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FAQs on Betta Diseases/Health 16

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta Getting Better - 10/07/2007 Tom, <<Hi, Robert. Apologies for being tardy with this one.>> I am writing the final follow-up to my recent request for help regarding my Betta. <<Okay.>> I have noticed the following changes to my water chemistry since following your instructions. Temperature is now at 82.2F. I bought a 25 watt heater. <<Good.>> The pH level is now 6.8. The toxic ammonia is now measuring 0.01. Chlorine is still 0. Hardness is measuring between 75 and 150. The Alkalinity measured at 40. I have noticed that the Nitrite level has risen from 0 to 0.05. Can you suggest what may be the cause of this new reading? <<Ammonia and ammonium (ionized ammonia) are pH and temperature dependent. pH is the larger of the two contributing factors -- figure roughly about 90% for pH and about 10% for temperature. As the pH and temperature rise, the less toxic ammonium converts to toxic ammonia. This can/will spur a growth in the Nitrosomonas bacteria population with a resultant increase in nitrites. In effect, Robert, you're seeing the nitrogen cycle on a miniature scale. Most folks would never detect changes this small. When you understand the process and chemical interactions, the readings you found aren't really unexpected.>> My Betta seems to be responding positively to the new chemistry. <<That's the 'biggie'.>> I fed him one flake today after his fasting for three days. He came up to the top and fed appearing to want more food. I did not oblige him. <<A good sign and I'm glad you withheld the food for a couple of reasons. First, it's obviously not advisable to let him 'pig out' after not eating for a few days. Second, we'll want to allow the bacterial colonies to catch up with the ammonia and nitrites before increasing the bio-load with food/waste.>> I will continue to making small water changes 1.25 gallons, which is 25%, as the toxic ammonia level seems to be rising somewhat slowly. <<This should correct itself as your nitrogen mini-cycle progresses but I like you thinking, regardless.>> Thanks again for the help. <<Happy to lend a hand, Robert.>> P.S. Noticed that the site has changed and I was not able to find the old messages as before. Is this something new? <<I didn't notice this myself, Robert, but do know that some members of the Crew are pulling double- and triple-duty of late with posting the 'Dailies', archiving and maintaining the site as well as responding to questions (as if the first three tasks weren't enough!). I suspect that what you found was merely a temporary 'burp' in the system. Tom>>

Another sick Betta -- 10/09/07 Dear Crew I've read through you're site and thank goodness, now I know a little more of what I've gotten myself into. <Ah, you should read *before* buying your fish.> I'm hoping you'll be able to help me. I'm a newbie to the whole Betta thing and have only had mine for about three days now yet he's showing signs of the same thing as the last post on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaq10.htm How did they treat their Betta? <Many messages on that pages... which one are you referring to?> A white area under his mouth and on his side. He's had a loss of appetite and tends to lay on his side. Please help if you can. I'm a little clueless about what to do. <Hmm... sounds like fungus, Finrot, or mouth fungus (this latter not a fungus nor confined to the mouth!). Most probably mouth fungus (caused by the bacterium Flexibacter columnaris, so sometimes called "Columnaris" in aquarium books). But without a photo, difficult to say for sure. Anyway, treat with a combination medication that treats all three at once. I happen to like 'eSHa 2000', a Dutch product widely available in the UK and Europe. If it isn't available in your area, ask your retailer for an equivalent. Stay away from both salt and Melafix/Pimafix as treatments, as neither is reliable.> Kind regards Patricia <Fish develop the symptoms you describe almost always as a response to poor water quality. So check the living conditions you have given your Betta. Ammonia and nitrite must be Zero; pH 6-8, hardness around 5-20 degrees dH. Temperature needs to be around 25 C and fairly steady. Bettas cannot be kept in unheated, unfiltered "bowls" and need a proper aquarium not less than 10 litres in size, and ideally 30 litres or so and thick with plants. Good luck, Neale>

Lump Between Betta Eye and Mouth, Betta    9/27/07 Dear WWM, <Jean> My Betta has lump between his eye and mouth. The lump color is reddish/brownish; oval in shape. It looks sort of like a pimple. He still has a great appetite. All tank readings are normal. He was just recently treated with parasite clear medicine by Jungle. <Might be involved> My questions is should I treat him with a salt bath? Or an Epsom salt bath? The baths would reduce swelling and cleanse whatever it is. Or give him some antibiotics? Please give advice; I am very worried. Thanks in advance for your help. Jean <I would not further expose this fish to chemical remedies... but rely on time, good care to aid its self-curing. Bob Fenner>

Betta Popeye Not Responding to Epsom Salt  9/20/07 A week ago I noticed my male Betta, Chip had Popeye in his left eye. We have had him for 18 months. He lives in a 3 gallon Marineland Explorer tank with a filter and BioWheel. (We had gone away for a week and he got overfed - the nitrates were high, over 50.) I checked WWM and put in Epsom salt as required and I have been doing a 50% water change everyday, replacing the Epsom salt. He has been resting a lot, but comes to see me when I am near. He seems tired and the whole thing looks painful and it has not improved. When I have tried to feed him brine shrimp or bloodworms, he can't see them and they sink to the bottom. I have been giving him flake food instead and tuning off the filter so he can grab it more easily. The only things in the tank are a small decorative treasure chest, the filter tube and a silk plant for him to rest on. Any other suggestions? I am concerned about adding antibiotic to such a small tank, but I am also reluctant to let this drag on without him getting better. Asa in DC <Greetings. Pop-eye tends to be caused by two distinct things: mechanical damage (e.g., rough handling) or poor water quality. There are other things that can cause it, but not all that often. So, you need to zero out those two most likely issues. Is there anything in the aquarium that it could scratch itself on? Some people stick things like fake corals and plastic plants in tanks, and these can be fine, but in very small tanks it is so easy for a Betta to throw itself against one of these objects when alarmed. That's why I tend to prefer small tanks be decorated only with silk or real plants, and only very smooth rocks, such as water-worn pebbles. Second thing, check the water. A Betta needs water with moderate hardness, a pH around neutral, zero ammonia, and zero nitrite (with an "I"). The nitrate (with an "a") isn't such a big deal and I wouldn't worry about it. Temperature is a factor, but it isn't something I'd expect to cause pop-eye; pop-eye is really a reaction of the sensitive tissues of the eye to irritating water. Think of it as a bit like conjunctivitis on a human. Adding an appropriate antibacterial or antibiotic to the water may help to soothe the infection, and is certainly worth using. I hope this helps, Neale>
Re: Betta Fish Popeye Not Responding to Epsom Salt or Furan -- 09/25/07
Hi Crew and thanks for the advice the other day. <Hi Asa, Andrea with you today. Not sure who you talked to, but you are very welcome.> It has been ten days since I discovered my Betta had Popeye. I have him in a 2 gallon Marineland tank with a filter. Since I found out, I have been doing a 50% water change most every day, initially adding about 1 1/2 tsp of Epsom salt and, putting in 3/4-1 tsp with the water change (depends - it isn't always exactly 50%). <This sounds good. I'd keep up with the water changes. Keep the water quality as stable as possible. Ease up a little on the Epsom salt. For two gallons, you want to have 1.5 tsp total in the water overall, including taking into account any evaporation. When the water evaporates, the salt does not, if that makes sense. So, since you are changing water every day, ok, adding another 3/4 tsp is probably ok. I'd say 1/2 tsp would be better.) For 4 days, I treated with Furan (following those directions) and using the advice found on WWM, took a packet, diluted it by 10 cups of water and put in 2 cups as the ratio. <This is fine.> It looked kind of weak to me, but I was afraid to add more to such a small tank. Chip seems to perk up after the water changes with the salt. He can't see well, so I have been unplugging the aquarium to feed him - either flake food or brine shrimp. <You might try some antibacterial food, such as Jungle antibacterial. Also, it is far better for the medication to seem too weak than to be too strong. You will help him heal much more with good water quality than anything else you can buy, including antibiotics. There is a time and place for medication, and this is one of them, but he needs good, clean water to have a fighting chance. You did the directions, and did just fine. The antibacterial food will help, as it will help him also from the inside out, especially since he is eating.> Bloodworms are too small. <Really?? The ones I buy frozen that my Bettas love are way larger than Brine shrimp.> He is eating, but getting weaker as you can imagine. <Very good that he is eating. Just keep up the clean, stable water.> The swelling in his left eye is enormous and not going down. <Patience. That is about all you can do at this point. Patience, and clean, stable water.> He's resting a lot, but hanging in there. Was the Furan too weak? <Most like, it was not too weak.> Is there anything else I can do? <Time and patience. Water changes. Epsom Salts. Try the antibacterial food. Other than that, you are doing great.> Tank readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 5 nitrates and pH of 8, which is what it has always been since that's the local water source. <Are you using a dechlorinator? You might try something like Prime if you aren't. It is really good stuff.> Tank temperature is constant 75 degrees, but a usually wait an hour after the water change before returning him so the water warms up. <You might try bringing the water up to about 78-80 degrees, slowly over 24 hours. Bettas like it a bit warmer than 75 degrees, and it will help him fight the infection.> Thanks, <Anytime. And get the spacebar on your keyboard looked at ;-). It seems to be sticking.> Asa <Andrea>

