/12/16

Ok, thanks. The fish was an unrequested gift -
<Ahh; see.... there are ways to instant, or close to it, cycle a new system>
I'm trying to learn and do the best I can now that I have him - so your sarcasm and judgment are a bit unfair.
<PLEASE, PLEASE read where I first sent you!>


Betta w/ persistent fin rot, regression after two weeks of regrowth      10/26/15
Hello crew,
I send this after doing much reading and contemplating on WWM and elsewhere. I think that my problem has gotten to a place where it is quite idiosyncratic and doesn't match up well to other FAQs I've read here.
Anyway, my concern is over my doubletail male Betta fish. I have owned him for around four months now.
<All right>
Initially, he was kept in a 1g Aqueon MiniBow. This was chosen partly because it was one of the bigger bowls in the area of the pet store set up for Betta supplies. I had much to learn! He spent about 6 weeks in there and actually seemed to do fairly well in terms of outward behavior/appearance. I bought standard 10g after beginning to learn more about fishkeeping—my day job is actually scientific research, so I derive quite a bit of pleasure in learning about this sort of thing—
and had a plan to keep him with a school of white cloud minnows. Still, I had a bit to learn in that fish-in cycling may be cruel. Nevertheless, this 10g was cycled with the white clouds since I learned of fishless cycling methods after purchasing them.
<I see>
The 10g tank stabilized a few weeks later (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0-5 nitrates as this tank has 3 dense bunches of java ferns, some dwarf Sagittaria, and a crypt wendtii that do a fantastic job at curbing the nitrate buildup along with 1-2x weekly 25-50% water changes). Incidentally, with the addition of a good sponge and a few pieces of ceramic Fluval biomedia, and removal of carbon filter, it seemed the 1g tank arrived at something like a cycled state around the same time—though I am hesitant to regard such a tank as reliably cycled. Nonetheless, I kept it running after I added the Betta to the 10g tank. I watched closely throughout that day, and the white clouds and the Betta did not seem to even recognize each others' existence, which was fine by me. After I woke up the next morning, I saw much the same scene with one major exception: a couple of fairly noticeable portions of the Betta's tail fin were missing along the edges, along with a pinhole or two in the middle of them. I would estimate that the missing portions were about 2-3mm deep and long and were vaguely rounded. I found this quite alarming and wasn't sure what to do. I covered the HOB filter's intake with a sponge just in case and watched closely without having any further clues. Another 24 hours and it had worsened noticeably, with the affected portions maybe doubling in their losses.
Unwilling to speculate on what the cause was, I removed the Betta to the 1g tank he originally was housed in. Over 48 hours or so, the fin loss continued to progress. While I cannot presume to know the exact initial problem, I determined that the ongoing problem was fin rot. I don't know if the stress of a new tank made him susceptible, if he had been nipped and that started it, or some other thing entirely. What I did know is that it continued to get worse in a relatively problem-free environment. I went out and got yet another tank—5.5g—and decided Betta would be the only fish in it. This would eliminate the possibility that he was being nipped in the evenings. I transferred bio media to a new, small HOB that I ensured would not move the water too much for him. Still, the fin rot progressed. I tried some of the old standard remedies, in spite of dubious empirical support, like aquarium salt and Melafix/Pimafix.
<... not a fan>
No dice over the course of 10-14 days as his fin rot progressed considerably, with several large horizontal tears and completely ragged edges on all fins. Behavior was fine, swimming throughout the day, building bubble nests, eagerly accepting food.
<Good signs>
Some notes on the condition of the 5.5g. I closely monitored water values with API liquid test kits. As I hoped, using the 1g tank's filter media seems to have averted any measurable cycling process. I never measured any ammonia or nitrite and never more than a trace of nitrate over the course of about 6 weeks in the 5.5g. It too had plants, including a large mat of
java fern and a few Anubias ("temple compacta" is the common name). I also have a banana plant floating to shield from the light and give a place to rest, which he has eagerly used. Roughly 3-4 degrees KH, 6-7 degrees GH subject to the occasional fluctuation due to water changes and other conditions. pH ranges from 6.6-7.0, never shifting in the same day without
a water change. Betta also enjoyed two decorations that give him a little cave-like area to hide out in now and then. Aforementioned foods that he accepts are Omega One Betta pellets, SF brand frozen brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp, and frozen bloodworms. Roughly 2/3 of feedings are the pellets, the others are equally spread between the frozen foods. Fed 1-2
times per day depending on my own assessment of how much he ate in the first feeding (sometimes I let too many frozen foods out of my baster). I typically set aside one day per week for no feedings to allow fish to clear things out and for biological filters to get a chance to work out any residual wastes.
Unsatisfied with his non-progress, I decided to treat with Seachem's Paraguard. This medicine includes formalin and malachite green and possibly some other proprietary slime coat-oriented ingredients.
I was/am a little wary of antibiotics and wanted to try this as a broad-spectrum solution to fix fin rot and possibly something else if I was wrong about the problem.
After just a couple of days of Paraguard administration, I saw fins growing back. Great! He got considerably better over the next two weeks. I discontinued the Paraguard at this point as I did not think it was a good idea to use it indefinitely. I will add that my magic "ingredient" was that I measure out all additives with a laboratory (blunt-ended) syringe. This gave me the opportunity to squirt the Paraguard over his fins, which I figure was a nice substitute to manually dabbing it as some do with larger fish.
Within a few days of taking him off the Paraguard and doing some water changes to get most of it out of circulation, the issues returned. I decided to go to my LFS and get some Seachem Kanaplex to see if a real antibiotic would get this thing for good. Bear in mind that at this point it had been over a month since I first observed the fin loss. I administered the Kanaplex as instructed and 24 hours later, I already had a small amount of ammonia in the water (0.25 ppm). It seems it killed off my
biological filter.
<Can happen>
Two days after that (meaning two total doses into the course of treatment), the ammonia measured out at 0.5 ppm
<Very bad>

and the Betta had
become vaguely lethargic. I discontinued feeding at this point to hopefully stave off unnecessary ammonia buildup. By the time for the third dose (day 6 of treatment), ammonia had come back up to 0.5 in spite of 50% water change and Betta was spending much time near the bottom of the tank, not always reacting to my movements outside of and within the tank like I am used to. Out of curiosity, I decided to see if he would accept food. He did not show interest in a couple of pellets placed within his line of sight, which I subsequently removed. I decided not to give the third dose of Kanaplex; this was yesterday.
I then did a 75% water change today and added carbon to the filter to remove any remaining medications. My current plan is to give him at least a few days without any additives. I will be closely monitoring water parameters to avoid the stresses of another nitrogen cycle. I am using Prime on new water additions to hopefully minimize the impact of the remaining ammonia. He is spending the vast majority of his time at the bottom of the tank now, sometimes appearing ignorant of my gentle attempts to jar him (I'm afraid he's dead half the times I see him). Sometimes his breathing seems a bit labored, other times not at all. His "typical" leisure behavior is to rest among the stems of the banana plants near the surface or between the top-most leaves the Anubias for the same effect.
I'm afraid the end may be near and am not sure of the best course of action other than hoping for the best and keeping the water clean. I'm honestly questioning whether I even know the root cause of the problem. I still have Paraguard, I still have Kanaplex, and I have Jungle Fungus Clear (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate) as well which I have not yet used. His lights are currently being kept off in an attempt to
reduce stress. What to do?
<Just be patient; offer little food, but frequently, keep changing water (with that from the ten gallon); and NOT add more treatments>
Thanks for any help you can offer and I hope my copious information-sharing isn't too tedious.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta w/ persistent fin rot, regression after two weeks of regrowth       10/28/15

Hey Bob,
Thanks a lot for the speedy reply, it was much-appreciated in a time of need. I found my Betta resting on top of a plant, dead, around 12-24 hours after I heard back.
Water parameters were essentially ideal at that point, but to no avail. Looks like he went on a steady progression from "normal" behavior to ever-increasing lethargy to his eventual death without any real signs of improvement in his health over those 2 or 3 days. It seems that whatever got to him was just too much by the time I started taking measures to remove the antibiotic, ammonia buildup, etc. I'll be giving your book a read while I navigate my grieving process. I suppose over time I will feel ready to give a new Betta a shot. Nothing like a dose of reality to remind me that there is always much more to learn...
<Ah yes; mortality is indeed a "wake up call">
You folks at WWM are great, thanks again for all you do.
<Thank you for your report and encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Your thoughts (and mine) on Betta bloat      8/8/14
I recently lost a Betta purchased online through a reputable dealer. After a few weeks, I noticed a swelling under his "jaw" area.
<Mmm; thyroid/Chromaffin tissue involvement?>
I quarantined him, used Epsom salts... and noticed the main tank's heater had malfunctioned and the water was chilly (70's). Since he got better after quarantine, I thought maybe the temp situation had caused his malady.
Fast forward a few months, and the swelling began again. It slowly got larger; however, throughout this, he never lost his appetite, spunk, will to live, nothing. He seemed absolutely fine otherwise.
<I'd add a bit of iodide-ate>
I have read articles regarding bloat in Betta fish and read the common courses of treatment (feeding a blanched pea, Epsom salts, etc.), but despite the treatment, the Betta's bloat continues. My fish eventually
developed dropsy brought on by this swelling, which was like a fluid-filled sac. I have read where others aspirated the fluid, but I couldn't bring myself to do this; plus, it only prolongs the inevitable. I euthanized him with a clove oil suspension.
Now, I have also read commentary regarding Malawi bloat that affects cichlids. One person had his Betta autopsied and cultures were performed.
This piqued my interest, as I am a clinical microbiologist. Acid-fast bacillus (Mycobacterium) were cultured from the Betta, but the vet didn't think that the Mycobacterium was the cause of the bloat, perhaps a secondary infection.
<Highly likely; very common>
It seems as though, Malawi bloat is believed to be caused by a parasite, and Metronidazole, if used early in the illness, seems to treat the disease successfully. However, most people, unfortunately, are too late in
beginning treatment.
The thing that is interesting to me is this: while cichlids begin to show symptoms early on, such as loss of appetite, general malaise, etc., the Betta fish shows none of this. Just the bloat...they continue swimming,
eating, flaring, and just being their usual selves until the bloat becomes so large and then dropsy sets in. Other people have mentioned this, and this was certainly the case with my Betta.
<Predators vs. prey possible argument... Betta spp. "can't afford" to show weakness>
What are your thoughts on this? Since early treatment with Flagyl seems to help whether cichlid or Betta, I am inclined to think that maybe the same disease process is at hand,
<Mmm; not necessarily; no>
but the different fish present with the disease in totally different ways.
<Also not unusual amongst poikilotherms>
I am very curious about this and wonder if bloat in Bettas should be attacked with a different method of treatment (besides suggesting fasting, peas, etc.)
<Well... depends on the cause/s...>
Thanks for your wonderful contribution and endless supply of knowledge. I love wetwebmedia.com and refer to it a lot!
Kimberley Mitchel
<Thank you for your participation; adding to WWM and my experience. Bob Fenner>
Re: Your thoughts (and mine) on Betta bloat       8/8/14

Thank you for your reply, Bob. If a Betta fish's bloat is caused by a parasite, or rather, if it is not constipation after doing the fasting, blanched pea, Epsom salt trinity, should one move right on to Flagyl...since early treatment seems to coincide with cure rates?
<Don't think/believe that a one-time dose (via food) of Metronidazole will/would be harmful... I don't want to encourage (browsers) from (mis)using...>
Also, I just purchased your book, "Betta Success" via Amazon. Going to go jump in right now.
Kimberley Mitchel
<Ahh! Please do me a favor and pen a brief review. Bob Fenner>
Re: Your thoughts (and mine) on Betta bloat       8/9/14

I would be happy to post a review of your book when I finish it. I'm assuming an Amazon review?
Kimberley Mitchel
<Ah yes Kim; thank you. BobF>

Re: Need a more informed opinion on a Betta with distended belly;"> 3 Thanks, then I haven't lost my mind. I've never seen anything like this either. I've had the owner separate the female Betta fish and am going to get them to treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic to be safe and rule 
some things out. Thank you for your time.
<Interesting to consider doing a bit of swab, scrape sampling and perhaps a look through a 'scope w/ bacterial res... Maybe even culture if interested. B> 

Re: Need a more informed opinion on a Betta with distended belly... Just using WWM Thank you very much for your response. If you have the time I'd be interested to know if I could send you a picture I received for a diagnosis on a fish that was sent to me. If not, I will search around for other second opinions.
<? Just use the search tool... on every page on WWM; with the string "Betta Bloat, Constipation". B>
Thanks again,
re: Need a more informed opinion on a Betta with distended belly
This was actually for a completely different problem then bloat and constipation. Trying to figure out whether or not some very strange discoloration on a fish that I've never seen before is actually true discoloration or a type of bacterial plaque in the outside.
<Perhaps the words "Betta, Discoloration"... there are issues where total bacteria count, pathogenic or otherwise, are of concern w/ health... but don't think this is an issue here. B>
I will see what strings I can find for this other diagnosis. Thank you
re: Need a more informed opinion on a Betta with distended belly I'm aware that the Betta I originally sent you has none of these issues. I was curious on your thoughts with this fish, I'll send the photo to clear
confusion. This is a female group kept Betta that should be dark green,
the color change is not a genetic color change but some form of
discoloration of the skin or a bacterial infection. I thought possibly
velvet but have never seen it cover a fish like this.
<Me neither... and I worked in the business for a few years when young; have a book in print re B. splendens... 
Don't know what this is... perhaps genetic directly; as you state/speculate, perhaps some "other" involvement. B>

