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FAQs on Betta Diseases 11

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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 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,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Blind Betta?  7/12/06 Hi WWM crew, <Hello - this is Jorie> Have any of you heard about a blind Betta? <It is possible for any fish to be blind in one or both eyes...> I think my Betta is blind in one eye. Well, this is how I reason; 1. His left eye seems to have a 'hole' where his eye was meant to be. I can sometimes see his right eye move but his left eye is definitely not in place. 2. He never seems to look at food dropping in on his left side. 3. If I try to follow him with my finger on his right side, he seems disturbed and hides away. But he doesn't care if I do the same on his right side. 4. Also when he is picking bits of food from the gravel he seems to always turn to his best side to look. <It sounds to me as though he may be missing an eye indeed.  That's OK, though, so long as he can swim and eat, he'll be just fine.> Ok now for my real problem. I keep my male Betta with a few tetras in a 20 gallon tank. Come feeding time and all the food is gone before the Betta even realizes it. So either he is left hungry or he lives on the bits and bobs off the ground. How can I feed him properly? Do they have any sense of smell so he would notice some food? I have to say, sometimes my tank gets dirty quickly because I overfeed in the hopes that my Betta will eat something. <I am assuming we are talking about the same Betta - the one with just one eye?  I'd strongly suggest you house this Betta in his own tank, especially due to his limited seeing abilities.  I would categorize your Betta as a "special needs fish" (lol!), since it will be more challenging for him to feed with just the one eye.  And, when there's competition in the tank, he will likely miss out on food, as you've been noticing.  It's good that you are being so observant, so that you can help him feed before it becomes a problem; of course, the overfeeding of the tank in the hopes that your Betta will get enough food will likely cause water quality problems in the not-to-distant future.  Bottom line, do consider getting your Betta his own home.  I personally like the Eclipse 3 gal. tank for one male Betta...it's big enough to accommodate a 25watt heater (Bettas like very warm water...80 degrees F or so) and has a filtration system built in.  All in all, it should run you around $25-30 dollars (incl. the heater)...a very worthwhile investment, especially in your Bettas situation.> Thank you for your website and take care, Harry <You're welcome, Harry.  Hope I've helped! Jorie>

Eating his own tail? Bettas in vases... not healthy   7/12/06 Hi! <Howdy> I was perusing your excellent website and have come to the conclusion that you just might be the expert advise I've been searching for! <Maybe...> A year ago, I acquired my first Betta fish, Sushi (sheepish grin) to keep me company at my desk job. When I left one Friday afternoon he was in great shape, but when I came in on Monday he was just about floating, his tail all but disintegrated, a victim of the black creeping bacteria that causes tail rot. <Mmm, but from what cause/s?> I rushed him into my local pet store and they saved the day by instructing me to use BettaFix Remedy. <A very good product> It worked wonders, he rebounded, his tail grew back completely and he is now over a year old and healthy. All to say that I am very familiar with tail rot. This summer, I acquired a second Betta, Tango, who is in a separate vase, also at my desk. <... not heated... or filtered...> Although he seemed to be in good health when I bought him, very shortly after moving into his temporary home - a smallish 1L vase - his tail began to get shorter and shorter. Immediately thinking it was tail rot again, I automatically began a Betta Remedy treatment. However, I never saw the ugly black stuff I had seen previously, and after 2 weeks of treatment, the tail wasn't any better. Also, the damage looked like ripped chunks and the edges were blunt and red (he is fuchsia). Furthermore, it was mainly his hind tail, and slightly his dorsal tail, but not at all the belly tail that was affected. Stumped, I discontinued treatment. Since he eats VERY enthusiastically, I thought that perhaps he was growing quickly (which he is) and starving at the regular feeding level, so I fed him a few extra pellets a day. No problems, but the tail kept shrinking. <You do know this species is tropical?> Next, I thought he was bored or cramped in his quarters (I hadn't found my packed box with the big vase in it!) so I went out and bought a big 2L vase and gave him the same kind of set-up as Sushi. Still the tail shrank. Then, one day, I literally saw him slowly turn into himself, then lunge, with his mouth open and have a go at his tail! By this point, it was too short for him to get a chomp in, but I have every confidence that had it been longer, he would have noshed on it! For the last 3 weeks, Tango has been back in a 1L temporary container at home where I could keep an eye on him. I fed him regularly (as usual) and did the usual weekly water change. His tail began to regrow (yeah!) and I thought all was good, so I brought him back to work, and put him back into his big bowl. Last night, he ate his tail anew as when I came in this morning, it had chunks missing again! The only thing I can think of is that he is stressed out by being able to see Sushi - in the neighboring vase. While most of the time they ignore each other, they sometimes go through their posturing act. I haven't, however, ever seen Tango ever go after his tail in this situation. Any clues? <Yes... your Bettas are suffering from living in too-changeable, cold, at times filthy conditions...> PS - I see that you often ask about pH, etc. etc. I do NOT treat my water, as it has been my experience, and the experience of my seasoned (40 aquariums!) friend that the water treatment drops make for better water for the fish, but also for the bacteria and organisms we don't want. <Very often the case. I don't treat my water either...> For delicate water breathing fish she uses drops, but she advised me not to use them for Bettas. Since discontinuing drop use, Sushi has never had another bacterial problem... I guess that<s a vote for our tap water quality! PPS - is there anything safe to clean the bowls and plants with that will thoroughly clean them - I know dish detergent is a no no! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Eating his own tail? Bettas in vases... not healthy  7/12/06
Hi, Thank you so much for your quick response! <Welcome> I would like to delve a little farther into this situation, and clarify for you a few things regarding the care of my fish. <Please do> Sushi (the original) Betta I'm pretty sure had early tail rot when I acquired him and liberated him from the tiny horrible little cups that they are kept in. The water he came in was murky and had junk floating in it. Since his early incident he has never had any problems at all - knock on wood! This is what mystifies me because he is kept in the same conditions as Tango, who is having this one odd problem. <"Variable tolerance..."> To clarify, as well, my vases are never "filthy," they are changed every 5-7 days, and I only feed one pellet at a time so that there is no or very little waste. <Thank you for this opportunity to proffer a better description, descriptive term... Perhaps not "filthy" as in having a great deal of detritus, mulm, waste product accumulation, but as in uncycled... There is a danger in total change-outs on a few counts... The loss of ready nitrification (conversion of fish waste ammonia into less noxious compounds). Another important issue is poisoning from treated tap/source water...> I am also currently using a halogen lamp above the vase to provide light and heat. <Continuously? Do try monitoring the actual water temperature for a few days... if it is getting lower than 70 F., or vacillates more than 5 or so degrees F. in any given day... this is too much> I do not use any cleaning product but rinse and wipe repeatedly with burning hot water, rubbing the vase, marbles and fake plants. Given that they are clean, there is very little food waste, and that they are getting heat, and other than Tango's tail biting, are both seemingly happy fishies (they are lively, swim about frequently and have perky not droopy fins) I remain stumped as to why one fish is great, and one fish is exhibiting this odd behaviour. I was wondering if it is possible that Tango is destroying his show fins as a stress response to being able to see Sushi - perhaps trying to show submission, as a dog would to thwart an attack? <A possibility... though not a common occurrence. As a lad I worked at a Betta "farm"... washing bowls mostly... and these were flat sided, the males in constant view of each other...> Sushi is quite a big dark fish... Thanks again for your guidance! <Thank you for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> And a personal question. Are you related to the famous "Baird" who helped develop the field of ichthyology? http://www.mnh.si.edu/vert/fishes/baird/ Bob Fenner

Betta Troubles Part II 7/11/06 Thanks, Chris, so much for your quick response.  I am very impressed! <Thanks> We took the fish back to the pet store last night and they tested the water and said it was in good shape, so it wasn't the water.   <Next time make them give you the numbers, anything else is too subjective.  Ammonia and nitrite NEED to be 0.> He said that sometimes they just get depressed and die. <Not really.>  Now, this is just PetCo, so I don't know if he really knows what he is talking about or not.  That sounded weird to me. <As it should, a cover so they don't get blamed for either giving bad advice or selling ailing fish.> A friend of ours has a Betta also, and they said that they just use tap water and let it sit 24 hours before transferring him.  So they have two small bowls. <I don't like bowls for Bettas, really not adequate for a healthy life.>  I think we will try this next time.  So, if we let the water sit 24 hours, do we still need the dechlorinator for the tap water? <I would anyways, its cheap and easy to use.  Also depends on what your water district adds to the water.  Chlorine will dissipate over 24 hours or so, but many municipalities are now using Chloramines, which does not dissipate and needs a dechlorinator.> Thanks, Jamie <Anytime> <Chris>

