Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 26

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 24, Betta Health 25, 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 help! 21 megs... 5/30/2010
Your msg. has been deleted. Re-send w/ images of no more than hundreds of Kbytes in size. BobF
Betta help! 10 megs...
Your msg. has been deleted. Respond per our guidelines... with attachments/images of no more than a few hundred Kbytes. B
Re: Betta help!
I don't know how to make my picture smaller than they are...
Try the Internet...
re: Fwd: Betta help!
Thanks for nothing
re: Fwd: Betta help!
you're really a piece of ****! **** you and your protocol I told you I didn't know how to make the pictures smaller and you're a dick- thanks for not helping guess this is why you answer online and aren't a real vet
<Amanda, I think we need to calm down a little. I'm not sure how/why tempers got so hot here, and I don't think it helps. The only reason I only saw these messages is because I'm nosy, and I do tend to flick through the freshwater FAQ answers to see what I've missed. So while I hope no-one minds me chipping in here, I'm going to do so simply because I think that'll help all concerned. Anyway, the reason for the image size limit is practical. We have limited e-mail space here, and if one person sends more than 1 MB of images, that clogs up the system, and bounces back other people's messages unanswered. So that's a selfish result. Unintended perhaps, but unhelpful nonetheless. There's also the fact we're volunteers.
If it takes me several minutes to download your images, that's time out from my life, and time I haven't spent helping others. So when we say we want images around 500 KB, then it's not because we're jerks, but because we're trying to help as many people as possible within limited time. Now, resizing images shouldn't be a big deal. If you have a Macintosh, you will have either Preview or iPhoto, both of which resize images with minimal fuss; in the case of Preview for example there's an Adjust Size... option that allows this. If you don't have a Mac, I can't offer much help except to say perhaps you should buy one if computers really are things you're not so hot at using! Most digital cameras come with some sort of image editing software. It's usually crummy, but it should allow you to resize and/or crop images without too much difficult. For what it's worth, most Betta problems come down to poor living conditions, so do review our notes on proper Betta aquaria.
Lack of heat, lack of filtration, inadequate space are all things that tend to promote poor health. It's probably fair to say the vast majority of Bettas are killed by their owners, usually through ignorance -- willful or accidental -- of their requirements. Some Betta problems are genetic, for example tumours, and there's little you can do about these. Now, I do hope these comments give you some idea of where to start researching the problem with your Betta. As for the skill of the crew-members, do bear in mind they're expert fishkeepers volunteering their time. If you want a vet, then please feel free to go pay for one. Most of us are at least as competent as any vet when it comes to fish health, so there's no point arguing we're not "real vets" because it's irrelevant. So let's all cool our rockets, and get back to fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Fish - eye problem, not eating. 5/15/10
Hi, I'm really worried about my Siamese fighting fish. It has recently stopped swimming around, and just sits at the bottom of the tank. I soon noticed it's eye was swelling up...and as the days go on...it's eye has
gotten a lot worse it looks terrible and painful, white wispy stuff has come out of it, and it looks like it has affected it's mouth and has totally made a mess of the whole right hand side of the fish's face.. My Betta fish won't eat anymore, it doesn't take any notice of the food... and now it's basically on a vertical angle near the surface of the water, it is very disturbing to see the eye, and it's breathing is very deep...I'm afraid that it's going to die soon, sometimes it looks like it's dead because it just doesn't move one bit anymore.. can you help me?
<Hello. It sounds like your Betta is seriously sick, and without suitable antibiotics for Finrot it won't get better. Now, the main thing to remember is that sick Bettas usually get sick because of the way their keeper keeps them. You haven't said anything about your Betta's aquarium. Just to recap, Bettas need aquaria at least 5 gallons in size, and that aquarium must be heated to 26-30 degrees C (79-86 F). Filtration is essential, not optional.
Water changes should be around 20% a week, and the tap water you add should be dechlorinated. Don't use softened water, just plain vanilla tap water.
See here:
Among the common ways people kill their Bettas are keeping them in tanks smaller than 5 gallons, not using an aquarium heater, and not using a filter. Despite what retailers sometimes suggest -- or what inexperienced
fishkeepers sometimes hope -- you cannot keep Bettas in bowls underneath reading lamps! In short, although it might be otherwise, without more information from you I have to assume you're keeping this Betta badly, since lots and lots of people do precisely that. That's why I'm stressing the aquarium and its specifications, rather than some wonder medication that will make this problem go away. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta Fish - eye problem, not eating. Env. dis. -- 5/17/10
Thank you, but I think my Betta has fish-pop eye, because I have seen pictures and it looks just like that and exactly the same symptoms...
<Pop-eye is either caused by poor water quality or physical damage, and given your Betta is on its own, poor water quality is almost certainly to blame. Treatment is difficult, and involves the use of antibiotics together with Epsom salt; see here:
My Betta is in a 20 Litre tank...by itself. But I do not have a heater...
<Well, there's one problem.>
I have a filter though. It's condition is getting worse and worse...and I do use ordinary tap water. It just won't eat! Should I add salt to the water?
<Why? What makes you think salt would improve things?>
I have another tank and it's 20 litre tank too, it's got a goldfish and a catfish in it..
<Much too small for both of these species. Again, you're creating conditions within which fish sicken and die.>
that tank has a heater and a filter and the fish are fine in it, if I put my Betta in that tank when hopefully it gets better would it be alright with the other fish or no?
<Mixing fancy Bettas with other fish is usually a bad idea.>
But thank you, hope you can help me some more!!
<Read those articles you were sent to. These problems are all of your own making. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta Fish - eye problem, not eating.
Ohh! I have just notice it's mouth is deteriorating...I think my Betta fish is in a lot of pain.
<I bet.>
Try to imagine a Betta fish with out like the top off it's mouth. Could it be mouth fungus? with eye fungus?
<Likely bacterial, i.e., Finrot or perhaps Columnaris, but in either case caused by poor environmental conditions. You need to improve the environment of this fish AS WELL as providing the right medication.>
I looked inside of my Betta mouth because it's rather easy and there is white stuff in there...this is very serious I can imagine..
<Indeed. All very depressing for me, since I have a horrible feeling about how this is going to end. In a heated aquarium with good water quality, antibiotics, and Epsom salt, this Betta could recover. If you don't do these things, or don't want to do these things, or can't afford to do these things, then euthanasia is appropriate. This fish isn't going to get better by itself.
Please think carefully about what pet animals need BEFORE buying them.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta Fish - eye problem, not eating. -- 5/17/10
thank you alot.
<... a lot...>
But I could never bring myself to do euthanasia...
<When an animal is suffering, euthanising it is the correct and humane course of action. Please don't be squeamish about this: you aren't being "nice" to a suffering animal by leaving it in pain.>
I will try help my Betta fish as much as I can, I'm afraid it doesn't have much time though.
What medication would be best to treat my Betta fish?
<Read the linked articles; if you're dealing with Pop-eye, Finrot and/or Columnaris, you'll likely need some type of antibiotic. In the US this will be available over the counter, otherwise you'll need to contact a vet.>
I will be off to the shops tomorrow to get antibiotics... and Epsom salt...
tonight it was swimming around a lot, but still won't eat. It's fins are fine, just it's left eye and mouth are causing me concern..
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta sickness? 4/23/10
Hey there!
I have a male Siamese Fighter. He lives on a 30 liter, heated tank, together with an Albino Chinese Algae Eater
<Yikes, big mistake there! Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is a bad fish. It is neither from China nor a good algae eater. It grows very fast, and gets to 35 cm/14 inches in length. Within a year it will be half that size, at which point it will be psychotically aggressive. Under no circumstances can this fish be kept with a Betta, unless the two of the were both dead and preserved in formalin. I'm not messing about here. Get this fish out of there!>
and an Apple snail
<A dubious choice too, but we'll let that pass for now except to say that when it dies prematurely, which it will, a rotting snail carcass will greatly mess up water quality in a tank this small.>
and he is fed tropical fish flakes and every other day frozen bloodworms.
He has been very happy and lively for the past 9 months. But, 4 days ago, I noticed that his belly is bloated.
<Does happen with Bettas. Likely a mix of dietary issues, genetics, and lack of exercise (just like humans, without exercise, the guts can't as easily move food along and out.>
I did some research on the internet and came across 2 possible diagnosis.
The one is Dropsy, but his scales isn't raised and he is still acting normal, so I don't think it is Dropsy?
<Nor do I. Given good environmental conditions, Dropsy is actually very rare.>
The other possible answer is that he is constipated. One of the websites said that if a Betta is constipated, I shouldn't feed him, as this can occur from overfeeding, and that it should be better in 2 days. So I have
tried that, but after 4 days, he is still bloated.
<Indeed. Starving is part of the answer in the sense of not giving high-protein, low-fibre foods. But you also need to replace those foods with low-protein, high-fibre ones. Also, adding Epsom salt to the aquarium
helps relax the muscles, so that the laxative foods work better. Do read:
In short, 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) per 5 US gallons plus the use of cooked peas and live daphnia/brine shrimp should do the trick. Don't use any flake, frozen or dried foods.>
Can you please give me advice, since I don't want to lose my Betta?
<There's a good chance he'll recover just fine.>
Thank you very much,
<Good luck! Neale.>

Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10
Hi there -
For about the last week our Betta has been sitting at the bottom of the tank a lot more than usual.
<How big is this tank? Bettas really do need 5 gallons or so, and in smaller tanks problems of various kinds are much more common. Do read here:
This covers all the basic things Bettas need.>
I took a sample of his water in and got it tested:
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0
Hardness 120
Alkaline 80
Ph 6.4
<All fine and within the parameters preferred by Betta splendens.>
He is in a tank heated to 82 degrees, a filter, weekly water changes and we feed him live bloodworms and the occasional frozen bloodworm.
<Now, bloodworms are a good food for fish in many ways, but they really shouldn't be the sole food item. Used to excess, there are reports of them causing digestive problems, and some retailers I know simply don't use bloodworms at all when maintaining delicate species such as Discus. So, while I'd certainly use wet-frozen bloodworms once or twice a week with any fish, the diet should be more varied, and the inclusion of a good quality
dried food a couple of times a week is a good way to make sure a fish gets all the vitamins it needs. Bettas are prone to constipation, and the use of live daphnia/brine shrimp, or cooked/tinned peas, provides essential fibre.>
Yesterday he had a very bloated appearance around his belly/gills area. He sits exclusively on the bottom of the tank now, save the occasional trip up to the top for what appears to be air. This morning he appears to be even
more bloated. He even tends to lay on his side and moves his mouth open and shut a lot. He hasn't been fed the last two days (we feed him every other day and with the bloating we skipped a feeding).
<I do suspect constipation is the issue here. Bettas fed just pellets often show similar symptoms, and pellets do often lack fibre. Stop feeding for a couple of days, and thereafter offer just peas, brine shrimp or daphnia.
Epsom salt at 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons can help relax the muscles, helping the high-fibre foods get their job done!>
He had a thorough cleaning and 75% water change on Saturday (Sunday was when we had the water tested.) I have no idea at all what to do. It seems like he ate something, but other than his plants and gravel, there's nothing else in his tank. Please help.
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10
Thanks so much for this information.
<My pleasure.>
So, no food until the constipation stops?
<As stated in my message, no food for a couple of days, and then ONLY the high fibre foods mentioned thereafter, for as long as it takes for the Betta to recover.>
This could go for a week or more?
And then Epson salts only when we start on the peas and other fiber-rich foods?
<No, use the Epsom salts immediately and continually until the Betta is better.>
I hate not doing anything at all for him. He seems to be really struggling.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10

Ok, I am clear. You are really providing an amazing service. Again, many thanks!
<Glad to help. We're all volunteers, so whether it's a "service" as such is debatable, but we do try to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank, FW NH3 testing 4/16/10
FYI, this may not apply to this case but I don't see ammonia listed.
<A fair point. But let me explain why I don't recommend ammonia test kits to beginners. You can easily get false positives if the water contains Chloramine, especially after certain dechlorinator brands are used.
Secondly, some tap water contains ammonia anyway, and beginners often confuse removing ammonia from tap water, e.g., with water conditioner, and removing the ammonia produced by livestock, i.e., what the biological
filter does. Since nitrite isn't normally present in tap water, and shouldn't be produced by water conditioners, it's a "safe" thing to test for. There's normally zero nitrite in tap water, non-zero nitrite in an immature tank, and then zero nitrite again once the tank is cycled. So while you're absolutely correct that testing for ammonia will tell you how
far into cycling the aquarium has gone, to be meaningful you'd need to compare the ammonia level of the aquarium against the ammonia level of conditioned tap water.>
I'd want to know how long the tank has been in place. This is from personal experience with local retail fish stores. They told me my water parameters were good so I could add more fish and nitrate and nitrite were also 0.
Ammonia was good too but only because of the water change.
In reality the reason it was 0 nitrite and nitrate was because the tank wasn't cycled.
To the retail store that sold my fish tank a week earlier they said it was OK because the numbers where "good" when they weren't. That's before I knew to test before the water change.
<Quite right.>
It took weeks and weeks to see nitrite due to the overstocking.
<That's relatively unusual, and typically you should detect nitrite within a week of cycling. I'm not a huge fan of cycling with ammonia and tend to favour the use of fish food or a bit of shrimp, but either way, the whole cycling process should take within 3-6 weeks depending on oxygen concentration [higher the better], pH [best around 7.5-8], hardness [best in hard water], and temperature [best around 25 C]. Anyway, thanks for writing in, always a pleasure to hear from you Greg. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/20/10

Checking in on our bloated Betta (Day 8!):
Still bloated, but appears to be more active. He's not a fan of the peas so we're moving to the live daphnia/brine shrimp tomorrow.
<Very good.>
QUESTION: we've added 3 tsp. of Epson salts. When I do this week's water change I plan on adding another 3 tsp. It is my assumption that we shouldn't be adding Epson salts unless we're cycling out some water.
Otherwise we'd have a heavy salt build-up, yes?
<Don't think of it as 3 teaspoons per tank. Think of it as 3 teaspoons per 5 US gallons. So if you take out 2.5 gallons of water from the tank, the replacement water will be 2.5 gallons as well, and into that 2.5 gallons you would stir in 1.5 teaspoons of Epsom salts. Easy peasy. Obviously yes, if you kept adding 3 teaspoons of Epsom salts every time you changed a bit of water before too long you'd end up with liquid rock.>
Thank you so much!
PS where are you located? I am suspecting you're English. Is the ash as bad as it seems in our newspapers (we're in California).
<You can't see the ash, and in fact the skies have been wonderfully blue.
Plus, there's no aeroplanes for the last few days, so even out here in sunny Hertfordshire it's been nice and quiet. For the folks living near airports it's been bliss. The only people who're cross are stranded travelers and those whose businesses depend upon air travel. Apparently been very bad news for Kenya for example, which get about 20% of its GDP by air-freighting flowers to Europe, and right now, all those flowers are sitting about rotting. I dare say tropical fish exporters are likely to have some problems as well, if things don't settle down quickly.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank -- crisis averted!! 4/28/10

Hello my English friend! Our bloated Betta crisis is finally over! After a diet of live brine shrimp for several days our Mr. Betty is back to normal.
Now what?!? I'm bamboozled about what to feed him now. First we fed him pellets, which led to our first near-death experience.
<Oh dear.>
Then it was live blood worms, which lead to this incident. Please advise on what the appropriate diet would be.
<Essentially a mix. Don't do any one thing. You know how newspapers are always writing articles about how we should all be eating some wonder food, whether it's brown rice or avocados or whatever? Spend five minutes with a doctor and all they'll say is this: eat whatever you want, but not too much of anything. A hamburger is fine now and again, but you need to be having some salads as well, and some fish, and some fresh fruit. It's the same with your Betta. Rather than trying to identify just one perfect food --
there ain't no such thing -- mix it up. Try pellets on Monday, some wet-frozen bloodworms on Tuesday, a squished pea on Wednesday, a bit of chopped fish or seafood on Thursday, and so on. Essentially whatever you have at home, taking advantage of live brine shrimps and daphnia on the odd weekend when you visit the pet store. If he doesn't eat one day a week, that's fine. Indeed, try starving him the day before you offer cooked canned peas.>
My restrictions are: live brine shrimp are available in just one place about 20 minutes away from here; no daphnia in town anywhere; he hates peas. I'd really just love one good, quality food that we could supplement with occasional treats like bloodworms or brine shrimp. if you recommend pellets, please give me brands names.
<When it comes to dried foods, use whatever you want, just only once or twice per week. I happen to find TetraMin flake and Hikari Micro Pellets are popular with my fish, some of which are quite fussy feeders. If your
Betta will take Spirulina flake, that's another great addition to their diet. Most of my fish are fed wet-frozen foods as their staples though, simply because these are palatable and economical. They're also fibre-rich, being whole bloodworms or whatever. So maybe pick up a couple different types, keep them in the freezer, and use once or twice a week.>
I have no idea what the good ones are.
Thank you so much for your help!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hi: Betta issues help please 4/11/10
Hello, I've been doing a lot of research online and still can't find anything concise enough to help my Betta and I out. I have had him for a little over 2 years. He is in a 1 gallon tank with a small rock fixture and synthetic plant that is very very small.
<This tank is too small. Is it filtered? Is it heated? Do read here:
Most problems with Bettas come down to their keepers keeping them badly.>
I use Aquasafe conditioner and omega one Betta buffet flakes. I clean his tank at least once to twice a week. I have noticed that his color has dulled quite a bit and he goes from darting about and swimming a little to resting in the corners of the tank sort of just hanging with his tail end almost vertical.
<Likely environmental. You may be lucky for months, maybe years, but sooner or later non-zero nitrite and ammonia levels in unfiltered tanks kill fish, including Bettas. As for temperature, once below 25 C/77 F, they sicken
He is much less active than before but is always eager to eat (I feed him once a day in the morning). Other than the dulling of his colors he seems to have a very small bulge towards his tail fin.
<Could be a tumour; not uncommon.>
It's very very small but it has been concerning me along with his color and behavior change. I read a little online about swim bladder and diet change to help but am unsure if that's what's going on. Any help would be great.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Beta Inquiry... Not a trial -- 03/23/10
I hope I'm not being blond and missing the answers I'm looking for when I read through the FAQ. I hope I don't annoy too badly with the string of questions I have. Sorry if I do! ^_^;
Anyways, I have 4 male betas,
<Are these try-outs? Or Bettas?>
each in their own tanks of varying depths depending on their size and activity level. There are two of them I seem to be having issues with that I would like advice on.
My smallest is a Crowntail (George) who appears to have contracted SBD.
<... there really is no such thing... The condition is a symptom... indicative of a few possible root causes... Akin to there not being a human "high temperature disease">
I recognized the symptoms form the bulging stomach
<... perhaps a dropsical condition>
and inability to lift his tail off the gravel with any sort of grace at all before sliding back down the glass rear first and looking annoyed up at his food. I moved him to a shallow hospital tank so he didn't have to fight to reach the surface and I have tried feeding him a bit of a pea after a few days of no food. He spat it out pretty fast but when I checked on him again later, it was gone so he must have just kept working at it. How long will it be before I can see if the pea helped bring down the swelling? What do I do if it doesn't help at all?
<Epsom Salt is my first choice>
My other beta is a new addition (Ghost, so named for his stark white fins and black head with a single white spot between the eyes). He was a rescued fish from a local 'pet store'. I call it such as the woman who runs it knows nothing about the animals she stocks and had the poor thing in a 10 gallon with about 20 feisty tetras who were ripping his tail to shreds. My friend and I got him out (at an insanely high price but oh well. he needed to be saved.) and he is now living in the largest tank I have. I thought the 29 gallon tank with its 2 small occupants would be excessive but he took to it immediately. He is calmer, more adventurous, his tail is healing up nicely, and he has already claimed a corner for himself. For a fish that came from such a traumatized environment, he loves me and trusts me completely, often eating right out of my hand or resting against my fingers if my hand is in the water. Nothing phases him. The zebra that is there doesn't seem to be bothering him (zebra got nipped once when he got too excited about the new arrival and came too close to Ghost. Never did it again. The two get along swimmingly now that they have learned to respect personal space.) and the Pleco just ignores everyone so it looks to be a good arrangement. Now I know that betas are lazy creatures by nature, but Ghost has taken to resting in the weirdest ways. He will lay on the bottom of the tank with his head rammed in under a plant root or a fake log. I found him with his upper body wedged in underneath the bubble rod once. He seems comfortable that way but he will stay there for hours, come out, dart in spastic jerking movements around the tank, then go back to his position.
Is there something wrong either physically or psychologically with him?
<Can't tell from here>
My Pleco recently passed away from old (ten years!) age, so it's just Ghost and the zebra in there now. I will be getting another Pleco, but without the added cleaning, the filter may not be enough for the tank by itself.
I'm also worried the filter will stress Ghost from too much movement of the water. Should I move them into a smaller tank, or should I just let them remain in the home they are familiar with?
<I'd place this fish in a smaller container... better in a few ways>
The zebra is already pretty old and I don't wish to stress out the two if them any more than needed.
One last one. (I promise!) My tanks are kept in the mid 70s for temperature. I am aware that this is rather low for a tropical fish however the last time I tried adding a heater, it stressed out my betas and one died.
<...? Stress from what?>
Can they be content in cooler water?
<No... Bettas of all species are tropical animals>
They seem to have bright colors and are eating ok. So far I've lived by the mantra of if it isn't broken don't fix it. So If they don't seem bothered by the cooler temperatures, should I let them be?
Thank you for putting up with my rambling. We don't have any fish professionals in my small town so my resources are extremely limited.
<Mmm... I'd keep reading... on the Net, including WWM, and there are several excellent in-print works (books) on Betta splendens. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick Betta (RMF, better ideas on dropsy in Bettas?) 3/19/10
I had some very helpful advice from Neale a while back and wondered if he is still available for a question or two?
<Fire away.>
I have a 10 gallon tank set up Jan 07 with filter, heated to 80, many plants, ammonia & nitrite 0, pH 8.
<All sounds fine.>
I do 40% water changes every 3 weeks. 1/2 RO, 1/2 well water. Feed once a day, evening, 5 or 6 small pellets. My Betta, Oscar, has been with me a year, (along with 2 Otos) and 2 weeks ago Sat am, very suddenly he bloated
out huge in the belly, like he's going to explode.
<Hmm... stop feeding him for one thing, and see what happens.>
I was in the process of giving him a few peas, and when I saw that (after 2 tiny pieces) I stopped and fasted him, through Monday night, gave him 2 more pieces of peas, then an Epsom salt bath.
<All sounds good.>
He's otherwise swimming fine. After a week of only giving him very little food, the bulge seemed even bigger, so I thought maybe a bacterial infection and started a course of Maracyn Two.
<I concur; if the fish continues to swell not matter what you offer as food (or don't offer, for that matter) then some sort of Dropsy is probable.
Unfortunately, this is a difficult syndrome to treat with small fish because they only exhibit such symptoms after serious damage is done. All you can do is medicate and hope for the best. If the fish is still active and seemingly happy (i.e., alert, not hiding or breathing heavily at the surface) then wait. If the fish looks distressed, to be honest, I'd euthanise. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
I've just done the 5 doses, and he's even bigger. He's still swimming OK, though it looks a little difficult with the ballast he's carrying, but his top fin is upright and beautiful. When he's in the light, the bulge looks translucent, almost like he has water sloshing around in there and it hangs very low.
<Like does contain fluid, and that's what's causing the swelling.>
Do you know what it could be and if there is anything I could do?
<Not much, I'm afraid.>
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read all that.
<Not a problem.>
Best wishes,
<Good luck, Neale.><<The causative factors for Dropsical conditions, edemas/oedemas are several... poor environment, bad nutrition, ultimately infectious agents... Once the last come into play, cures become very difficult... And getting "some" "antimicrobial" into the specimen/s is essential. I favor Furan compounds... unless one can find/secure Chloramphenicol... BobF>>

Sick Betta 3/11/10
Hi crew,
<Hi, Dave? Melinda with you here tonight.>
I have a sick Betta and am looking for some treatment recommendations.
Symptoms are loss of slime coat, some missing scales, cloudy eyes, swollen gills, and difficulty swimming. Quite a mess. He is spending most of his time on the bottom of the tank. He'll come up for air or to feed, but he seems to get "tired" when I feed him and can't surface for too long.
<Well, what do your tests tell you? Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate?>
I brought him in to my LFS, they said it looked like poor hygiene due to accumulation of toxins in the gravel. I'd been slacking off on gravel vacuuming for a while, and when I finally did it I brought up quite a bit of sludge.
<"Toxins in the gravel" sounds crazy to me. All waste produces Ammonia, which, if a proper biological cycle is in place, produce Nitrite, and then Nitrate. If allowed to build up to toxic levels, Nitrate can cause damage, but these levels are generally quite high. I can't think of any toxins that build up in gravel and thereby poison fish. Did the LFS not ask for a water sample?>
Since then I've done a few water changes/gravel vacs,
treated with Melafix, but he's getting worse.
<What size system is this? I'd really like numbers on those above parameters here. His problem is surely due to water quality/your lack of care, but it's the numbers which will tell us whether or not he's able to recover here, or whether you need to do some more work to get water quality up to par.>
Tried treating with Maracyn-2 but no improvement with that either.
<Sometimes, an antibiotic can kill ALL bacteria within a system. Maracyn claims this isn't the case with their own product, but I've treated fish in previously-cycled quarantine tanks which, for no reason, began to show an Ammonia spike, indicating the biological filter had been wiped out. Again, I don't know if this is the case, and it is only my personal experience, but I'd still like numbers on Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate.>
I'm thinking of trying a stronger antibiotic but can't figure out a single diagnosis that fits. I have some tetracycline and tri-sulfa, should I try one of those (and which)?
<I'd test the water first, and figure out where he's at, Dave. Depending on how long he was neglected, it's going to take a while for him to recover. Personally, I've seen many fish recover, sans "treatment," if good water quality is present. The fish's immune system is what I believe in when it comes to treatment. If he can't heal himself, and water quality is perfect, then okay, it's time to step in. Cloudy eyes indicate poor water quality. Difficulty swimming could be a dietary issue. What are you feeding? It's always good to feed wet-frozen foods alongside dried in order to promote good digestion. Loss of slime coat is a little confusing, because I'm not sure how you would see this. Clumpy, clear strings hanging off of the fish would almost look like he was losing his slime coat, and would indicate an increase in the production of slime, rather than loss of, and is due to poor water quality/presence of Ammonia. Missing scales could be bacterial. Swollen gills could be, as well.. But, first, let's figure out what it is that he's going through. Please check out your water quality, and ensure his environment is "up to par" with what we recommend -- that is, what these fish need to live:
(please read here and the linked files above).>
<You're certainly welcome. Most fish "illnesses" are caused by poor water quality. Your lack of maintenance here suggests to me there may be problems with the water your fish lives in. His symptoms point to the same fact. In case you're not familiar with the nitrogen cycle, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.
Also, if you do write back after reading, please provide more details on your system: size, filtration, temperature (heated or not?), tank mates, if any, etc. I just love information, and it really is key to getting you better information to go on. Please write back if you have any questions after reading.
Re: Sick Betta (Bob, can you please give input?)<<Sure>> 3/11/10

Hi Melinda,
<Hi, Dave!>
I check ammonia, nitrite, nitrate regularly, have never seen even a hint of ammonia or nitrite, and nitrate in trace amounts, usually well under 5mg/L.
<Okay. This is good to know.>
It's a 3g planted tank, he's the only inhabitant. Temperature around 78-79F
(a bit high maybe, but can't get the heater to cooperate with 76-77).
<This temperature should be okay for him.>
pH about 6.8-6.9, GH 100 mg/L. I use phosphate-based rather than carbonate buffers, and my KH test kit doesn't seem to read that -- but the pH is pretty stable, it might creep UP by 0.1 over a couple of weeks if I miss a water change -- note that's up not down, which has always mystified me, I don't really understand the phosphate chemistry -- but at any rate it's a pretty slow and small swing.
<Okay.><<Not a worry>>
I was feeding him the Hikari Betta food, but my LFS recommended switching to Spectrum, so I switched a couple weeks ago. A frozen bloodworm treat every week or so, and maybe some Spirulina-infused frozen brine shrimp.
<Okay, so it does sound as if you're mixing in wet-frozen foods with the dry. That's good.>
Water changes: I do either 25% 1x week, or if I miss a week I'll do more like 40% the next week. Since he's been sick I've been doing about 30-40% change every week.
So yeah, that's why when the folks at my LFS said that other organics accumulating under the gravel were likely responsible for his condition, it sounded reasonable. There was a ~lot~ of sludge under there. I've done 3 deep gravel vacs since.
<Again, I don't know what that stuff in the gravel would be. It seems like if there's that much accumulated waste in the gravel, you'd see evidence of it in your Nitrate readings, but you don't have a problem with Nitrate.>
The first symptom was a few missing scales. Then cloudy eyes. I said loss of slime coat because his body has a sort of dull look.
<When you treated with Maracyn, did you do the full round of treatment?
You have removed any carbon in the filtration system, correct?>
As soon as I saw the cloudy eyes I brought him into the LFS, they suggested doing a deep gravel vac and more regular water changes. <<Good advice>>
I did that, waited a week or so to see if he'd start to recover, but he started to seem worse (hanging out on bottom, swollen gills) so I treated for a week with Melafix. <<Worthless; worse than>>
No improvement so I started Maracyn-2 5 days ago. Still no improvement... so I was thinking of moving on to something stronger.
<Does seem necessary.>
At any rate, the "keep water clean and give him time to heal" approach is definitely not working.
<Understood. This is more obvious with the information you've included in this second e-mail, for sure! If your treatment with the Maracyn 2 was a complete round, as stated on the package, and it didn't help, then I would do another large water change and then treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. This is a combination I read about a couple of years ago on WWM, and tried it with a fish who had been suffering from infection for quite a while, and had positive results. I agree with your diagnosis of these symptoms as symptoms of bacterial infection. In case there is another possible diagnosis/course of treatment, I'm asking Bob to review this and let me know his thoughts. I have always had success with Maracyn in the past (whether I used 1 or 2), and with the presence of good water quality here, I'm a little stumped as to why it hasn't worked for you. However, I think it's a good idea to try a different "cocktail" of remedies here, since, as you indicate, time is of the essence.>
I doubt he'll survive more than a week if I don't figure this out soon.
<I hope this helps, Dave.
--Melinda><<I do agree with your input, suggestion to try the antiprotozoal and Furan cpd. RMF>>
Re: Sick Betta 3/11/10
Thanks Melinda... yes, I did the full 5 days of Maracyn,
<Darn... then, yes, let's try something else.>
and I don't use carbon anyway since that just sucks up nutrients.
<I think carbon is VERY overused in the hobby!>
And our water quality out here in the SF Bay Area is good, very low heavy metal concentrations etc.
I'll try the Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace combo... hope I can find them locally... I was also wondering if Tetracycline or Tri-sulfa would be recommended as broad-spectrum antibiotics, since I do have those around?
<Either of these might work... I was basically trying to find another option which you hadn't already tried, and one I'd had experience with, since the Maracyn 2 didn't have any effect. I have not used either of these products, but using them would accomplish the same thing I was trying to with my suggestion -- that is, to try something different. Also, if you've used either of these before with success, then I'd go with what you can find, and what you've had success with. I agree with you that something has to be done quickly, so what you can find is going to be better than waiting for the LFS to order something, or ordering online.
Good luck, and please do write back with questions/status updates if you have the time.

Betta... Kept properly. Yay! -- 2/23/10
Dear Crew,
I have a two-year-old male Betta in a heated, filtered, well-planted, 10-gallon aquarium.
<Sounds nice!>
There is nothing wrong with him.
<Ah, case closed.>
<Thanks for writing, Carla. We get so many messages about sick fish, it's easy to assume no-one manages to keep their fish alive for more than a week! So the occasional happy fish message is just the tonic we need. I hope others read and take note. Cheers, Neale.>

Bloated Betta :( 2/20/2010
Hi there, and thanks in advance for your help!!
I have had my Betta (Spaz) for 3 years now.
<A good long while. You may be aware that Betta splendens generally live less than this>
Recently he has been less active and seems to be eating less. I say "seems to" because he has always been a strange eater. Any other Betta I have had has eaten like a little pig...but I didn't ever see Spaz eat for almost a year!! He would NOT eat if I was watching. He has always been a picky eater (wouldn't touch blood worms, or flakes) and has exclusively eaten TOP FIN Betta Bits his entire life.
He was always sort of a "lazy" fish who likes to chill under the leaves of his plant or on top near the surface...but when I noticed him swimming around less and less as well as darting to the top for air, I took a closer look. He seems to be swollen a bit only on his right side..but does not look like a "pinecone". He is keeping his right fin mostly clamped and swims sort of sideways...when he moves at all!
After scouring the internet I think he may be constipated, have Swim Bladder Disorder, or a tumor but I can't figure out which. I want to try feeding him a pea after fasting him but I'm not sure if he will eat it!! I was going to start fasting him today (probably for only a day or two) but my boyfriend unknowingly fed him today...
My usual feeding schedule is 2-3 pellets about twice a day..and even when he was acting normal he usually wouldn't eat it all and I would have to scoop out an extra piece or two of food.
Both of my Bettas have individual tanks (Marina Betta Kit, 2L or 1/2 US gal). I change their water 100% once a week and condition it with "Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner". It says to use "8 drops per pint(473 ml), 16 drops per quart (946 ml) or 1/2 teaspoonful (2.5 ml) per US gallon" so (with my Mom's help!!) we figured to add 32 drops per tank.
Is that right?
I try to keep the water about the same temperature or a little warmer every change.
<... this system has no heater?>
I know a temperature change can be stressful but my apartment gets cold and cools their water.
<You need a heater>
I think I am going to see what heaters are available for them!! Do you think they need filters or is the weekly water change good enough?
<It appears so; judging from their longevity>
I thoroughly clean the rocks, sides of the tank, and the plastic plant.
Anyway I know I just threw a lot of information at you but I wanted to give all the info that I could to help you help me ;) He has been "sick" for a few weeks now, maybe up to a month max and I'm afraid to lose him after having him (and loving him!) for so long. My other Betta (Bolt) is cared for the same way and is fine but I have only had him less than one year...is this old age??
<Very likely so>
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated as I am clearly upset about all this!! I bought some Epsom salts as well today but haven't used them as I have read many conflicting treatment methods.
Thanks again!!
P.S: Will you email me back to my address or just post it on the site?
<Both. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bloated Betta :( 2/21/10

Thanks so much for your help, Bob!!
Do you think Epsom baths would be beneficial? Or adding them to his tank?
(If so..an estimate of how much would be appreciated!!) I have lowered his water by a few inches to make his life easier...he doesn't move much but he's still feisty and flares :)
<Might be. Read here:
and the linked files above>
I haven't fed him today and I might not tomorrow..then I will try the pea.
I'm fairly certain he won't take it but I'm sure willing to try! He doesn't look as bloated but he still leans more to his left side as if the right is sore.
Lastly, I know he's a senior citizen (haha), but if there is anything I can do for him I will! I'm going tomorrow to try and get heaters for both my tanks.
<Ah good>
Your help is very much appreciated :)
<As is your earnest involvement, sharing. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely 1/5/10
Hi there --
We have a one-year old Betta. Since we got him last year he's been in a heated (81 degrees or so) five - gallon tank with a bubbler filter. He's got three plants, gravel and we're religious about half-tank water changes every ten days or so.
<So far so good>
We've only fed him the little pellets the whole year.
There is always algae in the tank, but nothing that appears to be more than normal.
Over the last week we've noticed he seems to be hanging around the bottom of the tank a lot and seeming less frisky than usual.
We also think the color on his body has faded. Yesterday we noticed a little bit of fuzzy, cottony stuff around the bottom of one portion of his tail. I took a sample of his water in to the fish store; they checked for everything and said everything the water was perfect.
<What values do you have to share? That is, what specific tests were done, numbers?>
The fish store has been out of the bubbler filter cartridges and so he's been without a filter for several weeks.
<? Run the unit with the old cartridge>
Last week I purchased a different filter; it drains a little bit of water into the side of the tank. At the same time I installed the new filter I did a really thorough cleaning of his tank, including trimming and cleaning off the plants. As a result, the plants are much smaller. Thinking he was looking for something more to hide in, I bought a little plastic (very ugly) plastic tank decoration that has a completely smooth surface. We boiled it and completely cooled it before putting it in.
The fish store suggested our fish could have Ick or Tail Rot
<? From?>
and so I purchased and did one treatment of Biospheres Maracide (active ingredients Malachite Green and Chitosan).
<All right...>
We would very much appreciate your input and suggestions.
Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely 1/5/10

Hi there --
I wish I knew what tests they did. I just watched them dip two different sticks into the tank water and they said everything was pristine. We used our pool stuff to test the pH -- that was 7.2. Do you want me to go back and do the tests again?
<Mmm, no... but next time... I'd record what was tested, for what... and with what gear>
From what I read in your article, it looks like we should get some live food, do a water change (complete? Do I wash the gravel?
<I would only "swish" it not too clean...>
Get rid of the plants?),
<I would keep these>
add salt (1 tsp.),
and maybe up his temp to 83?
<Definitely yes>
We took the filter out and I'll see if I can find new cartridges elsewhere.
<Even running it with the old is okay>
He was really doing poorly this morning -- barely swimming up to us when we turned on the light, the cottonish stuff seems to have increased in the one place and started in another. The Ick medicine calls for another treatment tomorrow. Should we do it?
<I would not... This fish doesn't appear infested...>
We are all prepared to find a dead fish when we get home today. Not a happy day.
<Do sustain hope here. Betta splendens are very tough fish. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Our Mr. Betta is behaving strangely 1/6/2010

Hi Bob --
<Big C>
No dead fish when we got home yesterday! We did a 50% water change with 2 tsp. of the water conditioner stuff (Top Coat? the stuff we put in to neutralize the gunk in the tap water), added quarter tsp. of salt (didn't do the full 1 tsp. since you weren't completely on board with it), turned up the heat to 83, switched back to old bubbler filter with a new filter, gave him some blood worms and today he is looking better.
<Ah, good>
Added bonus, that weird cottony-looking stuff on his fins is also gone; he looked like he was rubbing it off at one point. He is loving the ugly plastic hiding place too.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help. You saved another little fish life (and the potentially broken hearts of my 8- and 9-year-old)!
<A pleasure to serve, aid your efforts. Cheers, BobF>

My sick Betta :( 12/1/09
Hello! My name is Carly and I'm pretty new at having water pets.
<Hope you bought a book before you bought a fish!>
I got a Betta about 3 months ago and he grew a lot since I got him.. I am very attached to him.
<Good. Now, do understand the fish couldn't care less. All animals want is appropriate living conditions. Contrary to what the Beatles said, "love is NOT all you need".>
He was always so active and looked very healthy.. I have him in a 2.5 gallon tank..
<Too small.><<Mmm, I disagree. RMF>>
I at first used distilled water because that is what my friend used and suggested I do.. I know that's not good now..
<Indeed, very, very bad.>
So I started using tap water and conditioning it.
He thrived until I did a water change 4 days ago and ever since he's been so sick!
<How is this aquarium heated? How is it filtered? I mention these things because newcomers are often ignorant to the fact Bettas need heaters and filters. This is why we tell new hobbyists to read a book, or else read one of the pages here at WWM about aquaria; for example, here's one on Betta systems:
Without a heater and without a filter, the Betta WILL get sick and die.
Period. End of discussion.>
I'm not sure what he has.. It looks like his gills are blocked up with bacteria and he was pretty swollen after doing the water change.. His scales around his face turned gray (he's normally a bright orange) and his eyes are different than they used to be.. It seemed he was having trouble seeing cause he kept bumping into things.. And some of his scales came off and his fins were very clamped and he lost some color. I've been very upset..
<Avoid becoming upset by [a] reading; and [b] buying the stuff you need before you keep the animal.>
I got him a small water heater and have been dosing his tank with some stuff I found called Lifeguard all in one treatment... I hope this isn't the wrong stuff to be using?
<No idea. Likely does more harm than good. The thing is all the symptoms you're listing are generic symptoms that fish develop when kept in bad conditions by a fishkeeper who hasn't read anything about what fish need.
You haven't given me any information here that might change my opinion.
What's the ammonia level? The nitrite level? What sort of filter? What's the water chemistry? How warm is the water?>
He also looks like he may have velvet?
And dropsy?
<Who knows?>
And he hangs around the surface a lot so he can take breaths.. Is there anything you might be able to suggest so I can try to save his life?
<Read what these fish need, and provide it.>
Id hate to see him go.. I've grown very attached to him.
<You see, while it pains me to say this, most Bettas die prematurely because their owners kill them, usually through neglect. That's almost certainly the situation here. I don't get any joy from saying this, because [a] I don't particularly like making people unhappy; and [b] I don't like hearing about sick animals. But these are the facts.>
Any advice would help me, id be very grateful. oh, he also shares his tank with a blue mystery snail.. And attacks the snail often.. Do you think I should separate the two?
<Obviously yes.>
Thank you, Carly
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

My Betta Ares is very very sick =( 11/30/09
<Hello Amanda>
I really hope you guys can help me with this. I have tried PetSmart, doing my own research and allexperts.com. I will continue to use my other sources, but thought it wouldn't hurt to try you guys in the meantime since you are obviously experts as shown from your past answers.
My Betta Ares has been sick for about 10 days now. I originally had him in a 1.5 gallon filtered tank with two African dwarf frogs.
<This system is thermostatically heated?>
He was perfectly healthy for the first month that I had him, and then he developed swim bladder.
<Mmm, no. Has such a structure... Do you mean it developed an issue with its hydrostatic organ?>
After I noticed he had symptoms of fin and tail rot as well, I took the advice of some sites that recommended isolating him.
<? For what reason/s?>
I bought a 1 gallon glass jar (as I cannot afford to put him in luxury right now =( )
<The reason I'd leave this fish in its filtered, heated system>
and put some rocks and a small cave and a plant in there. His fin rot has not gotten any worse but has not gotten any better in the past 10 days. He has also not eaten in 10 days. I have tried EVERYTHING to get him to eat. I have tried blood worms, his regular food (the frog pellets that he loved in his healthy days), the Betta bits that I could never get him to eat anyways, Betta flakes and even a cooked and peeled pea bits which was recommended to clear his system. He just will not eat. I tried moving my finger in the water to "get his hunting instincts going" as well. His new home I know is not the best for him since it is not heated
<And therefore unsuitable>
but I have been doing the best I can to keep my heater on for room temp and keeping a light by his tank during the day.
<Won't work>
His symptoms include: very lethargic, tail rot, his swim bladder is minimal now and he can swim much easier with less turning to the side, stays in one spot for hours at a time and then moves to another spot and does the same thing. It is always at the top for easier breathing. And now, there appears to be gold dusting at the top of his head and his lower body and face has started to turn silver and blue. And again, he has not eaten in well over a week (at least not as far as I can see since I count the food and check if the same amount is still there). I started treating his fin rot with the Bettafix, which I later read is really only tea tree oil and will do nothing but coat his insides and make it harder to breathe.
So I cleaned his tank (jar) completely and then put him back in after putting his temp cup in the conditioned water tub to adjust him to the temperature. I then went to PetSmart and looked at medicines,
<At least a good part of the issue/cause here is environmental... Medicine/s won't fix this>
I was not sure if the new symptoms was fungus or plain severe case of fin and tail rot-mostly tail, so I bought something that claimed to cure both (API fungus cure).
<... won't work>
I have done 2 doses (1 every 48 hours two times which it states completes 1 dose) and he is still just the same, as sick as ever. I am new at this whole thing, and feel horrible that he has gotten so sick (3 diseases all at once?!) but it seems that the gold dusting has turned out to be velvet?
I wanted to ask: 1. If the fungus cure would do anything for him if it is in fact velvet? -does it sound like velvet? He has the gold color on his face, but I have seen no scratching against the cave or plant. Or what else would you recommend me buying? 2. I have a 7 gallon tank that is empty (was waiting for a time when I had more money to buy more fish) but I would have to buy both a heater and a filter for it, which I cannot afford. Would the heater be more necessary than the filter?
I can only afford one of the two. I read that I should keep the water level low for him to help him with breathing. So if I just buy the heater and keep the water level lower would that be sufficient as long as I do 2 50% water changes a week or more if the medicine requires it?
<I'd leave out the medicine>
3. Do you have any recommendations for getting him to eat?
<Warm water... the low to mid eighties F.>
I do not want to add another illness to his full list =( I read that they can go a while without eating, but I am positive that this has got to be far too long with no food. 4. How often should I change the water?
<All this information is archived on WWM...>
I know how stressful it can be for him, but I also did not want the bacteria to stay in there. I hope this is enough information for you, please let me know if you need any more as I am becoming desperate (and broke) to help him become more comfortable and healthy =(
Thank you so much for your time and expertise in this,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BetDisEnvF.htm
and the linked files above till you understand. Don't write. Read. Bob Fenner>

Re: my Betta Ares is very very sick =( 11/29/09
The 1.5 gallon I originally had him in was not thermostatically heated... I am not sure if I even know what that means.
<Ah hon... These are aquarium heaters... w/ thermostats... To set like ones used for space heating in homes, offices. Some are entirely submersible, others you have to keep the top part above water. They "run" off
Do you mean heated with an actual heater?
If so, no it is not. The light at the top does keep it heated because it is a smaller tank. So all in all, would the original tank be better for him?
<The larger volume would be better>
Or should I partially fill up the new 7 gallon and put him in there with a new heater?
And you recommend to stop the medicine and wait to see if the better tank conditions improve his health? And use nothing for the tail rot and possible velvet gold coloring?
<Correct on both counts>
Thank you so much!
<... You should read as you were directed... Please do. BobF>

My beta.. 11/26/09
Hi I was wondering if you could help me with an issue I have recently acquired with my beta, Hershall.
<Hi. We'll need a lot more information in order to help you. What are Hershall's symptoms, and how long have you been noticing them? What size tank does Hershall live in, with what type of filtration? What other fish live with him, and what do you feed him? Do you test your water? If so, what are your Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate readings? Do you use a heater on his tank? What temperature is the water? I know this sounds like a lot, but we want to make the most educated decision possible so we can get Hershall on the road to recovery! Feel free to answer these questions and offer any other information you think would help. Also, I'm including some links on WWM about basic Betta care. Please note that many of the problems
Bettas experience are environmental -- due to lack of filtration, tiny tank (or bowl) size, lack of proper temperature, lack of proper feeding, etc.
Please read over these links, and if you have any questions, include those as well!
--Melinda><<Yes! She's new! RMF>>
Re: My beta..
Betta with general symptoms of poor environment 11/28/09

Well Hershall is doing much better now but I would like to know what was wrong and try to avoid the issue happening again.
<Have you taken the time to read where you were referred?>
The other day I woke up and Hershall was swimming on his side and could not stay upright without leaning on his filter; also his chest was swollen up into quite a large cyst looking bump. His tank is about a gallon or so.
<This is too small for a Betta. Try for five gallons, at minimum. See, it's not all about swimming room, even though he'd probably enjoy that, too. Every time that Hershall poops, that waste creates ammonia which then dissolves into the water. Eventually, the concentration gets higher and higher and higher. Think of a drop of food coloring in a bottle cap full of water, versus a gallon jug.
Obviously, the same drop of food coloring colors the smaller volume of water a much darker color. This is one way to think about tank volume -- a larger volume of water means a lower concentration of waste building up between your tank cleanings. The nitrogen cycle (linked below) is going to turn that ammonia into nitrite, and then into nitrate, but the nitrate is still somewhat toxic, and must be kept at low levels. It's simply too hard to keep nitrate at acceptable levels in tanks of this size. After your substrate and decor, you've got about three-quarters of a gallon of water in that tank, if that.>
Recently I noticed him getting sucked into the tube of the filter and swimming back out.
<Is this some type of hang-on-back filter? Sponge filters are the most often-recommended filters for Bettas; a quick perusal of the pages I linked you to would have revealed this. Bettas just don't care for the current that hang-on-back filters create. The "Betta" we buy in the little cup is not the product of natural evolution; he's the product of selective breeding for long, flowing fins. Unfortunately, this doesn't make him a great swimmer. In the small volume this fish lives in, he likely has no where to get away and rest without being sucked right back in.> The night
before he got sick I turned the filter off completely.
<Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? Try reading here:
When you turned off the filter, you likely killed off any nitrifying bacteria that lived inside.>
But that morning he would cease movement on his side at times and I would have to persuade him to keep moving until he found the tube of the filter to lean on. I feed him small amounts of BettaMin once a day.
<Dry foods cause constipation when used as the sole food source. Try mixing in thawed wet-frozen foods like
bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, etc. Also, a little bit of cooked pea every now and then won't hurt, either. Just squish the pea out of its shell and feed him a little.>
He lives alone. I do not test the water
<I would begin to do so immediately. Clear water isn't clean water, and Hershall is likely suffering the consequences. Please see the above link re: the nitrogen cycle.>
and I read that if I do not get a heater, he will adapt to the temperature of his room temp water <And this is a good thing how? You are correct; fish are cold-blooded and their body temperature is going to closely match that of their surroundings. But that doesn't mean that low temps don't provide a miserable existence for what is actually a tropical fish. A fish kept too cold is a fish with a weakened immune system, and this is the point at which bacterial and fungal infections see a chance to set in.>
I let him rest over night and the next day he could swim normal. The day after that he seemed to be his normal self. Except I have noticed that the underside of his fins have developed a dark, almost black, coloring.
<Well, that's not normal at all, is it? Please take the time to educate yourself on Hershall's needs. You're not providing what he needs in order to survive, and so he is constantly sick and cold and most likely miserable. You're spending a lot of time observing him and relating those observations to me in a detailed fashion, but these symptoms are run-of-the mill symptoms of fish kept in poor conditions. Therefore, your time would be better spent reading. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have after you have read where I've referred you. Here are those links one more time:
--Melinda><<Well done. RMF>>

Moby - Gill bump... Betta splendens, care, sys. 11/22/09
I have searched around but nothing sounds the same.
<Oh? I do think you should start here:
Virtually all Betta problems come down to keeping them incorrectly.>
I have had Moby for 6 months - I'm not sure what kind he is - he came in a generic container that was marked "Betta Fish." [He has long draping veils about 3". He is quite beautiful. Black/red velvet w/teal folds.] And he has grown since I've had him.
<Sounds like standard issue Betta splendens.>
I rescued him and he lives in a 1 gallon bowl with glass marbles and a sea shell with live Betta bulb plants.
<Needs more than 1 gallon of water; by my reckoning, a 5 gallon tank is the smallest practical size for non-expert fishkeepers. Yes, breeders keep them in jars. But they're changing the water multiple times per day, regulating food carefully, removing uneaten food, and heating the whole room to a tropical temperature. Even then, mortality is higher than pet owners would accept. Home hobbyists should treat this fish just like any other tropical fish: in a heated, filtered aquarium.>
I change the water every 2 days using Splendid Betta Water Conditioner [Mars Fishcare] and he seems to have been thriving. I rinse the plants each time and brush the shell of any funk. He has always been active, with an excellent appetite, etc. Always was feisty when I place him close to Jonah my other boy. I feed Hikari Betta Gold daily and blood worms a few times a week.
I feel guilty because I rescued a dog last week and today she went in for surgery. So I have been a little more focused on her instead of my boys. I noticed this week he has developed a bump which appears to be inside his left gill. It has come on fast it seems to me. He isn't eating I noticed at all the last two days. The food floats. Not like him at all.
The only thing that is new is that I bought one of those silk fake plants [about 10 days ago] and after soaking for 24 hrs, placed it in his bowl.
After 2 days I changed the water and removed it. [I thought it made the water funky maybe because I don't like fake or maybe because it made the water funky] I have another boy Jonah which is ditto in all regards and he has no bump.
Since I have no filtration/heating system and it has been colder the last 2 weeks, could that be a contributing factor? [I keep the house at 70 - 78 no matter what the weather]
<Yes, almost certainly part of the problem. Bettas simply do not do well in unheated, unfiltered aquaria this small. Moreover, even at the top end of the room temperature, that's too cold for Bettas. Look at it this way: these fish come from Thailand, and they evolved to live in shallow, sun-baked ponds and streams. Optimal water temperature is around 28 C, or 82 F. Outside of the tropics, heating your house to this temperature would be insanely expensive. So buy a heater; trying to economise by not doing so will be doomed.>
My question is - I understand it could be a parasite, or a tumor but if it isn't one of the two, could it possibly be a silk thread that got loose and he sucked it through his gill? They are so fine and almost invisible.
<This isn't the issue.>
I love this boy and I want to help him get better. I didn't get him to have him around for only 6 or so months... I just don't know what it is or what to do about it. I am going to take him up to my fish store tomorrow and have them take a look but I would kind of like to know what I should be asking and/or looking for before I get there.
<You need a 5+ gallon aquarium with an air-powered filter (like a sponge or box filter filled with noodles) and a heater. Add a clump of India Fern if the tank has a light, since this will get the filtration cycle off to a
quick start, and also uses up some ammonia as it grows. A hood is helpful:
Bettas are notorious jumpers.>
Thank you so much.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Moby - Gill bump, Betta 11/24/09

Attn: Neale -
Thank you so much for a quick reply and for the info. I am doing the best I can with what I've got.
<May well be the case. But honestly, Bettas are so mistreated generally, I don't have a huge amount of sympathy with this argument, and just don't view tanks smaller than 5 gallons as viable. Sure, sometimes they live just fine in bowls, but often, perhaps mostly, they don't. It's probably a lot like you with dog owners. When you hear someone say they don't have time to walk their dog, or don't have the money to get it neutered, while you might understand their arguments, you probably aren't swayed by them.>
Dude, I do dog rescue, and no home is good enough for me. There is always something....
I did end up taking Moby to my local fish guy yesterday who is a Marine biologist. He examined him and under a strong light, it looked like a tumor. It was very red. We discussed humane euthanasia and it broke my heart. Lots of tears and snot. We chatted for about 45 minutes and I noticed that the bump was not as large as it was when I brought him in.
Crazy! I decided to bring him home and see what developed today.. I brought my dog home from surgery and between the two, kept a close on them both.
<Tumours don't tend to appear and disappear quickly. They normally take months to cycle, and in some cases persist through to the natural death of the fish. So given what you describe later on, it sounds much more like an accumulation of fluid or pus.>
Honestly, there is now NO sign of a bump at all, and, although not entirely the same, his appetite is much better. He has eaten three pellets today which is better than nothing at all. And, he is more active. [I will clean their water every other day until I get larger tank/s with what you recommended.]
Have you ever heard of something like this?
<Not with a tumour, no. But with fluid-filled swellings, yes.>
Was the bump just something that may have been lodged in the gill that got blown out either through handling, did it go under ground, or what? It's the craziest thing. It is completely visibly gone.
<May well be gone.>
PS Marine biologist guy says he's probably about 3 year old or so. He's a big beautiful boy.
<You can't age a Betta by looking at it, so no idea where this age comes from. You age fish by looking at bones inside their ears, which you can't see while the thing's alive, obviously. I, too, am a marine biologist, and if a Betta was stuck under my nose, the best I could tell you is if it's mature and at full adult size (i.e., 6 months or more). From that point onwards, mature Bettas look basically the same at all ages, until they get very old and start showing signs of senescence.>
One last question - I know you can't burn candles with birds but it is also true with fish? [I would think so....] I stopped burning them last night just in case. What about Teflon? Location of fish to kitchen is pretty close proximity.
<I burn candles at home all the time, and my fish are fine. Bettas are air-breathing fish, so you might take some care with anything that contains scent meant to drive away bugs, such as citronella candles, but otherwise I can't see this being an issue.>
I am really trying. I love these guys. They are a part of my life.
Thank you.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Moby - Gill bump (some personal philosophy now!) 11/26/09

Attn: Neale - Agree. I have a real problem with the notion that I believe pedals to parents that Bettas are a "tool" to teach their young kids about death.... Like fish don't matter or are expendable. This notion includes
hamsters & guinea pigs. Even prior to me rescuing my two boys. It is unacceptable to me.
No response necessary. Just a message of thanks. Lori
<Lori, I agree wholeheartedly. The whole "lesson" to death is that it's the reason why quality of life is so important. Letting kids learn about death is unhelpful (indeed, scary) if they don't also learn that what matters is how well that life was lived. In the case of a pet animal, it should be nurtured and cared for, so that its life, not its death, becomes the focus.
As a society, perhaps we've become too obsessed with avoiding death while all the time frittering away our lives working too hard (for other people's benefit!) and watching mind-numbing prolefeed on the television. Cheers,
Re: Moby - Gill bump (some personal philosophy now!) 11/29/09

Attn Neale: Sadly, it took me almost dying to finally get what it is you are speaking of...
I was once one of those foolish people who sacrificed the most important things in life for the temporary. I wouldn't call my experience an "NDE" because I did not flat line, but whatever it was, it changed me for the better.
<The best way to view bad things that happen.>
7 years ago. I stepped out of the corporate world and into the hardest thing I have ever done - dog rescue - the old sick ones who gave their whole life devoted to an owner who has passed away and now find themselves alone and dumped at a shelter by the old lady's family. Shameful.
But this also happens to our elderly whom I work with. And our children, and..... It goes on and on.
<Indeed it does. What we don't realise (until it's too late) is that one day we can easily be the old dog no-one wants... "What goes around, comes around" as my father used to say.>
It's nice to know that there are others out there who know what life truly is.
<I hope so.>
I am what I am. But I am trying to be better than that, One dog at a time, one fish at a time, or one old person at a time.
<All any of us can do.>
Oh, got to go, Dancing with the Stars is on!.... haha [the most mindless fritter on US TV in my opinion] :)
<Sounds grim. Godspeed! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Moby - Gill bump (some personal philosophy now!) 12/2/09

I don't want you to get into trouble for discussing things other that WetWeb business so -
That scare w/Moby's gill bump got me thinking. Fish dude said he thought he was kind of old, I guess due to his size?
<This is certainly a factor. Bettas are around 6 months old when sold, simply because they need to be that age to have the fins people want. In the wild, Bettas are not much more than annual fish, so their lifespan may not be very great. However, given good care they routinely get to 2 or 3 years of age, and occasionally as much as 4 years old. In short, while "old age" can set in within, say, a year of purchase, there's no reason not to expect them not to stay healthy for bit longer than that.>
The last thing, [if that is the case] I want for my boys is to be living in not ideal conditions. I have two spaces for tanks and wanted to ask you opinion on what I should get and what it would take to maintain.
<Fire away.>
Is there a difference between glass and acrylic?
<None for this type of application.>
I hate plastic myself. For some reason, I think it's like food containers - plastic absorbs smelly funk, scratches, and generally unsanitary. True or false for fish tanks?
<Acrylic generally performs well, but it does scratch more easily. Some catfish (Panaque spp.) will scratch acrylic so badly the tank stops being transparent! On the plus side, acrylic is lighter and, for a given thickness, usually stronger. As you perhaps already know, public aquaria routinely use certain types of acrylic for things like those transparent tunnels that run through shark tanks. On the other hand, sand will scratch acrylic more easily than glass if you get sand between the algae sponge and the wall of the tank (though glass will sometimes scratch if you do this, too.) Acrylic is more expensive for a tank of given size and quality, and acrylic is also less optically "pure" so you will notice more distortion when viewing at an angle than you would through a glass tank (this is most obvious along the curved corners). Acrylic shouldn't absorb odours or colours though; it isn't like Tupperware for example.>
How often do I have to change the tank? Full change or?
<Assuming the tank has a filter, a 25% water change every week or two should be ample.>
Can I use bleach to clean the rocks or whatever?
<Hot water and a scrubbing brush (like an old toothbrush or disposable pan scourer) should do the trick just fine.>
What about plants? [I also rescue plants but won't for the tanks. Can't take the chance]
<Plants are a plus, especially floating plants. If the tank has mediocre lighting, a clump of Indian Fern at the top, plus a piece of bogwood with an Anubias or Java fern is all you need.>
Are there certain fish that get along better with Bettas that I should know about?
<Generally, Bettas don't get along with fish at all. Even Neons tend to nip at them. I would concentrate on things like Nerite snails and Cherry shrimps. If you must have more fish, and the tank is at least 10 gallons in size, things like Corydoras hastatus, Kuhli loaches and Whiptail catfish would all be viable.>
What should I NOT put into the tank? What I mean by that is coral, driftwood, seashells, etc. Even if soaked/treated with?
<Wouldn't add seashells because they'll raise the pH/carbonate hardness. A small piece of bogwood with a plant attached is fine. Ceramic ornaments are fine too.>
I don't know what else to ask so please feel free to elaborate anything you think might be helpful to me.
<It's all here...
I was never responsible for maintenance of the tanks I've had had in my past. But that doesn't mean I can't be now. For the boys. If we make it past 12/21/12, I'd like to hope I will have a huge [bedroom wall sized] salt water tank teaming with all kinds of critters. We'll see.
<Saltwater tanks are not especially difficult to set up and maintain. They're expensive, true, but because a saltwater tank for beginners needs to be large, at least 40 gallons in my opinion, you have the stability that large volumes of water provide. Yes, micro marine tanks are incredibly difficult to look after, but a big marine tank isn't any more difficult to look after than a freshwater community tank, provided you invest in the lights, skimmer, and live rock needed to ensure essentially sound conditions from the start. Without wanting to sound like a sales drone, Bob Fenner's 'Conscientious Aquarist' book really is one of the best books for beginners on the topic, condensing and illustrating much of what is kept here at WWM into a more portable, easier to read format.>
I got to tell you, when I bought my first boy Moby, Petco sales guy told me to change the water once a week.
<The confusion here is with how breeders maintain them. Betta breeders have space-heated fish rooms, and keep each male Betta in a jar. The hot air provides the warmth, and by feeding sparing and doing almost 100% water changes daily, they keep ammonia problems to a minimum. This is a very labour intensive approach, but since they're selling the Bettas and labour costs are low -- these are dollar-a-day farms in Southeast Asia -- it all works out okay. For hobbyists it just isn't practical, which is why I keep making the point Bettas need tanks, not bowls, and they need heaters and filters. Anyway, because some sales drones don't known any better, they regurgitate this idea of how *farms* maintain Bettas as being how hobbyists should maintain them in the *home*.>
And I told him how big the bowl was. I figured out on my own with Jonah, who is white w/teal feathers, also a big beautiful boy, that when he started looking yellowish - it was beyond time. Please. Couldn't see the color change with Moby because he is so dark. That's why I know they are doomed to death. Moms buy them for the kid. Easier than a dog.
<The irony is that -- if you buy the kit they need up front -- fish really are the easiest pets around. How many other animals could you leave unattended for a couple of weeks while you're holidaying? How many other animals have zero vet costs and can be well fed for pennies a day?
Maintenance need only be, what, a quarter hour's worth of work doing a water change once every week or two? Like most animals, preventative healthcare is easier and cheaper in the long run, and yet too many people overlook that key point.>
If they die - oh well. It completely sucks.
Oh, geez - this little girl is half Chihuahua, half Billy goat. Stitches and all. >L
<A few years back one of the UK newspapers ran a story (front page!) about puppies born to a cross between Great Dane and a Chihuahua, the Great Dane being the female. Or some pair of breeds like that. The point being that no-one could understand how this tiny little male dog managed to "gain access" to the big dog female, and yet, somehow he did... Like they say, "It's not the tool, it's how you use it". Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Moby - Gill bump-- 12/04/09

Attn: Neale -
<Hello again,>
Thanks so much for the info. I have a tank friend who is going to help me with a set up.
One thing I did want to mention is - both my bowls have a really cool big seashell in them which I am removing tomorrow with the next water change.
<OK. Seashells harden water and raise pH, so generally aren't good additions to small aquaria.>
Info on acrylic noted. As is Bob Fenner's book and WetWeb site.
I rescued Lola, 4 lb female Yorkie 2 years ago who screamed when you touched her abdomen. You could not pick her up or anything. We had no idea what was wrong but quickly found out she was impregnated by a larger dog and when went in for an emergency C-section, sadly, all her pups were lost because they were no where near term. "Where there is a will, there is a way."
<Or, "where there's a will, there's a relative".>
I think it's weird but I am not really shocked anymore by what I see in the dog rescue realm. The last really shocking thing that comes to mind is Abby, a female Pit, who was lit on fire... Our Foundation stepped in to help with her medical. She made me ponder, what is rescue really? To make me/us feel better about us?
<A little from column A, a little from column B. There's nothing wrong with doing the right thing for selfish as well as altruistic reasons. Enlightened self-interest can work wonders.>
Merry Christmas Neale. Do you still say "Merry Christmas" in the UK or has that been banned?
<Eh? Why would we ban it? We have Christmas here, and we do indeed say "Merry Christmas".>
I do not know. It will soon be banned in America. We are the last man standing.
<Not sure what you mean here. Outside of a Fox News studio, I can't imagine anyone really thinks the US government is planning to ban Christmas.
Anyway, Merry Christmas! Neale.>

Severely constipated Betta not responding to treatment... 11/13/09
<Hello Michelle,>
My male Betta had been living in a 5 gallon heated/filtered tank with three zebra Danios.
<Too small for Danios, and Danios should be kept in groups of 6+.)
I test the water parameters weekly and do weekly partial water changes.
The tank is always at proper ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels.
<By "proper" I hope you mean zero ammonia and zero nitrite; some mistakenly below "low" levels are safe, they are not.>
Previously I was feeding him six Betta bits once a day.
<Would not use dried foods all the time. Such fish tend to be more prone to constipation. Dried foods are fine once in a while, but augment with wet-frozen foods like bloodworms and mosquito larvae. Live brine shrimp are an excellent source of fibre. Last but not least, cooked peas should be offered on a regular basis.>
Of course I now know that may have been too many. Well, a few weeks ago I noticed he was getting a little bit pudgy, but unfortunately didn't think anything of it (this is my first Betta fish).
<I see.>
Well about a week ago he was definitely much bigger than he used to be, so I moved him into a 3 gallon quarantine tank which I do daily water changes.
<Why move him? A smaller tank will usually contain worse environmental conditions, so what's the point? Moving a fish stresses it, and unless there's a darn good reason to move a sick fish, they're often best left in the tank.>
It is heated to 80 degrees and its filtered. I check the water every other day and everything is as it should be. He is very swollen in his chest area and has begun losing color.
<Is this the white skin showing through?>
He is not pineconing though. I fasted him for two days and then tried the blanched pea thing which he ate. He did not poop at all. After contacting my local fish store I tried the recommended Epsom salt bath (1 Tbs per 1 gallon for 15-20 minutes).
<No, add Epsom salt to the aquarium. 1-3 teaspoons per 5 US gallons should be adequate. Harmless to healthy fish, so feel free to add this to the tank with the Danios. Epsom salt is a muscle relaxant, that's all. The idea is that by relaxing the muscles on the gut, while also providing a lot more fibre, any constipation can be dealt with.>
Still no poop. I have tried a small amount of frozen daphnia as well as another Epsom salt bath, but still nothing. It has been a week since he has been in the hospital tank, but he seems to be looking worse every day.
He does still get excited to see me and is eager to eat even though I am fasting him again. He doesn't seem to be having swimming troubles yet though I notice him being a bit more lethargic than usual. When I put a mirror to the tank to try to get him to flare up he does not do it at all.
His abdomen is not transparent. His scales are just stretched out and faded in that area. I'm sure it started out with constipation and I stupidly didn't notice, but now I'm afraid it may have led to something worse. Today I noticed there seems to be a couple pieces of what look to be skin floating in his tank. I'm not sure what that could be.
I just don't know if there is more I should be doing at this point. My local fish store told me to continue the Epsom salt baths and fasting, but I'm afraid that at this point he may have other problems. Should I try treating him with anything to be safe?
Please help, I'm not ready to give up on him yet.
Here are some pictures...
Thank you!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Severely constipated Betta not responding to treatment... 11/14/09

Thank you for responding!
<Always happy to do so.>
So just to verify what you had recommended, I should remove the Danios from the 5 gallon tank (I have other aquariums in the house),
<What I would do. But as always when moving fish, don't expose them to sudden changes in temperature or water chemistry.>
put the Betta back in his home, and try adding Epsom salt to the tank?
<Yes and yes.>
Should I resume feeding him the more varied diet even though he is still big?
<Either don't feed at all, or else feed high fibre foods (ideally cooked peas, else live daphnia/live brine shrimp).>
Also in response to the question you had asked about his white skin showing thru, if by that you meant transparent then no it is not which is why I'm really hoping it is just constipation.
<What I mean is that when Bettas swell up, you often see the white skin showing through in between the colour scales.>
Again, thank you for responding. My Betta is a fighter and hopefully he will pull thru this.
<I hope so too.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Severely constipated Betta not responding to treatment... Now eating Danio fry 11/14/09

Holy cow! So I just moved everybody around. I put the Danios in another tank and put the Betta back in his old home. Temperatures and water parameters were all the same. Anyways, when I put the Betta in I was looking closely and saw something very very tiny move in the tank. It looks like a microscopic tadpole. I think my Danios had babies. Yikes!
Oh well, Betta just ate one. So question about that. Will the Betta eating the Danio fry harm him at all? I'm going to try to somehow round as many up as I can see, but he actually hasn't moved this much in a while.
He's chasing them down. Sorry to keep emailing you, but you have been very helpful. Thanks in advance for this one.
<Will not harm your Betta in the least. Bob Fenner>
Re: Severely constipated Betta not responding to treatment... Now eating Danio fry 11/14/09

Holy cow! So I just moved everybody around. I put the Danios in another tank and put the Betta back in his old home. Temperatures and water parameters were all the same. Anyways, when I put the Betta in I was looking closely and saw something very very tiny move in the tank. It looks like a microscopic tadpole. I think my Danios had babies. Yikes!
<Could well be! Danios will spawn quite readily, and the fry are not difficult to rear. Finely powdered flake food and hard-boiled egg yolk should be adequate, but liquid fry food better. Lots of fun!>
Oh well, Betta just ate one. So question about that. Will the Betta eating the Danio fry harm him at all?
<Yes, will eat them, and no, won't harm him. Get a breeding net or a floating trap into which you can place the fry. Rear them in that trap or net until they're big enough to put with the parents (i.e., about 15 mm or
so in length).>
I'm going to try to somehow round as many up as I can see, but he actually hasn't moved this much in a while. He's chasing them down. Sorry to keep emailing you, but you have been very helpful.
<One tries...>
Thanks in advance for this one.
<Cheers, Neale.>

& Now Fred the Betta et al., hlth. 11/11/09
I wrote you a while ago (just before your holiday) about Fred my Betta and Al the yellow Algae eater. Here is the update. Al recovered and was sent back to the store.
Fred has failed to respond to all meds but is still the same way he was when last I wrote. I still have to hand feed him piece by piece but he still hangs on. I can still say if he has the will to live, so be it.
<Sounds about the best you can do.>
He is my first fish and I am quite fond of him. A quick story on the lighter side... Over the summer my #1 female Betta, Pearl, came down with a parasite so I had her in the med tank which is a ten gallon on the lower shelf of an over / under set up. On the third day I was sitting Indian style on the floor in front of the tank. After I fed her I needed to go diving to fix a plant on the bottom of the tank. Unbeknown to me, Pearl had jumped out ( she's my best notorious jumper followed by Emmy.) My cat Peamutt came around the corner ( he is a communicating fool, sooo smart) and told me, actually he insisted, that I look at my thigh. I was in the motion of putting my hand exactly where Pearl was ! It would have been placed right on top of her ! He stopped me. Cool, aye ?
<Very definitely! As an ailurophile, such stories don't surprise me at all.>
A very special fellow, he is. I popped Pearl into my wet hand and put her back in the med tank. Guess she was feeling better. :>) The better SHE feels, the higher she jumps. I really need to be careful with her and
<Try adding some floating plants, like Indian Ferns. These do inhibit the jumping instinct, and also help optimise water quality by absorbing ammonia directly. Of course they need light, but in an open tank, they do surprisingly well with light from a window. I have a windowsill tank, and the plants grow better in there than anywhere else!>
She is doing the happily ever after thing now. She and Emmy have the most personality but each are very different. Emmy flew out the other day and landed on the table. She was quite pale for the rest of the day but by evening was back to normal. Quite beauties, too.
<Yes, female Bettas can be lovely fish, and I'm glad the hobby is wising up to this. In many ways, they're better choices for quiet community tanks than the males.>
I do keep the Bettas covered but when its chow time and I pop the lid off is when they come out. They love chow time, especially worm day.
<I bet.>
Have a great day, Neale, and thanks so much. Sooz
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Mixed Bettas... hlth. "fighter fish help" 11/1/09
Hi there, I wondered if you could help me.
<Will try.>
I have two fighters in our tank (90ltr) 1 male 1 female and up until now they have both been well and active.
They have both become very docile milling around at the surface of the tank.
<Not for long... this isn't a species that works well in pairs. I'd tend to keep groups of females to one male, certainly at least two.>
both have also faded in colour and have what I can only describe as like a "white mask" from the gills forward.
<Does happen. I think it's an excessive production of mucous, analogous to what you see on things like Black Mollies and Black Moors when they start getting ill. Because Bettas (and those black fish) are a solid colour, the mucous stands out more obviously than on other types of fish. In any event, it's a warning sign something is amiss. If these Bettas were very old, at least a year after purchase, it's possible simple old age is a factor (though I'd make the point that in captivity Bettas can live anything up to 4 years). Check water quality and water chemistry, and also review things like social behaviour between the fish and their tankmates.
Anything that could be causing stress could be triggering this mucous production. It isn't good, and it doesn't necessarily go away by itself, and it can be a warning of things like bacterial and fungal infections,
among other things.>
I am at a loss having searched online for the symptoms but getting nowhere.
They share the tank with some tetra, Plec and Dalmatian mollies. All other fish are healthy. The tank itself is about 7 months old and we change 40-50% water every 10 days.
<Mollies do of course need brackish water, and tend not to do well in freshwater.
If you're adding marine salt mix to the aquarium, this could be stressing the Bettas.>
Any info as to what this could be would be very much appreciated.
Cheers Barry
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: "fighter fish help" 11/2/09

Hi there again, I'm sorry to report both fish died shortly after my last email. I have changed the water again and lifted the temp slightly but to no avail.
<Forgive me, I can't recall precisely what we're talking about here (it's best to leave prior correspondence on any replies). Was this about the male/female Bettas with the white stuff on their faces?>
Do you think the water should be changed more regularly? as I said we change 40-50% every 10 days
<We recommend 25% weekly; that's enough to keep nitrate levels low, but not so much there's a risk of sudden/severe temperature, pH or water hardness changes.>
also I have not been adding salt to the water, is this something you would recommend?
<Not normally, no. The addition of salt to freshwater tanks is "old school" and only made sense in the context of the types of fish kept 50 years ago, and the types of aquarium hardware people used. For most people, most of the time, and with the types of fish and aquaria they have, the addition of salt is at best pointless and at worst a stressor on the fish being kept.>
as I was very fond of them and would not like to lose any in the future.
Many thanks Barry
<Cheers, Neale.>
yes it was the male and female with the stuff on the face. thank you very much for you advise
many thanks Barry
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.

Betta with trouble seeing/ eating 10/1/2009
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Leslie,>
Thank you so much for your help in advance. I have been away at school and my dad has been feeding my Betta once daily (pellets and freeze-dried blood worms) and giving him water changes once every 1 to 1.5 months. My Betta lives in a 5 gallon tank with an Eclipse filter, but the filter is only on maybe 2 hours per day because every time we turn the filter on, my Betta looks all mopey and hides in the space between his heater and the tank. If you think the filter should be on more, please let me know.
<You really should leave the filter running all the time. The thing is, when you switch a filter off, the bacteria that remove the ammonia start to die. If the filter disturbs the Betta, i.e., he gets pushed about wildly, then try and either [a] turn the filter pump down; or [b] replace with something more gentle. The ideal filters are plain vanilla, cheap and cheerful air-powered sponge filters. Electric pump filters tend to be too strong for use with Bettas, though some can be turned down to a lower turnover rate, and by directing the outlet towards the glass, you can stifle the flow of water quite a bit.>
I have had my Betta for almost 4 years now, and over the years, we have noticed that his ability to accurately attack/ snatch his food has declined quite substantially.
<Simple old age. Four years is a TERRIFIC age for a Betta. Most specimens barely last a year because of how people generally maintain them (i.e., not very well). Since male Bettas are about 6 months old when they're taken to pet shops, your specimen is very, very old by Betta standards. Well done!>
The last time I was home was almost 3 months ago, and he had trouble getting his food, but I find it hard to believe that it could get this bad just 3 months later. When feeding him now, he will miss 10-15 (if not 20) times (the pellets sink after he misses) before he gets 1. It's easier for him to get the freeze dried bloodworms because they are longer, and they also do not sink after he misses.. but I don't think I can feed him freeze dried bloodworms only right?
<It's not ideal, no. But do try other "easy" foods to see if they work. Squished cooked peas, regular fish flake, or better still, using long forceps to "hand feed" your pet little bits of food.>
There also doesn't seem to be anything visually wrong with his eyes either - they are neither overly opaque or white.
<Still, he may be losing some of his eyesight for the same reasons humans tend to have poor eyesight as they age. In Betta terms, your chap is something like 100 years old!>
I also showed him a mirror, and he usually would go crazy, flaring up and swimming all over the tank in a frenzy. However, this time, he just sat there and stared at it, not moving. This concerns me greatly because he always used to respond to his reflection.
<I fear, simply old age.>
I noticed the other day that he had some dark stringy poo hanging (maybe about 1/4-1/2 inch long). I thought that may be a sign of constipation (he also has a "history" of being constipated which is usually resolved with peas), so I tried to feed him some peas, but he hasn't been able to eat too many because he can't see them very well? and keeps missing when I put small pieces in front of him (after they sink, I try to recollect as many pieces as I can see).
<Do try hand feeding. I feed many of my fish this way, and forceps mean you don't have to stick your hands right in front of the fish, and that makes them less nervous. Try little strips of prawn meat or individual wet-frozen bloodworms. These are the right size to hold easily, and you may find he takes them without much fuss.>
His fins also appear clamped. His left pectoral fin seems quite a bit smaller than the right one, and there is some white material at the base of the pectoral fin. I can try to snap some pictures tomorrow during the day if you think it would be useful. His breathing also seems more rapid than usual.
<Well, do the usual thing and check water quality and that the temperature in the tank is right. Do a 25-50% water change and see if he perks up. Give the filter a clean (rinsing the biological media in old aquarium water, so as not to shock the bacteria with extremely hot or cold water). Just do the usual things to see that his habitat is still good.>
Also, yesterday a scale fell off near his head leaving a whitish color beneath. My dad has said he has seen him lose a scale or two as a result of rapidly swimming into things in the past, but I have not seen him recently swim into anything.
<Losing the odd scale is normal. Wouldn't worry too much. Indeed, old fish do seem to lose more scales than young fish, and they do sometimes show usual deformations of body or strange patches of colour. All these things likely occur for the same reasons as they do when humans get old: stuff just don't work quite as well as it did when we're young!>
I could be wrong, but it also seems like his mouth is crooked, like his lower "jaw" isn't closing all the way. My dad has mentioned that he has trouble eating larger pellets (normal sized Betta pellets).
<Do try offering smaller or softer foods. Again, hand feeding can be very helpful here.>
I apologize for all the little details, but I wanted to include everything that I observed. My main concern is his great difficulty seeing/ eating, his sullen disposition, and his inactivity/ lethargy.
Water parameters are as follows:
nitrate 20ppm
nitrite 0.5ppm
hardness 100-150 ppm
alkalinity 120ppm
pH 7.5
<All sounds good, except the nitrite, which should 0, and likely isn't because the filter isn't on all the time. You really should fix this.>
Thank you so much for your help. Your advice and time are greatly appreciated!
<Given how old this chap is, I'm sure you have the basics covered. But do review filtration, as that likely is the "weak link" in the chain here. It could easily be a stress factor causing some of the problems, though old age is a likely explanation in more general terms. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with trouble seeing/ eating 01/18/09

Hi Neale,
Thank you very much for your advice on the hand feeding, I tried it in the next couple of days. It was difficult at first for him to get used to it because he is more of a snatcher (and then swims away), but within a couple days he got used to being fed directly and was able to eat very well (~1/4 - 1/3 of a pea and a worm or two) and had a pretty good appetite.
<Sounds great.>
When I left to go back to school, I thought he was in relatively good shape, but two days later, my parents went out of town for 2.5 days, so my Betta was without food or filter for that time.
<Ah, without a filter is the "killer" here. Fish can go two days, even two weeks, without food. But without a filter, if you keep adding food (and inexperienced fishkeepers invariably add too much food) then water quality will plummet.>
When my parents returned on 10/8, my parents said he tried to eat but was only eating about 1 worm/ day (wasn't "able to "swallow peas?). He seemed a bit lethargic and unresponsive as well. From Oct 11-12 he has only eaten at most 1/4 of a (freeze dried) bloodworm per day. During this time (Oct 11-13) my dad gave him some Melafix daily. My dad stopped administering Melafix because he was not sure if it was working (as there was no improvement in eating), but he recalls that around Oct 14, my Betta's fins suddenly began deteriorating very rapidly. (I came back home on Oct 16 and while he still has fins, there are literally pieces of his fins on the bottom of his tank.) From the 13-15, he has eaten progressively less than that. And from ard the 16th until now, he has not had any food. My dad says that he would try to take one bite initially (but it isn't very much food, if any) and he doesn't make any attempts to swallow. On the 16th when I came home, he was laying almost horizontal on the bottom of the tank, he seemed to be breathing very fast, and I see what looks like white material in his mouth (but it doesn't seem fuzzy but I was wondering if that could be contributing to his inability to swallow?). Also, all over his body it seems like there are areas of brownish grayish stuff? that I don't remember from before. It's difficult to describe the texture of it.. I guess it seems dull? I took a video of him laying at the bottom of his tank that I can send later tonight.
<The brown-grey stuff is likely mucous, and a common reaction to bad water quality.>
I also checked his water parameters, they were ard the same as before:
nitrate 20ppm
nitrite 0.5ppm
<Here's what's doing the damage. You MUST have zero nitrite.>
hardness 100-150 ppm
alkalinity 120ppm
pH 7.5
I am really worried about him, it seems he has gotten extremely bad in such a short period of time. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<Do a 50% water change today, and another tomorrow. The stick to your usual 25% per week water changes. Leave the filter on at all times. If the nitrite level isn't zero, don't feed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with trouble seeing/ eating 10/19/09

Hi Neale,
Thank you for your quick response. We will begin the water change regimen you suggested (50%, 50%, then 25% weekly). A question though... my Betta is living in a 5 gal tank, and in the past we had been doing 100% changes monthly. Should we now be doing smaller but more frequent changes now that he is older (and maybe more sensitive to water quality issues)?
<Yes! 25% weekly is standard and generally acceptable in most situations.>
Another question in response to: "Ah, without a filter is the "killer" here. Fish can go two days, even two weeks, without food. But without a filter, if you keep adding food (and inexperienced fishkeepers invariably add too much food) then water quality will plummet."
What you have said makes sense, but for the first ~1.5 yrs that I had my Betta, he lived in one of those tiny plastic containers (maybe 1/3 - 1/2 gallon) where there was no filter and a water change regimen of maybe 100% every 1-2 weeks.
<Yikes! With those "Betta jars" the idea is to change the water DAILY. This is what they do, for example, on Betta farms in Southeast Asia.>
Because of this, water quality was very likely worse than it is now.
And even back in 7/2007, my Betta was transferred back into his small plastic container without filter for 2 weeks while we were out of the country so a friend could take care of him. When we returned, he definitely wasn't great, but he also definitely was not terrible, like now. Why is it that he was pretty well without a filter for 1.5 years (he was switched over to the 5 gal mostly bc it could accommodate a water heater) and was okay for those 2 weeks back in 2007, but in just 2.5 days, he has become so sick without a filter? Is it just his age that makes him more susceptible to sickness now?
<Could well be. These bacterial infections are opportunistic, which means there are a bunch of factors that make problems possible, including age, diet, temperature, and so on.>
In the last email, I said I wanted to send a video to you, so you could see how my Betta is doing. I was unable to email it directly to you because it was too large but I was able to have it uploaded. Please have a look at 4141 and 4142: http://users.rescomp.berkeley.edu/~brian/betta/
At the end of both videos, I try to get a closer look at the white stuff in his mouth. I'm not sure if you will be able to tell from the video, but it looks like his tongue is white? but I cant tell if it is fuzzy or not.
Thank you again for all your help, and
please let me know if your course of action remains the same, after viewing the videos.
<Looks very sick indeed. Actually, a bit underweight, which may explain why it's succumbing to bacterial infection.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with trouble seeing/ eating 10/27/09

Hi Neale,
<Hello again,>
We went forward with your suggested water changes, and while my Betta's colors seem a little better and his fins are mostly healed, he has not "been able" to eat since the time of my first email (10/4). Because of
this, he is extremely underweight and does not move much.
<Oh dear.>
My parents again have said that initially he'll try to take a first bite ("hand fed" - he sits at the bottom and a clip is lowered down into the water and the food is dropped directly into his mouth) but doesn't seem to
have enough energy to swallow or take anymore bites.
<I would try offering some live or wet-frozen foods. Bloodworms live or frozen are a favourite, as are live mosquito larvae.>
Sometimes when he swims to the surface for air, he'll just sink back down slowly like he doesn't have very much energy or is unable to remain still/ in place and afloat. My parents have observed that it looks like he's
really fighting to live but just is somehow unable to eat or swallow?
<Hard to imagine why he can't swallow. Force feeding is an option, but it's very difficult to do, not to mention hugely stressful for the fish, and I'd recommend trying the live/wet-frozen option first. If you want to know how to force feed, write back and I'll explain.>
He has always had a healthy appetite, so I don't understand why he doesn't want to or is unable to eat? I am really worried about him because it has now been ~3 weeks since he has really eaten. We hate to see him like this, and we don't think he will survive much longer without food. What can we
Water parameters are as follows:
nitrate 20ppm
nitrite 0ppm
hardness 100-150 ppm
alkalinity 120ppm
pH 7.5
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta with trouble seeing/ eating 10/27/09

Hi Neale,
<Hey Leslie, JustinN here in Neale's absence>
We will try to get some live worms, and I will let you know how it goes.
<Excellent -- I would suspect if there's any hope at this point, this will illicit a feeding response. My Bettas could never resist a live meal.>
Until then, could there be any other reasons for fish not wanting or not being able to eat? Could we be missing some ailment here that is causing a loss of appetite?
<I did note in your previous message that you stated your tank's nitrates are currently reading 20 -- this is fairly high. I would think that the toxin levels could potentially be high enough to cause a hunger strike. I
would recommend doing daily water changes, to the tune of 20-30% until you get this number back in check.>
How successful is force feeding usually? :(
<As Neale stated, it is very stressful for the fish, though at points there are no other options. I would recommend going with daily water changes and attempting some live food before going this drastic route.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome, Leslie. I do hope it was helpful, and I will bring this letter to Neale's attention as well, so he can chime in upon his return.
Good luck! -JustinN>

Betta- clear egg like substance protruding? No reading... 9/30/09
So I have a year old red male Betta that has a bloated belly that I noticed on Thursday evening.
<... your images... 10 megs...>
I wasn't sure what caused this so I went online and did some research.
He doesn't have the pine cone effect that is described as dropsy, but his stomach is swollen. I read that it may be constipation so I gave him a pea on Saturday, I tried to give him another one on Sunday but he would not eat it. He seems to be feeling worse he lays at the bottom of the tank a lot. I have been waiting out feeding him to let his system clear out. I changed his water 100% with water conditioning treatment and added aquarium salt in case it was bacterial.
I stopped at Petco and they suggested Bettafix or Betta Revive??? but didn't start them yet.
<I wouldn't. The one is a scam leaf extract, the other a too toxic cocktail: http://uskoi.com/betta_revive.htm>
Now it is Monday and as I am looking closer at him it looks like his stomach is sliced open and a clear/whitish, Ill say "bubble or egg" for lack of words is coming out like he is almost splitting open?
<Looks like it>
He doesn't seem to be in much pain, I am not sure what to do, should I give him the Bettafix or Revive? or should I go try to get something else? I have new water ready to go if I need to change his water.
I have read through your other forums and no one mentions this protrusion... help! I am attaching photos.
<Do take a look at this fish if/when it perishes... am wondering if the area is infested with worms. If it were mine I would have treated with Epsom. See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Possibly Sick Veil Tail Betta 9/14/09
Hi. I was hoping you could help me with my Betta. I'm not sure what's wrong with him. For the first two weeks (I have him for ~ 3 weeks now) when I got him, he swam & flared beautifully (see 'fish 1' & 'fish 2'). He was quite active.
When I first bought him, I used bottled water, not heated because I live in the Caribbean & right now it's quite warm here & so is any water that's left out of the fridge. I now use stale (left to sit for at least 1 day)
tapwater + Start Right (a blue salt I think from Jungle) to condition. He's in a container that's slightly less than 1 gallon. I know that's cruel, but I couldn't find one I liked when I bought him. He's getting a great big one this weekend.
After about 2 weeks, his fins suddenly crimped. I don't have a digital camera with me right now, so I used paint to draw how his fins look right now (see 'sick fish'). They look like a wet paintbrush, rather
'accordion-like'. They not perfectly clamped from root to end, just tapered in at the end.
I examined him; no dropsy, no cotton fungus etc. No colour change, no fin loss or ragged fins. His appetite is just as good, but he is very lethargic now, lying on the bottom a lot & rarely flaring, even with a mirror. He comes up & swims & darts, but not as often & is inactive compared to when I first got him. I've always cleaned his container often & I ensure the temp is good. I give him about 10 flakes or less twice a day (sometimes once a day) & once a week a boiled pea.
I changed the water & cleaned out his containers & gravel with boiling water when I noticed the fins. I change his water (some old with the new after the initial 100 % change) regularly since it happened & I gave him a sea salt bath for about 7 hours today. No change, so I'm using Jungle Fungus Eliminator just to see if that'll work. His water is slightly yellow from the meds.
I know it'll take some time for him to recover (or for me to see a change), but can you give me an idea of what's wrong with him? I know it's not normal b/c he wasn't like this when I first bought him. Is it some type of disease & how should I proceed?
Thanks so much for any help
S. Ali
<The bottom line is that this looks like a somewhat stressed but not yet sick Betta. A one gallon aquarium simply isn't viable, no matter what chemicals you add. Once you have a tank measuring 5 gallons or more, and a filter of some sort, things should improve. If the water temperature does not drop below 25 C/77 F, then you don't need a heater, but I'd think about getting one anyway: better safe than sorry! Don't get too bogged down in boiling water and using bottled water. Plain tap water is generally fine, indeed, often better than other types of water. Just add water conditioner to remove chlorine. That's about it! Don't overfeed him: 10 flakes per day is rather a lot. Try feeding a bit less and see how he looks. "A little, but often" is a good idea with fish. Messing about with medication, salt, etc., likely does little good unless you have specifically diagnosed the problem. So don't use these for now. Improve his environment, and then see what happens. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Possibly Sick Veil Tail Betta 09/15/09
Hi Neale,
Thanks so much for that quick reply. He's got a big tank now, but like I said, here in the tropics a heater isn't required. The water's already so warm, even in the night. To get 25 C water here, you need to use AC or a fridge.
<Sounds like heating won't be a problem then! Most of the people who write to us live in the temperate zone, and even with central heating, their tanks need a heater. But since tropical fish come from the tropics, aquarists lucky enough to live in such parts of the world needn't worry about temperature at all.>
However, I think I've diagnosed the problem (or what looks to be it). I think he's constipated. He usually produces waste once a day or thereabouts, but I haven't seen any for the past 3 to 4 days, & I've looked thoroughly. What happened was, a little over a week ago, I accidentally dropped a bit too much flakes in his tank, & before I could get them out, he swooped across in one zip & ate them all. I kept feeding him normally.
I'm not sure what to do to fix him, except to starve him a bit.
<Yes. Also try offering squashed cooked peas and/or live daphnia. Both are excellent laxatives.>
I read that sea salt baths help. I appreciate any suggestions.
<Not so much sea salt as Epsom salt, as used medicinally to treat aches and pains. 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 US gallons should do the trick.>
Thanks so much.
S. Ali
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Possibly Sick Veil Tail Betta 9/16/09
Hi again, Neale.
I'm feeding him the thawed peas & he's gulping them.
<Good! Make sure the peas are *cooked* first; raw ones probably aren't too good for him.>
Will try the Epsom salts. No regular food for ~ 3 days now. BUT....he's alarmingly swollen right behind his head (after the gills). He looks rather heavy in this region. Does this mean he's going to pop & die?
<Probably not "pop" but this is something new. Swelling around the abdomen is a common symptom of constipation, but swelling elsewhere can be dropsy, tumours, genetic faults -- all sorts of things. Need more specific information here, and preferably a photo.>
I haven't seem any waste for days now, & I'm really worried.
Also, I'm confused, b/c his appetite is great, & though he's still lethargic & lying on the bottom, he's actually swimming more than a couple of days ago. And his fins are expanding to their regular shape once more.
What's going on?
<No idea.>
S. Ali
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Possibly Sick Veil Tail Betta 9/10/09
Hello again Neale.
Whilst my Betta did get over his constipation with the help of green peas & Epsom salts, I'm saddened to report he just died (Friday afternoon).
<Sorry to hear that.>
He developed a mild case of cotton fungus on he tip of his fins. I gave him Jungle Fungus Eliminator but 2 days after, he died. The night before, he was eating & swimming a little, but on the evening of the next day, he lay gasping for breath at the tank's bottom & eventually died.
<Oh dear.>
I'm horribly saddened & bewildered. He wasn't even sick for very long. I suspected the store where I bought him wasn't administering the best of care for their Bettas.
<If they administer any care at all, that's a small victory. Let's be honest here: any store that sells Bettas in plastic cups is risking the lives of those poor fish. The better stores use aquaria divided into chambers, with each chamber containing one Betta. This allows the Bettas to be kept in warm, filtered water.>
They were keeping him in a VERY small glass tank, & the guy gave me the customary fish owner's rant of how it's true you can keep Bettas in very small tanks & they'll survive. Also, when I got him he had a small hole in his largest fin (below). I bought him anyway b/c he looked normal at the time, & stayed that way for awhile.
<I see.>
I'm sure his water, waste levels etc were fine.
<Do be open minded.>
And if I did do something a bit off, I didn't have him long enough for it to affect him like that! I mean, he got sick & died within a week. Are veil tail Bettas more susceptible to this kind of illness?
<Not really. All fancy Bettas sold in pet stores are bred on an industrial scale, and there's no obvious differences in terms of quality between the breeds. Top-quality Bettas and wild-caught Betta species cost more money, and you'll be getting those from only the best shops or through breeders, fish clubs, etc.>
Also, I think I once added a little too much Jungle Start Right Conditioner to his water (but it wasn't blue or anything). Could that have affected him in any way?
<Can't see why.>
I don't want to buy another Betta & have him die so soon b/c of something I did. So I'd like to know if I contributed to this Betta's death.
<As I've discussed multiple times here at WWM, the best way to keep a Betta is to keep it like any other fish. A tank 5 gallons or bigger in size is preferable, together with a heater and a filter. If you try to keep a Betta in a bowl or anything unfiltered or unheated, your chances of success are much reduced.>
Thanks for nay advice.
S. Ali
<Much written about Bettas here at WWM; do please read some more. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried-- 9/5/09
Hi Neale,
<Milo,><<Howsit? RMF>>
Wow, that was extremely hard. Here are the best two pictures I could get, sorry they aren't better.
<They'll do.>
I may have mentioned this is the closest he's come to normal, so there's not as much brown as there used to be. It's still there, though.
<I agree; does look an sick Betta. However, do believe this is "Slime Disease". This is more a syndrome than a single disease, but in my limited experience of dealing with this, a combination of saltwater dips and anti-Finrot medication can work well. Treated a couple of Red-eye Puffers with this a few years ago, and they're still strong. Of course, even freshwater puffers have a high tolerance for salt, so I'd limit saltwater dips in your cases to 2-5 minutes (on my puffers, they were up to 20 minutes). The saltwater helps shift external parasites and pathogens, and perhaps does something to the mucous too, because it clears up within hours. The antibiotic will deal with the root cause, if bacterial.>
I think the second photo is better for seeing it - on his head and just ahead of his caudal fin. He's supposed to be bright blue with red on his fins, but you can see at least how dark his body is. It's covered with something.
<Yes, mucous.>
The fin decay is much worse than it was a day or two ago. I found a local store with ParaGuard, I'm going to try to get it tonight. One question - the Rid-Ich label says it shouldn't be mixed with other medications, but it doesn't say why.
<Simply good practise. While medications are tested to be safe on their own, who knows how they'll interact with the thousand other medications out there.><<Am in strong agreement>>
If I switch to Paraguard, would two 50% water changes beforehand be enough or do I need to do something more drastic?
<Yes, should be ample. Most medications lose their potency, structure within 24 hours anyway, partly because of interaction with other chemicals, and partly because filter bacteria break them down.>
For now I'm adding salt as instructed, and waiting to hear your opinion re: the photos & whether to use ParaGuard.
<Would certainly use. It's a good all-around medication and better in this regard than, say, Melafix.>
Again, thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.> <<And BobF>>

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: