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FAQs on Betta Diseases 12

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

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

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Baths for freshwater fish?  9/18/06 Hi Bob, Once again fighting tail rot in Betta Terrence. Doing my best to keep the water quality good with frequent small water changes, gravel vacuuming, the tedious process of wicking the dissolved solids off the surface of the water with paper towels, light feeding, etc... He's in a 2.5 gallon heated, filtered tank with 10 watts of fluorescent lighting. As the tail rot has been persistent, I'm thinking of treating him with an antibacterial. <Yes, this is what I would do. Likely... Oh, I see this below> I was wondering if, instead of treating the whole tank, I could give Terrence a bath in the  Nitrofurazone/Furazolidone/potassium dichromate medication that I've used before. Same dosage/concentration as for a full tank treatment? <Yes> (I read up on dips/baths on WWM, but only found info about dips/baths for marine livestock. <Are more useful for marines... as they "drink" their environment, but can be used with good purpose on external complaints of freshwater aquatics> I have heard from other sites of saltwater baths for FW fish... would that be more gentle/any more effective than an antibacterial? <Mmm, not as much here> He has Doc Wellfish's salt in his tank all the time, 1 Tbs/5gal.) If this would be ineffective or a bad idea, I can certainly treat the tank. I have an extra sponge in there that I can pull out and maintain in a Tupperware container to keep some good bacteria going. Just wasn't looking forward to dying the tank green and wiping out my filtration, <Yes... I would use the immersion bath instead here as you state> plus I anticipate the gravel will absorb some of the medication. <You are correct> Thanks for any insight you can give! Rachel in NC, where it's finally cooling down a little <BobF in sunny S. Cal., with a persistent cough/cold!>
Re: Baths for freshwater fish?  9/18/06
Bob, I just did what I realized was the obvious thing to do... put Terrence in the 3/4 gallon Tupperware with a heater and a proportionate amount of medicine.  Planning on doing large, possibly complete, water changes every day or every other day.  So never mind about the bath!  Sorry to bother you.  It seemed like such a brilliant idea at the time! <Is a good idea. BobF>

Flying Fish    9/15/06 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just got a Betta fish a couple of weeks ago (His name is Drake). At first I had him in a 2 gallon tank but later I bought a 5 gallon tank to house him in. I was doing a water change and Drake jumped out!!! I had my back turned away for one second and the bowl was empty... when I discovered him out of his bowl I quickly picked him up and put him back into the water. After a while of observing him to see if he was alright I discovered that one of his fins were damaged and a few scales were sticking out : ( I was just wondering if he will be alright? Will his scales grow back? Will his fin heal? <Yes he'll be fine. Adding Melafix will speed up the process.  Are you moving him out of the tank into a bowl to do a water change?  Not necessary, just change out 25% of his water weekly (after stirring the gravel a bit).  ~PP> Thanks

New Growth Color, recovering Betta  - 09/14/06 Hi! <<Hi, Jeani. Tom here.>> My dark blue/dark red male Betta (Dax) has recuperated from a bout of fin rot and now has a lovely shaped, full tail.   <<Always nice to hear this, Jeani.>> The thing is the new growth is still clear.   <<Very common.>> I haven't been able to find anything that says about how long it should take for the color to spread into the new growth.  Please let me know how long I should wait before I start to worry about it. <<Don't expect the coloring to return completely to "normal", Jeani. Given time, there will be some significant darkening in the clear tissue but this almost always remains slightly lighter in color than the tissue that wasn't affected. Frankly, only you would really notice and, again, with time (perhaps as long as six to eight weeks), even you might not discern much difference.>> Thanks! Jeani <<You're welcome, Jeani. Tom>>

Betta Not Doing Well  - 09/13/06 Hello. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! I have a Betta in a one gallon tank with no heater. I have been told to change his water about once a week, since he started becoming skinny and acting different. But now, he doesn't seem like he can swim all that well. He has a tough time staying up and usually sinks back down if he doesn't constantly move his body. He lays on the bottom of the tank a lot and seems to have a hard time swimming. What should I do? < Get a thermometer and check the water temp. It should be around 80 F. If too much lower than that you need a heater.-Chuck.> Thank you, Anthony Monaco   

