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FAQs on Betta Diseases 14

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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 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, 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

Betta 911... Senescence? Ammonia, Nitrite, Sanitizer poisoning?   3/1/07 ** High Priority ** Hello,   I am so sorry to bother you again. I wrote you before about my Betta who is about two years old. He lives in a bowl, with a mini heater and a silk plant. He lives alone. I treat his water with chlorine/Chloramine detoxifier and I clean his bowl about twice a week now. Earlier, I had emailed you because he was listless and starting to have a red coloring spreading over his belly. After reading your previous helpful email, I installed the heater, cleaned more often and the coloring went away. But since then, he hardly has any appetite (he has eaten 1 pellet for two days, out of this whole week), he barely swims, he does not make any bubble nests, and he rests either at the bottom or on a leaf of the silk  plant. I really hope there is something I can do for him. I am very worried that I will wake up tomorrow and he will be gone. I just hope that it isn't something I did to cause an early death. The last thing that I have noticed with him is an iridescent scale coloring, just making him almost shiny. Its spread to his tail and over his gills and some of his body. He also swims erratically and not very efficiently. Is it too late to save him? Please please help! Thank you SO much for your time, ~~Carlene, a very worried friend <Mmm... might be just "old age"... but this system is still not filtered... Likely a nitrogenous poisoning going on as well as compounded stress from tap-water changes... Please read (again): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta 911   3/3/07 Mr. Bob Fenner,   I just wanted to let you know that Strawberry has a new home! It is between 20-30 gallons, with active filtration and a static heating system that keeps his tank around 75 degrees. <Yay! I would raise this up to the low 80's F. for now...>   I hope this helps him! Though he is still not eating, and is still lethargic I am hoping that once the stress is gone, he will be a very happy fish! Thank you very much for motivating me to clean the tank I've had in storage for awhile! ~~Carlene <Thank you for your diligence, determination... and sharing! BobF>

Betta problem, no useful data  - 02/21/07 I've had this particular Betta since November, and from what I've read on the FAQ, he was probably sick when I bought him-- he's always been kind of small and skinny, and at first he was unable to swim to the bottom of the tank and commonly floated on his side. <?> By about January, he was better and able to swim more freely; he seemed just as healthy as my other Bettas. Now however, I've noticed that in the past couple days he's started becoming listless again and he has what looks like a little sore just above his top fin. His color is kind of a dark purple where the sore is, and the sore is whitish pink. Is this a bacterial or fungal infection or something else? <Maybe> And how can I treat it? <... depends on "what" it is... What re the environment? Water quality, tests? Nutrition, foods, feeding...> I took some pictures, but the its hard to get a clear picture of the sore, and my connector cable seems to be missing... am trying to find it. Thanks for your help. Emily <Not enough info. to do more than guess... Take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

My sick Betta   2/20/07 I found you online and hope it's OK to write. I have my very first  Betta fish and he has what looks like a necrotizing skin disease:  started like a big pimple, then seemed to explode into white, cottony  tufts. Now it's spreading toward his front gill and eye. It just  keeps spreading and sloughing off, and spreading again. I have tried EVERYTHING I know (and that's not much) including  malachite, Ick cure, broad spectrum anti-biotics, sea-salt, etc. to  stop it from spreading and am at a total loss now. He was responding  to food until a couple of days ago. He did eat a little today, but he  is listless and hanging out in his little castle. He has a nice tank, good size (3 gal) and I change his water  regularly. I vary his food, keep him warm, <How? And how warm?> flirt with him.  He was a  funny, active fish and this is KILLING me. I cried myself to sleep  last night. I am devastated that I cannot cure him. I feel like such a  failure. <Mmmm> Do you have any ideas as to what he has and what I can do. I'd  appreciate ANY suggestions on potential cures and where to find the  appropriate medications. Thank you so much. Lynda <Not enough data to make a guess... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta Popeye with huge puss ball under eye  2/19/07 Hello, My Betta has had Popeye for about 10 days. <A long time> I tried Epsom salts for a few days. <Good> Then marycyn2, with no results. <Mmmm> For the last 6 days I used KanaPlex, and his eye has gone down greatly, but still Popeye. <Sometimes these cases can prove quite persistent... You did raise the water temp.? I would... to the mid 80's F.> Last night he had a tiny white protrusion under the Popeye, which was never there before. This morning, it was a huge puss ball. It opened, and now he has a hole there. I did a half tank water change, and resumed carbon filtration, along with 3/4 t. of Epsom salt, hoping it will help heal the hole. His tank is 3 gal. Was the puss drawn out from an infection behind his eye? <Mmm, maybe> Should I retreat with KanaPlex, and how soon?  Thank you from us both, Ann B. <I would raise the temperature as stated, and try adding Maracyn I (Erythromycin) here... is miscible with the other Mardel product. Bob Fenner>

Another Cold Betta  2/19/07 Hello, My Betta has been with me for a year I don't really know how old he is. He lives in a glass bowl, with a plant, glass stones, I change his water once a week, no heater but room is always 70 ,feed him 2 times a day contains 6 pebbles a day, for the last week, he has not been eating, I thought because it has been cold. <<Betta's are tropical fish. I do not know how many times I can reiterate that Betta's must be kept in heater, filtered aquariums, NOT bowls.>> Then had noticed he had some discoloring on his face and chest .Then the next morning he was on his side. <<Likely environmental.>> That day I followed your Clorox dip <<?? Whose Clorox dip? Certainly, you did not dip your fish in Clorox??>> because I thought he has fungus and went to my local pet store and bought fungus killer. <<Treating fish in un-aerated, unfiltered tanks can be tricky.>> It has been 3 days since. I had also tried to give him a pea, he didn't want it. Please help.
<Please get your poor fish into a proper environment.  I am exceedingly concerned about the dip you talked about.  Please explain and link me to the article you are talking about. Thanks, and good luck. Lisa.>>
Re: Another Betta Question
 2/18/07 To the wise WetWebMedia Crew: <Howdy> I emailed you a while ago about my Betta, Sushi. Well, he's getting worse but I've managed to take a couple pictures of him. I'm really hoping you can help me out. <Mmm, unfortunately, these pix won't open up for me...> Sushi lives in a 2 gallon aquarium with silk plants. The water is filtered (not a carbon filter) and heated to 82 degrees. All tests have turned up normal and I'm keeping an eye on the nitrates because of the Epsom salt I'm adding. <Good, along with ammonia, nitrite> I know that he's constipated because he hasn't used the bathroom is SO long. But nothing works. I've starved him, fed him peas, fed him daphnia, I give him Epsom salts. <Time...> Here are a couple pictures for your consideration. I shrank them to what I hope is a manageable size for you. I know they are not the best quality and for some reason they look a bit yellow (his tank water is a little tinted from the Maracyn 2 I started him on yesterday) <Okay> I would appreciate any help you could offer me.   Sincerely,   Ashley <Nothing more to say Ashley... hang in there. Bob Fenner>  

Betta Problem    02/17/07 Hi, <Maureen> I (desperately!) hope someone can help before I lose my little blue buddy.  I just can't seem to find anything that matches this, and my husband, who grew up with fish, says he never saw anything like it.  My Betta has some sort of fuzzy, dark stuff growing between and on top of his scales.  Could it be velvet? <Mmm, doesn't look like this... though the common name may indicate otherwise...> I thought velvet was supposed to be gold-ish under a flashlight. <Yes... a very fine dusting appearance>   Or could it be 'fur coat syndrome' a dermal bacterial that anabantids can get (supposed to be deadly within a couple days). <May be> I've been treating with Quick Cure (5 days now), in case it's a parasite, because he was breathing rapidly and flashing, but to look at it, it really just looks like fuzzy bathroom mold.  I started him on M1/M2 yesterday, today his breathing seems better and he is a little more active, but the brown stuff just won't go away.  I didn't see anything anywhere about brown fungus, so I haven't tried any anti-fungals yet. I've attached a picture, if it helps at all.  You can see where some of his scales are totally covered (not shiny) in this junk. Thanks so much for any help you can give, Mo <I would avail yourself of aquarium salt here as well... and monitor ammonia, nitrite... as you may well have killed off all nitrifying bacteria with the Formalin... See WWM re... Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Problem  2/18/07 Hi Bob, <Maureen> Thanks so much for your quick reply.  I've been reading many of your posts over the past weeks, trying to do some research, and really do appreciate your expertise.  For some more background info, he's currently in an uncycled hospital tank, 2 1/2 gals in a 5-gal tank, temp is 78-80, water is from the tap, aged and conditioned (AmQuel+/NovAqua) and 1 tsp salt/gal added, temp and pH checked, using an airstone for aeration/circulation. <Good... do seek out some source of "cycling"... best is some sort of sponge or box type filter (air or mechanically driven)... with the media cultured elsewhere...> I left the water lower so he could get to the top since he looked weak, and he hates the flow, it makes him stay on the bottom more, which led to more rapid gilling (painful for him, and for me to watch as well, hence the airstone solution).  I've even seen him cough up a little clear mucous twice.  I've been monitoring all the levels daily, since M2 can cause cloudiness, and have been doing 50 to 100% daily water changes accordingly. Numbers-wise, I'm not sure if the local water company had raised the pH on us recently, <Good point... the tap/source water is not "consistent"> it's now 7.5 or 7.6, I don't think it was ever that high before (I used to use those crappy test strips, but now use the liquids). The only other odd thing I noticed recently was the total alkalinity has been lower than usual, about 40 ppm (scary with the pH issue).  I've picked up some sodium biphosphate to try to drop the pH, slowly, since I was concerned about adding acids. <Good... is safe, effective> Anyway, I'm trying to keep the ammo/nitrites at 0, but the water seems to be clouding up as fast as I can clear it.   I'm really hoping that it's just from the meds. <Mmm, this and the lack of biofiltration... keep monitoring, doing the water changes... looking for that filter> If it's bacterial, coming from whatever this junk is on him, <Is not> I'm afraid he won't make it.  It's now covering his mouth as well as his belly.  It starts as really tiny dark specks (have to see it with a mag glass) and then grows from there.  Someone trying to help me on the boards did suggest it might be slime coating gone awry from the formalin, but I don't know. <Is very likely so> I really don't want to give up on my little buddy, he's been such a trouper through all of this.  Would a high temp/higher salt dose hurt or help at this point? <The mid-80's F> Thanks again so much for your wonderful help, Bob. <Welcome. BobF>

Betta constipation, dropsy, or tumor?    2/16/07 Hi, <Hello - Jorie here!> I have grown very attached to my Betta fish called Gil. <I understand - Bettas are wonderful pets, aren't they?> Within this last week I have noticed his stomach has swollen quite large. You can see two even sized lumps sticking out from both sides on the upper half of his body when looking at him face on. His scales which are usually dark plum are very pale around these swollen lumps. The fish himself is still very active - swims backwards and forwards and acts chirpy as usual. He has not lost his appetite and still rapidly consumes his fish pellets. It is only the swollen lumps on his body that are concerning. <Three possibilities come to mind: constipation, dropsy, or a tumor.  Are Gil's scales sticking out when you look at him from above, sort of "pine cone" like? If so, this would likely indicate dropsy. Take a look at this link to see if Gil looks this way - http://www.fishjunkies.com/Diseases/dropsy.php > I think that maybe he has a blockage. A man at our local aquarium took a look at Gil but was unsure about what was wrong with him. The man said that it doesn't look good - yet Gil's behaviour still seems to be perfect. <I agree.> The man said that he may have some sort of blockage. He said to try feeding him worms and gave me some sort of antibiotic tablet (I can find out the name if nec.). I put 1/4 of this tablet in his water. He also said that worms are good for there digestion. I have tried feeding Gil worms before but he took no interest in them. I tried to feed him some worms again today and he ate them. The difference is that I fed them to him one at a time. <If this is plain ol' constipation, you could try feeding Gil a cut up frozen, then thawed pea - if he'll take it. Seems to be a bit "hit or miss" with regards to Bettas accepting this as food.  You could, also, soak the pea with in a drop or two of garlic - I like to use Kent's Garlic Xtreme to help stimulate appetite.  I don't agree with the shopkeeper that worms will help relieve constipation - in fact, it is my understanding that feeding a diet too high in protein (incl. black and bloodworms) can cause all sorts of health problems.  What do you generally feed Gil? I like to alternate between Betta pellets (only 3 once per day), frozen, thawed bloodworms (4-6 worms per day) and Mysis shrimp (1-2 shrimp once per day).  If you can't get Gil to accept the pea, you could also try Epsom salt - this is magnesium sulfate and does a good job relieving fish constipation.  The proper dosage is 1 tsp./5 gal. of water.  That's my first suggestion.  If his size doesn't shrink after a days of pea feeding (even possibly a day or two of fasting) and/or Epsom salt, then likely we aren't dealing with constipation. Again, if the fish looks like a pinecone, then we are likely dealing with dropsy, a term that's used for a wide array of issues that the link provided above does a very nice job summarizing.  Generally speaking, though, improving the fish's water conditions, coupled with an Epsom salt treatment will relieve this condition. The other alternative is that the fish has one or more tumors, which, to the best of my knowledge, aren't treatable.  I've found that Bettas are quite susceptible to developing tumors in their older age (which, for a captive Betta, is somewhere around 2-3 yrs.). How long have you had Gil?  More than 50% of my Bettas have developed a tumor in his aged years, and sadly, there's nothing you can do to help.  So long as the fish is swimming and eating, and otherwise behaving normally, all should be well and he can live a good deal longer with the tumor.> Do you have any other advise or information about his illness? I really love this fish. I would be most grateful! <Hope I've helped.> Some information about his environment: Gill is a sole fish in a tall 'flat sided' - round bowl. In his tank there are large rocks (no gravel) some crystals and two bamboo shoots. I found an internet site that said it is safe to put bamboo shoots with Betta fish. The shoots have been in his tank for the past 6 months - since we bought him. He lives in the bathroom next to a window. His tank gets dirty very quickly - probably because there is no gravel. I change his water at least once a week sometimes twice. I use Chorine Neutral, Seachem Stability (aerobic, anaerobic and facultative bacteria), Ph down and salt. I feed him 3 pellets morning and evening- but not by the clock. <Well, the one thing I would suggest you can improve upon is this fish's environment. Bowls are not a good way to keep any fish, and I recommend keeping a single male Betta in a minimum 2-3 gal. tank, with a filter and a heater.  The Marineland 3 gal. Eclipse is perfect - it's big enough to house a 25 watt submersible heater, and has mechanical and biological filtration.  Doesn't run more than $45 or so.  When a Betta is cold (ideal Betta temp. is a stable 80-82 degrees F), or otherwise stressed due to poor environmental conditions, this can, and likely will, compromise its immune system, rendering it more susceptible to disease.  Best thing you can do for Gil is move him into nicer digs - his health will likely improve with the stable temperature and improved water quality. Also, I'd suggest cutting down to one feeding per day...if it is constipation, that will help. Do mix up the pellet regime with worms and shrimp, though - Gil will be thrilled!> Thank you, Jade & Gil <You're most welcome.  Best of luck! Jorie>

Sick Betta... env. as well   2/13/07 Hello there,   I am writing to you because I have a Betta who has in the last few months began to have iridescent scales and has become listless. <A very nice pic... of a very nice specimen... but alas, mis-placed in a bowl... with terrestrial plants... No filter, heater...> I treated him with malachite <Toxic...> but was mistaken, it was not a fungus and it made him sicker until I changed his water. He is now beginning to have a very red belly which is spreading dorsally. <I see this in your excellent photo> He has lost his appetite as well. I clean his bowl regularly, but realize that he may be a little cold because it is a 1-2 gallon bowl without a heater unit. <Ah, yes... the root of the problem here... environment> Periodically I transfer warmer water into the bowl. <Only stays warm for a few hours...> I also use a Chloramine/chlorine detoxifier every time I change his bowl. Do you have any suggestions on what might be ailing him? <Yes... his world is incompatible> I'm afraid he won't last much longer if I don't' do something. I have attached a few photos that hopefully will give you an idea of what is going on. Thank you, ~~Carlene <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Betta... env. as well   2/13/07 Thank you for your quick response, I have put a heater in his tank <Ah, good> and the plants in there are  not terrestrial, they are fish bowl plants. <Mmm, actually... they appear to be Coleus... But I hope to be wrong here> Hopefully this will help. <Yes> So the red belly is from being cold and unfiltered? Is there a name for it? <Mmm, yes to the former... this condition is highly likely (some ninety some percent let's say) due to environmental stress as the foremost element> He has also recently lost his appetite which I believe I may have forgotten to write initially. <Also linked to the low, vacillating temperature> I'm not a rich person by any means, but I'd like to provide him with a good environment and see him return to his normal health. <Your good care shows... the bowl is immaculate, your writing is pervasive with your care> Thank you for your time, ~~Carlene <A pleasure to serve. BobF>

Sick Betta, env.   2/13/07 Hi there, I am writing about my Betta fish.  I have had him for about 4 weeks and he is acting very lethargic. Until now he was in a 2 gallon hexagonal tank. <Heated?> Yesterday I moved him to a smaller 1 gallon filtered tank. <Cycled?> In both tanks he seemed  rather lethargic but with the smaller tank he is moving even less than normal. Redfin (the fish's name) has two small silk plants, two small plastic plants and a bridge for hiding.   There is an inch long ghost shrimp in the tank too, to clean up the tank. <Good choice> Would a Cory (or anything else) be an appropriate tankmate? <Mmm, no... not enough room to be stable> I am only 11 and when I have $15 I am going to buy him a heater because I am worried that he is cold and that is what is making him lethargic. <Ah, yes... you are correct/right here... Needed to have the heater ahead of the Betta>   He also seems to be losing a little color around his head.  What do you think?  Mike H <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

I need help, PLEASE! Betta loss, worms - 02/11/2007 I'm needing some advice. I read through your whole site about parasites, diseases and other sites as well. I haven't found anything resembling my little aliens that popped up in my fish tank. I have had a male (Vinny) 1 and 1/2 years and female (beautiful) I've had for 3 months, both Bettas. They are in separate tanks. As for my caring for them, I think I'm doing all the right stuff. I have each of them in 3 gallon tanks. I have heaters set at 78 in both. I have live plant and natural pebbles, store bought. I take out 30% of their water and replace it with fresh and condition it, two times a week. I feed them Betta bites, about 3 a day. <A good idea to mix in a bit of frozen/defrosted meaty food/s once in a while here> Today, I woke up to find my male dead, with the water really clouded and little worm like creatures all over the tank. <Mmm, highly likely the worms came afterward... introduced via the plants... not a/the cause of loss here> If I had to guess I would say there were about 1000 at least. They were about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch and had little legs or hairs on their body. Their heads are almost snake shaped, angular. There were also some even smaller ones I could only see under 10x. They were oval in shape, but didn't move like the others. They moved kind of like a centipede would but all around the body. I did have some snails in the males tank that came on the plants. The snails in the females tank seamed to all disappear, I think they all died, not sure why. <Putrefaction... the cloudiness... the dead Betta dissolving...> I did have them together for about three hours when I brought the female home about three months ago. I thought I would try to bread <Breed> them but decided not to and separated them. I'm scared the female will suffer the same fate. She has a little white dot on what I think is her anus, <Is natural... an indication of readiness to spawn if you will> maybe a worm? She also has had a big belly that gets small and then big again.  <Ditto> She is like a piranha and always hungry. My male hardly ever ate, like twice a week.   Anyway, I hope I have the right person and I gave you enough information. Any help would be awesome!!!! Thanks in advance for any help,  -Laurie <These systems are filtered? Likely not... Please see WWM re Betta Systems. Bob Fenner>
Re: I need help, PLEASE! Betta loss, worms  2/12/07
Thanks for your response Bob, much appreciated! Still curious as to why they popped up post mortem if they were from the plants, part of the decomposition process? <Mmm, yes... a bit gross... but largely as a result of the abundant (dead Betta) food source. BobF>

Multiple maladies with our Betta - 02/11/2007 Dear WWM Crew, <Sarah>     Ok, I've read many things on your site in the last several weeks and have diagnosed and rediagnosed my Betta, Falstaff, several times and now am just confused.  I hope you guys can help!    <Will try>   A little history: about a month ago, our Betta started developing a cottony growth on his head, which we treated with some sort of tea-tree oil liquid in the water (PimaFix anti-fungal I think.) <Am not a fan... but others here are...>   Our aquarium store recommended it. <Is safe... just not effective... but can/does mal-affect the environment... mal-affecting livestock in turn...>   The directions said to remove the carbon in the filter and to treat for 7 days, changing the water by 25% after 7 days, then continuing treatment for another week if needed.  We did treat for another week and the cottony tuft went away but left a hole in its place - a white spot on his head that seemed to get smaller but hasn't gone away.        Unfortunately, despite the water changes, given the lack of good filtration in his tank, Falstaff's water started to get cloudy looking, and he developed Pop-eye. <...> At this point we stopped the tea-tree treatment, put the filter back in, did about a 90% water change, and started treating with sea salt and Maracyn-II for five days. <Ahh, much better> He stopped eating the first few days on the treatment and started swimming sideways which made me think he developed swim bladder disease; however, his pop-eye seemed to get a little better and he started making bubble nests again. <A good sign> I picked up some baby brine shrimp to entice him to eat and while he didn't swim around to get them, if I dangled them in front of his mouth, he sucked them right in.        Now for the last two days he's gotten progressively worse.   <Mmm... do you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite?> Yesterday and today he just lies on the bottom of his tank on his side, breathing heavily and doesn't move.  His color still seems good and he ate several brine shrimp two days ago but he hasn't eaten anything in the last two days.  I continue to change his water about 50% every other day and removed all the gravel from his tank <Mmm... needs something for useful bacteria to colonize...> so he's just got two big rocks and a live ivy plant which has been with him for the last nine months.  I cranked his heater to about 85 degrees and added a little more sea salt to his tank.  I'm worried that he might have nitrate and nitrite problems, <Me too> but we purchase specially made "Betta water" from the fish store that's supposed to be the right pH and everything (and we've spot checked it on our own several times) and it's always ok.      <... won't stay "okay" w/o nitrification...>   Any ideas what could be going on with our little guy?  We're completely mystified.  Could he have picked up something from the plant or the gravel?      Thanks so much,   Sarah <I do think you have induced troubles with the environment here... that you should slow down on the water changes, return the gravel... and read re the ill-effects of this, the salt, the Minocycline... on WWM... Please (re-)read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Salt For Popeye Question, Betta sys., dis. - 02/11/2007 Sorry.  Forgot to say he also has some fin rot.  Not sure when this started but I noticed upon my return. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Salt For Popeye Question... we're not communicating Roger...   2/13/07
I appreciate your taking the time to reply. I conveyed my issues as best I could. I am sorry if the information I provided was not sufficient. I'll do more reading and medicating (and praying). Thank you <... all I ask is that you re-state your concerns in complete sentences... As if you were addressing someone unfamiliar with your situation. Can you imagine this? Write out your questions, and address them to someone who knows nothing... Send this to me/us. BobF>

Sick Bettas And Gourami - 02/09/2007 Hi. I have been looking around for some answers about my sick fish and came across your site. You seem to give much better answers than other sites I have visited and thought you may be able to help. <Thanks for the kind words! You've got Jorie this afternoon, and I'll try to assist...> I have a 75 gallon tank with several different types of Gourami (flame, blue, Opaline, pearl) a couple of paradise fish, 1 male Betta and a few female Bettas. All of these fish have been in my tank for several months without any problems until the last couple of weeks. All of my water tests are ok (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH is steady) and I do a 20% - 30% water change every week. <By "OK", I hope you mean ammonia and nitrite readings are at zero, and nitrates is no higher than 20 ppm.> Now the problems. First on of my female Bettas got what first looked like pop eye but eventually turned into dropsy. <Separate issues, but both conditions are often caused by poor water quality.> I treated the fish with Maracyn 2 but it did eventually die. <Hopefully you isolated the sick Betta and treated her in a quarantine tank? If not, the medication likely destroyed your nitrogen cycle in the main tank, and you need to be especially vigilant about ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings until the tank has "re-established" itself.> A few days later another female Betta started to swell up like it had dropsy. I isolated that fish and treated with Maracyn 2. The swelling has gone down on this fish but it still won't eat and lost a lot of scales on one side of its body. <Assuming that the water conditions have been good all along (again, I stress that the issues you are describing are usually caused by poor water quality, so that's the first thing you should look at), I'm curious what temperature you keep the tank at.  Bettas like warm water (between 80-82 degrees F is ideal), and if they are kept in water that's too cool, that can compromise their immune systems and make them more susceptible to disease.  Of course, since you have gouramis in the tank also, you'll have to compromise - I'd suggest keeping the water temp. steady at around 78-79 degrees F.> Now I have a Gourami that will not eat and has some white fluffy spots on its fins and clear and white poop. <Classic signs of fungus and internal parasites, respectively.> I already have the sick Betta in my hospital tank and don't know what to do with the Gourami. I'm guessing it wouldn't be a good idea to put the Gourami into the tank with a Betta that possibly has dropsy. <No, not a great idea, but you do want to isolate the Gourami from the main tank.  In a perfect world, two hospital tanks are in order, but I realize not everyone has that luxury.  Otherwise, it's a bit of a catch-22, but if it were me (and assuming the QT is large enough to accommodate both sick fish), I'd put the Gourami into the Betta's hospital tank.  The Gourami has already been exposed to whatever the Betta has, so in all likelihood, all these conditions are related.  As for treatment, I'd suggest a course of Maracyn plus Maracyn-II (you've already begun treating with Maracyn-II, so I wouldn't suggest trying a new medication altogether, but you also have to deal with the fungus.  You could also add Epsom salts to the water, approx. 1 tsp. per 5 gal. of H20.>   Should I treat my entire tank or just remove this sick Gourami and hope that none of the other fish get sick? <I'd suggest the later.  If you have a spare 5 gal. bucket and a submersible heater, that can even suffice as a second QT tank - it doesn't have to be anything fancy. However, if you have a choice between leaving the sick Gourami in the main tank and putting it with the sick Betta, I think the latter is the better option.  Do keep a close eye on your water parameters, though, in both the main and hospital tank, as much of what you describe is often caused by a build-up of toxins or other pollutants. Good luck, Jorie> Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much <You're welcome.>
Re: Sick Bettas and Gourami PART 2
  2/13/07 Thanks for the fast answer. Unfortunately the Gourami was dead the next morning. <Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.> I should have been more specific about the chemicals in my water. The ammonia and nitrites are 0 and the nitrates were around 10 ppm when I checked yesterday. PH is between 6.8 and 7.0 and the water temperature is 79. <All good.> I haven't added Epsom salt to the aquarium but did add aquarium salt when the tank was set up and do add salt to the new water when doing a water change. The direction say to add 1 tspn for every 5 gallons of new water. <Aquarium salt and Epsom salt are two different compounds, the latter being magnesium sulfate which aids in digestion and reducing swelling.  This is the recommended treatment for both dropsy and pop-eye, in case you have one or more of these issues in the future.> My male Betta also died last night. It seemed fine last night swimming and eating normally but was dead this morning. I did not see any wounds or spots on the dead Betta. There is also another female Betta and Gourami that weren't moving around very much today but I can't see any external problems on them either. If this keeps up all of my fish will either be dead of in the hospital tank soon. Is there anything else I can try? <It seems as though you've got something very virulent in the main tank. I'd suggest putting the remaining fish into a clean, newly-cycled QT/hospital tank, and allowing the main tank to run fallow (without fish) for a month or two, in the hopes that whatever is so very quickly killing your fish will not have anything to "host" on, and thus die.  If you have/want to invest in a UV sterilizer, that's something you could try running as well.  I wish I could more specifically diagnose what is going on for you - are there any new physical and/or external symptoms? Best of luck, Jorie>

Betta with dark strip  2/5/07 We just bought our daughter a 1.5" red Betta fish Friday Feb.2 We pre-treated the water to get rid of any possible chlorine and have been feeding it pellets and freeze dried blood worms- it's in a 1/2 - 1 gal. <Mmm... needs heat, likely purposeful filtration... are you providing these?> It has a dark vertical strip between its gill and tail fish.  It's only on one side other than that the fish acts & looks healthy.  Is the strip a problem?  If so how does one treat it? <May not be a problem... could be "just" natural coloration. That the fish is eating is a good positive sign> I have two more question- How long does it take the water to cycle in the aforementioned tank and a 10 gal. tank? <Mmm, a few to several weeks>   We were thinking of upgrading the size at some future date to the 10 gal. What other tankmates would be good for a Betta in a 10 gal. tank?  Thanks, Laura :) <Ahh, good questions... and all covered to degrees on WWM. Please peruse starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above (e.g. Compatibility has to do with un/suitable tankmates). Bob Fenner>

Poor little bloated Betta   2/3/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a poor little bloated Betta with fin rot as well--- I have owned him for 7 months - although I am not sure of his total age. I inherited him as a wedding party favor-- !!! <Unfortunately not uncommon> -- --- is Epsom Salt you mention on  FAQs the same as API brand "Aquarium Salt" ? <Mmm, no... "Aquarium Salt" is mainly sodium chloride (table salt) with a few other salts (oh, why don't all citizens have a basic grounding in the sciences, chemistry included?)... Epsom is Magnesium Sulfate... as you'd see by reading WWM, the Net...> I certainly hope so. I started giving him that today. <Is better than nothing...> I am also treating my Betta with Maracyn & Maracyn-Two simultaneously-for 5 days with the addition of the salt---   is this OK? <... yes> He is in a heated* 2 Gallon filtered and aerated tank-alone with small snails only. <Oh! Good>   I know that the snails will now die because of the salt.. <I would take these out... keep in a good-sized glass jar...> I am on day 2 of these treatments-day 1 of the salt additive. This little Betta had pop eye and some fin rot 7 weeks ago & recovered nicely with Maracyn regarding the Popeye-but not the Fin rot.  I also gave him a 5 day treatment of Maracyn - Two 12 days ago because of the progressive Fin rot-please advise.  I would like to keep this little guy happy and healthy. <Please see WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above... Much... too much to relate to you in a brief email, interchange of emails...> * was around 76 degrees-raising slightly now as I am reading this is advised--  gradually of course. Thank you! M. & Betta Blue ( male ) <Good. Bob Fenner>

Betta health... just sys., env.   2/3/07 Hello, I have a Betta that started showing signs of iridescent fins with a small white spot on his dorsal fin many months back. Its like at that spot he just lost his color. But its the spots on his other fins that are interesting. They are shiny. <Mmm, this is likely mostly "age"...> He is also a little lethargic (probably a little cold because I have a tank without a heater), <... this is a tropical species...> and he doesn't make bubble nests as much anymore. I use water conditioner and try to change his water 1 time a week. He is in a average sized goldfish bowl, I'd guess around a gallon. He doesn't scratch himself against anything, his eyes don't bulge and he has no ulcers or sores. He doesn't look like he has salt on him and he doesn't have "clouds" around his fins so I don't think its that type of fungus. I have treated him with malachite three times with no change. <Not a good idea> In fact, he almost seems to be shedding scales. <The medicine...> I find very small flaky pieces on the surface. I worry that I'm causing him undue suffering and really want to help him feel better. Do you have any suggestions? I can post a picture if you would like. Thank you, ~~Strawberry's owner <Be a real "owner", care-giver and provide your charges with the care they need/deserve... Please read and heed: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta health   2/4/07
thank you so much for your reply. I will stop the malachite treatments and try to keep his tank warmer. thank you! ~~Carlene, care giver of Strawberry <I do hope for a complete recovery. BobF>

Betta fish hurt : (  1/26/07 Hello Everyone! <Heather> I am a new owner of a Betta Fish, his name is Hydra. I've had him for approx 1 week and things were going great. His adaptation to his new environment was successful and his appetite was also great however, he gets crazy when I try to move him from the tank to the bowl to clean his tank. <Mmm, not a good idea to do such wholesale change-outs> About 5 minutes ago, after I cleaned his tank and returned him to his home, I noticed some red marks on his face that weren't there prior to the cleaning. I am really worried and don't want him to die. Nothing is actually bleeding but you can tell that he is bruised a bit and there is somewhat of a cut. I read through some other people's responses and ran out of time looking and couldn't find anything so I figured it would be quicker to ask you. Also, I noticed that the color on the top of his head is slowly disappearing, what's the reasoning for this? And how can I treat it? <By having and maintaining a stable environment...> Any help at all would be greatly appreciated, I have come very attached to my little guy in such a short time and would hate to see anything happen to him. Thanks soooo much for reading this!! Heather <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta fish hurt : (, just reading   1/31/07
Thanks for the reply!   What would you suggest when I changed his tank then?   Also, I noticed that the tail is losing color, its still the same shape and doesn't have any blood or anything. How should I treat this?      Thanks again for everything!      Heather <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Betta Mis-medication, Env. Disease - 1/24/07 I have inherited a Betta who has mouth fungus.  I have been treating it for 5 days now and can't really tell if it was getting any better.  I was told I could swab it with a Q-tip to get some of the cottony stuff off because it looked like he had a mouth full of cotton.  When I swabbed his upper lip I think his top lip came off.  What happened and will this grow back?  I hope I didn't do more harm than good.  I really feel horrible and want to know if there is anything I can do. Thank you, Carri <Well Carri, likely you did more help than harm here, by removing the fungal growth, however, I do not believe you are helping your Betta by medicating it currently. Fungal growths are always a secondary issue, whether its relating to an injury or poor water conditions. Furthermore, fungal growths will form, and continue to grow, in presence of poor water conditions. Get the medications out of the water, get the Betta into a properly heated and cycled aquarium, and you will see improvements quickly. The damaged scales will likely grow back with time, good care and good water quality. Have a thorough read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files in blue above. I commend you in taking on the care of this individual in poor health, but encourage you to thoroughly read up on his care, so you can provide an optimal situation for your new pet. Welcome to the hobby! -JustinN>

Sick Bettas: they are trapped in freezing-cold "closets"!  - 1/22/07 Hi Bob, <Hi, Jorie here with you tonight...> I've had my Betta (Kishy) for over a year, he is kept in a starter bowl (approx. 1 liter). He is kept over the fireplace in the hottest room in the house (kept at approx. 20-25 degrees, but goes down to about 18 degrees at night). <Even though you've had Kishy for more than a year, this is not an ideal condition for Bettas.  At a minimum, you need a 2-3 US gallon tank, with filtration.  Also, a submersible heater set at between 80-82 degrees F (26.67 - 27.78 degrees C) is key, and stability is a must.  The constant temperature fluctuation, coupled with the cold temperature, you describe above can only compromise the fish's immune system - it is not a good thing. Also, you are keeping Kishy in a system that is about the equivalent of 1/4 U.S. gal...this is far too small to house any fish! Do consider an "upgrade" to Kishy's environmental conditions. Read here for more basic Betta-care info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > Recently (about 3 weeks ago) I got a new Betta (Yanick) and placed them in a slightly cooler room for 1 week... <These fish were already kept in conditions too cool, this likely only made things worse...> ...Kishy started to show some stress and his fin (lower in the center) split directly in two, so I immediately brought both of my Bettas back on top of the fireplace. <Basically, your fish are freezing, and the cold temperatures are taking their toll on both Kishy and Yanick's immune systems...> Both Bettas are always separate, and cannot see each other, since the first few times I let them see each other they did not react well to each other, Kishy is very lazy and passive, while Yanick is very aggressive). <This is one of the reasons I really like Bettas - each one truly has his own personality!> Kishy's fin was showing no improvement, so I suspected fin rot, did a full water change, and started treating him with BettaFix. He reacted well to this treatment, and began to finally regrow his fin. <How often were you changing the water regularly prior to this? I suspect that most, if not all, of Kishy's health problems stem from environmental causes, and could likely be rectified if you began keeping your Bettas in more appropriate tanks...> I continued the treatment for one week, and his fin had grown halfway back (the split had grown together). I read somewhere (I forget where) that once the Bettas fin starts to grow back after getting fin rot that you can stop the treatment. Once I stopped the treatment I changed his water and washed Kishy and Yanicks tank thoroughly, and then (ACCIDENTALLY) got the tanks mixed up (they're identical) and two days after the switch Kishy's back fin began to split (about of the third way up), and Yanick's back fin began to shred at the back evenly, not like Kishy's who split in one line) and the tips are beginning to turn dark. I restarted the treatment with BettaFix (I went with what I had on hand and what I knew worked) but today I have noticed two golden scales on Yanick's head, one on either side behind his gills (he has yellow/beige scales with black outlining, and a fin that changes color, from top to bottom, like a rainbow). On Kishy I have noticed black scales appearing (he was originally an off-white body with turquoise fins) and recently I've noticed that the scales on his head began to turn a brownish colour, and he's gotten very shiny when in light. Also, a red line near the eyes and going down towards the mouth on either side. I have a book on Betta care and Betta illnesses (The Betta Handbook, by Robert J. Goldstein) and I've ruled down the possible illnesses for the symptoms they're showing (frayed fins, gold spots, shine on the Bettas body, and skin blotches) to Velvet or Costia. I was wondering what seems like the most reasonable illness and treatment, or where I can get this checked to be definite about what the illness is. <Honestly, I cannot stress enough that likely ALL of these issues result from keeping the fish in too tiny, and too cold, of environments.  Short of giving each fish a minimum of 12 liters of water, a submersible heater set at a constant 26-28 degrees C, and regular, weekly water changes, likely nothing you do at this point will likely make much of a difference.  This isn't an option, in my opinion, but a necessity, if you want your fish to survive.  Upgrade the tanks, invest in heaters, keep the water clean and likely these problems will clear themselves up.  If not, I would suggest a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Kanamycin or erythromycin, but I would recommend that only after doing what I've suggested above.> Thanks for you time, Chantal <You're welcome.  Best regards, Jorie> P.S. Both my Bettas are eating normally, and are not lethargic.

Bob, I think I broke him.  - 1/18/07 Hey, there. <Hey, Pasada, JustinN with you today.> The last time I wrote, one of my Bettas was crooked.  He still is.  You encouraged me to make sure I had the water tested, as I may wind up writing with more problems.  Talk about prophecy. <Mmm, not so much prophecy as good old fashioned logical prediction.> In my defense, I did have the water tested. I haven't bought my own kit yet, but the local aquatics shop tells me that I am functioning within acceptable parameters, save my PH which is too alkaline.  So I bought a little bottle of the "PH lowerer" stuff and dosed each of the tanks accordingly. <This is not a wise course of action, my friend. While you have no test kit of your own to monitor the pH levels, how do you expect to balance it to "acceptable?" Beyond that, what is your definition of acceptable? I would disagree with your LFS here, stability is much more key than the actual numbers, and when you start dosing chemicals to alter your pH balance, you begin a roller-coaster ride you may not be prepared for.> I also explained that I had tossed a bit of Epsom salt in there to counteract a bit of the bloat all of my fishy friends appeared to be suffering from.  He said that would cause the PH problem, and that I should correct it unless I wanted to continue treating the fish. I opted to correct it. <I disagree with this assertion, as well. I have never once heard of Epsom salts mal-affecting the pH of an aquarium.> Now one of my other fish is acting oddly.  Soth is usually a pig, and over the past three days, he's completely off his feed.  He's also gone from a completely black body to silvery-white in his head, and showing the usual "I'm sick" stripe.  He also intermittently zips around the tank in a very agitated manner, and lies morosely on his heater.  He has a small aquarium heater that isn't glass, it's just a 25 watt covered in some kind of composite.  It sits at an angle in the top of the tank because the little suction cup doesn't work, and he drapes himself across it like a swooning femme fatale in a film noir. <This is fairly typical of Bettas. Both mine do this against the rocks/plants in their tanks, almost looks like they're lounging.> I'd like to point out that is always 80-84 degrees in his tank.  His little stick-on thermometer says so.   <You should try to maintain this as stable as possible, but within range. Try to keep the temperature fluctuations to no more than 2 degrees a day (82-84 would be better).> He has a couple of live plants in there, plus a plastic one, and I just set up the tank last Friday, and had the water tested Tuesday. Scarlett in the study with the candlestick?  Dear Bob, any insight would be invaluable. Pasada <Wait wait wait... You just set up this aquarium this last Friday? Your fishes are already placed in the water? Beyond this, your local fish store is advising you to start modifying tank parameters less than a week into a tank setup? I do believe you are getting a large serving of bunk advice here, my friend. Do invest in your own test kits, as well as the knowledge of their operation and purpose. You will be much better suited to know the numbers yourself. Furthermore, your new aquarium is not cycled. Please have a read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files in blue. The maladies of your Betta are environmental, as nearly all fungal situations are. Considering that your environment is so unstable and uncycled, this is doubly so. If you are able to get your hands on it, do try to get yourself a pouch of Bio-Spira. This is a product from Marineland that will nearly instantaneously establish the nitrogen cycle of an aquarium. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Betta with hole in tail and blob  - 1/18/07 Hello, <Hello, my friend. JustinN with you today.>     I would like to inquire about my Betta and the hole in his/her tail that looks like a gray/white blob is growing in.   <Ok, I'll see if I can't help out.> I have looked up various things, and the closest I can come up with is that it is some sort of fungus?  I have this Betta in a 55 gallon tank with a common loach, 5 head and tail lights, a pink kissing fish, a big snail, and quite a few of those pesky small snails ;).  He/She seems VERY happy and eats well, but if I can fix the problem, I would like to! <Absolutely understood.> I would appreciate any help you could give on this matter, and if you need the full size 2-3mb picture I can send that also. <Mmm, not necessary, thank you. The attached photo is plenty sufficient.> Thank You very much for your time,        Mike <Well, Mike, in almost all cases, fungal infections are secondary, and a direct relation to environment. Are you testing your water quality for traces of nitrogenous wastes? It may be that your nitrates have simply crept into the upper bounds, and its time to execute some large water changes to bring them down. Fix the environment, and your Betta should correct itself fairly quickly. -JustinN>
Re: Betta with hole in tail and blob  - 1/18/07 Hello again, <Hello, Mike.> Thank you for the very fast response. <No problems, glad to assist.> Water conditions - Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, PH - 7.0, Nitrate - 20-40 <There's our water quality issue...> My nitrate has always been high since our water actually has 20-40 Nitrate in it :(  I am going to purchase a product called Nitra-Zorb to see if it can take my nitrate to 0, but with it being in the water supply, I am not holding my breath. <Mmm, you need to take another approach here... Find a source of water that does not contain nitrates. Adding this to your tank is only making things worse. A nitrate absorbing product may help in the short term (and would likely be a good idea while you search for a long-term solution), but these should not be considered the final approach.> I test my water weekly and adjust as necessary.  I have done 10-25% water changes weekly before writing to you and he/she still has that hole/blob on his/her tail.  I omitted that the first email, an am sorry if I wasted some of your time :( <Not at all, my friend. I was simply laying out the basics, to make sure all grounds were covered.> Would you have any other ideas on what it might be?  Heck I even thought a snail got caught in the tail, but upon closer inspection it doesn't look like it moves :). <I agree with your original assumption. I feel this is a fungal issue, due to a long-term water quality issue.> Is there any sort of treatment I could try?  I have used Melafix and Pimafix combination in the past to help some of the other fish, but it has never done anything for him/her.  He/She has also been in the tank when I treated for ICK, and it has not helped him/her. <I would forego any type of medicated treatment here. Melafix/Pimafix are a source of controversy among many, ranging in opinion from they do nothing, to minor healing benefit (after the fact). Neither of these treatments are intended to actually treat for anything specific, they are 'soothing agents,' and of questionable use/return. Likewise, the Ich medications are too harsh, and would only lead to further problems. The central issue here is water quality.> Thank you so much for helping   Mike <Anytime, Mike. It's what we're here for. Good luck! -JustinN>

Swollen/Bloated Betta Fish    1/14/07 Dear WWM Crew: <Ashley> I really am sorry to be a bother. I have read over your website looking for the answer to my question but I can't find a case that seems to fit the bill. I have, after reading some of your suggestions, begun treating my Betta, Sushi, with Melafix and tomorrow I will be going to get him some medicated food (does PetSmart carry this?) <Maybe... you can ask there... maybe look on their website re> Here's what's going on: About 12 days ago I noticed that Sushi was bloated. At first I thought that it was probably constipation so I didn't feed him for two days, then fed him the inside of a pea. No real change, but it didn't get worse so I just fed him every other day.   6 days ago I noticed that the bloat was significantly larger on one side. I became concerned it was an infection and began treatment with Maracyn 2. I also began adding 1/16 tsp of Epsom salts to his water daily. <Good> His attitude has not changed at all- he continues to be extremely active, so I can't even get a picture of him to show you. His scales are not pineconing, but the bloat seems to fluctuate during the day- sometimes he looks almost normal. I have really not fed him hoping that this would help, and yesterday fed him the inside of a pea again hoping against hope that something would change. Could it be an internal infection and that is why the bloat fluctuates? <Perhaps something that is linked with the fish's metabolism...> I would be more concerned if he wasn't still actively swimming and wanting to eat. His color has not changed at all- he is as bright purple and blue as he always is, and he still puffs up at me when I look into his tank.   Sushi lives in a 2 gallon tank, heated to 80 degrees. His water has been testing fine, and I change 25% of the water approximately every four days. He has a filter, but it is not a carbon filter. I am so stumped by this, but I am hoping that I caught it early enough that, with your help, we can still do something. PS- I do not believe that this is a tumor because of how dramatically smaller the swelling becomes at times, but I haven't completely ruled it out. I sincerely appreciate your time. -Ashley <I don't know what the real issue is here... your system, feeding routine seems fine... I would continue the administration of the Epsom salt and hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>

A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown snail)    1/14/07 Hi WWM, <Hey Lucy, JustinN with you today.> I have read your FAQs on snails and Bettas and searched for information generally on the web and could still use some guidance on my sick tank if someone please has any time! <Of course, Lucy. Is what we're here for.> I have one Betta who I've had for nearly a year now. I've just got him back from a friend who kept him for me while I was away for 6 weeks, and had to clean out a lot of moldy food from the bottom of the bowl. Now he has a spot on his forehead that looks like it's lost it's scale and there's even a bit of blood showing. There are also two opaque scales on one side (not visible in the photo, but could possibly be related to the spot on his head). This does not look like fin rot to me, nor Ich, and, as it's a round bowl with a live plant, I can't think of how he could have cut himself to invite a fungal infection. <Mmm, is none of the above. The symptoms you describe are likely completely environmental. Bowls are not really appropriate for the keeping of Bettas, they really need a space more in the range of 2 to 3 gallons minimum, with some sort of adequate filtration and heating provided. Stability is the key here, and a bowl simply does not provide that. Please read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the files linked in blue above.> I use an anti-bacterial already in the bowl (have tried both 'Betta Fix' and 'Broad Spectrum Medication for Fish' - the latter includes mafenide HCl, Aminacrine HCl and malachite green), and I keep a lamp over the top to keep him warm. <When you say that you already use an anti-bacterial agent in the bowl, do you mean that you are always prophylactically treating your Betta? This is not a good idea, it will weaken the immune system of your Betta when being used unnecessarily, and when coupled with the small, unstable environment, this leads me to believe that your Betta is living in a very uncycled system. See here for more on tank cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the files linked in blue above.> Should I give him a salt bath and, if so, won't it hurt the open wound he seems to have? I'd hate to try it for the first time with fatal consequences! <Your problem is not a disease, Lucy. You need to get your Betta into appropriate quarters, and he will perk right back up in no time!> Secondly, a few days ago I purchased a snail (not sure what type, possibly a smooth turban snail, judging from the pictures in Google?). <Looks like a common 'Apple snail' to me.> He lies inert all day, either closed or partly open, like in the attached picture, with lots of mucous coming off him. <Not good.> Usually in the mornings, I find him floating at the surface of the tank, like his shell has filled with air. <Also not good.> I read that it hurts snails to be on their backs, so have been pulling him out so the air comes out and dropping him back in the tank, right-way up. I've changed the water once in a few days and am happy to do it again, but if there's something that's upsetting both snail and Betta, I'd like to fix them both (especially if the tank/conditions is the problem). Would adding salt help them both, for instance, or would that help the Betta but not the snail? <Adding salt to the bowl would completely kill your snail, which is likely on its way out anyway. By adding the snail to this already unstable environment, which is complete with medications in the water, you have poisoned it and likely doomed it. Most, if not all, effective medications will harm or kill invertebrate life. I recommend you remove the snail before it gets any worse, chances are its already losing the battle. Next, at least in the interim, perform 25 to 50% water changes in your bowl every couple of days until you can equip yourself with an aquarium with proper filtration and heating, and begin its cycling process. Fix your environment, and you'll fix your Betta right up!> Any help would be most appreciated! Lucy <I apologize if I've been a bit of a downer here, Lucy, but knowledge is crucial. Aquarium salt may help your Betta in small amounts, but I would be wary of trying to balance salt content in a bowl, as small and unstable as it would be. I certainly hope this helps you out! -JustinN>

Re: A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown snail)  1/14/07 Hi Justin - <Lucy> Not a downer at all! An answer is just what I needed. Thanks so much for getting back to me, will work on the environment! <Excellent, glad to hear it.> Many thanks, <Do keep in touch, Lucy! Good luck! -JustinN>

Betta Splendens Scoliosis--?    1/14/07 Howdy, y'all. <<Howdy back, Pasada. Tom here.>>   I've got a few lovely little Bettas down here in the great state of Texas, and one of them appears to be sporting a most fascinating case of scoliosis.   <<Could be sporting more than scoliosis. Keep your hands out of the water, Pasada. I don't mean that figuratively. I mean it literally. Might be absolutely nothing but'¦>> The amount of flesh on either side of his midline appears to be equal, however, his spine has a pronounced "S" shape that is apparent no matter what direction he swims in.  He just moved in to his own little penthouse (2.5 g tank, filter, properly heated, live plants, y'know: consummate bachelor pad).   <<What fella wouldn't want a pad like that? :) >> The tank just got up and running today, so I fear I have no water analysis for you. <<You need to monitor this, Pasada. Cycling issues involved here. You might be writing back with bigger problems.>>   Kira is healthy, eats well (the kit for live brine shrimp is on it's way from Amazon), and has a mild temperament.  He's just crooked.  Might this be due to the fact that he was confined to a teeeeny little 2-pint bowl (or less-!) during his tender formative years, and do you think he may recover? <<The cramped quarters aren't the cause here, Pasada. Almost guaranteed that this is a genetic condition. My earlier admonition was based on the fact that Mycobacteriosis (fish tuberculosis) can result in the fish having a skeletal deformation, including the spine. The problem with this particular disease is two-fold. One, it progresses very slowly leaving you with the impression that the fish is just 'crooked'. Two, and more importantly to you, it's transmittable to humans. (The only one, that I know of, that is.) The chances of this being the case are close to 'zip-point-nothing' but you should be aware. Not 'deadly' but could cause a skin infection that might take some time to heal. (You'd need to have an open cut on your hand or arm for there even to be a chance of infection but, again, I'd want you to know that a tiny possibility exists.) To answer your specific question, he won't 'recover' from his curved spine. Sorry. With practice, he'll be able to 'line dance', though. :) (Got my community tank moving pretty good to Sara Evans, 'A Real Fine Place to Start'. Work with me, Pasada. I'm from Michigan.)>> My kind thanks for fielding this question.   <<Glad I could.>> I've scrolled through your website for the better part of my evening, and now that it's almost 3am, I fear additional searching may not be fruitful due solely to my addled brain.   <<Yours is from sleep deprivation. Mine's from Lord-knows-what! Age, perhaps? Nah'¦>> Off I go to dream of Bob's hyperlinks and text contained in little carrot < > symbols. <<Mine are 'doubles' so you'll remember. :) >> All my best! Pasada <<And mine to you, Pasada. Tom>>
Re: Betta Splendens Scoliosis: Part Deux
  1/16/07 Much obliged, Tom. <<Happy to help, Ma'am.>> I just want to make sure I understand: Most likely potential cause of Kira's bad posture is a genetic defect.   <<Absolutely.>> However, due to the fact that skeletal deformities are a visible symptom of M marinus, I should be aware of the possibility of the presence of the disease and take precautions (who knew I'd ever have to treat a fish like I would a date??). <<Would you rather I hadn't told you? ;) Wouldn't be responsible of me, would it?>>    Here's where my blood ran cold:  I have three other Betta tanks. <<And chances are next to doodly-squat that there's a problem.>> I've been sharing nets. <<Always a concern. Diseases can be transmitted by 'sharing'.>> I wash the nets well in soap and hot water and allow them to dry between uses, but in the hustle and bustle of setting up three of the four tanks at the same time, a lot of stuff got mixed up, passed through and fussed with. <<Completely understood'¦>> I'd bet my 401k on cross contamination. <<Possible, but don't let go of that 401K just yet.>> At one point, Kira was bunking with Grenolith (with a mesh partition).  I'm particularly worried here because the G-man (another Betta, crowned) was given to me by the pet store because he was teeny and colorless and about to die.  I used the info on your site (including suggestions from you, Tom) to help Grenolith recover from belly-bloat and get back to healthy. <<Again, happy I could help.>> He came to me white, with one black stripe and very pale lavender fins, and now he's black with red fins.  Who knew?  I digress.   <<Feel free'¦>> Grenolith was obviously in a compromised state when he was chilling with Kira. If Kira has  m marinum, is he contagious to other fish?  Is it treatable? And do you know if an aquatics vet can diagnose? <<First question, yes. Second question, yes (but complicated). Third question, yes, a qualified specialist should have little problem diagnosing. Now, though it might seem like 'sacrilege' on our site to say this, people come before fish. That, and only that, is why I proffered the information that I did. It was meant to 'inform' not arouse panic. You should be aware that the possibility exists but , as we talked about, this is, far and above, a genetic anomaly.>> I retrieved extensive information on the treatment of m marinum  in humans, and I'm comfortable with that information, but all I saw about fishy treatment is that there is none.  Do you or any of the crew have any personal experience regarding the progression of the disease and how it's handled? <<Let's get back to Mycobacteriosis rather than Moritella Marinus. Fish aren't people and it's ill-advised draw similarities regarding treatment, medication regimens, etc. Now, that said, the progression of Piscine Tuberculosis is slow, likely taking the course of months before mortality occurs. Short of extreme measures, the outcome is death for the fish. More to the point here, while transmittable, the disease is NOT life-threatening to humans. Infectious? Yes, but rare. Extremely rare! Even at that, the result is not TB, but rather an infection of a cut, or other trauma, that's exposed to the water the fish is in. Do fishkeepers need to be aware? Most certainly! Hardly a reason for us to worry unnecessarily, though.>> Thanks for letting all of us fishy lay-people pick your brain. Looks  like we all need lots of help. <<I don't know that there's a lot of brain to 'pick', Pasada. Just don't duck a punch that ain't gonna hit you. Stay cool. Tom>>  

My Betta is in a 1 gallon fish bowl and it does not have a filter. Betta is likely doomed unless environmental conditions are improved ASAP   1/12/06 <Not good.> I only added water because of evaporation. <Meaning you don't change the water.  Even worse.> I netted out some of the waste from the bottom of the bowl and set it in the sink and filled it with well water I'm not sure if I should add conditioner. <I have no idea what you are asking here...> There is no heater. The water temperature is at 68 degrees F. <Terrible - the fish is likely freezing.> What can I do about the bladder problem <Swim bladder problem, I presume you mean? First off, read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Secondly, if you are serious about saving this fish, you should purchase a 3 gal. filtered tank, minimum (Eclipse/Marineland makes a nice one, not too expensive), a 25 watt heater to keep the water between 80 and 82 degrees F, and a thermometer.  Once this tank is established, you should do doing weekly 50% water changes.  With regards to water conditioner, if you are using tap water, yes, you need something to remove chlorine/Chloramine...the conditioner will do that.  Add it to the new water before doing the water change.  If you choose not to do these things, your fish is likely doomed and will die a long, horrible, suffering death. Once all this is accomplished, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "bladder" problem.  Is the fish floating? Bloated? A regular quality diet of pellets, such as ones made by Hikari, supplemented a few times a week by frozen, then thawed bloodworms will likely help - also, do not overfeed your fish; his stomach is only the size of one of his eyes. Regards, Jorie> Thank you for all the information. I will be visiting your web site  soon. <<I'll be here. Tom>>

Betta not doing well   1/12/06 <<Hi, Bruce, or, at least I hope it's 'Bruce'. Tom here.>> I just changed the water in my fish bowl. A day later my Betta floats down to the bottom and lays on his side then he swims around the bottom with his head down then shoots up to the surface and takes a breath. What should I do to fix this problem?   <<One thing that would help tremendously, Bruce, would be to feed me a lot more information than what you have. I'll toss some questions back at you so you can get a feel for what we need to help. How big a bowl is the fish in? Is it filtered? If so, has the bowl cycled? Does the bowl have a heater? What temperature is the water at? How long has it been since the water was changed before performing this last change? How big a change, percentage-wise, did you perform? Did you use a good conditioner for chlorine/chloramines? Do you add aquarium salt? Are there any outward signs of an infection or infestation (parasites) on the Betta? Is your Betta eating? How much and how often do you feed him? What do you feed him? On the surface, your Betta is displaying behavior associated with Swim Bladder Disease (Disorder), i.e. the apparent inability to swim normally. Laying on his side and swimming nose-down are also indicative of this. The 'mad dash' to the surface for a gulp of air rather than the occasional, casual gulp that you should see from him additionally sends up a flag. In short, the water change may be coincidental to the problem rather than, seemingly, the cause of it. However, without more detail, planning a course of action on my educated guess may be a total waste of time that your pet can't afford.>> Please email me as fast as you can. <<Ditto, Bruce. Tom>>

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