Severe Fungal Infection on Betta      10/27/13
<Courtney. Am responding to as Neale (in the UK) is likely asleep by now, and this needs responding to ASAP. Will put in his in-folder as well>
I am having a huge dilemma. My Betta has had a severe case of what looks to be fungus on his body where his anal fin used to be. I have tried both Maracyn I/II, and the Jungle for about a month now on my Betta in a heated hospital tank.
<How warm? Crank this up to the mid 80's F>
 There really is no improvement. It actually seems to be getting worse. He still seems to swim around and eat fine, but I am worrying that he is pain, and might not get better. Is there anything else more I can do for him?
<Yes... I'd dose with Nitrofurazone (or other Furan compound if you can't get this readily). at 50-100 mg./gal... change the water out daily and re-dose; PLUS add a half teaspoon per gallon of Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt)>
 Or is it time to throw in the towel and humanely euthanize him? I've had him for 2 years and don't want to give up!
<Am not a quitter>
Thank you for any help you can offer,
I have attached two pictures to try and help!
<Do ASAPractical. Bob Fenner> 
Severe Fungal Infection on Betta    Neale's go       10/28/13

I am having a huge dilemma. My Betta has had a severe case of what looks to be fungus on his body where his anal fin used to be. I have tried both Maracyn I/II, and the Jungle for about a month now on my Betta in a heated hospital tank. There really is no improvement. It actually seems to be getting worse. He still seems to swim around and eat fine, but I am
worrying that he is pain, and might not get better. Is there anything else more I can do for him? Or is it time to throw in the towel and humanely euthanize him? I've had him for 2 years and don't want to give up!
Thank you for any help you can offer,
I have attached two pictures to try and help!
<Given the severity of this infection, I'd be aggressively medicating this fish, ideally with something like Sulfathiazole that treats both fungal and bacterial infections. Certainly skip the use of medications that haven't worked, and try something else. Adding saltwater dips (35 g/l, for 2 minutes or more, as long as the fish can tolerate) can be useful for clearing up fungal infections by killing the external hyphae. But before going forward with new medications -- did you remove carbon from the filter? Many people forget, and if there's carbon in the filter, your medication will likely be adsorbed before it gets to the fish! Obviously that's bad (and expensive). So, remove carbon and any other media installed to remove pollutants from the tank. If the fish is still swimming and feeding, then there's hope. Since Bettas have huge fins, Finrot and Fungus
can look very dramatic on them before it actually becomes lethal (i.e., gets into the muscles and body cavity). Do also review environment. Check the fins aren't being damaged by tankmates or filters. Check pH and nitrite, at minimum. Check the heater is working. Bettas get very sick, very quickly when the environment isn't right. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Severe Fungal Infection on Betta      10/28/13
Okay I turned up the temp. He is currently in Maracyn I/II,
<Change the water and this product out>
and I added 1/2 teaspoon aquarium salt.
<.... no; incorrect; not the same as MgSO4. See the prev. corr.>
 Will change 100% water and redose with Maracyn and aquarium salt daily until I get the furan and Epsom. (I was not doing daily 100% water changes before, as per package instructions on Maracyn)... Should I use stress coat or maracyn in conjunction with the Furan/Epsom?
Thank you for responding so quickly and passing it on to Neale Bob! I truly appreciate it, and any help that Neale has to offer... I love my Betta!
<I understand. BobF> 
Re: Severe Fungal Infection on Betta      10/28/13

Getting the Furan and Epsom salt ASAP, and will follow your recommended regimen and dosage.
<Ah, good>
Thanks again :)
<W. B.>

Severe Prolonged Betta fin loss now into body HELP!  10-6-2013
I REALLY need your help! I have done extensive research online, and have found no answers for my Betta! I have a ~2y/o Crowntail Betta, and he currently lives in a cycled, heated, 5g planted tank.
<Sounds good so far.>
He previously lived in a 4g BiOrb tank, which apparently stressed him out
due to the high filter current.
<Can do. Air-powered filtration is best with this species.>
I have attached a picture of him now. Since I got him, he started slowly losing fins, either from decor or nipping (although I never saw him actually nipping).
<I see from the photos! Does he live with anything else? Obviously remove them, if he does. Ensure filtration is gentle, and remove anything abrasive (such as rocks).>
His fins never had the black border indicative of fin rot, but despite all my best efforts, he lost A LOT of his finnage, with the worst being his anal fin as shown in the picture. You can't see it, but now his has white bumps where part of his anal fin used to be, and it has spread up in the bottom base of his tail. I had put him in a hospital tank for a week with BettaFix, but it did nothing.
<Indeed. Bettafix, like its stablemates Melafix and Pimafix, is an unreliable medication. I wouldn't recommend it as my first choice for treating established infections, though it might have value as a
preventative after physical damage or shipping but before symptoms of infection are apparent.>
I have always done water changes, kept the tank impeccably clean, heated,
<Do try upping the temperature a little, to maybe 28 C/82 F, as this can be helpful for sick Bettas. Do also ensure the air above the waterline is humid and warm.>
and constantly revised or removed decor that could have been damaging him.
To no avail, nothing is making his fins grow back! I am really worried about him! I am going to try and put him back in a hospital tank with a fungus treatment, and tetracycline, and see what happens... I really do not know what to do! Please help!
<A reliable antibiotic (the Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination is good)
would seem to be the logical step forward.>
Thank you,
<Welcome, Neale.>


Re: Severe Prolonged Betta fin loss now into body HELP!    10/7/13
Thank you your quick response Neale!
Nope my Betta fish has always lived alone. Only abrasive element in his current tank is driftwood. Tank is always kept currently at a constant 80F,  and it definitely shows signs of humidity at the top. Filtration is a gentle TOM mini 45gph set on lowest possible setting. Going to the store to pick up meds now!
Thank you again so much Neale!
<Looks a great little tank. The filter appears to be some sort of internal canister filter; do be careful with these around Bettas. They can work, but watch them. Air-powered sponges are the ideal. In any case, the antibiotic med.s should help significantly. Good luck, Neale.>

Betta with white patch     9/4/13   RMF's go
Hi guys,
<Don't slight the tender gender here Michael>
I was wondering if you could help with diagnosis and possible treatment.  I recently received a half-moon Betta delivered through 2 day shipping.  He arrived in fine condition and has resided in a 5 gallon, heated, planted
aquarium for the past 8 days or so.  The tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and I imagine
<I would test>
nitrates are low as he is the only resident and I do a 1 gallon water change weekly.
<... need purposeful biological filtration>
 Ph. is 8.0 (liquid rock out of the tap) but my other Bettas appear to be fine because it is stable. 
<Yes; a very good point>
Temp is kept at 78 degrees.  I sometimes add Indian Almond Leaves but am currently out of stock.  A white patch appeared near his eye about three days ago.  I couldn't tell if it was fungus, bacteria, or injury (?);
<Perhaps a bit of both/all>
 as a result I added two teaspoons of aquarium salt to water during a water change and raised the tank temp to 80 degrees. 
<Good; sensible>
Over the past three days the wound has not changed much in appearance.  His behavior has not changed at all, is very active, and is a voracious eater of new life spectrum Betta pellets and frozen brine.  I was wondering if you could help identify and if so, could you recommend treatment, medications, etc, or just stay the course.  Photos attached
<Well; in your excellent pix... this does look like some sort of (bacterial) infection following a physical trauma (whacked w/ a net, fell on the floor... sort)... But how to treat? I might well jump ahead (in suppositions; sans sampling, culture...), and treat as if this were actually a.... Mycobacterium infection? Maybe the safe, sound combo. of Maracyn I, II... Perhaps a Furan compound instead. Please look about re Myco.... on WWM. If/When in doubt though, I'd do nothing medicine wise here. Bob Fenner>

Betta with white patch     Neale's go     9/4/13
Hi guys,
I was wondering if you could help with diagnosis and possible treatment.  I recently received a half-moon Betta delivered through 2 day shipping.  He arrived in fine condition and has resided in a 5 gallon, heated, planted aquarium for the past 8 days or so.  The tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and I imagine nitrates are low as he is the only resident and I do a 1 gallon water change weekly.  Ph. is 8.0 (liquid rock out of the tap) but my other Bettas appear to be fine because it is stable.  Temp is kept at 78 degrees.  I sometimes add Indian Almond Leaves but am currently out of stock.  A white patch appeared near his eye about three days ago.  I couldn't tell if it was fungus, bacteria, or injury (?); as a result I added two teaspoons of aquarium salt to water during a water change and raised the tank temp to 80 degrees.  Over the past three days the wound has not changed much in appearance.  His behavior has not changed at all, is very active, and is a voracious eater of new life spectrum Betta pellets and frozen brine.  I was wondering if you could help identify and if so, could you recommend treatment, medications, etc, or just stay the course. 
Photos attached
<Does look like some sort of bacterial ulcer, incipient rather than advanced; would treat as per Finrot, using a reliable medication (not salt or Melafix). Ideally, an antibiotic combination like a Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 or else some equivalent product (Kanamycin, eSHa 2000, etc.).
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with white patch   9/8/13
I think there is significant improvement since adding Maracyn 1 & 2.
The attached photos demonstrate the difference from pre-treatment to day 3 antibiotics.
<I agree; looks like the skin has healed over cleanly.>
I plan on continuing with the recommended 5 day course of treatment.
<Do so, almost always the best plan. Do also check water quality, just in case the antibiotic affects the filter bacteria. Doesn't always (different sort of bacteria, I guess) but sometimes does.>
Following that I will put carbon back in the filter, perform water change, and add bio-media from an established tank in case the antibiotics have harmed the beneficial bacteria in the tank.  Does that sound like a plan?
<Apart from the carbon, yes. Not a huge fan of carbon: doesn't really do much of use in freshwater tanks. Extra biological media almost always a better plan, and after a week, carbon is so covered with bacteria and organic much that it may as well be biological media anyway! Unless you replace carbon weekly, it doesn't really do anything.>
Day 3
[Image 1.jpg]
<Good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Bloated Betta     7/29/13
Hello crew!
I am an avid reader of the site and have solved most of my problems by reading through the extensive information on your site.
I am writing now because there is conflicting info and I am confused as to how to proceed.
I have a Betta in a 5 gallon heated filtered tank with live plants and sand substrate. He has been there for  7  months or so. I have been battling fin rot with him from day one. I am meticulous about his care, doing 25% water change once a week and feeding him peas, Betta pellets and frozen bloodworms.
<I'd skip these last.
Search WWM re these sewer worm larvae... Can be trouble; perhaps the root cause of your issue here>
 He shares his space with a Nerite snail. I tried numerous medications for the fin rot but I have determined that just keeping his space clean and maintaining his environment seems to keep the fin rot in check.
Well lo and behold a few weeks ago he developed dropsy. A big bubble. He is still active and voraciously eating. Of course I immediately consulted your site. I'm 99% positive that its not environmental so I read all I could on betas and dropsy on your site and the info implied the best treatment was Epsom salts and time.

I did treat him with furan 2 which was also mentioned in one particular FAQ thread. I have seen no improvement but also no decline.
I was considering treating him with Maracyn but am not inclined to over medicate.
This evening while reading through the daily FAQs I noticed someone with a Betta fin rot issue being told to not treat a Betta with salt, that it does not improve any condition for Bettas.
<The confusion here may be what sort/type of salt is being used... There are several (mix of metals and non-metals)... Epsom/MgSO4 is different than NaCl>
How should I proceed? Should I try the Maracyn? Should I continue with the Epsom salt?
<I would use the Epsom alone, do away w/ the Chironomid larvae/Bloodworms... Use Brine Shrimp, Daphnia... instead; and a good pellet (Hikari, Spectrum) as staple w/ others augmenting>
Is there something I have missed? Should I remediate with the Furan 2?
Please give me some guidance, he's a fighter and I intend to fight for him.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Bloated Betta   7/29/13

Thanks Bob, I'll upgrade his food and keep on keeping on....
<Real good Marya. Please do keep us abreast of your Betta's progress/condition. BobF>

Betta with aggressive Finrot     7/26/13
Dear WWM Crew,
This poor fellow is Fishy, the kindergarten fish.  He lives in a 40l heated, filtered, planted tank with a few cherry shrimp.  We've had him for about 3 months, so he's not an old fish, probably.  He was bought up the road at a not-particularly-good aquarium shop, all I had reasonable access to at the time (there's a moral there, I know).
The tank temperature is 25 degrees C, ammonia and nitrite are zero, pH is 7.4. I don't know the nitrate level.  I change about 25% of the water every couple of weeks and count on the slow stocking levels plus the plants to keep nitrate and other nasties low.   Fishy eats a Nutrafin Betta food I bought at the same shop, though I have some Hikari pellets to change to once they get through the Nutrafin.  I'm not sure how much difference the food makes.
<Not a huge amount; both foods are good.>
As you see, Fishy has fin rot.  I'm only in there once a week, so I don't know how long it's been this bad, but discussion with the teachers suggests he's lost a lot of his tail in the last week.  Certainly a month ago he didn't look like that.  I've tried to get a photo, but it's tricky.  You can see the damage to his top fin in the attached shot.  His tail is, we think, about half of the length it once was, poor Fishy.
I have removed Fishy from his tank at kindy and taken him home to a quarantine tank to try to treat the Finrot before it kills him.  I wasn't keep to remove him from an established system but left at kindy I just can't get there often enough to do much.  So now he's in a heated 20l tank with very clean water but an uncycled filter.  I could put cycled media in from my main tank but I figured medication might kill it off anyway, so I'm not sure that's useful.  I gather that having pristine water is crucial to treating fin rot and I will do large daily water changes to keep ammonia to a minimum while I treat.   I figured I'd try treating with salt at first, so I have put approximately 20ml of aquarium salt (5 tsp) into the 20 litre tank.  Is that a reasonable amount to use?
<It's irrelevant because salt has little/no impact on Finrot, except perhaps when keeping species that benefit from the addition of salt anyway, like Mollies. Do read:
Salt occasionally has value for medicating fish, particularly for Whitespot, but otherwise there's no good reason to use it in freshwater tanks.>
That said, having brought him home and gotten a better look I think the fin rot is nastier than I thought it was (and I already thought it was nasty). 
So I'm wondering whether I should try some actual medication?  I am in Australia, so options are limited.  I can get tetracycline, triple-sulfa, MelaFix and similar, and some "broad spectrum" things that I think use malachite green or Methylene blue in them plus I don't know what.
<Look for a good Finrot medication that isn't based on tea-tree oil or some other plant extract, as these tend to be unreliable (putting it mildly).
Methylene Blue isn't what you're after, and nor is Malachite Green as these are primarily used to medicate against fungal infections and external protozoan parasites respectively. So your options are going to be primarily products such as Myxazin (not antibiotics, but fairly reliable antibacterial medications) and antibiotics like Tetracycline (which are potentially better). The catch with antibiotics is that each only treats a subset of bacteria, at best either gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria, Erythromycin for example treating gram-positive bacteria. Tetracycline treats both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, so it's a good starting point.>
Many of these things claim to cure fin rot, but I basically don't trust any of them to not also kill the fish, even if they do cure the rot.  It's been years since I used any fish medication and I'm not experienced with it.
Another thing I could do is dig out my mini uv sterilizer and hook it up on the quarantine tank.  I'm not sure if this would be useful, presumably he is carrying his own bacterial load with him now and there wouldn't be too much in the water column, especially given lots of water changes.  The thing does create quite a current, so it wouldn't be ideal for a Betta in a small tank, but I'm happy to give it a go if you think it might help him recover.
<UV sterilisers, like ozone sterilisers, are good for preventing cross-contamination between sick fish, but do little/nothing to help already infected fish. All sterilisers can do is, up to a point, kill waterborne organisms that might infect healthy fish.>
I would appreciate any suggestions you have.
Thanks for your time,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with aggressive Finrot     7/26/13
Thanks very much Neale,
But <waaah>, there are 50 million Betta websites out there swearing by the use of salt to cure Finrot.  Does the placebo effect work on fish?  It's so hard for even a not-a-novice fishkeeper to figure out which information to trust and which to ignore.
<It's a lot like diet fads... no-carbs, for example. Lots of people think they're great, but almost all those people aren't medically or scientifically trained; among the doctors and scientists, the majority opinion can be summarised as "not a great idea, eat a balanced diet instead" yet you'll find a bazillion websites out there about low-carb and no-carb diets, some of which are selling stuff, but many of which are genuinely trying to be helpful. Anyway, the bottom line for salt in Betta tanks is that there are some minor reasons why it might help, e.g., reducing nitrite and nitrate toxicity, both of which are issues for folks who keep Bettas in unfiltered and/or sub-5 gallon aquaria. On the other hand, Bettas didn't evolve in brackish water, let alone the sea, so adding salt to the aquarium takes water conditions a step away from their natural environment, and in terms of science, that probably adds a source of stress to their physiology (though, this may be offset by one of the minor benefits). I wouldn't recommend adding salt as a matter of routine, and you would be extremely hard pressed to find even one "professional" aquarist who disagrees with me. Put another way, there's no benefits that salt provides that better aquarium care doesn't, and a lot of the people recommending salt haven't done anything like a double-blind trial, so there's no scientific evidence to back up their arguments. That's why I tend to go along with the approach of providing optimal aquarium conditions based on their natural habitat, which would be soft to moderately hard water, a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH, warmth, minimal current, good water quality, regular water changes, 5 or so gallons of water, lots of floating plants, and NO SALT.>
OK, so I have left the kids to the mercies of the babysitter for a bit longer, braved peak hour traffic, and raced to the shop 3 minutes before closing time to spend $27 on medication for a $15 fish that isn't mine.  
The things we do.
<But such good karma!!! If the Big Guy upstairs turns out to have fins and gills, you won't have to worry about being reincarnated as a slug.>
Now I have in my hand a bottle of "Aquari-cycline", but the instructions are inadequate to say the least.  It has 375mg of tetracycline hydrochloride per tablet and suggests one tablet per 20 litres.  But it doesn't suggest how often to add this and whether to do water changes in the meantime.   Can you please suggest a treatment regime?
<Really tricky without instructions, but my good fish health book suggests Tetracycline works well at 10-20 mg/l, continuous bath for 5 days, but may need repeating. In other words, do a quick water change to freshen things up, then add the medicine, leave for 5 days (removing carbon from the filter, if used, but you may want to add zeolite to remove ammonia if the filter isn't mature). After 5 days do another decent water change, 25-50%, then repeat using a new portion of medicine.>
Should I add some cycled media to the tank's filter (medication might kill it anyway),
<Can do. Filter bacteria are bacteria, after all... hence reliance on zeolite in situations like this.>
or rely on water changes (will remove medication, or does it break down so fast in the water that this doesn't matter?).
<No, don't do water changes during the 5-day period of use.>
Thanks again for your advice.
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Betta with aggressive Finrot     7/26/13

Thanks again Neale,
Agreed with you about fad diets.  Information overload is a problem for us all, something I think about a lot with respect to how I parent my kids. 
I'm basically living in hope that they learn to cope with it better then my generation does, though there's nothing in our evolution to suggest that'll happen, is there?
<Don't know, but I'm hopeful.><<Ahh, B>>
Would I be pushing my luck to ask a further question about zeolite?  This is something I'm not certain of and I'm not a chemist (physics my trade), so I don't really understand the processes involved very well. Zeolite absorbs ammonia and similar things.  It can be recharged with salt, which forces the zeolite ion to discharge the ammonia in favour of, presumably, either the Na+ or the Cl-.  That's if I'm getting my chemistry right.
<Correct, you can recharge zeolite, but as a biologist, I'm a bit out of my depth here too! In any case, it's often not cost effective to work this way. You need a strong brine to clear out the zeolite sufficiently to make it worth using once more in a fish tank.>
If I put zeolite into a tank with a small amount of salt in it, it will still absorb some ammonia, won't it?
<Some. I'm sure it's an equilibrium-type chemical reaction; the more salt you add, the more the zeolite absorption shifts from taking ammonia to taking up the salt. At the "teaspoon per gallon" type concentrations freshwater aquarists use, this equilibrium is likely shifted far towards the ammonia absorption side.>
Unless I add more salt, which would cause the zeolite to discharge some of what it has absorbed.   I'm guessing that it's about relative concentrations of salt rather than whether there is any or none. Or do I need to get rid of all of the salt before adding some zeolite to the filter?  I'd prefer to get this right, for fishy's sake.
<I would do a decent water change, get rid of as much salt as you can in that way, and then ignore it. The zeolite should work adequately well, and an ammonia test kit will provide empirical evidence anyway, so I'd rely on that rather than theory!!!>
Thanks again,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Betta with aggressive Finrot     8/1/13
Dear Neale/Crew,
<Ah, Neale is "out" till 8/6; but I will put your msg. in his in-box>
I am happy to report that after one and a half courses of tetracycline,
Fishy is looking much better.  I can see white regrowth on his tail and fins, and he is swimming around and eating normally.   In a couple of days I will do another water change and stop medicating, and see how he goes for the next couple of weeks, before hopefully taking him back to the kindergarten.
<Very good>
I'm struggling to work out what may have caused the problem in the first place.
I know it is usually environmental issues, but as far as I can tell the environment in his normal tank of residence is just fine.  In his absence, the cherry shrimp in that tank are out in force, which makes me wonder whether they are additional evidence that there is nothing wrong enough with that tank to cause Finrot in a Betta.
The tank stats are as follows:
- 40 litres
- 25 or so degrees
- ammonia = 0
- nitrite = 0
- haven't measured nitrate recently, it was around 10ppm last time I measured it
<Do check. NO3 is a good indicator of overall metabolite accumulation/water quality>
- pH 7.4 thanks to the sea shells that I have put into the tank (very soft
water, left alone our tap water has a pH of 6.5ish and KH, GH around 1-2).
<7.4 is much better>
- planted tank (plants not doing great, which I think is because the light is not that strong, but they are not dying either, and the shrimp are keeping the algae under control)
- filtered with a top trickle filter with a flow rating of 400 litres/hour.
This comes out from the filter in several different streams, not all in one jet.  Could that be too much for a Betta?
  If it was could that alone be the cause of the problem?
<No; this species is fine solitary>
 Fishy has always seemed to be happy swimming all over the tank, top, bottom, everywhere.
Do you think there would be any problems here that cherry shrimp would tolerate
that a Betta would not?
<There are many>
Thanks again,
Helen (and Fishy!)
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Betta fin rot/infection? - 1/25/13
Hello WWM Crew,
Searches didn't seem exactly to answer this question although the answer probably is there and the searches just didn't find it...
1 1/2 year old previously healthy male Betta had frayed fins so I was doing a water change and wiping the inside his tank.  Don't know how, and didn't see it   until after, but I ripped off his tailfin *head desk*   Now he acts really ill, lethargic and bottom sitting, and part of his tail is regrowing but part is just a sore or something that's sort of grayish, not quite fuzzy, maybe getting a little bigger.  Treated with salt, Kanaplex x 3 doses like it says on the container.  Now salt & just started Seachem sulfathiazole, didn't want to harm the little fish's kidneys from too much Kanaplex...
<Would be more worried about the salt, to be honest.>
really worried.  He seems as if he's not getting the right treatment & is getting worse and feeling worse
Tank 2.5 gal Aqueon, built in filter (with   fiber media, not carbon), set up > 2 years ago
<A small tank, arguably too small. Yes, I know Bettas have been kept in jars, but their success rate in very small tanks is marginal at best.>
Temp. 80 deg F
pH 8.2
<Somewhat high.>
Ammonia trace, not quite zero
Nitrite between 0 and 0.25 ppm
<Ammonia, nitrite should be zero, and like the slightly too high pH, over the long term can/will cause stress.>
Nitrate 10 ppm
KH and GH greater than 8-10
Inhabitants 1 male Betta, no new fish
Plants none till today, treated 2 Anubias with KMnO4 then added due to obvious biofilter issues (new) based on test results)
Salt 0.26 on digital salinity meter
<What does this mean? 0.26 what?>
Getting ready to do Methylene blue bath
<An antifungal medication; as a dip, useless, in the tank can work quite well across several days if treating fungus.>
Can you please help how to treat this grayish-brown scab thing and help our brave little Betta recover?
Thank you!
<Would not medicate or add salt. Would simply optimise water quality (check filter, don't feed while ammonia and nitrite aren't zero) and see what happens. Yes, medications can/do stress fish, and salt, if used clumsily, is another stress factor. Given good water quality (i.e., zero ammonia and nitrite) fin damage will heal without any medication. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fin rot/infection? - 1/25/13
Thank you very much.
We will keep up daily water changes, will not feed, will stop Methylene blue baths, and will not replace the salt as the water is changed.  Will titrate pH down.
<Would not adjust pH directly. As Yoda would say, that is the path to the Dark Side. You see, if you change the pH without changing the hardness, eventually the pH will change some more, and the yo-yoing pH level is even worse than the high pH problem. Change the hardness if at all possible: if you have hard water, a 50/50 mix of hard tap water with deionised water (or rainwater) works great. You're aiming for soft to moderately hard water (2-12 degrees dH) and a pH around 6.5 to 7.5.>
Maybe Kanaplex hurt the biofilter.  This AM ammonia was 0-0.25 but nitrite was zero.  Hooray!
<Good. Do check to see if your tap water has ammonia in it already; often does. If it does, a good quality water conditioner (like Prime) will neutralise it but you'll still detect the ammonia, even though it isn't doing any harm. So if the tap water has 0.25 ammonia, and the aquarium has 0.25 ammonia, then the aquarium is fine and the water conditioner will take care of that trace of ammonia in the tap water. Of course if your tap water has less ammonia than your aquarium, e.g., the aquarium is 0.5 ammonia compared to 0.25 ammonia in the tap water, then your aquarium has a problem.>
On websites they write that bad fin rot is from Columnaris.
<Finrot simply means a bacterial infection causing the fins to decay. The bacteria responsible are many. Columnaris bacteria (actually, Flavobacterium spp.) cause a problem that tends to look more like Fungus, though the disease itself is closer to Finrot. Telling all three of them -- Finrot, Fungus and Columnaris -- apart from each other is hard, so ideally choose a medication that works against all three. Kanaplex is pretty good in this regard, but yes, it can harm biological filters. Ideally, you'd have some spare biologically active media from another filter you could add to this aquarium's filter if needed, but failing that, do at least be aware that the filter may need to be "cycled" again, at least partially, and cut back on the food while increasing the frequency of water changes during and after medicating for maybe a couple weeks total. Would I medicate? I would not, at least not immediately. I'd optimise the aquarium for a week, and see if the fish recovers under its own steam. Only if it becomes obvious that the grey patch is expanding or the fish shows other symptoms would I medicate.>
Thank you very much, again, for your kind assistance.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Betta fin rot/infection? - 1/25/13

Noted about diluting the  hard tap (well) water.  It does have trace ammonia; as you can imagine, we're not too keen on drinking it ourselves! 
I usually add some buffers with water changes.  It should be easy to modulate pH by altering the amount of buffer and adding RO or commercial spring water from plastic jugs (very soft; the brand we've used, anyway).
<You normally don't have to change pH directly. If you have well water, there's a good chance that it'll contain gas under pressure, so letting it stand overnight (if not a full 24 hours) will be really useful. Failing that, making each water change as small as possible will minimise problems, though of course if you only do a 10% water change, you should do two water changes a week instead of just the one weekly 20-25% change.>
Please clarify -- feed or do not feed?
<If nitrite is zero and the ammonia level is no greater than the ammonia in the tap water -- and you use a water conditioner that neutralises that tap water ammonia -- then your water is probably safe, so feed. If the ammonia in the aquaria is higher than the tap water ammonia level, then the filter isn't working adequately well because ammonia from the fish is being ADDED to the (albeit neutralised) ammonia in the tap water. In that case, don't feed until the filter works properly and ammonia level goes back down to the tap water level.>
My inclination is to feed the little fellow if he'll eat.  He's been refusing although earlier today some food we put in had absolutely disappeared when the water was changed & substrate vacuumed.  Nobody saw him eat, though. You mention other symptoms...Bottom-sitting, lethargy, and/or sitting in one spot by the heater or in the foliage as he is doing. 
Are these worrisome symptoms that you're thinking of?
<Possibly, but Bettas, especially middle-aged ones, can be a bit inactive.
Use your common sense. If he's much different to usual, and you think he's unhappy, then be prepared to medicate -- but again, I'd wait a few days to see if things improve.>
For antibiotics, would you say, if these are given, it's OK to re-start Kana since he had it earlier and then it was stopped?
<Yes, with the waiting period mentioned before adding any more Kanaplex.>
And what should one do, to make sure not to cause kidney damage with Kana?
<Used as directed, unlikely to cause lasting harm to your fish.>
Any other antibiotics you'd consider that might be as effective or better?
<Here in the UK, I normally use non-antibiotics, such as eSHa 2000 that contain chemicals like Acriflavine. But in theory, antibiotics should be more effective, if used as instructed. There's a good posting by a Seachem tech support person on their forum about Kanaplex and Columnaris, and I'd recommend you have a read. If you want further information about the product, that forum would be the place to post your questions.
Seachem have a good reputation, and I'd trust their products to work as advertised, within reason.>
Lots of detailed questions!! Thank you very much for guiding us through our Betta intensive care.
<Welcome, Neale.> 
Re: Betta fin rot/infection? - 1/25/13

Many thanks again!
With cordial regards,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Betta tank recycling! - Finrot 12/10/12
Hello Crew!
<Hi Marya>
Am having a bit of an emergency so am going to try to make it quick. A friend gave me an unwanted Betta, arg.
<I have been given these, also.>
I put it in my 2.5 gallon empty but cycled and running hospital tank. He's been in there a few weeks. I am going today to buy him a 5 gallon. Last week he got Finrot. I assumed it was from temp fluctuations at night since all other parameters were perfect.
<Possibly. They do prefer warmer water.>
He is now at a toasty 82, I treated with Maracyn. Not sure if he's getting better but not getting worse.
<Could take more than one treatment cycle. In my experience Finrot on Bettas can be stubborn, and these fish seem to be susceptible to reinfection.>
The Maracyn blew out my bio filter. I took media from my 20 gallon and put it in the filter, am doing 50% water changes daily.
<Would stop doing this during treatment because you are removing meds, and that means you aren't delivering the proper dosage.>
My tap water reads at 2 for ammonia so I treat it with prime but the tank is still reading at 1.0.
<This is a problem.
  I think your solution for this short-term problem is to use ammo-chips aka zeolite. The stuff adsorbs ammonia. You might also consider adding a bit of java moss to the small tank if you have any available, but I would discard it after the fish is healthy again.> I am getting the 5 gallon which I will seed with the filter media from my other tank but until I can get it under control I need to help him before the Finrot comes back or gets worse from the stress.
<Personally, I would prefer to leave the fish in the 2.5 gallon tank until the Finrot is resolved, mainly because it requires less Maracyn.  But, watch the ammonia levels and if they persist at problem levels, then maybe the 5 gallon tank is the wise move.>
Should I leave him and persist or float him in a plastic colander in my 20 gallon?
<I would not move a sick fish into a healthy tank, no.>
Not sure if this will stress him out? Thanks in advance, Marya.
<Good luck. - Rick>
Re: Betta tank recycling! - Finrot 12/10/12

Thanks Rick for the response,
<No problem>
To clarify I did complete the first 5 day treatment with no water changes.
<ah, I see.>
I did a 50 and checked next day and ammonia was high for the first time since I cycled the tank. Should I go ahead an start the second treatment, cease water changes and use zeolite?
<It's all about trade-offs here.  You have an ammonia problem that comes from the tap water, and if the tank cycle crashed, you will have more from the fish.  That will stress the fish, of course.  On the other hand, the fish must be treated.  I think I'd put some zeolite into a small filter bag and if you have any water motion at all in there, put it into the current. (If you have a filter put it in there, also remove any activated carbon). If you live in the US, PetSmart has small filter bags with a draw string for under a dollar. Depending on how much flame moss you have, you can put some of that in, but I wouldn't want to remove all of a healthy flame moss from a healthy tank if the plant is small.  See what the ammonia readings are immediately and then after several hours.  If the ammonia is not going down significantly, you may need to move the fish into the larger tank to keep the ammonia levels lower. And you may very well need to do some partial water changes and a longer/higher concentration treatment to compensate.>
How will I know when the fin rot is defeated?
<The fins will start to heal and look healthy again.>
Also I only have flame moss in my other tank, will this help?
<Java moss was one suggestion. Any plant will help.>
I will check for java miss but am pretty sure my LFS doesn't have it. Thanks again,
<Welcome. Again, good luck. Never fun treating ill fish. - Rick>

Sick Bettas, Roundworms?    12/5/12
Hi! I'm hoping you all can help me. I have 7 female Bettas in a 26 gallon bowfront. It's heavily planted and has a gravel substrate. It all started one day when I noticed that one of my Bettas had a paler spot between it's mouth and gill. It wasn't a slime patch, it looked like it had just lost it's color.
<"Does just happen" at times, but can be indicative of other troubles>

 I wasn't sure what it was, so I just kept an eye on it.
A couple of days later, I saw a scale fall of where the pale spot was. The next day, something was growing out of it. The best word I can use is fronds, almost like an anemone, but much thinner. I went to my local fish store, and talked to the owner, and he said it sounded like Columnaris.
<Mmm, maybe Camallanus... roundworms. See WWM w/ the Nematode genus name in the search tool>
 He told me to use Maracyn, and that it would clear up. So I moved her to my hospital tank and dosed her. On the first day of treatment the fronds went away, but where they were was a sore. I thought she was getting better, but on the last day of treatment, the fronds came back. I did some reading on the internet, and saw that a lot of people had luck with Furan 2,
<This won't treat/rid worms either>
so i did a 100% water change, and a couple of days later started the Furan. It didn't seem to do anything at all. About this same time, I noticed that 2 of the other Bettas had Finrot.
<Likely from exposure to the other med.s... a slippery slope...>
 I went back to the fish store and was told this time to try Maracyn Plus. I moved the first Betta back into the main tank since i would have to treat them all. While I was moving her, the fronds came off, but they left almost a hole where they had been. I did the course of Maracyn Plus, and it seemed to help the Finrot. After the fronds fell off, it seemed to heal, without the paleness, and she has been doing a lot better. But now one of the other Bettas has the same thing, but it has 4-5 of them, one was big, the other ones were pretty small. I decided to move that one to the hospital tank, since the other problems had cleared up. And again, while trying to catch her, the fronds of the big patch came off, leaving a giant wound. I got really upset and went back to the fish store for the third time, talked to the owner yet again, and this time he said maybe it was a fungus. He sold me some API Liquid Fungus Cure,
<... of no use>
which also hasn't seemed to help at all. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to euthanize the Betta, she won't eat and the wound doesn't seem to be healing. Do you have any idea what the problem could be? I trusted the fish store owner, but nothing he said seems to be right. About my tank, ammonia and nitrites were at 0, nitrates were about 30ppm. PH was a 7.6, and the temp stays about 75/79. It's been an established tank for about a year, and I've never had any problems before this. If you can give me any idea how to keep this from happening again I would be very grateful. Thanks!
<Do take a read here:
Does your situation look like these examples? I'd be treating w/ an Anthelminthic... Like Prazi/quantel... in foods if the fish are eating. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Bettas       12/5/12
Thank you for the quick response. I took a look at the link, but that's not quite what it looked like. I know this is going to sound stupid, but if you look at the attachment I sent, it looked like this, but it was all gray/white.
<Descriptive of mycelia... a true fungus... These are actually rare in aquariums. Most what folks call fungal are bacteria>
The fish that had them the worst passed away last night, but I would like to know if this was something I could keep from happening again.
Again, thanks for your help
<Good maintenance and nutrition are the best avenues to keep such infectious disease at bay. BobF>

Persistent Betta Fin rot in perfect water parameters      11/2/12
<Hi Katherine>
First, Thanks for reading this at all. You are guys are the awesomest!
<Muchos gracias.>
Second, this is a low priority email, I think I know what I need to do from searching WWM, but I love my fish and have OCD, so asking a live person really helps me respond rationally and not get paranoid about fish health.
<Good to see you researching. I'll see what I can do.>
So the problem - I try really hard not to buy "rescue fish", but this Betta was sooo pretty with extra large fantail black fins with an edge of iridescence along the body and gills.
<I have fallen victim to Betta love at first sight, too.>
I originally put him in a 2 gallon, cycled, heated/filtered tank by himself with some plastic plants.
<A bit small but can be made to work with diligence. Could be part of the problem.>
About 3 weeks later, I went on three back to back business trips and the intern fed my fish, or should I say, overfed my fish and never changed his water.
<Shouldn't need to change water over that short a trip if feeding is kept modest. Could have done a single feeding and been fine.>
I come home to a Betta with slightly raggedy and smaller fins. I was convinced the fin thing was just paranoia (see OCD), changed the fish water, fed him, etc. Within a week his fins were noticeably deteriorating, slowly flaking off until he looked like a Crowntail. The resulting spines would fall off only after almost all the fin in-between was gone, and I could see and siphon up shed pieces of black fin off the bottom of the tank.
<Sometimes a clean environment is all it takes to heal, but my experience with Bettas is that once they have any kind of bacterial infection like Finrot, they are prone to repeat infections for the rest of their lives.
I've been on the receiving end of some sick Bettas I've been asked to cure.
The longer you wait, the harder it gets.>
I tried triple sulfa and that did jack-all. So after one treatment cycle of that, with the fish getting worse, I put a big heater in the tank, raised the temp from 74 to 78, and started double-dosing him with Maracyn and Maracyn II.
<Oh, 74 is too cold. That's part of the problem right there. Bettas prefer water a bit warmer than the average tropical fish. You could even go a little bit higher, like 80.>
I also removed all decorations from the tank, essentially making it a hospital tank. Lastly I started using DI water instead of aged *and* treated tap.
<So long as you don't do this all at once. The fish needs time to adjust to the change in hardness and pH.>
The decaying fins stopped. With a 2 gallon tank, dosage was iffy and I may have overdosed on the meds some. I kept dosing him for 11 days until his fins were back up to 50% of their original size. During this time I kept cleaning the tank and changing the water every 5 days.
<The instructions usually call for a water change and a day of rest between treatments cycles.>
Then I had to go on another business trip. This time, the fish went home to my mother's. She fed the fish and cleaned the tank while I was gone for a week. She kept dosing him with meds until the last five day cycle was over, but she put in a lot less than I did. When I came home from the business trip. The fish looked good, and the fins had grown a little more.
Water parameters checked out.
3 days later, * *I* *think I see the fins flaking again, but convince myself it's paranoia and it's just the semi-translucent nature of new fin growth.
<I see>
The fins started falling off, in the same pattern as before, and faster.
I've moved him to a tank I cycled while I was away on a business trip - 10 gallons.
<Much better>
He's the only fish. Bioscaped to be Betta-ideal. Water parameters are perfect and I check them daily.
The only deviation from perfection is the water tends to have a pH of 6.5. I moved him to a sunnier location in my apartment, since my mom's kitchen was way sunnier than his original spot in my apartment. I started dosing him again with Maracyn/Maracyn II.
Nothing. I added tetracycline. Nothing. He seems happy, no clamped fins, eats fine, normal Betta behavior. I can't figure out what would be stressing him out! I keep the tank clean, aerated, heated to 77 degrees.
What can I do?????
<Give good quality food, keep the water clean. As I said before, once a Betta starts fighting infection, they seem to get them repeatedly.>
After looking at your website all I can think of doing is finishing the round of current drugs and switching to Kanacyn or Oxytetracycline, possibly switching back to DI water, but my other fish don't seem to be harmed by treated, aged tap water.
<You said the pH is 6.5. How stable is that number? If you add DI water, that pH will be prone to drift.>
The amount of money I am spending on this fish is ridiculous, but I don't want it to die because I neglected it somehow.
<It can add up. I don't think you are neglecting the fish at all. You seem to be caring for it the best you can.>
Plus the fish is so pretty.
No septicemia, no bloat, normal behavior, good water, I can't tell if the edges of the fins are blackened because they are black fins. His fins are just literally falling off in visible little pieces, and in the weird Crowntail-pattern.
<I've never seen anything that exactly fits the description of pieces of fin falling off. Maybe Bob or Neale has seen this before.>
Is there anything more I can do than try Kanacyn and switch to DI and heat the tank back up to 80?
<I think heating the tank up to 80 is a no-brainer. Even if the fish were completely healthy that would be about right. If that isn't enough alone, I like your plan, though do be careful with the DI water and the pH.>
Once again, thank you for your time and efforts at WWM
<You are most welcome.>
<- Rick>

Betta Finrot - 10/22/2012
Hi crew!
I have a Betta with a definite case of Finrot, caused by a forgotten water change.  I set him up in a hospital tank and treated with API's fungus meds because I had it on hand and they claimed it can fix Finrot. Sad to say it didn't.
<Finrot is generally bacterial, not fungal.>
He now really looks like a case of Finrot and has lost half his tail and now has the pink spots indicating blood vessel damage.
<Not surprised. Needs proper treatment immediately, and very clean water. 
Keep the ammonia levels low in that hospital tank with plants or zeolite crystals.>
 My question is, which medicine would work best? API E. M. Erythromycin ( I'm assuming the active ingredient is in the name). Mardel Maracyn with erythromycin as the active ingredient or T C Tetracycline with tetracycline hydrochloride as its main ingredient?
<Both are antibiotics, but I'd probably try the tetracycline first. Be aware that it will color the water.>
Id like to zap the bacterial infection this time instead of letting it get worse like it did last time.
I did look over the website but it seems to be a bit of this or that depending on who answers and everyone asks about MelaFix which I know to be worthless.
<There can be more than one effective treatment for certain ailments. 
Either antibiotic might work. Melafix is a naturopathic treatment and may work on mild cases, but I wouldn't try it with Finrot this severe. Hope that helps.>
thank you!!
Re: Betta Finrot     10/25/12

Just wanted to say thanks to Rick for helping with my question!
<You are quite welcome.>
I bought the Tetracycline this afternoon and its been in the hospital tank for less then 8 hours and already the inflamed blood vessels are settling down.
Treatments going to take a full five days but I think this one is going to work.
<If it is not cured in 5 days, do read the instructions on how to properly do a second treatment.>
Thanks again for the wonderful advice and excellent site!
<Glad it's working. - Rick>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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