Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 17

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

Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, Betta Disease 14, Betta Disease 15, Betta Disease 16, Betta Disease 17, Betta Disease 18, Betta Disease 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21 Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 28, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,
Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta, Possible Fungal Infection - 02/08/2007 I looked around the site, and I admit that I may have not looked hard enough or that I may not know the correct terminology, however, I couldn't find a solution to my problem. <Jorie here - I'll try to help!> My Betta, Kappa, has been with me for a little under a year. He began his life with me in a gallon sized tank, and over the summer got to move into a larger two-and-a-half gallon tank. The gallon sized tank had an undergravel filter, while the new tank has a larger whisper filter. <An excellent upgrade - I'm sure Kappa is very happy in his new, more-spacious quarters!> Onto my fish. Kappa has been doing very well lately. I change his water at least once weekly - usually twice - and his tail and fins were growing back after a bout with tail/fin rot (due to me not being around for a week and a half and leaving his care up to my roommates). <Yep - tail/fin rot is almost always caused by poor water quality. Sounds like you are on top of that, though, and you are keeping his "home" very clean...> His tank water is conditioned with API Stress Coat, as well as a small amount of Doc Wellfish's Aquarium Salt. <Sounds good.> Yesterday and today, Kappa has been looking less than ideal. He barely moves, preferring to stay at the bottom of the tank, and when he *does* move he swims to the top of the tank and then returns back down. He swims sideways. He looks as though he is having trouble breathing, taking in great big breaths of water. <Would you describe this behavior as "yawning"? If so, when was the last time you changed the water? Or, alternatively, I'm wondering if something toxic could have found its way into the tank. What you are describing can often be caused by pollutants in the water...first thing I'd suggest is changing the water, and changing the filter media.> I haven't seen him eat. His colour has darkened and dulled, and it looks like he has a white coating on and around his tail. <I've looked at your attached pictures, and I don't see any obvious signs of fungus, but that's what you are verbally describing here. With regard to not eating, Bettas can go up to a week without food; clearly, though, your fish isn't feeling well at the moment...> There has been no change in his tank aside from the day long stay of an angelfish, who is showing no signs of disease. We moved Sakura into her own tank after Kappa attacked her. <Good idea.  A 2.5 gal. tank is far too small for an angelfish, even by herself...> I have just cleaned Kappa's tank (a 50% water change and a new filter without carbon in it) and I have added API Melafix to his water. The temperature is at 80F and has been staying at that level. <These are all the things I would have suggested...> Is there anything else I can do or is my poor Kappa headed on his way out? <Even though I can't see it, these are all signs of a fungal infection.  Since the water condition seems good, I'd suggest treating your Betta with something like Jungle Fungus Eliminator, as per the instructions.  With regard to Kappa not eating, what do you usually feed him? If you haven't already tried, frozen, then thawed bloodworms and Mysis shrimp are a favorite of my Bettas.  If the days keep crawling on and Kappa still doesn't eat, you may have to resort to live black worms or bloodworms, but I'd save that for a last resort...> Thanks a million. 'Chelle <Hope I've helped.  Sounds like you are taking very good care of Kappa, and with your attention to details, we've hopefully isolated the problem soon enough so that it can be fairly easily rectified. Best of luck, Jorie> PS - the pictures I have attached are of Kappa - the first one is him before all of this, and the following ones are what he looks like now.
Betta, Possible Fungal Infection - II - 02/09/2007
Thank you for that advice and I will keep it in mind for my future fish.  Unfortunately, Kappa passed away last night. <I'm sorry to hear that.> After cleaning out his tank completely, and replacing the filter cartridge, I bought a new Betta. His name is Sigma. He's a beautiful Betta, dark in colour, however he seems to have some strange light-coloured spots on him that I don't recall being there when I bought him. Could those be from stress? <Many times Bettas don't show their true colors in the little cups they are kept in in most fish stores - it could be that he was stressed before, and now that he's got some room to swim, he's adjusting and happy. Just keep a close eye on him - that's the best suggestion I can give you.> Thank you for all of your help, and I apologize for bothering you. <'Tis not a bother - I truly love helping our little Betta friends out there.  One question for you - is Sigma's tank heated? If I recall correctly, you did mention that the temperature was around 80 degrees, which is ideal for a Betta, but it is important that the temperature doesn't fluctuate during the night (or any other time).  If you don't have a heater, I'd recommend getting a submersible 25watt for the 2.5 gal. tank you have - otherwise, your Betta setup is quite nice, and Sigma should be very happy! Good luck, Jorie>

Betta with eye problem 1/31/08 Hi Crew I have a beautiful Betta who last night developed a film over his one eye. I have read through the questions and answers on your site and see that many people have Betta's with Popeye but I'm not sure if this is what mine has. <Pop-eye is specifically where one or both eyes sticks out further from the head than normal. It's caused by swelling inside the skull that's pushing the eyeball outwards. It is very obvious. If the eye is simply cloudy, then that's more likely an infection of the skin over the eye, for which a Finrot remedy would be appropriate. There are certain flukes that infect the eyes of fish, but they're pretty uncommon.> The film is not transparent - its murky - can only just still see his eye beneath it and the film seems to have got more bulgy over the last 24 hours. <Hmm... does sound like an opportunistic infection. Most usually caused by poor water quality and/or mechanical damage (e.g., rough handling).> He is eating fine but spends most of his time just below the water level with his bad eye up against the side of the container. Please help me diagnose and treat. I love my Betta and don't want him to die. <Good.> Regards Debbie <Cheers, Neale.>

Ich or velvet? Betta dis., no useful data  - 1/24/08 I have a Betta that I purchased from PetSmart for about two weeks now. His name is Pluto. Last Friday I noticed that he has several orange spots on his back. <I see these> Then white spots gradually spread across his body. The white spots are smaller than the orange ones on his back. Now he has developed a large white spot on one of his gills. Today, I treated him for Ich even though I am not very sure what it is. <What for treatment?> Pluto is eating well and still poofing up and attacking his reflection in the aquarium. He also has what appears to be a stringy orange thing on one of his bottom fins. He is still very active, but he darts around his 2 gallon tank spastically. <Is there a heater present? Need to elevate temp.> He also is rubbing up against the filter that sucks the water in. He positions himself so that his fins are being sucked to it. He also seems to be yawning quite a bit. Should I treat him with a parasite medicine as well? What does it look like he has to you? <Ich... but could be something else> The spots seem too big to be Ich but not all of the spots are orange so I'm not convinced that it's velvet either. I have attached three photo's of Pluto. The first one shows the dangly thing on his belly, the second shows the all over spots, and the third shows the one large spot on one of his gills. Thank you so much!!! ALM <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm re Betta Disease, Ich... Bob Fenner>

Fish Bump? 1/15/08 Good Afternoon- <Hmm... it's 21:20 here in England, so more a "good evening" kind of thing really. But hail and well met, anyway.> About a month ago in early December I emailed you about a problem I was having with my Betta fish and puffer fish who weren't cooperating: now that problem is solved (the puffer was returned), but my Betta has a big bump on the side of its body- I have no idea what it is and I'm hoping maybe you can help me. I've attached some pictures, I hope they helps. <Looks as if it's overfed, to be honest. Or possibly constipated. If the fish is otherwise happy and healthy, i.e., swimming about and eating, then switch to a high-fibre diet of things like live Daphnia and brine shrimp. Feed sparingly. See if the weight goes down. If there's no improvement in, say, a week, get back in touch.> Thank you so much, -Elizabeth <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fish Bump? Betta dis. f'   2/2/08 Hello- I contacted you a couple weeks ago about my Betta fish having a weird bump on its side, and I've been feeding it brine shrimp flakes and trying to switch its diet up, but it is still there, and I think it may even be getting bigger...might it be a tumor? Thanks, -Elizabeth <Could be. I'm not sure "brine shrimp flakes" are really all that laxative though. The idea of a laxative food is that it isn't processed, so that the bulk is there to give the intestines something to push. If you process something into a flake, I can't see how that's a good thing in this situation. It's live brine shrimp, and even better, live daphnia, you want. Moreover, if your fish enthusiastically chases these live foods, that's a very positive sign. But if it just sits there looking glum, that's not so good. In any case, how old is this Betta? While they can live for several years, wild fish are basically annuals, and anything over a year in a home aquarium is doing well given that male Bettas are something like 3-6 months old by the time you buy them (any younger and they don't have their full fins yet). Bettas are also pretty inbred and mass-produced, so when you buy one, you're not really getting much of a long-term investment. Worse still, conditions in the standard issue Betta jar are pretty poor, and the fish get little exercise and nothing like optimal water quality. Cheers, Neale.>

Help with my Betta  1/14/08 Dear Crew, I have a Betta for a about 3 months in an established tank of 6 months old. Water Parameters Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 15 Ppm Water Temp - 78F <All seems fine. How big is the tank? What sort of filtration? Any other fishes in the tank?> From last 2 days he would want to eat his pellets but he would spit them out immediately. I was thinking its some kind of a parasite/bacterial infection. Checked his body for any visible signs like any spots or extra body growth. He seems to be fine. <Hmm... do try another type of food. Feeding any fish a single sort of food all the time isn't a good idea. Live foods are usually the best things to please a jaded palate. Try live Daphnia or mosquito larvae -- these are adored by most Bettas! If you can't get those, frozen (not freeze-dried) bloodworms worm well.> I am thinking of treating him with some medications but I am totally lost as he hasn't exhibited any known illness. <Don't treat a fish until you know the disease. Randomly using medications is dangerous.> I also did a 30% water change and added some aquarium salt but nothing had seemed to improved. <How much water to you change per week? In a very small aquarium (less than 40 l/10 gal) a 50% water change per week is essential. There's no need to use salt in a freshwater tank; Bettas do not come from brackish water. Instead, concentrate on water quality and water chemistry. You say nothing about hardness or pH. Big, regular water changes ameliorate the natural acidification of aquaria over time.> Pls advise, how do I save my little one. Best Regards, Vamsi <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Betta with body bloat  1/10/08 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Nicole> We have a beautiful crown tail Betta. My husband promised to keep up on the maintenance, but did not follow through to my expectations and now our dear Steve Johnson (named by our 4 year old) has body bloat and is hiding under his rocks. He lives in a 4 gallon tank by himself. I'm going to get a heater in the morning as well as a more diversified diet. <Mmm, yes... this improvement will likely "do it"> I recently cleaned his tank and while he was jarred during cleaning I put 1/8 tsp of Epsom salts in the jar. He seemed to liven up but he's still bloated. <Raise the temperature to a steady mid- 80's F...> I've been putting Epsom salts in his tank. Can I also put the sea salt in or do the two contraindicate one another? <Just one will do fine here> How often and how much water changing is needed for a 4 gal tank? <Some, like a quarter to half, once per week> Can I continue to add Epsom salts daily until his bloating subsides? <A two week use will do about all the good it can> I really enjoyed your article. Any help would be much appreciated. Nicole <The heater... nutritious food... Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta with body bloat 1/12/2008 Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you so much for your quick response. <Welcome Nicole> I've heated and changed Steve Johnson's water and he's stopped hiding and spends more time at the top of his tank, but now it seems he's leaning on his decorative plastic plants and rocks. <Will take a while to recover completely... a few weeks> When I got home from work this evening, he was on his side resting near the top between two leaves. I thought he was dead, but then he saw or sensed me and flitted away. He'll often "drift" to his right before he leans over to rest on something. Also, his left fin works, but when he's drifting it kind of folds back toward his body. <No worries> He doesn't seem to have a buoyancy problem, so I don't think it's his swim bladder, he had that once recently, but recovered nicely. This drifting and leaning is strange. He's still bloated, though I didn't expect an over night recovery. <Good> As for his diet change, I tried a flake with blood worms, krill, squid liver etc and some vitamin called Nutrafin Max Betta Food by Hagen. He didn't seem interested. He'd much rather eat his Hikari Betta Gold pellets. <This is an excellent product. Completely nutritious> I read about and tried peas, but the pieces of thawed frozen ones just sunk to the bottom and didn't interest him. I read someone gives his Betta the broccoli tops. I would imagine that the fresh "flowers" of the broccoli would float better and look more like the pellets. Would that be beneficial? <I would stick with the Hikari product> Thanks again for your knowledge and help. Nicole <Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta with body bloat -- 1/18/08 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Nicole> Thank you for all your help. Steve Johnson, while still a bit bloated, is doing much better. Thank you so much. Nicole <Thank you for this update. BobF>

Re: Betta with body bloat, & euthanization f'  - 1/24/08 Hello again Mr. Fenner, I'm worried about Steve Johnson. His eyes seem "vacant", his color is not great, and he is still spending the majority of his time leaning on his plants at the top of the tank. Tonight, when he didn't have a plant to support him, he kept leaning so much so that he almost went belly up before he gulped some air and righted himself. He did this a couple times before he found a plant to lean on. Last night he sat at the bottom of the tank for quite a while. Is he still trying to recover or is he dying? Thanks again, Nicole <Just keep doing what Bob suggested, only time will tell whether he will get better. Optimise water quality, do lots of water changes, keep him nice and warm (especially the air above the tank), and hope for the best. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat - 1/24/08 He's definitely dying. He's got a pop eye now and can't keep himself from floating. Thanks for all the help. Nicole <Too bad. If so, please use a painless destruction technique to prevent further suffering. It's not nice to watch a fish die by inches, especially if the only reason we don't destroy the animal quickly is because we're "squeamish". See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat - 1/24/08 Thank you for the compassionate advice, I did not know there was such a way to do this for them. I'll get the clove oil and ease his suffering if he's not gone already by the time I get home. Nicole <Hello Nicole. Destroying a pet is never pleasant, but being able to end an animal's suffering is simply one of the most important aspects of being a pet keeper. Clove oil does the job well and apparently painlessly. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat, & euthanization f'   1/25/08 After reading all accounts to humanely euthanize poor Steve Johnson. I decided to go the Clove oil/Vodka two step process outlined on wisegeek.com. I went to Whole Foods and got some 100% Clove Bud essential oil. Is that the same as what I would get as Eugenol at the Pharmacy? <Yep, exactly the same.> I called several pharmacies and they would have to special order it. <Pah! It used to be used widely for treating toothache and such. It's a very useful thing to have about the house, having quite strong pain numbing properties.> I don't want SJ to suffer anymore. <Indeed.> If it's not right, I guess I'll use the hypothermia method. <Eek... this probably isn't a nice way for a fish to die.> Thanks again for the help. Nicole <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with body bloat  1/25/08 Thanks again. You all are so great during this awful time. <We're happy to help. You *can* become attached to fish, just like any other animal. Not everyone expects that. But just because something is "only a fish" doesn't mean it can't suffer, or you can't feel compassion towards it.> I did not want to do the freezer thing b/c I too thought this was an awful way to die, especially if you don't feel good to begin with. <Quite so.> Anesthetic and vodka--numb and drunk I'll take that over freezing myself. <Indeed!> Nicole <Cheers, Neale>

Sad ending... Re: Betta bloat... euthanasia  -- 1/26/08 Greetings Mr Fenner and Neale, Well, I did it. Steve Johnson is now a memory. Everything went as described in the 2 step emulsified clove oil, vodka process. He did not flop more than 2 times due to the presence of the clove oil. He calmed right down, belly up and then fell asleep and dropped to the bottom. After a few moments he was still breathing once or twice every 60 seconds, I put the vodka in. He expired as peacefully as he could. I feel horrible. He was so beautiful. He was just so miserable looking for the past couple days. He used to wiggle his tail when he'd see me but he'd just barely moved his eyes to look at me lately. I hope I made the right decision for him. <I'm sure you did.> We haven't broken the news to our 5 year old son yet. Any advice? <Honesty.> Of course I won't tell him I was the one to do the deed. <Why not? It's a good lesson to learn that animals don't live forever, so you shouldn't take them for granted any more than people, and cherish the time you do have. It's also worthwhile that children should understand that pet animals depend on us, not just for food and exercise, but also for kindness and, when the time comes, to be relieved of any pain and suffering that disease brings on. Animals aren't "things", but creatures that live and suffer just like us, and so when we get a pet, it's not like buying a toy or computer game, but a responsibility as well as a source of pleasure.> He's got a good grasp that death is part of life. My mother died of brain cancer and he was a witness to some of the process. <I'm sure a difficult time for him, but a growing one too.> As I was looking over your site for future fish I have a few questions so that this doesn't have to happen again. <Sure!> SJ was kept in a 4 gal Baby BiOrb by Reef One by himself. Is this what you call a fully cycled tank? <It should be by now... but you'll need to keep it thus! Add a pinch of flake every day or two until such time as you buy another Betta. The bacteria don't care where the ammonia comes from, and rotting fish flake is just as good as fish waste.> How do I know if it is or is not? <Nitrite test kit: if the reading is zero, even when you add some flake food, it's cycled.> If it is not can I make it one and how? <Time. From zero to hero takes about 4-6 weeks for the average aquarium, assuming the tank receives some ammonia either directly, through fish, or from rotting food.> Is this a good tank for Bettas? <Small tanks are *by their very nature* less easy to maintain than big ones. I personally find the 8-10 gallon tanks just about the minimum for a really stable, reliable aquarium. Bettas are distinct in the sense they're air-breathers and to some degree adapted to swampy conditions, but still, they're not immortal, and their mortality in "Betta Bowls" is alarmingly high. A 4-gallon tank with a heater and filter would be, in my opinion, borderline for any fish. That said, many people keep Bettas in similar tanks without incident. A lot depends on maintenance: if you're changing 50% of the water every week, your chances of success will be a lot higher than if you did the usual 20-25% every other week a lot of people seem to go for. Simply having a heater and a filter is a significant boon, too.> If not what fish would be more suited? <Very small tanks work best with things like Cherry Shrimps and small snails, to be honest. If I *had* to choose a fish for a 4-gallon tank, I'd perhaps go with something like Sparkling Gouramis.> What is a proper pH for Bettas? <Not at all critical, but in a small tank I'd recommend hard water simply because that will help you maintain a more stable environment. So aim for at least 5 degrees KH and a pH around 7.5.> What is the best way to sanitize the tank for re-use? <Ah, a tricky issue. If you sanitise the tank completely (which is easy enough to do just by cleaning under a warm tap and a bit of scrubbing and then thorough air drying) you'll kill the filter bacteria. The tank will then need to be re-cycled for up to 6 weeks.> How long should the new tank be prepared with conditioned water and temp before getting a new fish? <Conditioning the water is instant, and assuming the water isn't icy cold, the heater should warm it up in a few hours.> What should be tossed out and replaced? Filter cartridge? Plastic plants? Ceramic media? Decorative "rock" (plastic) hide-out? <Anything removable like the plastic plants and rocks can definitely be washed and air dried. Most of the pathogens that trouble fish are not tolerant of dry air, and assuming you wash away the algae and sludge, they'll quickly die when exposed to dry air and especially sunlight. But anything that is left un-cleaned, such as "live" filter media, is a potential refuge for pathogens.> How often do I test for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrites? Anything else I should test for and how often? <The two things any less-experienced aquarist should do is test the nitrite and the pH on a weekly basis, at least for the first few months. If you have nitrite in the water, you have a biological filter problem, and if the pH fluctuates, then you have a water chemistry problem. Everything else refines things, letting you dig deeper into the problem, but these two are excellent first-pass indicators.> What is the best way to introduce a new Betta or other fish to his new home? <The best way is this: put new fish into a bucket with water from the bag it came home in. Make sure the bucket is no more than 1/4 to 1/3 full. Put a lid (or magazine, or towel) over the bucket to stop the fish jumping out. Every 5-10 minutes, add a cup or so of water from the aquarium. Do this for anything up to an hour. What you're doing is gradually filling the bucket with water from the aquarium so the fish can adjust to the temperature and water chemistry. Use a net to lift the fish out of the bucket into the tank. Discard the water in the bucket. This way you minimise the risk of letting parasites from the shop get into the fish tank, and more importantly, none of the horrid ammonia from the bag water gets into the tank either.> I have only one tank, so how do I get him used to the proper temp (78-82 degrees F???) from his confining little cup from the pet store to the tank? Is there anything else I should know? <Do read some of the Betta articles here. I'm sure there are some nice Betta books out there... see if your public library has one, or else buy one. Bettas are interesting fish in their own right, what with the history of breeding and "fighting" and all, and having a handy reference is always a plus.> I want to thank you again for your help and compassion. This site is the best!!!! You truly care about these creatures as do those seeking your advice. Nicole <Glad to help, and sorry the outcome wasn't the one we were hoping for. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta dry skin  1/8/08 Hello, <Terri> I have checked in the FAQs and couldn't really find anything specific to this please help if you can. <Okay> I bought a Betta 2 weeks ago and I thought he looked ok, but upon closer inspection I noticed he has a sort of grayish dust on its cheeks, under his "chin" and on his body near his head. It looks like old thick dusty grey dry skin, it is not "fine" in texture, does not look like powder and easy to see with the naked eye. The skin on his body looks dull, dry and mottled (this does not look like a "natural color"), his body color is non-uniform from this "dryness" but his fins are colorful and iridescent. In spite of this he is quite active, responsive and eats fine (4 pellets x2 day), no clamping of fins, flashing or spastic swimming. I shone a blue led light on him and I didn't see gold dust, but I'm not sure if you have to have a white light on the fish or what to see velvet. <Mmm... not likely> Is this velvet? <Would be dead if so> Is my Betta old now? What's wrong with him? He is about 1.5inches long. Sorry I don't have any pictures. <Is likely your sharp vision and the fish's color cells and development> Setup is a cycled 5 gallon with lots of fake plants, a small piece of driftwood, with blackwater extract additive, 1 tablespoon of salt, <I'd skip this> and fed Hikari Betta pellets, heated to 78, filtered and 50% water change once a week with standing dechlorinated water. <All else sounds/reads good> Previously had start of Ich 3 days after receipt but treated with Jungles Ich Guard and cleared in 48 hours. The dry skin was present before Ich. Thank you very much. Cheers Terri <I would not be concerned here. You have read/searched on WWM re? Bob Fenner>

Overfed Betta?  1/5/08 Hello, I need some help regarding my Betta. During the holidays I gave my Betta a week feeder since I wasn't going to be in town. I made the mistake of using a generic feeder for all types of fish because the pet store was all out of the little Betta feeders I usually get. After being away for the week I came back to find my Betta's belly very large and it seems that one side is fatter than the other. I stopped feeding him for four days and the belly still hasn't gone down. I also did a 50% water change and gave him part of a pea for the past two days. Could he still just be suffering from overfeeding or have I done permanent damage to him? Thanks, Lisa <Does indeed sound like he enjoyed the Christmas feast a little too heartily. Stop feeding and see what happens over the next few days. If by the end of a week he isn't back to his normal slender self, get back in touch and we'll discuss options. Fish can go many days without food, even weeks, so it's almost always better to skip feeding during vacations rather than relying on machines or neighbours to feed them in your absence. Fish aren't like cats or dogs, which need regular, daily meals; Goldfish here in England will spend the 3-4 months of winter without food and it actually does them good! Cheers, Neale.>

With a very heavy heart... Betta loss, sys.     1/3/08 Hi Everyone, It is with heavy heart that I write this news. My beautiful, glorious female blue and aqua Betta of 2.5 years drowned in the wee hours this morning. Upon springing Domino from her captive single cup home, she was introduced to a glorious 7 gallon tank, heated, filtered and kept absolutely spotless. A plecostomus on board does his job well and was a fixture of hers for quite a while as she poked around him as if to say 'swim with me'! My tank has live plants and gravel, one small castle that the Plec. lives in and a big plastic rock that Domino used frequently to freely swim in and out of. As Domino grew she used the larger holes and I didn't think about the smaller ones. To my sadness this morning I could easily tell what had happened. She went in the rock through a large hole and tried to swim out a small hole. Her head and front fins were wedged out so she could not swim forward or backward. Please heed my warning to avoid sadness in your tank. Do not put decorations with holes into tanks, no matter how safe they "look". Domino's death was 100% avoidable had I just remembered that fact. Sincerely, Elizabeth <Hello Elizabeth. Your story is very sad, and I do hope others read and act accordingly. I've seen the same thing myself, with a Corydoras getting stuck in a seashell-type ornament. Obligate air-breathing fish like Bettas and Corydoras are at risk from drowning if they get stuck. As you say, such fish are best kept in tanks with very carefully selected ornaments. Cheers, Neale.>

My brother's Betta... Spots under eyes... beh.  12/30/07 Hello, Bob. Thanks for all of your insight on the webpage. I gave my brother a Betta for Christmas because I have enjoyed having the simple company of my Betta, Alexander, since I moved into a smaller apartment downtown. <Very good.> They certainly make for lovely pets. <Yes indeed.> I am writing because my brother is chronically ill and loves pets but is not able to take care of something like a cat or a dog which requires more maintenance. He is so pleased to have Mr. B, as he calls him, and his cleaning lady feeds him when my brother can't. My only concern is that (Mr. B is a red/orange Betta) he has white spots under his eyes. <These could be a variety of things. As Bettas age, they sometimes get grey or white patches. But equally these things can be Whitespot/Ick, velvet, Finrot, fungus, etc. So you need to identify the problem and then act accordingly.> I would hate for my brother to get attached to Mr. B if he is sick. Is this something we should worry about? Best Regards, Brett Christine Holaday <Quite possibly. Do review this handy dandy disease ID chart, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Betta hlth... need for data, pic  12/25/07 Hello, my name is Lex, my Betta has this odd symptom where he has this small orange ball-type-thing trailing from a white chord-string-thing from his abdomen. if you have seen this before please email me back. -Lex <Hmm... no idea what this might be from the description. A photo would help! Cheers, Neale.>

Betta with larger eye 12/24/07 Hello. This is my first time asking a question at WetWebMedia, so thank you for listening! <Welcome> I have a male Betta splendens that I bought about 2 years ago at a local fish store. He was at least half a year old judging from his size, <A common age/state> and appeared healthy except for having what appeared to be a healed case of fin-rot. Turns out he gets fin-rot every once in a while because he has a habit of biting or blowing his own tail when he gets excited. About a month or so, I noticed that his eyes had begun to bulge out slightly. Still, they looked within the norm for Betta eyes, since they had been kind of sunken before and were now "normal" looking. However, over the last couple of weeks, his right eye has grown more and is now slightly bigger than his left eye. It isn't cloudy or filmy, and is size difference is really only visible if you're looking down on him from on top. He appears to use the eye and has full range of vision. His appetite is fantastic and he does happy "feed me" dances whenever I come up to his tank. The water parameters in his 2.5 gallon, heated and filtered tank are 0, 0, and 10 for ammonia, nitrites, and ammonia. Tank is kept at 78 degrees. The tank has one "Betta bulb" plant, some java moss, and a mystery snail. I make 50% water changes once a week and vacuum the gravel while I'm at it. I feed him a pinch of brine shrimp, blood worms, or 4 pellets of Betta bio gold once a day. Is this eye change a sign of pop-eye? Or am I being overly worried? Thanks. Andrea <"Popeye" is akin to a "cold" in humans (and other animals)... a symptom rather than a specific result from a given contagion/cause... I don't think this is likely an infectious form of exophthalmia... not really "treatable"... other than the good care you list already... Your Betta is however "getting old"... I would not try a chemical cure here... Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta with larger eye
 12/25/07 Thank you for the response. I'll keep up with keeping his home warm and clean and just keep an eye on him. Thanks! -Andrea <Real good. BobF>

Betta with possible fungus or columnaris... No heater, salt use... reading   12/12/07 Hello, <Ani> I have had my Betta, Monet, for about 9 months now. He is in a 2 gallon Hex tank with some hornwort and java moss, and an under gravel filter. I live in a very warm climate (South Texas), so generally I use a light to heat his tank (the light seems to keep his water temp at around 78°), because I am afraid that a heater in such a small tank would be over kill. <Uh, no. Is absolutely necessary to assure the temperature stays tropical... Stable> I do 25%-50% changes roughly once a week and always use aquarium salt. <Not a good idea... see WWM re...> Lately he has been lethargic and has been staying near the top of his tank. This morning I notices a white cottony fungus on his back, and I did a quick search on the web, assumed it was fungus and treated him with Rid'¢Fungus, <... not good> did a water change, increased the salt slightly and changed to a slightly stronger light bulb that upped the temp to roughly 82° Now I am doing a bit more research and it seems that this could be columnaris as the places where I did see the whitish "fungus" I see spots on his scales that seem washed out in color, and I also see these pale patches under his neck near (but not on) his gills. I have 2 other tropical tanks and have been told that with pretty much any illness, increase salt, increase temperature. <... no> Now I am seeing that increasing the temperature for columnaris is a big no-no, but if this is a fungus, then I should increase the temperature. I am so confused. I want to make my poor Monet better, but I don't want to hurt him in an attempt to help him. How do I know which to treat for? Also, what should I use? I'm slightly limited on what I can get my hands on because I live in a fairly small city that has limited selections. Also, I got him a new 5 gallon tank with a filter, but I don't want to put him in it till he is well, as it seems treating him in a 2 gallon tank would be easier than in a brand new 5 gallon (the 5 gallon is cycling now). <I would move all... including the existing water, gravel even if you don't mind... to the new system, add a heater, ditch the salt...> Is this thinking right? And if it is, when I move him to his new home, should I move his plants with him, or are they possibly infected with either the fungus or columnaris? <Root issue is environment... If fungal, bacterial... these are very secondary...> And once I move him, do you have any suggestions for keeping his water temperature constant, or is it time for me to get him a small heater and see how well it does? <Get a heater, stat! A 25 watt unit will do for the five gallon> I'm sorry that turned out to be so many questions. I am just so very confused and quite frankly overwhelmed. Thank you so much for any help you can offer! And Monet thanks you in advance as well! -Ani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above till you understand... Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta with possible fungus or Columnaris  12/16/07
Thanks so much for the help with my Betta. <Welcome> He is still in his 2 gallon tank, but I am cycling his new 5 gallon and added a heater to it. I stopped using salt and I started treating Monet with a Betta "cure-all" called Betta Revive <Looked for... here: http://www.uskoi.com/betta_revive.htm> that my LFS recommended. Monet seems much more lively and the Columnaris or fungus seems to be going away, but the whitish patches on his back and belly are still there. <Will take time to heal> I just had a couple questions, Should I wait till the levels are right in his new tank to move him, or just go ahead and move him and do frequent water changes until the water is right? <What do you mean by "right"? Did you read on WWM re...> Also, you suggested moving his plants, water and gravel. Right now his water is being treated with this Betta Revive stuff that has malachite green and Methylene blue in it. Should I move his water anyway, or could I use water from one of my 30 gallon tropical tanks? <I would do the latter> And another problem I have is I live in a fairly warm region. The water in both his current 2 gallon and new 5 gallon seem to go up to about 80 or 82 in the day and as low as 74 at night with out heaters. <This is way too much vacillation> I know the new heater will help the problem of it going so low in the night but is 82 too high during the day? <It is not too high...> Should I set this heater so that it keeps the water as high as 80 or 82, <Yes> or is there a way for me to keep the tank slightly cooler during the day, closer to 78 or 79? <Not really... the low 80's F. is ideal> Thanks so much for the help. I greatly appreciate it. -Ani <Pleased to assist your efforts. BobF>
Re: Betta with possible fungus or columnaris 12/20/07
Thank you again for the help. Monet is now in his new 5 gallon. As I couldn't add the medicated water from his old tank, I used water from my 30 gallon, <Good> plus a terracotta pot from it that my platies don't use. The heater is keeping his water at 78-80° day and night and I ditched the salt. The ammonia is at roughly 0.5, <Deadly... don't feed till it's zero, zip, nada> the pH is roughly 7.5, and both the nitrates and nitrites are nil. I plan on doing water changes with at least part of it from my 30 gallons to try and get the nitrates up. <Mmm, not necessary... but to dilute the ammonia, yes> Also, the Betta revive didn't seem to work. The columnaris subsided then came back stronger, leaving a red mark on his back for a day. I immediately ditched the Betta revive and started treating him with Maracyn. The fungussy cotton stuff is gone, and the color seems to be returning to his chin and belly, but the patch on his back remains white, but I'm sure that will clear up with time. His coloring is much more vibrant now too. For quite sometime he seemed to be dark blue and brown, now his fins are brilliant royal blue and bright red and his body is more of a rust color, getting closer to its original wine red color. Thank you so much for the help. I really appreciate it. I just wanted to ask if there was anything further I could do to speed Monet's recovery and conditions or if I seem to be on the right track? <Just patience...> Thanks so much for being patient with me, Ani <Welcome. BobF>

Depressed Bettas. Actually FW fish poisoned with Algicide    12/9/07 Hi crew. I hope you can help me. Last weekend I treated my 1 gal Betta tank and my 2.5 tank (some Corys and tetras reside with Betta) with Tetra Algae Control. <Mmmm... not a very safe product> Unfortunately I did my math wrong (directions for 12 gal tank) and I over dosed. Once I realized, I quickly did a 50% water change but had to use tap water treated with Aqua Safe. I lost the Corys and a tetra and no both Bettas are very depressed and don't seem to be eating. they used to come up to med at feeding time, now they are listless. I changed more water today, what else should I do? Thanks, Tamra <Monitor nitrogenous waste accumulation (esp. Ammonia, Nitrite), read on WWM re controlling these if they're measurable, cut way back on feeding, use some activated carbon in your filter flow path, and hope, be patient. Bob Fenner>

Betta Euthanasia 12/1/07 Dear Chris, <Hello> I am very sad as I have done all I can for my Betta fish Strauss, but he is dying. <Sorry to hear.> It is taking a very long time - he sleeps all the time, comes up for food, but his swimming seems jerky and slightly disorientated. <Sounds typical of old Bettas.> How can I mercifully put him out of his misery? I cannot bear hit him on the head, so is there something else that would cause him little suffering, or at least less than he is experiencing now. Thank you Pam <A few choices here, can be frozen in a bag of water, which most believe to be fairly painless, or an overdose of clove oil, which is an anesthetic and available in most grocery stores. A few drops of this in a cup of water should put him down quite peacefully. Sorry to hear about you situation, it is one of the toughest parts of the hobby.> <Chris>
Re: Betta Euthanasia 12/3/07
Hello Chris, <Hello> Thank you for your advice. I have only had Strauss about three months, so I must have been sold an old Betta. <Perhaps, or otherwise unhealthy one.> Does this sort of thing happen in pet shops? <Sometimes.> How can I tell the difference between and old and young Betta? <Mostly just by their size.> Thank you again for your advice. I do not wish to see him suffering anymore. Regards Pam <Chris>

Re: frogs and meds, now Betta hlth., water qual. 11/29/07 I have moved the frogs into the male Betta tank for now just to be safe. I have one question about the problem I am having with the Betta's gills. I attached 2 pictures a little fuzzy but you can make out the 2 lines down the outside of Betta's gills. The gills are not swollen, that is the only visible symptom on the fish, <Appears to be a physical injury to me... maybe a "bump" into the rock in the background> and their color looks good. The guppies have no visible signs of problems other than scratching. <Some such behavior is "normal"... too much a sign of irritation> The other Betta's gills have the same outline but it is more red in color (not photographed because you cant see the symptoms through the camera), instead of a lighter color with some red (that is the one photographed). The one photographed scratches against the rock the most and seems most agitated of all the fish. <Perhaps some aspect of your water quality...> When I treated with Jungle Parasite clear, the scratching would stop that night and then resume in the morning. I have used The parasite clear 2x, 4 days apart, with a 40% water change before the second dose. When I talked to some one at the LFS, they stated it was a bacterial infection, and recommended triple sulfa. <I would cease with these treatments> So here is the question, do you think this is parasitic (I was thinking gill flukes) or a bacterial infection? <I'm guessing, but this is very likely environmental... just being made worse by "medicines"> I have Jungle parasite clear, triple sulfa and Melafix. What do you recommend using? <None> If you think it is gill flukes, I heard those can be somewhat difficult to remove. Ammonia, nitrites= 0, Nitrates about .15. Ph hovers around 8, <Too high...> if I added some Sparkletts, PH around 7, will that help bring the PH of the tank down? <Ah, yes... do read on WWM re pH et al. starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm the second tray down... and the notes re mixing source water, adjusting water chemistry...> Please help my itchy fish. Thank you for all of your help, <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta 11/22/07 I used your bio site to get your e-mail address. (hope you don't mind). I have seen your name on the web in many Q&A's related to fish care. Your answers have been very helpful to me in the past. I live in Ottawa, Ontario and we have many pet stores and aquarium specialty shops however I have found that the advice that I have been given in the past is often conflicting. It is a little difficult to put my finger on it but often I feel like the attitude from some working in these places is condescending. <Well... they do "know it all"! After all> In other words I feel like a monster because my fish is sick and I have to ask a question. All that to say that I don't know who to ask for advice on a sick, weak, male Betta. I bought this poor little fellow from a department store last weekend because I felt sorry for him. I have other Betta's and have a done a fair bit of research on how they should be kept, fed etc. I am by no means an expert but I try hard. When I first brought him home he was laying on one side (maybe a swim bladder problem) so I thought it best not to put him in a 5 gal. Filtered tank. Instead I put him in a small 1/2 gal. Container with plants so he could rest near the top. I took over an hour to move him from his dirty store container to the little tank and he made the transition. The next day I noticed he was no longer on his side but was not able to swim very well. He also has a terrible case of fin rot (almost none left) very sore looking red eyes (but not bulging), and grey fungus (maybe bacterial) around his mouth and gill area. He is very listless and stays near the top most of the time. It seems to perk him up when I do a little water change and he moves around a bit and eats a little but not enough. I added aquarium salt and a little Melafix. Last night I also added a little PimaFix as well. Each day I change only a seventh of the water because I am afraid that I will shock him. By keeping the temp. very high in the kitchen I am able to keep his container at 76 (I know he should be warmer). <Yes> I have a feeling that the Melafix is not strong enough but I am not sure if I should try something stronger like Maracyn. Maybe my decision to keep him in something small is wrong, or maybe I should be changing more of the water'¦..I really would appreciate your advice. Thank you Jeanette <Am decidedly not a fan of the leaf extracts mentioned. I would seek out, use "something stronger" here... The mix of antibiotics that are Spectrogram or BettaMax... you can read re these and their application by perusing our site directly or using the search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Betta    11/26/07 I was out of the office on Friday and only had a chance to read your message today. You are very kind to get back to me. The Betta is still hanging in. I managed to find a small heater (Marineland - for containers up to 3 gals.) to use until I can safely move the little fellow to a larger home. Again thank you for advise and the link. <Welcome. BobF> Jeanette

Red "bulbs" on a Betta's tail? No useful info.   11/22/07 I have a Betta that appears to be in perfect health, but I noticed he now has what appear to be very tiny red balls attached to the tips of his fins. These do not look like they are just coloring of the fins. I have done a lot of research and cannot find what these might be. Any ideas? <...? What re the system, history of care, water quality, nutrition? Likely an env. prob.... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Very worried about fin rot and fungus .. Prev: Re: GH/KH concern with new Betta  11/15/07 Hello, I am hoping desperately that you can help me. My Betta (so much like a dog that I can't bear the thought of losing him) has come down with fin rot. <Unusual to "come down" with such> It seemed identical to what I read about bacterial fin rot (e.g. very ragged loss of fin, reddish brown almost dirty edges, clear fin area). So I began treating him with oral tetracycline. <...?> Now, I notice what appears to be increased pigment, dark dark grayish in color on his "chin" and around his gills, almost like dots and semistripes but not moving. It looks like a growth of some kind, as I haven't noticed it before. [There's some blue looking stuff that looks like it's glowing which doesn't seem to make sense, but I've seen it on his tail too, so I'm hoping it's just the way the florescent light is touching him. He has a reddish brownish patch on his head, but he's had it for about a month (since I got him I'm pretty sure), so I think this is pigment. He's a larger size, so I figure he's older and not just gaining pigment.] I have held off on salt because I'm using Attison's Betta spa which says not to add salt (it lists sodium chloride as an ingredient, so I figure they don't want people using too much. <Yes... good> I don't know what to do at this point. It sounds like true fungus or false fungus?, <Is there an image?> and both of these seem to require different meds from the tetracycline. I don't know if I can add salt to the Betta spa? It helps me keep my ph down in a 50/50 spring/purified mixture (7.2), so at this point Merlin is used to it, and anything else would alter my PH likely. Please, if you have any suggestions, I will do anything for him. I took him out of his 6 gallon, heated, planted tank (with ammonia 0, nitrate 0, and nitrate under 5; been in this biospira'd tank for a couple weeks now) and put him in a 10 gallon, heated tank with about 4 gallons of water. I did have more gravel than I should have for the live plants originally is the only thing I can think of. He's eating the tetracycline in the food, but spits some out, which is why I was going to continue until Friday originally. He's doing better with consumption since I began adding it to frozen brine shrimp, but it takes so many shrimp to soak up the Tetracycline, I'm worried he'll constipate. What would you say is a normal amount of frozen shrimp in a feeding? <A few individuals... 3-5 pieces> Please let me know your thoughts. I know overmedicating is bad, and I just don't know what to do at this point, and I'm terrified of not acting fast enough. I don't know whether to wait a week (after Friday) and then remedicate with an antifungal agent? Or whether to stop the Tetracycline now (started on Monday, but he didn't really get much in until Tuesday). I read that Fungus clear is actually an antibacterial, so I don't know if there's any point to using it. I saw something about a pheno something or other being useful to treat both (true and false fungus)? Or if what I described sounds definitive of something specific? Anything at all, whatever the cost, that will be the safest thing for him, please let me know. Forgive me for being garbled. Thank you so much, Patricia <I would like to see a photo... there are better multiple treatments... BettaMax, Spectrogram... IF indeed this is treatable. BobF>

Re: Very worried about fin rot and fungus .. Prev: Re: GH/KH concern with... Betta  -- 11/16/07 Hello, My husband tried to get the picture of Merlin, but he said the Merlin just got scared and he wasn't able to get a decent one to come out. Merlin is still swimming around alertly, playing in the low filter current, and eating like a madman. I know fin rot tends to come from bad water quality, but I thought my tank was cycled after a few weeks of BioSpira (Ammonia 0, Nitrates 0, and Nitrates a little bit above 0 but under 5). He did have more gravel than necessary because of the live plants, but I also recall seeing clear finnage on him soon after getting him from PetSmart; so I figure it was bacteria hiding in the gravel or he may have already had it. I've been giving him the gel-Tek Aquarium Products, medicated food version of Tetracycline. His fins seem to be growing back and with more color than before (I don't know if this is the Attison's Betta spa or the Tetracycline). A couple of days ago though, he got a white pimple looking protrusion in the middle of his gill, there was also a raw, red area (like skin had scraped off). This area no longer looks as raw, but then another white pimple looking thing showed up underneath the bottom of his gill flap. His gills are not working hard at all, but when I'm about to change his water, he'll take what looks like a deep breath (twice I've noticed this). I'm changing his water by 50% every day and a half, and watching the ammonia levels daily. I just did a full water change this morning after starting Tetracycline treatment on Monday. The 1st white pimple thing almost seemed like it has dried up, but I'm afraid to hope; the red doesn't look as bright as it did. But the second white "pimple" under his gill flap is definitely present though not irritated looking any longer, and the gill area doesn't look great, almost dead-like possibly (or maybe drying?)? And he still has these dark grey areas on this gill area only, that I don't think I've noticed before. All the internet readings say that disease at most will appear light grey, so I don't know what that could be, or even if it's just new coloring (though he doesn't look like a young Betta). I keep looking at him with a flashlight because I've noticed goldish/rust colored dots along his back, but it seems like these dots are in a 2 line formation down his body. They are definitely slightly (very slightly raised), but most of them seem like such a straight line, that I don't know if it could be velvet or not? <Not likely... The fish would be dead by now> I bought Mardel's CopperSafe, Maracyn 1 and 2, Bettafix, and a Jungle product called Lifeguard to be ready to act; and I am now trying to figure out what to do next, as I know overmedicating is just as bad as doing nothing. <Holy hypochondria!> I don't know if the grey stuff could be a fungus? I don't know if the white pimple looking thing could be a parasite? Or if I should be worried about Velvet, even though he's swimming, eating, and very alert (always swims up to greet people and beg for food). I am debating on 3 possible ideas: to stop Tetracycline and add CopperSafe and Maroxy to address potential parasites and fungus OR just add CopperSafe to the Tetracycline to see if gills clear up of white pimple things OR to continue with the Tetracycline for a total of 10 days (bottle says 3 days but internet readings have suggested 10), since his fins look like they're regrowing? Lastly, I found out that Attison's Betta spa uses only about 1/12 teaspoon of salt per gallon, and so I was also thinking of adding salt to the tank? But I've read that Betta's don't do well with salt (e.g. kidneys struggle to remove it from their bodies)?, so I don't know if this would be a bad idea? And finally, I'm using quite a bit of tiny looking Hikari frozen brine shrimp to soak up recommended food medicine dosage (Aquarium products told me this was okay), how many shrimp do you think is acceptable for him to eat without threatening constipation? This morning I gave him a thawed pea as he still seemed a bit larger than usual from last night's feeding. Do you have any ideas for where to go from here, I don't know whether to add a medication or stop and wait? He's behaving fine, but the things on his body have me terrified I'm not going to catch something in time, and I figure his immune system is compromised due to the antibiotic.. Thank you for any thoughts, Patricia P.S. I have just found the articles on your website and am going through them all; thank you again for such a great resource and such direct access to a source of help :). <I'd keep reading... and leave off with adding any of the above. BobF>

Re: Very worried about fin rot and fungus .. Prev: Re: GH/KH concern with... Betta hypochondria -- 11/17/07 Hello Bob, Thank you for your quick response. I will keep reading. I have been reading nonstop actually, every moment that I have not been at my job or working with the tank for the past week. I've become unbelievably attached to this fish. I'm still not finding a solid course of action unfortunately. <Wu wei... doing non-doing... "if you choose not to... you still have made a choice"> Do you know what might cause skin to have shredded off at the gill area (leaving a patch of raw, red skin)? <Perhaps initiated with a physical trauma... maybe aging is a factor...> Or what might cause white pimple looking protrusions in the gill area? Any of your knowledge of possibilities might help me to narrow down my broad search that has left me with many medicines, but just as much fear of using them. I will certainly wait on any further action, but would like to know what to be on the lookout for if I have to act fast. Any ideas would be appreciated, Patricia <Don't act fast... RMF>

Re: Very worried about fin rot and fungus .. Prev: Re: GH/KH concern with -11/18/07 Hello Bob and RMF, I just received my response, which now reads in the subject heading "Betta Hypochondria." I just want to say that I truly am sorry that I have clearly been bothering some/everyone, but I guess I'm a bit confused as to why being concerned about white pimples (not looking like Ich, but now a couple more have developed on the face), raw bloody looking patches on the gills, and now "pinholes" would be seen as mere "hypochondria." <A comment on your having purchased so many med.s> Thank you RMF for letting me know that aging could cause the red, raw looking patches or physical trauma. I purchased several medications because I wanted to be ready in an emergency and wanted to develop a first aid kit as recommended through my readings. Again I apologize that my correspondences have been deemed inappropriate, and I will not bother you further. Thank you for your time, Patricia <Not a bother, I assure you... But I hasten to add that your Betta is much more likely to suffer or even expire if exposed more and more to these chemicals. They are indeed harsh. Bob Fenner>

F. Betta with Popeye  11/5/07 Hi Everyone, <Elizabeth> My female Betta has Popeye and it seems as though she is now blind. I have her in quarantine and am treating her with Ampicillin GEL-TEK, following the bottle's instructions. She isn't eating (I think) and is losing her color. I know fish have a really good sense if smell but I put in a pellet and she swims right past it. She lays at the bottom of the tank, then jets up to get some air then settles back down. Three times I have seen her swimming like crazy in a circle (her quarantine bowl is round) then she stops and hangs out at the top. Are her eyes sensitive to light? <Perhaps> How can I treat her if she won't eat the gel? <Need to use something that can be applied to the water> I can't find Ampicillin in capsule form. <Is about... on the Net> And how is she still alive after 7 days of this? Her bowl is one gallon, heated with a heating pad to a perfect 76 degrees. <Is it filtered?> I have to come clean and say that even though her main tank (6 gals) is filtered, water changed and vacuumed, while I was recuperating after an accident, I didn't get to REALLY clean her tank they way I usually would as I had reconstructive shoulder surgery. I feel awful. Very awful thinking that I have caused her sickness. <Is possible> What is your suggestion? <I would return this fish to the six gallon... the better, more stable conditions are much more likely to bring about a cure than those presently. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Elizabeth

Re: F. Betta with Popeye  11/07/07 Hi Bob, <Elizabeth... would call you Liz if I knew you better...> Found capsule Ampicillin online, thank you. She will be returned to her big, heated, filtered tank ASAP. Thank you, Elizabeth <Ahh! Good. Thank you for this news. Bob Fenner>

Re: F. Betta with Popeye  11/13/07 Hello Bob, <Liz...> Returning Nigella to her big tank was an excellent idea. She may be hard of seeing but she seems happier. Fins finning, blowing bubbles and being back in her home has already helped. Her Ampicillin just came and the water has been treated. <Ah, good> It seemed logical to take some tank water in a small clean jar, add the dose of Ampicillin in that water and shake it up then add it back to the tank. In any case, that's what I did. Now we are waiting to see how well she reacts to her real medicine. <Good> I'll keep you posted on her recovery. Cheers, Elizabeth, Liz, Betty, Libby, the list goes on. Feel free to call me Liz:) <Thank you for this update! BobF>

Deceased Beta, Getting a New one... env.  11/5/07 Hi! <Hello> My family recently owned a purple beta named Cuebert (I don't know what kind of beta he is) who lived in a bowl with a plant on it. (Sorry, I don't know what type it is either, but it used to have white flowers.) <Not terribly important, but I have to say these vases make terrible Betta homes.> I found him at the top of his bowl floating like he was standing on his back fin. While I was looking up diseases, I left him to get some peace. When I checked back on him, poor old Cubie was lying on the bottom, not breathing. <Sorry> His color was a little gray, but it had been that way for a while. Was this a sign of some long-term disease? We had him for 3-4 years, so it might have been old age. <I would say definitely old age, anything beyond a couple years is quite unusual.> He was never extremely active, never made a bubble nest, or jumped. Was there something we were doing wrong? <Not necessarily, but they do need heated, filtered tanks to really thrive.> If we were to get another beta, where would we get them? <Most fish or pet supply shops carry them and most come from the same breeders, so where ever you can find a healthy looking specimen.> Some are half-dead at the time of purchase! :( <All too common.> (One last question, sorry this is so long!) Do beta fish need tops on their "houses"? There are a few I saw hat have none. <They can jump so it is a good idea.> Thanks so much!!! -Laura <For your next Betta I suggest upgrading his home to a small filtered and heated tank, where he can really thrive. Most people consider those vases a death sentence to the fish, although your did quite well.> <Chris>

Crown Betta's swollen belly 11/4/07 Hello, I hope you can help me. My mother-in-law's Betta looks a little trouble. He has a swollen belly. This is the first time I have ever seen this. She has a small Betta tank for it, and cleans it every week. She feeds it 8 pellets twice a day. I thought this was a bit too much. He doesn't show any other signs of sickness, so I am confused as to what is wrong with him. Can you please help us? Thank you Vee <Hello Vee. It's difficult to say from the information you've supplied: tell me the temperature, ammonia concentration, nitrite concentration, water hardness and pH and I might be able to say something more useful. Bettas commonly get sick because people keep them in poor conditions. They can't be kept in bowls at room temperature, for example. Bettas need an aquarium (ideally at least 15 litres in size) with some sort of filter (a simple air-powered sponge filter is ideal). Water temperature needs to be a steady 25 degrees C, and one of the oft-overlooked aspects of their care is the need for humid air above their tank. Placing their quarters somewhere draughty is a very bad idea. Bettas need very little food; they don't move about much. Eight pellets per day sounds a lot, but if the Betta is eating them, then the main thing is to check the water quality. The filter should be adequate for removing the ammonia produced by the fish. So check the ammonia concentration. Anything above 0 will cause systemic problems with the fish. Some folks do keep them in unfiltered bowls, but I don't recommend this, and the mortality of fish kept such way is far too high to be acceptable. Those people who do keep them in bowls only really have success where at least some of the water is changed *every day*. Cleaning the bowl once a week simply won't work; do an ammonia test a day or two after the water change, and you'll see what I mean! Live plants also have a positive effect on Bettas, both psychologically (providing shade and cover) and physically (by absorbing ammonia directly, improving water quality). While you're here at WWM, please do read some of the many articles on Betta care. A good starting place is this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm Cheers, Neale>

Possibly Sick Betta and Algae Issues... just poor env.   11/4/07 Hello! <Hi there> What follows is an unusual story. I have tried searching the web and have not been able to find another case such as mine... <That is unusual!> For the past 10 months I have had a male Crowntail Betta. About three months ago, I noticed that there was a little bit of algae growing on the top of my tank. At this point, I should mention that I have a one gallon tank with an airstone, and a 5W bulb as a heater. <Uhh, no good... what happens when the light is off?> Seeing the algae, I started leaving the tank light on for less time every day, and for a little while the algae cleared up. But, at the beginning of September, the algae came back full force. It coats the gravel, the sides of the tank, and the airstone tube. I started performing 25% water changes every three days and draining and cleaning the whole tank about once every ten days, as the algae accumulates so quickly and obscures the sides of the tank so I can't see my fish. The light stays on only for about 2 hours each day now, and it still does not curb the algae growth. <Mmm, other ways to counter algae... depriving it of nutrients (from the get-go and from filtration) adding competing photosynthetic life (plant material...)...> This is making the temperature of the water cooler (about 70 F) <Too low...> which I know is not the best condition for Bettas. Also, when I do water changes for about the last three weeks, my Betta has started freaking out - swimming rapidly around the tank at odd angles, then lying listlessly at the bottom for about two days afterward. He does this whenever I add or remove any water - it can be as little as 1/4 cup of water that makes him do this. <Yes> I should also say that I use tap water, first boiled to remove chlorine and contaminants then treated with Betta plus bowl conditioner, and left to sit for about 5 days to condition. This is a never-ending process, and I am scared to do any more complete water changes and cleaning, as this all seems to be affecting him in a negative way, so right now the algae is very thickly coating the tank. I am sick of the algae, and want my Betta to be happy - is this the time to resort to using a chemical algae fixer? If so, could you possibly recommend some brands that would be available in Canada? <Not recommended... toxic and not really a fix> Some days my Betta seems really happy, and is active, and then on others he is listless and pale. He always seems to eat well, even if before and after he just lays on the bottom of the tank. So, I know this email is long, and I hope you can help me out. If you need any more information, just let me know. Thanks, Liah <Thank you for writing... so well and thoroughly. What your Betta really needs is a heated, filtered environment. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My Beta Fish... test fish? Betta reading  10/29/07 Hey, I've asked you guys a question before and you were very helpful so I was wondering if you could help me again. My Beta fish's top fin has a few tears in it. He is in a 1.5 gallon tank all by himself with a few soft plants (I know the plastic ones can tear fins). There is no white edging and I have been doing weekly water changes. The only thing I can think of is that he may have scratched himself on the filter or heater (he likes to go behind both, but I have it set up so he can't get stuck) Please give me any possible causes and things I can do to fix the problem. Thanks! Samantha <Mmm... might be "just" age here... Next likely, some sort of nutrient deficiency... I'd use the Google search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm with the terms "Betta, torn fins..." and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>

My Betta has a cyst, is listless... is in a bowl  -- 10/28/07 I've noticed that a cyst (I think) on my Betta's dorsal fin is getting quite large, and it appears as though his fin has gotten rather small and droopy. Since then he has been very listless, floats at the top of his tank, turns grey occasionally, and only rarely eats. I don't know if it has to do with the cyst, with his water, or with his diet (he will only eat pellets, when he does eat). <Likely the water... the environment in general... not likely to live well or long in a bowl... Bettas need heated/stable, filtered systems> He tends to get his blue color back after water changes (I use filtered water and let it sit out 24hrs with a few drops of water conditioner), but it doesn't last more than a day. And he does another funny thing: he nuzzles right up to his tank-mate Leisel (snail), and will float with his face right up against her foot for a an hour or so, then he'll dart about really frantically for a few seconds and return to floating on the surface for the next few hours. Attached is a photo of the cyst and his droopy little dorsal fin...Poor Seth! -Faith <Please read and heed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

"Poster Betta"

Sick male Betta... no data, reading...    10/24/07 My male Betta has been very lethargic for the past few days, and recently he stopped eating. Now he just sits listlessly on the bottom of his tank. I've had the water tested and the environment outside the tank is fine otherwise, so I don't know what's happening to him. He seems to be dying. His color has paled dramatically, and he just floats around, rather than swims. Now and again his body will jerk wildly. Any advice? Anything at all would be greatly appreciated! <... Is this system heated, filtered? What do you feed? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta's got white dots on the eye   10/22/07 Dear WWM crew, <Kathy> Hope I can get some advice from you in treating or helping my Betta. <Will try> I read most of the information about eye fungus and cloud eye on WWM site, however, I am not sure if this is exact problem my Betta has. I have had my Betta for about a year. He's living alone in a 3 gallon tank with bio-wheel filter. I noticed a white dot in the middle of his right eye about a week ago. It's a solid white dot on the outside, not inside. I have seen white cloudy eye on one of my mollies before. This one is not like the haze, white film over the eye. <Okay> I have been treating him with anti-bacteria medicine (Furan-2) but it does not seem to improve the condition at all. The white dot seems to become larger day by day. Today his left starts to show a tiny white dot as well. My Betta is eating and swimming fine. He made bubble nests last night. Please give me some advices. Thanks a lot. Kathy <Mmm... perhaps this is/has become an entrenched bacterial involvement, following a traumatic injury (a bump into something)... The age of your Betta may be a factor as well... I would likely try addition of aquarium salt here. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm and search on WWM using the cached version: Betta Disease, Salts... Bob Fenner>

Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot   10/21/07 Hello, <Hello!> I got a Betta fish about a month ago- my college had an event and they gave away Bettas for free. The bowl he came in seemed "too small" so I got him a larger (half gallon) bowl, which he's been living in since then. However, reading on your site (I know, I should have done my research *first* but I assumed that since people in my dorm in previous years had Bettas in those little bowls that it was okay for them) I got him a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and filter (it's a charcoal filter type, rather than a sponge...is that okay?) and some largish cloth plants. <Carbon isn't really useful in this aquarium. You're going to need to change 50% of the water weekly (at least) and doing that will remove the dissolved organic wastes through dilution. Since carbon is used to remove those wastes, the carbon is rendered obsolete. Carbon also removes medications: you cannot use fish medicine in an aquarium with carbon. So, replace the carbon with *biological* filter media instead. Sponge would be ideal, but ceramic hoops or filter wool will work too.> My question is, from what I've seen you're supposed to cycle the tank before putting the fish in, but that can take up to 6 weeks. <Yes.> But it seems like even an uncycled heated and larger tank would be better for Kappa (my Betta) than his small cold bowl. <Correct.> Is it safe to put him in now, and just change the water often (I'm thinking every 3 days with a 50% change- in his old bowl I was doing 100% changes every 3 days), or is it better to wait for the new tank to cycle? <Your plan sounds ideal. Move the fish, do water changes regularly, and test the nitrite levels periodically to check things are OK. When fish are exposed to high ammonia and nitrite levels, they are prone to fungus and Finrot, so you want to keep them as low as possible, preferably zero.> Also, I put the plastic plant and the gravel from his old bowl in, with new gravel and a couple larger fabric plants- will that help the tank cycle faster? <Marginally, if at all.> (I don't know if there was anything beneficial on them, in order to get the waste off the gravel I'd been swishing it in tap water when I did his water changes, and rinsing off the plant <Arggghh! Never wash anything under the tap you want bacteria to live on. Always wash biologically active filter media in a bucket or bowl of water taken from the aquarium.> I did notice some sort of stringy whitish stuff on the plant though, is that good or bad growth?) <Likely algae (if green) or bacteria (if grey/white). Either way, harmless though perhaps unsightly.> I don't have any tests for ammonia/nitrates/nitrites yet, but I am getting some as soon as I can find them (the store I went to was out of a lot of stuff). <Get the simple combination dip-sticks. They're cheap (here around £10 for 25 tests) and you can slice them down the middle to make twice as many tests. Each dip-stick has nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, pH and hardness (at least) making them extremely useful for quickly judging the conditions in the tank.> I'm especially concerned about leaving Kappa in the old bowl because he's had a chronic case of fin rot since about a week after I got him. At first he lost about a quarter inch of the 'webbing' on his tail, and I got him some aquarium salt and tetracycline gel-food medicine. <The salt detoxifies nitrite, which is useful when a tank is immature. I'm not convinced Tetracycline food is beneficial, given it is an antibiotic for internal infections, and Finrot is an external infection. I think you need to add a Finrot medication to the water.> The medicine said to give him 5 drops per serving (2x a day) but I could never get him to eat more than 2 drops (the brand was "aquarium products gel-Tek tetracycline", for what it's worth). It seemed to stop the fin rot, and it started growing back but as soon as the medication period (3 days) ended, within a day the tail had rotted back to about where it was the first time. <Curing the symptoms -- Finrot -- while not fixing the cause -- poor water quality -- locks you into a cycle where every time you cure the fish, it gets sick again soon after.> I tried the tetracycline again and this time he'd hardly eat it (I think he just doesn't like it, he loves the Hikari pellets and frozen bloodworms that are his normal food). The rot didn't really get any better, so I stopped for a couple of days then switched to Jungle Fungus buddies (which said they also treat fin rot). That has helped more, but by this time his tail is about half the length it used to be. <Oh.> Anyway, the tail has been stable for a couple of days but after I switched Kappa into the 2.5 tank, and he swam around for an hour or so, the webbing that had been regrowing has fallen out again. Will the better conditions help him (he's still on the Jungle medication), or do I need to do something else to get this cleared up? <I think at the moment you're "running to stand still" because high levels of ammonia and nitrite in the aquarium are putting immense stress on the fish.> (I've been trying to find Maracyn (2) since that seems to be highly recommended on your site, but I can't find it in either of the pet stores here.) Other than that he seems healthy and active- he was very curious about everything in the new tank and comes over to me every time I get near. Also, pretty much every time I changed his bowl water, he would make a bubble nest, so he couldn't have been too unhappy...? <In other words: when water quality improves, he's happy; when water gets bad again, he stops being happy.> Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. Thanks for your time, --Kyra <Do water tests, replace carbon with true biological filter media, ensure ammonia and nitrite settle down to zero levels. Don't overfeed, and do regular water changes. Keep treating the Finrot. Once the water is good, you'll see the Finrot won't come back. Do read the articles here at WWM about Bettas. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot 10/22/07 Dear Neale, Thanks so much for your help and the quick response. I'll be looking for a new filter and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate tests for Kappa's tank. You guys run an amazing site, and I'm sure I'll be referencing it a lot in the future. Thanks again, --Kyra <Kyra, thanks for the kind words, which I'll be sure and pass on to the Crew. Good luck with your Betta! Neale>

Betta Fish Popeye 3- Ampicillin Dose  10/19/07 Hi Crew: Neale answered my question last time, suggesting Ampicillin . I wrote a few weeks back about my Betta with Popeye. Tank is 2 gal, filtered with BioWheel. Tank tests at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate ( this is the tap water) and 8 pH (also local) I age and dechlorinate the tap water. Temp is 80 degrees. <All sounds good. Aging water, by the way, is redundant now if you use a good dechlorinator. Though there's no harm doing it if you want!> I began treatment with Epsom salt, moved to Furan and we are now on the second dose of Ampicillin. <Very good.> Poor Chip (we have had him for 18 months) cannot see, so I have been taking him out during tank changes (50% every other day since this started 6 weeks ago using a siphon) and giving brine shrimp, bloodworms initially. But the last 2 weeks, he misses them completely, even with me using an eye dropper, so I am using Betta flakes so he can easily grab them. He has not eaten the last 3 days - he swims around blindly trying to grab them, but misses. <Be persistent, but don't panic too much... fish can go days without food.> Jungle antibiotic food did not work - he spit it out initially since it was so hard and he didn't like it. <Common problem with small fish. Much medication is formulated for big, expensive fish like Koi that people are likely to spend effort on healing. Common attitude with small fish is they're "disposable". Shame.> He has been sitting on the bottom completely since I started the second dose, moving every so often and coming up once in a while to grab some air. (Before he would often sit on his plant near the heater.) He now won't come up for food. His breathing is rapid since I started the Ampillicin. I stopped the Epsom salt and gave 1 1/2 tsps of sea salt to see if it would perk him up. It has in the past, but not this time. <I'm not a fan of randomly adding salt to aquaria.> I have 250 mg of Ampillicin dissolved in a gallon of water. With the help of the math teacher brother-in-law, we have calculated that it is about 13 oz of water per gallon to dose the tank safely. I have given him a dose every other day as instructed on the package, with the water change, I have not used a new Ampicillin pill each time, but just used the treated water which is sitting in a plastic milk jug. I am concerned that maybe I should be using a new pill each time to ensure it is fresh. <Possibly, but I wouldn't worry too much. Store unused medicated water in a covered jar in the fridge though. Excess heat and light could certainly alter the drug.> Should I not change the tank water, but just take out enough to replace it with the Ampicillin water? This would increase the dosage. There is no carbon in the filter. <Hmm... in this instance I'd minimise water changes through the course of treatment. Though in practise, the medication is probably metabolised by the bacteria in the filter very soon after you pour it into the tank. But I've not used Ampicillin, since it isn't freely available in the UK, and my honest (and by UK standards, legally acceptable) advice has to be to consult with a vet. Not very helpful to you, I'm afraid. To be honest, it probably doesn't matter much either way, whether you change a bit of water or a lot, since I'm fairly sure the drug will be entirely metabolised by the bacteria within 24 hours.> So, is there anything else to do? <Pray to the Fish Gods.> I have thought we were at the end several times already, but he is still hanging on. To review six weeks of care: Water changes ( I am heating the water to 80 before returning him to the tank) Meds tried: Epsom salt, Furan, Ampicillin Feeding in small space to ensure he eats Thanks, Asa <You're doing everything you can. Stick with it, and hope for the best. As I say, treating small fish, especially in small tanks, is difficult and the results variable. The very nature of small fish that by the time we see a problem, the strain on their internal organs is often very severe. An adult Koi carp at least has some reserves of fat to draw on, and so various therapies can be tried out until you find one that works. But something as small as a Betta may only have a few days within which you can find the "silver bullet". Good luck, Neale>

Need help ASAP with sick Betta -- 10/18/07 Ruffles has been laying on bottom of tank 4 days now. Hasn't eaten in 4 days. He was mainly just lethargic prior to that. Treated him with Jungle brand fungus tabs with no difference. Treated Sunday with CopperSafe, 1 tsp in 2=1/2 gal tank. Had difficulty breathing yesterday, so I added an air line in his tank. Can see a gold sprinkling on tail and body. Yellowish discoloration on face (he is red, so it really shows up), so I assumed Velvet. What else can I medicate him with or do? His eyes move when I come around the tank, so I knows he sees me. I feel so helpless. I am also keeping the light off the tank. I raised temp to 82. Please help! Thank you. Sandy <Greetings. You don't say anything about filtration. What filtration are you using? What is the Ammonia and Nitrite level in this aquarium? Please check at the very least the Nitrite level, as most of the time when Bettas get sick it is because of poor water quality. No-one who keeps a Betta in an unfiltered aquarium can expect it to stay healthy. Anyway, the gold dusting on the fish sounds a lot like a disease called Velvet. All sorts of medications will fix this. eSHa Exit, Mardel Maracide, API Super Ick Cure etc. He needs treatment at once. Use the medication precisely as explained on the instructions. Remove carbon from the filter, if used. Velvet can kill fish eventually, so don't delay. Good luck, Neale>
Re: Need help ASAP with sick Betta  10/19/07
I appreciate your response. Nitrate this morning is 0-5, nitrite is 0. I do not use filtration with any of my Bettas and all have done well until this. I had never seen any information saying Bettas required filtration. As I said, I already medicated with 1 tsp CopperSafe Sunday, but he isn't getting any better. Is there not something else I can do........possible add an antibiotic too without it interfering with the CopperSafe? Sandy <I've heard some people keep Bettas without filtration, but that involves changing the water more or less completely every single day. Anything less and the ammonia builds up in the bowl, and that causes problems. If you have no filtration at all, then nitrite will obviously be close to zero because there are hardly any nitrifying bacteria converting ammonia to nitrite. But the ammonia levels will increase until you do a water change. So check your ammonia levels an hour or so after feeding. You'll likely detect ammonia, and that's the commonest reason fish get sick. Any ammonia level above zero is bad. Bettas are every bit as sensitive to ammonia as any other fish: they do not live in puddles in the wild, but ponds and streams, and they need good, clean water to thrive. So please, consider adding a filter to your Betta aquarium -- it's simply good fishkeeping. An antibiotic obviously won't cure velvet. Antibiotics are for treating bacterial infections, and velvet is a protozoan. While I can't be 100% sure on a diagnosis without a picture, the classic symptom of velvet is a gold-dust like coating on the body. If you want to send a picture, we can try and confirm this. But before getting hung up on curing the velvet, check the ammonia -- if the water conditions are bad, no amount of therapy will help. Cheers, Neale>

Betta fish help!  10/15/07 Hi I brought a Betta fish a little over 3 weeks ago from a pet store. 2 days ago, he started not eating and rubbing himself against the decoration I bought him. His fins are incredibly torn now and he looks like he's about to flip over and die. He's also had a white patch on his stomach since I bought him and now it looks like it had spread a little, his head also looks less dark than before and appears to have dark spots all over. I had done a 50% water change 2 days before he became sick and added the "Betta plus water conditioner". I aged the tap water with the water conditioner for 2 days before adding to the tank. Since he's been sick I have changed his water again without aged water but he seems to be worst. Please help me! Sincerely, Kristy <Hello Kristy. Your Betta is almost certainly suffering from being kept in poor conditions. Since you don't mention either a heater or a filter, I have to assume you're using neither. Bettas needs a proper aquarium. They can't be kept in jars. If you want something for a jar, get some cut flowers. If you want to keep a living, breathing fish -- set up an aquarium! There is a step by step guide here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm . But to cut a long story short, you need a tank upwards of 5 US gal/18 litres; a heater to keep the water around 25C/77F; and some sort of gentle but effective filter, such as an air-powered sponge filter or an undergravel filter. Plants, lights and ornaments are optional extras. A hood is useful though, as they like to jump. Even a pane of cut glass from your local hardware or DIY store will work for this though. In the meantime, you need to treat for fungus & Finrot. Various medications will treat both at the same time, such as eSHa 2000 and Mardel Maracyn. Follow the instructions carefully. Make sure that the filter you use *doesn't* have any carbon in it, because carbon removes medications. If you don't [a] treat the fish AND [b] provide a proper aquarium for him to live in, he will die. Simple as that. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: Betta with bulging white patches - 10/08/07 Hello, The bulges on my Betta are not flat/cloudy or fuzzy. They are large (3-5 mm) and they protrude from his body like textured whitish warts. I believe another has grown since our last email (totaling 4 now, two on each side). I think this is a virus or parasite of some sort, and I also am quite sure this is a rarer disease because it does not fit the definition of any of the typical Betta diseases (it is not Ich or fungus for sure-I medicated him with Quick Cure and Maroxy with no effects a while ago.) I am leaning towards Lymphocystis, however he has been growing this for at least 6 months and it has not gone away (a lot of websites claim it should fix itself within a few months max...). He still acts healthy, so I am quite confused. I've attached blurry pictures but I'm not sure if they will help! -Michelle <Hello again Michelle. From the pictures it isn't exactly clear what's going on, but yes, you can rule out fungus and Whitespot. I would probably go along with a diagnosis of Lymphocystis, but to be fair there are a variety of diseases that can look fairly similar (for example Fish Pox). Without access to a microbiology lab, identifying some of these diseases is very difficult. Anyway, Lymphocystis tends to have a distinct texture (often likened to cauliflower) and the colour is often, but not always, off white, almost coffee-au-lait. Lymphocystis isn't really treatable, and for a fish as short-lived as a Betta, likely will last for as long as the fish will. Lymphocystis is related to a viral infection BUT it appears to be triggered by environmental factors. Water quality and heavy metals have both been implicated. Lymphocystis doesn't really cause the fish any harm, provided the internal organs aren't impacted, which doesn't seem to be likely here, given the cysts are on the muscles at the base of the tail. So for now, concentrate on water quality, optimize diet, and hope for the best. Cheers, Neale>

Betta and Exophthalmia (pop-eye) - 10/07/2007 Hi Crew: it has now been 3 weeks since my Betta developed PopEye in the left eye. I have done water changes daily/every other day in his two gallon filtered tank and added Epsom salt as directed elsewhere. I have done a furan treatment in week 2. I have been keeping the tank at 80 degrees and the water quality is normal across the boards. This morning, the right eye is starting to swell. I read on another website that PopEye can also be caused by tuberculosis. Could you enlighten about this? I am amazed my little fish has kept going so long. He has had problems seeing so I have taken to feeding him in a smaller container while I changed his water. Thanks, Asa <Hello Asa, Pop-eye is caused by a variety of things, but primarily poor water conditions. This is simply a statement of fact. A two-gallon tank is too small to create good water quality. I know retailers sell these tanks, but they really are too small. The number of sick fish I encounter kept in two gallon tanks makes it 100% clear to me that they "death traps" except perhaps for snails and shrimps. It's difficult to keep the water temperature steady, and any filter installed in one will likely be extremely small, so it's ability to remove ammonia will be very, very limited. Unless you're doing 50% water changes DAILY, the nitrate levels of the water will likely be relatively or dangerously high. Adding Epsom salt is not something I would expect to help fix Pop-eye, so can't comment on that. Furan is an antibiotic, and that could help if the problem is bacterial, but it doesn't work with all bacteria, so if a different bacteria, it isn't going to help. An antibiotic often recommended specifically for Pop-eye is Ampicillin, which you can get from some aquarium stores or from a vet. Treatment for Pop-eye takes time, so while it shouldn't get worse once you use Ampicillin as directed, your fish may take weeks to fully recover. You don't say precisely what your water chemistry and water quality is. For a Betta, you're looking at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, <50 mg/l nitrate, pH 6-8, hardness around 5-20 degrees dH, carbonate hardness 3-15 degrees KH. Often overlooked is air temperature; Bettas MUST have humid, warm air above their tanks. A cover glass or similar over the tank should help this. At the same time, the air needs to circulate, so the cover glass mustn't be too tight (in other words, leave it slightly ajar). In the short-term use the Ampicillin, but long term you should upgrade the aquarium to at least 8-10 gallons, and make sure you install a reasonable filter as well. Air-powered sponge or box filters are ideal. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Betta and Exophthalmia II - 10/07/2007
Dear Neale: Thank you for your reply and assistance. This is the 3rd time I have written in and I have followed the directions from your other colleagues and recommendations found on WWM about this subject. Epsom salts are the preferred method to deal with PopEye initially according to WWM experts to relieve the eye pressure. <Hmm... the thing with Epsom salts is that it relieves the pressure behind the eye by altering muscle tone and playing with osmotic pressure. So if a fish is going to get healthy anyway, Epsom salts will speed things up. What Epsom salts cannot do is reverse a critical situation caused by, for example, water quality or bacterial infection. Epsom salt just isn't that powerful. It's kind of like antiseptic lotion: fine for minor cuts, but inadequate for deep lacerations where stitches and antibiotics are needed. So with respect to my colleagues, I suspect your Betta has moved beyond the point where Epsom salts will help. You need an antibacterial or antibiotic medication known to work on Pop-eye, such as Ampicillin. A vet may recommend another.> The fish is in a Marineland Explorer tank with a sponge filter and a BioWheel and a cover. <Sorry, the brand doesn't matter to me. Two gallons isn't an aquarium, it's a bucket. I have no idea why people think Bettas can go into tanks so tiny. The idea they live in "hoof prints of water" as I've seen one person say is nonsense; Bettas live in streams and ponds. Sure, the fancy Betta can't swim so well, but that only means it needs a gentle water current rather than a torrent. It's metabolic wastes are identical to those of any other medium-sized fish like a swordtail or dwarf cichlid, neither of which anyone would keep in a 2 gallon tank.> I did not report on the water chemistry in detail in this message, because it is perfect (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate ( this is lowest it come out of the tap) and pH of 8 - which is the source water,) because I have been doing 50% water changes each day for the last 3 weeks using a vacuum tube. The temperature has been a steady 80 degrees. I age the water and use a dechlorinator. Diet has been a mix of bloodworms, brine shrimp and dried Betta flakes. <All sounds fine. But quite clearly, something is wrong. Even if the water quality is good when you test it, for the 20, 30 minutes after you feed him, it might plummet. Because even brief exposure to ammonia is very dangerous to most fish, over time this can easily cause problems. Fish kept in 2 gallon tanks get sick BECAUSE they're being kept in 2 gallon tanks. There's no ifs or buts about this in my mind.> The problem is that he is not getting better despite all the attention. He now cannot see to eat, but will eat if I but him in a cup where he can grab what's on the top. I wanted to confirm that tuberculosis may be the underlying problem and there is not much else I can do. <Fish TB is incredibly rare among freshwater fishes. People tend to cite it as the "mystery disease" instead of accepting they kept the fish wrong or did something stupid like feed their fish live Tubifex or live goldfish. Fish TB is primarily a disease of advanced marine fishes. It can ONLY be diagnosed by examination of tissues by a trained fish pathologist, so anyone who tells you their fish had Fish TB but isn't a microbiologist is likely talking rubbish. So no, your fish almost certainly doesn't have Fish TB.> The Ampicillin is one more option. <Indeed. Not expensive, and certainly worth a shot. It's been reported as being effective when used on Bettas with pop-eye.> I feel like I have kept him going through all this care, but the outcome will still be fatal because this is more than a bacterial infection. <Difficult to say. But my honest opinion is environmental conditions are at the root of the problem, and the Epsom salt treatment was too weak and the Furan treatment probably pointless because I'm not aware of those drugs being used for Pop-eye at all. Not all antibacterials and antibiotics are good against all bacterial infections.> Best regards, Asa <Good luck, Neale>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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