Very Ill Bettas--Kato, Groucho, Angelo and Curious George  7/10/06 Hello all, <Hi there - you've got Jorie this evening.> I am very sad to say that my 3 out of 4 Bettas are very ill. <Uh-oh.>   I had to  go out of town for two weeks and the person who cared for the Bettas overfed them and neglected to take care of their water (same story).   <I have found that preparing individual sandwich baggies containing the exact amount of food for each fish tank is the best way to go when you are dealing with inexperienced, albeit good-intentioned fish sitters.  It looks a bit silly to have a baggie with 3-4 tiny pellets for one Betta for one day, but it saves a lot of headaches and heartaches in the end.  Just something to consider for next time.> Of course,  when I returned I immediately changed their water.   <Excellent.> The next morning, however, one of them was lying on the bottom of the tank and refused to eat.  He has not eaten since then--which was 5 days ago. <Bettas can go even a week or more without food and be OK.  But to try and stimulate his appetite, try using a bit of garlic oil (I use Kent's Garlic Xtreme)...one or two drops either on his dry or frozen-then-thawed food, or a drop directly in the tank.  This is potent stuff...a very little bit goes a long way.  What do you usually feed your Bettas?  If he's not used to it, he might get super-excited about a Mysid shrimp and go for that...>   He did  have pop eye which I managed to treat successfully with salt.   <Excellent!> I read all the fish disease charts and came to the conclusion that he may have a fungus, as  he had a little white film near his gills, so I started him on Maracyn and  Maracyn 2.  He is now hardly breathing and lying on the bottom.  Is  there anything more I can do for him? <I would have made the same diagnosis.  How long has he been on this treatment and how many more doses does he have?  I'd suggest finishing the current course of medication, then changing the water completely, and re-assessing.  I'd suggest Malachite Green as a last resort, as it is very harsh, but it is effective at treating fungus.  One of those situations where the cure may actually kill, though; hopefully with good husbandry and his current treatment he'll make a full recovery.> Another, Curious George, was also  starting to lay on his side on the bottom of the tank but would manage to prop himself up on the suction cup that holds his heater.  I also put him on Maracyn and Maracyn 2, and he seems to be responding to that treatment.  He is swimming more often and still eating. Should this treatment correct his ailment--he has white around his gills, but I can't tell if it is a fungus since he has always had white in that area. <It's always best to finish a course of medication whenever possible.  Unless things take a drastic turn for the worse, keep doing what you are doing.  The resting instead of swimming behavior could be constipation, especially since his temporary caretaker seems to have grossly overfed him.  I'd suggest fasting him for a day or two, then gradually reintroducing food.  You could also try thawing a frozen pea, shelling it and cutting it into tiny bits...this could help clear out his system.  Many Bettas won't touch the pea, though, so that's not always a feasible solution.>   The third, Kato, has an extreme case of fin rot, and I just noticed that he has a small white spot above one eye and his color is graying and not shiny and healthy-looking.  Is this Ich, although I haven't noticed him scratching  against gravel.  Does this call for Maracide with tetracycline added?   I did start him out on Maracyn and Maracyn 2 thinking that this small white spot may be the start of a fungus.  How do you tell the difference between  fungus or Ich? <Fungus is more of a blanket-like covering, whereas Ich typically looks a sprinkling of salt.  It's very rare to have just one Ich spot - based on everything else going on and what's going on with Kato's friends, I'd bet it is the start of fungus.  Again, continue treating as you are, keep the water clean, and all should be well.  Of course keep a close eye on his condition and re-assess as necessary.  You could even bump up his heat to 81 or 82 degrees F (same for his friends); this will generally help recovery, but in the event it is Ich (I don't think so), that's always a good treatment option.>   I have been searching out your FAQ's, but I am so confused  as to what medications are best.  Of course, I cannot find Kanacyn  which I have read about, but if I have to I will order online.   <I'm lucky - I live in a large suburb of Chicago, and we have many LFSs with a good selection of fish meds.  I believe you can order many medications from www.drsfostersmith.com, but if not, do a Google search and you'll find what you need.  Do keep in mind that there really isn't always a perfect medication, especially when you are dealing with antibiotics.  I have personally had success in treating sick Bettas with the "Maracyn" family of medications.> For reference, I have each of them in a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter and a heater. <Yay! This is like Betta-heaven! Why can't there be more Betta owners like you!!! Your fish are very lucky to have you, my dear.> I am also confused as to how much salt is  needed for this size tank.  The directions on the box say 1 T. for a 5 gallon tank, which would be 1.5 tsp. for a 2.5 tank.  But I just read in  your FAQs that 1.5 of a T. is good for a 1 gallon tank.  What is the  correct amount? <When in doubt, go with the more conservative approach toward any treatment or medication.  Remember, you can always add more, but it's much more difficult to do the opposite.  Try the smaller amount, give it some time to work, and gradually increase up to the max. limit if need be.> I am so sad about my little one curled up on the bottom,  and I just don't know what else to do. <You are doing all that you can - rest assured! Bettas are remarkably resilient little creatures...don't give up hope!> Is there a super duper medication I can give him? <I wish there were a "miracle cure", but sadly, if there is, I haven't found it yet (sorry, Marc Weiss, No Sick Fish, etc. - marketing isn't everything!)   The fourth, Angelo, seems to be okay, but I am keeping a close watch on him.   <Very wise.> No, (slaps face) I have not been testing the water,  as they have been so happy for a year now, but I will now start the regimen,  although it may be moot for Groucho. <Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I'm in the same boat in this regard.  In all honesty, once you've established the tank and provided that you religiously do your water changes, don't overfeed, etc., the test kits aren't going to tell you what you don't already know.  In this situation, though, I would recommend double-checking, just to be safe...it can't hurt.  Do be sure the kit hasn't expired prior to using it, though.> I also do a 70% change of water  every 4 days. <Excellent - keep it up, of course minding the medications directions regarding when to (and not to) change the water.>   Any info would be most appreciated. <Valerie, you are a wonderful fish mom, and any Betta is lucky to have you! Keep doing what you are doing, watching everyone closely, and re-assess as needed. Hopefully with your careful attention they will all pull through and be just fine. I'm crossing my fingers for you!>    Valerie--confused moi! <You aren't so confused, my friend...you're doing a great job! Jorie>

Sick Betta?   7/7/06 Hi, <Hello Shari>     I recently bought a male Crowntail Betta fish from a local pets mart.  I have had him about two weeks and up until now he seemed to be very healthy and happy.  However, today I noticed him exhibiting a few signs that I read often characterize sick Bettas.  He has been somewhat more lethargic than normal.  Most of his time is spent either laying motionless at the bottom of the tank or floating at the top.  This behavior is interrupted by brief spurts of activity every 10-15 minutes.  I have also noticed that his fins are constantly clamped and that he seems to be much more timid toward any sort of movement by his tank.        I house him in a 1 gallon tank, change the water once a week, <All the water? No filter, heater?> and feed him Wardley Betta pellets. <Exclusively?> Other than refusing food once a few days ago he has had quite an appetite and I have been careful not to overfeed.        I have tried looking for signs of infections or parasites... however there don't seem to be any. <Likely "just" environmental>   I was slightly concerned with a gold shimmer on his fins when using a flashlight to inspect for velvet but thought it might simply be his brilliant tale coloring because I found no spots on his body (especially near his face or gills where I heard velvet generally attacks).  I have also heard that Bettas sometimes mope or get depressed.  Is this true?  ...and is it normal?      Please help!      Thanks,   Jenna <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Could be this fish is "just new", acclimating... but likely it's world is too cold, changeable to be healthy. Do look into other foods as well... Bob Fenner>

Finrot :( Troubles in babysitting.   7/6/06 Hi again WWM Crew! <Jane... me... Bob, who wishes he were Tarzan, but looks more like Cheetah> Thank you so much from before about my Betta who had Popeye (Sabrina helped me on that one :)). He's cured from Popeye but I'd appreciate some advice on my Betta again if it's not too much. I have a 3 gallon tank with an air pump (no filter sadly so I upped the water changes) and silk plants but prior to the silk plant it had plastic plants (This Betta is actually a friend's who asked me to baby-sit and left me very ill-equipped and informed on how to care for him and gave me plastic plants). She didn't know about temperature for him, that you're not suppose to do 100% water changes every week for this tank... etc. (I am still new at this myself too though). Well now after looking over the internet I found out that plastic plants are bad for Bettas due to that it can tear their fins and what do you know, he tore his fins on it and I suspect fin rot (His tail is looking ragged from a before clean tear) :( and now I have to correct it. From your article on Betta diseases it says that changing water, adding salt, and raising temperature can often yield the same results and I really want to do that to prevent stressing him out... again. :( (I feel horrible). I have been doing about 25% water changes daily to make his water pristine (should I be doing something different?). <Mmm, storing the new water for a week or more will be very helpful> I have also replaced his gravel with some nice smooth marbles and rocks to prevent more tears and gave him new silk plants. <Mmm... marbles and such are actually inferior to "rocky" substrates... for biofiltration and water quality stability... Let me skip ahead and encourage you to seek out a small in-tank power filter... one that will stick to the corners...> I am wondering, how much salt should be in his tank? <A level teaspoon or so...> I am keeping his temp. at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit right now. Please any suggestions would be great and you guys are awesome. -Jane <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta, Curling Fins, Disease? No - 07/04/2006 Greetings WWM Crew! <Hello, again!> The more time I spend on your site, the more I'm impressed. <And probably less impressed with this response time....  please accept my apology....  I fear that your email came to us in a format that few (read: me) in the Crew can respond to, and I've been a bit tardy these last few days....> Thank you for this incredible service to the fish fanatic community! :-) <Thank you very, very much for these kind words....  this means a great deal to me, and all on the Crew.  Thank you.> My 5-year-old daughter chose a male Betta for her birthday last October. His name is Marigold. He is housed in a Betta bowl (which I now understand is not best and will consider moving him) <Please do, thank you.  If you'd like a recommendation, I like using Marineland's Eclipse 3 systems for Bettas.  If the filter is too strong for them (never had that problem with mine), you can put a filter sponge over the intake.> for which she does partial water changes every 7-10 days (although it never appears that it needs it). <Be testing - small bowls like this never truly cycle; should be changed in its entirety every couple of days unless the space is a gallon or more.  If it is in fact less than a gallon, should be upgraded quite soon.> She uses dechlorinated water (tap water set to air out 24 hours in advance) and adds a pinch of aquarium salt. <If your local water treatment includes Chloramine, this is inadequate - you will need something to neutralize Chloramine.  Most places in the US now add this to our tapwater, sadly.> She faithfully feeds him pellets every day. (Another change we'll make now that I know they prefer a varied diet.) <And rather than feeding on a daily basis, consider feeding every other day or so - it's easier to kill a Betta by overfeeding him than underfeeding him.> I've noticed that recently his fins are curling on the ends. I searched your site reading all of the Betta articles and couldn't find any occurrence of this. <Is very common, and not a problem.  Many Bettas get interesting fin formations, either curling or extensions to the rays of the fins, or other neat things.> It doesn't sound like one of the common Betta diseases you explain in detail on the site. Is it something about which to be concerned?   <Nope.  Sounds good to me.> Thank you for your time. <Glad to be of service.> Sophie's Mom <I do hope Sophie and Marigold have a wonderful time together!  Ask Sophie to say hi to him for me.  -Sabrina> My Male Betta (Jovi)   7/3/06 Hi, I have had my Betta for about 4 or 5 months.  I have had no trouble with him until now.  He's always been a lively fish, very aggressive and definitely seems to have his own little personality. <Oh yes> Well over this past week he's been swimming with his body leaning more to the right side.  More recently he hasn't been swimming around as much - and seems to have more trouble doing it (puts more effort into it). <Good observations> He usually swims around watching me and is excited about his food.  Now he barely eats.  Now today, I noticed that his right eye is extremely swollen and seems to have a red outline underneath.  I'm very worried about him.  I hope you have some insight for me.  Thanks, Meghan <Mmm, hard to discern actual cause/s here... But I would be focusing on your Betta's environment, measuring water quality, perhaps adding to its diet... Please do peruse WWM on Betta Systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and Health: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked FAQs files above these articles in the hope of this activity stirring your awareness. Bob Fenner>
My Male Betta (Jovi)... additional info   7/3/06
Hi, I just emailed about my Betta with the swollen eye... and I also just noticed as I transferred him to a smaller tank while I cleaned his that he had a few streaks of red throughout his fins that I haven't ever seen before.  Thanks again, Meghan. <Ah, more evidence of bacterial involvement... but from where? Likely environmental in origin and cure... Bob Fenner> ~Meghan~

Fighting Fish Help! Betta dis., Ich   - 06/30/06 Hello, <<Greetings. Tom here.>> After reading your web site I realized my Betta has the Ich.. white dots all over...I am concerned he might die. <<We won't let that happen. :)>> We have 1 gallon tank with bottom filter and a pump. How much Sea Salt do I need to put in and for how long...? <<I would recommend 1/2 tablespoon for this size aquarium. (The normal recommendation is 2-3 tablespoons per five gallons. Decimally, this works out to between 0.4 and 0.6 tablespoons per gallon, so I'm splitting the difference.) The time period is going to be a bit problematic so I'll explain this at the end of your post.>> How do I raise the temperature of the tank? Can I put it on a sunny spot? <<Don't put your tank in the sun. With a large tank this might not be a big deal, especially if you're fond of algae but, with such a small tank, you'll be warming and cooling the water much too quickly for your Betta's well-being. Good news? The salt alone will deal with the parasite. The downside with this is that the Ich's lifecycle won't be sped up as it would be if you could raise the temperature - safely - into the mid- to high-eighties. Without a heater (which you could always purchase, of course), I would continue the "salt treatment" for three weeks. This may have to be extended if you still see any infestation on your pet. (Side note: If you do a water change during this time, you'll be reducing the salt concentration accordingly. For instance, if you remove 1/2 gallon of water, add only 1/4 tablespoon of salt to the new water. This will maintain the appropriate 0.5/1 ratio of salt to water.>> Thank You! Love Always, Jared & Palma & Sophia <<My best to all of you. Tom>>

Tank thoughts, more "white dots" (for Bob), Bettas in Mini-Bows, Disease   6/28/06 Hi Bob, <Call me "Mr. White Dot" from now on, please. Heeee!> Re: the woman considering getting a Betta for her nephew... I have my Betta in the 2.5g Mini-Bow kit she mentioned.  Based on the very little fishkeeping experience I have, I'd recommend it.  I've had a few, easily remedied problems with this tank, as follows, but the tank is so much easier than a bowl, and it comes with so much stuff, that I'd never trade it back. <Ahh, thank you for this> As could be expected, the incandescent bulb heats the water while it's on.  I replaced mine with a small fluorescent "bulb" meant for an Eclipse 3 tank, and the temperature never fluctuates more than one degree.  Plus, it uses less electricity and it looks a lot better.  We're all happy. <Good, and good suggestion> After a few instances of sudden shredding of Terrence's fins, I suspect that he gets them caught in the filter impeller because he likes to hide in the "cave" underneath the filter.  I've covered the intake with a piece of filter sponge.  (And I gave him something else to hide under, a little plastic bridge.  He loves it--swims through it, lays on it, sleeps under it...) <Quite a character> The tank has a full hood, which does keep the humidity up, but it sort of unnerved me to seal him in like that.  I leave the little feeding door open so there's some air circulation, though that's maybe more to comfort myself than out of necessity.  (And although it's not an issue for Bettas, it's a tall tank, so surface area is on the small side.) <Better than having the fish exit stage up> If you have to take the filter out or move it, unstick the suction cups by wedging something between them and the tank wall.  Don't ever, ever just pull.  The suction cup will come out of the filter and you have to do some serious mutilation of the cup's attachment to get it back in.  And if you don't put it back in, the water that comes into the filter will just go out the hole where the cup was. <Yikes, another statement to be heeded> And there are two noise issues.  Occasionally the suction cup on the back of the filter gets too squished, and the filter makes the whole tank vibrate... I just unstick the suction cup and let the filter settle back down without pressing.  And, the cover over the light may need to be screwed in more tightly so it doesn't vibrate. Whew!  That's a lot of words for such a small tank.  Sorry.  Just thought I'd share.  It took me quite a bit of frustration (and the application of a pocket knife) to fix that suction cup. <Understood> While I'm here-- the dots on Terrence have started to spread, very slowly, and the ones that disappeared when I added salt have either come back, or they never really disappeared at all (sometimes they're hard to see).  So at the moment, I still have Doc Wellfish's aquarium salt at 1 Tbs/5 gallons (which should help if it's Ich or fungus, right?), I've raised the temperature from 80 to 86 over the last three days (for Ich), and I've been keeping the light off (on the off chance that it's velvet.  The salt/temp. killed my Elodea so I don't have anything to lose but some nuisance algae).  ANN is 0-0-10. I read on one of the Betta disease links that during treatment, salt concentration can be increased to 1 tsp/gallon, which would allow me to add another teaspoon to the tank.  Is this possible/beneficial at this point? <Not likely. I do think it's time to move on to Vermifuges, fluke treatments... Harsh, but should show either a cure or on to the next...> I don't want to stress the little guy out too much, especially since he doesn't seem listless and still has a great appetite.  And I really don't want to add medication when I don't know what this stuff is (I'll try to get a picture, but my brother has the digital camera right now.  At least, he's gone and I can't find it, so he either took it or hid it).  But I'm worried now since the spots have started to spread, albeit slowly. What, if anything, would you recommend at this point? <Prazi/quantel...> Oh, and just to let you know since you were concerned about it last time--I didn't get an email response to my last question.  Again, not a problem for me since I read the FAQs daily! :)  I copy/pasted it along with the other responses below. Thanks, and sorry for the long-windedness. From a very rainy NC, Rachel <Wish it would (finally) rain here (San Diego), we could/can use the water. Bob Fenner> Hi Bob, Recently the white mottled patches on Betta Terrence started looking more like white dots... remarkably like Ich, in fact.  Although I obviously wasn't sure it was Ich, I decided to cover my bases by adding salt as a mild treatment: a half tablespoon (i.e. 1 tablespoon per five gallons) of Doc Wellfish's.  (Terrence had had the same amount of salt in his tank a few months ago with no ill effects, though I had already gradually taken it out with water changes.) <Good> It's been five days since I added the salt, and today I noticed that a good number of the dots on his head have faded or disappeared. <Even better> The tank temp is, as always, between 79 and 81 degrees.  Water parameters are the same: ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10 to 15. Is/was it Ich, in your opinion? <Mmm, possibly> I'm horrified he could've had Ich for that long (since mid-April).  I could have introduced Ich with plants from my LFS-- not sure of the date I brought them home, probably early April, but it was before I found WWM and was enlightened about QT. On an unrelated note: I know my teensy system of 2.5g isn't enough to support anything else, beyond maybe a shrimp, but since Terrence is getting old I was wondering what else could be kept in it after he goes to the Big Puddle in the Sky.  My DO is 5.5, which I've read is a bit low, <Tis okay though, particularly for Bettas... Anabantoids are facultative to obligate aerial respirators... can/have to breath surface air...> so I was thinking of getting another Anabantoid, and I read your suggestion to another small-system owner that some species of Gourami would work.  Would a dwarf Gourami be small enough?    <Should be, yes> ('Till then I'm hoping to keep my lone and happy Betta!) Thanks for all you do-- you have no idea how many of my questions have already been answered by the wealth of info on WWM! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Thank you for sharing, writing so well. Bob Fenner>

Question about my Betta... health/disease   6/28/06 Mr. Fenner, <Mel>      Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and concerns.  I normally use tap water for my Betta in a 1.5 gallon tank.  It has an air filter but no heater and his water stays between 75 & 79 degrees almost always. <Toasty for a room setting>   Well I was changing his water and found out that we had to boil our water prior to consumption <?... why?> and earlier that week my dogs got sick.  I was unsure if I should use the tap water for bubbles, my Betta.  So I went and got Ozarka Spring Water and some Ozarka distilled water.  I changed the water and it freaked him out right away.  This made his ph levels and everything almost perfect, before with the tap water the water was too hard.  After changing the water to the new stuff I saw a difference in his behavior, such as eating less and he was hiding from me.  Well yesterday I saw two raised white spots and thought it may be Ich.  I began Quick Cure <Formalin and Malachite... very toxic> immediately but his breathing looked a little weird.  So today I waited and did probably a 20-25% water change with tap water (we can drink it now) and gave another drop of quick cure. I have this metal castle looking thing in their with him.  I want to take it out but I have stressed him enough.  I put about 1/4 of Epson <Epsom, not the printer> salt in there when I do his complete water changes.  The white spots have gone but he is lying lifeless almost most of the time, not eating, and just today he began swimming a little panic like.  Help!!? <... back to the tap water, no toxic chemicals...> Am I doing the right thing, is it too late!  Is the quick cure safe for him!!? <No> Did I mess up and total shock his system? <Yes>   He is my very first Betta and he used to be happy.  He is almost a year old or maybe a year old.  He was a baby when he was given to me and I got to see him grow.     Thanks so much!!!! Melissa <Do take the long read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about my Betta... health/disease  - 06/30/06   Crew, thank you for your response.  I stopped the quick cure and changed his water again about 20-25% with the regular tap water.   <Good> We had a lot of sediment in the well and bacteria that attaches itself to the sediment.  The water test results came back and said it was ok to drink.  This is why I changed his water with spring and distilled.        He is not doing well.  He has not eaten in 4 days now.  What else should I be doing for him? <Being patient> Since he has a little bit of quick cure in the water I do not know if I should add stress coat to help him or just let him be for now and keep gradually changing his water. <I would go the latter route>   He is still laying at the bottom most of the time leaning.  All I can see move is his little gills move a bit.  He appears to look ok other wise.       Thanks again,  Melissa    <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My Betta has hugely distended abdomen ... my msg. has no useful data  - 06/30/06 Hi, Please help, the time is running... I have my Betta for almost one year now. Until now he  has very healthy and active his life. But since about two days he has hugely distended abdomen, he is standing all the times in one place, just under the top of the water without almost any movement (but he is alive). I have not also observed any excrements. Maybe he is over eaten and now has constipation? Is that or it can be something else what gives such effect? How can I help him???!!! Joanna <Here is a Google search of your title on WWM: http://www.google.com/custom?q=My+betta+has+hugely+distended+abdomen&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Read on. Bob Fenner>

Severely Bloated Betta, not dropsy    6/26/06 Hello there, I hope you can help me, please. <Will try> I didn't know fish had personalities until I purchased my Betta, Shanti, almost 2 years ago.  He reacts like a happy dog when he sees me by "wagging" his fins and coming up close.  Very sweet fish. He has been extremely healthy and has been living in a 1.5 gallon bowl. 10 days ago I noticed that his abdomen seemed swollen.  I thought it was constipation so I fed him the inside of a mashed defrosted pea.  He ate it very willingly but regurgitated half 1 day later; and the other half 2 days later.  He does not seem to have had any (or maybe some tiny) bowl movements in these 10 days. Initially thinking it was dropsy, I used meds that had worked in the past with other fish (Betta Fix along with Methylene Blue).  After a few days, seeing little improvement and thinking it was a parasitic infestation, <Where would this come from?> I switched (complete water change) to Quick Cure (Malachite Green, Formalin). After no improvement I administered Gel-Tek's Ampicillin "Medication Fish Eat" but he wouldn't eat it. Lastly, today, I tried Aquari-Sol (soluble copper salts).  Besides today's attempt, I gave the other meds 2-3 days each to see if I noticed improvement.  There has been none. His abdomen is extremely extended.  It is practically translucent and you can see light through it.  I'm assuming he's retaining fluids. <Yes, well-put... Ascites>   He is very sluggish.  Spends most of the time at the bottom of his smaller "hospital bowl" coming up only for a quick gulp of air.  Today I dropped a beta pellet in the water and it's gone, he must have finally eaten.  He has a small open wound on the bottom of the abdomen which bleeds a tiny bit.  (In desperation, I held him out of the water momentarily on a wet paper napkin and placed a drop of the Ampicillin in his open mouth.  That's when I noticed the blood.) Any advice would be extremely appreciated if it's not too late. (Sorry so wordy but wanted you to know what I'd tried so far.) Thank you, Monique <I would treat this fish with Epsom Salt... realize that two years in a bowl is a good long life time for Betta splendens, and read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Follow-up to "Severely Bloated Betta, not dropsy", not reading    7/8/06
Thank you very much for your reply last week (below).  Per your recommendation, as of Monday, 6/26, I added Epsom Salt (0.5 ml per 40oz bowl) to my Beta's "hospital bowl".  After 3 days he started to swim about a bit more, seemed happier, had BM's, and finally ate.  Since then (now 11 days) he has been eating 2 pellets per day.  He seems very hungry , should I feed more? <Does this fish appear "full"?> He has now been swollen for 22 days and is huge.  You can even see veins under the skin against his liquid-filled abdomen.  Is it possible that he may remain this way or is he simply taking a very long time to die? <Ascites can be "chronic" or acute...>   The Epsom hasn't reduced the swelling but seems to have made him more comfy. If it's safe, I'd like to return him to his regular life; in his larger bowl on my desk at work (versus being home alone all day) so we can spend more time together. Should I risk the move? <Up to you... is a risk> Lastly, his water gets specks or flakes of translucent white bits floating in it (dead skin?) and I do total water changes, adding Epsom.  Is that ok? <... I would not make total changes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thank you again very, very much for your help!  I appreciate it. Monique

A Thanks and Success Stories 6/23/06 Greetings from humid Chicago! <Nice day today, and a nice weekend coming up.  Hello from Aurora.> I just wanted to say Thank you for all the time and effort you (everyone) put into the site. <We try.>   My Betta, and work buddy, of almost two years came down with a nasty infection which led to him having Popeye in both eyes and severely swollen lips. He had also stopped eating. <An unhappy Betta for sure.>   I immediately rushed him home that night and treated with new water with Epsom salt added to the water every day. After only 4 days he was looking normal, and after 6 days he was eating ravenously and after two weeks of treatment with just the Epsom salts and water changes he is happy and healthy again. <Nice work and congratulations.> A year ago all of you also helped me get through my first case of Ich in my marine tank. Only having the tank for a year up until that point had caused me to panic from lack of experience. But after treating the effected fish with the proper doses of copper in his own tank and running the main tank fallow except for the inverts for 35 days we were parasite free!! <It's really not that bad is it.  Wish others would follow your actions.> (By the way, the effected fish had been in my main tank for 8 months following a 3 week stay in quarantine. <Not quite long enough, 4 to 6 weeks is better.> He came down with Ich after a water change I had performed. I had never seen Ich in my tank until then.) I know if it weren't for you guys/gals I probably would have been dumping Mela-Broken, QuickCure, Stop Parasites, (aka Tabasco sauce!!) and lord only knows into my main tanks and probably would have killed everything off! Thank you guys/gals again for all the years and wisdom of the HANDS ON experience you all posses!!   <Thank you for taking the time to learn how to properly take care of your fish and not just reaching for the quick and easy "solution".> Sincerely, Heather <Good to hear of your success and please pass on your knowledge and experiences to others.> <Chris>

Betta, Growth On Body/Fin - 06/22/2006 2 years ago I inherited my Betta from a family member.  I knew nothing about fish and have been learning as I go along.  Last month I noticed a white spot on his body by his top fin, since then it has grown into a bulge.   <Possibly a tumor or granuloma....  relatively common on Bettas....> He still eats and his actions are normal.  I have tried adding a small amount of salt to his tank on the advice of a friend and in the last week I have used Furan-2.  The bulge hasn't changed at all, it almost seems to be getting bigger.   <If it is a tumor or granuloma, it is unlikely to respond to any treatment.> Any help or guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. <Mostly, I urge you to maintain optimal water quality for him - ammonia and nitrite ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, in a tank of at the very least a couple of gallons....  Though I can't tell you with any certainty what it is without seeing it or a good image of it, it's my guess, from having seen so many Bettas with growths/tumors like you describe, that this is something that will not respond to medication.  Fortunately, however, it may not affect his health very adversely.  Do keep a close eye on it.> Thank You,  -Katie <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Little White Bumps on a Betta  6/20/06 Hi there! <Hi Amanda in Florida...this is Jorie in Chicago!>   I stumbled across an old archive of yours dealing with possible tumors on Betta fish this morning.  Well, sorry to say I really wasn't able to find much of an answer, even after using the cached Google searches.  So, here is my question. <It's no problem whatsoever to ask the crew a question - all we ask is that you do some research first, which you've clearly tried to do!>   About a week or so ago I noticed that my female Betta fish, Angel, had a little bit of a bump on her lower lip, almost as if it were a pimple.  I decided to keep an eye on it. <Good idea.> Today I go to clean her water, and I notice that the bump has gotten a little bit larger, and a second one has appeared on her "neck" area.  I managed to get three pictures, and have labeled and included them in this e-mail as an attachment.  My question is- Do you think they may be tumors? <Generally the Betta tumors I've encountered are quite large.  Based on what you are describing (I did get your attached pictures, but unfortunately cannot really make out the lumps at issue...), this may be Lymphocystis - a viral infection for which there is no known cure. Other possibilities are Ich, which is a parasite and would appear as a salt-like covering on the fish, or possibly even Mycobacteriosis (fish tuberculosis).  Or, this could indeed be one or more tumors. I have a couple of follow-up questions: what is Angel's setup like? Is her tank heated consistently at around 80-82 degrees F?  If no, it needs to be. And, if we are battling Ich, you could even bump the temp. up a degree or two - this will shorten the parasites life cycle.  In any case, how often are you doing water changes? One thing that will drastically help is to increase the amount and frequency of these changes - poor environmental conditions are very often the cause of many fish health problems.> Or is it something less extreme? Anything I could do to help her? <Improved environmental conditions, increased temp., addition of aquarium salt will all help.  Do some internet reading on the diseases/conditions listed above and see if you can match any pictures with what your fish actually looks like - I just can't tell from your pictures.> She is living in a divided tank with her little boyfriend, Wink. (He only has one eye, hence the name). <Love it!>   They're both happy and otherwise extremely happy and eat like a couple of little pigs.  Any suggestions? <Aside from what I suggested above, I would consider separating the two, in case we are dealing with a communicable disease.> Also, a little side-question... My large Male, Peanut, can't seem to close his mouth.  I've had him for a year and I assume he was a few months old when I got him, so he's probably close to a year and a half.  I noticed it a few months ago, but he still eats fine... I've included a photo of him, as well. <I'm assuming this is the first attached photo - again, I can't see anything wrong, but I'd suggest keeping a close eye on him to see if anything changes.  If he stops eating, changes his normal behavior, etc., then I'd start to worry.  For now, keep up on the good husbandry and I think he'll be just fine.> Thank you all so very much for taking the time out of your day to read my e-mail, and I really hope you can offer me a bit of advice.   <Well, I'm not sure if I really helped this time, but hopefully I've given you some food for thought at least.  Again, I think your best bet is to search the web for some of the diseases mentioned above, and then to compare those pictures with what you can see on your own fish.> Take care, <You too,> <Jorie, Chicago.>

Very bloated Betta   6/16/06 Hello, I'm in desperate need for your help with my little opaque Betta, Sonya. I've had her for a month in a 29 gallon tank with 3 other female Bettas, all of whom were purchased from the same PetSmart store.  I have no idea how old they are.  The 29 gallon has a 50 gallon AquaClear power filter with multi-stage filtration.  Sonya was the alpha Betta until last Saturday night when she suddenly ballooned after feeding.  I immediately moved her into a 5 gallon hex with a BioWheel filtration system.  She is alone in the 5 gallon. Neither tank has fully cycled as they are both new.  Aside from a high pH, ranging from 7.8 - 8.0 (city well water), the readings are normal (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0) and are the same in both tanks, which makes sense since neither has cycled. <Dangerous> The temp is 80 degrees.  Believing she was constipated, I fasted her for 3 1/2 days and put in 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt.   <Good moves> There is no pinecone effect, so I don't believe it's dropsy, but I can't be sure.  The bloating is symmetrical, so I think I can rule out a tumor. <Agreed, likely not tumorous> I'm very nervous about losing her and I want to be sure I'm doing what's best for her.  She is acting normal, swimming about, coming to see me, etc.  After the 1st dose of Epsom salt, I've done a 70% water change.  I left the water totally clear for 36 hours and then I fed her some pea yesterday which she ate eagerly.  Nothing seemed to happen, so I added another teaspoon of Epsom salt hoping to draw out the feces.  About an hour after that, she had a small bowel movement which literally hung from her for several hours.  When I checked this morning, it was gone.  She is still bloated, perhaps even more so now.  She's still active but now it seems she's having more difficulty getting around.  I was worried it still might be dropsy, so today I added Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 to the tank and removed the carbon from the filter.  I fed her a few more bits of a pea this evening and now I can see a very dark internal u-shape on her right side which winds just behind her ventral fins.  Are these her intestines? <Yes> Is this an obvious case of constipation? <Does seem like some sort of gut blockage, yes> It looks like it leads right from her throat, down towards her bottom right side and then back up again.  It's very odd.  I wish I was able to photograph it for you.  I haven't been able to find anything describing something quite like this on your site, or any others. I can't find anything showing me specifically where the intestines are either.  It's been 5 days since she first became bloated.  Are the antibiotics the wrong route? <I might try different antimicrobials... Furan compounds, maybe Nitrofuranace> Could 1 dose of have already killed any tank cycling that has begun? <Not likely with the Minocycline and Erythromycin, but possibly>   I have treated water ready to be put in the tank to flush out the meds and can put a new carbon filter in if need be.  My other 3 fish are doing fine in the other tank and have already re-established the pecking order.  I hate to be so wordy; I just want to get all of the information in that I think you may ask so as not to waste anymore time. Please help. Christine <I would try the Nitrofuranace and continue with the Epsom Salt. Bob Fenner>

Feeling helpless about my Betta  - 06/11/06 Hi there, <Hi Katherine, this is Jorie.> I am at my wits end about my Betta, Napoleon. I spend a lot of time browsing WWM in my free time and I've tried very hard to make Napoleon's environment as close to ideal as possible. And yet he keeps getting fin rot. He had it about a month ago, but then I started medicating him with Furan-2 at the suggestion of a WWM crew member. It seemed completely cleared up by a week or so ago, so I stopped medicating him and it started to look like his fins were growing back with very thin pieces in between the old splits. However, yesterday I noticed that these thin growth was shredding and splitting like his fins did earlier. He clearly has fin rot again, but I was wondering why he keeps getting it. I noted on WWM that it said that these illnesses rarely just "pop up" without environmental factors, but I can't figure out what these factors are in my case. I keep Napoleon in a cycled, Eclipse System 3 tank with Ammonia and Nitrite at 0, Nitrate below 20, and PH of 7.4. It is heated to just above 80 degrees. He has a few fake silk plants in his tank, in which I change 1/2 of the water about once a month now that it is cycled. I feed him 6 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets daily and the occasional pea, he won't eat frozen bloodworms despite my best efforts to convince him. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to take excellent care of my Betta, and he's sick anyway. Is there anything I can change to make him healthier? <Katherine, I keep two Bettas in identical setups (i.e., 3 gal. Eclipse tanks) and the only difference between our two systems is that I do 50% water changes 1x per week, instead of your 1x per month.  I'd suggest upping the amount of H20 changes you do and see if that improves the situation.  I'll be willing to bet your nitrate level will drop further and the situation will resolve itself.  Also, when was the last time you changed the carbon filter in that tank? I change mine about once every 4-6 weeks.  Everything else you describe sounds good...I think more water changes is your best bet here.  Good luck!> Thank you, Katherine <You're welcome. Jorie>

Popeye The Betta Fish - 06/10/2006 Hi WWM crew! <Hi, Jane!> I'd like to say your website is awesome :) <Thank you for these kind words!> I have a Betta (Still new at fish caring) in a 3 gallon tank and upon discovery have found out he has Popeye in one eye. I was really REALLY worried and did a 100% water change immediately and added aquarium salt to his tank with some BettaFix (I have read that it can help relieve swelling and pressure). <This is the same exact stuff (Melaleuca extract) as MelaFix....  I haven't read anywhere that this extract of the "tea tree" has any effect on swelling....> I have also been doing 50% water changes every three days (Is this okay or should I be doing something different?) <This is probably fine, but I would omit the BettaFix in this case and use Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), which will help to reduce swelling.> Also, I have been keeping his tank a steady 79 degrees Fahrenheit. <Excellent.> Well, his swelling has gone down and he's moving and eating more but he still has Popeye :( (my poor baby). I'm wondering... does Epsom salt and aquarium salt have the same effects? <No.  I'd suggest adding 1/2 to 2/3 tablespoon of Epsom salt to the water in this three gallon system.> I have also heard that giving him anti-biotic medication can make his water foul and make him worse (stressing him out from the medication). Should I keep giving him BettaFix if his condition doesn't get any better or should I finish his 7 day cycle of BettaFix and then just continue with the water change and salt? <Get started with the Epsom salt, and I think you'll see some good improvement.  Keep up on those water changes; you're doing great, and with all due luck, your Betta will recover quickly in your care.> I'd really appreciate any advice. I love my baby and would hate for him to get worse :(. Thank you! (Sorry if this was long!) <Just long enough, no worries!> -Jane <Wishing you and your Betta pal well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Busty beta... Betta...   6/8/06 Hello again! The temperature is at 82 degrees because he is sick and the water is filtered by the C-1 pillow rocks which are natural ammonia filters. I hope that's what you were asking after. <Yes> Also, he receives a 90% water change every 2 weeks without fail. <Mmm, better to limit this/these to no more than half... with pre-stored water> I have added a teaspoon of Epsom salts to Earl's water and waited a couple days before writing you back. <Good> I can't report a difference as of yet. What will the salts do, exactly? <A few things... relax muscle tissue, incite flow of food, wastes, relieve intra-cellular pressure... relax the fish> Should I look for any physical changes or is mostly stress relief? <The "bustiness" should "go down"...> I also presume that I do not use the Epsom along with the regular aquarium salts I normally use, correct? One or the other only? <They can be used together safely, effectively> And from what you said, this bloated chest syndrome is fairly standard among betas... is it really anything to worry about then? <Mmm, yes... particularly if you were a commercial breeder... can be pandemic...> Although there IS the whole not eating thing he's doing, or at least, eating very little, but I understand that they don't need much. However, it's unusual for him. Thank you again! Warmest regards, Rebecca <Thank you for this well-written update. Bob Fenner>
Re: Busty beta... Betta    6/14/06
Hello again! I have waited 5 days from the last letter and maybe it is not enough time. I don't know, but I have seen no improvement in my fish. He's even more languid than ever. All he does is hang up at the top of the bowl, <... don't live well, long in bowls generally...> in one place only, and just sits there. He hasn't eaten in a few days now, either. I gave him a water change a couple days ago, keeping more of his old water this time and added the Epsom salts along with his regular salts, but he looks just miserable. I don't know what else to do, he has no life left him in yet he's hanging on. Do fish get depressed? <IMO yes> He *did* lose his long time friend-in-another-bowl recently... a platy that had been around for a long time, since before Earl arrived. He had a separate tank right next to Earl's and he recently died of old age. Would the fact that his view changed have anything to do with it? (I know Jim, the platy, was skittish and different until we got Earl to sit next to him again, as he had been used to another beta named Louie in that place. I know it sounds silly, but Jim was easily effected by his direct environment and what he found unfamiliar. Maybe Earl's kind of freaked out too.. ? Is that even a possibility or total hooey?) Is there any more advice you have to give me? Much thanks and warmest wishes! Rebecca <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Busty beta PART 3
 06/14/2006 Sorry, I used 'bowl' incorrectly. He has a 1.5 gallon tank. Not huge, but I understand it is enough for a Betta. <You've got Jorie this time instead of Bob.  1.5 gal. is a good sized home for a Betta indeed.> I read that link before and quite honestly, I don't know what else to do. His temp is already elevated to 82 degrees (need higher?)... <Between 80 and 82 is picture-perfect Betta temp.> , I've done the water changes (that was the first thing I tried), added the salts; he doesn't show any signs of anything but the body bloat. No parasites, no velvet, no opens sores, nothing. I've bleached everything (added water conditioner to get rid of that, of course), I've changed everything, I have done everything I can think of to do... what else is there? Depression, perhaps, but I really don't want to get another fish for him to look at and I've already tossed the other tank, though he does focus in that direction. <I've had several Bettas and have found that each does have his own personality.  I had one who I would also say was "depressed" - he was extremely skittish and once the cat put his furry face up to the tank a couple of times (the tank was subsequently moved), the fish refused to come out of his little hiding spot.  You could try re-arranging the decor in the tank - this can sometimes bring a Betta out of his "funk" by adding something new to the environment.  Also, you could swap decor - give him something new to play in.  Finally, try "exercising" him with a mirror...for just a couple minutes a day, put a small mirror up to the tank and let him think he has a competitor...this could liven things up, and maybe even give him something to look forward to each day!> He won't eat, not the pellets or the bloodworms. I haven't seen him eat in 4 days. When I check the tank, the food is still there and I fish it out best I can. <Try soaking the food in Kent's Garlic Xtreme (can be found at www.drsfosterandsmith.com) - this can stimulate appetite.  Good that you remove the food not eaten, as this will only pollute the water.> The last possible thing I can do is remove all his plants (a plastic and a silk) and I will do that today when I go home, but his water was just changed Sunday and his ammonia rocks are still new enough, though due for a full change next week. I don't want to keep plying him with chemicals, he's been treated twice already. I'm really thinking it's partly depression. <I wouldn't suggest adding new chemicals/additives either - try the suggestions above and see if you can perk him up.  Worst case scenario, he may just be getting old and slowing down - Bettas do tend to do that.> Can anyone think of anything else I can do short of buying another platy for him to look at? <See above...> Thanks again! Rebecca <On a final note, with regard to your Betta's "bump", I have noticed that in older male Bettas, this can sometimes be a problem...don't know exactly what causes it, likely overbreeding, etc.  I had one Betta live with a huge tumor for almost a year...he was totally unaffected by it, it was just unsightly.  Take a look at www.wetwebmedia.com - the discussion area - and do a search for "Betta tumor" - you'll see lots of info. on this topic. Best of luck, Jorie>

Betta fish, sick? Writer reading? Env. dis.  - 06/07/06 I've had a Betta fish for a few months now and she's suddenly started to act strange.  I would use Google to find out what was wrong with her, but I have no idea what to search. <Try the WWM one: http://wetwebmedia.com/ with the terms "Strange Betta Behavior"> Recently she's begun to flipping out.  She has little seizures (full body twitches, shaking, etc).  I guess that's what she's having, I don't really have any idea what's wrong.  I keep her in bowl (not quite a gallon) <A mistake> and I feed her once in the morning and once in the evening (3-4 pellets.)  When she started to act strange, we bought some medicine at Wal-Mart called Melafix <A further mistake> that we have been using for about 3 days.  She's still acting weird.  Is there anything wrong with her and what?  Should I keep using the medicine I got, or what? Thanks is advance, Alli <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta fish, sick?  6/9/06
After I e-mailed, I kept searching WetWeb and found that my beta's symptoms sounded like the ones of having parasites, so I got her medicine for that and she seems fine, but now her stomach is bloated!  What now? <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta  6/5/06 My Betta was morbidly constipated (belly a larger than a marble) but after feeding him daphnia I thought all was okay.  Just a few days later, he's lying on his side at the bottom of the bowl.  He struggles to swim up for air rather frequently and when he's got his air he just slowly sinks, body positioned vertically, to the bottom. What the hell is going on? <Mmm, maybe swim bladder damage... consequent with the stated constipation> He's lost all color, not white or gold or anything, just very pale red, almost orange! I've read all sorts of Betta disease symptoms and none fit.  Thanks for your time. <My first guess above... cure? Perhaps Epsom Salt treatment... Covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

About my Betta Fish! - 6/5/2006 Hey there! <<Hi Abigail.>> My name is Abigail and I have owned a blue and red Betta fish since around January, so he is particularly young. His name is Fish. I had him in a 10 gallon tank all to himself for awhile, with plenty of gravel, a fake plant, and a lighthouse in the corner. The top of the water was always covered in bubbles and I noticed he was making them, is this normal? <<Yes, and a good thing to see.>> I have read the term "bubble nests" used on here a lot so I am not worried about it. <<Not at all!>> Recently I moved him to a smaller bowl that is about 4 gallons, because he developed what I now know is Pop-Eye in his left eye and I wanted to watch him. <<A bowl? As in an unheated, unfiltered, bowl?>> I changed the water every 3 days, and I have been feeding 5 pellets every night but he hasn't been eating them as I have noticed. <<If he is being chilled, this is not surprising.  He was just moved (unnecessarily in my opinion) which can be very stressful.>> Yesterday the swelling of his eye seemed a lot smaller, so I was pleased, but this morning the infection has spread to both eyes. I am getting an antibiotic for it this afternoon, but is there anything else I should do? <<Keep his water quality pristine, with no ammonia or nitrites, his water heated and tank filtered.>> I read that I need to change the water every three days, and I didn't put any gravel in the bowl so that the antibiotic will have nothing to sit on. Should I though? <<I'm not sure where you're going here.  The most important thing is to get him into a proper setting.>> He is still actively swimming around the tank upright but not as much as before, and he seems depressed. I have 2 Dalmatian Mollies and a male and female Guppy in the 10 gallon tank now with a filter and bubbler set up. I am not going to put Fish back in this tank because I don't want any trouble between him and the Guppies. I am also getting an Algae Eater soon to put in with the other 4 fish. I will put gravel in the tank with Fish when his Pop-Eye is treated though. Should I be worried that Fish isn't blowing any more bubbles? <<He is stressed, and likely housed poorly at the moment.  Correct his environment and you should see improvement. Lisa.>> Abigail

Patches on Betta    6/4/06 Hi Bob, Recently the white mottled patches on Betta Terrence started looking more like white dots... remarkably like Ich, in fact.  Although I obviously wasn't sure it was Ich, I decided to cover my bases by adding salt as a mild treatment: a half tablespoon (i.e. 1 tablespoon per five gallons) of Doc Wellfish's.  (Terrence had had the same amount of salt in his tank a few months ago with no ill effects, though I had already gradually taken it out with water changes.) <Good> It's been five days since I added the salt, and today I noticed that a good number of the dots on his head have faded or disappeared. <Even better> The tank temp is, as always, between 79 and 81 degrees.  Water parameters are the same: ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10 to 15. Is/was it Ich, in your opinion? <Mmm, possibly> I'm horrified he could've had Ich for that long (since mid-April).  I could have introduced Ich with plants from my LFS-- not sure of the date I brought them home, probably early April, but it was before I found WWM and was enlightened about QT. On an unrelated note: I know my teensy system of 2.5g isn't enough to support anything else, beyond maybe a shrimp, but since Terrence is getting old I was wondering what else could be kept in it after he goes to the Big Puddle in the Sky.  My DO is 5.5, which I've read is a bit low, <Tis okay though, particularly for Bettas... Anabantoids are facultative to obligate aerial respirators... can/have to breath surface air...> so I was thinking of getting another Anabantoid, and I read your suggestion to another small-system owner that some species of Gourami would work.  Would a dwarf Gourami be small enough?   <Should be, yes> ('Till then I'm hoping to keep my lone and happy Betta!) Thanks for all you do-- you have no idea how many of my questions have already been answered by the wealth of info on WWM! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Thank you for sharing, writing so well. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lump on my Betta   6/3/06 Hi Everyone, <Elizabeth> Sad news. My beautiful Betta, L'Ouija, died on Memorial Day of lump complications. He is now lovingly buried in the backyard at the base of a pear tree. <A fitting place> My question now is this: I have my small 2.5 gallon tank with the two catfish that lived with the Betta in there. I would like to graduate up to a ten gallon tank (space is a premium in the cracker box I call home) but should I introduce the two present catfish to the new tank? <Why not?> I was thinking that perhaps one of them were the carriers of the lump condition on my Betta. Should I wait, give it time? <Likely not "catching" or transmissible through these cats> What is your advice? Add the two (an albino and a Cory) or keep them separated in the 2.5 tank? <I would add them after allowing the new tank to settle in> I feel that they need to be among more fish but I could be anthropomorphizing. Thank you all, Elizabeth <Bob Fenner>

Busty Betta   6/3/06 Hello from Spokane! <Howdy from overcast S. Cal.> I have what is to me a perplexing Beta problem. Earl, my not-so-colorful-but-very-laidback beta is not doing very well. His chest is very swollen (buxom!) and the scales are protruding a bit, so it looked like a half-case of dropsy. <Not uncommon in B. splendens> (He had this condition a few weeks before I started treating him. I had hoped water changes would be sufficient.) I treated him first with Beta-fix, hoping something light would work. <A good choice> It did not. I waited a week, then changed the water and added a teaspoon of salts. When no change occurred, I treated him with true dropsy medication tablets (he's in a 1.5gallon tank, so these had to be cut down considerably) and treated him as instructed on the box. After the treatment had run its course, I waited another day or two and changed the water. His water is treated with PH balancing tablets since he seems happier with it like that. Currently, he seems dead most of the time. He has eaten extremely little in the past 4 days and can't seem to choke down the really small beta pellets, but is able to eat a few bloodworms. Last night I could have sworn he'd gone to the Big Fish Bowl in the Sky, given how he looked when I saw him after coming home; he as on his side, belly up, at the bottom of the tank. But when I moved the tank to empty it, he woke up. I don't seen any fungus on him or white spots, he's just very swollen and incredibly lethargic, but hanging on. I don't know exact water readings, but he has a heater (80 degrees), he always gets heavy metal remover in liquid format (stress coat/water conditioner), Ph Balance and sea salts. His bottom gravel is mixed with ammonia filtering rocks (I think it's C-1 natural ammonia remover, removed from pillow and rinsed well). I have had him about 8 months, I believe. He has never shared a tank with another fish and he received a brand new tank when I bought him. What else can I do for him? I hate seeing him languish like this. Thank you for your help! I appreciate it greatly! Warmest regards. Rebecca B. <Umm... what temperature do you keep this fish at? Oh, I see... 80 F., this should be fine. It is in filtered conditions? I would treat it with Epsom at this point... See WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ailing Betta 5/27/06 Hello, <Hi> I have been searching the Internet for information about how to help one of my Betta's but I can't seem to find the same symptoms. I have two very beautiful brightly colored Betta's in separate 1 gallon tanks. I noticed this morning that my Betta's tail seems to be a bit shorter than usual.  Usually his tail is long and uneven.  Today it looks even.  When I looked closer, a part of his tail is inflamed, swollen, and looks like it is has black mold on it. The spot shows up on both sides. He doesn't seem unhappy but there is definitely something wrong.  I have been reading about all of the diseases and nothing seems to match up perfectly.  I don't want to immediate him.  What should I do? Tessa <Sounds like a water quality issue.  Keep up with water changes and make sure the tank is adequately heated.  If the spots don't improve may need to treat with a fungicide.> <Chris>  
Ailing Betta Part II 5/28/06
Thank you so much for the quick response.  How often do you recommend that I change a 1 gallon tank? <25% to 50% weekly.> <Chris>

Betta With Fin Rot? - 05/27/2006 Hi, I'm a reasonably new Betta owner who is slightly addicted to your site. I first wanted to briefly thank you for all the advice I've gleaned off of your logs over the months that I've been reading them. <Thank you very much for your kind words, and for reading the site!> I wrote to ask about other things (besides the terrifying fin rot) that could cause ends of fins to sort of disappear and be left with just a "fringe" on the end. I have been under the suspicion that my Betta has had tail rot every once in a while since I had him, because his tail had parts of it that were thinner than others. But I read around online and it said that that could also be fins "growing back" and I had just moved him (about two/three months ago) from an itty bitty bowl to a cycled three-gallon tank with the environmental specifications that are recommended by various sources I've consulted (ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate <20, 77 degrees, PH ok but haven't checked it in a while). Last night I noticed that while he was sleeping, my Betta had sort of gotten "stuck" to the filter in his tank for a while. <Hmm, maybe bad news....  I'd suggest that you consider getting a small filter sponge and cutting a slit in it so you can put it over the filter intake; this will make it less likely for him to get "stuck" again.> I went to bed before he got unstuck, but I know that he sometimes has gotten stuck before and has had no problem swimming away. When I woke up this morning, I went to feed him (I always feed him 4-5 Betta bits and sometimes pieces of pea) about 1/2 of an inch of his tailfin had disintegrated, leaving just a "fringe." <Yikes.> I wondered whether my fish really has fin rot, or whether the filter or some other environmental thing could have hurt him. <If you do see a whitish, maybe fuzzy edge to the damaged parts of the fin, I would suspect bacterial fin rot.  If you do not see this, it may just be from damage from the filter.  Keep your water quality pristine, and get a sponge or something over that filter intake.> My plans for treatment are, as Mr. Fenner tends to recommend, to add salt, raise the temperature, and change the water about 35%. <An ideal plan, I believe.> Would you recommend medication in my case, or do you think that it would be better to leave well enough alone? <Do as you plan to do; I wouldn't medicate just yet.  If after a couple of days the fin is still deteriorating or you see that whitish edge to it still, you might consider medicating with a good broad-spectrum antibiotic.  Hopefully you will not need to do this, though.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Betta With Fin Rot? - II - 05/28/2006
Hi, thank you so much for your speedy reply earlier. <Glad to be of service.> The situation with Napoleon has worsened somewhat, but I'm still not sure it's fin rot. He now has a split up the middle of his tail, all the way (nearly) to his body. But there's still no whitish edge and no fuzziness. I think his swimming might just be causing his already damaged tail to split? <Possibly.  Hopefully the sponge over the filter intake will also reduce the flow of the filter some, so he doesn't have to "work" so much to swim.> Anyway, I was wondering whether you would recommend medication now that his tailfin has worsened, or would you still recommend that I wait a few days? <A day or two, perhaps, and watch it very closely.> I got the sponge for my filter that you suggested earlier and added sea salt, but sometime during the day yesterday my heater broke so I'm returning it and picking up another as soon as someone comes home with a car.  If I were to medicate, I looked around on WWM and I came up with two medications that seemed to be most commonly discussed with regards to fin rot: BettaMax and Maracyn II. Do those sound good?   <BettaMax is a good, easy option to use for small tanks, but unfortunately is not easy to find anymore.  I personally would suggest to look for something containing Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone, if you do decide to medicate.> Thank you so much for your time and help. I really want to try to help Napoleon as much as I can. <Me too!  I'm glad we can help in our little way.> Sincerely,  -Katherine <All the best to you and Napoleon,  -Sabrina>

Possible Betta Medication Blunder  - 05/22/2006 Hi!  My fish and I are in trouble again.  Thank you for being here!  I have a ten gallon tank, AquaClear HOB filter with sponges, BioMax and carbon, Stealth heater maintaining the temperature consistently at 78 degrees, 7 java plants, 1 java moss plant housing 1 male Betta, 10 mo.s old.  Water param.s are:  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH 7.  I change the water 20% every week and swish the sponge, etc. in the siphoned water and vacuum the 1/4 inch of gravel.  About a week ago, my Betta developed a strange red spot on his fin (like blood) I thought it was an injury and the fin is ripped a bit and has a black edge to it, until I notice he had a white patch on his body going toward his tail. He also had a white line that appear to be drawn with eyeliner right under his dorsal fin.  I treated him with KanaPlex (2 measures 2 times) and looked better... I stopped the treatment.  He became pale and also developed a whitish area under his chin which became fuzzy looking when you looked at him with the tank unlit.  I treated the tank with KanaPlex (2 measures) and NeoPlex (5 measures) after doing a 20% water change.  He sits in his bush at the top of the water and barely moves now, he will come to eat, he has eaten so far; however, this morning he wanted to eat and it seemed he couldn't find the floating pellet, he did finally find it with my help and ate it.  I feed him Addison's Betta Pro in the a.m. and Hikari frozen bloodworms and Mysis shrimp in p.m. by hand. <Mmm, your system and treatments thus far sound fine... I suspect there is something else at play here... a source of environmental trouble, poisoning> I have treated him with this combo before successfully when he was sick after I brought him here.  I am wondering if I should be treating him with something else.  I know that I should not have stopped the treatment the first time when he looked better and that I should have finished the complete treatment...my bad.  My concern is that I stopped and then started again and maybe now this combination will not work? <If it was going to, it would very likely have>   Seachem indicated that I should buy Sulfathiazole, which I did go and buy but have not used yet. <Is very safe, can be effective against certain types of microbes> Seachem indicated that I should continue treatment with the KanaPlex and NeoPlex and if that does not clear the problem, I should move on to the Sulfathiazole; however, the local aquarium store says that this is not as strong as the KanaPlex and NeoPlex. <Mmm, but treat different things (gram staining characteristic mostly)... and are largely miscible> I am so confused as to what I should do next.  I hate dumping meds in a tank, to me sometimes it makes the problem worse when I am really unsure of what I am treating and I have already made a mistake with stopping the first treatment short I believe.  I have always trusted your advice, can you please give me a few suggestions?  Thank you.  Sue <Is there something else that has been added to this tank recently? A possibility that a glass cleaner, other aerosol has made its way into the water? I would add a few ounces of activated carbon to your outside filter (in a Dacron bag) and possibly a bit of Epsom salt (covered on WWM), and leave off with the antibiotics and sulfa drug. Bob Fenner>  

Re: Listless Betta  - 05/20/2006 Thank you for your reply! However given that my Betta's conditions haven't changed since I sent my original email, I think I may have misdiagnosed him. He is still fairly active (only a little slower, sitting on the bottom now and then), is still responsive to me and still has a healthy appetite but his swollen lip has (thankfully) not gotten much worse. I thought that the white spot disease was a faster progressing disease and the medication that I have put in the tank [Aquarium Science brand White Spot Remedy (three day - formaldehyde and malachite green) - half dosage do to Bristlenose] does not seem to be making much difference. <Powerful, toxic components...> It still looks swollen but the white stuff is now kinda fluffy looking. Would it be some kind of mouth fungus? <Mmm, possibly> I considered changing his medication to a fungus fin rot medicine that I used before or maybe trying some Melafix in the water? <Am not a fan of this "tea"> Can you combine medicine in the one tank? <Some can be mixed, others not> I haven't tried it cos I wasn't sure especially with Bristlenose in there as well. I always add Epsom salts as I have had great success with this. <This is a safe, and often effective remedy> I'll attach some pics but I don't know if they will help. Thanks for your help. <Bob Fenner>

Betta, Fast-Acting Fin Rot - 05/19/2006 WWM crew, Thanks for all the previous help, it's been a long time since I've needed to send you guys a question! <I'm glad we could be of service.> I received a few betas in the mail recently.  One arrived with a severely blown tail.  I put him in my 5.5g quarantine tank which has only a sponge filter, heater and thermometer in it.  I added .5 teaspoon of salt, extra Stress Coat and Cycle, and Melafix,  then set the heater to 78F.  I've been feeding him freeze dried blood worms and daphnia, I wanted him to have plenty of protein and stayed away from flake/pellets.  He never acted sick at all, ate well, curious about the filter all the time, etc.  His caudal began to show some improvement with some clearly visible growth at the edge nearest his body, and a few clear spots near the edges.  I changed 50% of the water every 3rd day.  It's now been 2 weeks and a few days.  Yesterday I tested and did the scheduled 50% water change, the ammonia was .25 as was the nitrite, nitrate 0.  This is not abnormal in the quarantine tank, since there's nothing in it to keep the cycle going until I need to *use* it.   <You can keep a/the sponge filter in one of your main tanks to transfer over to the quarantine system when you need to use it - keep on top of the water changes for now and keep ammonia and nitrite at zero.> Today he looked odd to me, his fins have begun to curl at the edges (of which there are many since the tail was split down the middle and frayed around what would be the normal edge) which makes it look markedly smaller and much worse.  I noticed some brown around the curled edges and retested the water today.   <In all honesty, I have seen quite a number of betas with damaged/regrown fins that ended up with really funky finnage....  crazy bends and curls, and so forth.> Ammonia was just slightly more than 0, and the nitrite was 5!!  Nitrate was still 0.   <Tank is cycling....> This caused alarm and I proceeded to test my source water for nitrites and ammonia. they were zero.  I then did an immediate 75% water change.   <Good.> I think I left out the salt when I mixed his water the yesterday, could this cause such a severe deterioration in his condition?   <No.> I searched for information on fin rot, since this is what it's looking like to me now, which I half expected but thought I'd prepared well for and had inhibited bacterial or fungal infection.   <You'd need more than half a teaspoon per 5 gallons to be of therapeutic value; perhaps closer to a tablespoon.> I have not found enough information, and so treated his tank with a fungus medication containing: Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate, according to the directions on the package.  This is literally the only medication I could find that would relate to this issue, and I bought it as soon as I unpacked him and realized he'd blown his tail as a safeguard.   <This is a good "mix", really.  Relatively gentle antibacterial medication.> I really was not planning to use it.  His water has Melafix in it also at the dose for "wounds," and has had since he arrived.   <I, personally, prefer not to use Melafix.> Is there anything else I can do for him?  If the downward spiral I found today takes hold, it will be a matter of days before the rot reaches his body.  I mixed .5 teaspoon of salt into a cup of water and added that to his tank as well.  I think that's all I've done to this poor fish so far.... sad that most of it was in the last 48 hours!  Should I be adding more salt than this?   <Yeah, I would, to tell you the truth.> His regrowth was evident just a few days ago, and is now only visible where it began near his body.  Everything was going very well.  Any advice will help.  Thanks,  -Kelly <If the fins really have deteriorated that much, I think it was a wise move adding the antibiotics.  You will NEED to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, even if that means a water change every day, so please do keep this in mind with how it will relate to the medication and keeping the right dose in the tank.  Hopefully you're on the right track here, so far; keep going as you are, and hopefully he'll come around for you soon.> Ps.  The reason the Fungus medication is the only thing I found: I live in the middle of nowhere, Wal-Mart is the best I can do for a "LFS" around here, and that is a 55 mile drive.... one way. <I do understand, believe me.  You might want to consider looking at mail-order options, as well, or perhaps keep a few things on hand.  I'm glad the fellow's in your capable hands, and I hope he shows improvement again soon.  Wishing you and your Betta pal well,  -Sabrina>
Betta, Fast-Acting Fin Rot - II - 05/21/2006
WWM crew, Sabrina, <Good morning, Kelly!> Thanks for the vote of confidence.  He's showing marked improvement after these 2.5 days with the antibiotic/antifungal meds and increased salt.   <Excellent!!> I also raised his temp to 80, and added a mass of Anacharis to help with the ammonia and nitrite levels between the water changes, which seem to be stabilizing.   <A good move.> I'm a little concerned about putting the sponge from the QT tank into my main tank after bacterial/fungal issues....are you sure I should do this?   <Mm, only if you sterilize it first....  or you can use a new one.> Maybe just bleach it and then let it colonize in the main tank for the next battle?   <Right, perfect.> Could you elaborate on why you dislike Melafix?   <How to state this....  Firstly, this is purely my opinion....  I've not seen enough convincing evidence that it really is of benefit to use for treating disease.  Though Melaleuca/Tea Tree extract is thought to have some mild antifungal/antiseptic value, I am really uncomfortable using something with that much of a "maybe" behind it to medicate a pet with known problems for which there are known remedies.> I'd also like a recommendation of the length of time I can keep the meds in the tank, I don't want to overdo it, but I also don't want to stop prematurely and cause a relapse.   <I understand.  This can be a frustrating/confusing issue.> The package says nothing of extended treatment, only that after 4 days "a second dose may be added" after a 25% water change.  This says to me that the meds are no longer very effective after four days, or that it is safe to increase concentration after exposure for four days. <A lot of the medication will have broken down after four days; what's in the tank will be pretty much of no real use.  You can do the 25% water change and then add another full dose as stated on the package, I believe.> They are not specific on the matter, of course.  I've kept the same dose concentration throughout water changes as the package describes for the original treatment.   <Ah, I see.  Perfect.  Keep on doing as you are doing, then, and see if you can find "Fish Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment" by Noga or "Aquariology: The Science of Fish Health Management" by Gratzek et. al. and see what they have to say about dosages for the ingredients the medication you're using.> I am a veterinary tech. and logic tells me that increasing the concentration is a no-no....we don't do that to dog and cat medication.   <Right.  The only big difference here is that the medications break down pretty quickly in water and become ultimately ineffective.  That's why it's okay to re-dose after a time.> By the way, is fin rot a bacterial infection or fungal or both?  I keep reading and getting more confused about who to name as the culprit.   <Well, usually, it's an environmental issue to begin with that often develops into a bacterial complaint.  It's usually not caused by a fungus.  But, being a vet tech....  If you've got a good friendship/relationship with a vet, maybe they'd let you get a bit of it under a microscope next time around?  That'd give you a definitive diagnosis that you could then look up to find an appropriate treatment.  The biggest problem with medicating fish is that many times, folks mis-diagnose the problem.> Would I actually see cloudy white "growth" if it is fungal?   <Probably not so much....  In my experience, fungal issues are usually a little grainier and maybe a bit more tan in appearance.> Thanks again,  -Kelly <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you and your Betta pal well,  -Sabrina>
Bloated Betta - 05/17/2006 Hi, <Hello.> Today I found one of my Betta fish bloated and very puffy.  He is at the bottom of the tank upside down and can not keep up right unless he tries to swim; then he is only able to do that for a very short time.  Do you know what is causing this or what I could do to help? <Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .> Karen <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Another Bloated Betta - 05/17/2006 Hi, <Hi there.> I don't know if you can answer my questions, but here goes.  I have a male Betta.  I have had him a little over a year.  I have changed nothing in the way I care for him.  All of a sudden he has gotten huge.  He looks pregnant.  Any ideas? <Yes, actually.  Many possibilities here.  Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm .  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Overmedicated Betta - 05/17/2006 Hi!  I am sorry to bother you with another question (this is my third since finding your site 5 months ago).  I have a conundrum, and could really use some expert advice/suggestions.  I have a female Betta splendens.  She was in a 20 gallon Long tank with a neon blue dwarf Gourami, a dwarf Honey Gourami, and 4 male Betta Splendens (3 standard and 1 Crown Tail).  They, of course, were all separated by dividers.  Each section has its own filter (2 Stingray 5's,  2 Whisper 10i,  1 Whisper 5i,  and  1 Fluval 2.  Each section has at least three fake (silk or silk/poly blend) plants and an ornament of some sort.  Two have 'barrels', one has a 'mountain', etc.  The only thing I made sure of was that each ornament was aquarium safe and had at least 2 holes that the fish could fit through (was worried after reading that Betta could get stuck in small ornaments and drown).   <I've seen Bettas get stuck....  Not fun at all.> Midnight (my girl) was in the center section.  She was coming up to eat twice a day.  She'd also adapted to the feeding ring (they each have one in their sections).  Then over 3&1/2 weeks ago she came up to feed, and I noticed her eyes looked wrong.  I checked her the next day, and it was obviously exophthalmia (Popeye).  I pulled her from the tank, and moved her to a sick tank.  The 20L is cycled.  Its numbers are usually Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: >10, PH 8.0.   <pH is a touch higher than I like to see for Bettas, but not bad, really.> I usually do a 25% to 30% water change weekly.  Now, your asking what exactly is "usually".  My boys are big beggars.  The Bettas have the 'look' down, and the Honey has cuteness as a weapon.  The Neon-blue dances under the ring, and literally spits water up through the ring when I lean over the tank.  The water jet doesn't come up that far, but shocked my husband the first time he saw Nemo do it!   <Neat!> He also has a partially amputated ventral fin/tendril, which he waves at us while doing his dance.  So anyway, I sometimes tend to overfeed them, usually when frozen foods (bloodworms or  brine shrimp) are involved.  They know it, and work it.  When this happens, the next day, sometimes I get a .25ppm Ammonia or a .25ppm Nitrite reading (typically just one or the other).  When this happens, I do an extra water change right then.   <Yikes.  Good move.  But stop overfeeding - it'll cause more harm than good.> So, back to Midnight.  I started her with a freshly set up small sick tank (2 gallons), with heater, light, her favorite fake plant, small airstone, and mini power filter (without carbon). I added 1&1/4 tsp API aquarium salt.  The water was matched to the same Ph and Temp. she came from (77degrees). Then, over several hours,  the temp was raised to  80 degrees, and has been maintained at that since.  The next morning she looked worse!  Her eyes were bulging so badly, that I thought they might dislodge from the socket.  I did a 50% water change with salt to keep the 1 tablespoon/5 gallon ratio, and added Mardel's Maracyn 2.  Within a few days, she had white muscle? coming out from behind the eyeballs, and they'd swelled out even further.   <Yikes.> I started adding Maracyn  with the Maracyn 2.   <Though the packages SAY these can be added simultaneously, it's often "too much" for the animal....  Can actually cause worse reactions than it helps, sometimes.> That didn't change anything.  When the cycle was up, I started her on TriSulfa.  She'd also started to loose pieces of her dorsal and caudal fins, so I added Maroxy at the same time.   <Too much, too many medications....> By the time the TriSulfa 5 days were up she was a disaster.  I admit to total panic at this point.  I'd been keeping up her water changes, med doses EXACTLY in the amounts listed.  I'd kept her aquarium salt level stable, and she was getting worse.  Every time I thought her eyes couldn't get any further out without bursting, they did, and the white muscle (maybe the orbits?) was out more than the eyeball  on one side.  All her fins were showing tears, or missing pieces, and some of her scales were coming off.  I'd find little black pieces in the water, and it took me a while to realize they were scales.  Then the areas missing scales got a white stuff covering them, and also in-between some of the scales that she still had (sort of looked like it was outlining them).   <Yikes!> I was starting to get desperate.  I found the Epsom salt treatment for Exophthalmia on your site, and started that in addition to the salt.   <GOOD.> I also begged my vet (we have cats that he's been seeing for the last 8 years) for meds.  He was kind enough to give me a prescription of Baytril (Enrofloxacin) tabs.  I crushed them up and added them to the tank for 10 days.  The Baytril and Epsom salt (one or both?) reduced the swelling in her eyes within a few days.   <Whew!> She has never shown any reoccurrence of the Popeye since, and the white muscle went back down as well.  Her fins still look terrible, but they also stopped disintegrating.  She seems to have stopped losing patches of scales as well.  I went back to just the salt, figuring she was on her way to being better, then I saw a yellow thing come out of her vent, with a yellow fluid cloud (I assume urine) around it.   <Mm, not urine....  Fish don't urinate.> The best I can describe it is that it looked like a small blood worm, with segments, but yellow and not as thick in diameter.   <Hmm....  Did this thing come out completely, or not?  Possibly just oddly colored fecal material?  Did you get it under a microscope?> We began to think parasites?   <Only one possibility....  Don't jump to conclusions; wait for certainty.> I've tried Maracide, Formalin,  and now a parasite remedy by Kordon.   <Yikes....  This fish has been through far too many chemical cocktails....> She's expelled two more things, since the first, over the last week or so.  The second was much smaller, but the third, passed yesterday, was bigger than the first, coiled, segmented, and darker yellow.   <Are you POSITIVE this is not just fecal material?  Can you collect one and have your vet look at it under a microscope?> She still has the white stuff, but only on and adjacent to, the scaleless areas, and her fins are not getting worse, but not growing back either.   <Regrowth of the fins may take a LONG time.> The white stuff was never fluffy or cotton like, always flat.   <May just be a filminess to the skin from so much medication....> She also isn't eating, so I've not been able to use any of the medicated food.  I have four books on fish diseases now.  Not one has been of help, since I don't have the ability to do test slides, or an autopsy of a "similarly effected fish".   <But if you can get one of these yellowish things to your vet to view under a microscope....> I've tried more antibiotics, antifungals, and antiparasitics than I care to ever learn to pronounce properly.   <More than your fish is pleased with, I'm sure.> I also understand that the Baytril is supposed to be effective against internal parasites as well?   <Mm, no, I don't think so....  but could be wrong here.> It doesn't seem to be, unless 10 days wasn't enough time?   <I am not convinced that the fish has parasites of any sort, as yet.> That stuff is not cheap!  I feel like she'd be able to recover is she'd just eat!   <As over- and mis-medicated as she's been, she's probably not up to eating.  This is more than likely the reason she won't eat.> I've Goggled countless sites, and not seen anything about Bettas surviving for more than a month without food.   <I'd be pretty surprised if that were true; they need some sort of sustenance.  A month is a little long, I think.> As I'm getting into the month time frame now, I'm frantic.   <I would be, too.> I've tried flakes, small pellets, regular pellets, medicated food, whole and crushed, for all tropical fish, and for Bettas specifically.  I've tried (defrosted) frozen brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms.  I've tried freeze-dried krill, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, along with  pieces of real shrimp and real scallops (fresh from seafood market, and diced, without any seasonings).  I've also tried soaking the foods in Seachem's Garlic extract.  Nothing!  She ate 1 brine shrimp about 1 to 1&1/2 weeks ago.  My husband saw her do it, and there was one poop in the tank the next day.  It is the only one I've seen since this started.  He thinks she ate it by accident, as she was in her whirling stage.  This was a period of 5 days or so, where she swirled and whirled everywhere she went.   She spiraled up to breathe, and spiraled down after.  She swirled and spiraled going from one end of the tank to the other.  This stopped after the Baytril, and it hasn't come up again, since.   <Sounds just that she was listless, disoriented.> She's not very graceful, since she is missing most of her dorsal fin, and has chunks out of her tail, but definitely no more whirling or swirling.   <Good.> She also was spending a lot of time hanging upside down, wedged between the air hose and tank wall.  She doesn't do this as much now.   <Also good.> She still has enough energy to throw herself around the tank when I approach her.  She's actually thrown herself out of the tank on three different occasions.   <Yikes!> It started with her rushing me when I opened the lid.  I think she was maybe unable to judge how close to the edge of the tank she was throwing herself.  My husband says she was probably trying to commit suicide, <Nah, just trying to find water that doesn't have a chemical concoction in it!> since I've been 'tormenting' her for almost a month.   <You were not tormenting her, just doing all you knew at the time to do.> If you have any ideas on how to get her to eat, or what is wrong with her, or another treatment(s) to try, PLEASE let me know.   <In reality, NO MORE medications.  Overmedicating is WORSE than not medicating for something.  I would keep a small amount of aquarium salt in the water, and nothing more, at this point.  If good water quality alone does not help her at this point, there really is nothing more you can do.  PLEASE stop medicating this animal; in all honesty, the various medications have probably had more negative impact on her than any illness she's experienced thus far.> I've already had to euthanize two fish since the beginning of this year, and I really, really, hate doing it.   <Me too.> I don't think I'll ever like the smell of cloves again, and I know I don't look at the freezer the same way now.   <Understandable.> Thank you for any help you can send my way! <I do hope for the best for your pet.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Betta fish is sick? old? PART II   5/14/06 Thank you for the quick response. <You're welcome - sorry this one wasn't as speedy...> His tank has always been heated w/temps between 78 & 80 degrees. <That's great for a Betta!> I've been using only the "Master Test Kit" to test the water on all my tanks for the last 9 months because of its accuracy & that you can test not only for ammonia, but nitrate & PH levels; <Excellent - I like this test kit, too.> I have religiously changed the water once a week, and the ammonia levels were always at zero. <Perfect!> In having gone to numerous websites, on Saturday (5/6/06) I added 1Tbsp of Epsom salt to ease the eye inflammation & 1Tbsp of salt & Melafix to help healing; I've also read about using Maracyn-Two. <Yes, yes and yes.> My Betta's (Mr. Betta's) appetite is good, although he's not active as he was one week ago; a truly am at a loss for what is wrong. I have 2 fancy goldfish in a 30 gallon tank (which FINALLY cycled - such messy but adorable fish) and some platys & Danios in a 10 gallon tank (platys just gave birth so a have the 2 babies in a 5 gallon tank), but Mr. Betta was always my healthiest & easiest fish. <I've found the same thing.> Should I try the Maracyn Two before trying the Tetracycline or see how he does w/the Melafix? <Maracyn-Two is a combination of various antibiotics, and would serve the same purpose as Tetracycline.  Unfortunately, there's no magic in determining which antibiotic will best help an ailing fish.  Either of these two drugs would be a good first choice.  Due to the delay of my response, if you haven't yet seen an improvement in Mr. Betta, I would go ahead and medicate per the dosage instructions (obviously, just one antibiotic or the other - not both!) Thank you for your help.....Susan    <Hope all is well.  Jorie>

Better Betta  5/11/06 Hi Bob, No questions, nothing pressing, just thought I'd let you know about the (good!) changes in the tank. I changed out my 15-watt incandescent bulb for a 10-watt fluorescent.  Not only does it look great (Betta Terrence looks neon blue now!), <I'll bet!> the Elodea is looking greener (maybe it's just the better light making it look that way but I'd like to think it's healthier), and best of all the temperature never varies more than a degree up or down from 79, whether the light is on or off.  I don't have a heater, so I'm surprised at how warm it stays, but I've gotten the same temperature from two different thermometers.  The room IS rather warm now that I think about it.  (I talked two friends who have the same tank kit into getting the same fluorescent "bulb" and they're just as pleased so far.) I gave the gravel a good vacuuming.  I didn't make a clean sweep of the whole thing but I was surprised at how much junk I got out.  I also changed the filter carbon.  And ta-da, nitrates are now below 20.  (Ammonia and nitrites still 0.)  I think a snail harvest is in the near future... I'm trying to bring the nitrates down as far as I can. I scraped a good deal of algae off the tank walls and it doesn't seem to be growing back as fast.  And I found a Ramshorn snacking on what was left. Thanks for all your help!! Rachel (Terrence's mom) <Yay! Thanks for the update. BobF, out in HI>

Sore or tumor on my Betta fish  - 05/10/2006 Hello, <Hi there> I have attached two pictures of a sore (maybe a tumor?) that I have spotted on my Betta fish a day or so ago.  I noticed signs of dropsy almost two weeks ago and started treating him with Maracyn Two (I also treated with Maracyn for one 5-day cycle at the same time as the Maracyn Two).  He no longer has the "pine cone" effect to his scales and is eating two pieces of food twice a day.  He's been swimming around and is quite active when I come near him. I've had Roger (my Betta) for about 15 months and this is the first major problem I've had (I have treated for fin rot on and off).  This is my first fish and I'm certainly no expert.  Through my reading, I understand that once dropsy is displayed, it's usually too late for the fish. <Yes>   I'm wondering if what I'm seeing now is an effect of the disease that may have caused the dropsy? <Likely is related...> I'm sorry the pictures aren't very clear, but he's not a fellow who generally likes to stay still.  :-) I appreciate any help you can give.  What bugs me the most is I just don't know what it is and if it's hurting him! Thanks for your time. Christine <Most likely good care is about all that can/will serve your Betta here. There are no medicine applications I'd advise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sore or tumor on my Betta fish  - 5/11/06 Hi Bob, <Christine> Thank you very much for your prompt reply!  When I got home from work today, I looked at Roger and the "tumor" (for lack of a better description) has fallen off.  I'm not sure if it did it of its own accord or if Roger rubbed against a plant, but now it just looks like there's a very tiny amount of it left on his belly.  I'm not sure if it's a cut or something, but there is no red indicating any blood. <Very good news> I'll continue to give him the best care that I can.  He ate two pellets of food tonight and seems to be swimming around happily. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my question! Christine <Thank you for sharing, this update. BobF>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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