Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Betta Medicines: Anthelminthics (dewormers)

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

Related FAQsBetta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9 , Betta Disease 10 , Betta Disease 11 , Betta Disease 12 , Betta Disease 13 , Betta Disease 14 , Betta Disease 15 , Betta Disease 16 , Betta Disease 17 , Betta Disease 18, Betta Disease 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21, Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26,
Betta 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/AntibacterialsAnti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s

DO read here:

 Worm Diseases & FAQs on: Worm Parasites 1, Worm Parasites 2, Freshwater Worms, (Freshwater Worms of All Kinds)
FAQs on: FW Worm Disease Diagnosis/Identification, FW Worm Disease Treatments, FW Anthelminthics, & FAQs on Parasitic Worms by Group: Platyhelminths/Flatworms: (Trematodes/Flukes, Planaria, Tapeworms and Leeches), Acanthocephalans, Nematodes/Roundworms (e.g. Camallanus),...
Anchor "Worms": See FW Crustacean Parasitic Disease,


Prazi-quantel, Levamisole,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Unusual Betta problem  11/16/08 Hello. I'm having a problem with my Betta that I've never encountered in my 4 years in the hobby (I know it doesn't sound like much, but I've seen a lot working in the pet industry). I've tried all sorts of searches online but I can't seem to find anything like it. First, I'll give you some background info. <Please> I have a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about 3 months. Up until recently, it housed only two male Bettas (with a divider, don't worry!) and whatever Malaysian trumpet snails managed to find their way in there. It has live plants (mainly java fern, water sprite, and a couple species of Anubias) and a small filter. The nitrates have never been above 20, the ammonia and nitrite have steadily been zero for two months, pH is 7.4-7.6, KH is 3 degrees, and GH is 4 degrees. The Bettas were quite content until I pulled some stupid moves. First, I came into possession of a couple baby platies, and was keeping them temporarily in a 2.5 gallon tank. I needed a heater, and the only one I had was in the Betta tank, so I pulled it out thinking the temperature wouldn't drop below 72. I was wrong... it went from 76 to about 68 over a couple days. I was concerned at first, but the Bettas seemed fine, no change in behavior, so I didn't really worry about it at the time. <Mmm, such a stress can/does show up later...> About a week after that, I decided to move my 6 Danios from my 20 gallon tank to the 10 gallon tank, 3 on each side of the divider. I kept an eye on the water chemistry, and other than a 5 ppm raise in nitrates everything stayed the same. I replaced the heater in the tank as well, and the temperature went back up to 76. I knew my Danios were rather boisterous, and I tried to put the most boisterous ones with the Betta that I thought was the tougher of the two. Considering all the stressors I introduced, I'm not surprised that one of my Bettas got sick. However, it's the illness itself, not the cause, that has me befuddled. I first noticed that his gills were hanging slightly open and he was breathing heavily. He would come to the top to eat, but the rest of the time just lay on the bottom. I assumed it was probably a bacterial infection of sorts brought on by stress, and I set up my 2.5 gallon tank as a hospital tank. I put a heater in it, got the temperature to 76, put 1/2 tablespoon of aquarium salt in it, and let it run overnight with an air stone. I transferred him this morning. Tonight, I came home, added .5 ml of Melafix, <Mmm, not a fan> and attempted to feed him. He was VERY interested in food, and practically attacked it... however, he couldn't seem to even get it in his mouth, and that's the bit that has me stumped. It's not like he takes it and spits it back out, it's like he can't even open his mouth enough to get it in. I tried a variety of foods, including flakes and daphnia, and he barely got anything in his mouth. He would lunge after it and end up just pushing it around. It's like Betta lockjaw! I've never seen anything like it, and it's frustrating me. He seems like he would have a great prognosis for recovery if it weren't for the fact that he can't eat -- he's active and interested in food. I'm just wondering what could be causing this? <Could be pathogenic> My best guess is a bacterial infection, but nothing looks red or swollen, he's just skinny, his gills don't close completely, and he can't open his mouth. I even managed to peek into his gills with a flashlight when he had them flared, and they didn't appear swollen at all. In fact, they looked like all the pictures of fish gills I've seen in the text books, healthy pink but not inflamed red or anything. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I don't want to have to euthanize him, but if the treatments don't work I'm worried he faces slow starvation. Thanks, Tamla <Given the symptoms you describe, the course of exposure to other life, am guessing that this may be an instance of Flukes... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flukesfwf.htm and further on the Net re monogenetic Trematodes. Bob Fenner>

Gyrodactylus? Re: Constipated Betta While we're at it, I'd like to ask your opinion/advice.... <Okay> A girl in the forums has been having problems with her Betta; you might recall our ongoing WWM correspondence "Constipated Betta", now on its, what, twelfth segment, I think. Anyhow, at this point, she has seen what looks like a long-ish, dark, worm-looking thing inside the Betta, either in its intestines or in the body cavity of the fish. The fish's belly is very swollen. After starting treatment with Levamisole, the fish may be improving, and has been pooing much better, although feces is sometimes clear, sometimes brown. From what I've read, this indicates Capillaria, perhaps?  <Possibly. My best guess considering the info. is some sort of nematode> I'm pretty convinced, in any case, that there's some sort of internal worm or wormlike parasite going on, here. To put a spin on things, though, she took a fecal sample to a vet that agreed to look and see what she could find; this is a first for the vet (can't imagine much fish poo goes in to vets, these days, heh). The vet apparently decided the fish has Gyrodactylus - but as far as I can find, these skin flukes would have essentially nothing to do with such a bloated belly.  <There are monogenes found elsewhere, but my guess is still a roundworm... the adults and eggs of same are very different... the Vet could give the fish a vermifuge and dislodge the adult/s...> I guess I'm getting confused, here; not sure if my texts are good on information at this point. If you might take a look at the forum link, here it is: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=15483&start=45&msRange=15 Really, only the fourth page is pertinent at this point, if you don't want to read the whole thing ;) And even then, I think I've summed it up pretty well, no real need to read it at all, unless you like, and might want to throw in your .02 worth. Sorry to bug yah.... -Sabrina <I would prescribe an Anthelminthic... and possibly Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Fish Splitting? I was noticing my Betta resting on the bottom of his tank a lot. When he did swim up for air I spotted a bulge under his stomach. I thought it was perhaps from over feeding, so I cleaned his tank and fed him smaller amounts. <Bettas often are overfed, which can lead to health complications....> The other day I saw a mass actually splitting out of his stomach leaving him with a pretty decent since hole in his body. <Now, THAT's bizarre.  Doesn't sound like overfeeding.> The ball burst with blood (nice right?). <Uhh, wow, yeah, this is not at all something that is by any stretch of the imagine "normal".  I don't guess you stopped to snap any pics that we might look at to try and help determine what this is/was?> I don't exactly know what to do. He has a huge hole but isn't dead yet. What happened to him? <In complete honesty I do not know.  Even an image of the fish currently that shows the hole may help.  I am entirely at a loss at this point.> -Abby <Sorry for the lack of help on this one....  if you can send in some images, or a very, very explicit description of the mass, and how/where the hole is, this may help.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Thank you, Jessica Jepson

Betta With Serious Problems - Caution, Very Graphic Images - 02/06/2007 There is a post on your website titled Fish Splitting?, written by Abby on 9/17/2005. I am having the same problem with my Betta. I keep him in a 1-gallon bowl with a water heater (the water stays at 80), thermometer, polished marble rocks, and a plastic plant. I alternate pellet food and freeze dried blood worms and I do a 70% water change once a week. <Wonderful!  I'd rather see it be a larger space with finer, more porous substrate (e.g., aquarium gravel), but honestly, this is fine.> Last Wednesday I noticed that his stomach was huge and he had a white spot on the bottom of his belly. <Yikes....> I keep him at work and coworkers told me that I was over feeding him. I did some research on line and learned that I was, indeed, over feeding him. <How much were you feeding him?> I fasted him for a day and then gave him one pellet the next morning, but I noticed that the white spot had gotten larger. It also looked like it had some blood on it, like it was an open sore. <Ouch!> I went to Pet Smart and they gave me Melafix, which is supposed to treat all open sores, <Mm, unfortunately, the efficacy of this "medication" is questionable.  This is just the extract of Melaleuca, or "Tea Tree".  It would not be helpful in your situation, I fear.  I tend to recommend against using this.  Not worthwhile stuff at all, in my opinion.> but it's been getting worse every day. Up until today, he was acting like he feels fine, but today he's just been lying at the bottom of the bowl and only comes up for air. The sore looks like what Abby described, like his stomach just split open. <Poor fellah....> I'm thinking now that it has to be a tumor. Surely it couldn't have happened from over feeding him, which I haven't done for a week. When the sore first appeared I thought maybe he cut himself on the plant, so I took that particular one out and replaced it with a soft silk plant.  I'm including two pictures. <These are very clear, very well-taken photos.  This animal did not just cut himself on the plant, or any other simple problem like that.  He did not have something you could have easily prevented or cured, either.  I can't be certain from the images, but he either has tumors/granulomas from an illness (possibly Mycobacteriosis - not easily preventable, not curable, and increasingly common in Bettas) or a very large-scale parasite problem (Cestodes/tapeworms or something of that nature).> <<Is RMF's guess as well>> I've only had him (his name is # 9, Spicy) for two months and I just adore him. I want to know if he'll get better or if he's suffering. <I feel terrible for you, and him.  Though it hurts me to say it, I really do not think he can recover from this.  However, I really want you to know you didn't do anything wrong.  The habitat you provided for him was just fine.  I really think you couldn't have easily prevented this.  If he seems to be suffering, if I were in your shoes, I would consider euthanizing him....  I don't say this lightly; I feel horrible for you.  If you feel you must try/do *something*, I would suggest treating with Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone, or other broad-spectrum antibiotic, in hopes of keeping his awful wound from getting infected.  I would not feed him at all during this time, and would just "wait and see".  I fear the worst, my friend.  I am so sorry.> I can't find anything online that sounds remotely like what he's going through, with the exception of Abby's email. I am going to copy it below so that you don't have to look it up. <I appreciate this.  And I do remember this email as well.  The images you included speak much better than words can.  I am hoping that this email, archived with the other and with these images, will help others in the future as well.  I wish all the best to you and # 9, Spicy, and I thank you for taking the time to research your pet's trouble and seeking for help.  I only wish there were more that I/we could do for him.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta With Serious Problems - II - 02/07/2007 Sabrina, <Hi, Jessica!> Thank you so much for your quick response. Unfortunately, when I came in to work this morning, #9 was dead. <Oh, I'm so sorry....> In a way I'm relieved because I know he had to have been suffering. <Yes, I imagine so.> Your e-mail is actually a great comfort to me, knowing that it was nothing I did wrong.   <I'm glad to have brought you some comfort.  Thank you for caring for him so well.> I'm hesitant to get another fish, and if I do, <You will, I'm sure of this.> it will be awhile (out of respect for #9 who, despite his numerical name, was the first fish I've ever owned). <When you're ready, I'm sure you'll find a new finned friend.> I will take your advice and get the next fellow a large bowl and better rocks.  Thank you again.   <Very glad to be of service to you.> -Jessica Jepson, Phoenix, Arizona <Wishing you well,  Sabrina Fullhart, Silicon Valley, California>

Internal parasites: white, stringy feces, Betta 10/16/06 Hello Wet Web Media crew, <Hello there - this is Jorie> First off, let me just say I love the site, it is extremely informative... <I've learned so much from this site!> ...but I'm a tiny tiny bit stumped on this little' problem with my female Betta.  She has the "white, stringy feces" sign of internal parasites... <Yes, you've likely correctly identified what's going on.>   I am currently using "Parasite Clear - Tank Buddies" by Jungle Brand "With Praziquantel!" as quoted on the box as it had been recommended to me by a few sources.  Unfortunately, to no result (as far as I can tell - of course, one never knows if maybe the resultant white stringy feces may be the dead worms leaving the body, as they seem to be passing much quicker than other cases of this I've had in the past without any meds) <I've found that internal medicated food is the best/only way to successfully treat internal parasites.  Jungle makes one called "Pepso", and you can also find medicated flakes here: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/234/cat234.htm?380 > Ok, on to the informative stuff.  I have a 29 gallon acrylic planted tank containing 6 Otocinclus, 1 normally striped male dwarf Gourami, and one "fire red" male dwarf Gourami (which may be a morph of the honey dwarf Gourami, but no one seems to know for sure) and previously 3 female Bettas as well as numerous Malaysian trumpet snails and Ramshorn snails and the occasional pond snail (pond snails, when discovered,  find themselves on a magical journey to the male Betta tank for algae control, as he refuses the company of algae eating fish)  My ammonia is 0, nitrites currently are 0 (but are occasionally at .05)... <Nitrites need to be a zero when live fish are in the picture...> PH 7.8, temp 84 when the lights are on, 82 at night. <May want to drop the temp. a degree or two...also, try to minimize that temp. swing from day to night...> I am using a Whisper 30 hang over the back filter with no carbon, but the bio-filter is in, and I use no aeration or CO2. <No "aeration"? I'd suggest adding an air pump or two to get some oxygen into the water...> So, anyway...  My "Ruby" female Betta has been having some white stringy feces hanging out of her anus, so I moved her into a hospital tank (5gl)... <Thank goodness - I was just about to ask if you isolated her! I'm so glad you did...> ...and added aquarium salt to the water (1 tsp/2gl) and used a dose of the Praziquantel med tabs described above. <I'd suggest running carbon and doing water changes to get the present medication out, then switching to the medicated food...>   I also medicated the main tank... ...<WHY? I was so happy to hear to had used a QT tank...you do realize you likely destroyed your nitrogen cycle, so keep a very close eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrates...I'd suggest testing daily until everything has spiked and lowered...> before doing a 90(ish)% (I got as much water out as possible, but it's almost impossible to get it ALL out without removing everything and letting it air dry for 6 days) to try to remove any possible eggs or whatever and scrubbed the driftwood, rinsed the filter pad (though on reflection, I possibly should have just changed it, and maybe scrubbed the filter itself?), <I'd suggest changing the filter pad - if nothing else, you want to remove any residual medication.  Do keep a close eye on everyone else...> ...put everything back - everyone seems fine, but I popped in the meds as a precautionary measure just in case they happened to have caught it anyway and I hate to lose fish... <It's never a good idea to "preventatively" medicate.  It's much better to do more water changes.  I do understand your fear, though, as my 29 gal. recently was exposed to parasites, and I just yesterday ended up breaking the whole thing down...all remaining fish are in QT.  Anyway, enough about me:-)> The sick fish is eating well enough and is not showing horizontal "fright lines" yet, though she is not as fat as the other females are (though she is lowest on the totem pole, so that could be normal), but she definitely still has the white stringy feces showing now and again - though not constantly, and certainly not for days at a time.  My question is, is this Praziquantel stuff in fact the correct medication for this particular parasite, and, could she possibly be expelling dead worms, and be "on the mend" so to speak? <Not likely - a sign of continued infestation.  Try the medicated food - that's probably just what she needs.  If she needs incentive to eat it, try soaking it in a couple of drops of Kent's Garlic Xtreme.   AND, if it just so happens that I've been giving her the wrong meds, what would you recommend I get, as I'm beginning to believe that I should medicate my females whenever I get a new one for this particular infestation, as I believe the supplier feeds his Bettas live black worms or other live foods and gives them all horrible parasites.  (look like crap in the store, beautiful in my tank..  sigh) <No, do not medicate unless you see active signs of illness.  DO quarantine all new fish, especially in light of the info. about what these fish are fed.  Maybe consider keeping them in QT 2 mos. or so (longer than usual), just to be safer.>   Oh, yes, I do not feed my fish live foods. <Glad to hear that.  I don't either.>   I feed them Betta Bites (for the Bettas) and TetraMin Tropical Crisps for the gouramis, so I'm assuming I'm not the one introducing these parasites. <Likely you are not.  Try alternating their diets with frozen bloodworms and Mysis shrimp - they'll be ecstatic! My Bettas go nuts for those treats, and since they aren't live (I use the Hikari brand), there's no risk of parasites.  Fish do need some variety in their diet.> Alright, I hope I've covered all the basic info you will need to (hopefully) help me with this...  (in my long, rambling writing style - I hope I haven't bored you to tears yet)  And if you need any more info, please let me know and I will be more than happy to tell you anything I can. <LOL! You write just like I do - I can relate! No, I'm not bored at all - more info. is better.  Hopefully I've helped you!> Thank you very much in advance, Alyssa <You are welcome.  Jorie>
Internal parasites: white, stringy feces PART 2
- 10/18/06 Thank you, Jorie, for replying.  :) <You're welcome.> Well, as an update:  I did not get the medicated foods, as they don't seem to carry them at my LFS (oddly...  I'm in Seattle...  I'll check around) <I've had trouble finding medicated foods locally as well.  Try http://www.drsfostersmith.com or http://www.flguppiesplus.com > But, on the bright side of things, Ol' Ruby seems to be fattening up just a little (I've been over-feeding her just a little to see if she would or not.  I'm assuming that this would be a good way to check for parasites, as she would likely not fatten up?  I'm a little afraid I'll give her dropsy, though...) <Probably not a good idea to overfeed...just so long as you are feeding a small amount of quality food (e.g., Hikari, Spectrum New Life pellets, frozen bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, etc., as previously mentioned> Anyhow, and the good news is, I haven't seen any white stringy poops in a few days. <Great!> I did a good water change of the hospital tank to remove anything in there, and she's kicking around like she's bored to tears, checking out the plastic ornaments and the boys (hospital tank is right next to the boys' divided tank)  But I'm thinking of keeping her in quarantine for another week or two before I let her back in the main tank, and I'd like to find the medicated foods...  as of course, internal parasites seem to be a problem from my suppliers. <I think that's a great plan - can't hurt to "over" quarantine.  Keep up with the water changes, and I really would try to find the med. food online.>   Ok, that settled my main question - Praziquantel, probably good...  but better as a food additive. <Yes...the medicated foods I am most familiar with contain Metronidazole, though...> Maybe it helped that I would dose the tank, and then feed her?   <I don't want to suggest the external meds don't work, it's just usually that the medicated food is more effective.  But hey, if the symptoms are gone, that's all that matters, right?! Keep an eye out, though, as discussed above...> lol...  and maybe that she would pick at it.  Anyway, the rest of my tank seems to be healthy, no one seems to care that I drained the tank, re-did everything and put everyone back sans one female Betta. <Perhaps they enjoyed the distraction? I find my Bettas like it when I rearrange decor occasionally...smart little fish - they do tend to get bored, as you've noted above also...> A note about the aeration:  I have quite a few plants in there, and my fish are labyrinth fishes, so an airstone would be a tad redundant, I think. <I'd suggest a powerhead instead, for water circulation sake.  The plants would likely appreciate it.  You're right, though, in the sense that the labyrinth fish do breath from the surface, but that doesn't mean they appreciate water devoid of O2...> Just my feelings...  maybe I will get an airstone eventually. But for now everyone seems to be doing excellently.  Thank you very much for the advice, as I build out my med kit:-) <Yes, good to have medication on hand.  Best of luck - sounds as though Ruby is improving - glad to hear it!  Jorie> Alyssa

Floaty Bloaty Betta - 06/05/2004 Hi, I came across your site while doing a search on Google to try and save my Betta. <Welcome, then; hope the site proves useful to you.> When I went to feed him this morning I thought he was dead. <Yikes!> He was floating on his side on top of the water, although he wasn't dead, just floating there, and he moved when I gave the tank a wobble. I put some food in the tank and he ate it, so he still has his appetite. <Ah, a very good sign, indeed.> His tank water was also due for a change, so I changed that, and didn't put any of the pebbles or fake plant that he usually has in there, just plain neutralized water. <Might make him feel better to have some sort of cover in there; I'd add the plant back in, or get him some java moss or such to have to hide in.> He seems very jumpy too, and if I wobble the tank he will dart around it very fast, which he doesn't usually do. <I, too, would be jumpy if I were in a clear box with nowhere to hide - granted, that's obviously not the cause or sole solution to the problem, but a stressed fish doesn't recover well from illness; I would definitely offer him something to hide in. Again, java moss serves this purpose excellently, and requires only very little light. Great for Betta bowls.> I also noticed that his fins were much shorter, and after doing a search I've concluded that he has fin rot. <Sounds quite possible.> But I am unable to find out why he's floating on top of his tank. His belly is very bloated, and if he tries to swim down he really struggles and then eventually gives up and floats back to the top, where he'll occasionally move around the side of the tank, swimming on his side because he's unable to swim like normal. After searching through the pages on disease in Bettas on your site, I am unable to determine what it may be that's causing him to do this. <A few possibilities, here; first and, hopefully, likeliest - simple constipation. This can cause the fish to bloat up (unable to pass waste), and possibly be gassy (therefore floaty). Easiest fix for this is to feed foods of high roughage content, like frozen/thawed peas (just squeeze it out of the shell, offer a tiny portion), adult brine shrimp, or daphnia. Feed *extremely* sparingly. Another possibility is internal bacterial infection, perhaps affecting one or more internal organs. Sadly, this is often quite hard to fix. Feeding food impregnated with Oxytetracycline may help. A third possibility is internal parasites. Do you see any poo? What does it look like? Normal, clear, stringy, what? Fixing internal parasites is best done by feeding food medicated with Metronidazole (for protozoa) or Levamisole or Piperazine (for large parasites, like worms).> Another site described an untreatable disease called dropsy, <Dropsy is a symptom, not a disease. Though your fish is dropsical, it could be any of the above diseases that he is afflicted with.> where they are bloated and their scales stick out, but my fishes scales don't stick out. <Also good. Scales sticking out most often suggests bacterial infection.> And they mentioned nothing about floating on their side on top of the water. <Which makes me hope that you're just looking at a case of constipation. Of course, bacterial infection affecting the swim bladder will cause the fish to lose control of buoyancy.> On your site I read someone had a constipated fish who was bloated, so I put a few Epsom salts in his water just incase it was that. <Good. Use one to two tablespoons per ten gallons.> Another person had a fish floating on top and it said its usually environmentally related.. <Mm, can be, but the bloating indicates that there's something more going on.> which it may be, because about 2 or so weeks ago we put our fishes tank inside a larger tank with a turtle in it, because fishes tank was getting very cold because its winter here, and the turtle tank has a heater in it. <Have you tested ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, in both the Betta tank and the turtle tank?> We've only had him for about 5 months tops, so I didn't think it would be old age setting in just yet. <Agreed.> Do you have any ideas on what it may be? Or what could help my fish? <Just as above.... if you can email a photograph showing the bloating, that may help me try to figure out what the problem is, but otherwise, that's about the most I can offer. Also, if you do feel the need to medicate, and don't feel confidant mixing up your own medicated food, you might try here: http://www.flguppiesplus.com/_wsn/page3.html > Thank you! Megan <You bet, Megan. Wishing your Betta a swift recovery, -Sabrina> 

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: