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FAQs on Betta Diseases 15

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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 14, 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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New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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

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

Betta Acting Lethargic    7/2/07 Dear WWM Crew, I have a Crowntail Splendid Betta; named Bartholomew, who I have for 1 1/2 years now. I keep him in a 5 gallon tank with a filter, heater set at 73 degrees, <This is a little cold for a Betta. The water should be kept at about 80-82F> and an air pump. I premix my water one day before I do my 20% water change, which is every week. The pre-mixture consists of stress coat and ½ teaspoon of aquarium salt. After changing the water and cleaning his tank by light vacuuming; I check the temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. They are now reading: temperature -- 80, pH -- 72, ammonia -- 0, nitrite -- 0 and nitrate -- 10. Sometimes I have to add pH down, which consists of a total of six -- ten drops during the course of two days. <So, the temp is 80F, but the heater is set at 73F? Is the temperature usually constant or does it drop to 73F very often? If it's dropping, I'd try to make sure the temp stays more constant at 80 to 82F.> Everyday I feed him live black worms, dried blood worms and once a week presoaked pellets and occasional brine shrimp. Bartholomew was a very active Betta, swimming and flaring at everything -- the filter, the heater and even his owners. Also, he would get excited by your presence and most of all getting his food. Although, Bartholomew is still swimming around and eating a well-balanced diet; <These are good signs. You do spoil the little guy quite well. :-)> I have noticed a change in the little guy's personality; he seems to be lying at the bottom of the tank most of the time and acting very lethargic. His colors are still vibrant; fins are free of any tears, no signs of any parasites, bacterial or fungal infection. I do notice a few little white dots; but they are not raised. Could it still be Ick? <Doubt it... but if he starts getting the spots on his fins, then I'd be more concerned.> To be on the safe side I started treating him with Melafix and Pimafix. I spoke to Aquarium Adventure, a fish store and they stated that he is just getting old. Could this be true? <Unfortunately, yes. Sadly, Bettas only live 2 to 3 years and they're already several months old by the time they're sold.> Can he be acting this way so quickly -- just lying at the bottom of the tank; being lethargic? Is there a possibility that he has contracted a parasite or some type of infection that could be making him act this way without visual signs? Also, could I have possibly fed him bad food? <All possibilities, but I doubt it. In all likelihood, he's just getting old.> Do you recommend that I give him a Methylene Blue dip bath? <I wouldn't. It might just stress him out. For more info on Betta problems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm> Please give advice? Thanks in advance for your help; I think your staff is great. Jean <Thank you. Happy to help. :-) Sara M.>

Brown lump on pectoral fin.  Betta hlth. Hello, <<Greetings. Tom here.>> Ill get right to the point. <<Okay.>> Twosocks has a brown lump on his pectoral fin. <<And, Twosocks is what species of fish?>> He closes it up and continues to clamp it closed. I have no clue what it is. I have tried to take a photo of it but he won't let me. So any suggestions on what it could be? <<Well, if you look back at your e-mail to us, you will probably realize that you haven't given us (me) a lot to go on'¦including your name, which I'm a little particular about. Slow down on the next go-around and give us some 'particulars'. The more information, the better.>> Because it is affecting how he swims. <<Wild guess? Your fish has a tumor, or cyst, growing on his fin or near his body close to the fin.>> He will only use both pectoral fins to jut about but when it comes to going to the surface for air it's all about closing one fin in and clamping it shut. <<Are we talking about a Betta? Not the only fish that goes to the surface for air, of course, but the first that comes to mind. If what I think your fish has is correct, there isn't much you can do. This isn't a 'death sentence' but, a growth like you've described isn't likely to clear up on its own. Best case? The growth is 'self-limiting' meaning that it's not going to get any larger. Your fish may 'learn' to live with it and see a fairly full life. Worst case? I'd look for a merciful end to your pet's life. Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you for the former.>> Other than that, nothing else seems and looks wrong with him. <<This isn't an uncommon problem with fish. Obviously, it's not a problem we care to see, or hear about, since there isn't much that can be done. Again, some finger-crossing is in order. My best. Tom>>
Re: brown lump on pectoral fin. Betta, no useful data... is there a full-moon?
Hello again, sorry for forgetting some important details.... <... where is the prev. corr.? There are a couple dozen of us "here"... and many emails daily... Did you not read the instructions on writing us?> I rushed the email and it was a fast response so thanks. Twosocks is a Betta. I asked around at some fish stores here... Mostly PetCo. However, when I asked them what could it possibly be. <It?> They gave me a shrug and a suggestion for cleaning supplies... <For?> I looked over the rest of the Bettas there and noticed some of the Bettas there had the same things happening to them. Only they had little brown specs on both of them and not just one big one on one fin. I came home and found that he still isn't using that fin. He does swim about as if he is the happy guy I bought. But with a magnifying glass I saw that he had smaller ones on his other fins. they are brownish and look more like dust. other than that I don't know how to describe them. I went to a specialist who shrugged his shoulders at what I told him. he then looked at two socks and said it could be anything. I'm just looking for a straight answer as to what it might be what is causing it. if I can do anything to help solve that problem. I mean if it was fish lice I would take my tweezers out and pluck them off but this is his fin and he wont let me touch that without flaring up at me and getting all butt hurt. Usually he would swim into my hand and rest on it but now he tries hard not to be touched and brushes up against me with his other side. so I have no clue what it is. Any thoughts or suggestions? <I have no clue what you're referring to... you proffer no useful info. on this animal's system, maint., foods/feeding, water quality... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta problems   6/16/07 Hello, <<Hi, Linda. Tom with you.>> I'm Linda from SE Georgia, USA. <<SE Michigan, myself, Linda. Same USA, of course. :) >> I have a male Betta approximately 2 1/2 years old. I keep him in a small 2 gal tank which is unfiltered. Since we are rather warm here, I only heat the tank during the winter so summer temp is generally between 78 and 80 degrees. He had been acting fine until about a couple of days ago. He normally eats Betta Bits but a couple of days ago I gave him some live mosquito larvae (which he usually loves, loves, loves with no problems). But, since then he has begun lying on the bottom and seems only to come up a few times for air. His color is looking slightly changed. He tries to come to top when I am at the tank but it's with great difficulty. I usually make water changes about every other week. I really don't want to lose my little guy, what should I do? Thanks in advance for your help. <<Linda, two-and-a-half is, typically, a ripe, old age for Bettas. Farm breeding is largely responsible for this, unfortunately. What you might try doing is increasing the frequency of the water changes to every four-five days. You should also keep the level of the water a little lower in the tank so that it's easier for him to reach the surface. I can't tell you this will make all the difference but it might make things a bit more comfortable for him. What you've described indicates, sadly, that he doesn't have a lot of time left, though. For whatever it's worth, you've done a good job to keep him healthy this long.>> Linda <<Tom>>

Question - Betta is discolored, looks dusty, what's wrong?   6/13/07 Hi, <Hello there> I've had a male Betta for 3-4 months now and just noticed a problem. He is severely discolored and has gone from blue and red to almost brownish. <Yikes! Bad> It looks like there is a coating of brown dust on him. <May be Velvet... or just poor environment...> I thought it might be velvet, but it doesn't look like individual spots <These are very fine...> and they aren't shiny or sparkly. It's just all over. He's also been staying in the top corner of his tank, not moving much except when there's food. He is by himself in a 2.5 gallon tank and I do 50% water changes once a week with tap water that has water conditioner added and has sat out in a jug near the tank for at least a day <Do set this aside a week in advance... much better> to make sure it's the same temperature. <... I take it from this statement that you don't presently employ a thermostatic heater? This is likely a principal cause of your induced trouble here if so> I'm honestly not sure how long he has looked like this, as the tank isn't lighted and I only noticed when I was right up against the glass and looked more closely with a flashlight. I feel horrible that this has happened to him. I went to PetSmart after trying to research to see what it was, and the girl there had no idea. She told me to try BettaFix, <Mmmm> so I put in just under 1tsp of that yesterday, then did a half water change today and added the amount required for the water I put in. I haven't seen any changes in him, and I'm not sure if this will help at all. Do you think it could be velvet or another parasite, and if so, what should I do? Would adding aquarium salt help (I never have before)? <Maybe... depending on...> Thanks so much. Christi <Mmm, need more information re water quality... I strongly encourage your reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta fish query #9,472,631   6/10/07 Hello, <Hi Melissa - Jorie here.> I recently got a Betta fish 5 days ago. <Welcome to the wonderful world of Bettas! Of all my freshwater fish, the Betta ranks among my favorites, as it is beautiful and full of personality. I hope you are keeping your new pet in at least a 3 gallon heated and filtered tank; Bettas like stable 80-82 degree F water, and the tiny little jars the pet stores sell truly aren't suitable for ghost shrimp, let fish...> It is a crown tail Betta fish. <Sounds nice. I've got one of these myself.> I am not too sure if it is a boy or a girl. On the little cup thing it came in it said male. <Generally, the Bettas with the long-flowing, magnificent fins are boys; the girls have short, stubby little fins. Also, does your Betta "flare" when you put a finger up to his tank (or a mirror)? If so, that's definitely a male Betta. Here are some great websites for Betta-lovers: http://www.ibcbettas.com/ http://www.bettacave.com/ http://www.bcbetta.com/ > About 4 days later the fish developed a huge stomach. <Generally one of three things: internal bacterial infection, constipation (caused by overfeeding), or a tumor.> If you look very closely at it, it has small red circle thing inside it. <I am have having trouble envisioning this. Does it look like a pimple? Are there red streaks under the Betta's skin? Can you perhaps snap a picture and send it along?> I am not sure what it is. My sister who takes care of the fish says it is pregnant but it has no mate and we don't know if it is even a girl. <Considering I'm almost positive this fish is male, I don't think it's pregnant. I hate to say it, but it doesn't sound like your sister is overly knowledgeable on fishkeeping; again, I question the environmental conditions this fish is kept in? So many "illnesses" and "diseases" are caused by poor water quality, and are easily remedied by improving the water conditions. Do read here for a good article on keeping a Betta happy and healthy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > How can you tell if it is a male or female and how can you tell if it is pregnant? <Do a Google image search for "male Betta", and another for "female Betta"; you'll be able to see exactly what I was describing above, about the difference in finnage. Also, there are some quality, inexpensive Betta books available; I do suggest you pick up a copy of one or more and read about your new pet: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/002-3536912-4086423?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Betta > Sincerely Melissa <Do keep asking questions and reading; you'll soon be able to take over the care of this fish and educate your sister! Best regards, Jorie>

I have a question bout my Betta fish  6/4/07 > Hello, I am a first time fish owner ever and I bought the beta fish "Neo" (since he was new to the family) about 3 months. I have him alone in a 10 gallon tank, with a filter, which doesn't not makes waves, but there is a slight current. <All sounds perfect.> > I got him to be friendly and he would greet me every morning for his feedings and when I would go up the glass he would come to see me. I do talk to him. <Nothing wrong with talking to your fish! Quite the reverse. Anything you do consistently around them, including making (not too loud) noises helps acclimate them to captive life. Anyway, it sounds as if your fish was responding positively to you, which is great.> > Well I have had a busy couple of days and when I cam home today I noticed he was acting very lazy just hanging round the surface a lot. > Plus he is very bloated and I even think he has tail/fin rot as I can see dark almost brown/black color on his tail and lower fin. It is just on the very ends of the fins. <Good call, sounds like Finrot. Treat early is the solution here; advanced Finrot becomes septicaemia, and is basically untreatable.> > I know I have to get some medicine for him, but since he was bloated I added some Epsom salt to his tank. <Epsom salt is a specific treatment for swelling caused by constipation. It doesn't really fix much else, and almost certainly won't help here.> > The heater on his tank is set round 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Is there anything I can do for him or is he a goner, I haven't gotten any meds yet since it is Sunday and the stores are all closed. Like I said before I added Epsom salt to his tank in hopes it will help the bloating. <Really, your hopes lie with actual Finrot remedy, of which there are many. Optimising water quality is also important, so check things like nitrites and pH.> > If he dies my 5 yr old son will be devastated. Can you help me? <One thing worth bearing in mind is fancy Bettas do not live long. They are basically annual fish. Supposedly, some get to 3 years or more, but that's pretty uncommon. By the time they are sent to the retailer, they are at least six months old. So at worst, you get a mere six months or so of life out of many of them. If you're looking for a pet for a child to form an attachment with, a Betta wouldn't be my recommendation. On the other hand, keeping fish is a great introduction to the pleasures and responsibilities of looking after animals, and I'm sure your son benefits from everything he's learning. Good luck, Neale>

Need Help With Betta Eating Habits  6/3/07 I recently purchased the most stunning Crown Tail Betta at my favorite LFS. His new home was a 2.5g cycled and lightly planted tank. *Java moss and a few Crypt plants* the tank has a "Dive Clean Mini" Filter by Tom, which I would recommend to anyone keeping a small Betta tank. It has a low setting to keep the current from being too high. It's a combination sponge and carbon filter. The tank has no heater, but is kept upstairs where the temp is a constant 76 degrees. *plans are to get a heater soon* <All sounds fine. I can't say that I'm personally wild about keeping Bettas is these tiny aquaria, but lots of people do. The problem isn't so much that there's no room for them to explore (though that's true) but the basic, inescapable fact that tiny tanks are less easy to maintain than small sized tanks which are less easy to maintain than bigger tanks.> the first thing I noticed about Mr. Willus, is that he would not eat. I figured he may need some time to adjust. Like any good fish mom I tried many different foods to tempt him to eat. *Flake, Pellet, Freeze Dried Blood Worms, Frozen Blood Worms, Frozen Brine Shrimp* Not only did he not eat ANY of those foods, he didn't even pay attention to them, as if he didn't know that what I had put into the tank was food at all. <Maybe he wasn't hungry?> After almost a week and a half of him not eating, I began to really worry. Not only about his health, but about poor water conditions from the food I was not able to remove from the tank. <OK, there's no excuse for this one. In a 2.5 gallon tank, cleaning out uneaten food is a MUST, and there's no way you can't stay on top of the job. At the very least, a turkey baster type pipette can be used very effectively to siphon out small quantities of muck. In a better situation, you should be doing near 100% water changes every week. As said above, the smaller the tank, the harder you have to work to maintain it. Period. No discussion. Your leeway for water quality problems is practically zero because the volume of water is miniscule; in other words, you have to pre-empt problems by removing wastes before they turn into ammonia.> So I moved him into my currently empty 10g cycled tank and took a trip back to the LFS where I bought him. They informed me that they feed a mixture of mini pellets and live black worms to their Bettas. <Well, all fish like the food they're used to. But the PERFECT diet for Bettas is live mosquito larvae, so that's what I'd be using in this instance.> So in a last ditch effort I purchased a small container of Live Black worms. I also got an antibiotic treatment called simply Betta and treated the tank for good measure. <Why? Antibiotics are medications for treating bacterial infections. Adding things "for good measure" is about as sensible as you taking antibiotics for a headache. Golden rule of medicine is identify the problem first, treat second.> The first time I feed Willus the live black worms it took him about 5 minutes to even notice the first little wiggling worm. But after he saw it, that worm was fish food. He gobbled it up lightning fast. <Very good. Don't overfeed. Fish can go weeks without food, and overfeeding now in your anxiety to compensate won't help and may cause harm (water quality).> With each day I would notice that his interest in feeding time would grow. I got a small worm feeding cone and put it near the top of the tank. This works out great for him. He now gets 4-5 worms in the cone once a day, and I put one or two more in random places in the tank for him to hunt down during the day. He still shows no interest in the worms as they are introduced into the tank, and it takes him a minute or so to go for the cone. <To be fair, Bettas are hopelessly inbred and generally dumb as posts. People have bred them for looks, not brains. Any hunting instincts they had have long since gone. Wild-caught Bettas are so amazingly different to this: the larger species hunt down neon tetras, given the chance!> At least hurtle number one was overcome, shortly after hurtle number two *fish poop* was achieved. Now I'm worried that Mr. Willus isn't getting the proper nutrition. I have tried to get him to eat other foods, but he completely ignores them. He will occasionally eat a pellet if it falls directly in front of his face, but half the time he just spits it back out. <He doesn't like 'em. Move on.> Can you suggest anything I could do to get good nutrients to Mr. Willus? <One random thought: fish food goes off. After about a month of being opened, dried foods have lost much/all their saviour, and fish are less enthusiastic about them. Would you eat breakfast cereal or some other dried food that'd been open for a month? No. So, after that time, it's often best to throw out the food and start with a new tub. I divide out dried food into small packages, and freeze what I'm not using that month. That way it keeps a lot better.> Suggestions on how to get him to eat other food items? <Don't worry too much. The wild fish eat almost entirely mosquito larvae and other types of insect larvae, so live/frozen versions of those are a fine staple diet.> I'm currently getting a 5g tank ready for just him, as I felt the 2.5 was a bit small. <Good plan.> Tank mates will include a Brig snail and possibly a few shrimp, or possibly a few Cory cats. I really want to make the tank a haven for him, any suggestions on things I can do to make it the perfect Betta habitat? <The snail should be fine. The shrimps would be less predictable; some shrimps may peck at the fins. So watch carefully. Corydoras work well with Bettas, but there aren't really any Corydoras for a 5 gallon tank. All Corydoras want to be in schools, ideally at least 5 specimens, and even in a 10 gallon tank that's pushing your luck. When kept in twos and threes Corydoras tend to be hyper-nervous and, frankly, unhappy. So why keep them thus? Instead, I'd perhaps go for something less active. Perhaps a trio of Kuhli loaches? A group of dwarf Corydoras might be an option, such as Corydoras habrosus, but they're not easy to keep and need EXCELLENT water quality. Ultimately though, fancy Bettas are best kept alone. If you want a community tank, then set something up with a 10-20 gallon tank, and if you choose ultra-docile species, maybe add the Betta to that system.> Thanks, Noel <Hope this helps, Neale>

Sick Male Betta, no data  - 05/26/07 Dear Sir or Madam,    <Rebecca>   My male Betta has had a swollen, reddish abdomen for the past couple of weeks. Only a couple of his scales on his underbelly were raised. Being a beginner fish owner, I treated him for dropsy the past week with Maracyn-Two, and am continuing treatment. His swelling may have gone down slightly. However, tonight I noticed that the couple of raised scales were gone, and there was a yellowish-brown strand coming from his underbelly where the raised scales were (just behind the ventral fins). He has been less active and eating about half as much. Any advice on what the yellow-brown strand could be, and what to do, would be appreciated. Thank you for your help in advance.      Sincerely,   Rebecca G. <... what re necessary background info? System, maint., foods/feeding, water tests...? Is this Betta in a heated, filtered, cycled setting? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm The light blue tray... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Male Betta   5/27/07
Sorry about that.     He's in a five-gal. tank with light (on about 10 hrs./day) <Is there a thermostatic heater? What is the prevailing temperature?> and water-pump driven filter with a carbon-containing "pad." He's got a live plant (unsure of type) for oxygen. He's with two Neon Tetras. I feed him once daily with Aqua Culture Betta Pellets. (The Neons get Tropical Color flake foods). I do a 3/4 water change every couple of weeks; the last water change was last week. I use room temp. tap water but always use water conditioner in it. I just did nitrate, nitrite, pH, and alkalinity tests on the water and everything came out fine.       Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks. <Please read where you were referred to previously. Bob Fenner>

Siamese Fighter Fish, hlth.    5/23/07 Hi, <<Hello, Jolene. Tom with you.>>   I'm just a beginner where fish are concerned'¦more of a dog person. <<I've got a Labrador Retriever that could change your mind about that. :) >> Anyway, my Siamese Fighter developed a white spot in the tail area & this has been spreading over his body. <<Is this one spot that's spreading over the fish's body or multiple spots like grains of salt? The second condition is almost surely Ick and we've enough information on our site to write several books (almost) on treating this. You can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm. If the white spot itself is becoming larger, we've got a different issue altogether. This doesn't seem very likely, though. Loss of coloration of this kind is typically connected with old age in Bettas and, since you're a confessed beginner, I don't think your fish has reached that stage yet.>> He can now barely swim off the tank floor. I have taken him out of the big tank and am keeping him separate in a smaller one on his own. <<This is good but do keep an eye on the other tank. Sounds like you've got other fish in it and Ick is easily spread.>>   How can I treat this? <<Start with the link I've provided above, Jolene.>> Thanks,    Jolene Singh <<After reading the article, if you don't think this is the problem with your fish, please get back to us with as much information as possible. Sounds like you'll want to take some action quickly here. Best of luck to you and your Betta. Tom>>
Re: Siamese Fighter Fish, hlth.
   5/23/07 Hi, <<Hi, Jolene.>> Thank you for the quick response, it is much appreciated. <<Happy to do so.>> I went to the Pet Store yesterday & they recommended Anti White Spot. I put this in his tank and could see an almost immediate change. He used to just lie at the bottom but now he moves around much more but he moves around vertically (Head up). Is this normal recovery? <<I wouldn't call this "normal" swimming behavior, Jolene, but it's early yet. If your Betta was seriously infested with Ick, he's got a fair amount of recovering to do. Give this a little time. Finish the treatment and give him a few days after that. That should be sufficient time to see if his behavior gets back to the way it was.>> Thanks, Jolene Singh <<No problem at all, Jolene. Best regards. Tom>>

Bent Betta   5/19/07 Hi, I'm Tammy and I'm 18. <<Hello, Tammy. Tom here and I haven't been 18 for a long time. :) >> A couple of times I would buy a Betta thinking that I could take care of one but in the end all of them end up dying. I found out later on that I didn't have the proper equipment for a Betta so I did some shopping around and bought everything needed to basically raise a Betta. <<Okay.>> About two months ago, my mom decided that she wanted to buy a couple of piranhas and so we went shopping for some feeder fish for them and to see what we need to prepare for the new arrivals. While at the pet shop, Mom found a Betta that she wanted to buy because he's a very pretty royal blue that matched the rocks that we had set up for the 15 gallon aquarium that we were going to put our new piranhas in. <<Let's do a quick 'time out' before we continue, Tammy. First, juvenile Piranhas don't need 'feeder fish' in their diets. Flake and pellet food will do just fine as will green veggies. Second, a 15-gallon tank is much smaller than these fish require. Upgrading might be part of the plan but it's hardly cost-effective in the long run not to mention that it puts the onus on the fishkeeper to move the animals BEFORE problems set in from living in too small an environment. Remember, too, that these are schooling fish. Doesn't mean that you have to keep a 'school' of them but it does help to diffuse aggression.>> So, we bought him along with some API Stress Zyme and Stress Coat water conditioners and some TetraMin Tropical Flakes. <<Actually, there are foods formulated specifically for Bettas, Tammy. Bettas are primarily insectivores and need a 'meatier' diet than one provided for in tropical flake food.>> I named the Betta Blueboy. When we got home we let Blueboy adjust to the temperature of the 15 gal properly treated aquarium and after two hours we let him out of his bag and for the following month and a half he did just fine. <<Sounds good.>> Sometime three weeks ago (I can't really remember exactly when it was) we added a pretty midnight blue molly with Blueboy and they left each other alone, not fighting or anything. <<Glad to hear this. I would advise, however, that Mollies are brackish water fish that require a salinity level between freshwater and marine conditions. I'll admit that I'm one of the very few who finds a modest amount of aquarium salt helpful in a Betta tank but this won't do it for your Molly as time goes on.>> When we finally got our piranhas, we moved Blueboy along with the molly (named Nightwing) into the 6.3 liter desktop aquarium system that I bought awhile back. <<A 6.3 litre (~1.7 gals U.S.) tank isn't the worst size -- though not optimal -- for Bettas but it's far too small for a Molly. I'd rather have seen you leave them in the 15-gallon tank which would have been far better for both.>> The water was completely treated and circulated for 24 hours when we put them in there. <<No cycling?>> That was about two weeks ago. I left for school Sunday for my college finals and asked Mom if she could take care of Blueboy and Nightwing while I was away. I returned today (Friday) and found Blueboy on the bottom of the desktop aquarium bent in an S shape next to a piece of cocktail shrimp. <<Uh oh.>> Mom accidentally fed Blueboy and Nightwing a piece of shrimp instead of the fish flakes last night and I'm not sure if this is what caused Blueboy to bend like that. I removed the piece of shrimp immediately but when I tried to move Blueboy with the net, he wiggled and flipped and tried to move around but than resumed his S shape curve and floated back to the bottom of the tank, face down. Nightwing is completely fine and as hyper as ever so I don't know if its something that only affects Blueboy or what...I've tried searching around about this but it was just general searching, I don't know what to specify my searching with. <<I would recommend a substantial water change along with the addition of one teaspoon of aquarium salt (Kosher salt will work just as well). You haven't mentioned what the water parameters of this system are but I'm petty confident that they aren't where they should be regarding ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH. (These need to be checked in the other tank, also.) The bent spine may take care of itself but Blueboy needs to be able to reach the surface of the tank to breathe. (Bettas will drown unless they can gulp air from the surface.)>> Other than the S shape and not wanting to move anywhere, I don't know what's wrong with Blueboy... He's breathing, tried to move a few times and responds when I try to move him with the net but that's all I know...Does anyone know what might be causing this or if there is anyway to help him? I really don't want him to die. :-s <<Without greater detail to go on, Tammy, it's difficult to say what's caused this problem. The condition you describe can have a variety of causes. It's not uncommon in old Bettas and I've run across anecdotal cases where a sudden shock or scare has caused the same thing. In the latter cases, the problem corrected itself which is what I'd be hoping for here. The main thing, in my opinion, is that you have to get the water quality back up to where it should be.>> Thank you for taking your time and listening to me. I really hope that there is some way to help Blueboy. ~Tammy <<I wholeheartedly recommend that both you and your mom do some in depth research on the fish you have, Tammy. My recommendations for larger quarters for the Piranhas and different quarters for the Molly notwithstanding, I believe you'll agree that there are some serious steps to be taken for the welfare of your pets. I don't mind listening, in the least, but I really prefer to hear good news. I hope you have some for us soon. Best of luck with Blueboy. Tom>>

beta fish with white patches, env. dis.  5/14/07 Hello,   I have owned my beta for a little over a year now.  A few months ago, he developed what looked like a missing scale on his torso.  This white patch recently became larger, making me wonder if indeed it is missing scales or more like some kind of bacterial or fungal infection. He also is looking a lot older lately, <Prematurely aged... environmental stress...> with somewhat withered-looking fins and possibly fish rot on his chin (which developed recently).  I've been using BettaFix Remedy in his tank for the past couple of days.  Could his symptoms be old age, will the scales grow back, and should I use a different medication? <Likely environmental... fix this...>   Also, I am worried that I am not keeping his tank at the appropriate temperature.  My house is kept at a constant 70 degrees F during the day but it falls to 68 F at night. <Bingo> Should I get a tank heater? <One route, yes> I keep my beta in a 2 gallon tank and recently replaced all his plants and tank decorations.    I attached pictures that are somewhat blurry but might help to show you how large the white spot is. Thanks, Michelle J. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta hlth, Non-native speaker    5/11/07 hello my name is Catherine and I have a fighting fish female that all  she has what looks like raised ugly puffed scales all over the body and she didn't have it yesterday she looks sick too I have never seen a fish with this before is it common and will I lose her too she is a good breeder and I love her its an ugly disease what is it all her scales look all raised up like lumps all over they aren't lumps but they look like it all scales are up. Catherine help <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above and in-text where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Ill Betta, env.    5/9/07 Hi there- I have a male Betta in a 2 1/2 gallon, filtered tank who seems to be doing poorly.  I got him in December, and quickly upgraded him from the tiny bowl he came in to this tank. <Is it heated? I'd purchase/invest in a 25 watt Hydor model...>   He's always had this white coating on his underbelly, which is starting to spread to his fin.  I do a 75% water change every week, add salt and a bowl buddy fizz tab to dechlorinate the water and condition it.   <These chemicals need to be dissolved, the water stored ahead of use...> The tank is not heated, and it usually stays btwn 78-80.   <Mmm, doubtful... there is very likely a much larger swing in temperature here during a given day... and this may well be a large source of trouble here> I tried to put live plants in the tank, but everything got coated with brown algae, so I removed the live plants and replaced them with fabric ones (but the gunk still remains in the hard to reach parts of the filter).  He lives at my work, and almost every Monday when I come in, his fins are all shred. <Bingo... likely the temperature control is shut off during the weekend...> They quickly heal during the week, but then I see he's torn them again on Monday.  Today he just started floating on the tank on his side.  So my questions are: Is the brown algae in the filter ok, or is there something that will help me get rid of it? <Better environment...> Does he have a fungus growing on him, and should I treat it with anything? <Ditto> Should I not put aquarium salt in the tank every week? <Correct> What could help prevent the shredding (or be causing it)? <Environment, nutrition secondarily...> Why is he floating on his side at the top? Thanks so much!! Margaret Harley <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and onto the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ill Betta
 5/9/07 Hi Bob- Thanks so much for your help and advice. I actually have a 10 watt Hydor model, <Thank you for this... didn't recall these came in such a small wattage> but I'm nervous to use it in case it heats the water too much and cooks the fish-esp. at night when I'm not here to monitor it! <Not to worry... these are thermostatic devices... Set it, check it once... no problem leaving it on. Much problems not using...> And now that the hot summer weather is coming, I'm even more nervous about leaving a heater plugged in all weekend. <Again, not to worry> Can you recommend any solutions, or am I just being too paranoid?  Also, can you recommend something to treat the fungus? <See WWM re... perhaps a bit of an anti-fungal (Sulfa based)> There are so many products on the market, and I wouldn't want to give him anything that's not correct.  I'll also stop treating the water every week with the aquarium salts and let the new water sit for a few days before using it in the tank. Thanks again! Margaret <This, combined with the steady temperature will likely cure all. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Ill Betta  5/9/07
Ok, thanks.  FYI-there's no setting on this heater, and it says not to use it if the room temp. is 75 or over (which it's usually about 75). Should I invest in the higher watt that has the thermostat? Thanks again- Margaret <Ohhh.... thank you for this... Yes, I would likely get another (larger watter with thermostat) unit... There are independent thermostats that can/could be matched up with the one you have... but... likely cheaper to go the new "with" route. Bob Fenner>

Classroom Betta -- 5/4/07 Hi, <<Hi, Rick (Mr. Dutko for the students). Tom with you this afternoon.>> I have read many of the responses on your page, but I'm not quite sure if there is any hope for my Betta, Captain Jack. <<Let's see'¦>> He lives in a 7th grade classroom in a 5-gallon hex tank.  Water is heated to 76, and is filtered.  I do a partial water change about once a month. <<Two things: 76 F. is too cool. I'd like to see this raised to about 80-82 F. (These guys will do just fine at closer to 90 F.) Second, Bettas need water changes much more frequently than a lot of fish. Truthfully (like I have any reason to lie to you), every four to five days is more the rule for these fish. About one gallon per week (this ain't home, after all) would be far better.>> In the past few days, Capt. Jack has gotten increasingly sluggish.  He is sitting on the bottom, or behind/in the treasure chest decoration on the bottom, or, oddly, on the suction cup of the tank heater on the side.  He's not eating, and sometimes seems so still I'm worried he's dead already. <<How old is he, Rick? A couple of years, sadly, is about the extent of their lifespans. (I'll get a post now saying that someone had a Betta for 30 years but 'farm breeding' has really diminished the longevity these fish enjoyed in the wild.) That said, I would still look to water conditions. If Capt. Jack is losing coloration (a first sign of aging), something else going on in the tank may be the problem.>> You can understand this is pretty traumatic for the students (and more so for me)...  I have had him for almost a year, and he was, up to this point, a pretty perky fish. <<Another idea? 'Aquarium' salt (Kosher salt works well -- pure sodium chloride) in conjunction with the water changes may perk him back up. About a half tablespoon (total solution) in the tank might be worth a try.>> I did a 1-gallon water change on Monday, and took sample of pre and post water in to a local pet store.  They only level they were concerned with was that the water is very hard (well) water, and after the water change, the pH was slightly higher.  They recommended adding a capful of Mardel Water Conditioner every morning for a few days, then bringing in another sample. <<It's very rare that adding any chemical directly to a tank is a good idea, Rick. It strikes me that there's a cumulative effect at play here. (I'll assume this is the same water that you've been using all along.)>> Capt. Jack still seems like he's giving up the ghost...  Any ideas?  I've been told to try changing his food, or to add a pump with bubbles, or to change the decoration.  What do you recommend?    <<Let's take this a little piecemeal. First, Bettas don't need 'air bubbles'. They have a 'labyrinth' gland that allows them to breathe air from the surface. (Bettas can actually survive outside of water provided they can stay 'wet'.) Air bubbles (aside from the aesthetics) agitate the surface to facilitate oxygen exchange (where oxygen for the fish comes from) for fish that need oxygen-rich water. Not so with Bettas, among others of the 'labyrinth' group. Food? Sure, fish need variety. The best, yet boring, diet can cause problems over time. Bettas love live insects like mosquitoes (and larva), etc. That's what they feed on in the wild. Decorations won't do anything for the Captain. Unless they can hide in it, fish don't care. People care but fish don't. Now, there are major, minor and trace elements in water that fish need for their good health. Along with ridding the tank of toxins, water changes replenish these elements. This, Rick, is where I would look. (Check that filter, too. Rinse the media is used aquarium water, not tap water. Tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria.) ;) >> Thanks, Rick & the 7th graders <<I hope this finds you, your students and Capt. Jack well. My best. Tom>>

My Betta's poor tail!   5/2/07 Hello, <Hi there Franca (my mum in-law's name BTW)> I love your site and find it very knowledgeable.  I have a question concerning my little guy Henrique.  He's probably about 3 years old right now. <Quite an advanced age for this species...>   Several months back he developed tail rot and part of his back tail turned black.  I put him in Jungle Fungus Eliminator and he eventually got better and the black portion fell off.  However, since then, his tail has never seemed to recover fully.  It has not grown back but instead now the edge looks puffed out like a blister and the colour is grayish.  I've included a pic for you. <I see this> It has been like this for many months, not getting better, but not getting worse either.  Once again, I have put him in Jungle Fungus Eliminator, but it has been 2 1/2 weeks now and I don't really see a big improvement. <I don't think there is anything to really fix this...> I followed the directions and did a 25% water change every 4 days and repeated with medication.  Should I try something stronger? <I would not> Since it doesn't seem to be getting worse, should I just leave him alone? <Yes, this is what I would do> Everything else about him is fine.  He is active for his age, he loves to eat and flare <I see the bubbles!> at his sisters (separate tank) and I take great care in cleaning his tank every week.  I would love your input as my fishies are my babies and mean a lot to me!! Thanks, Franca   <I would be happy to have this fish as it is in your good care. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Betta + Tattered Tailed Tetra (try saying that three times fast) -- 04/30/07 Hi people,     I'm pretty new at fish keeping and was wondering if you guys could help me on some things. I have a male Betta (I've had him for six months now) and I've been feeding him Hikari Betta Bio-Gold and, once in a while, freeze-dried blood worms. Lately I've noticed that he seems kind of bloated? <Yes... very possible... a good idea to mix in some frozen/defrosted food here once a week or so... Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, et al. types have a good deal of laxative effect...> His eyes look a little red (they have been like that before) and the color of his tummy is white-ish, as if his skin was losing color. I don't see scales sticking out, he just looks like he ate waaay too much or is pregnant...which I hope is not possible. He's been this way for probably a week or so. He's still eating his food (three pellets a day, is that too much or too little?) <About right> and attacking the flakes I put in for the tetras that share his tank (they completely ignore him). He seems to be grumpier? He's been chasing some of the tetra, although he never actually does anything. <Good description>     Also, one of the tetra has a tail where the bottom half is ripped and pretty much missing, except for a few rays of fin. There are five tetra and they all generally chase each other around, but I didn't think they'd actually do each other harm. The tattered tailed tetra has been staying in the back of the tank recently, but still hangs around with the rest of the tetra a lot. He/she has no discoloration or blood streaking and looks exactly like the rest of the fish but bigger. Fatter, I guess, Because he/she's a little wider all around and slightly longer.  The tetra doesn't look bloated like the Betta, though. <The Tetra/s is/are likely fine...> Help! Kat, a new Fish Troll <I would separate the Betta and run it through an Epsom Salt treatment... Please see (search tool, indices) WWM re. Bob Fenner>

My bloated Betta Gillby -- 04/30/07 Hi crew, thanks in advance for any advise <advice> you can give.  My Betta  is in a 10g aquarium, filtered and heated to 80 degrees.  I do water  changes once or twice a week using stress coat to make the water safe and I  always make sure the temp. remains stable.   His tankmates are 2  catfish (emeralds I think) & 1 mystery snail.  The problem is that  recently I noticed that Gillby had a patch of cottony growth on him between  his body and his bottom fin <... something amiss here> and when it fell off it left a hole.  Now  his tummy (directly below his side fins but in front of this new  cotton causing hole) is severely bloated and he hangs out inside his  bell at the bottom of the tank a lot.  His scales do not have the pine cone  effect but the tummy bulge is lacking Gillby's beautiful blue coloring.   That bulge looks as if it could pop at any second.   I also notice  that his feces are long and brown, usually dangling from him for  long lengths of time. <... what do you feed this fish? What re water quality tests?> The catfish and snail all seem to be acting  & looking normal.   Gillby periodically swims up for  air, chases the catfish away when they enter his domain, and always come up  to eat when it's chow time (a combo of flaked & pelleted food). <Needs more than this> His  breathing patterns fluctuate between heavy and normal.  I treated the  tank with Jungle fungus clear but this isn't helping much.  I would like to  give Epsom salt a try but am concerned about the effects on the other   tankmates. <You are wise here> I regret to say that I have not placed him in a  hospital tank because I can't find a heater small enough to keep this 1g tank  stable at 80 degrees <Look to the Hydor line of products here. Possibly online...> and I figured the fluctuation will harm him more.  Any  suggestions are greatly appreciated.... Vivian <A bit of reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm The light blue line below... Re Betta Systems, Foods, Disease... Bob Fenner>

Bettas keep dying... uh, no   4/24/07 Greetings, I've been attempting to keep Bettas but so far having no luck.   <?> The first one lasted 1 year, but fins started to shrink/fade after about 6 months, and he simply become more and more listless then died.  The 2nd lasted only 6 months, and again, his colour and fins began to fade and shrink after a few months, then listlessness.  3rd Betta lasted only a few days before getting a cottony coating on his face. Tank size was always at least 2.5 gallons, with no other fish.    Always some live plants.  Temp on first tank (my longest lasting Betta) was a pretty steady 74 degrees. <Too cool> On the 2nd tank I got a heater & temp remained a constant 79 degrees. <Better> First tank had a  filter, 2nd tank I removed the filter and used plants to keep ammonia & nitrite at 0, nitrates about 5 ppm, because I thought filter may have over-stressed Betta #1.  Feeding was always once or twice daily-- Nutrafin Betta flakes or Hikari BioGold pellets (few flakes/ 1-2 pellets). <Not completely nutritious... Need other foods/supplementing> PH is 7.9 or 8. <Too high... prefer: closer to neutral to acidic> Sometimes I would see tiny patch of white cotton on tail, even though temp was high & ammonia/nitrite 0.  I attributed this perhaps to over- feeding, as there were no other issues, so I cut down to once a day. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong here? <Yes... Please read here, and follow instructions to do so before writing us: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm the second tray down> I'd like to blame it on weak fish breed, but they always look colourful and healthy when I take them home, only to see them slowly fade away... Thanks <Poor environment, nutrition... Bob Fenner>
Re: addition to my last email "Bettas keep dying"   4/24/07
Also-- I forgot to mention that my water change schedule on t Betta tank #1 (filtered) was about 25% weekly (using conditioned water of course) and water changes on tank #2 was about 40-50% weekly. Thanks again <Keep reading. BobF>

Betta trouble  -- 4/10/07 Hello ! <Hello.> First off, I would just like to say that your site has helped me through goldfish keeping for the last year, keep up the good work. I have a 30gal Juwel tank with 3 inch fancy goldfish in it. The aquarium is kept in my bedroom and has a stable but generally high temperature [ around 77/78 or 25/26 ] and the fish seem to be doing really well in it, I cant seem to get the temperature down at all, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. <It may be in summer. Do check the heater: very often heaters are too powerful for the size of the aquarium, so even when "set" to 25C they warm the tank to 28C or whatever. Goldfish really don't like high temperatures in the long term.> About a week ago my mother decided to dig my old BiOrb out to be used as a tropical tank. We purchased 4 tetras and a lively, healthy, Betta splendens. <Not a great combo -- tetras have a reputation for nipping the overlong fins of Bettas.> This combination of fish was recommended by the aquatic centre and deemed suitable for the 30l BiOrb. <Possibly, but depends on the tetras; Neons, Serpaes, black widows would all be poor choices as these have been seen to nip Betta fins. Pencilfish and hatchets might be better.> The problem is that in the week or two that we have had Schism [the Betta] he seems to be being 'sucked' into the rocks by the pull of the filtration system. <Yes, this happens. Wild Bettas have short fins. Fancy Bettas have been bred by humans to be basically incapable of swimming.> To solve this problem we put a peg on the tube to the air pump to soften the current and this seemed to help Schism a lot. But since doing this, the tetras have started to die of, which I think is due to water quality since having compromised the filter *sigh* even though I have been doing more frequent water changes. <Not really a surprise. By reducing the water flow, you reduced the rate at which ammonia was converted into nitrate. While Bettas are air-breathers and to some degree tolerant of pollution, tetras are not, and will suffer if conditions get bad.> I don't want the remaining tetra to die and I don't want the [now raggy looking] Betta to die either. <Well, he's gonna...> It seems that we cant sustain them both and I cant afford to buy another tank for Schism [who I think really needs a different environment because the rocks are really damaging him even since we lowered the pressure] What I need to ask you is if I got a divider for my large goldfish tank to prevent the fish having contact, could I keep Schism safely in there until I can buy him an appropriate living space? The temperature, as I said, is possibly suitable. <In theory, yes, this would work. Rather than a divider, I might even go for a nice transparent breeding trap type device. Bettas seem to do okay even in very enclosed spaces (they've been kept in jars for generations). I personally don't really think much of keeping any fish like this, but in terms of simply keeping a fish alive and healthy, a breeding trap or a tank divider would work.> So sorry for the long winded email, but vie been racking my brain and I really just want to the best for all my fish. <Always a good start to try to do your best. Unfortunately, it is also very easy to mix species that oughtn't be mixed.> Please hurry with an answer! am desperate. Thanks, Lana. xxx <Cheers, Neale>

Sam the sick Betta  - 4/6/07 Robert, <<Actually, it's Tom with you, Danielle. Greetings.>> Sorry for writing to you at this address but I couldn't figure out how to ask a question on CPR Aquatic Inc. <<Not to worry, Danielle. This will work.>> I've done a lot of reading on the FAQ's also and none deal with my problem. <<Let's see what we can do to change that.>> I have a gorgeous aqua blue/dark blue Betta called Sam. Sam's a champion - just about over a year old now. He's normally very active, very intelligent (his eyes look very intently and curiously at people) and loves people. <<Sounds like a great fish!>> In the last couple of days I noticed that he isn't swimming properly. It appears as though he can't move very well - as if his tail is too heavy for his body. He doesn't seem sick - no fungus growth or anything - but he doesn't swim much. And when he does swim, he wiggles around for a bit and then comes to rest on one of the big leaves I have floating near the surface so he can breathe without having to hold his body up. <<I'll assume that his water conditions are up to par here, Danielle.>> I am in Australia and we are getting into winter. It does get cold at night but generally his water hovers in the 'safe' range on the thermometer or just a tiny bit below. I don't think his 'paralysis' has much to do with the temperature, though - he survived last winter in colder temperatures without drama. <<Still, a heater wouldn't be a bad idea if possible. As Bettas age, their ability to deal with less-than-ideal conditions/temperatures is diminished.>> Any idea what is causing it or what I can do to fix the paralysis problem? <<There are two things that I, personally, recommend for Bettas, Danielle. Warm temperatures -- 80 to 84 degrees F. -- and aquarium salt. I've found my own Betta to be more active with the addition of the salt to his tank and have had feedback from our readers that theirs have 'perked up' as well with the addition of salt, as well.>> Could it simply be age? <<Could be age but I think this can be offset with little effort.>> My last Betta (Bruce) went the paralysis way, too, after about 2 years. Bruce spent most of his time on the gravel and we kept the water low so he didn't have far to get a breath. I really don't want Sam going that way if I can help it. <<Let's give my thoughts a try here, Danielle. The problem with lowering the water level to accommodate Sam's breathing is that less water will mean wider, faster swings in the tank's temperature. Something I feel strongly that we need to avoid. As for the salt dosage, I would raise this fairly slowly. I don't even think the common recommendation of one tablespoon per five gallons of water should be necessary here. One-half to two-thirds of a tablespoon per five gallons should do nicely.>> Thanks in advance Danielle <<Happy to help, Danielle. If there's anything else, you know where to find us now. Cheers. Tom>>

Sick Betta fish - 5 year old devastated, please help!  4/6/07 Hello!   <Hi there>     First let me say you have a most comprehensive and awesome web site, and I tried to look for an answer but as the full time working mother of a 5 and 3 year old I spent over an hour and wasn't able to find anything that "really" closely matched our situation.  My daughter is most distraught and I am hoping someone can help us in time!   My situation is a bit unusual in the fact that we have had a wonderfully happy, healthy and energetic Betta named Rainbow2 (the "original" Rainbow lasted 3 whopping days and we were too chicken to tell the kids who had just lost a beloved hamster, thus Rainbow2) who has spent the last 19 months in a 1 1/2 gallon bowl with no filter, no heater, what we found out later on was horribly hard water, and lots of love! <Mmmm... love as defined... by...> In addition, I have been "abusing" him by changing the entire bowl every 7-14 days....and well, if I must confess all, I had to use dish soap about once a month to get the hard water buildup off the bowl.    <This is not love...>   And strangely enough, I had no idea I was doing anything at all wrong, and up until now he doesn't appear to have suffered a bit!  He eats one to two pellets of the Betta Gold food and normally "attacks" you when you feed him (a game he loves) and is very friendly.  He has taken a few spells over the last year and a half where he hangs out mostly on the bottom for a few days/week here or there when the water is a bit colder, but bounces back well every time, and has NEVER missed a meal in his life.    <Good>   Well, now he hasn't eaten anything we put in his bowl in over two days, and is extremely lethargic, and won't even move if we come over to the bowl, he has no interest in anything at all.  He doesn't appear to look or swim any different when he does move about, he just doesn't move much at all.  We had a water softener installed back in probably Jan or Feb, and so we have much nicer water now, and I thought maybe the shock of that had affected him, but it's been well over two months now.  He's not slimy or fuzzy looking or swimming lopsided or anything whatsoever, and I just have no idea what to do!  Any help GREATLY appreciated!    <Mmm, might be the water softener has something to do with this... the excess sodium... if this is one of the common "salt regenerated" types... You might try mixing some non-softened water... But the "real answer" is that this is likely the "end of the shortened lifespan" of this individual... If you'd care to have one live a longer, healthier life... a heated, filtered environment... with a broadened diet... That now you seem aware of>   **side note"" for anyone with small children, here's a tip!  When the fish dies and you don't want to fess up, replace it with one as similar as possible and them tell them that they "change colors" as they grow up...worked like a charm!!  LOL <... Deception, too... is "not love"... Bob Fenner>

You killed your Bettas.   4/3/07 i <I - next time, please use proper capitalization, not "net speak"> had a male and female Betta. We put them in a big bowl together... <A single Betta doesn't belong in a non-filtered, non-heated bowl, let alone two. A single Betta should be kept in a minimum 3 gal. filtered tank, with a submersible heater to keep the temperature steady at around 80-82 degrees F.  Your setup is simply a recipe for disaster. And, of course, keep in mind temperaments: males can be very aggressive towards females and can literally stalk her to death. Professional Betta breeders recommend keeping the sexes separate, and introducing the female when it's time to breed, then immediately removing her. You, my friend, need to read up on proper Betta care; check here for starters: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > ...when we change the water. <Now I'm confused. Do they live together or separately? In any case, bowls are a no-no. Best idea is to setup 2 minimum 3-gal. filtered, heated tanks, one for each fish...> They don't attack each other at all...we did that for like 3 weeks. <Ideally, you should be changing no more than about 50% of the water in your 3 gal. Betta tank per week; changing 100% of the water at a time can shock and kill your fish. I imagine you're doing complete water changes because the water is quite filthy...yet another reason not to house any live fish in non-filtered bowls. Also, keep in mind that it's best to feed your fish sparingly - only 2-3 Betta pellets once per day, alternative with bloodworms or Mysis shrimp on occasion...> Well, the other night after we put them each in their own bowls they both spazzed out and were rushing up to the top then slamming themselves down into the rocks. <Sounds like environmental shock - did you test the water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH? What was the temperature of that water? It sounds  as though the 100% water changes caught up with your fish and caused their demise...> About 20 min.s later they both died. I was just curious as to why they would do that or what would cause that... <Pollutants in the water, too drastic a change in pH, temperature, etc. Read here on how to properly treat tapwater for aquarium use: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm , and how to "cycle" a tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Tiffany <Forgive my somewhat terse reply, but I must say I get a bit irritated with telling folks that they need to do their homework, research BEFORE attempting to care for any live animals. In a nutshell, you killed your pets. Have you read up on proper Betta aquarium conditions? Now that you are "fishless" is the time to do so - here's some of my favorite Betta sites: http://www.bcbetta.com/Acclimatizing.html http://www.siamsbestbettas.com/ http://www.healthybetta.com/ Please take the time to do the necessary reading and if you choose to try again, please be sure that you have an appropriate-sized cycled tank prior to purchasing a new Betta. Regards, Jorie>

Betta injury   3/31/07 Hello, My Betta had a spot between his mouth and eye, which looked like someone stuck him with a pin. It looked bright red like blood. I tried raising the temp. of his 3 gal tank to 80's, and treated him with two series of Furan treatments. It seemed like the blood spot kept reappearing, almost like working its way out.  I then used  KanaPlex for a total of two treatments, with no luck. The fish has injured himself on that sore, and now it has doubled in size, almost like a cauliflower. I have used  E.M. Erythromycin for the last week. The sore just isn't healing. What else would you suggest I try? Other than the sore, he is fine.   Thank you, Ann <Mmm, a direct application of an "antiseptic"... Using a cotton swab ("Q tip") dab a bit of Mercurochrome, Merthiolate... directly on this spot... holding the fish out of the water temporarily... and placing it in newly made-up water (cleaning, disinfecting the present system). Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta injury   4/4/07
My fish keeps re-injuring his wound. What was a pinhole size, is now 3 times the size of his eye. He has had some form of medicine in his tank for the past two months. <? This is too long an exposure for anything efficacious...> I am unable to grab him as suggested. <? Easy to do... in a net or even with a wet hand...> I did do a 75% water change, and cleaned the tank. <Cleaned? Not as in sterilized...> Should I try Epsom salts? I believe he has a secondary infection as well. Every time I siphon his tank (3 gal.), he gets scared and scrapes his wound into the gravel. More blood, bigger abrasion. Your help and time is greatly appreciated, Mr. Fenner. <Something/s missing here... Is this system cycled, filtered, heated consistently? The root problem here (which is what you need to address, not the secondary effects) is environmental... What are your water conditions/quality tests? Bob Fenner> Re: Betta injury - 04/04/2007 I change 25% of the water as recommended after each medication treatment. His tank (3gal.) is charcoal filtered. I keep the temp. at 78-82 degrees. I only use water that has been filtered by Brita to fill his tank. I also use stress coat. <This all is good...> When I say cleaned, I mean the waste is siphoned from the gravel, the glass of the tank wiped down inside with a sponge that I only use for the tank. <Ah, good...> I also rinse and wipe off the plastic plants. (This is done consistently every three weeks.) I remove any waste with the net every other day. I feed him only frozen blood worms. <Mmm, I'd expand this menu... See:...> Sometimes at night I unplug the filtration system to let him rest and not stress him out anymore. What kind of water test kit should I be using? <Posted...> I know this is a lot of info, but maybe it will give you some insight as to the problem. One more thing; I use Brita filtered water because the town I live in ( just moved here when this all started) sent me a letter saying there was Barium and Radium in the water. <What? In appreciable quantities?> Thank you so much! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm Below the light blue tray. BobF>

Another Betta question...!   3/31/07 Hello, and thank you for the greatest informational site on Bettas I've been able to find!! <Yikes! Powerful endorsement!>   I'm a relatively new Betta owner; about 3 weeks or so.  Stewart is a beautiful blue and red gentleman who has adjusted well to his 2.5 gallon tank, as compared to the cup I bought him in.  Terrible things those little containers, I wanted to buy them all to get them out!  (My husband would have none of that)  He now has a good quality adjustable heater and a little hidey place (ornamental "stump" with holes) and some nice plants.  I change out about half of his water every week, and clean his tank out once every week and a half or two weeks, careful to use only water and no soap.  He's fairly active and sociable, gets excited and dances in front of the glass when I come to feed and visit with him!  He's a regular bubble nest builder, and can put quite a masterpiece together in short order! <Heee! Well-stated> He's just great.  I'm trying to vary his diet with the pellets (he likes the smaller the better) and freeze-dried bloodworms.  Also, while he does spread his fins out all pretty like on occasions, he doesn't do it very often.  Should I find a mirror to get him going, so to speak, more often? <Mmm, "for temporary use only"... Too stressful to "challenge" continuously> Anyway, more importantly, after much searching and reading on the Ich problem which Stewart has been recently "cured" from, I've been unable to find any info that gives me an idea when I should replace the filter that I emptied the charcoal out of during his treatment, with a new charcoal filter.  After his last tank cleaning, I turned down his heater a few degrees (from upper 80's to an 82 - 84 degree range) and used the Aquarisol and salt as directed, but now am concerned that if I put the charcoal filter back in that it will take out the Aquarisol and/or other treatments that might still be in the water.  Any guidance and or any other advice you can give me would be very much appreciated!  Thanks to all of you for ALL YOU DO!!  =) Ruth <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words... I would wait a good two weeks after the treatment is "over" to change the filter media here. Bob Fenner>  

Siamese Fighting Fish - Betta, tumour- 03/25/07 Hi there, <Rebekah> I have a male fighting fish and I noticed about two weeks ago that he has a lump on the right side of his body. <I see this> I went to the pet store and they told me to put some Splendid Betta Anti Bacterial Remedy <...> mixture into his water but it doesn't appear to have helped at all. Splash has not lost his appetite at all and is still very active. I have read in some of the FAQ that Betta's can get tumors and constipation. <Yes... this is very likely one of the former> I am wondering which of these it may be. I have attached a photo which I took of him today and was just hoping that you may be able to help me out? Cheers, Bek <Mmm, likely Epsom Salt and hope is about all that can be done here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Betta tumor?  3/16/2007 Dear Mr. Fenner & Crew, <Michelle> It seems that when it rains it pours:  I just lost a 2-1/2 year old Oto and a 1 yr old honey Gourami.  Now Haruki (male Betta) has a "tumor" or "cyst" on his "chin"; its about 1/2 cm below his mouth between his gills. The "tumor" is the size of a small pea.  Its not discolored or oozing, though the scales in the "tumor" proper are slightly raised.   He's been less active in the last few weeks, still eating but not ravenously and spending more time in his lighthouse. I've had Haruki about two years. <This is a good long while for this species in captivity> He lives in a well-planted 40 gallon community tank and has a lighthouse he calls his own, literally chases anyone who goes near it.  All his fishy friends are peaceful (Corys, Otos, dwarf gouramis, Killies, silver tip tetras & one baby whale).  I'm wondering if feeding live black worms could be the cause of recent ailments.  They're next-day shipped from Aquatic foods in Ca. <Mmm, not likely. These are cultured... not usually carriers/vectors of pathogens> Should I move him to a hospital tank? Or leave him in the main tank and treat him?   <Either way...> I have most of the Maracyn products on-hand as well as some BiFuran+, and Jungle's antibiotic food.  Or I can buy whatever you recommend. Regards, Michelle <I would try administering a drop of Iodine, perhaps in the form of Lugol's Solution, to the water weekly. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta tumor part II: Lugol's Solution -- 03/18/07
Dear Crew (Bob?) <Michelle> Thank you for your response.  Can I administer the Lugol's solution (found it on-line) to the 40 gallon tank, thus dosing all inhabitants (i.e. baby whale, Corys, Otos, gouramis, tetras) or should I isolate the Betta & treat him as an individual.  I'd rather not isolate him if I don't have to.   Gratefully, Michelle <Can be administered to all... BobF>

Betta Fish - old age   3/14/07 Hello, <Good morning - Jorie here> I have a Beta <Betta> fish in a 2.5 gallon filtered tank. <Is the tank heated? Bettas like a constant water temperature of 80-82 degrees F.> Dr. Doom has been around for at least 2.5 years (he's been mentioned to the family in the last 3 Christmas letters). <This is a ripe old age for a captive-kept Betta.> Last week, in anticipation of a long weekend vacation, my husband changed the water in the tank.  He notice that the light in the tank cover was loose and replaced it with another bulb we had at home.  We left for vacation the next day and when we returned (5 days later), Dr. Doom was really struggling and at the bottom of the tank.  In fact, we thought he was dead!  I added an antibiotic that was purchased at a pet store for an earlier problem and by the end of the evening, he would move and then stay for a while, but always on the bottom and listing to one side.  I did get him to eat 3 pieces of his food yesterday (and 2 pieces this morning).  When I talked with the pet sitter, they said he was that way from the first day they came by (2 days after the tank change).  My husband thinks that the bulb he put on the tank was too strong and the water became overheated, basically cooking poor Dr. Doom.  After reading around the internet, it seems that Betas only live 2-3 years and perhaps it's Dr. Doom's time to go.   <Do you have a floating thermometer in the tank? You do need to check the water temperature.  Also, have you checked ammonia, nitrite and nitrates lately? I wouldn't have jumped straight to the antibiotics without diagnosing what was going on - it sounds as though the issues were primarily, if not totally, environmental. Not a good idea to proactively medicate a fish.> How do I know?  Can anything be done for him?  He was such a happy, bright Betta and when I came near his tank, he would swim to the front like he was happy to see me. <I, too, love these fish; they are full of individual personality.  Best thing to do is to keep his water clean, keep the temperature warm and stable, and feed sparingly.  It seems as though once a Betta reaches "old age", he will go "downhill" pretty rapidly.  So long as he's eating and swimming a bit, it's OK for him to rest more on the bottom, side of the tank. Just part of the natural aging process...> Thanks, Mary Jo <You're welcome.  Hope I've helped. Sounds like you've got a great little Betta there, and you've obviously kept him well for several years - he's lucky to have you! Jorie>

Betta and Popeye...  3/13/07 Hi there, <Hello Megan, Brandon with you tonight.> I've recently setup a 3 gallon eclipse system with a Betta and a couple live plants.   <This is a very small volume, easy for things to get quickly out of hand.  I would opt for a larger system sometime in the near future.> It's been going great for almost 3 weeks now, I've done water changes each week (1 gallon or so), and when I last tested the water (last week), there was virtually no ammonia or nitrites/nitrates.   <Virtually is not quite the same as 0.  A healthy aquarium has NO ammonia or nitrites.> I have a heater and keep the tank around 80 degrees (although the heater I added seems a bit wonky in this little tank, and it can vary from 75-80).   <This is because of the size of the tank.  As I mentioned before, get a bigger tank.> I just went out of town for 4 days, with the Betta being fed by a friend on day 1 and 2, no food on day 3, and I fed him when I got home on day 4.  When I got home, I immediately noticed he has what I'm assuming has to be pop eye (and temp was down to 75).   <Likely related.> It's worse in one eye than the other, but appears to be in both.  The eye is noticeably bulging out, and there are white rings around each eye.  Other than that, he seems fine and is eating.   Researching your site, I see suggestions for Epsom salt, Nitrofurazone, and Metronidazole, and am not sure which to try.  I was going to try the Epsom salts first, since that seems like the least obtrusive and most natural approach (and although I think this is pop eye, I'm certainly no expert and maybe it's just really irritated).  My question is, if you recommend using the Epsom Salt first, how long should I let it try and work before resorting to something else? <The Epsom Salt should work.  I would get the temp back up to, and CONSTANTLY in the mid eighties, and use the Epsom Salt.  A little less than the half teaspoon.   Give it about three weeks.> Also, according to what I read here, it sounds like about a 1/2 tbsp would be the right amount to add for a 3 gallon tank?   <A little less than this amount.> And that won't harm my plants or bio filter, right? <Nope.  Might actually help the plants as they require Manganese.> Then, at what point should I then try one of the other medications?   <You shouldn't need to.  Stable environmental conditions, NO ammonia OR nitrite, and the Epsom Salt.> And which of the two, between Nitrofurazone or Metronidazole?   <Please see above.  These two medications are likely to harm your bio filter.> I also do not have a quarantine tank, and don't want to harm my bio filter or plants.  How long is the usual treatment with those medications?   <There should be a recommendation on the back of the bottle.  At a guess I would say two weeks.> Would it be ok to put him in a bowl or jar for 1 or 2 days with the medication, and then move him back to his regular tank, or would I be better off just adding the medicine to his main tank?   <Honestly, I would wait until the B. splendens was better, and then go to Wal-Mart, buy a 10 gallon tank with a florescent hood, and an appropriate power filter, as well as some water conditioner such as stress coat.  I would also ensure that I had an appropriate heater for this volume.  My next step would be to go home proceed to set up and fill the 10 gallon with conditioned water, and allow it to heat to an appropriate temperature.  The next day, I would cut a section out of the filter in the old tank, and place it in the new filter.  I would then transfer the three gallon's occupants to the 10 gallon.  This is a rather inexpensive way to keep your fish happy and disease free.> Thanks for the help! <You are welcome, and good luck!  Brandon.> Megan

Re: Sick Betta  3/28/07 Hi there, <Hello!> I emailed you a few days ago about Splash my sick fighting fish. I was worried he may have constipation or a tumor. However, now I am worried it is one of those and dropsy. Is this possible? <Yes. Quite common in Bettas.> I tried to give him peas and he wouldn't eat them. He went off his food for two days and is now only just eating a pellet or two a day. <Fish eat very little in the wild. So, provided he is eating *something*, don't worry too much about the amount.> I also put some Epson Salts in his water and that doesn't appear to have helped at all. However, now his scaled on his body seem to be poking out from his body. If it is in fact dropsy what can I do for him if anything? <Sounds just like dropsy. Often described as an pinecone appearance. Unfortunately, basically untreatable in small fish, and very difficult to treat in big fish short of a trip to the vet to get prescription medications. Dropsy is a symptom, like a fever in a human, and not a disease itself, and can be cause by all kinds of things from organ failure to viral infections. Hence, without a biopsy, medication is basically trying something and hoping for the best.> It is very sad watching him just sit in the tank all day and not be able to help him. <At some point, you will need to destroy him, simply to prevent suffering. There are various methods. See the euthanasia FAQ, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm > If you have some advice of what I could do it would be much appreciated. Also, I am in Australia so is it possible to tell me something I may find here? <I hear you! Over here in the UK there are different medications available to those in the US, and antibiotics are basically prescription-only.> I read the thing on dropsy and how to treat it with Furan compounds but I have NEVER heard of this and have no idea what it is. <Furan compounds are a class or organic compounds with antibiotic properties, though as I understand it, like Sulfa drugs, they aren't classed as antibiotics as such. Furazone is an example. In the UK at least, furan drugs are prescription-only, and I would imagine that is the case in Australia too. If in doubt, telephone your vet.> Thanks again <No problem. But sadly, if your Betta has dropsy, it is basically dying, and all you can do is optimize water quality and hope for the best. Check heat, filtration, humidity of the air above its tank, as these are all common problem areas with Bettas. Also bear in mind the lifespan of a Betta in the wild is about a year, and while lifespan varies in aquaria, at some point it will get old and die. Remember, the fish you buy in the shop are basically middle aged to get to the size and finnage people buy them at. This is different to other tropicals, where we buy juvenile fish instead that have plenty of growing still to do (consider angelfish for example). Cheers, Neale.>

Question about Betta... env. dis. My Betta is lethargic and not eating as well as normal.  I can't see any obvious signs of disease.  He doesn't appear swollen or to have any spots.  He stays at the bottom of his bowl <... heated? Filtered?> a lot and sometimes floats as though he is standing on his tail.  I have been trying to do some research and I am going to get a larger aquarium and a heater.  He may be getting too cold.   <Assuredly> Would that cause this? <Yes> I don't think he has tail rot, although his tail is not as long as it was, its not stringy or anything.  He looks a little gold in color when you shine  a flashlight on him, but it's not spotted.  Could this be the velvet type disease or maybe swim bladder disorder?   <Only secondarily... the principal trouble here is environmental... vacillating... improper> I'm not sure what to try.  I will try a heated aquarium with a filtration system on it first. <Yes> Should I give him an antibiotic or some kind of medication drops to see if it helps?  What about salt? <No, neither> I'm really curious about the floating on the end of his tail. Thank You!! Terri Wolf <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above... Your fish needs your care... attention. Now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Betta  -- 03/15/07
Thank you for your help.  My Betta seems to be doing better and happier! I'm still curious about the way he would float as though he were standing on his tail?  He has only done it once since I put him in his new aquarium. Thanks again!! Terri Wolf <Hard to say... sometimes Bettas just "do" this... Perhaps a behavior that makes them appear as unsuitable prey. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about Betta  3/16/2007 OK, now my Betta seems to want to float on the bottom and looks sluggish again.  I think he may be getting Popeye and his color is funny.  The streaks in his tail look really light.  I'm not sure what is wrong and I'm not sure how to treat it. <... the environment... what are your water quality tests telling you?> I read that sometimes medicines do more harm than good.  I read you can use Epsom salt for Popeye. I think it was 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons.  What do you recommend?  He seemed to be doing so much better and now he looks worse. He's been in his new aquarium for a week.  Please help.   <For you to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Question about Betta (additional info)
-- 03/17/07 <<Hello, Terri. Tom here.>> I've been testing the water daily and everything appears to be fine. I am using the quick drip test strips. <<These aren't as 'accurate' as the liquid reagent types, Terri, but close enough for our purposes.>> PH - neutral Alkalinity - moderate to low Chlorine - safe Water Hardness - Hard Both of the Nitrates appear to be safe. <<I'm going to get 'nit-picky' with you here, Terri. The 'by-products' of ammonia nitrification are nitrites while the nitrification of nitrites are the nitrates. (Feel free to scratch your head. I sure did when I started! :) ) The difference, where we're concerned, is that NITRATES can be 'safe' -- I use the word VERY loosely! -- up to about 40 ppm (less than 20 ppm is our "target"). NITRITES, on the other hand, should not even be detectable, i.e. should read absolutely zero. In other words, there is no such thing as a 'safe' level of nitrites. If the reading isn't zero, you've got a problem to deal with.>> His water temp. seemed a little low this morning  76-78, so I turned the heat up a little. <<Not a bad idea though the range you're talking about here isn't out of line for Bettas. The key is keeping it stable. That's what the heater is really all about.>> He eats Betta bites.  He doesn't like the flakes.  What other type of dry food do you recommend? <<Freeze-dried blood worms are good. Daphnia is another. You can also try freeze-dried brine shrimp although my preference is to feed mine the frozen variety (thawed, of course). I have the 'luxury' of another large tank that gets the remainder of the cube so this might not work well for you.>> I'm still wondering if the salt would help him....the Popeye?? <<My opinion is that Bettas need aquarium salt. One tablespoon per five gallons of water. (Epsom Salt is not the same thing. Has its place in the hobby but not in this regard.) In itself, salt will do nothing directly for Popeye. This is caused by an internal infection/inflammation that pushes out on the eye from inside. Very tough to treat since there are a number of possibilities as to the cause. Frankly, there's no single treatment that's guaranteed to do the trick. The salt will aid in relieving stress on the fish, however, and allow its own immune system to kick in and fight the infection. In the long run, this is what all medications do anyway. Med's 'control' the infection and the immune system 'destroys' it.>> What do you think about the strips in his tail turning a light color? He's always looked almost black and lately he has looked more of a maroon color and his tail is looking sort of light blue.  When we got him, he was a dark blue. <<Color changes aren't out of the ordinary with Bettas but can be indicators of health/stress issues. Let's get the salt into the water and see where it takes us.>> I'm sorry to keep bothering you, I'm just concerned.  I don't trust the young people in the stores. <<You're not bothering us in the least, Terri. As for the folks in the stores, your own knowledge is the best 'defense' against being steered in the wrong direction. Actually, the 'youngsters' at my favorite LFS know their stuff but I realize that this, unfortunately, isn't always the case. I wish you good luck with your Betta and, if you have any other questions, please get back to us. Tom>>

Saved my Betta   3/7/07 I can't thank you enough for the informative article on Betta Disease.  I have read all the different Betta sites and they all recommend that I treat with medication of some sort or other.  When I isolated my dying fish and put salt in the water as well as raised the temperature, it was miraculous!  The fish that was gasping his last breath with white fuzz on his body is now swimming and eating normally after eight hours with your recommendations.  Thanks! <Ahh, the pleasure. Thank you for relating your success. Bob Fenner>

Very sick Betta   3/7/07 Dear Bob, <Sorry Brit, Brandon here today.>   My Betta goes from lying on the gravel sideways, to darting around convulsively (looks like he's having a seizure) to hanging from the top of the tank in one place for hours.  He frequently appears to be gasping for air.  His abdomen appears to be very swollen.  His eyes are very swollen.  He is not eating.  <I would doubt that you are feeding live foods, but if you are I would stop, and go with pellets, or other prepared foods.  A picture would help, but this sounds like Popeye, body bloat, and/or possibly a bacterial infection.>      The Fish store said to give him Neomycin (1/3 tab) <I would change all of the water out, and add Epsom salt.  2/3 a level teaspoon in your case.> and do 1/3 water changes every day with the medication for 3 days.  I have done this for two days, but see no sign of improvement.  I'm keeping his 3 gallon tank at 80 degrees with a towel wrapped around it for quiet.   The Betta lives in a 3 gallon tank <I would opt for no less than ten gallons, with a power filter.> that is heated to 80 degrees with a heater.  He eats Betta bites.  The water is completely changed every 7 days. <Not often enough.  Every 3-4 days.  Are you conditioning the water before putting it in the tank?  Chlorine/Chloramines are very toxic, this is why the cities add them to their water.>  There is never a positive ammonia reading.  <What about Nitrite, and Nitrate?>  He is about a year old and never has been sick.  There are no other fish in the tank.   What do you think could have caused this?  Do you have any further suggestions for treatment? <Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm> Thanks for any suggestions. <You are welcome, good luck with this.  Brandon.> Britt

Betta fins developing clear spots  3/6/07 Hello, <Hi there Bill> I have been "fish-sitting" my daughter's Betta, Wally, since Christmas break at college.  She realized that her dorm wasn't the best place to care for him (irregular feeding, temp changes, etc.)  Since we have had him, we have made sure that he has regular water changes and is kept at a nice temperature (75-78 degrees). <How?>   He is doing well as far as eating, bubble nesting, swimming, flaring, etc. <Good signs> but lately I have noticed that his lower and upper fins are beginning to lose color in a few spots and becoming transparent.  The spots aren't near the ends of the fins, but in the middle of them. I have looked through your website and many others and can't really find anything that describes this condition. He is about 1 year old and lives in a 1 gallon tank (small enough to fit in her dorm.)  Heat is provided by an overhead 7 watt light and at night we turn on a nearby 60 watt desk lamp which keeps his temp pretty stable.  Is there a problem with too much light? <Possibly> From what I have read, it might be that he is just aging, <This too> but I would like to be sure.  He seems to be a happy fish - he comes over to greet me when I walk into the room (like a puppy.)  I just want to make sure that he lives a good full life since my daughter is very attached to him. Thanks, William L. Cotter <Do know that this sort of "discoloration" is not atypical, developmental in many Bettas... this trait has even been selected for by breeders to produce "Cellophane" et al. named/finned Bettas. I would not be overly concerned here... as the more-important good behavior you list indicates this animal to be in good health. Bob Fenner> Re: Betta fins developing clear spots   3/7/07 Hello, <William> Interesting that you mentioned the term "Cellophane finned" since his 2 small side fins have been almost completely clear since my daughter bought him.  They look like little dark "fingers" in a clear "mitten" of a fin. <Ahh, a good description> I am also looking for a heater to better regulate the temp and allow light cycles.   <Yes, this is best> I think I've found one but I will go check it out tomorrow to see if it fits the tank. <Look for the "Hydor" brand... they make some very nice small, low wattage units of good quality> Is there any problem with adding a little Bettafix or Melafix to his tank as a precaution? <Mmm, is of little actual value... and possibly some harm... in disallowing efficient biological conversion... nitrification> I just want to take the best care of the little guy - I guess I'm his honorary grandpa! <Oh yes> Thanks for the help, Bill Cotter <Welcome. BobF>
Re: Betta fins developing clear spots   3/8/07
Hello, <Howdy> Actually I have a bit more info for you on Wally's condition.  After using a flashlight to look more closely at him, it looks like the spots are a very pale powder blue and only look transparent when lighted from above or behind.  The scales on top of his body are also starting to turn the same light blue (his normal color is very dark blue)  Does this give you any new ideas? Thanks, Bill Cotter <No new ones, no... Is an apt description of chromatophores and iridophores reflection in fish coloration, Bettas. BobF>

Betta constipation, dropsy, or tumor? Likely a tumor.  3/5/07 Hi Jorie, Jade here again... I have attached a picture of my fish Gil, See the original email below to remind you of our conversation. Gil didn't appear to have the 'Pine Cone Scale' symptoms previously - but today on closer inspection ... I think he is starting to show signs of slightly flared scales (the pine cone effect on Gil is certainly not as obvious as it is on this fish images presented in your Dropsy link). Just before receiving your response I started Gil on Constipation therapy... I fed him nothing but Pea for a little over a week and gave him a Epsom salt bath. Around this time I noticed that Gil had contracted a bacterial infection - that I have diagnosed as Columnaris. I started adding 'Betta Fix Antibacterial Remedy' to his tank (bought from the local fish shop). Gil still acts like the same original fish.. eats like a guts - loves the pea even more than his pellets - producing lots of bubbles - as you can see in his photo. I don't know what to do next... I guess I should now look for a treatment targeted for Dropsy. Regarding his environment... I will look into a better set up... but he does not need a heater with the weather we are experiencing here lately (very humid - hot) I will absolutely get him one when the weather starts to turn ... in time for winter. I just thought you may want to take a look at this pic... and see what you think. How long can he live like this?? What else can I do??? <Yikes, that's a very large Betta. To me, it looks like a tumor, although bigger than any I've seen on a Betta before.  The most important thing is that Gil is acting normal - eating, swimming, making bubble nests, etc. These are all good signs. So long as he continues acting healthy, I'd say leave him be.  Of course, keep his water clean, and do look into improving his setup ASAP.  With regard to the heater, although it is warm where you are, you need to be sure the isn't significant fluctuation between daytime and nighttime.  Invest in a little floating thermometer, if you don't have one, just to be sure.  If the temp. remains stable, then all is well. If not, well, then, you need a heater for Gil sooner rather than later. I don't see any sign of infection, bacterial or otherwise, from your picture. I think the most important thing to do is keep Gil's tank clean and monitor him for signs of decline.  I've had Bettas live almost a year with tumors - so long as it doesn't bother the fish, all is well. If Gil starts not eating, lying on the bottom, etc., then it may be time to think about euthanization - using pure clove oil in a small container of Gil's tank water will put him to sleep in a very gentle manner.> Thanks again, Jade <Best of luck, Jade - I wish you and Gil the best! Jorie> Ps. There is not enough information being spread around the fish shops and aquariums about how to keep a balanced diet and a healthy environment  for Beta fish. I am raising awareness to all my friends  ... about their diet needs. It seems that most people have been given the impression that it is perfectly fine to keep these fish in small vases and bowls... why is this a common trend???

Betta (Crowntail or tail rot)   3/4/07 Hey guys! <<Hello, Karley. Tom here.>>   A friend who works at an aquaria store nearby told me to ask you guys since he wasn't too sure how to help me. <<Okay.>> I have a male Betta that I bought 3 months ago.  I'm not too sure what type it was but looked like one of your run of the mill Bettas (not a Crowntail).  I bought a 2 gallon tank for him, a couple silk plants, a small tank under gravel heater, and a filter.  The filter was rarely used since the tank was small and he doesn't like too much current.  I fed him a small amount of flakes twice a day.  (Let me just say that I am a complete fish virgin.)  I did weekly water changes but was too stupid to notice all the poo stuck to the bottom of the plants and gravel. <<Part of the problem with 'smallish' tanks is that they don't easily lend themselves to cleaning the substrate, etc.>> (Since then I've bought a saltwater reef tank with all the trimmings and actually learned a great deal about being a responsible fish owner.)   <<Glad to hear this, Karley.>> Because of the reef tank I have learned about ammonia and nitrites and all that jazz.  I bought a Hagen test kit with all the droppers etc... Anyway, Betta's ammonia levels were off the charts.   <<Oops'¦>> I did a 100% water change and he seemed to be doing great except for his tail was looking rather ragged.  And it seemed to be on all his fins. From all the pictures and research I assumed he had tail rot.   <<A reasonable assumption given the circumstances.>> I tried the BettaFix (tea tree oil) and nothing happened. So I bought a 10 gallon tank and "hospitalized" him. I medicated him for 5 days with Maracyn 2 (and the usual amount of freshwater salt). <<The salt is the safest way to go for this situation.>> After 7 days I did a 100% water change. I have a small filter on at all times and a proper Jaeger heater set at 79 1/2. He's still a happy guy, swimming and eating, but his tail looks the same.  It's been a month since I put him in the new 10 gal. tank. Water quality is top notch. (I have a tap water filter that I got for the reef tank.) No ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite, perfect pH. <<I like the sounds of that!>> Well, I was very confused, so I invited my aquarium friend over to look at him and maybe attempt some surgery if needed (cutting off the offending pieces). <<Eeek! There are rare occasions when a surgical procedure is the only way to save the animal's life but 'cosmetic' surgery is a good way to end its life.>> He looked at Betta and said that he looks exactly like a Crowntail Betta and didn't want to do anything until I got some advice from you.   <<Whew.>> Looking at pics of other Crowntail Bettas he looks like them, but he definitely didn't when I bought him and it was kind of strange that this all started around the time of the ammonia incident.   <<Coincidental.>> So my very long winded question for you is, can a Crowntail Betta look like a normal one and a month later have those "special" looking fins?   <<Possibly. Bear in mind that same finnage traits that make Crowntail distinctive can be present in any Betta. The gene responsible is partially dominant which makes it a good bet that as long as one parent shares the gene, the offspring will share it as well. In other words, you'd have to be sure of the breeder to know that you're getting a 100% Crowntail Betta.>> Any response would be oh so helpful.  BTW, I love your site, it actually helped me out a lot with my clownfish. Very comprehensive. <<Thanks, Karley. We appreciate it and we're happy to have been of help.>> Thank you ever so much in advance,   Karley P.S. I've never had any other fish with him so he LOVES his 10 gallon tank to himself. <<A ten-gallon tank is about the optimum size for Bettas so I don't doubt for a moment that he's in 'fishy Heaven'. Best regards. Tom>>

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Betta Success
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