Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 24

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

Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9 , Betta Disease 10 , Betta Disease 11 , Betta Disease 12 , Betta Disease 13 , Betta Disease 14 , Betta Disease 15 , Betta Disease 16 , Betta Disease 17 , Betta Disease 18, Betta Disease 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21, Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 27, 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, All Other Betta Med.s (Mela-non-fix, Quinines...)


New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta rub sores 6/25/09
Dear Wet Web Crew,
I came to you for concerns about my fish earlier this month, and the exodus continues. Now that he's healed from his encounter with the last filtration system I had AND the leaking aquarium, my Betta Lapis is having another problem.
He's always been a rapid swimmer, and likes to swim against the tank a bit, darting and doing figure eights at the front of the tank when he sees me. But I've noticed something since I attached the light to his tank that has me worried. His scales on the front of his head are somewhat dull, not as shiny as I remember them, and I've also noticed in the last two days, three small white spots on his face around his mouth.
<Nothing to worry re>
I've been keeping an eye on them for the last two days, and more have not appeared, and they haven't changed size. The way Ick was described to me it's supposed to look like salt or sugar, which this doesn't (at least not to me). Could it be a fungal infection?
<Mmm, no>
I'd read somewhere that they can get 'pimples'? My concern is that it might be some sort of infection, because periodically when he's darting around now he'll open his mouth. He won't open his gills at the same time as he might if he were flushing his gills, but his mouth opens and shuts as if gasping or trying to grab at something under water. He's still eating with enthusiasm, and he's definitely not lethargic except when he's been in "isolation" for a while. When I'm home I'll put a cloth over his tank for a little while during the day because there is no low traffic area for me to put him in and I worry that my constant passing by will stress him out and make him sick. Even then he's not really lethargic, but a little mopey, as if he misses me. He perks right up when he sees me again.
As for the tank information I'm sure you'll need:
Temperature: 82 F
PH: 7.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0
Last water change: Sunday 6/21
Last water test: Sunday 6/21 (I always test the water before and after a water change, just to be sure)
Medication/Additives: StressCoat+, Melafix (added 6/24 when I noticed spots weren't gone), aquarium salt (added at water change)
<I'd leave off with the salt>
I showed a picture of Lapis to our resident Betta 'expert' at my local fish store, and she said she thinks it is most likely Ick from the pictures I had available, and she suggested a medication that they use frequently for fish suffering from that parasite (QuICK Cure, which has Formalin and Malachite Green).
<Too toxic>
Due to the harsh nature of both of those medications, I wanted a second opinion before I dosed him because I don't want to dose him with the medication if it ISN'T Ick. I always seek a second opinion because you never know what a fish enthusiast has learned and what they haven't.
<Not a disease...>
Enclosed is a picture. I've circled the spots. This was the best I could do because he doesn't sit still very well for the camera. He's a bit of a fidget (hehe).
Please help me? I don't want to give him the wrong medication or give him something he doesn't need.
<These are sores from the fish rubbing his face on the container... interacting with you, the world. Not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Betta with tumor that...exploded? (RMF?) 6/18/09
I've spent quite a bit of time on your website (along with many, many other sites) trying to figure out what happened/is happening to my Betta, Pat. My apologies for the number of pictures, but I figured it would be best to show you what's going on rather than attempt to describe it.
<It looks like Lymphocystis, or something similar, such as Fish Pox.>
In September of last year I bought this Betta, Pat (short for Patriot since he is vaguely red white and blue). He seemed perfectly healthy and in fact was for quite some time, up until May 21st of this year. I have been
keeping him in a gallon fish bowl with glass stones on the bottom and some Roman columns that he rather seems to enjoy. Because the house is kept kind of cold, I keep the bowl on a heating pad turned to either medium or high.
I am sure to clean the water often (at least once per week and a half) and feed him a variety of foods: the Betta pellets, flakes, bloodworms and most recently, crisps.
<Lymphocystis is viral, but the balance of evidence strongly favours the argument that the virus becomes dangerous only because the fish's immune system is chronically weakened, specifically by environmental and water quality issues. So, you need to review how you're keeping your Betta. The only viable way to maintain a pet Betta (as opposed to what breeders might do in heated fish rooms) is to keep a Betta in a 5-gallon or larger tank; to use a heater set to 25-28 degrees C; and to use a filter to keep the water clean, ideally a sponge filter. If you aren't doing all these things, that's your problem right there.>
I do not monitor the ph (although I realize now that I should) but have a water conditioner for Bettas that I use each time I clean the bowl that "breaks the chlorine bond" and makes it safe for him.
<I'm not sure you understand what you're doing, which likely exposes the Betta to environmental stress. Dechlorinator is fine and good, and certainly you should add an appropriate amount to all new water added to the tank. Water changes should be 25% per week, assuming a 5-gallon tank with a filter installed. But water changes don't remove the need for filtration unless you're changing 90% of the water daily, which is what serious breeders do.>
So. May 21st I'm cleaning out his tank and take a few photos of him for my own fun. I didn't really take notice then, but a white spot had begun to grow on his lower tail fin (pat1.jpg).
As the days passed, I noticed that the white spot was growing, like a tumor. Pat remained frisky, eating plenty, moving around and "puffing up" when I came too near the glass. In other words, other than the enormous tumor, he was acting normal and swimming fine (pat2, 3, and 4.jpg). At this point I did some research online and bought Betta Fix, thinking it was a possible parasite or viral infection. I started treating him with it for a week, then changed the water as directed.
<Betta Fix is a complete waste of money. Indeed, any "remedies" recommended that are based on tea-tree oil or salt are largely worthless.>
The tumor seemed to stop growing and wasn't affecting his swimming or behavior, so I decided not to do a second treatment. Today, I go to feed him dinner and this is what I see (pat5, 6.jpg).
His tumor had, for lack of a better word...exploded. Disappeared. There is a hole where the white lump used to be, and a piece of jagged fin. I don't know what to think--no other site has photos of this kind of tumor, or described one that just seemed to drop off.
<Lymphocystis has a distinct growth and decline cycle, sometimes takes weeks, other times years. You've been lucky here, in a way, and now know that to prevent more problems, you should upgrade the aquarium in terms of space, heat and filtration. I'd also recommend strongly treating for Finrot and Fungus to prevent secondary infections, which tend to be common when the skin of a fish has been broken. Good medications that treat both diseases include Seachem Sulfathiazole and Seachem PolyGuard. The important thing is not to imagine that tea-tree oil or salt would help!>
I tried looking in the tank to see if it was possibly sitting on the bottom, but I can't really distinguish between a possible growth and the other "trash" on the bottom of the bowl (I am guilty of feeding him a bit too much, so the excess food sinks to the bottom). He still is eating, moving around, acting like he always has. I am at a total loss.
I guess what I want to know is if there is anything specific I should be doing (medication-wise, food-wise), watching for, and if this is something he can recover from.
<Do review the needs of Bettas. They can't be kept in unheated bowls as small as yours, and invariable die from something or another when kept thus. I do make this point repeatedly here, but I'll say it again: Bettas
are tropical fish. They need all the same things as other tropical fish. If you don't have the space/money/inclination to keep tropical fish correctly -- Bettas or otherwise -- then don't keep them at all.>
Thank you for this site--it surely makes me feel better that I'm not alone!
<Happy to help. Neale.>
<<Appears viral, cancerous... only "internal" self-cure is possible... RMF>>

HELP my Bettas are going crazy 6/17/09
Hello Crew,
I need help and I need it fast! Earlier today one of my female Bettas was acting weird. She looked as if she was squeezing her-self, the she would swim extremely fast jumping out the water (in the tank, past the surface) and blowing bubbles. Now my Crowntail Betta is acting weird. He keeps lying at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time then racing to the top, jumping out the water, and not eating. This is out of character for both of them and my male Betta usually eats way more then my other five Bettas combined! Please help me. I'm desperate for advice
Thank you in advance
<Something reads as being very wrong here... I suspect some source of poisoning... perhaps a nearby kitty litter pan... or household cleaner has wafted ammonia or other material into your Betta systems' water... Too late to counter the present circumstance, but I'd be looking for a root cause here, and fixing it. Bob Fenner>
Re: HELP my Bettas are going crazy 6/17/09

Thanks for responding Bob but shortly after I e-mailed you guys last night my Crowntail died. I switched out the water in both tanks, the female started acting normal right away but the male laid on the bottom still. I
even brought him out of the tank to get a gulp of air and put him back immediately but I couldn't help him. Thank-you so much for your help
<... Mmm, but what of the real cause here? Perhaps some sort of cover over the tanks would be of help? BobF>

Beta 6-15-2009
My Beta has a fungal growth growing on it's dorsal fin area-how do you suggest I treat this??
<Anti-fungal medications (not salt, and not tree-oil remedies such as Bettafix, Pimafix or Melafix) should do the trick.>
Appreciate any insights you can offer
<I'm hoping your Betta (not the two Ts; the word rhymes with "better") is in that glass thingamajig just so you could photograph it. Contrary to what the guy in the pet store might suggest, Bettas cannot be kept in unheated glass bowls. They are -- and this surprises some people -- actual fish.
Like any other tropical fish they need heat and filtration. Just to run through the basics, the MINIMUM requirements for a Betta are a 5 gallon aquarium, a heater that keeps the water at 25-28 degrees C, and a filter of some kind, ideally an air-powered sponge filter but other types will do provided the water current isn't too strong. They CANNOT be kept in bowls without heaters regardless of how warm your house is -- unless you happen to live in tropical Southeast Asia where they evolved! Angle-poise lamps and other such "solutions" won't work. I mention all of this because Bettas develop fungal infections when kept badly; their immune system weakens, and fungal spores are able to 'germinate" on the surface of the fish, leading
to the cottony threads you can see. Only by correcting the conditions will anti-fungal medications such as API Fungus Cure, Seachem Sulfathiazole and Seachem ParaGuard work. It's a shame some people buy Bettas assuming they're virtual pets you can keep in a bowl of water; you can't. Don't be one of those people!>
Greg in Woodland, CA
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mmm, maybe viral. RMF

Re: Beta 5/16/09
Well thanks for your response, but, in this case a picture is not worth a 1000 words!! You are mistaken. I put the Betta in the vase so I could treat him with aquarium salt as the counter help at Pet Smart suggested, as I looked for an anti-fungal remedy.
The Betta resides in a 60 gal tank, with some other 20+ fish. He developed this growth in that tank. I do monthly maintenance on the tank, change the water frequently. So, without feeling too smug about my tank housekeeping, I return to my original question: What should I do to treat this problem??
<As I said, don't use "junk" remedies like salt or tea-tree oil, and instead use valid anti-fungal medications such as those listed in my previous e-mail. Use as instructed, and the other fish and the biological
filter will be unharmed; since fungal infections are usually caused either physical damage (such as fighting or nipping) or environmental shortcomings (ammonia, nitrite above 0) review both and act accordingly.>
So I add salt to my 60 gal fresh water tank, or just hope for time to heal this thing?
<Cheers, Neale.> <<Medications won't fix this... growth... Maybe time, good care can/will. RMF>>

Lapis a tail biter? 06/08/09
I've had Lapis about two weeks, and he's been fine until yesterday. When I left my place Sunday morning he was fine, but when I got back at 4:30 in the evening, about six hours later, his tail was tattered and there was what appeared to be clotted blood stuck to some of the shredded parts.
<Usually such "shredding" is either physical damage, e.g., from another fish, or else Finrot. However, Finrot takes some time to develop, and if it really did go from perfect finnage to shreds in size hours, Finrot is
unlikely to be the issue. That said, it's always worth checking water quality.>
He's in a 5 gallon tank with a heater and a Marineland Duetto Mini filtration unit, and completely by himself.
<Do check the filter isn't over strong for the aquarium; it is possible for a Betta to get stuck to the inlet, and in trying to work itself free, shred its fins. That would be consistent with seeing just a single fin damaged,
as would happen if one fin was stuck to the filter. It goes without saying that air-powered filtration systems, such as box filters and sponge filters, are the correct choices for Betta aquaria.>
The only changes I have made to his environment was to add a couple of decorations to what was already there. There was already a lace rock and four soft plastic plants in the tank. I only added three small pieces that look like coral. I removed them immediately when I saw his fin was damaged, thinking one of them might have been the culprit, because there was no sign of damage beforehand.
<It's improbable that a fish could do this kind of damage merely by swimming past an abrasive rock; this is much more like ripping rather than scratching.>
This is not the first Betta I have had, and the last one died of fin rot; and I don't remember it coming on this fast. Could he be biting his tail??
Could he have gotten his tail stuck in the filtration unit somehow??
Included is a before and an after photo.
<Quite a difference!>
I've changed his water, removed the other decorations except what was originally in his tank, and added a water conditioner after the water change, Bettafix, and aquarium salt. Is there anything else I should do??
<Well, you could stop with the salt and the BettaFix (it's a Betta by the way, pronounced like "better", not "beater"). Treat with a reliable, vet-tested medication appropriate for Finrot, such as Maracyn, to prevent
secondary infection. Tea-tree oil is pretty unreliable, so while cheap, it's also useless.>
Is there anything else I CAN do??
<Review water quality, filtration and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Lapis a tail biter?
One more quick question. I just did the water change yesterday... do I need to do another before I start using Maracyn, or is it okay to use it even though the BettaFix and salt are in the water?
<Personally, I'd do the water change. Replacing 25% of what's in the tank will certainly do no harm. There really shouldn't be any interaction between the Maracyn and salt, since you can use Maracyn safely in fresh and saltwater aquaria. Bettafix is more of an unknown quantity, but I'd expect it to have little effect either way.>
(sorry about the spelling error) Also, I read on a forum site through searching about Bettas and Fin Rot that when using medication there should be some aeration of the water in the tank, and suggested an airstone.
<Indeed. Most medications are irritants or poisons; that's as true for human medications as those used for animals. While I wouldn't expect a Betta to be too fussed about oxygen -- it is, after all, able to breathe
air -- making sure the tank had good circulation would do no harm. Adding an airstone would probably be overkill if the tank already has a filter; but it could be a make-or-break addition of the sick Betta was in an
unfiltered bowl.>
Would that be a good idea, or would it stress the fish out too much to add something to the tank when he may already be stressed and sick.
<I don't think you need to add an airstone, but if you did, I can't see it would do any harm. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Lapis a tail biter? (RMF, opinions on Melafix vs. Maracyn) <The one is a sham, the other a real antibiotic> 06/08/09
Thank you so much for your advice! I went out to a local fish store today and they tested the water for me, they said conditions were perfect, so the water quality was not to blame (which is funny because I had not really been testing for ammonia, etc.) I took the same pictures in to the girl they had on staff that has had Bettas frequently.
<Well, while this is good news, and not something I doubt, be open minded:
water quality can fluctuate, particularly immediately after feeding.>
She said that it did not look like fin rot to her, and she hesitated to recommend starting with Maracyn since my tank was still becoming established as far as good bacteria is concerned. She recommended I try Melafix for now, at half the dose due to tank size, and keep an eye on him.
<Melafix is not reliable. I have no idea why people sell it. Maracyn in erythromycin, an antibiotic widely used and trusted by vets and doctors; Melafix is tea-tree oil, and simply isn't used by vets and doctors.>
I also purchased a new filtration system, a sponge filter. I just put it in his tank and already he seems to have relaxed a little. I think the current on the other filter was far too strong for him. He also seems fascinated by the bubbles it makes (the one I bought can be attached to an air stone to aerate the tank while filtering). He doesn't seem sluggish and he's still eating, so he might be over the worst of it (if there even was one, since he was swimming around with his tail like that as if nothing had happened).
I will keep an eye on him, and if I don't see improvement I'll most likely get the Maracyn, but I think he's going to be okay, since there hasn't been any change (for the worse) to his condition since I found him last night. I really appreciate all your help. You have no idea how great it is to have someone to ask questions who actually KNOWS what they're talking about.
<Happy to help.>
His poor tail though... I can't wait until it heals... lesson learned though... don't trust someone who doesn't know the first thing about caring for Bettas. That's how I ended up with the filtration system I did in the first place. *sigh*
<The outlook is good; fish can repair their tails very well, and the Melafix won't prevent that. Probably won't do much to help either, but we'll let that pass for now. Good luck. Neale.>

Re: Lapis a tail biter? 6/11/09
I just wanted to say again - THANK YOU!
<You're welcome.>
He's already on the mend, and the tail is looking much better!!
I was so worried about him I could barely sleep until I started to see the clear membranes that were indicators of his fin healing. His tail has already been partially restored. I had no idea they heal so fast.
<With the right medications and good water quality, yes, fish are astonishingly resilient.>
Thank you so much for your help!
Picture was taken yesterday. ^_^ He looks so much better!
<Indeed he does! I like the sponge filter you're using; ideal for Bettas.>
I bought a water testing kit so that I can keep track of his water conditions too, so hopefully all will be fine from now on.
<I hope so too. Good luck, Neale.>
>Hi Bob,
> You might want to add to the title "Re: Lapis a tail biter?" something like "Look what happens when you switch from Melafix to a *real* medication!"
> Cheers, Neale
<Ah yes. Will do. BobF>

Re: Betta now better... 6/26/09
Mr. Fenner,
Thank you so much for responding. I will hold off on the medicine and just keep an eye on the spots just to be on the safe side. Lapis seems to be doing okay, but I'm an ever-worried Betta mommy. Someone should tell PetSmart that malachite green isn't very good for the fish... they dose the water that the little Bettas live in (in those little cups).
<Lesser of two evils... while this protocol surely increases the rate at which their Bettas die before sale, they'd lose even more if they didn't because water quality is so bad.>
They say it's to "keep them from getting sick" but I agree with the mom and pop fish store I use when they said it's probably more because they don't want to clean the water (laziness).
<Quite possibly the case.>
The mom and pop place doesn't use it on the Bettas, just conditioned tap water, and their Bettas live quite well (my first Betta was from them and lived for 3 years). They did recommend the QuICK Cure to me, but she also stressed I might want to use it at half strength or something because the medicines are often stressful on the fish's system. That's the reason I contacted you, I felt it was better to seek a second opinion. Thank you so much for your help.
BTW, tell Neale (who helped me when Lapis got his caudal fin stuck in the old filter I had) that Lapis tail is almost completely healed and I really appreciate the help on that too.
<I'm glad everything worked out well.>
I'm amazed at how quickly he healed.
<Under the right conditions, fish are remarkably healthy and resilient animals. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta question... dis., no info. or pic... 6/9/09
I think my Betta has Columnaris - he has white stringy material hanging from his body and exhibits heavy breathing. What can I do?
Thanks, Rachel
<... Mmm, send along more data and a good image or two. Read here:
and the linked files above for input, examples. Bob Fenner>

Sick Beta, Help! (Yet another Betta in a tank that's too small...) 6/11/09
Our Beta, Max, is sick and we're not quite sure what is wrong with him, though reading through some of your FAQ's it seems like he may have a combination of issues.
<It's a Betta, by the way, pronounced like "better", not "beater".>
I purchased our Beta at Christmas 2008, so we've had him a little over 5 months. He's usually quite active in his tank. We initially had him in a large bowl shaped vase, but moved him a few months ago to a filtrated 1.5 gallon tank.
<Still too small. Despite what salesman say, you need at least 5 gallons for Bettas. They are -- and this might be a surprise to some -- living things. Indeed, they're fish. So just like any other fish they need clean
water, heat, filtration, and oxygen.>
Here is the link to it incase you need a visual
<Waste of money.>
He has rocks and a few plastic plants in there and he seemed to be quite happy about his new digs. Last week I went to feed him and way too many pellets came out of the food jar (I'd say at least 30). I thought about fishing them out, but figured it wouldn't hurt to let him eat them. But now I understand that overfeeding can lead to swim bladder disorders.
<No, this isn't what happens. Who told you this?>
In any case, several days later we noticed that his fins were very tattered looking and not long and luxurious like they used to be, and he had some white, fluffy looking stuff on his head.
<Fungus; almost certainly you have poor water quality, in part because the tank is too small. What's the ammonia concentration? Or the nitrite? You should have a test kit for at least one of these.>
He also has a strange spot on his back flank that looks like it might be part of his body protruding from his scales, but I can't be sure. He was floating at the top of his tank in the back corner and when he tried to
swim he was swimming sideways, as if he was having trouble with equilibrium or something. After some research online we thought the fluffy white stuff was probably a fungus of some kind and we went to a tropical fish store nearby that gave us some antibiotics for the tank.
<Antibiotics are for bacterial infections, and won't cure fungal infections.>
We came home and emptied his tank and rinsed it all out with hot water and rinsed all the rocks and plants. We replaced the water with filtered tap water and placed Max back in the tank adding the antibiotics as described on the package.
<Filtered tap water is fine, provided you know the water chemistry. For example, water that is too soft would be very bad for these fish. Indeed, simply changing 100% of the water is daft, because that runs the risk of exposing the fish to severe water chemistry changes. Only change 25% of the water a time, up to 50% if there's an emergency, leaving at least 24 hours before doing additional water changes.>
We've been using that for about 4 days and he does not seem to be improving much. He just sits at the back corner of his tank at the surface and hardly moves.
<Review the basics: heat and filtration. Bettas are tropical fish so need a tank with a heater, obviously, and the temperature should be around 25-28 degrees C. They cannot be kept in unheated tanks, unless you happen to live in tropical Southeast Asia. The filter should be primarily a biological filter, so things like carbon are irrelevant. Instead ensure you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite at all times. Water chemistry isn't critical, but should be around pH 7 with a moderate hardness level, around 10 degrees dH.
There's no need to add salt, and in fact salt is used to detoxify nitrite, so aquarists who recommend salt are essentially admitting they cannot keep their water conditions correctly.>
He doesn't respond to us if we talk to him or if we remove the lid of the tank at all.
<None of these things matter to a fish. He's a fish! What he wants is heat, clean water, and the right water chemistry. In a 5 gallon tank with a heater and a biological filter this should all be very easy to provide.>
When we fed him after cleaning the tank he seemed hungry, but now he seems disinterested in food at all. After reading one of your posts, I am assuming we should not feed him for a day or two incase he's suffering from being overfed.
<Not the issue here.>
Is there anything else we should or could be doing to get Max healthy again?
<See above.>
Also, if he has some kind of fin rot, will his fins grow back at all? Thank you for your help!
<Emily, I fear you've got a lot of reading to do before having any success here. Please understand that fish have needs; they're not "virtual pets". So while shops will be only too willing to sell you a Betta and a jar to
keep him in, they're taking your money in exchange for a fish that will surely die. So don't be too angry with me for being frank; instead, be cross with yourself for not doing research first, and cross with the pet shop for taking advantage of you. If you provide the Betta with a heated, filter 5 gallon or larger tank, and then treat for Fungus and Finrot together, e.g., treating with Seachem Paraguard or Seachem Sulfathiazole,
I'd expect your Betta to get better and his fins to heal. Fail to do those things, and he'll die. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Beta, Help! (Yet another Betta in a tank that's too small...) -- 06/12/09

Thank you for your response. We will try the larger tank with a heater and treat for fungus and fin rot.
<Good to hear, and good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Emailing: Fish 001, Fish 002... Betta vision/hlth. 6/8/09
Hi! I am writing about our Betta. His name is Only Named Fish (just Fish for short, my then 3 year old named him!) Fish is now over 2 and a half years old.
<A very good age for a Betta.>
He has always been feisty and ornery. He taps the bowl if I forget to feed him! About a week ago I noticed a perfectly round white spot "on" his eye, on closer inspection it is inside the clear of his eye.
<It's mechanical damage; i.e., he bumped into something, and the outer surface of the eye became damaged and died, hence the white. Not really much you can do beyond making sure the infection doesn't spread further.
The use of a reliable anti-bacterial used for treating Finrot would be appropriate. By this I mean something like Maracyn or eSHa 2000, as opposed to salt or tea-tree oil (Maracyn, Bettafix and other make-believe solutions).>
I haven't noticed any behavior changes, and he still eats like a piranha, but I am pretty sure he can't see out of that eye (I had a terrible time getting a picture because he kept turning his good eye to me). When I saw the dot, I, of course, panicked and headed for the store. They told me it was either PopEye or Ick and gave me some stuff to treat it.
<Poor advice.>
The thing is, I came home and did some research and it looks nothing like any of the diseases. Could he have just whacked himself on the bowl?
<Yes, or more likely, a flat rather than curved surface, e.g., the filter, the hood, or a rock.>
Or could it just be old age?
<Certainly, as fish get older, their repair and immune system likely gets less effective, so problems such as this one become more probable.>
Though the pictures aren't perfectly clear, you can see the dot in his eye in both. (No, that isn't a reflection.) Thanks so much for your great site and all the info. This is the first time my little guy has been sick and I kind of like his ornery old hide! Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Emailing: Fish 001, Fish 002
Thanks a bunch! I appreciate the advice. I will get an antibiotic right away.
<Good luck! Neale.>

If all else fails...? 06/04/09
Hello again to the WWM crew!
I have written in before asking about problems with my mollies, but this time I am writing about my Betta, Betty. Betty lives in a 5 gallon heavily planted tank by herself. Temperature around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, nitrites zero, ammonia zero, and nitrates zero. Prior to her move into this tank, she lived in a 55 gallon tank with tetras but she was upgraded to a home of her own and really seems to like it.
I purchased Betty at a corporate chain, Petco. Obviously, I have no way of knowing how old she is. I have had her for about 6 months now. After moving her from the 55 gallon into the 5 gallon tank, I noticed that she started getting larger. I cut back on feedings to once every 2-3 and started treating her with Epsom salts. The bloating did not go away. The current treatment is still 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts in the 5 gallon tank during the water changes. The water changes are done weekly.
<This "bloating" is not uncommon among female Bettas. Overfeeding may well be part of the issue, as might constipation, but I'd also factor in possibilities such as egg-binding and simple dropsy. It's not easy to tease these possibilities apart, but at a pinch, I'd order overfeeding as the most common problem, dropsy the second, constipation the third, and egg-binding a distant fourth. Dropsy isn't any one specific disease but a symptom caused by a variety of things that lead to issues with osmoregulation. There's no easy fish, but Epsom salt plus the use of antibiotics may help. Certainly stop feeding altogether, and if, after a week, the swelling has gone down, then overfeeding and/or constipation were the likely causes. If the swelling doesn't change, the look at Dropsy, particularly if the scales seem raised from the body. Egg-binding isn't easy to cure once established, but if she's merely ripe with eggs rather than bound, introducing a male might lead to laying of eggs, and if that happened, you'd have your answer.>
Her bowel movements are stringy and sparse; her output is definitely not what it used to be. I have attempted to feed her peas, bloodworms-both freeze dried and frozen, algae, and other foods that search engines said would relieve possible constipation. She refuses to eat any of it and will only eat a little bit of flake food.
<Lack of interest in food does often go along with parasitic or bacterial infections, and these in turn often lead to Dropsy.>
Her feedings are still cut back to every 3 days, but nothing has made a difference. The scales are not pineconed, so it does not appear to be dropsy.
<I'd still consider this possibility.>
My fiancée even suggested a possible tumor or even if she had eaten a small piece of gravel when she was in the 55 and it never came out.
<Tumours do happen, but usually result in asymmetrical swelling, so one side of the body bulges. As for swallowing gravel, because of the way fish work, it's pretty unlikely. They have gill racers in the throat that allow them to swallow substrate and sift out food without choking.>
Behaviorally, she hangs out in a corner and rarely comes out except to flare up at the cell phone (with which I used to take this picture; I'm sorry about the quality!). The only way to find out would be to cut her open, and I'm not sure I could bring myself to do that even after she passes away. Betty used to be red but her belly is now so bloated and distended that it is white in color. Attached is a picture of her that I took this afternoon. Does anyone on the crew know what else could be causing possible Betta bloat besides constipation and/or dropsy?
Thank you much for the help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

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: