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FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 27

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Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,

FAQs on Betta Medicines: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/Antibacterials, Anti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sick Betta 11/1/11
Good evening,
I am writing about my Betta Oki, I have had Oki for about a year and previously own Samurai for about 2 years. I've always kept my Bettas in natural spring water,
<Mmm, an indeterminate quality... What hardness, pH is this product?
Anything added to it?>
only because tap water seems to get cloudy in a matter of days. For the past week Oki had been acting and eating normally but taking random "sprints" around the tank. I changed his water 2 days ago and realized that morning he did not eat! He was lethargic that day, laying on his marbles
<A poor substrate... doesn't sponsor beneficial microbes, nor buffer water...>
at the bottom of his tank and a bit sideways. I thought it may be swim bladder
<... there is no such thing>
and wish I could give him peas but he won't eat. He had one pellet yesterday at night but that's it in 3 days! I put some aquarium salt in his tank as well as BettaFix and today I went to buy Betta revive but didn't find any so I bought Pimafix.
<Both worthless... Search WWM re>
A little more about his symptoms besides not eating. He swim slowly to the surface for air and jolts back down, he seems like he "breathes" heavily, his gills seems a little red. It then again he's very dark and I may be just noticing his gills out of desperation. I've since the water change also lower the level of the water so he needn't swim so far to the surface, and I've put in his heater and brought him from 74-75 to 80 degrees.
<Mmm, is there a heater here? The temp. really needs to be nearer the 80 F. mark; not fluctuate so much diurnally>
He is in a 2.5 gallon tank.
<Is there an adequate filter here? What re NH3, NO2, NO3?>
Please help me help Oki!
Thank you,
Bianca Anselmetti
<Will gladly do so. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Twitching Betta? 10/29/11
Hello there,
<Hello Rachel,>
I have spent countless hours searching in attempt to figure out what could be wrong with Marvin (my Crowntail Betta), so here I am at my last resort.
I have attached three photographs of my fish for you to hopefully view, pardon the fact that they are slightly blurry.. He is a bit speedy and quite camera shy.
Anyways, a bit of background and information for you. He is in a heated 2.5gal tank, I keep it around 80'F at all times. I normally do ~20% water changes every 2 days to keep the tank clean, because I am aware of how small it is, but lately I have been doing daily changes of the same amount in attempt to lower the ammonia levels (they have been around .25ppm lately).
<Ah, now, here's the clue. Any ammonia level above zero is harmful, and above 0.5 ppm can be fatally toxic. So while your level of ammonia is lower than that, your Betta is still under stress. My guess here would be that your filter isn't mature or else properly maintained and/or big enough for the aquarium. You may also be overfeeding -- don't feed at all until ammonia drops to 0, and if doesn't drop to zero, then look at your filter with a critical eye. An air-powered box filter or sponge filter is what you want here.>
He has no live plants, and a gravel substrate.
<Assuming you don't have an undergravel filter, you should have no more gravel than about one grain depth, i.e., no more than 1 cm thickness. Any more than that will form a reservoir of decaying organic matter that would be difficult to clean.>
Now to my problem: When I purchased Marvin (Sept 5th, 2011) I noticed he has a brilliant golden sheen along parts of his tail and his fins look ragged and mostly pathetic, so I've been keeping an eye on him dreading that I bought a fish infected with velvet.
<On the contrary: this sounds like Finrot.>
But after so long of a period I am beginning to doubt this assumption, I have heard the mortality rate is swift and high for velvet Bettas. Please, take a moment to look at my photographs and tell me whether you think it's his coloring or a problem. Again, pardon the blur..
<Hard to tell from the photos.>
The other worry I have is he seems to have a nervous tick of sorts, he twitches randomly, several twitches and then he'll go lay down somewhere.
<Ammonia "burns" and will irritate the gills; my guess is that is what you're seeing here.>
He is quite lethargic most of the day.
At first I thought it was water quality, but my ammonia levels aren't to the extreme point (correct me if I'm wrong) and I keep the water itself quite clean.
<Clarity is unimportant. Something beginners don't realise is that what kills fish is invisible. You can have spotlessly clean aquaria that are death traps, while silty, grubby-looking aquaria with algae all over the place may contain perfect water quality ideal for fishkeeping. Your ammonia levels ARE dangerous.>
Do you have any advice for me possibly, or maybe a treatment you'd recommend for me to try? I have not been medicating, just been giving him a daily few drops of Melafix to ward off infection and assist his fins.
<Melafix is fairly useless outside of being used as a preventative after fish have been damaged. Think of it like an antiseptic you'd dab onto a cut. Fine for that, but not what you'd use once gangrene had set it! For gangrene, you'd need an antibiotic, and that's what you need here. Something like Maracyn 2 in the US, or another Finrot remedy elsewhere in the world (here in England, I like a product called eSHa 2000).>
Thank you in advance,
<Do review the filtration system. Make sure you understand what a filter does. Make sure you have lots of biological media in the filter. Remove carbon -- you don't need it, it wastes space, and it makes medicating fish difficult. 10-20% water changes every day or two will be helpful for the first 4-6 weeks of the cycling process, and after the filter is mature (takes about 6 weeks) ammonia and nitrite should stick at zero. Don't overfeed. Clean the filter cautiously, rinsing biological media in a bucket of aquarium water, squeezing out the silt but NEVER running under a hot tap or allowing media to dry out. Cheers, Neale.>

sick Betta 10/3/11
hello my name is Eli my Betta is losing his color he had a hole in the middle of his bottom fin which got bigger over time and I think strands of his fins are falling off. I noticed I white dot sticking out of the bottom
of his mouth when I took him out to check him out closer I put him in a small container where he started banging himself against the container and started bleeding from the bottom of his mouth where the white dot was sticking out. what should I do to make him heal?
<Hello Elizabeth. This sounds like Finrot. Finrot is usually caused by poor environmental conditions and/or physical damage. So, four key questions here: How big is the aquarium? What sort of filter are you using? What temperature is the heater set at? And is your Betta living with any other fish? Just to be clear on a few things: Bettas can't be kept with other fish; they must be kept in an aquarium (preferably 5 gallons or bigger); and you must have a heater and a filter. Despite what some people imagine, Bettas can't be kept in bowls or jars. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Betta not improving 10/2/11
<Hi Judy>
The black Betta I got two days ago
<Mmm, what sort of world is this fish in? Cycled? Heated, filtered?>
is spending a lot of time on the bottom of the tank. He comes up sometimes and ate a little this morning. I used a mirror and he doesn't flare. I think their maybe something wrong. The water conditions are great, soft, clean water, 80 degrees. Could it still be stress???
<Yes it could be. But please review this species basic husbandry by reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Bob Fenner>
Crowntail Betta seems to be dying 10/24/11

I did a full water change for the black Crowntail. He swam around a little more and seems exhausted. I read about Acriflavine somewhere on the WetWebMedia site for velvet, either that or Methylene blue. Should I just leave the fish alone at this point, or it is ok to add a tsp of marine salt???.
<? Up to you... do peruse WWM re Betta hlth....>
The water is fresh again after the water change at 85F and is soft water.
Maybe the fish is just slowly dying Thank you!!
<Welcome. B>
The black Betta died 10/24/11

<Hey Jude>
Just wanted to mention that sadly the black Crowntail Betta died yesterday.
He never came back from what was ailing him. I actually found it sad even though he was "just a fish" He was like a little pet with personality.
Thank you for your help
<Welcome. B>

Betta listless, not feeding, blind? 10/2/11
Hi again guys, and much appreciated the quick response last time, sorry I didn't manage to get back the next day to say thanks then!
<Sorry for the delayed response. Neale's out and I've been diving>
I had a Betta splendens male in a 100L tank with some other fish (one Gourami T. Trichogaster, 2x1" rosy barbs, 1x1" tiger barb,
<Yikes... am glad the barbs didn't chew your Betta's fins>
2 small Ancistrus, moderately planted and driftwood) and he had been happily swimming around the tank and sleeping on top of the internal filter otherwise. No probs eating, took flake food with all the other fish, and the occasional change-up of bloodworm, thawed and mushed peas. Was wary about the barbs and Gourami, but a close eye for a few weeks showed no aggression from the other fish, and they HAD been in the same tank for a while now - I inherited the whole setup from a friend recently, I added the substrate, plants and decor to give them all a bit more hiding space.
I noticed one day he was looking a little listless at the bottom of the tank, but sticking my hand next to him perked him up and he swam off. The next day though, he was up against the filter intake at the lower level of the tank, fins in general don't look too ragged, but he's missing a pelvic fin on one side (not sure of cause - could it be infection?
<I suspect the other fish/es>
seemed to happen too quickly it to be solely an infection, perhaps from being sucked against the filter intake?), and one of his eyes especially has gone a little cloudy and swollen, and I took him out and into a 40L tank that I had establishing, planted sporadically.
Water was tested, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20. However, this was
before I switched the filter off 4 days ago - it's a wet/dry filter, and he didn't like the trickle, swam to the bottom, and was promptly stuck against the intake there,
<Can you screen this any better, larger?>
I suspect because he's so lethargic/weak - and I've been doing about 30-40% water changes daily or every 2nd day, haven't tested the water since (I can get this done at the LFS). Temperature was 26C in both tanks, I've increased this to 28C in the solitary tank for a few days thinking if it was in fact an infection, it might shorten the duration, as well as perk him up a bit? Or is this too warm?
<The fact that the other fishes are fine... this water temp. is fine>
His eye still looks swollen, but the cloudiness has gone down (still slightly cloudy, but not milky). He never had any ich spots or other external sign of infection. However, still VERY lethargic, sits on top of a magnetic cleaner I have fixed a centimetre from the waterline, and doesn't move unless he feels vibrations like me opening the lid, or sticking my finger into the water. Doesn't seem to see my finger unless it's right up close to him (and so I can't tell if it's vision or if it's the vibrations from the finger in the water), and he doesn't startle/fare when I appear suddenly on the other side of the glass.
<Well, Bettas are not super active fish...>
Not eating. Has a lunge (and has eaten TINY bits this way) at food stuck on my finger, or if he bumps into a piece of flake, so I'm unsure if he's actually detecting the food, or if it's just a startled defensive lunge at an unknown/unsighted floating object.
<This non-feeding IS a problem. I would confine the Betta to a "breeding trap", floating plastic colander or such... and offer frozen/defrosted brine shrimp, bloodworms... irresistible>
Can't get much in the way of decent medication in Australia, at least, none that I can see. LFS/pet stores will carry the natural e.g., Pimafix/Melafix or Jungle natural range,
<Nah to all these>
but otherwise you need a script or a visit to the vet, which I would dearly love to do, but just can't afford to at this stage. If you suspect it's bacterial, all antibiotics are controlled, the only thing I might be able to get over the counter would be Chloramphenicol
eye drops for humans, would an extended bath in some of this diluted help?
<Wow! We (the US) have a hard time getting this wonder drug period... is implicated in aplastic anemias...>
I'll euthanise if I really have to,
<Whoa! Hold on>
but if he's got any chance, I'll give it a go. Just as long as he won't definitely starve or suffer to death.
Regards, Jon
<Try the isolation, other foods. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta listless, not feeding, blind? 10/2/11

Many thanks Bob, and didn't mean to give you a scare with the euthanasia comment, definitely nowhere near that yet, just stating the absolute last resort!
You're probably right, I suppose it would've been the other tankmates, though they HAD shared the same tank for quite some time now. Might it be that the change in setup caused some aggression?
<Might be an influence>
Either way, he's separated out for now.
Will have to get hold of a floating trap or colander for him, and see how we fare with the feeding. It's been about a week now, and he's still very listless, at the moment still "sleeping" motionless on top of the mag cleaner. Took one single piece of flake today, after much coaxing with it stuck on my finger, he lunged and swallowed. I still suspect he can't see/sense it, and only eats if he lunges and accidentally gets a taste. =(
<Bettas don't really eat flake food... more meaty items are decidedly better, more nutritious>
I'm getting a bit worried, cos I have to go away for four weeks in about a month, and was hoping to either get a slow release disc to trial,
<These are dismal functionally>
or to get a friend in occasionally, but if he's this much effort just to even take a nibble... it might be an issue.
As for Chloramphenicol, I did note that it was hard to get, and it is the same here, you definitely can't get it - by script or otherwise - in an ingestible form, but the eye drops are used very commonly, and have recently
(within the last couple of years) been made available simply on consultation with your pharmacist. Still somewhat controlled, but no prescription needed.
Fairly sure I could get hold of some, seeing as I used to be a pharmacist myself.
<Chloromycetin in a succinic acid base used to be... my silver bullet for Aeromonad and other infections of valuable fishes (mainly Nishikigoi)... injected...>
Have noticed one or two sites which suggest it for some bacterial conditions as a 12-20 hour bath, diluted down to an appropriate strength, was wondering if you had heard of this. Same resources also suggest it works better ingested by dosing the feed, but since he's not eating...
<I wouldn't get involved...>
Anyway, thanks again, will get that trap sorted out as soon as possible.
If risk of it being an infection was eliminated, would you think it a good idea to use the trap in the larger community tank, or in his current 10gal?
Would be easier to maintain water parameters in the large one, since the smaller tank is running filterless due to too strong a flow for the weakened fish.
(I thought of screening the intake, but the wet/dry intake is right at the bottom, I could get a bit of stocking/netting and wrap it, but I don't think
it would halt enough of the flow)
Thanks again!
<Move all then. Cheers, BobF>

Gill Hyperplasia??
My male Betta suffered ammonia burn 9/24/11

<Needs a filter.>
close to 4 weeks ago (I purchased him this way without realizing it). I Have been medicating with Melafix, I believe, as instructed.
<A fairly useless medication. Popular with beginners because it's cheap; but you'll notice few, if any, experienced aquarists use it for much else than as a preventative. As a cure, it's hopeless. Besides, your problems are caused by lack of proper care.>
He lives in a half gallon bowl
<Too small.>
with 25% water changes every couple of days and a 50% water change every 8 or 9 days.
<How are you keeping water temperature at between 25-30 C/77-86 F? Bettas need a 5+ gallon aquarium, a heater, and a biological filter. We can't offer any useful assistance unless you provide these things first.>
He has been well until 2 days ago when he started swimming 'twitchy' and staying at the front of the bowl.
<Likely dying'¦ being killed through your provision of the wrong environment.>
As of yesterday his gills are partially open and he still swims a bit twitchy but is less active.
<Definitely a bad sign; too cold, exposed to poor water quality'¦>
He does not appear to have parasites and does eat well. I was told to double his medication for 7 days.
<I bet. Many pet shops will take full advantage of the ignorance of shoppers. They will sell your a Betta, a silly plastic bowl, and all the medications they can persuade you to carry out the shop. Ka-ching! You need to read about your pet animal first, make a list of what it needs and what your responsibilities will be, and then go shopping. Sales staff are sometimes good, sometimes bad, but honestly, you can't tell beforehand so you certainly shouldn't rely on them.>
Do you have any other advice?
<Yes, read.
Do also note that we have no fewer than 27 pages of dying Betta stories, and most come down to poor housing. Let's repeat the basics: an aquarium measuring several gallons in size, 5+ being ideal. A heater that can keep the tank between 25-30 C, which is a lot warmer than room temperature or underneath an angle-poise lamp, so don't for a nanosecond imagine either of those options will do instead! Finally, you need a biological filter that will process ammonia into harmless nitrate. A simple air-powered sponge filter is absolutely ideal. Total cost for all this stuff won't be massive, and compared to the costs of buying a new Betta every six weeks and medicating sick Bettas at least as often, the costs will fade way in no time at all.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gill Hyperplasia?? Betta hlth. 9/26/11

First of all your beside manners are severely lacking! You would do better to have some compassion, as people are coming to you for help not for your closed minded criticism! Bettas can and do thrive in smaller areas, in fact I know of several! If you have to ask me how I am keeping his water at 75 degrees then are we sure that YOU are the expert here? It's called a HEATER!! He isn't too cold, as he would be turning grey from stress of the cold. And his water has been tested weekly and has always been perfect therefore he has NOT been exposed to poor water quality! Guess again. Or actually don't because you are of no use to me! Furthermore, I have not been persuaded to purchase 'all that I can carry out of the store'. I have been told to use one medication and one alone. You made yourself look like jackass here...I feel sorry for anyone who has actually listened to you. I got GOOD advice from another source and Betta is doing well. So thanks for nothing other than wasting my time!
<Hello again. You didn't actually provide me with any information on the aquarium, so how was I to know you had a heater? Nor did you tell me anything useful about water quality or filtration. So again, I had to make a guess. My role here is to tell people what they need to hear, and often that means making best guesses based on prior experience. Most sick Bettas are sick because of poor housing and poor environmental conditions. The advice I gave to you would be accepted by just about every Betta expert in the world, and while there are some Bettas living in jam-jars, that isn't the best way to keep them, and most kept that way have short, miserable lives. If you make an effort to find out who I am, you'll quickly see that I'm someone who genuinely knows what he's talking about, which is why I write for all the major freshwater fishkeeping magazines. I'm not someone trying to sell you anything or who's basing their advice on 5 minutes of fishkeeping. I'm glad you've found someone else to get advice from, but good advice isn't always advice you want to hear, and sometimes good advice consists of hearing things you hadn't even considered. In any event, if you manage to keep your Betta healthy for 3-4 years in its present quarters, then yes, that would be a success, and your alternative source of advice may be a good one. But for now, I'm pretty confident in my knowledge of how to keep Bettas happy and healthy, and I'm sure I'll still be here at WWM for a while to come, helping people to the best of my abilities. Good luck and good-bye. Cheers, Neale.>

Help with my little Betta, Buddy 11/6/11
Hello experts of fish! I have just found your site and have been diligently searching it for answers to what is going on with my Betta (Buddy), but have only found bits and pieces in posts but nothing that sounds quite right for his situation. I am hoping you might be able to provide some guidance, please and thanks.
<Ok and welcome>
So, I've had my Betta for about a year and he initially started off in a 1/2 gallon bowl, but then I began reading about Bettas and felt it was cruel and set him up in a 3 gallon tank with a filter and a little heater around February. I have always fed him 4-5 little Hikari Betta bites per day with no problems and he always gobbled like a little pig.
<I'd definitely expand on this diet. Please read here:
I kept his water clean with a vacuum of about 1/3 his water per week and keep a plastic jug of water treated with water conditioner.
He then turned into the happiest little guy and seemed to love life; at least, until a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that his fin seemed to be a bit smaller, was looking a little tatty and less vibrant, and had a slightly whitish edge.
After doing some research, I thought it could be fin rot so I transferred him to a smaller bowl so that I could do more frequent water changes and monitor him a bit better (in hindsight, perhaps a bad idea but I was thinking it was like a little "hospital" bowl). I stated giving him small doses of aquarium salt according to the package and checked all his bowl water parameters (except that my strips do not test for ammonia, which seems problematic). He didn't seem to be getting better and then he became progressively worse. At first, he seemed to be having a hard time breathing and his fins were gaping at an alarming rate. He also was quickly swimming to the surface to the point that I thought he may propel out, at which point I covered his bowl a bit to prevent that (but obviously left room for air to circulate).
<Something is wrong here... water quality wise... or perhaps your Betta has "eaten a bug" of some sort that has found its way into the system>
At this point, he has a very hard time swimming to the top and once he does swim to the top for air or food, he immediately sinks back down, and pretty rapidly. His breathing is labored and his gills seem to slowly open and close. His bowl water is between 78 and 80 degrees and I am trying to do water changes every other day or so with a turkey baster while trying not to disrupt him. I have a little silk plant and a leaf hammock near the surface, where he often sits so that he can reach the top of the water to breathe more easily. I noticed that there did not seem to be "poo" in the water and I was afraid of swim bladder,
<... there really is no such thing>
so I fed him some pea bits for a few days, which he readily ate, but still no poo. He was trying to eat and would swim to the top when he saw me for more than several days, but all of these actions have become more difficult in the last couple of days. For the past 2 days he was really trying to swim up and eat, but he did not appear to be able to stay at the surface for long and would fall back down, therefore missing most of the food. I called two fish stores I frequent to ask for advice, as I did not want to dose him with anything without knowing what may be wrong with him in order to avoid stress.
<Ahh, very good>
They wanted me to bring him in but I really was afraid of stressing him out so I have been checking the internet ad nauseam to see if I can find an explanation of all of his symptoms, which I have not. Additionally, under his head and now more around his head as well has been turning whitish/silverish, which seems concerning. He was always a vibrant blue/purple and now he is a very dull color. Honestly, and I know this is terrible, but I go to bed every night thinking he will pass, but things have been getting progressively worse for the past 2 weeks and it seems like he is fighting, which makes me feel even more terrible because I have not been able to improve his life. I am afraid that he is really suffering and I really want to put a stop to it if it is necessary, although that makes me cringe. I know that I have to do what is best for him. Any advice on next steps would be appreciated. Thanks so much!
<In such circumstances (not knowing what the actual root cause/s might be), my reaction is to default to wholesale change of the environment... Keep the filter media wet, but either dump all else, or bleach, rinse, treat for chlorine... and start again. Some might advise you to add a modicum of Epsom Salt as well. Please do relate your further observations, experiences here. Bob Fenner
Re: Help with my little Betta, Buddy 11/10/11
Hi again Bob. Thank you so much for your suggestions and your help. I have been worrying about Buddy every day and, being a student, this is really adding to my stress. So, to clarify, he is not in his tank anymore and it has been unassembled (you had suggested a thorough cleaning of his tank). He is actually in a Pyrex like glass "bowl," although it is square and shallow. I moved him here about a week ago from the 1/2 gallon "hospital" bowl I put him in originally when I thought he had fin rot a little over a month ago. I made this move because he was really struggling to swim to the top of his 1/2 gallon bowl and was lying on his leaf hammock to be closer to the surface, although he was beginning to have a rough time getting up to the hammock. I have been doing 1/2 water changes every 2-3 days with the treated water that I keep in a plastic jug and I added just a bit of Epsom salt yesterday, as you suggested. His temp is staying around 78 degrees, as his bowl in on a heating pad. He is having even more difficulty swimming to the surface and I don't know if it is his fins or his floatation, but he really struggles to even go the short distance to the surface for air. His gills are not flapping rapidly as they were last week, but moving more lightly and slowly (I have no idea if this is a bad sign or not). When he sees me walk by sometimes, he does come up to say hi occasionally, with some effort, and he does try to eat if I offer him a bit of food. He may be able to eat a pellet and keep it down, though half the time he is not able to propel himself close enough or he spits it out after trying once or twice to get it down. At this point, I am only offering Betta bites because they float and I doubt he would be able to catch sinking food. He mostly lays on the bottom sideways at this point. Today, however, I offered him a bit of food and he ate it, so I offered him another piece, which he was not successful in getting. I walked away for a minute or so and walked back to check. At that point, I saw that he has a little blob of a dark red/brownish substance right beside his body. I was doing a water change at this point, so I siphoned the blob up and put it on a paper towel. It was not uneaten food, as the bites are pinkish when left uneaten. I smushed it with the paper towel and it easily smeared. It looked like it may have been a little mass of poop, but it sure seemed like a lot, and I was worried that it was something he may have coughed up, but I have no way of knowing that.
<Me neither>
He continues to seem worse with little improvement and I am really feeling guilty over the possibly suffering he is undergoing. He looks thin and, in addition to the loss of color under his head, he is starting to get some rusty splotches around his face.
<I see this, marks on the fins and exophthalmia in the one eye showing>
His fins are tattered and he just looks in very bad shape.
I am attaching a photo of poor Buddy so you can understand the extent of his appearance. He has been slowly getting worse for weeks, even over a month, and I am starting to wonder if he will not get any better. As horrible as euthanasia would be, at what point should I consider this?
<Consider? Yes; though I rarely "give up">
I would feel so guilty about doing that, but I feel even more guilty about the state he is in now. Thanks again, and I really appreciate any guidance you can offer.
(As a side note, I have a beautiful light red female Betta in her own 3 gallon heated and filtered tank who is doing wonderfully. As I was worried about ammonia, I bought the API Freshwater Master testing kit and her levels are perfect, which is a relief)
<Well... this could be a "genetic anomaly"... again, worth riding out, seeing if this fish/Buddy will improve. I urge patience. BobF>

Please I need some help! Betta sys... gen. care 9/19/11
Hi, my name is Yesica,
I'm only 15 years old and I really don't know much about beta
<By the way, it's "Betta", rhyming with "better", not "beater".>
fishes and how to carefully take care of them but I do just changing my betas fish water every week
<Needs more than water changes. Needs a 5 gallon aquarium, a heater, and a biological filter.>
but lately it has been about 1 week he has this lump. I'm worried because I've had this fish for about two years and I don't want it to die.
<Do need information on his environment. How big is his aquarium? What temperature is the heater set to? What sort of filter do you use?>
He eats normally and swims around sometimes. Or sometimes he just stays still like in this picture. I don't know if it's a sickness ? Also I keep him in a small tank not that big and not too small. I don't know if I should get a bigger tank for him or not ? But mainly what is this lump ? Is it too late ? Please respond as soon as possible thank you.
<Most Bettas are killed through poor care. Despite the advertising, they DO need an aquarium, they DO need a heater, and they DO need a filter. One of the things you're hopefully learning even at age 15 is that life is more difficult and complicated and expensive that advertisers and retailers suggest. At least when it comes to fishkeeping, that's why we're here. We don't sell anything, and all we're trying to do is help you keep your animals healthy. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Betta Fish 9/7/11
My Betta fish Gibsey lives alone in a fully cycled, 5.5 gallon aquarium which is equipped with a Marineland adjustable heater and a Tetra Whisper power filter. The aquarium has gravel, silk and plastic plants,
<Live, at least some, would be better>
and a small underwater castle for hiding/privacy. There are no other fish in the aquarium. Gibsey is 2 ½ years old.
<Mmm, past an average life time...>
I do partial water changes every week, removing about 25 percent of the water (6 quarts) and vacuuming the gravel. I use tap water treated with API Water Conditioner/Dechlorinator. Until yesterday, whenever I tested the water, it always tested '0' for ammonia and nitrites; the pH is 7.4. I use an API Master Test Kit to test the water.
Diet: I feed Gibsey 6 days a week. On Sunday/Monday/Wednesday/Friday, I give him 1 Omega One Betta Buffet Pellet in the morning and 2 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets in the evening. I soak the pellets in dechlorinated water for a few minutes before feeding. On Tuesday I feed him 2-3 tiny bits of Omega
One freeze-dried brine shrimp. On Thursday, I give him 2-3 Tetra freeze-dried blood worms. I fast him on Saturday.
In April I noticed a small white spot on Gibsey's dorsal fin.
<Almost assuredly resultant from a physical trauma... not pathogenic>
At first I did nothing, but when it started to get larger in late April/early May, I began doing twice-weekly water changes with aquarium salt. After a couple of weeks of twice-weekly water changes, the spot seemed better, and I went back to doing weekly water changes. Subsequently, the white spot became larger, covering about 1/4 to 1/3 of his fin. In mid June I started doing twice weekly water changes again, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I also boosted the temperature on his heater
to 80 degrees.
Medication: In early July, I did a cycle of Erythromycin (API), but it didn't seem to help. I waited a couple of weeks and then did two back-to-back cycles of Triple Sulfa (API). I removed the filter cartridge when I treated him. Towards the end of the second cycle of Triple Sulfa, the medication seemed to affect him badly. He wouldn't eat and spit out his food.
<... the medication>
He stayed in his 'underwater castle' most of the day. After the medicine was done, I did a partial water change as per the directions. He perked up a little and began eating again. It's been almost 3 weeks since we used the medicine. His dorsal fin is almost gone,
and the white spot has spread to his back. Gibsey still eats, but is spending most of his day hiding in his
underwater castle.
Water parameters: Yesterday, for the first time since his aquarium cycled nearly 2 years ago, the water tested '1' for nitrites.
<... 1 ppm? Toxic>
It '0' for ammonia and pH 7.4. We lost power for almost a week due to Hurricane Irene so his heater and filter ran only about 60 percent of the time. The water temperature fluctuated some, but never went below 76 degrees.
Condition: His dorsal fin is almost gone, and the white spot surrounding the fin continues to get larger. One other thing which may/may not be significant. Gibsey was formerly a beautiful dark blue color, but about a year ago his color started to change. He is now a reddish brown. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to help him?
<Unfortunately no; or not much. This Betta is quite old, has likely lost a good bit of its resistance/response...>
Although I've spent a good bit of time on your website as well as others, I'm still not sure what I should be treating him for - fungus, fin rot, a bacterial infection or some combination -- since neither the Erythromycin nor the Triple Sulfa seemed to work.
<They're counterproductive here... damage the microbial make up, including filtration of the system. More harm than beneficial>
If you do post my question on line, please send me a link where I can find your response.
Thank you in advance for your time. I appreciate any advice you can give me. Rozalia
<We have MANY responses to Betta health concerns archived on WWM...
the second tray down.
I spent years in the trade involved in their care... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Betta Fish 9/10/11

Thank you, Mr. Fenner, for your prompt response. I appreciate it.
<Certainly welcome Roz. B>

My Betta has red spots on his fins??? 8/11/11
My Betta Fred has been doing great; although yesterday I noticed he had red splotches on his fins. Now he has a fin with a chunk missing. He is in a 10 gallon tank with 3 other fish; a female Betta (Ethel), a Corydoras (Cory) and a zebra Botia (Boti).
<This last could be the source of the chunk missing... the red splotches
are likely natural color/marking expression. Common in Betta splendens>
He is high in activity and appetite. I am new to owning fish. I have added salt and Betta Fix. I do not know what else to do and would like to learn and try to prevent any further illness and\or discomfort.
<Oh; then read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above>
They have been in the tank for about a week.
<... is this system cycled?>
The water is clear; when do I need to change it?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and...>
I do have a tank vac, should I use it every time I clean the tank? Please get back to me. Thank you for your time.
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/9/11
Hello, first off I want to thank you for taking the time for my query. It means the world to me to be able to save my little Betta buddy.
<We are very glad to help>
Brief, history; my 5 year old received this red male veil tail from a birthday party and since it was given to us in a fish store bag, my first order of business was to get him a proper home. I meant to buy him a small Betta tank but then saw the 10 gallon larger tank and decided he deserved to have space to roam. Set up the 10 gallon at end of June with gravel substrate, fake plant decorations and two aerators which I keep low (on a gang valve) because I know Bettas don't like too much current. I also have a submersible 50 watt heater that stays preset at 78 degrees (I wish I had an adjustable heater but this one came with the tank). Also with the tank came a tetra whisper 10i filter.
<Good thus far>
I had my tank running for a few days before putting my Betta in and on the advice of the pet store where I bought my stuff, I added some bacteria supplement that would supposedly allow me to put the fish in right away. I had no clue about cycling a tank etc. so I followed this advice. Luckily, my Betta seemed very happy to be in his new, larger home and thinking he would be lonely, I added some neon tetras as I was told they could live with the Betta. Hmmm, not so sure now as they keep biting my Betta's tail!
<Mmm, not compatible>
So my regular maintenance schedule was to change water once a week (25%) and add dechlorinator and ammonia detoxifier per the pet store instructions. I always add some bacteria supplement with the water changes too - directly into the filter. About a week in, my Betta came down with Ich. I successfully treated (carbon out) for 8 days (3 days after the last spot) with Rid Ich.
<Raising temp. to the mid to upper 80's F. will usually do this for Bettas... Neons though, don't like such hot water>
Things were ok for a week or so after that when I started to get really cloudy water.
<Mmm, yes... the ingredients in the Kordon product very likely killed off your desirable and necessary bio-filter bacteria>
Nothing I did helped it and I was given water clarifier drops which didn't help. This went on for a couple of weeks and then my ammonia started spiking and water was getting a stinky sewer like smell. I take my water in to be tested a couple of times a week and in response to the ammonia spike, I was told to dose with Amquel Plus.
<Not really a solution>
I have since read this is not a good solution as it only masks the problem, not gets rid of it. Not able to keep the ammonia under control, I noticed the Betta starting to get fin rot. I let it alone at first but then didn't want it to get worse so I started treating (as per pet store again) with triple sulfa. I did the 4 dose course with water changes in between and then I noticed that my Betta had this gash on his face. It is not fuzzy or cottony or anything but looks more like an injury so I decided to go another round with triple sulfa. This is where disaster started happening. Overnight I lost 2 tetras and the Betta started to look sick, not swimming around much and hanging around the gravel all the time. I even caught him hanging vertically between the filter and the tank and that scared me thinking he was dead there. By this time, the water was reeking again and when I took in a sample, they said my ammonia was between 1-2 ppm!
The rest of the tank water however was so clean that they said it was like there weren't any fish in there. My ph is also quite low at about 6.2.
<Thank goodness. Ammonia presence coupled with elevated pH is VERY toxic>
I also noticed that the tetras that had died both had red gills and so did the ones that were still alive. No one was eating that day. They were not interested. I did a 30% water change and treated with ammonia detoxifier again to keep things from getting worse but I lost one more tetra. I now have two tetras and the Betta left. Oh, incidentally, just before this all happened, I was given Stress Zyme Plus to add live bacteria since I kept having ammonia problems.
<Mmm, there are far better products. Look up Dr. Tim's "One and Only" as the best... otherwise Microbe Lift's...>
A few days after adding that, my water went crystal clear again but still ammonia was high. I also don't overfeed. My Betta gets two pellets a day that he devours and the tetras were getting about two each of the teeny new life spectrum sinking pellets which the Betta also goes after normally.
<Don't feed anything if there is 1.0 or more free ammonia present>
So now we get to this past weekend and my Betta is not eating at all and at one point was lying on his side at the bottom of the tank barely able to go up for air. I didn't think he would make it through the night but miraculously, all three remaining fish were alive the next morning. In fact, the tetras ate their food and while the Betta didn't he seemed a bit more alert and stayed up properly rather than laying on his side. He also had better colour and was displaying his fins more. I also added some aquarium salt after the tetras dies but only about a teaspoon in the whole tank.
Yesterday, my Betta was even more alert moving along the gravel instead of just sitting there and last night he even flared at me once or twice. That said, he did do a weird thing and that was moving his mouth a few times and then threw up some white flaky stuff. I happened to see him do it. It was not food that he ate and spat out since at that point he had not eaten in two days. He also had some white poop stuck to his anus so I started suspecting parasites. There was also this white thing hanging from his gill but it wasn't long or stringy, more caviar shaped.
<Mmm... what is/are this/these? Flukes possibly>
Today, is the most active he has been in days and he came for his food for the first time in a few days too. He gobbled it but spat it out a few minutes later so while the little guy desperately wants to eat, I don't think he can hold it down.
Other than the things I mentioned, he doesn't have any outwardly signs of illness. He was breathing heavier as were the tetras the last few days and I checked him with a flashlight for shiny stuff and there is none.
I am really at a loss for what is wrong with him and what more to do for him.
<Most importantly, getting the system to cycle... Have your fish store give you some old filter media (best) or "mulm" vacuumed from gravel in one of their systems. Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
I don't want to poison him with med after med, but I also don't want to let something progress that will not get better without intervention. He is a true fighter this little guy. Despite how bad he looked a couple of days ago, today he was chasing the tetras again and able to swim a little more in the tank. Do you think he has some kind of internal parasite? I just want to make him better!!!
<I would not "treat" any more at this time... The environment NEEDS to be fixed first and foremost>
Thank you so much in advance for any insight you might have!!!
<Read, act, and please report back re your progress. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/9/11
Hello Bob, and thank you so much for your prompt reply. I suspected that the best course of action would be no action where it concerns treating the fish yet it is so hard to just sit and do nothing. Sigh... I know I have probably put just about everything in this tank at this point in an effort to fix one thing or another. Look where that got me, huh?
I will definitely follow your advice, especially as it pertains to reducing the ammonia in my tank. I just can't get a handle on that and it makes sense that all the meds given have done a number on the good bacteria in the tank.
From what I understood in the article you linked me to, it is better to change out just the water and not vacuum the gravel do get the ammonia down?
<This is so>
Also, should I still put in the Amquel?
<I would not, unless poisoning/burning from too-high ammonia is imminent.
You may well be forestalling the establishment of cycling through its use... Think about this>
What about aquarium salt? My pet store had recommended dosing with salt to help the fish but I am afraid that will mess with the ph, raising it and causing more disaster with the toxicity of the ammonia.
<Most aquarium salts don't affect pH whatsoever... see Wiki or such if you're curious... Am an olde chemistry and physics H.S. level instructor...
There are MANY types/kinds of salts... combinations of metals and non-metals... To get to a useful answer here though, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Hopefully, my fish will hang on through all this. He seems to be holding his own, although he swims with clamped fins. Unfortunately, I fed them this morning before reading your reply but it was very little and I am going to change the water now. I will avoid deep vacuuming, but will just try to get the bad (white poo flakes??) off the floor. Oh, and this morning, I noticed the tetras had some white things stuck to their fins - didn't look like Ich though.
<Might be just fine air-bubbles sticking to the propitious body mucus>
Last question, I promise - since my Betta seems to be pooping white, spitting up his food etc., will I be doing him a disservice by not treating him for the parasite problem if indeed that is what it is?
<Mmm, no. Much more likely "it" is just the environment... Not pathogenic... AND most fish med.s are quite toxic... more aquatic organisms are killed outright and indirectly by "treatment" than by biological diseases>
I know it is most important to get the water situation under control but not treating the Betta - would that not kill him eventually?
<No my friend>
Sorry for sounding ignorant, or un trusting. I most definitely value your advice. It is just the neurotic/hypochondriac in me that makes me worry!
<Worrying won't change the future, outcome of events... Calm yourself, arm yourself w/ knowledge, resolve, and keep moving forward>
You all do wonderful work here, and I thank you for that. If not for your help and most of all patience with people like me, our poor fish would undoubtedly suffer more than necessary!
I will keep you updated on my progress. Have a wonderful day!
<And you. BobF>
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/9/11

Good Evening Bob,
Just wanted to update on my Betta. This afternoon, I did a PWC and treated water only with a dechlorinator. I lost some of that sulphur smell that I had although it usually gets better after a PWC and then returns as the water stays in the tank. My Betta seemed happier immediately afterward and swam around quite a bit and even unclamped his fins more. That said, he is now hiding behind my big clam aerator. He never used to do this. He will just sit there. I almost couldn't find him and then when I probed the plants around there, he came out and he looks ok. Still a little heavy breathing but not as bad as before. I have read that it's normal for Betta's to like to hide but mine would always swim around a lot and generally be in sight.
Shortly after that, I went out and bought an API master test kit. I think it is better for me to be able to test my water rather than depending on going to the pet store every time.
<Yes; for sure, and as posted on WWM, in all my writings... Water samples change...>
Haven't had a chance to do it yet but will this evening when the kids go to bed. Will post results when I am done!
<Real good. BobF>
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/10/11
Hi again Bob, for the last time tonight... I hope :)
<AM now>
So, I went ahead and tested the tank water and lo and behold, my readings are as follows:
Ammonia - 0-ish I say this because the colour was pretty yellow but maybe not the exact colour of the swatch so I gave it a slight bit above 0, def. not toward .25 though. Hopefully I'll get better at reading those swatches in time.
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
PH - 6.8- 7.0
What I learned from the above is that my little suction cup Seachem ph reader is not that accurate.
<... this is also posted on WWM. Please learn to/use the search tool, indices>
It is showing PH of about 6.2 and it is only a couple of weeks old (supposed to last 3 months).
Needless to say though, I am left baffled because my water was reeking of sewer/sulfur smell for so long and even though now you can't smell it in the room, if you sniff near the water you still can smell it so how is it that the parameters are all so clean?
<Not that... you have measurable Ammonia>
I was expecting everything to be wacky!
In light of this, I decided to also test my untreated tap water to see what I am starting out with. I only tested for ammonia as I thought this is the most important factor and surprisingly, it showed ammonia between 0.25 - 0.5 Is that why I was having ammonia problems in the tank all along- because my source water has ammonia to begin with?
That said, up until seeking advice,
I would treat my new water going in with dechlorinator and ammonia detoxifier but I know that is only supposed to convert to ammonium so the problem would still be there essentially. Also, if my water parameters are so good, why are the fish still gasping or breathing heavy?
<Again... any ammonia presence is toxic; they're being poisoned>
The tetras while behaving pretty normally, still have their mouths going a mile a minute and red gills. The Betta while better than before, is also breathing where you can see his gills moving in and out but not red from what I can see. I'm most confused.
<Their packed cell volumes (hemocyte count mostly) is/has been greatly diminished by the NH3/NH4OH exposure... can't "carry" as much oxygen>
As a final note, when I was changing the water out, I raked through the gravel (because I read online that sometimes the sulfur smell can be from gas bubbles stuck in the substrate so I was trying to air it out) and tons of white flakes got lifted into the water. Normally when I gravel vac, I see brown bits which I assume is the poop and other waste but this time it was all white. Is all that sick Betta poop or could it be granules of triple sulfa left in the gravel from when I treated last week?
<More likely the latter>
I doubt it is the latter because I'm pretty sure that stuff dissolves within minutes of hitting the water. Incidentally, I noticed poop hanging from one of the tetras and it was the usual brown colour so no white there.
Alright, that is all for now. I'm sure it'll be morning before you see this.
Hopefully everyone will still be ok although I have to say, I am getting worried about the disappearing act the Betta has been doing today. Just before I wrote this email, I literally couldn't find him in the water for a good 15 minutes and I only have a 10 gallon tank. He seems to be going behind my clamshell aerator under the tubing and lodging himself somewhere.
He was so well hidden that he didn't come out when I nudged behind there (really gently) with my reacher tool. Was he buried in the rocks because I didn't see him even with my flashlight. I started to look on my floor fearing he had jumped out. As if my 4 kids are not enough, this fish is going to turn the last few strands of my hair grey! Seriously though, he never hid this deeply even when the tetras were nipping his fins all the time. He was always king of his castle and even when he was much sicker he was lying on the gravel in front of the tank in plain view. What's up with the vanishing act?
Sorry to drive you crazy. I just want him to be ok. Thank You and a very good night to you!
<You might try our bb for more and rapid input: http://wetwebmediaforum.com/
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/10/11
Good Morning Bob,
I know you haven't had a chance at my previous email yet, but I have discovered something that I wanted to share. Late last night after I had already written you, I went to inspect the fish again as the tetras still looked like they are struggling despite the fact that water looks good.
With my handy dandy flashlight, I did finally see the gold dusting on the tetras.
It's very difficult because they are so shiny themselves but their colour looked different to me so upon closer inspection I suspect they have velvet.
This also with the fact that one of them has the white spots on their fins.
Betta does not yet have any of that gold dust but upon reading up on velvet, many of the other symptoms match. I kept checking because the Betta is burrowing in the rocks and I see it sometimes bump into things and then fly away almost like he didn't see it there but I wonder if he is doing it purposely to try and scratch himself?
This morning I couldn't find him anywhere and he didn't come out when I turned the lights on so I went probing again to make sure he was alive and he eventually came out from way under the clam bubbler but then went promptly between the filter and tank wall right at the top vertically. Ugh, he's there again now. He did come out and swim around when I teased him with the food jar and he was looking pretty aggressive waiting for food. Chased the tetras some but then always goes back into hiding.
I know I am a very "nervous Nelly" but if indeed this is velvet, is there any course of action? Should I take the tetras out and put them in QT?
<Please see WWM re these Protozoan ailments. B>
Thanks so much for your ongoing help!
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/11/11

Thanks Bob, I have in the interim of our correspondences, also been doing heavy research online and on your site as well re all my tank issues, the velvet and treatment options. The reason I am unsure of what course of action to take is because of all the previous meds I had in the tank so I don't know if it is wise to treat with another med or not. I don't want to trust the lives of innocent creatures to trial and error in my inexperienced hands. Please don't think I am just asking questions and not doing any work myself. I have been doing nothing but reading for the last several days!
Just an interesting note, the Betta seems to have some scales missing here and there and with the way he has been burrowing under decorations and gravel, it seems to be the cause of this.
Will proceed now to read some more on WWM.
<And you, B>
Re: Betta is Ailing - running out of things to do! 8/11/11
Just a quick note,
As this morning one of my tetras looks pretty dire (losing a lot of colour and can't seem to stay horizontal properly as well as still gilling, I have QT'd both him and his buddy in a small critter keeper I have that I have clipped onto the inside of my tank so that they are submersed in tank water to keep the temp steady. The other tetra is better off than his friend but not by much. I am wondering if it is indeed velvet or Neon Tetra Disease as the fact that I lost 3 tetras in a couple of days and now this one losing his colour might sound like the latter. Not sure if I should attempt to treat the little QT tank with Rid Ich since it seems a last ditch effort.
<Will kill them>
Important thing is I wanted them out of the main tank so that any parasites would not find a host to cling to and hopefully die off.
The Betta is still in the large tank but doesn't seem so far to be affected by any parasites outwardly and the internal I am not sure about now either because he seems loads better. In fact, I was so worried about the way he was hanging behind the filter but I discovered this afternoon that he is back there, of all things, building a bubble nest!!! What do you think of them apples??? He also doesn't seem to be gilling anymore and I will test water again tonight to see if there are any changes in ammonia since it has been more than 24 hours since the water change yesterday. Does this sound like a plan?
<Fine. B>

beta death 8/4/11
Hello. My name is Jessica.
<Hello Jessica,>
I have had my beta
<Betta, pronounced "better"...>
Foo since December. I purchased him as a juvenile. I really cared for him and after many upgrades he ended up in a ten gallon tank with a few friends. This included a couple Cory cats, an African dwarf frog, and more recently, some tetra and a couple snails.
<Hmm'¦ on the whole Bettas are best kept alone. Tetras are schooling species, so you'd need at least 6 for them to do well. Some are known "nippers" and even the ones that don't need may stress Bettas through their constant activity. Frogs can work well with Bettas, but I don't recommend snails, specifically Apple or Mystery Snails, as these need much different conditions to Bettas.>
I clean the tank and dechlorinate the new water about every nine days and feed the fish about twice a day.
<Now, when you say "clean the tank" is that alongside providing filtration? It's very important to understand that changing water and biological filtration are solutions to two different problems. Doing a 25% water change every week or two helps reduce nitrate and minimise pH changes; the biological filter neutralises ammonia and nitrite. Fancy Bettas don't tolerate strong water currents, so you want a gentle filter here, with air-powered filters like sponges being particularly good. Filters need to be maintained, but that should be done carefully so the bacteria aren't killed. Typically, rinsing a sponge in a bucket of aquarium water or under a cool (but not cold) tap with water no hotter than the aquarium will do the trick nicely.>
One of my tetras died of unknown causes, he appeared healthy, and I didn't notice for a couple days, as the body was tucked away, although I am not entirely sure this is relevant.
<Yes, is probably very relevant. When random fish die from no obvious cause, environmental conditions are likely at fault.>
Foo has always been pretty laid back and I had to worry about the other fish picking on him. Last week, he got a tiny white dot on his mouth, which spread in big white blotches all over his face and body within twenty four hours. He refused to eat, which is strange because he's always been a big eater, and he refused to play and just sat on the bottom until he needed air. I thought it was mouth fungi, so I treated the tank with a fungi cure.
<Unfortunately, Mouth Fungus is a BACTERIAL infection, which is why many of us prefer to use another name for this disease, Columnaris, which comes from the bacteria responsible, Flexibacter columnare.>
About eighteen hours later, he was dead, but most of the fungi was gone from his body. There are no signs of the other fish being sick, but I continue to treat the tank just to be safe. His were not typical symptoms of mouth fungi, I thought. I have never heard of it being fatal. Maybe he had something that made him more susceptible to it. I looked into something called fur coat syndrome, but the white spread didn't look like a "fur coat" to me at all, although some of the other symptoms sound similar. He always was strange for a beta, being as mellow as he was, maybe he had a terminal illness. He is dead, but I need to know what went wrong. I hesitate greatly to get another beta until I know for sure. He deserved a longer life. If you believe you know the cause of death, please let me know. Thanks for reading.
<Do review aquarium conditions, including water quality and water chemistry, and also water temperature. As/when you decide to restock your 10 gallon tank, read here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: beta death 8/5/11

I will definitely take better care with the water conditions and research things on my own, rather than asking petstore employees, which was the cause of a lot of my mistakes. Thank you so much.
<Always glad to help. Please do consider joining the Wet Web Media forum.
Apart from being fun chatting with others, this is a GREAT way to learn from others' experiences, and to share your own experiences with them. Much of what we crew members know about fish comes from talking with others, and in a forum like this one, there are some very helpful moderators making
sure things are explained fair and square.
Good luck, Neale.>

Betta Fish- White Pearls... hlth., care 7/27/11
We have a new female Betta fish (we've only had her a little over two weeks). We feed her the Wardley Betta Food, about 4 little pellets a few times a day and I've changed her water once a week. Today when I fed her she raced to the top like usual and on her way up she 'pooped' out a large amount of white colored, pearl-like beads. The 'pearls' sunk to the bottom immediately. She looks a little bloated in her mid-section, but otherwise seems normal (as far as we know- like I said, we've only had her a short time). Could you please help us understand what these pearl-like beads are and is there anything to be concerned about?
Thank you.
<Might be parasite eggs, but could just as easily be undigested food, lumps of mucous from irritation of the gut, etc. So yes, siphon out these "pearls" on sight, and yes, keep an open mind to potential problems, but otherwise don't fuss too much. Most Bettas are killed by their owners through poor care -- not disease. Just to recap, Bettas MUST have a proper aquarium at least 4-5 gallons in size; they MUST have a heater set to 25 C/77 F (an angle-poise lamp doesn't count!); and they MUST have a filter in their aquarium capable of keeping ammonia and nitrite at zero. Bettas kept in bowls, jars, etc. usually die prematurely. Wait until September and you'll see we'll get a shed-load of e-mails from students who've bought Bettas to keep in college dorms, and those poor Bettas live in unheated, unfiltered jars and inevitably get sick. It's just about the most depressing part of volunteering here because I know how many of these Bettas will die miserable deaths! But as cartoonist Bill Watterson noted when writing about Calvin, "most ignorance is willful", and however often people like me try to explain what Bettas need, lots of people prefer to resist that lesson and carry on keeping them in jars until they die, at which point they go buy another. Sigh. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta Fish- White Pearls 7/28/11

Dear Neale,
Thank you so much for your quick response and helpful information. Your advice has calmed my fears. Our daughter read all summer and her reward was to bring home a new fish that she has been wanting for some time. I'd love to see "Goldie" live a nice, long life. We will do our best to follow your advice and give good care.
<Glad to help and good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Betta? Env. likely 7/19/11
Hi there, I have a beautiful blue male Betta named King Neptune. I have him in a large bowl, 2.5 gallons, and the water temperature stays around 74°.
<A little low>
I change his water twice a week
<How do you treat this new water? How do you assure this system is cycled in terms of "bio-geo-chemical nutrient cycling?">
and up until a few weeks ago he was healthy and looked great. Now, his tail fin seems to be getting shorter, but it is never flush, it always looks jagged or 3/4 flush and the bottom part is longer. He eats fine and looks fine otherwise. I thought that it was fin rot, so I have treated him with Melafix,
<... see WWM re this sham>
and his tail is still deteriorating. There aren't white ends on his fins and no redness. It is still long, and really lately hasn't looked like it was shortening, but the ends always look different. What could this be?
<Likely environmental stress... Toxic sanitizer remains from the change-out water, the lack of cycling/accumulation of toxic metabolites... the "fix">
I really want to fix the problem but can't figure out what it is! I would really appreciate any help or advice you could offer, I don't like seeing him like this. I don't know if he is in pain, but I imagine that he is if his tail looks like that! Thank you so much! Lena
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BetDisEnvF.htm
and the linked (blue) files where you lead yourself... And soon! Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Betta? 7/19/11

Hi there, thanks so much for your help! I have always heard of Bettas in bowls, but I will get him a nice filtered tank.
<Please search, read as we request before writing us>
I do have a question about keeping him in a tank though. If the tank is filtered, do I need to do water changes? Would I change all or only part of the water? Also, how often would I do this? Thanks again, Lena
<Yes, yes and posted. B>

Betta Fish Tumor 6/20/11
Hello Crew! I am an employee at the LFS and there is a poor gentleman that I have been attempting to help with a problem he has been experiencing with a Betta fish I sold him. I assumed it was a fungal infection after he described it to me, but nothing seems to be helping treatment wise. The Betta currently resides in an Aqueon Minibow 1 gal aquarium with a small heater which is given multiple 50% water changes weekly. I pasted a picture of the fish he sent to me below, and I am wondering if it could be some kind of tumor?
Forgive me if the picture doesn't show up I am sending this from a hospital computer and I can't attach any files for some reason. He recently brought the fish into the store to show me, and the growth doesn't seem very "cottony", just a white protrusion that has grown significantly. The fish is not exhibiting any signs of stress oddly enough, and has been eating well and behaving normally. Unfortunately in this case but fortunately in others, I do not have very much experience in disease treatment because of a significant amount of luck, quarantine, and excellent water quality in my tanks at home. My employer only permits the isolation of diseased fish to see if they pull through and little else is done except the occasional salt bath. Thank you very much for your time!
<Mmm, you should both read here:
Really optimizing the environment and nutrition are the only practical steps to urging this fish back to health.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta Fish Tumor 6/21/11
From what I can tell by communicating with him he is doing everything right besides tank size, though he seems to be doing frequent water changes.
Unfortunately not being my tank I can't obsessively monitor tank parameters like I would like to ha ha. :) Thank you very much for your time, knowing this gentleman I'm quite sure he will do whatever is necessary to insure the betas health. I'll pass on the Betta info page to him.
<Thank you for your efforts, BobF>

Didn't know if you guys and gals got this haha! Betta hlth. 6/16/11
<Was sent directly to the Junk email folder by our software... Likely from the title>
I wasn't sure if this e mail had gone through so forgive me if it has and I'm being rude haha!
Hello Crew! I am an employee at the LFS and there is a poor gentleman that I have been attempting to help with a problem he has been experiencing with a Betta fish I sold him. I assumed it was a fungal infection after he described it to me, but nothing seems to be helping treatment wise. The Betta currently resides in an Aqueon Minibow 1 gal aquarium with a small heater which is given multiple 50% water changes weekly. I pasted a picture of the fish he sent to me below, and I am wondering if it could be some kind of tumor? Forgive me if the picture doesn't show up I am sending this from a hospital computer and I can't attach any files for some reason. He recently brought the fish into the store to show me, and the growth doesn't seem very "cottony", just a white protrusion that has grown significantly. The fish is not exhibiting any signs of stress oddly enough, and has been eating well and behaving normally. Unfortunately in this case but fortunately in others, I do not have very much experience in disease treatment because of a significant amount of luck, quarantine, and excellent water quality in my tanks at home. My employer only permits the isolation of diseased fish to see if they pull through and little else is done except the occasional salt bath. Thank you very much for your time!
<Mmm, can't open these. Please re-send as attachments, and with a different subject/title. Bob Fenner>

Betta, lumps on fins, and pH. 6/14/11
I have a new Betta recently purchased.
He lives in my already established, planted, 10 gal tank.
Tank mates are 4 Amano shrimp, 2 cherry red shrimp, 1 zebra Nerite snail, and a healthy Ramshorn snail population.
pH: 6.5
ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are all at 0.
Temp is 78 degrees.
Recently I noticed clumping, or small lumps on his tail and two rear/side fins. It is isolated and near the end of the fins. The other parts of his fins look healthy and flowy. He is eating fine, very active, not scratching against rocks etc. I have not noticed any other symptoms in other words.
Would this seem to be early signs of illness, or perhaps due to some other cause?
<Hard to say w/o a well-resolved image/photo, but I'd shy on the conservative side here and state this is most likely marks in fin spines from physical injury. No need to treat; will heal on its own in time (weeks)>
I searched online and read that clumping fins can be a symptom of both Ich and velvet. Even though I didn't see any other symptoms, I treated the fish with Aquarisol
<Too toxic. Don't use this>
for three days in a 1.5 gal. basin heated to 85 degrees. The clumping has not changed and I have now put him back in his tank.
Also, my tapwater is from a well and is very alkaline (more than 8.5). I use a pH down product to bring the pH to 6.5.
<Ahh, could be a source of trouble... I'd just mix in some Reverse Osmosis cleaned water with some (20-30%) of your tap>
I do not have the kit to test hardness, and my small town lfs does not test hardness either. If the water is very hard will that cause problems for my fish?
<It could. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhardness.htm
and the linked files above>
Extra info: I use the following products in my tank:
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
<Do write back after reading if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

Siamese fighting fish 6-10-11
hi don't know if you can help my Siamese fighting fish as developed a large bubble, all its underneath as swollen up can you help, its been like this for 2 days now thank you.
<Hello Lisa. Do you mean the Betta has become swollen around its abdomen, like it's constipated, or that there's a bubble-like swelling in or under its skin? In the meantime, do please read here:
Most sick Bettas are killed by their owners through neglect. Bettas need an aquarium (preferably 5+ gallons), a heater, and a filter. If you don't have those three things, then you've likely caused the problem through environmental stress. Bettas can't live in bowls, they can't live without a biological filter, and they can't be kept in a tank without a proper aquarium heater. Cheers, Neale.>

New Betta, odd blackness 6/8/11
Hello. I recently purchased a beautiful red Betta along with 5 Pristella tetras as tank mates. I currently have a 10 gallon tank with 3 small live plants, a small log with fake flowers and another fake plant. The filter is a Marineland Penguin 100, which is a little overkill for my size of tank.
The ph level is around 8.2
<Mmm, too high for the Tetras>
which led me to acclimate the fish very slowly, the temp is right around 84 (its quite hot in the summer here) and the ammonia level is 0 ppm. I am worried about the Betta, he seems to like to hide underneath the filter area and rarely seems to move from that spot, unless its to swim along the bottom back of the tank.
<Mmm, well, this is about all most Bettas do; with time/training they become a bit more outgoing>
He seems to have an odd blackness to the end of his fins and seems to have an almost beard from where his gills are. I tried holding up a mirror to the tank to get him to react, but all he did was look at it. I'm feeding him Betta pellets and have gotten him a little treat wheel, but unless the food comes to him, he doesn't seem to be very interested.
<I might try a bit of small frozen/defrosted meaty food of some sort>
I have only had him for a couple days
<Oh! Well then, not to worry... These fish do take a few days to weeks to settle in>
and am worried if this is typical behavior, or if there is an underlying problem that I need to treat for. I thank you for your time.
Angela Donaldson
<Just patience here. Bob Fenner>

bet fish... Reading 3/24/11
My Betta fish (he is appr 1 y/o), suddenly is listless, with swollen gills, however one is much better.
His scales are somewhat raised and he has not eaten in 5 days.
He seems to feel better with a 10 min salt dip. Please let me know if you have any ideas to help him.
<What re the system? Water quality tests? Foods, feeding... Read here:
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

What's killing my Bettas? 1/19/11
I just set up a new 3G tank for a Betta, cycled it and installed a fish. It seemed fine the first day, then very lethargic and died on day 2. I checked for Ammonia and got a very sight trace, < 0.25PPM. I'm guessing my tank did a mini-cycle when I added the fish (and 2 shrimp, no other tankmates) I thought there was something wrong with the fish, did a 50% water change and got a new one -- which seemed uncomfortable when put into the tank and was dead the next morning ...
It's a brand-new 3G 'Picotope' tank, rinsed and filled with dechlorinated water and cycled. Small filter (no-name, came with tank), lighting unit (came with tank). I added a heater -- initially a Marineland 10W which didn't keep the water very warm; after my first fish died, I replaced it with a 25W Top Fin adjustable, which holds the temperature at 80F. This didn't help the second fish. Gravel is 'Estes',
<Mmm, I've found that some of this company's substrates are not chemically inert...>
bought from a reputable aquarium store and lightly rinsed. I have a piece of Mopani wood,
<Nor this; but it should have changed the water's properties to better if anything>
soaked for 2 days. Plants are Ambulia and Anubias, replanted from my main tank....also some Christmas Moss, bought online, attached to the Mopani wood.
<All good>
The only clue I have is that there was some foam on the water at the filter outlet.
<Possibly a clue... or reaction>
I attributed this to Seachem (Flourish & Excel) that I added (a few drops only) for the plants. But I'm wondering if there's something that got into the water.....
<I do think so also>
I've rinsed out the gravel again (it's been soaking overnight, as has the wood and plants). I've rinsed out the tank and filter and am going to start cycling the tank again.
Do y'all have ideas about what happened and how to stop it from happening again?
<I do not; however, I do know how I would proceed. Let all run as is for another couple weeks, try another Betta... but be ready to move it elsewhere if it should appear mal-affected by this system. I suspect that "whatever" the source of apparent toxicity is, it is self-repairing here.
Bob Fenner>
Re: What's killing my Bettas? 1/20/11

OK, thanks Bob! I'll take your advice.
<Real good. Please report back your observations. BobF>

Lump on Betta 1/15/11
I have read several posts regarding cysts, tumors, cancer, etc. and to be quite honest, I feel a little overwhelmed and more confused than I did when I started researching. I truly don't know what this lump qualifies as on my Betta. It did happen overnight, appears to be getting larger, very slowly however, and the appetite and behaviour have not changed at all. I'm trying to prevent it from getting bad enough that her appetite or behaviour do change. Here is some information:
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your Betta fish live with? None
What type of food do you feed your Betta fish? Aqueon Natural Betta Food How often do you feed your Betta fish? three pellets twice daily
How often do you perform a water change? bi-weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
All of it minus the little bit that she is transferred into-we use this to make her acclimation easier and its proven to work well.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
After letting the water sit for about 24 hours, we add Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus.
*Water Parameters:*
Have you tested your water? No *Symptoms and Treatment*
How has your Betta fish's appearance changed? **I've included a picture* strange lumps developed on her tail and dorsal fins. They seem to be getting larger. They were the same color as her scales at first, but as they grow, they get whiter.
How has your Betta fish's behavior changed?
It hasn't--this is why we're confused. She still eats and moves well.
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Shortly after we treated her with Maracyn Two for a stomach parasite.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? 2 years
Your time and patience are much appreciated,
Bethany and Dustin
<Hello Bethany. This does indeed appear to be a benign cyst of some sort.
They are not uncommon on Bettas, likely a combination of genetic factors (inbreeding to produce fish with bright colours) makes them more prone to such things. In the wild heavy metals and a few other pollutants have been identified as causative agents as well, but how these relate to aquarium conditions remains unclear. In any event, these things happen, and while unsightly, provided the tumours don't get in the way, they don't seem to cause any real harm. There aren't any cures as such, though sometimes these cysts clear up by themselves. Just as with humans, most tumours are benign, but sometimes they're not, and these can cause what we'd refer to as cancer. Because Bettas rarely live for more than 4 years in captivity, and most only half that long, cancer as such isn't a common cause of mortality.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Lump on Betta 1/16/11
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. I'm sure that you are barraged with questions so it is much appreciated. Take great care of yourself and have a wonderful day!
<Yes, Bethany, we are busy -- but we're also happy to help! Cheers, Neale.>

URGENT - bloated Betta takes turn for the worse 1/8/11
<Hello Marie>
I have a red male Betta splendens. I've had him for a year coming this February. He was rather big and making big bubble nests when I got him so I am feeling he's at least 2 years old now. His name is Popcorn and he lives in a 4 Litre fish bowl. There is no filter or bubbler but I do weekly or fortnightly water changes (80%) and condition the water. There is no heater because he lives in Far North Queensland (Australia) and the temperature in his room at night averages 25 degrees and during the day averages 30 degrees. I feed him Betta Bio-Gold by Hikari. How much I feed him varies on how hungry he is. When I first got him he had around 4- 6 pellets twice a day, but now he has around 2, sometimes 1 or sometime he does not want to eat for a day.
Also, over the time I have had him, I noticed he would have a few weeks of eagerly eating his food and a lot of it, and then he would have periods where he would eat only 1 pellet a day and even go five days or so without food. At the pet store I bought him from, they recommended I purchase only the Hikari food since this was what they were feeding them. They also recommended that I stick to only this food since they are picky eaters. Since the directions on the packaging stated to 'feed 2 -4 pellets 2-3 times daily' I thought what I was feeding him was ok'¦it still amounted to a maximum of 12 per day, as on the pack. During the week before he stopped eating, however, he would only consume 1 pellet in the morning each day. He ate 2 pellets on the 29th of December and he hasn't eaten since.
Anyway, I noticed that on the 30st of December, he acted strange in his swimming pattern, and by the 1st of January he was finding it a little difficult to stay completely upright. Some times he seemed to struggle to swim and other times he would dart through the water. But when he remained still, he would tend to lop his back end sideways a little and not always stay upright as normal. However, he appeared alert and swam up to the food when I went to give him some on New Years Day. Yet, he didn't manage to actually eat any, though he tried. His fins were extended nicely and would get aggressive if I disturbed him and blow bubbles, as normal. He would swim around and often rest at the top of the tank near a plastic plant, as normal, but something abnormal is that he seemed to be using the plant as support. Thus, the fact that he was not balancing himself as well as usual was not like him and was worrying me. At one point he was even holding himself almost vertical with his nose in the air!
He also appeared to have a slightly bloated belly -- just behind his gills but only clearly identifiable from a side viewing. His scales around his belly were also slightly risen, however not at a 90 degree angle like dropsy and no pine coning. They did appear to be sticking out and paler than the rest of his body however. I haven't been able to examine his feaces because I have never found any.
Now, by the 8th of January, he seems to be showing all the same signs as described above. His belly is still swollen and the scales still slightly risen. He still looks a tad bit more dull than normal (usually he has blue flecks in the red on his body but the blue isn't as bright as normal). The main factor that has significantly changed is his swimming pattern. He is now even more clumsy that New Years Day. At times he may swim in a straight line, rather well, but 70% of the time he will swim on his side at the surface. He also has a hard time turning around. As I watched him, he even spent some time completely upside down.
<A very bad sign>
He is still continuing to use the plant as support, which is why I haven't taken in out. Some of the time, as I approach, he may float over to me. Since he hasn't eaten in 9 days, I try to give him a bit of a blanched pea with the skin removed and feeding it to him on the end of a sterile toothpick or even a pellet or a dried bloodworm. He'll just swim right past it. He used to try to eat it a week ago, but now he doesn't even do that.
Yesterday he poked at the pea, moving his mouth as if to eat it, but I didn't see him actually take a bite. I did another water change yesterday (50%) and lowered the level so he doesn't have to use too much energy to get air, but he still won't eat. Like I said, I've tried dried blood worms and his Hikari pellets but he won't eat anything. How do you force feed a fish?!?!?!?!
<Very difficult to do w/ Bettas due to their small mouths>
I was hoping you could help me diagnose whether he has swim bladder disease, constipation, dropsy or something else and what I should do.
<There is>
At the very beginning, I thought it was dropsy since he is both bloated and his scales are slightly sticking up. But after more and more research, and getting the advice of my Mum, who has kept many tropical fish in her lifetime, I came to the conclusion the it was just bloating and his scales had moved outwards due to his belly being larger than normal. It makes sense, though I admit I did not come across it while researching swim bladder disease. I believe that his swimming pattern has dramatically changed due to his bloating pressing on his swim bladder. The problem is, he doesn't look 'so very bloated that he could surly burst' like some pictures I've seen. He looks moderately bloated -- as big as a pea. But it is severely affecting him. Since the bloat was not visible from above and there was no 'pine coning', which gave me more of a reason to cancel out dropsy. Nonetheless, I am unsure as to whether the cause is bacterial, or just constipation or something else. Since it hasn't gone down and he still wont eat after 9 days, I would be less inclined to think it be constipation. Or is this conclusion incorrect? Could it be bacterial?
<Small possibility... but not likely as a/the direct cause... i.e. secondary>
If so, what should I do? I need an honest opinion. I don't want to start medication unless if is necessary as it can do more harm than good, so I've read.
<Often the case>
The pet store said that I should give him a salt bath for 2 minutes. She said not to use Epsom salt as this has a 50% chance of harming him.
<I disagree>
Instead she recommended hermit crab salt and about a pinch in 500ml of water. I did this this morning. At first he remained floating on his side at the surface. Then he started to move around and touch the bottom of the container and come back up. Currently in his tank he is at the surface on his side and sometimes upside down. He is trying to swim around so he is either staying in one place next to the plant or swimming around the perimeter of the tank. Just now, I thought he was suck in the foliage, so I gently moved it to one side. But I must have frightened him because he jumped'¦'¦.I suppose he's showing energy and alertness?
Also: My Mum has a large goldfish bowl and after doing a water change (2 weeks ago now) 2 of them died a week or so later. I did a water change of Popcorn the same day. Though we use water ager, I fear that perhaps something in the water may have triggered this.
I did an entire water change immediately when realising this may be the cause.
UPDATE: it's been a few hours since I wrote the above. 3 hours ago I did another salt bath and at the same time I cleaned out his bowl and pebbles with hot water. I then cooled it to normal and added 3 litres of conditioned water (room temperature). When I added him, he just seemed to go downhill. Slowly he's been finding it hard to stay at the surface and his head is falling into the pebbles. He's trying so hard to swim up but he just can't make it. I have also noticed that one of his eyes was looking larger than normal -- I wasn't sure if I was just picking at things that weren't important. But no, now it is larger than the other and I believe it to be Popeye.
<This is a symptom... not a "disease" per se... i.e. not a cause>
He's not blowing bubbles now either. My goodness. My poor innocent little Popcorn. It was for this reason that I cleaned his tank with hot water and started fresh. I thought it may be bacterial since his eye AND the bloating is all happening at once. Could that be true? Did my cleaning his tank make things worse? He's not looking good at all. I love him so much.
Please tell me what you think it is, the cause, and what I can do? I would really appreciate your efforts. Thank you.
<I would add Epsom Salt per the directions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re URGENT! Betta Problem! Please Reply! 1/22/11

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, my poor Popcorn passed on the day you sent the reply. I have been very sad about it all. Do you think it was constipation or bacterial or dropsy or due to the water? Or do you think he was old.
<Impossible for me to tell from the data presented>
On last Monday the 17th of January, my mother and little brother secretly purchased me another male Betta to make me happy. His name is Cupcake and he is light blue with bits of red in his tail. He is lovely. I set up a different tank for him. It is 12 litres and has a bubbler but no filter.
<Mmm, I would definitely get/use one. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm>
It has no heater either since I live in the Far North of Australia, as I mentioned before.
<And this too... "just in case"... Small thermal changes (a degree C.) are not a problem, but one can never tell, and small volumes of water exhibit little thermal mass: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BettaHtgF.htm
The water has been conditioned.
<But how has this system been cycled?>
Also note that after I has set up the tank and left it for 10 minutes, I rinsed the bag Cupcake was in and placed it in the tank for 5 minutes. I then poured him and the water in his bag into the tank. I didn't pour some tank water into his bag and wait a while because I didn't do this for Popcorn and he was ok with it. I know some other enthusiast who also don't do this when introducing their fish. But could not adding the water into his bag have made things more stressful?
<Possibly... but, even Betta's require that their systems be cycled somehow>
The first thing I noticed with him was that he was nothing like Popcorn. He would keep to the bottom of the tank and he has not attempted to make a bubble nest. He would sometimes rise to get air and then return to the bottom. But when he would return, I noticed he sort of drifted down rather than swam down.
Because he was a gift, I was not prepared, so I had not set up the tank prior to getting him home. When I brought him home however, I prepared his home with the bubbler. Two days later I added the gravel since the shops are rather far from where I live. I washed the gravel with water and rinsed it with filtered water and added it. It has made the water slightly cloudy, however.
I have only been feeding sparingly since I am frightened of overfeeding him. 2 pellets on the 17th, 1 pellet on the 18th and 1 on the 19th. Then I noticed he looked bloated so I stopped feeding him. Today is the third day he has gone without food and the swelling has gone down. Nevertheless, I put him 2 pellets today and he didn't touch them. I've also noticed that although he's slightly more active than before, he is having more trouble swimming. Sometimes when he tries swimming straight, he spins, his tummy turning upwards to his right. I've seen him do this about twice today. He tries to swim straight but spins once, twice, even three times in a line moving forwards as he does. Then at other times he swims normally. Once I also saw him darting around the tank but it only lasted a couple seconds. He is also breathing heavily with his gills moving in and out rapidly (but not flaring). He has been doing this since before I put him in his tank, however, and while he was still in the bag.
I am so stressed out over this, it feels like history repeating itself. I don't understand why this is happening. I've tried researching but there is quite a lot of mixed advice and you never know what to trust. I am wondering whether it may be stress related or does he have something else? Why has the bloating gone down but his swimming gotten worse? I haven't yet done a water change since it has only been 5 days and I don't wish to stress him out further.
I would very much appreciate a quick but detailed reply if you can spare just a moment your time. Right now, I am just trying not to disturb him. What do you think it could be and what should I do?
<Read where you've been referred to... and write back if you have specific concerns, questions>
Could it be the water, as I mentioned before?
<Yes... environmental issues are paramount, overwhelmingly the cause of Betta, all captive aquatic life>
<And you, BobF>

Betta Bloated 12/9/10
Our Betta has been bloated like this for a little over a month. This is a filtered and heated 5 gallon aquarium. It is not a new set up. I do weekly water changes. I have been testing the water weekly and it is always the same. Nitrates are 0. Ph is 6.5-7. I use tap water treated with Tetra Aquasafe for the water changes. I also use Aqueon Betta Water Renewal. I have tried the salt
<Which, what type/s of salt? Epsom?>
and the pea trick. Nothing seems to work. He has been fine and swimming around, until this week. Now he is still swimming around, but not as much and he is hanging back in his plants more. Is there anything
else I can do for him?
<Yes, Epsom Salt, see here:
and exclusive feeding of laxative-like foods: Artemia/Brine Shrimp, Daphnia/Water Fleas, live, frozen-defrosted, even dried>
Do you think he is going to die.
<Not necessarily, no>
He is our work fish, and we have had him for only about 2 maybe 3 months.
Thank You,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta Bloated 12/9/10
Yes, Epsom salt with the weekly water changes. Should I do more?
<Yes... double the dose>
I have only been feeding him twice weekly, on Mondays and Fridays. I have been giving him freeze dried river shrimp
<? Don't know what this is. Try the Artemia. Widely available>
(that is left over from the last fish). Will that work as a more laxative food?
<Don't know.>
<Oh, and do read here as well:
IF this is considered (at this point/juncture) a likely bacterial infection/involvement, it may well pay to dose the system with an antibiotic. BobF>

Becky...Sick Betta 12/3/10
Hello, this is my first time writing in. I have been reading your articles since setting up my aquarium some 2 plus years ago. I have a Betta named Cherry who has been healthy and living happily in my 30 gallon planted aquarium since I got her 2 years ago.
Currently her entire throat area is swollen and I have no clue as to why.
<Perhaps a goiter... Fishes get/develop them too... for the same "reasons" as humans. Generally (lack of) nutrition, iodine, vitamins>
She does not have any cotton growths or other skin issues other than her scales look stretched from being so swollen. Last week I took her out of the 30 gallon tank and put her in a 1-1/2 gallon tank to medicate her with Jungles "Fungus Clear"
<Of no use here>
because it claimed to treat both fungal and bacterial issues. It has been 7 days though and there is no change in her condition either for the better or for the worse so I placed her back in her home tank to make her more comfortable.
She is now hanging out at the top of the water in the corner and seems to be gulping air every few minutes. The gill space between her head and neck also seems to be open from the swelling. Cherry has such a great personality and I'd love to save her if I can. Is there anything you can think of that I can do to help her?
<Yes. Go here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
insert the two words: Betta goiter
and read the cached views>
Nothing has changed in her environment in months and the tank gets a 33% water change every week along with a vacuum. I add a teaspoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons and have kept up this routine for the last 2 years with very little fish issues. I just don't know what went wrong with her. I have 13 other fish in the 30 Gallon with her ( 4 neon's, 4 guppies, 3 Danios, and 2 glass catfish ) but they all appear healthy.
Thank You for your time and I await your response so I can hopefully do something other than what I've done to help her.
Becky and Cherry
<Hopefully this is not "just age" but something that will resolve easily and quickly with supplementation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Becky...Sick Betta 12/3/10

Hello, Cherry's mom again. I went to your web site and I really don't think goiter is the issue because after putting her back in her 30 Gal. non-medicated tank, she became even more sick.
All night she hung out in the corner of the tank listless and when I woke this morning she was laying sideways on a plant and she was struggling to get to the top for air. I immediately mixed up another batch of Jungles "Fungus Clear" and placed her back in the 1-1/2 Gal. tank and she appears to be far more comfortable. I know you don't think the medication is of any use, but she really does appear to be doing better when in it.
In the medicated water she is hanging out on top of her log house and then swims to the top for air every few minutes. She is significantly swollen though. It starts in the throat area, but it continues all the way down under her chest. The swelling is more on the right side than the left, but the left is swollen too.
Imagine taking an almond and inserting it under her skin, that's how swollen she is. It really looks like some type of infection.
As for supplements, I forgot to mention that she stopped eating days ago.
Her diet the last two years consisted of flakes, freeze dried blood worms, squished peas, zucchini and I toss in an algae flake 1-2 times a week cause many of the fish enjoy them. She pretty much just enjoyed the blood worms though. I guess that's about it. Thanks for your feedback. If you can think of anything else then I'll keep trying to make her better.
<Mmm, when in doubt, you have time, do read through the Betta content here:
the second tray down. Perhaps there is "something" we're not noticing...
Re: Becky...Sick Betta 12/3/10
Dear Bob F. I spent half the night reading Betta Diseases and Health, Numbers 1-24 while I waited for a response to my first email. The whole reason I wrote to you was because I was hoping you could give me a possible solution to Cherry's swelling based on her symptoms.
<I am sorry, but I cannot>
Instead I got, go to this web site and read all that I've written to others about their Betta problems and figure it out for you have time.
Well, there was not time to read and read and read for she just now passed away. I could've and have read these articles countless times on my own.
I've seen others give great advice and solutions. Well, It is what it is.
<I am also sorry for your loss, and the ending of this Betta's life. BobF>

My Bloated Betta 11/2/10
Hi, I have a Betta splendens -not really sure of its age, I've had it for about 3 months and I bought it off a buy/sell website. He (Otis) is quite big about 6.5cm (2 1/2 inches) excluding finnage. It lives with A medium - large apple snail and 7 small Ramshorns and 1 (very happy) Kuhli Loach in a 25 Litre tank. The tank has a filter, heater that sits at 28C (80F?) 2 small plastic plants, a rock, a little ceramic pot and a bit of a terracotta pot for them to hide in. Also, I'm using sand substrate. I do a partial water change once a week where I vacuum the sand and then add more warm water later. I feed him flakes but lately I've been feeding him about twice a week for the past four weeks. (Hope that was enough info) I've been noticing that he was becoming bigger, and I thought he might be getting fat from over-eating. So I gave him a "blanched" pea and fasted him for 1 day. I did this every week. I also randomly fed him axolotl fry and once or twice about 30 daphnia. So after a while (about a week ago) he has been getting more and more bloated. This morning I checked him and he was fine, a few hours later it looks as though he has had some sort of hernia or something. Its a long white thing (looks just like poo) though it has little knots and one big bubble that's pressing against his anus. I can't tell if its just sitting at his bum or if its split. He doesn't seem at all uncomfortable in fact he seems much cheerier than he did yesterday! I don't know what to do. I'm a bit worried. I've looked at other sites and of course I Googled it.. Do you have any idea what's going on? I' love to hear back from you.
<Hello! It's very difficult to be sure precisely what's going on here. 25 litres/6 gallons is ample for a Betta. I personally wouldn't keep a Kuhli Loach in a tank this small -- they're sociable, and three specimens in 38 litres/10 gallons is more humane. Cherry Shrimps make better companions. But the Loach isn't the reason this fish is sick. From the description of the anus of this Betta, it does sound like a prolapse, and that's not uncommon among Bettas. The causes are variable, but a combination of insufficient fibre in its diet, lack of exercise, and opportunistic bacterial infection is likely to blame. Certainly, stop feeding until the fish looks better. Use Epsom salt at one level teaspoon per five gallons to reduce swelling and as a laxative, helping blockages to pass. Do read here:
Once the Betta is better, pay particular attention to dietary issues and offer a varied diet in small portions, perhaps skipping a day once a week. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

questions4sickBetta -- 10/28/10
I have been on Betta websites, including WetWebMedia, all morning (I am an adult with many other responsibilities so I will have to bother you to please answer my questions).
<We're all adults here, Janis, and doubtless we all have responsibilities. But sure, I'll try to help.>
I was trying to figure out how to treat my Betta.
<Providing a healthy environment is always the first step, and you're not doing that.>
I am a new, (naïve) Betta owner
<Easily fixed. Many, many books on tropical fish out there, plus plenty to read here at WWM by folk who aren't selling you anything but do want your pet animals to thrive. Start here:
that is obviously insecure about my care for Betta. I purchased Betta 3 months ago at the pet store . My Crown tail male has developed a whitish/brownish (finish-looking) something hanging on its bottom/underneath (below its head) between the first fins.
<Could be any number of things, but my guess would be Finrot, treatable via antibiotics. Fungal infections are also common in these types of situations.>
I have been on very low budget. Is there anything inexpensive I can do other than buy antibiotics?
<The thing with budgetary issues is they're irrelevant to animal welfare. If you don't have much money, don't keep a pet. I'd love to have a dog, but I simply don't have the disposable funds to keep the kind of dog I'd want to buy and the food and healthcare it needs to stay healthy. So despite wanting a dog, I'm sticking with fish, which on the whole don't cost much.>
I keep Betta in about 6 cups of water with no filter or anything.
<Dismal; this is why your fish is sick and why you're killing him. Let's not beat about the bush here. I could candy coat this and say the pet shop mislead you, but you and I both know that's evading responsibility. If I want something, I have to read about it first. There's no excuse at all for not knowing what Bettas need. You and I both know this. Sure, pet shops will sell you Bettas and little plastic bowls to put them in, but they'll also sell me heart-attack inducing quantities of fatty foods and enough liquor to addle my brain. Common sense is essential.>
I feed him 3-4 Topfin Color Enhancing Betta Bits twice daily. I change his water approx once a week and put Betta water conditioner in it at that time. Am I doing anything wrong or can do better?
<You're doing almost everything wrong, and yes, you could do better.>
Also, I am a squeamish when changing his water. He is in a fluted bowl so catching him with a strainer net has not worked. I start pouring the old water out then end up just pouring him into a temp container that has some of the new water in it while I put new water in his regular container. Is there a better way to change him and his water?
<Water changes are relatively easy. A filtered, heated aquarium needs about 20-25% water changed per week, and providing that new water is luke-warm at most, and has water conditioner added, there's little risk of exposing the fish to extreme changes.>
I started using a paper towel to try to get the hard water spots off his glass container left from water evaporation (in the desert) when I change the water but it does not work well. What can I do to prevent these hard water stains?
<Limescale; lemon juice and vinegar both work well, though obviously you don't want them getting into the aquarium itself.>
Any & all suggestions welcomed.
<You need the following: an aquarium at least 5 gallons in size, a suitable heater to keep the water temperature steady at 25-30 C/77-86 F, and an air-powered sponge or box filter. If you're not prepared to buy these things, then let's not kid ourselves about how long this Betta will "live" before you finally kill it. Consider calling your local aquarium club, either for access to inexpensive, used hardware, or to find someone able to rehome this animal properly. As things stand, you're killing it by inches.>
I guess I get the answer directly in my email verses the website.
<Normally we do both.>
<I hope you don't think I'm being excessively mean to you Janis, and that's not my intention at all. I'm merely trying to make it crystal clear to you that the problems here are self-induced ones, and the solutions involve nothing more complicated that providing the right conditions in the first place: a proper aquarium, a heater (yes, I know you live somewhere warm, but not as hot as Southeast Asia) and an air-powered filter. Bettas need consistently warm, clean water with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, plus the warm, humid air above their tank that a properly aquarium contains because of its hood. Dry air is lethal to Bettas because they gulp air periodically. Yes, I know breeders keep Bettas in jars but these are experts with heated fish rooms and a willingness to do far more daily work than you'd ever accept. Plus, they know what a sick fish looks like, and you don't, and because they're breeders, a 10 or 20% mortality rate isn't a big deal because they're working with hundreds of Bettas. So get the idea of Bettas in jars out of your head. I'm sure you've watched those TV shows about vets and animal rescue people finding pet dogs and cats that people has grossly mistreated? The fish equivalent is the Betta or Goldfish in a bowl, and my reaction here is much the same as yours is, I'm sure, when you see a starved dog that's never been let out of the basement. Okay, I know this is harsh, but honestly, I really do want to help and I genuinely care about you and your pet fish. I want you to enjoy the hobby, which is why I'm spending all this time explaining what you need to do. But the next steps are up to you. Cheers, Neale.>
re: questions4sickBetta (hmm, not everybody loves us; oh well...)
<Hello again Janis,>
I don't have a dog for the same reason as you. You brag about how you "care" spent so much time you spent EXPLAINING things to me. Abusers put the blame on others and excuse their behavior. You spent a lot of unnecessary time REPEATEDLY degrading me instead of just spending time giving me the knowledge/information I requested. I got the point the first time.
<Unfortunately, not everyone does. Forgive me if I upset you, that wasn't my intention at all. But I do want to drive home how important it is for all animals, even fish, to receive good care. Too often people approach pet fish with a whole different attitude to what they'd have when keeping cats or dogs.>
I have a Marketing degree not a fish degree. I don't have to be told several times, let alone repeatedly being berated. I could go into more detail but I won't. You degraded me because I was given the wrong information which does not mean I evaded responsibility. HELLO...those are 2 different things!I have other things to do than spend hours on fish websites like you. I thought I was given the correct info in the first place. (How do I know you are giving me enough information either?)
<The point is that you would buy a book before getting a dog. You'd talk to other dog owners. You'd generally understand their needs beforehand. If buying a pedigree dog, a good breeder would probably interview *you* to make sure you understood the needs of that particular breed. When it comes to fish, none of these things seems to happen, and the result is that we get -- daily -- messages from people just like you who suddenly find themselves with a sick fish. Sometimes it's something as easy to look after as a Betta, but other times something more complex like a Shark. Either way, the issue is that their lack of research created the problem; the animal was perfectly healthy when they bough it. I'd love to visit these people's homes and help fix their tanks personally. But that's not an option. So the best I can do is try to tell them they're doing things wrong, link them to some helpful articles, and let them fix their own problems.>
I am seeking info now because obviously what I was previously told was wrong and I did not know it. GET THE PICTURE? YOU ARE WRONG! And to put things in your own words, I won't sugar coat it, will make it crystal clear, YES, you ARE being EXCESSIVELY MEAN.
<I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm not your camp counsellor.>
Let's count how many times you berated and referred to me killing my pet. If I don't know what a sick fish looks like then why do you think I emailed you...to just get someone to email me (not to mention berate me)? You really need to learn communication skills if you are going to be emailing the general public. I WILL NEVER BE ON YOUR WEBSITE AGAIN. I can't believe you think I am stupid enough to have anything to do with you further.
<Remind yourself that you didn't pay me a penny, and I'm a volunteer here taking time out of my life to help you. If you don't like that deal you're welcome to avail yourself of your retailer or your veterinary surgeon -- though those guys will either want to sell you something or be paid for their time.>
Although I can't imagine it, I suspect that if you are fortunate to have anyone special in your life, that you are an abuser.
<Clearly you know nothing about me at all, and all you've managed to do is make yourself look foolish.>
I assume you will put this response on your website, ha. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ME FURTHER! It is a wonder you haven't been sued.
<Why would I get sued? Nothing I've said was actually wrong, and it *was* your lack of research that caused your pet animal to get sick. If you don't like reality, then there's nothing much I can do about that.>
<You're free to vent your anger at me, and frankly, I couldn't care less. I get lots of positive feedback here, and the occasional rant like this one adds spice to the day. But why not instead get angry with the retailer for misleading you, or at yourself for not doing enough research before buying a pet animal? Besides, if you are going to buy a 5 gallon aquarium, a heater, and an air-powered filter, then my work here is done. Your Betta will thank me, even if you won't, and that's a deal I'm happy to take. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: lethargic Betta -- 10/20/10
Thank you very much for you advice. My Betta is doing much better, however, his gills are still very red. I have been doing the water changes as you suggested (about 25% each time). I have also been using a water conditioner and cleaning the tank regularly. The Betta has been very energetic for the last couple of weeks now and has even made a bubble nest.
Other than the gills, he seems to be just fine. Is there anything you suggest for helping his gills heal? What would cause them to still be so red and sore?
<Hello Jenna. I'm glad your Betta is better! As for the gills, it's hard to say what the deal is there. Do start by checking that your Betta doesn't have deformed gill covers -- some do -- perhaps with the gill covers being too small to cover the gills or curled outwards. Also check you aren't confusing the gill membrane that sits behind the gill cover with the gill cover itself. On some Bettas these membranes are over-long. Gills are naturally bright red because they're filled with oxygenated blood, and if you look at healthy gills, they can look alarmingly red, as if they're inflamed. They're not; it's quite normal for them to be very bright, almost cherry red. With all this said, the biggest factor in fish health is environment, so we come down to the basics: a 5+ gallon tank, an air-powered biological filter, and a heater that keeps the tank between
25-30 C/77-86 F. Any departures from that list of equipment will reduce your chances of keeping your Betta healthy. Smaller tanks are widely sold for Bettas, often a gallon or two in size, but these kill as many Bettas as they keep, and I wouldn't ever recommend them. Likewise bowls and jars aren't acceptable unless you're a breeder who knows precisely how to maintain the required water conditions. On which point, again check you're keeping ammonia and nitrite at zero, and that water chemistry is steady
between water changes. All these things matter. The irony is that many Betta keepers spend huge amounts of money on medications because they're too cheap to stump up for a decent-sized aquarium, heater and filter on the day they buy their Betta. Cheers, Neale.>

weird Betta fin problem 9/30/10
<Hi there>
My daughter got a Betta from Santa this last Christmas and his name is Seal. I take care of him and she feeds him Hikari Betta gold pellets twice a day, about five pebbles at a feeding. Seal currently lives in a ten
gallon aquarium with gravel, and ceramic skulls. He has a submersible water heater that is already set to 79 degrees.
<Is this system filtered?>
I have had Bettas before and they have lived two years and longer. I am taking care of her Betta the
same way. Well anyway, Seal is a happy fish until recently. He is acting normal and all of his fins are beautiful except the problem with his fins right behind his head (pectoral fins I think is what they are called?).
His fin on his right side head looks like there is a fine spider web effect and the blue has disappeared that was originally there like the fin is slowly dissolving and disappearing and the left fin isn't all that bad but is
starting to show some of the same signs. This isn't affecting his other fins though.
We just recently changed out his filter in his aquarium when we noticed his fins, he is eating normal and is energetic but swims more to the left because of his fin on the right side. I want to put some aquarium salt
into his tank but am unsure what amount to use due to fact that the only other time that I used it was when son had a goldfish in his other tank.
<Salt may do some good. Please read here:
but there are other, better medications/treatments for Finrot. Please read here re:
If it were to be the beginning of fin rot, do you think it would be ok to put him in one gallon bowl while treating Seal?
<I would not. I would treat this fish where it is>
I have been using AquaSafe with each change/addition of water to his tank and been checking ammonia levels with some quick dip sticks. Last read out said ammonia was .25
<Mmm, needs to be zero. This is very likely a contributing cause here>
and I am in process of taking care of bringing it
down to zero. The filter that I use is in tank whisper filter.
<Good units...>
I just don't know what to do about the fins. Like I said earlier, all the other fins are fine with no holes, tatters, or any signs of problems.
Do you think I should put some medicine in for fin rot?
<I'd fix the water quality first. Read here:
and the linked files above, till you understand your options>
We are on a tight budget right now but I don't know what to do about his fins. My daughter is very attached to her Seal and I don't want to see her hurt if he dies, but I am stumped at what to do right now.
Please help us
Thank you
<Cut back on feeding, do the reading, and write me/us if you have further questions, concerns.
Bob Fenner>

Betta Fish has "hole" in its side 7/27/10
It's not any of the fungal things I can find online, and I really want to help my fish! I did leave the old water for too long, but he seemed very energetic and healthy until I recently changed it. He has what looks like a hole in his side. See attached pictures, please help.
Thank you,
<Jason, we need more information than this. How big is the aquarium? Five gallons is the minimum for a Betta. Do you have a heater and a filter? Lack of both will cause health problems. Any tankmates? Bettas are best kept alone. Is there anything spiky or jagged in the filter? There shouldn't be.
Physical damage plus poor environmental conditions can cause ulcers of this type, and they usually require antibiotics or antibacterials to heal, assuming the Betta is maintained in warm, clean conditions. When you write back, be sure to send images no larger than 500 KB each. We do specifically ask for this where you got our address. You send to 4.5 MB images!!! These clog up our e-mail account, causing other people to have their messages bounced back. That's not cool. So please, help us to help you. Send smaller images, and more information. Cheers, Neale.>

frustration with sick Bettas 7/19/10
Dear Crew,
I have had a great deal of frustration over the past year with sick and dying Bettas. My planted 6 gallon tank had one Betta and 2 Amano shrimp for a year. The shrimp outlived two Bettas, which is odd since if had been water quality issues, the shrimp would have been the first to go since they are more sensitive.
<Depends on the "qualities" we're referring to>
Over the whole year, my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels have always and consistently been 0. I fed the Bettas,
freeze-dried Hikari daphnia, Tubifex worms, Spirulina brine shrimp, bloodworms on a rotating schedule every-other day, and added some trace vitamins once a week for good measure. I did weekly partial water changes using Seachem Neutralizer and Equalizer with a little bit of baking soda (we have very soft and acidic water) to bring the Ph to about 7.5 and to have some buffers to the water. Still, my Bettas all got Finrot and died.
<They are in heated, filtered systems?>
So after the shrimp passed away from old age, I let the tank run empty for 3 months hoping that any parasites would have gone by then. I just last week restocked the tank with only one Betta. Now this week, the Betta is
swimming sideways and has some Finrot on his tail. The levels are again ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at 0. The temperature is always at 80 (we have a heater in the tank to keep the temperature constant). I did a partial water change 3 days ago. What on earth am I doing wrong? How do I help my Betta? ------- Frustrated.
<Mmm, well... admittedly commercial Betta splendens aren't what they used to be... in other words, the initial state (lack of) health of your Bettas could be a factor... but there is likely something else... Perhaps as simple as a decor item (rock for instance), or placement (e.g. near a kitty litter pan) that is poisoning them. Please do take the long read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BetDisEnvF.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Perhaps having someone from a local shop/fish store come by, examine your system, its maintenance will disclose the source of trouble here. Bob Fenner>
Re: frustration with sick Bettas 7/26/10

Thank you very much for your reply, I will look into the possibilities you suggested. For now the fish recovered after Furan treatment, and I'm monitoring closely. This week I'll see if I can at least get my water tested, don't think there is anyone who would come by.
Thanks again,
<Better by far for you to purchase, use your own test kits... cheaper than gas, driving about... and water qualities change w/ time... See WWM re B>

My Betta's skin -- 7/7/10
Hi my name is Collin and I have had my Crowntail Betta, Shadow, for about a year and a half. Lately, his skin has started to acquire black spots. More and more come every month. He lives in a 1.5 gallon tank, alone, with an
air pump filter, and a heater during the winter because I live in a warm environment and his water usually stays between 79 and 81 degrees. I change his water about every 2 weeks to a month. I have looked on your site, but
did not see anything like this. Please give me some advice.(If you cannot access the picture email me back please) Thanks, Collin
<Hello Collin. Nope, couldn't see the picture at all. Do please send a JPEG or a GIF, at an image size of no more than 500 KB. What you sent was called "VIDEO_TS.BUP" and while that's obviously some type of movie, it's not much use to me at all. In any case, black spots on fish can often be down to ammonia burns, so that's what I'd be looking at. Ammonia accumulates in tanks without filters, or where the filters are improperly maintained. The
fact your aquarium is far too small is making things worse. Bettas need at least 5 gallons -- they're fish, not cut flowers -- and maintenance in jars like the one you have simply isn't humane. Upgrade the tank, and install a
heater if necessary -- "usually" at 80 degrees F doesn't mean much if it gets much colder at night when you aren't looking at the thermometer. Make sure the filter works properly and is properly configured. You don't need
carbon in the filter, but you do need healthy biological media. That media should be gently rinsed in a bucket of aquarium water every couple of weeks, but certainly not rinsed under a tap or replaced with completely new
material. The bottom line is that when people [a] don't keep their Bettas in 5+ gallon tanks; [b] don't install a heater to keep them constantly warm; and [c] don't properly filter the water, their Bettas get sick. Any further discussion about a sick Betta is largely pointless without first making sure you're providing the right environment. That you've kept this chap alive for 1.5 years is good, and it suggests that you're basically getting everything right. But as fish get older their immune system weakens, and slight problems can end up causing more serious healthcare issues, as may be the case here. Cheers, Neale.>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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