Betta with bulging white patches-- 09/17/07 Hello, <Ave,> I wrote to you a few months ago regarding white patches on my beta fish. <Betta, not beta. Betta = a genus of fish; beta = is a letter of the Greek alphabet.> Unfortunately the problem doesn't seem to have gotten any better. <Oh dear.> He has developed 3 large white bulging patches on his body. It originally was just one, however now it has spread to the other side. <If it is just a flat, matt, cloudy patch it is likely bacterial; if it is fuzzy or furry, then its fungus. Treating with a combination anti-fungus, anti-Finrot medication should fix this, assuming it isn't too far gone. There are also a variety of "slime diseases" that can look like this, but they are usually associated with cloudy grey mucous and obvious patches of dead white skin.> I moved my beta several months ago to a 2 gallon tank, gave him a heater to keep him at a constant 78-80 degrees, and I use a little bit of aquarium salt weekly. <Heater should have been there from the get-go, as without these fish have weak immune systems and then die. They aren't coldwater fish! An average of 25C is essential. Warm air above their tank is equally important, so make sure there is a lid of some sort above the tank so the humidity stays over the water. What sort of filter are you using? You cannot expect a fish to be healthy without a filter. What is the pH and the nitrite level?> I always condition his water. His appetite seems normal and he is otherwise healthy seeming. The patches are bulging from his skin, but they aren't "fuzzy" which makes me think it is not a fungus. <Agreed> He also has 2 red scratches next to one of the bulges, probably from itching it against something in the tank. <No, the red scratches are open sores. Definitely a bacterial infection of some sort, whether secondary or primary I cannot say. Regardless, treat with *at least* anti-Finrot medication, and ideally with a broad action antibiotic.> I've tried to ensure that sure the environmental conditions in his tank are ideal, so I'm pretty sure that is no longer the problem. <Ideal conditions are zero ammonia, nitrite; <50 mg/l nitrate; pH 6-8; hardness around the slightly soft to moderately hard level. Filter essential, heater essential, 50% water changes weekly essential in a properly filtered tank. Some people keep Betta spp. without filters, but that's a really bad idea for lots of reasons, and I don't care how often they do water changes.> Please help! Thanks!! -Michelle <Hope this helps, Neale>

Fred is old and what should I do for him?  9//15/07 I read postings on the Betta fish; I didn't see any to answer my question of "Is my fish suffering?" I have had 'Fred' for approximately 4 years; I know I have been lucky to have him, this long. He has such personality and I feed him one nugget at a time, he enjoys being fed like that. He gets so excited when my desk light comes on and starts his tail/fin wagging. Yesterday Fred was swimming on his side, still swimming his excited way, but on his side. <Four years is a pretty good innings for a Betta; these are essentially annuals in the wild, though they can live quite a bit longer in captivity.> This morning he was just lying on this side, but when I turned on my light, he was so excited. I fed him, and he ate one piece at a time, like he always does. I did notice he tried to do one of his flip arounds, with a lot of effort and it looked like it was painful. <Hmm... well, do the usual things: check nitrites and pH, and just generally make sure the filter is working properly and the tank is nice and clean.> Is he suffering? I don't want to 'flush him', but I don't want him to be in pain either. What should I do? He has been a great, easy, fun pet and I know I have had a more than usual life span with him. What would your advice be? <Well, for one thing, never flush a live fish, even one seemingly at death's door. It's a pretty cruel way to kill a sick fish. There are various ways to euthanise a fish should things come to that (search this site for the Euthanasia FAQs). In the meantime, assuming the fish is mobile and feeding, I wouldn't worry too much. But as and when he cannot feed himself, that's the time to consider painlessly destroying him. Cheers, Neale>

My beta is sad! RMF as well... Reading  9/13/07 I just got my crown tail beta 2 days ago. I have a little bow (it's less than a gallon), <... heated, filtered?> but is bigger than the tiny cup that I purchased it with. The first couple of hours my beta was so happy, he was swimming around, checking every rock, every plant. <Cycled?> Then I gave him 3 pellets (I bought the same food that they where feeding the betas in the pets store) and after a couple of hours I saw him staying on the top, not moving, does not react at all. Just takes a little breath and stays. On the morning I went to check on him, he was still standing up there. I wanted to make him happy and what is better than breakfast. I was thinking if he eats, means he is ok. I gave him another 4 pallets. Now I know, that was mistake, I gave him too much food. My poor little guy? is it possible to die? How can I make it better? <Read...> I also use bottled spring water, is that ok? <Mmm, not likely, no... Water chemistry?> Do I need to test the water? <Yes> How often do I need to change it since the bow is so small? Please help, I just want him to be ok. Daniela <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta fish    9/9/07 <<Hello, Lauren. Tom with you.>> I hope you can help me figure out what is wrong with my fish--and what to do about it. <<I'll try.>> We've had our second Betta for nearly a year, now, but for the past several months something has been wrong with him and it's getting worse. At first, he started bending sideways, now he's having full-on spasms where he curls nearly into a circle (again, sideways) and twitches and thrashes around when disturbed. <<Not good, obviously.>> I have been treating his water with BettaFix and SimplyBetta, with no apparent results. <<Not likely to be effective, Lauren, if my suspicions are correct.>> He still seems to be eating, but not as avidly as before (bloodworms). I change his water about once a week. <<Good.>> I was concerned that maybe he wasn't getting enough light, so now he's in a shaded window. <<I don't recommend this since windows are areas of the home where changes in temperature are likely to develop first. Keeping temperatures stable is very important and keeping your Betta's tank warm (80-84 degrees F.) is equally important. Fluctuating temperatures are something you want to avoid whenever possible.>> Any insight you could provide would be much appreciated. I've searched extensively on the web, but the only thing I've been able to find about fish curling up is about swim bladders--and the curl seems to be along the spine in that case, not sideways. <<I'm going to advance an idea that falls 'outside the box' here, Lauren, based on what I've derived from your post. First, it sounds like your Betta's curled posture is behavioral (he curls and uncurls) as opposed to a physical deformity (chronically bent spine, for instance). In other words, it's a action/reaction rather than a condition in itself. The 'twitching/thrashing' strikes me as convulsive in nature as are the spasms, certainly. Since this has been worsening over a period of months, I don't believe it's pathogenic, i.e. viral or bacterial. Sometimes viral or bacterial infections can take time to display themselves but this isn't 'typical' based on my experience(s). Usually, when our fish get 'sick', it shows up pretty quickly. Now, what does seem 'telling' to me is when you say that you feed your Betta bloodworms and, I'm inferring here, that this is all that's fed to your fish. These are high in protein which is good but isn't a 'complete' diet. In short, I think it's possible that your fish may have vitamin deficiencies that are causing its problems. Not guaranteed by a long shot, but it's not uncommon for fish (not just Bettas) to develop health issues when fed even quality foods with little, or no, variety to their diet. Just like people, fish need a mix of vitamins and high-quality, commercially-prepared flakes/pellets are vitamin-complete foods that should be the mainstay of your Betta's diet. I'd use the bloodworms and, perhaps, brine shrimp as special 'treats' for your Betta but not the sole food it's being given. Another thing to keep in mind is that fish food goes stale after a time. After a few months, you should purchase a fresh container of food for your fish. Large containers of food may be an economic 'bargain' for us but when you've only one or two fish, it's not really the best way to go for them.>> Thank you in advance, Lauren Steltzer <<Since you've done a lot of research before writing to us, Lauren, I'm confident that you've already run across the usual references to swim bladder disease and 'genetic dispositions'. It's often worthless -- and frequently harmful -- to treat for a condition that can't be well-defined or pinpointed. What I've suggested is just an educated guess on my part but something that can be easily and safely applied if what I've inferred from your letter is correct. Best of luck to you. Tom>>

Re: sick Betta fish   9/10/07 Tom <<Greetings, Lauren.>> Thank you for your prompt and thoughtful response. <<You're kindly welcome.>> I have had the concern about diet in the back of my mind, but my fish has steadfastly refused all food except the bloodworms. I've tried flakes, which he ignores, and pellets, which fall to the bottom and get lost among the rocks. Maybe I just haven't held out long enough before giving in to bloodworms! <<Not at all uncommon, Lauren, and there's no need to feel bad about 'giving in'. I've a Gold Angelicus Pleco (by all reports, not a fussy eater) that turns its nose up at algae wafers, zucchini, spinach and so forth, but happily devours Spirulina-enhanced tropical flakes. High in vitamin content, to be sure, but makes adding some variety a bit of a pain.>> Are there any other food options that might be more appealing to a Betta? <<Bettas are carnivorous by design so they need a 'meaty' diet. Brine shrimp and daphnia are good options. Live mosquito larvae would be a fine addition provided these come from a source of 'clean' water. What I would recommend right now, though, is to purchase a bottle of liquid vitamins to soak his favorite food (bloodworms) in. There are a number of these products available. Though some are geared more toward marine/reef aquaria, most can be 'universally' applied.>> And if I do switch to only flakes or pellets, do you think this could be reversible? <<Even though there are commercial foods formulated with Bettas particularly in mind, we may be resigned to the 'work-around' that I've suggested. As to your question, yes, this can be reversed if what I think is going on is actually the case. Specifically, what I believe your Betta may be suffering from is called Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE) disease . The lateral line is a sensory organ that runs the length of the fish from head to tail on both sides. It's easily seen on some fish and not so on others. Regardless, this organ is responsible for the fish's orientation in the water as well as detecting movements of other fish and prey and avoiding obstructions while swimming. While there are a number of potential causes for the disease, an inadequate/incomplete diet is widely accepted as one of the primary culprits. Supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals can reverse the effects when diet is the issue. This also may explain why treating the water for viral or bacterial problems was ineffective for you. I feel that more of what you've shared with me points to vitamin/mineral deficiencies.>> Thanks, Lauren <<Once again, you're welcome, Lauren. I sincerely hope that the 'fix' for your Betta is as easy as this should be. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: sick Betta fish (follow-up)  -- 09/10/07 <<Hi, Lauren.>> Wow, I finally feel like I've heard something that makes sense! <<The evidence all points in this direction, Lauren. What we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that the supposition is the right one.>> I am switching over to Betta flakes for the time being. I assume he'll eat them when he gets hungry, rather than starve himself to death (let me know if that's an incorrect assumption!) <<You might try tossing in one or two bloodworms to make these more 'inviting', Lauren, but you are correct. He's not going to starve himself. The problem with fish is that they can go some time without eating without harm. Don't be surprised if he continues to ignore his flakes for a while. Bettas aren't much for 'scavenging', preferring to take their food from the surface, so don't let your guard down on water changes/cleanup.>> Meanwhile I'll look for vitamin supplements to add to the bloodworms. <<Sounds like we've got a plan.>> Thanks again so much! Lauren <<Happy to help. Please, continue to keep me posted. Tom>>

Re: sick Betta fish (follow-up)  9/13/07 <<Hi, Lauren.>> I'm sorry to report that Fishie didn't make it. Maybe for the better at this point, he really wasn't doing well at all. <<I'm very sorry to hear this, Lauren.>> If and when we get another Betta fish, I will make sure to get him accustomed to the flakes or pellets before starting with the bloodworms. <<It's not that you didn't try this time around, though. Still, I do hope your next pet won't be quite as picky about his food.>> Thanks again for your help, I'm only sorry I didn't find your site sooner. Lauren <<You know where you can find us now, Lauren. No need to wait for a problem to arise before contacting us, either. We'll be happy to assist with any aspect of the hobby that you may have questions about. My best to you. Tom>>

Strange Fins, Betta, env. dis.    8/30/07 Hello, and thanks ahead for your website! <Welcome> I'm the new owner of a male LPS (local pet store) Betta. After only about a week-and-a-half, I'm seeing something I haven't found on any of your FAQs. Tai's tail and fins seem to have partially rolled up and come to a point, and the tail has also twisted a bit. There appears to be no discoloration, no tears or scalloping in his fins, his color is good and unchanged as is his appetite. I'm probably watching him 'way too close, because he seems a tiny bit less active. He usually knows when I'm watching and becomes frisky to get attention. Tai is in a 2 and ½ gallon tank with silk plants, smooth bottom gravel and a hidey-hole toy. <Is this world heated, filtered?> The temperature is a regular 78 degrees, <How?> ph is good, <What?> I use Amquel + and Novaqua, and a small amount of salt <I would not do this continuously> in the water before he gets it. There's no filter <Trouble> in the tank but I've been doing 20-50 percent water changes every other day, and a complete water change once a week. <Not a good practice> Of course, we're only talking about less than 2 weeks! I don't want to use the wrong medication, and can't tell if it's bacterial, fungal, or nothing at all. Do you have any ideas? <All sorts> Thanks again for any help or reassurance you can give! Beth Rogers <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. The environment... likely metabolite poisoning... Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange Fins, Betta  -- 08/31/07
Thanks for the reply - I stay confused I guess! I'd thought frequent partial water changes were a good thing. <Mmm, not this much nor this frequently... Please read where you were referred to> The temperature is regulated at 78 degrees via a small heater on a timer and a thermometer. <Good> The ph is good (I used a test kit) at 7.0 to 7.2, <Good> and the ammonia is low (another test kit). <Should be zero... undetectable. Any present is harmful> So the problem must be the water changing. Will a filterless tank cycle? <Yes...> What is metabolite poisoning? <Mmm, biological process accumulation that is deleterious to the organisms health> Thanks again! -Beth <Welcome! BobF>

Re: Betta... re?   9/2/07 I wish to thank you for your very quick answer. <Please include the prev. corr... there are a couple of dozen of us here> Unfortunately, poor Floyd died soon after I wrote. The article was still very helpful as I do have Chuck and he is doing great and I see some problems I need to correct. As you probably noticed, I am new at this and feel awful that my ignorance killed such a beautiful creature. Chuck is probably nervous. You have a wonderful site and again thank you. Linda <Thank you. BobF>

Betta Fin Rot    8/26/07 Tom- <<Hi, Mark.>> You helped me out with my Betta before and you're advice was very helpful. <<Glad to hear it. Thanks.>> Unfortunately, my fish is getting fin rot. I have tried Melafix and it doesn't seem to be helping. <<Not likely to, Mark. Might help the healing process but won't provide a 'cure'.>> I change my 10 gallon tank (filtered) once a week. I do about a 60% to 70% water change. <<Excellent regimen, Mark, but I'm going to ask you to 'up' the frequency in this case. Do the same water change every three or four days.>> I add about two tspns of aquarium salt. <<I might have mentioned the last time that Bettas are one of the very few FW species of fish that I do recommend aquarium salt for. Increase your dosage to one tablespoon per five gallons of water. We can cut back on this once things are under control again.>> I also treat the water with Aqua Plus. I have a siphon device that sucks dirt and debris from the gravel. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. My Betta, other than fin rot, has not displayed any other symptoms. He is very active and eating just fine. Thanks. <<As you've probably seen for yourself, Mark, Bettas will do exactly what we'd prefer they didn't do which is to 'lounge' around on plants and/or the bottom of the tank. Since their finnage seems to come with a built-in 'bulls-eye' for bacteria, hanging out where bacteria are most concentrated is an invitation for problems. Clean water -- something you're handling very well -- is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, it's not enough, though. Give your Betta a second water change each week (same percentage of water exchange) and increase the salt as I've mentioned. Put the Melafix on hold in the meantime. I'd be surprised if you didn't see some real improvement in a short period of time. A final note here is that keeping the water temperature up at around 80-82 degrees F. will assist the fish's immune system. If you've already got a heater, this is where I'd suggest you keep it set. If not, I'd highly recommend one.>> Mark <<Keep up the good work, Mark, and best of luck to you. Tom>>
Re: Betta Fin Rot
 10/3/07 Hi Tom. <<Hello, Mark.>> Thanks again for your help. The good news is, the fin rot hasn't gotten worse. The bad new is, my Betta now has a (for lack of a better word) bubble right behind his front side fin. It looks almost like he has a tumor. He is not using this fin. <<Glad to hear about the fin rot, Mark. (I confess that I'd have rather you told me that the fins are regenerating nicely but I'll take the 'good news', regardless.) The 'bubble' doesn't sound particularly good on the face of things but neither is it something, at this point, to be overly alarmed about.>> He is eating normally and is active. I have the tank around 80 to 82 degrees. Doing water changes at about 80% twice a week. If you have any suggestions, it would be much appreciated. <<Mark, I can tell you right now that what you're currently doing is about all that can be done, i.e. maintaining a good tank temperature and staying well -- exceptionally well -- on top of the water changes. This is one of those situations that falls into the wait-and-see category. Frequently, lumps, bubbles or other tumor-like projections are self-limiting in nature and can/will remiss on their own. Your pet's immune system is going to do the work here and, again, what you're already doing is going to ensure its best chances. 'Sick' fish stop eating or, at the very least, 'pick' at food rather than eat actively. (Bettas are great for pick-and-spit eating habits when they're "off their feed".) This doesn't sound to be the case with your Betta. Likewise, they can be expected to become lethargic (Bettas almost invariably lay on the bottom of the tank, as we spoke of before, and all but refuse to be prodded away from their 'spot' when ill). Once again, this doesn't appear to be your situation. From a hands-on perspective, you're there. Any kind of medicating would almost certainly be fruitless and, likely counterproductive, since we have no idea what the 'bubble' is or, its cause. Stick with your current regimen.>> -Mark <<Thanks for the update, Mark. Wish it was all good news but an active Betta that's feeding well isn't at all bad. Just have to sit this one out and hope for the best. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Tom>>

beta fish... Test Betta?    7/25/07 I have a beta fish that has a tail and top fin that looks like it is glued together. I was wondering what this could be. he is in a gallon tank with a heater and an air stone that is in a tube connected to a plate in the bottom of the tank. So far he is eating. I'm new to trying to have one of these fish. Is there something I can do to help him? I did a part water change. There is a live plant in the tank also.. Thank you for any help. Marianne <Mmm, the finnage is likely either developmental or genetic in nature... Do you have tests/kits for water quality? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black bump under Betta skin   8/24/07 Thank you all for everything you do, it has been extremely helpful! <Welcome!> I've hunted the site and can't find anything specific about this. <Lifetime's more to add...> This question is about a friend's fish, a Betta, about 1 year old. He's in a 2 gallon filtered, but unheated tank (house is kept quite warm for an elderly resident). <Needs to be consistent...> Water changes are about every 2 weeks and I forbade her feeding him more than a couple pellets a day :) He gets bloodworms (dried) for a treat once in a while. <Okay> I noticed last week that he had a black bump a bit in front of his top fin, but didn't get a chance to look up what it might be. This week I came over and bump is still there, looking about the same. His behavior hasn't changed, still eating, still swimming his usual patterns, still flaring for a mirror. The bump is about half the size of my pinkie nail, on his right side right at the top, sticking out around a sixteenth of an inch (hard to tell through water). On his left side there is a corresponding spot that is not raised, but is also darker than normal. <Good description> I am including an unfortunately not very focused pic ( he hates the camera, LOL ) but it does show the size and color fairly well. This is the only altered area I can find on him, everything else looks normal. Any help you might provide would be helpful, and very appreciated. Sue <Not much to actually "do" here... there are (more and more frequent) "idiopathic" tumours appearing on Bettas, other life... Is/are these an indication of "too much stress", pollution in their/our environments? Bob Fenner>

Re: Black bump on Betta   7/25/07 OMG, I am clearly a bit worried about this poor fish, so much so I forgot to attach the pic I said I was sending!! This is in regard to the Betta with a black bump in front of his top fin. <Does appear to be "tumorous"... Only "treatable" indirectly by good nutrition and environmental quality. BobF>

Betta Problem   8/24/07 Dear WWM, My Betta fish had a bowel movement and it was black with cottony fuzz in it. Is this normal or can this be some type of internal infection: bacterial, fungal or even a parasite? If it is a parasite, bacterial or a fungal infection, what can I treat him with? Please give advice? Thanks again - Jean <Hello Jean. This is one of those times where euphemisms obscure meaning. When you say a "bowel movement" you mean the fish defecated, right? Now, given the "movement" (being a verb) can't have fuzz on it, do you mean that the anus has black fuzz around it, or do the faeces themselves? If the faeces have the fuzz, don't worry too much. Just as with humans, the texture and appearance of the faeces depends on the diet. My halfbeaks get the occasional bluebottle if I manage to catch one for them, and when the halfbeaks expel their faeces, lo and behold the faeces have bits of glossy blue insect skeleton and even the odd leg intact. Fish have relatively short digestive tracts in most cases, and the food is consequently rather inefficiently digested. It's entirely possible your Betta caught a bug of some type, and after a while out came an unusual-looking faecal mass. On the other hand, if the fuzz is around the anus, that's more of a big deal. Typically, thread-like structures around the anus indicate intestinal worm infections. But sometimes there can be other problems. Your use of the word "cottony" suggests something like fungus or "mouth fungus" (a badly named disease, since it's neither a fungus nor confined to the mouth). My instinct would be to first treat with an anti-fungus/Finrot medication in this instance and see how you go. If that doesn't fix the problem, then worming medication may be in order. Naturally, remove carbon before treating your fish. If you want to clarify the situation by sending along a photo, so much the better. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Woes  -- 08/22/07 Hi <Good Evening Tammie!> My Betta Pedro is not looking to good he has white spot which I am treating as the guy at the pet shop has told me , <This could be Ich or even velvet, both are fairly common in Bettas. How were you instructed to treat him?> but now he is losing colour and it looks like he has fin root I am in Australia and was told that I didn't need to heat his tank . I clean it about every 2 weeks and feed him twice a day. <Losing color is extremely common in Bettas that are kept improperly, i.e. unheated, unfiltered bowls or vases.> I have 6 other betas and they are all fine the have the same water in there tanks and I feed them the same food . <What are you water conditions, container type, what food do you feed - more information would help here.> I don't have any way of checking his water as getting a kit to do so is very hard around here as I am told just to use tap water with a chlorine neutralizer. Can you tell me what you think I should do? don't want to lose him he is part of the family. <Bettas, contrary to advertising and promotion, do need specific water specs just like any other tropical fish. They should be in heated water, somewhere in the low eighties, and should be properly filtered. A planted tank with lower water movement is the best for their wellbeing.> Thanks <Hope this helps a little and maybe you can work on upgrading your Bettas home! ~Jen S.> Tammie

Sick Betta fish  8/16/07 Hi, My husband and I were given a red Betta fish for a wedding present in November of last year. There was a plastic plant in the tank when we got it. When we woke up the next morning the entire tank was green with the ink from the plastic plant. We quickly cleaned the tank and took out the plastic plant replacing it with live weed. Since then we have noticed that our Betta fish lays at the bottom of the tank, has lost his colour and is now almost see through. He still eats but will not swim and his body is curved in a way that looks like he has broken his back. We have followed the care advice from the Betta Central website but see no improvement in him. He seems to be even worse than before, his gills have changed to black. Is this because he was poisoned when we first received him and how can we make him better? Thanks Kate <Hello Kate. The symptoms you are describing are pretty non-specific and without other factors I cannot possibly say what's wrong. It's unlikely the dye is the issue though. What's more likely is water quality, water chemistry, or temperature. Fancy Bettas are sensitive to poor water quality, and your ammonia and nitrite readings must be ZERO. Water chemistry values shouldn't be extreme: anything between pH 6.5 to 7.5 is fine, and the hardness should be somewhere between fairly soft to moderately hard. Temperature is often where people go wrong. These are tropical fish, and need to be maintained at NOT LESS than 25 degrees C day in, day out. Room temperature (unless you live in the tropics!) is not acceptable. So, check the filter is working properly, and do a water test to establish the water chemistry and water quality. Once you know those, get back to me. Bettas are relatively short lived fish, and specimen that reaches 18-24 months is veritable Methuselah. But I'm not sure that's the case here, because life-expired Bettas tend not to change colours or shape, but merely become, well, old-looking: lethargic and a bit raggedy. Cheers, Neale.>

sick beta, reading/using WWM    8/12/07 hello, I have a beta, named Howard. I got him December 24 2005. For the last 2 weeks he has been looking very bloated in his stomach area, and until recently he only came up from the bottom of his tank when he needs oxygen. But now he will randomly freak out and swim very fast and erratic while he's getting air. in the past he was eating blood worms and only bloodworms, so that is all I fed him, but I recently got him Nutrafin tropical fish pellets. I didn't feed him for 48 hours and have been feeding him little amounts for the last week. However it doesn't seem to be working and his stomach still looks extremely swollen. I am getting very worried and was wondering if there was any possible way to make him feel better and get healthy again. <Mmm, need info. re the system, history of maintenance of this animal... The food regimen you mention is imperfect... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm the second, light-blue tray on Bettas... their Systems, Health... Bob Fenner>

My 4yr old Betta has Popeye 8/10/07 I've had Mr. Fish for about 4 yrs, he was my first and only fish that I rescued from a vase, but only had enough knowledge at the time to think a 2.5 gal bowl was big enough. However over the years, I must have been doing something right, as I continued to do 100% weekly water changes (allowed water to sit for a week, then conditioned it) but never had a heater. He survived two moves, one from our apartment to condo, and then to my work last October when I figured our condo fluctuated in temp too much to keep him comfortable. He's been a trooper and remained entertaining and very active up until 2 days ago'¦ It was a long weekend for us Canadians, so on Tuesday of this week, I came in to discover my poor little buddy contracted Popeye and immediately went online to seek help. I found your website where I read most of your archives on Epsom salt treatments and medication. I did a water change right away on Tuesday, plus added about a tsp or less of salt, did another change yesterday with the same amount of salt and will repeat the process tomorrow before the weekend. As well, I added a small heater and thermometer in hopes of maintaining his water temp in the 80's. (It's below a fluorescent light on my desk so I thought this was sufficient considering he's gone this long without one) Anyway, am I on the right track? <About all one can do...> Will he recover or is he too old? <Likely, factoring in the environmental stress... the latter> Should I continue to do water changes every other day? <Ah, no...> How long do I keep up with the salt? I've read it can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks? <This is about right... you should see some improvement if this is going to work. A thermostatic heater, filter would (have) helped) here> HELP'¦ I feel horrible! Also, he hasn't eaten since last Friday but I keep trying whenever he comes to the surface but he seems afraid of me :( <Mmmm> Sorry for the novel. And I couldn't help with the before and after photos! Raelene <I do think senescence is working against you here. Bob Fenner>

Various Medications for a Betta  8/9/07 Dear WWM, <Jean> I have a Betta whom I have been treating with Maracyn-2 for approximately ten days. The reason for this treatment is he was acting lethargic, his color was a little grayish in spots and he has cloudy eyes, but not as profound now as before and his fins were clamped, but no longer. I still see a whitish spot inside of his pectoral fin. <Mmmm... Minocycline for?> During treatment with Maracyn-2, I noticed that he developed a cotton-like stringy material trailing from his fins with a little on his body, so I began treating him with Maroxy. I finished with Maracyn-2 and noticed a change in his personality; he is much more active. But I still notice some cotton-like material on his fins; so I will finish the Maroxy treatment. My question is; would it hurt to treat him with Maracide as a precaution against parasites after finishing my treatment with Maroxy? Please give advise - Jean <Well, all these Mardel products are miscible... safe to use one after the other... but I am concerned re the net cause/s of whatever is mal-affecting your Betta... Almost all such are environmental, rather than pathogenic in nature. Please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta Illness: Unclear Origins  8/6/07 Dear Crew, <Hi Alison, Jorie here today.> I've sent in once before about my Bettas and you were very, very helpful. <Glad to hear this - we certainly try our best here!> I'm hoping you can help me with my most recent problem, as I've searched the archives and I couldn't find anything to the specific incident I had. <I will try!> Here goes: I have a two year old albino female Betta (with little pink eyes), and she's always been my pride and joy. <Ahhh, I'm jealous - these are beautiful fish! Quite expensive 'round these parts, too, which is why I don't have my own:-)> I had her in a smaller bowl for the past month in order to condition her for her first breeding so she had ready access to food. When I keep my Bettas in the conditioning bowls, I usually do a 75% water change every one or two days and remove any feces or left over food with a dropper. <It certainly sounds like you know what you are doing, but I'm a bit concerned about changing so much water at once. Hopefully the new water is "matched" as closely to the old water as possible (in terms of pH, temperature, etc.)? Otherwise, you run the risk of shocking the little girl's system. When I tried to keep a female Betta in a 1 gallon filtered/heated tank, that was the problem I ran into; in trying to keep the waste product under control...there's not much water to play with in such a situation. Also, I have found that the fancier stains of Bettas (i.e., more genetically manipulated) can result in the fish being even more sensitive to adverse conditions...something to keep in mind.> The problem is, I went out of town for a day, and when I got back, her bowl was unusually dirty (not a big deal, someone in the house had given her a treat (confirmed) and there was extra waste output). <It happens. Whenever I go out of town, I make little Ziploc baggies of food for each of my tanks, and emphasize that this is the only thing I want the fish to be fed in my absence.> I went to change her water, and she jumped into the dirty water bucket... <Wow - an active girl!> The water contained pieces of cucumber and tetracycline from the other fish's water. I netted her out and she jumped approximately 7 inches to the floor, where I picked her up and put her in her clean bowl. Immediately, I noticed her swimming erratically. <She may have injured herself, but hopefully it's just a result of shock, which will remedy itself given proper care.> The characteristic swim bladder problem of twirling came to mind. <It is possible the swim bladder was injured in the fall...> However, I also noticed she was able to maintain a chosen depth in the water, but was unable to stay upright. Then I read the Wet Web Media article on swim bladders and the part about their "ears", fluid-filled chambers that let them know they are upright. That seemed more feasible, as she had it happen literally within 10 seconds. <I'm not sure I exactly understand what you mean here.> I am unclear why this happened or what I can do to remedy it. I know she jumped out because I was home late and not careful with her when doing my animal husbandry chores. <I think this was just a fluke, honestly, and not something you should blame yourself for...> What I am unsure of is what it resulted from (shock, bacteria, etc.), and what on earth I can realistically do. She's still eating voraciously, but having a heck of a hard time doing it. She spins like a torpedo trying to get a bloodworm and although she doesn't look miserable, I can't imagine spinning forever to be an ideal sort of life. :( <Well, first things first. It sounds like she lives alone, so this is good - no one to pick on her, eat her food, otherwise stress her out. A Betta's swim bladder is quite sensitive, so I'm betting she did in fact injure hers in the fall/jump. It's good that she's able to swim up and down, so that she can easily make it to the top to take in air. If that weren't the case, I would recommend lowering the water level in the tank, and giving her some decorations to be able to "perch" on. The latter may actually be of use in your girl's situation; if she's constantly spinning, give her a couple of spots where she can "rest" in the tank, and just sit/lie. The good news is swim bladder injuries/disorders are not usually painful and are rarely fatal to the fish, and a fish so affected can live out the remainder of her live in comfort. The bad news is there really isn't a way to "treat" the injury, per se. The best you can do is keep the water clean, keep her comfortable, make sure she continues to eat, and allow her to rest (not that different that treating an ill child, is it?!)> The fish whose water had been treated was a goldfish with a great deal of finnage which had been damaged while struggling with improper tank decorations. He has no parasites or diseases I am aware of, nor does the female Betta in question. <That's good - no pathogens, diseases transmitted to your girl, then.> Most treatments I find usually only specify what to do for constipation or bacterial infection of the swim bladder. <Yes.> I am most hopeful for a suggestion. <Unfortunately, this is a case where only time where tell. Keep her clean, warm and comfortable and hope that the injury repairs itself internally. If not, make the necessary accommodations in her tank (see suggestion re: places to sit/perch above) and she'll likely live out her life comfortably. Do be careful about choosing whether to breed this fish; if her swim bladder is truly injured, the stress of breeding may well do her in. Unfortunately, she may be better suited as a true "pet", in a larger heated/filtered tank (3-5 gallons is ideal).> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome; sorry I don't have a "magic cure". Hopefully time and rest will be of use here. Best wishes, Jorie> Alison

Fungus, Betta... bowl... Need real env., not phony or real med.s    8/5/07 Dear WWM, We've been treating our Betta in a 1-gallon hospital tank with Maracyn-Two for about 7 days to rid him of bacteria. About the 3rd day in the little fella looked like a goner. We lowered the water level in the 1-gallon hospital tank to about 1/3 or less and he has responded well. We are not using any filtration and we started doing a full water change daily including the proper proportion of medicine. A couple days ago we noticed a white cottony substance on him also. We understand this to be a fungus so we have added Pimafix to his medication regimen. The white cottony stuff seems to come off and mess up the little 1/3 gallon of water we have in the tank We want to keep the water clean for him and since we are only keeping him in 1/3 gallon of water right now we need to make a full water change at least twice a day. Each time we change the water we also add the proper proportion of Maracyn-Two and Pimafix. By doing this twice daily are we double-dosing him? We didn't think so because we are keeping the medication to water ratio at proper levels but we we're not sure. Are there more effective medications (Maroxy)? Please help. Thank you very much. Jeannie & Joe <Hello Jeannie & Joe, I know I disagree with some of my colleagues here at Wet Web Media, but as far as I'm concerned Melafix and Pimafix are a waste of time. At best, they're help keep wounds clean and so promote natural healing c/o of the fish's own immune system and cellular repair mechanisms. But in a 1-gallon tank water quality isn't going to be that good (one gallon is smaller than the average bucket, let alone aquarium) so you need to break out the industrial strength medications, not these airy-fairy New Age tea-tree oil products. If you came down with pneumonia, would opt for the antibiotics or Ginseng Tea? This is sort of the choice people make here, by opting for Melafix and Pimafix instead of the traditional medications. Anyway, go visit your local retailer and buy a combination Finrot/fungus medication. This will treat both the external bacterial infections plus the fungus infection. Follow the instructions on the medication carefully -- if you do water changes before the instructions tell you to do them, you dilute the medication and reduce its efficacy. This is a very good reason why Bettas should be kept in real tanks with real filters, not Mickey Mouse "bowls" that rely on water changes daily to dilute pollutants instead of a filter. Anyway, install the Betta in a tank with a filter, add the medication at the dose and intervals prescribed, and hold off doing water changes until after the course is finished. If your Betta has any chance of surviving, this is what you need to do. Cheers, Neale>

Recovering from body slime? Betta env. dis., improper world, not reading   8/2/07 Hi, <Hello> I have a male red fancy Betta living in a 1 gal uncycled tank. <Why?> I do a 100% water change every 3-4 days <A very poor practice> with tap water that has been sitting out for at least 24 hrs and treat it with Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner. He has been a part of our family for about 1 year. 4 days ago I noticed that he had a discolored (grayish) and rather puffy face (more so on one side than the other) and alternated between acting quite startled to being quiet and lethargic, fins clamped sitting at the bottom. We were planning to go out of town that morning so I did a 100% water change (always scrubbing the sides, bottom and the one plastic plant--since removed--and colored rocks in hot water and then rinsed in cold). Before adding the new water I am careful to make sure the temps in both the old and new water are the same (by the way I don't net him, he lets me catch him in his little Betta cup--seems less traumatic for him). I added Betta Revive (4 drops). Throughout the morning, I monitored him as he would primarily stay on the bottom-even laying on his side (I thought he was dead at one point) breathing, however labored. Periodically he would come to the surface to get air and then back to laying down. Once or twice he would become startled by any movement or noise so I used a towel over one part of his tank to give him a place to be peaceful. We stayed home until the afternoon and then left him in the care of a friend to feed him the next day not too optimistic. The following day I returned and found him pretty much the same so I did another 100% water change and another 4 drops of Betta Revive (it says to treat for at least 3 days). I put a broad-spectrum day lamp next to the tank to keep it warmer. Throughout the day he remained pretty much at the bottom, not really eating although seeming to want to. Sorry I forgot to say that his food consists of 2-3 Betta Bits twice a day. He used to get a freeze-dried bloodworm for a treat but I discontinued these since he became sick--wasn't sure if he could have gotten a contaminated worm?? By that evening he seemed a little better. The next day (yesterday) he seemed better yet. Off the bottom and swimming around pretty normally and acting quite hungry. I gave him 3 bits and he still wanted more--perhaps he was looking for his treat? He hasn't laid down on his side since. He seems alert. The grayish discoloration and swelling around his face and gills has diminished although not gone. This morning I only noticed some white cotton-like stringy material floating in the water--fungus? It seems to come from him. Since I started him on Betta Revive and gave him the minimum recommended 3 doses as of yesterday I haven't used anything else. Today, his behavior is pretty normal and the swelling around his head is down and his appetite is good. The big "however"...within the last hour he developed a large abscess-looking growth between his 2 frontal fins (picture attached). It just came off and he doesn't seem any worse for the wear. Very weird! What do I do now? Another complete water change? Different medication? His fins in general seem fine except for some white streaks--base of dorsal fin and at the very tips of other fins (although I have him in different light so perhaps I didn't notice it before?). I want to stay ahead of whatever this is so any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much, Karin M. <Have just skipped down... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: recovering from body slime? Betta env. dis. Tom's much better input
 -- 08/02/07  <<Hello, Karin. Tom with you this time.>> I don't understand your email. There were no linked files other than the one at the bottom. <<Frequently, we will give a writer a link to a page in our archives that deals with the 'nuts and bolts' of the issues he/she may be writing to us about. The reference to the 'linked files above' are the topics, in blue print, at the top of the original linked page that can direct you to other pertinent articles, or FAQ's, dealing with similar problems/issues. (Personally, I would refer you, first, to the articles then to the FAQ's. Another tip, should you use the search tool at the bottom of our home page, is to click on 'cached' when selecting a link to a page. This 'highlights', in different colors for each word, the specific words in your search criteria and makes it much easier to skim through the FAQ's that aren't truly relevant to your question. Cuts down on a lot of research time, in my opinion.) Sorry for the confusion on this.>> I didn't see any other comments to my email other than "why" and "a very poor practice". Was there any other response or just the criticism? <<I saw both comments and have to agree, Karin. Think less in terms of 'criticism' and more in terms of a 'heads up'. First, a one-gallon bowl is simply not suitable for a Betta, most particularly if it's uncycled with no filtration or heater. Think of two-and-a-half gallons on up to about 10 gallons. Three to five gallons would be very sweet. Second, 100% water changes should be reserved for tanks with BIG water problems, not routine maintenance. Much too big of a swing in water chemistry. Stability is the key here which is why we always recommend larger tanks and lighter on the water changes.>> The practice of cleaning his environment every 3-4 days was advised to us by PetSmart. <<Okay. I concur that every three or four days is appropriate BUT not at 100%. Bettas need frequent water changes (the schedule that you've put yours on is good) but the volume is far too much, even for a small bowl. There are 'major', 'minor' and 'trace' elements (chemistry talk) that are removed, and/or replenished, with each change. We typically refer to the trace elements but all three play a big part. We, meaning people, think of water as'¦well, water. However, our fish see it quite differently. We don't live in it but they do. ;) >> However, I will be correcting this by putting him in a previously cycled 3 gallon aquarium with a penguin mini filter. <<Very good!>> I do not know whether or not it is ok or not to use the old filter media since it would have the beneficial bacteria or simply start from scratch and re-cycle the tank. <<Depends on how 'old' the filter media is, Karin. If the aquarium has been left running and it hasn't laid 'fallow', i.e. empty, for too long, there's a very good chance that the bacteria will reproduce adequately to handle the new bio-load. In any case, a filtered tank is light-years ahead of an unfiltered bowl. A good decision/choice on your part.>> Perhaps someone would be kind enough to offer some advice so that we don't create more problems for our Betta. <<Hopefully, you'll consider it 'kind', Karin, but the move to the larger tank is excellent. As well as filtration, keep in mind that Bettas need heat. A small (25 watt) heater would make a great difference. I'd like to see 80-82 degrees F. for him. Don't worry about it overshooting in the warmer weather. (He'll easily deal with it.) Stick with smaller water changes but on the schedule that you're already on. Keep it at about 20%-30%, though.>> Thank you. <<You're welcome, Karin. If you've other questions, please, feel free to write back. Best regards. Tom>>
Re: recovering from body slime?
Betta dis.   8/4/07 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Karin.>> Thank you for your kind response. The email I received earlier was confusing. I appreciate your clarification. <<Not a problem and I'm glad we could straighten things out for you.>> I hope you can understand that I am simply trying to find the best advice for our Betta and felt desperate to do something in time to save him since he was exhibiting so many different symptoms. <<Absolutely understood, Karin.>> I am a little mad at myself for taking PetSmart's word on his care so unfortunately that translated thru in my email. <<I've been critical of PetSmart in the past, not so much because the folks aren't 'well-meaning' as much as that they, too frequently, dispense advice/instruction without a good grasp of what they're talking about. Yes, I believe whole-heartedly that it's incumbent on the hobbyist to be informed BEFORE diving into a purchase, but a consumer should still have some confidence in the information that he/she receives at the LFS. Unfortunately, some businesses require more skepticism than others where this hobby's concerned.>> I have also been researching so many sites and gotten such conflicting information on appropriate tank sizes and correct medications for Bettas which only added to my frustration. Sorry if I sounded grumpy :( <<Actually, I didn't think you sounded 'grumpy' at all, Karin, just a little frustrated, perhaps. Again, this is understandable given the conflicting information you've come across and, trust me on this, regarding Bettas specifically, the 'bad' information probably outweighs the 'good.'>> I am still unclear as to how to treat him, if at all. Since this last email, he seems to have turned--acting and looking quite normal--around although I still see a couple of very small white slimy strings in the water. Should I continue with the Betta Revive or switch to something else? <<For the time being, Karin, I'd prefer you keep this as simple as possible. Stick with good, regular water maintenance and let your Betta acclimate/adjust to this. Rarely will a fish, kept in optimal conditions, run into health issues. If you take care of the water, the fish, almost invariably, can take care of itself. Its own immune system is its strongest weapon against health problems, whatever form these may take.>> Also, do you have any idea what the tumor-like ball was that came off from him? Anything that I should be concerned about? <<In all honesty, Karin, I don't know. It may have been a fungal infection that didn't quite 'take hold' completely and sloughed off in the form of a lump but this is nothing more than a guess on my part. I recall that you mentioned that there appears to have been little or no damage at the site once the 'tumor' fell away which leads me to believe that this was more superficial than internal in nature. Because of this I don't think there's reason for unnecessary concern.>> Since the 3 gallon has been in storage for a month I will cycle it again but is the penguin mini filter ok for him? <<Certainly.>> Is that the same as a sponge filter? <<No. The Penguin Mini is classified as a 'power filter'. Water is drawn into the filter chamber via a pump where it passes through/over the media and returns to the tank. Sponges filters are submersed in the tank and utilize an airstone and air pump, typically, to draw water through the sponge media where the filtered water is returned through a tube back to the tank. The benefit to these, where Bettas are concerned, is that there's less turbulence/current created by these than with the power filters. Since Bettas aren't 'built' for strong currents, a sponge filter can be a good choice for a small tank with a Betta. One admonition here is that you might see instructions to clean the sponge under running water. I don't know who thought that one up but it's a great way to kill the beneficial bacteria housed in the sponge media and send your tank into a new cycle. The sponge should be rinsed in aquarium water to clear it of trapped debris but definitely not rinsed under running tap water!>> I will certainly be happy to make all the changes you recommend. We have 2 other tanks--25 gal for 2 goldfish that I've had for about 5 years and a 4 gal bio-orb with 2 guppies--so I can just add Betta to my regular water change schedule. <<I like your thinking here, Karin.>> It actually makes life much easier for all of us. Thank you for your advice. I will be bookmarking your site for future reference. <<I'm glad to hear it and thanks.>> Sincerely, Karin <<Good luck with the transition, Karin. Tom>>

Overfed Beta 8/1/07 I love my beta fish (Mr. Fishy) <Mmm, if you did wouldn't you know the correct spelling? Betta> and have always taken really good care of him, (or so I thought before reading the FAQ on your site) he is about 2 years old, and was in really good health until last night. Mr. Fishy resides in a 2.5 mini bow aquarium, created by Tetra. It sits on my bathroom counter (most counter space in there) I have this aquarium background on his tank so that he can't see the mirror behind him. <Ah, good> As far as Mr. Fishy is concerned, he's swimming in underwater Greece. He has a filter hanging on the side of his tank, I'm concerned that the current it generates is too strong, but can't turn it to a lower setting than its on. I just replaced the decoration in his aquarium with a smaller set of Greek ruins, because he's grown so much that the other set wasn't leaving him with much swimming space. I leave his light on at night so it heats his aquarium up and I turn it off in the morning when I feed him. He has no tank heater, because the tank is too small, <Mmm, look for the company name "Hydor" on the Net... and get a heater> I was wondering if you could recommend a better set up for Mr. Fishy. His tank doesn't get very dirty, I switch the filter out whenever it needs changing, and replace a some of his water when needed, but is there anything else I can do? What should I do? <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above> Also, Mr. Fishy is sick :( He was swimming around very energetically, and happily just two days ago, and Brandon and I were thrilled to find that every time we walk into the bathroom, Mr. Fishy surfaces and waits for food, in our excitement that Mr. Fishy was actually aware of our existence (he's pretty unconcerned about us, he's never so much as swam my way before) we would drop a pellet of food in his tank every time he swam towards us. He was eating the food, and seemed fine, but last night I noticed his belly is bulging. I've been dreaming Mr. Fishy was going to die for a few nights (I lost a hamster, and a cat recently, and become much more attached to my fish in the last month due to their loss, I'm scared he's next because he's all I have now) and now I'm afraid I've killed him. His tummy is bulging, and I just know I overfed him, what can I do? Is he going to die? Please help me <Mmm, do cut back on the food/feeding... just a few pellets per day... Read where you were referred to... get the heater, perhaps a small bit of floating plants... And be aware that two years is about the natural life span of Betta splendens. Bob Fenner> Re: overfed Betta -- 08/01/07 <The beginnings of sentences are capitalized...> thank you so much for your help and advice, (and sorry for the typo of Beta) I am reading up on the links you gave me, and looking into a heater. I have two more questions, if I get a heater, will the light overheat his water at night? <No... these devices are thermostatic...> And also, as for Mr. Fishy's bulging tummy, besides cutting down on feedings, is there anything I can do? <Yes... read... where you were referred to... You will find ref. to Epsom Salt use...> I haven't fed him today yet, and the bulge is still the same size... I'm really worried. I know 2 years is pretty much where is his clock is set, but I still don't want him to die because of anything I've done (like overfeeding), will he be ok? <Keep reading. RMF>

Betta with Ulcer 7/16/07 Hi, <hello> I just found your site and saw you answered questions about sick Bettas. My Betta has been sick for a while and I am getting very desperate. I believe he has developed an ulcer on his side (at least that's what they said when I brought him into the set store). They gave me medicine and I was using the appropriate dose for about 3 weeks and one night he just got sooo much worse. He could only float on the top and couldn't keep himself upright, only on his side. It turns out his carbon filter was rendering the medicine inactive. <Maybe, but sounds more like an environmental problem.> I took out his filter and continued using the medication (BettaFix). <Worthless, Tea Tree oil.> He initially seemed a lot better but for almost a week has made no other progress. He still rests on his side without moving and doesn't eat much. He looks uncomfortable and struggles to keep himself upright and to move. I have tried everything the pet store has recommended (very little) I have even attempted to find a vet that will look at him (without luck). <Almost impossible.> This fish really means a lot to me and is a special part of me life. It is killing me that he is sick. Please any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lillian <95% of all Betta problems are either genetic or environmental. In this case I would guess environmental. In this case I would greatly step up water changes, 50% every couple days and if the wound seems infected treat with a broad spectrum anti-biotic. During treatment remove the carbon and change the water often, as the bio-filter will likely be destroyed.> <Chris>
Re: Betta with Ulcer
Hey thank you Chris for your response. <Welcome> I just wanted to let you know what ended up working really well for my Betta with the ulcer. I finally found someone at the pet store who knew what she was talking about. She recommended using a medicine with Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone and potassium dichromate in it. The brand Jungle sells a product that is called "Fungus Clear" that has all of these in it. It has worked great!! Everyday my Betta is getting better and has recently begun eating again and the ulcer appears to be healing. <Good> I had no idea about what to do and I'm sure other fish lovers whose pets get ulcers will be writing you and I thought this would be a good thing to let you know worked. Thank you. <Thanks for sharing> <Chris>

Bart's Epsom Bath   7/16/07 Hi WWM, <J n' J> My Betta, Bartholomew has been rather lethargic of late. Last week we gave him a short, intense bath in Methylene Blue and he seemed to become somewhat more active following that. On this past Friday we gave him a Methylene Blue Bath again; a much lower dose but longer bath. It didn't seem to have much effect. Today we gave Bart, an Epsom Salt Bath (1 tablespoon per gallon of premixed water - the premixed water had aquarium salt in it). Before placing Bart in the Epsom Salt Bath we made sure the temperature was the same as in his display tank. He was in the Bath for 30 minutes and swam around quite actively. After returning Bart to his display tank he again was behaving lethargically. We've placed a lava lamp by his tank but he doesn't seem much interested. Nor does he react much to a mirror placed in front of him. His colors remain excellent as well as his appetite (we are not feeding him for 24 hours after the Salt Bath). We check the water quality regularly in the display tank and all seems well. The pH level was lower in the Salt Bath. Can this account for the increased activity in the Salt Bath? <Mmm, stings... Try splashing some of this salt/water in your eye...> Thanks for your help! Jeannie & Joe <You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above?  

The Tale of the Disappearing...Tail   7/16/07 Kira has been with us since October of 2006, and despite his apparent crookedness, he's been the picture of health. Until you get to his tail. <I see> The first incident occurred a few weeks after I upgraded Kira to a larger (2.5 gal) tank. One day he had a beautiful flowing magenta tail, the next day it was bobbed like a Rottweiler involved in an unfortunate lawnmower accident. <Yikes! Bad visual> Frantic to find out what happened, I tore down the tank and inspected the filter. I never did find the rest of his tail. It was a bit morbid to search for it. It was downright creepy when I couldn't find it! After about three months, it grew back. <Good> A little while after that, Kira somehow managed to wedge himself between the aquarium side wall and the filter. Ultimately, he swam too close to the gravel and got himself sucked into the filter intake (I had it partially buried in the substrate in an attempt to avoid just this kind of incident). Thankfully this happened early in the morning, while I was still huddled on the couch over my first cup of tea. I was blearily staring into space in the general direction of Kira's purple fish tank when I heard more than saw the filter strain to eat my fish! Pandemonium. That's when I decided that Kira obviously needed more luxurious surroundings. It wasn't a question of happiness, this fish needed to have an environment where he couldn't hurt himself! <Well put> I was sure the filter with the wide, open intake on the bottom was the culprit. So I got a 5 gal hex with a BioWheel, which seemed to have the safest filter intake. Two weeks later, his beautifully grown in tail--vamoosh! Gone. After watching carefully, I discovered that he started producing a transparent membrane which appeared to be a foundation for a new tail. Today, I saw that it has split. Only his tail is effected, his dorsal and pectoral fins are perfectly fine, and Kira's never shown any sign of illness--just his disappearing tail! I've included a couple of pictures of questionable quality that will hopefully illustrate Kira's condition. I hope you can help! Thank you kindly for your time and expertise! Deb <Mmm, well Betta tails can be easily lost... due to intakes, entrapments, other tankmates... Yours appears particularly diaphanous... Some folks avail themselves of antibiotics in attempt to salve their conscious and speed along healing here... Likely this caudal will regenerate... possibly to be lost again... Bob Fenner>

Betta question- can't find info, env. dis.   7/12/07 Hi, I've been visiting your website for some time now and absolutely love it! <Cool.> However, this time I can't find anything that describes this. I am pretty new at fish so I'll give it my best shot. I got my beta in January 07. I couldn't stand the thought of him being in a beta bowl, so I had him in a 1 gallon tank. After 2 days, I decided that it wasn't' enough space so bought a 5 gal with filter, added an air rod thing, and a heater. (sometimes I tend to over do, but I figured he'd be happier). <Not overdoing. What you're doing is baseline stuff. Keeping Bettas in bowls is cruel, in my opinion, and certainly not advisable for beginners.> White gravel at the bottom, a little cave and some silk plants. Good to go. <White gravel is the worst choice you could have made. Fish *hate* bright light coming from underneath them. It's unnatural. They orient themselves in part by adjusting their dorsal surface to be aligned with the brightest light. When white or some other bright colour gravel is used, the fish can't "relax" and almost always their colours fade as they try to blend in. Black gravel is by far the best solid colour gravel if you want to see your fish with the best colours. Plain gravel also works well. But things like blue and white are just terrible.> Sometime in May, I added a Chinese algae eater to help keep the tank clean and not have to disturb the system too much except for the water and filter changes. They got along great and both seemed to be doing very well. <Chinese Algae Eater is the SINGLE WORST FISH in the aquarium hobby. Grows to around 30 cm. Doesn't eat much algae once it matures. Scrapes mucous from the skins of other fish. INCREDIBLY aggressive. Territorial. Difficult to trade in because only beginners buy the things. Anyone with more than 5 minutes experience knows to avoid these things like Bubonic Plague. Honestly, your retailer saw you coming down the Harlem Tunnel here. The only time I've seen these fish work well is as target fish in 200 gallon Central American cichlid communities, where their beastliness gives prospective pairs of cichlids something to target their aggression on. Short of that, these are fish to avoid. Anyway, the short answer is this fish will eventually shred your Betta and will grow too big for a 5 gallon tank.> Since it's a small tank, I check the water weekly and change off 1-2 gallons weekly. I use Aqua-Safe with water changes and aquarium salt depending on the hardness. Our tap water is excellent and it seems that too much salt throws off the levels. <Why are you using salt? Neither of your fish come from Brackish waters. Repeat after me: salt is for marine/brackish fish, not freshwater fish.> Sadly, stupid me didn't realize that there wasn't enough algae for the algae eater and I think he starved. (now I know, algae tablets for small tanks!) The Betta, ingeniously named Beta because my dog is named Alpha so it just figured a good direction to go in) well, with the passing of the algae eater, Fu-Man-Chu, seemed a bit down in the dumps. So, I got another algae eater. <Oh, the humanity!> They seemed to get along well and everything was great for about a week. <Famous last words...> One day, I noticed black frayed ends on Beta's fins. I went to the pet store, described it, and they suggested BettaFix and it might be ammonia burns. What do I know? The ammonia levels stay right about the same but they "must know what they are talking about". <If there's no ammonia in the tank then this isn't "ammonia burns" whatever the heck that is (something your retailer made up). Finrot damages fins, but its bacterial and caused by poor water quality. If the water quality is good, then Finrot doesn't usually happen.> Used BettaFix. Day one. Fu-Man-Chu disappeared. I mean literally gone. <Jumped out. Look on the carpet.> I guessed Beta ate him? <No.> Perhaps that put a spike of ammonia in the water and burned him? <No.> I'm stupid, what do I know. <Don't keep saying this. There's a difference between being dumb and being ignorant. You're new to the hobby and there's tons of stuff you don't know. I can't drive, so the whole driving thing makes me feel very ignorant when people talk about 3-point turns and the like. But still, read a book, apply some logic, and take if from there. Fishkeeping is really very basic. You can make it difficult buy buying challenging livestock, but the basics are simple to master.> So I kept up with BettaFix full course. He wasn't eating as normal, a little lethargic, but the fins while being the same, weren't' getting worse. So I changed off 50% of the water, since you are supposed to anyway. Two days later, changed off another 50%. I wanted to get whatever was in the water as diluted as possible. With this change, 1/2 gal of the water I used was BetaWater, in case there was some issue with our tap water. <OK.> In a few days, the black, frayed parts of the fins fell off, and he seemed to be healing but not eating. He got very lethargic, still not eating that I could tell and was hiding down in his cave most of the time. He did this during BettaFix treatments and I guessed it was just his way of being sick. Now he's come out and hanging out at the top but his color changed. He was all bright electric blue, but a sort of tan color is coming over him. *see pic*. It seems to be spreading. (sorry the pic is so blurry but it's the only way I could get close enough) <Hmm... not sure, but I'm guessing Finrot. Quite common in Bettas. Once it spreads from the fins to the body, it's usually Good Night Gracie. So treating early on is important. I'd skip the "Betta this" and "Betta that" stuff. I'm not wild about the level of care expended on Bettas, seems to be marginally about that offered to Goldfish. Just go buy the real medications. There are numerous options. All will work fine on Bettas.> He's still not eating that I can tell. If I pet him, he's seems more annoyed than liking it, (he actually used to like it) and swims right away so he's not having difficulty moving. The little fins near his gills are very active but for the most part he just seems to float around. I'm wondering if he ate the other fish, could he be stopped up? I can't really tell if his belly is bigger. With the color change, it's hard to tell if he's fatter or not. <If fish eat a lot, it's usually out the back end in a hour. They have very short digestive tracts (mostly). So fish don't look swollen for long because they had a good meal last week... When fish swell up, and the scales start sticking out and you see the pale skin underneath, that's usually a sign of organ failure and problems with osmoregulation (e.g., caused by using salt...).> I am going to try Epsom salts but if this looks like something else, can you let me know? <He's not likely to be constipated. Try the Epsom salts if you want but don't expect much. Constipation doesn't cause fin damage.> The color change is going down the fins too and nothing is seeming to help. I know he's not very happy and I'm afraid he'll die before I find out what to do to help him. <Comes down to the basics: check water quality and water chemistry. For a Betta, you want something around pH 6.5-7.5, hardness between 5 and 20 dH, temperature around 25-28 C, and most importantly of all, a layer of warm humid air above the tank. There MUST be a cover over the tank to keep 100% humidity above the tank, or else the Betta gulps cold air and its labyrinth organ (its "lung") gets infected. As for water quality, 0 ammonia and nitrite are the keys here. A 5 gallon tank is adequate, but check the filter and be careful you aren't messing things up by cleaning the filter sponge (or whatever) under the tap. Only clean the filter in a bucket of aquarium water.> Thanks so much for your time, Kathy <Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>

Re: beta question- can't find info 7/12/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Kathy,> Good God! What a bunch of horse poop I got from those people. I walked in thinking fin rot and got this 'ammonia burn' story. Water here is soft, so they said to add aquarium salt.... at, get this....2T per 10 gal, so I put in 1T. I'd read about salt burns before adding it so luckily I did think to dissolve it in water first. (she said, "just put it in, it will be fine") So in effect, I think I caused lethal damage to poor Beta. <Not sure about lethal damage, but salt doesn't have any effect on hardness. It doesn't raise the pH and it doesn't provide any buffering. To make soft water hard you need to add something rich in calcium carbonate, such as coral sand or crushed oyster shell, to the filter. This is easy to do, and any book or web site on African cichlids or marines will fill in the details. But in the case of a Betta, this isn't really a factor. Apart from cichlids and livebearers, soft water is generally fine for most common tropical fish.> Before writing this, I changed off a little more than 50% of the water again. Man he is putting up the good fight to stay alive though. I checked his scales and they do seem to be sticking out a little, what you said about organ damage, with that much salt I'm sure you have that one right. <Let's hope he recovers. Bettas *are* quite robust animals, but it's also worth mentioning they are also short-lived animals. A Betta that lives for 2 years is a veritable Methuselah.> He's still trying, but if he is that sick, he probably has irreversible damage from salt, and I hate making him hang on and suffer. What is the best way to put him out of his misery? I know he will probably hang on for a week or more like this, but it's not good. <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm > Valuable lesson learned. I've read in your site many times, read, listen but go with your gut. My gut said fin rot, and that salt in the tank didn't sound like a good idea. Guess I'm not as "ignorant" as I thought I was. <Sounds about right. Aquarium shops are very variable in the quality of their advice. Mom & Pop places can be very good, but chain stores are often very poor. Take a look at the tanks and the clientele. If you see high-tech aquaria with delicate things like corals and discus, that's often a good sign these people know what they're doing. If the fish are an extra alongside cats, dogs, and other pets, that's not such a good sign. There are exceptions of course.> The tank is covered, 80F, nitrates, ammonia all 0, hangs around 7.0, hardness was very low 5-7 but after salt, up to 70! <No ideal what "70" means in terms of hardness. Please figure out whether your test kit is measuring dH (German Hardness) or KH (Carbonate Hardness). They're different and mean different things, so the numbers aren't the same (like degrees C and degrees F). Have a quick read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm > My Lord, I have to go back and see just why she said to do that. (this is one reason I don't get 'pet store puppies' ) <Exactly. Fish are no more easy to keep than dogs, and you should demand the same level of expertise from a fish retailer as from a dog breeder. Animals and animals, and they all have needs and quirks. While a Betta is obviously smaller and cheaper to maintain than a dog, that doesn't mean that it doesn't place demands on its keeper. There are some excellent Betta books out there, and if you're interested in them, please consider buying one of them. In the meantime, Bob's written a great primer, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm > Thanks so much and if there is a best way to put him down, I'd appreciate it. Kathy <One last tip. Female Bettas are often easier to keep than the males. I guess the breeding has been less severe on them because they aren't expected to look so good. Regardless, they tend to get on quite well if given space, and being faster and less of a target for nipping they can be mixed with other species without too many problems. There are also a bunch of other Betta species, and while less easy to find, they aren't so inbred, and many make fascinating pets. Some are mouthbrooders, for example. Good luck, Neale>

Betta Still Not Fully Recovered  7/10/07 Dear WWM, Recently I performed Methylene blue dip on Betta who is 1½ years old. I setup a 1 gallon hospital tank; added one gallon of water from my display tank and than added less than 1½ teaspoons of Methylene Blue. I dipped my Betta, Bartholomew into the Methylene blue mixture for a total of 8 seconds. I then immediately removed him and place him back into the display tank. The reason why I performed this treatment was because he had a few white dots near his gills; his both eyes had a couple of cloudy spots on them and he was acting very lethargic. By the next day, I noticed a little change in his behavior; he started to act a little himself again; swimming around a little more and flaring a little. His appetite is still excellent and his colors are more vibrant. I still feel that Bartholomew has still not fully recovered from his illness. By the way, I tested the water: temperature -- 80 degrees, pH was 7.5, now reading 7.0, ammonia -- 0, Nitrites -- 0, Nitrates - 10. My question is: can I perform another Methylene blue dip or do you recommend another course of treatment due to his cloudy eye problem? Thanks again for your help. Jean <I would use a bit less of the stock Methylene Blue solution (like half) and leave the Betta in there much longer... 5-10 minutes. Bob Fenner>

Strange Betta Ailment  7/8/07 Dear Crew: <Ave!> I've had this particular Betta for almost a year. He's a beautiful yellow Betta with a chocolate body, yellow tail with iridescent blue markings. Since I've had him he's had an a "dry" area around his left eye (about 1 cm). I can't describe it any other way other than 'dry' it appears as if the slime coat layer is missing and the scales look a bit whitish around their margins (not fungus) and again he's been like this for almost a year now. As of yesterday he's been quite sluggish sleeping by weaving himself into the java moss and refusing food. <If it's been like this for a year and neither got worse nor improved, I'd ignore it. More than likely something genetic or caused by an injury, in which case treatment won't help. The lifespan of wild Betta spp. is around a year or so, and assuming you bought your fish as a mature specimen (which would be about 6 months old) he's probably close to his full lifespan.> Water conditions you ask: He lives in a 12 gallon NanoCube (I changed the motor so he wasn't plastered against the wall, its a nice soft flow now, and reduced the light wattage so he wasn't crisped). He lives with 4 platys. The ammonia is O as are the nitrates, the Ph is 7, and the temperature ranges from 78 to 79 F. I keep a bit of salt in the water (about 1 tablespoon) at all times. The tank is planted with a few java ferns and java moss growing on driftwood.... its a nice Betta home. He's usually very feisty so this new behavior is quite dramatically sluggish. I'm wondering if its related to the strange dry-eye patch and regardless should I resort to medication at this point. <I'm not a fan of adding salt to freshwater tanks, though I know many people do. It's unlikely to be causing this problem though. Conditions sound fine, much better in fact than most Bettas have to put up with.> Many thanks, Michelle <Not really very much to say. It sounds as if you look after your fish well, and the problem here is nothing you caused or likely to get worse. Observe, look out for signs of worsening, but otherwise just let your Betta enjoy his old age. Cheers, Neale>

Curious Death of Betta   7/2/07 Dear Crew, I searched your site long and hard, and I have yet to find any specific answers to my question, so I have decided to write in. I have six healthy, happy Bettas, both males and females all housed individually, and tonight, one very suddenly died. Now the circumstances of the death are what lead to my question, because I was actually witness to it happening: My male Betta, a very virile and happy specimen, was swimming around in his 10 gal tank (heated at 78 degrees with a very light flowing filter in the corner so as not to bother him), checking out his new female prospect in the glass chimney I have, and flaring at her, when all the sudden, he jerked and shuddered and fell slowly to the bottom of the tank. Since I was watching, I waited only a moment, then realized he was on his side and gasping for air. His gills working feverishly, I gently scooped him up in a small net and placed him adjacent to the output of the clean current to make sure he could get oxygen. Unfortunately, he was dead with in five to six minutes. This is puzzling to me, as he and his missus were being conditioned for spawning for nearly a week in that tank with no trouble. In fact, they had successfully spawned a month earlier in a tank that was far too large to raise babies in. I feed my Bettas three times a day, and he had already eaten both of his earlier meals greedily (one of blood worms, where he ate four worms, and one of Hikari pellets, where he ate three pellets). Several minutes prior to his bizarre death, he had been working on his bubble nest, substantially increasing its size. I have been very attached to this fish for the five months or so I've had him now, and I am heart-broken at his passing. I guess as closure, I would really like to know why this happened, or what happened at all. I inspected his body after his death, and I can't find anything wrong with it. His color is wonderful. His finnage is great, save for a nip he procured earlier this month, and his scales and eyes look healthy. His swim bladder is a little distended, but not greatly so, having been dead for several hours. Anyways, I would really, really appreciate your opinion on this matter, as it would help my heart to hear what you think. Thank You so Much, Alison <Greetings. Sounds as if he had a heart attack! But seriously, this sort of sudden death situation from normal to dead in minutes is very uncommon, and the only time I have ever seen it was when a toxin was introduced to the aquarium. In this instance, I had placed some wood from the garden into the tank for my Panaque to eat, believing it to be safe, but in fact the wood had been recently sprayed. The result was a lot of dead tetras and cichlids within minutes. The catfish, funnily enough, was fine, but that says more about how tenacious of life catfish are than anything else! So if I was you I'd be seeing it was possible anything poisonous got into the tank. Aerosol sprays, paint vapours, cleaning products, etc. are all possibilities. Consider things that might have come in with the food. But beyond this, if all the other fish are fine, I can't really offer anything more useful. One thing to consider is Bettas are relatively short-lived fish. They are essentially annuals in the wild, and by the time you buy an adult male he will be around 6 months old already. So he may simply have been life expired, so to speak. Cheers, Neale>

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