Sick Betta  9/9/06 We bought a Betta at charity auction about 5 months ago.  I think he was very young, as he has grown a lot since we got him.  Boris did very well for the first 2 1/2 months.  He swam around, got excited to see me at feeding times and generally seemed very happy.  Then out of nowhere, his gills turned very red on the underside and within a day or two he stopped eating and became lethargic.  I did some research, but none of the common diseases seemed to apply.  Nevertheless, I bought him a slightly larger tank (about 1.5 gallons) with a filter and light.  I also moved him to a location where no direct sunlight would hit his tank.  After conditioning his new tank and acclimating him to it, I moved him to his new digs.  By this time his color was fading - no whitish growths or anything.  I did some more research and tried offering him freeze dried blood worms.  He seemed to improve a bit. He started eating again (flakes 2x's a day with two or three blood worms replacing one meal every other day) and his color returned. He was still not himself however.  He didn't swim much and when he did, he scraped against his rock house then jumped like it hurt.  I treated him with Melafix for seven days with some improvement and did 20% water changes every other day with conditioned water I keep next to his tank and a full cleaning once a week.  He stopped eating again and his color faded.    Still no whitish spots, cotton growths or the like.  I was told to try the Melafix again with fewer water changes and to continue treatment for however long his condition persisted.  Again his color returned, but he started laying on the bottom or hiding in his rock all the time.  Then a few days ago he came out and started swimming around a little with no crashing/scratching.  He started eating a bit more (though still not normally) and even started building a bubble nest. To my dismay he is now just hanging out at the top of the tank, head slightly up.  He lets the water push him backward, them swims back into the corner.  His mouth has developed a white cotton appearance and there is a white spot on his back. I added some salt to his water yesterday, but it hasn't helped yet.  He is so bad, that my husband has been certain he is dead a couple of times.  It has been almost three months now since the poor little guy was happy and healthy. Though he now does have the cottony signs of an infection, he hasn't really fit any of the descriptions of a common illness. I can't imagine how he could have gotten a fungal/ bacterial infection in the midst of treatment I've been given him for his odd behaviours.  His water is kept very clean, and I fish out any uneaten food 10 min.s. after every feeding.  I don't know nitrate/nitrite/ammonia or pH levels - but given the length of time that has passed since his first signs of illness I didn't think that could be the problem.  Should I switch to bottled water?  Do you have any idea what could be causing his problems?  Is he dying?  I'm desperate and don't know what else to do. Thanks for any help or suggestions you might have. Mary < The water temp needs to be up around 80 F. Below this Bettas have a very difficult time fighting diseases. The light may warm him up during the day but nighttime lows could slowly be doing him in. get a heater and set it for 80 F. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. If he gets sick again then treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. If you have hard water then cut it in half with distilled water. fed you Betta once a day. Remove any leftover food after 2 minutes.-Chuck>

Poor sick Betta - 09/08/06 Hello, <Hi there - Jorie here with you tonight.> I've been on your site many times in the past month or more. <Great - and welcome!> My Betta, "Fishy," has been through various stages of illness, and I just can't seem to get him better.  I got Fishy about 3 months ago from Wal-Mart, and at first he was very vibrant, both in color and disposition.  He was a lot more interactive than the other two Bettas I've had. <Love the name! A colorful and interactive Betta is generally the sign of good health and youth.> Fishy lives in a large bowl with gravel and a plastic plant.  I know this isn't the best scenario, but I've been out of a job for a few months and haven't been able to afford better. <I understand we all have changing circumstances in our lives, but if you aren't able to properly care for a pet, you probably should wait until a time that you can to get one.  Not to sound harsh, but sometimes people forget about that option.  As you apparently already know, Bettas generally do not do well in bowls, appreciate filtration, and a heater is a virtual must. Read here if you haven't already - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> I've been good about changing his water - not too often, not too much at a time.  He did great until a little over a month ago, when he developed Popeye a few days after a water change.  He also quit eating when he got the Popeye. <Well, Popeye is generally a condition which results from poor environmental conditions.  Do you know how large, gallon-wise, his bowl is? And how much water specifically are you changing?  Do you have a test kit to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrates? If so, please take readings...your water changes may not be sufficient to rid the water of all the toxins.  Also, for Popeye, treatment with Epsom salt usually helps a great deal...usu. dose about 1 teaspoon per 5 gal. of water usu. solves the problem in a few days time...> Within a week, Fishy started having some equilibrium problems - he couldn't stay upright.  He did flips to try to right himself and would eventually wear himself out.  Still not eating at this point.  The only symptoms were the Popeye, equilibrium problem, and zero appetite.  I bought some Melaleuca based drops at the recommendation of my local pet store.  Fishy's Popeye went away and his equilibrium got better. <Melaleuca is a naturally-derived produced from tea tree oil - some folks swear by it, others think it nothing more than snake oil.  But if you've seen improvement, that is obviously a good sign.  Should either/both of these issues (Popeye / loss of equilibrium) return, I still recommend the use of Epsom salt.> During this time, in an effort to make him more comfortable temperature-wise, I put his bowl outside one night. <Where sort of climate do you live in? With regards to temperature, the single most important thing is stability...you don't want large swings (couple of degrees or more), but should aim to keep the temp. as constant as possible.  Do you have a thermometer and know what temp. water your Betta is in? It's not a problem to sacrifice a few degrees of "precision" for stability...> The next morning I noticed there were wrigglers (mosquito larvae) in the water with him.  Horrified, I tried to get rid of most of them, but I read on the internet that Bettas love mosquito larvae, so I left a few in to see if his appetite would improve. <OK> It turns out I'm a successful mosquito breeder.  As I continued to medicate Fishy, the majority of the mosquitoes developed.  But just when I thought Fishy was getting better, he developed dropsy.  I think maybe from eating some of the larvae??  I just don't know.  I bought some kind of antifungal/antibacterial fizzing tablet and have been breaking off a little piece (it's supposed to be for a 10 gallon aquarium) and adding it every 4-5 days to his bowl with a 20% water change, and 2-3 times daily putting him in an Epsom salt bath (about 1/4 teaspoon to 2 cups water).  Again he seemed to be getting better, but today I noticed that he's lost a few scales - and a few more while in the salt bath.  While he's a lot less bloated, he still has pine-coney scales. <Definitely sounds like dropsy.  I am wary of some of most of the "guaranteed to fix all Betta ailments" type products, which it sounds like you have.  Instead, look for a medication that contains the compound furan.  Discontinue the salt baths.> Fishy runs away from me now whenever I come near - I know it's because he doesn't want to go into the salt bath.  I've tried giving him a pellet every now and then, and I think maybe he waits until I leave and eats a few, but I have no way of knowing for sure - even though they're supposed to float, most of the pellets sink after a few seconds. <Be sure the uneaten pellets are not accumulating in his water, decaying, and building up toxins.  It is not uncommon for a Betta to go several days without food, and there are stories of some Bettas not eating for a week and still recovering.> I have no idea what I should be doing that I've not already tried; can you please help with an economical solution? <OK, so here's what I would suggest.   1. Discontinue with the unidentified fizzing tablets. 2. Do a large water change to get the remaining medication out. Obviously, try to match the temp. and pH of the new and old water as closely as possible. 3. Medicate w/ something like Furan-2, or the likes.  Note: it will be difficult to determine the dosage in such a small bowl.  Do your best to estimate. 4. Try offering your Betta freeze-dried bloodworms to stimulate him appetite - that's a food very few Bettas can resist!> Thank you so much for all of your work for us fish lovers... Dollarless in Dallas <Bottom line, without a better environment, I'm sad to say your Betta may well be doomed.  It's hard for me to say if your water change schedule is OK or not, without some numbers, as requested above.  You need to keep the temp. stable in his bowl - this is very important.  And, if the temp. is below 77 or so (ideal Betta temp. is 80-82 degrees F), this will lower his immune system and cause him to get sick.  I fear this is what has been happening - his resistance is low, and he's susceptible to disease.  I do understand not having tons of income, trust me (I just went back to grad. school full time last year - I have a *negative* $35,000 a year income at the moment...), but you do need to be able to care for your fish at some minimum level.  Based on the recurring diseases, it sounds as though you aren't able to do that.  An ideal Betta setup is a 3 gal. Eclipse tank, in my opinion...runs around $30 (which includes filtration).  A 25watt heater would be another $10 or so.  I'm afraid if you don't stabilize his environment, Fishy may be doomed.  For the meantime, try treating with the Furan, but please consider getting him a suitable home ASAP. Best regards, Jorie>

'Healthy' Betta fish fading fast, NNS  9/6/06 Hi, <Greetings> I've got a question regarding my puzzling issue with my Siamese fighter. lately I've noticed that his colour is fading from his dorsal fin down on either sides of his body. <I see this> there is no fuzzy growth associated with the faded area. <And this as well> on the colour fading front the scales have a dark granular accumulation around their border. I have kept an eye on the fading and it has definitely spread and is now even starting near the tail! What's puzzling is that he's not old (I've had him for ~7-8months) and he seems to be eating, moving and behaving normally. I feed him twice a day 2 pellets of Betta Gold each time. once a week I take some of the stones that have algal growth out for a wash and top up the water, but generally I do a 1/2 water change with Betta Basics once a fortnight as they do not mess up their water much. lately I've been using a bit of algae clear as there is a bit of algal growth but I make sure I stick to the dosage rate. the tank is kept out of direct sunlight, but is kept in a well lit area. <Surprisingly little algae growth under this set of conditions> the temperature is maintained pretty consistently at ~20-25degrees Celsius. the fish is kept in a tank with another fighter in an adjoining compartment and the other fish does not seem to be affected. last time this same fish got a slight white spot outbreak, the other fish was again unaffected. should I be worried? Sheung-Yi <It appears that this might well be a "genetic anomaly"... that the red Betta has a developing condition of enlarged scales... Would be interesting to breed this fish, try to determine if the condition/trait is congenital... Even do a work up histologically when this fish passes. I don't think this is a "disease" issue per se. Bob Fenner>

Sick Bettas   9/5/06 Hi! I am hoping you can help me figure out what is going on with my female Bettas.  I have a 25 gal. FW tank with 6 Bloodfin tetras and was 8 now 7 female Bettas.  I can see nothing wrong with the tetras, though it is hard to tell since they are very active and move quickly.  I am sorry but I don't have a digital camera so I will try to describe this the best I can.  Originally 1 of the Bettas started staying at the bottom of the tank and gasping.  She quickly lost color and became grey and white (she was red).  Two others developed a small white patch on there bodies.  It isn't fuzzy or anything just smooth like the scales had fallen off and there is only one spot on each of the affected fish.  These seem to be growing.  Any place their fins had turned white had separated.  It does not look like fin rot but the fins just separated. <Bad...> I treated the whole tank with Fungus Clear tablets.  Their color returned but the 2 with the patches still had those.  After four days I followed directions and treated again.  The next day the first one sick was dead.  After four more days I changed 25% of the water returned the carbon.  They all seemed fine but the two with the white "spots" still had those.  A few days later those two lost their color turning white and grey again and another had developed a white spot.  I treated the water again with Fungus Clear tablets and this morning their color has returned but patches are still there.  I am at a total loss as to how to get rid of this once and for all.  The water conditions are all "good" according the tests. Ammonia- 0  Nitrate- 20ppm  Nitrite- 0  GH- 25ppm  KH- 300ppm (this was high but has always been)  pH- 8.4 Temp at 82 degrees.  I have a hang on the back filter and a under gravel filter.  Some plastic and some live plants.  The only thing different that occurred prior to this was the week and half before our electricity went out four times for about an hour to an hour and half each time.  So I am thinking maybe there were several swings in temperature during this time that brought this about? <Not by itself...>   I guess my questions would be do I keep treating with the fungus tablets until the white patches are gone or should I be doing or using something different?       Thank you so much and any help is appreciated!!  Cathy. <... Not a fungus... You bought all these females at the same time, place I take it... They were likely imported diseased, stressed... Please read here (this will take a while): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... in this series. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Bettas  9/6/06
Thanks for the info, I am reading info you suggested.  I realized after I sent the email I forgot to include when I bought these fish and how long the tank has been running.  The tank has been running since May with no problems and with weekly to biweekly water changes at 25%.  I have had all the females for over a month now, only adding one or two at a time since May, purchasing them from various places.  If it isn't a fungus is it likely bacterial then?  Thanks Cathy.    <Fungus only attacks sick or dead tissue. A bacteria probably attacked the fish's tissues and the fungus is a secondary infection. I would recommend treating with Nitrofuranace. It is effective against many types of bacteria and it is useful against fungus. The bacterial problem is probably brought on by stress. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Organics absorbed much of the medication you are going to be giving your fish. This medication will have some affect on the good nitrifying bacteria so watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>

Ailing Betta   8/29/06 I have a Betta who has been sick for awhile now. <Can discern this from your photo>   I have tried changing his water more frequently like you suggested but it has not improved.  I also put in a drop of Quick Cure, which also did not seem to help.  He is getting worse.  His color is off, he is becoming splotchy, he doesn't seem to want to eat, and his tail is still inflamed (Moldy Looking).  I have attached a couple of pictures.  They are not great but he doesn't like the camera.  Please tell me what I can do to help poor Harry!!!  Thank you!! Tessa Allen <Is mostly an environmental issue... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bloated Betta  - 08/26/06 Good evening.  I have a Wal-Mart special female Betta that I purchased about 6 months ago.  Originally I had her in a very large (5 gal equivalent) bowl, and then moved her into a 46 gallon community tank about a month ago.  She seemed much happier in the larger tank, and got along well with the other fish (few platys and tetras).  3 days ago, I noticed that her abdomen was starting to swell.  I assumed she had over eaten, and just kept an eye on her.  This morning when I went to feed, she was floating on her side at the top of the tank, and her abdomen appeared extremely swollen.  Today was also the first day she appeared to be in distress.  She has no missing scales, and the swelling is not malformed.  I removed her immediately and put her into a small bowl with the same tank water and a little salt.  I tested the water in the tank, and it was normal (for my tank) at 78 degrees, and exactly 7.0 ph.  All other fish appear healthy and no new fish have been added.   I left for work expecting to return home to a dead fish, but she did not pass on during the day.  She is in very much the same condition, only now her breathing appears labored (not gasping - but deeper in the water than normal).  She is still floating on either side, and will flail to get air from the surface.  She has not eaten since last night, and I am at a loss.   I noticed that between her bottom fins, there is a small white soft-looking mass (possibly anus area???) no bigger than a pen dot.   Can I save her?  What is your opinion of the trouble?  I feel helpless right now.  Please empower me to understand the issue, so I can ensure if it is my fault, that it doesn't happen again. I sincerely appreciate your time in advance, Amber < Sounds like you Betta has an internal infection. This is usually caused by stress, like too hot, too cold, wrong food, dirty water etc.. It can be treated with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace with a little salt.  Some aquarists have had some success with Clout. Early treatment is the key to a complete recovery.-Chuck>

Betta with dropsy :(   8/20/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Erin> I have a 1 year old Betta named Kuzco.  Up until a couple of days ago, he was a perfectly happy, healthy and energetic little fish.    Yesterday I'm afraid he began to bloat rather suddenly (it happened over the space of a couple of hours), <Yikes... was there a change in this fish's environment?> and now it seems he has come down with the dreaded Dropsy. <From what cause?> I know his prognosis is very grim, but I want to do the best I can for him. He is in a 5.5 gallon tank by himself with an Aquaclear filter and a heater set at 80-81 degrees.  I use Prime water conditioner and generally change 15-20% of his water every week. <All good...> I feed him 4 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets per day alternated with freeze-dried Bloodworms twice a week.  I'm afraid this was brought on by lack of variety in his diet or by the stress of moving to a new place with different water. <Maybe> I tried to make the transition as easy on him as possible by adding new, conditioned water a little at a time over the space of 2 hours, but perhaps it wasn't enough. <Mmmm> At first I thought the problem might be constipation because of the bloating.  I kept a close eye on him and as soon as his scales began to even hint at being raised (alas the pinecone effect), I took the carbon out of my filter and treated his tank with Maracyn Plus. <Good>   I also gave him a 15-20 minute salt bath in Epsom Salt to try to relieve the fluid buildup. <Also good> This seemed to help a little with the bloating and he is slightly more energetic, but he is still so pitiful to look at.  He is lethargic much of the time, either sitting in a plant next to the heater or hiding in his fake log until he swims up for air.  He also appears unusually weak and unbalanced when he swims through the current created by the filter, even at its lowest possible setting. Please let me know if there is anything more I can do for him to make him more comfortable.  I want him to suffer as little as possible, and I want to give him the best chance of beating this that I can. Thanks so much, Erin <I would add the Epsom directly to the tank as well... a level teaspoon or so... and hope here. It may be that Betta is "getting old" alone... Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta with dropsy :(   8/21/06
Thanks for the advice, Bob.  Kuzco seems to be feeling a little better today.  He is eating quite readily, and "attacking" his food the way he usually does. <Ah, good> Most sites seem to agree that dropsy fish have little or no appetite, but he must be an exception? <Possibly... do understand that "dropsical conditions" are a subjective evaluation of appearances... that is, that there are a few distinctive inputs/causes that result in this form of apparent edema... If this is due internal bacteria for the most part for instance, usually there is a loss of appetite> Since yesterday I've been feeding him small pieces of Hikari Tropical Food Sticks, which a local pet store recommended because they "eliminate bacterial and parasite problems" and "promote healthy form and disease resistance".  It was the closest I could get to medicated food. <I see> He is much more energetic today, more responsive to stimuli, less sitting around on the bottom (except to rest himself), but he seems to wear himself out easily.  He seems weak and has a hard time navigating through the current put out by the filter without getting pushed over on his side.  Could this be a swim bladder problem caused by the bloating or is he just weak from being ill? <Perhaps n/either> As far as symptoms, his scales have not gotten worse and are only very slightly raised around the bloated area.  I'm not sure if they've gotten better, but he certainly doesn't look anywhere near as bad as the pictures of dropsy-afflicted fish I've found on the internet. Do you think there is hope for his survival since I seem to have caught it in its early stages, or is his outlook entirely grim? <There is always hope my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Erin

Poor Sarge, the Betta   8/20/06 Hi, Bob and crew, <<Hello, Ryan. Tom here.>> Now, I suppose that you receive hundreds of emails a day regarding sick fish and how to fix them.... well, this is another one. Please help us. <<I'll do my best.>> My housemate has a male Betta named Sarge and is the love of her life. Three months ago Sarge started to go down hill. <<Three months is quite a bit of time in 'Betta years', Ryan.>> He seems to have no energy and spends most of his day slumped in the curve of his bowl. He spends a lot of energy to get to the top of the bowl to feed (and often misses) and once he has the food in his mouth he sinks really quickly. We were joking around saying that his tail seems too heavy for him and is weighing him down. <<How old is Sarge? I ask this because 'farm-bred' Bettas don't have a particularly long life span compared to those captured in the wild. Wild-collected Bettas (properly housed, fed and, generally, cared for) could expect to live for five years, easily. In fact, ten years wasn't at all uncommon. The inbreeding that's connected with farm-raised fish has reduced this span to more like two to three years. Hardly a "news flash" if you think about it. Another point I'd bring up here is Sarge's diet. Specifically, "how much" as opposed to "what". Bettas are very easily over-fed. Look at Sarge's belly (behind the gills and forward of the lower fins). This should be very slightly rounded. More than this and you've got a "fat" Betta, which could explain, in part, the struggling to get to the surface and why he's sinks quickly.>> We added in a ship in to his bowl to cheer him up....and seemed to make things worse. <<Not likely to have had any adverse effect unless the new decoration caused him concern/stress.>> Now we have stuck a postcard of a turtle on the side of his tank and now he lies in the turtle's shadow. His dorsal fin has just started to get a white spot on it. We have cleaned his bowl and changed his water regularly and his turds are now pieces of art as they are spiral in shape. We think he has depression.... or some kind of alien inside. What can we do??? <<The addition of aquarium salt as part of the normal water change regimen is, frankly, a debatable topic among credible sources in the hobby. In the case of Bettas, I don't consider this "debatable", however. I consider it essential. Depending on the size of the bowl Sarge is kept in, I strongly suggest that you try adding some 'aquarium' salt in with the next water change. Slightly less than 1/4 tablespoon per gallon of water should be fine. Also, go with small but frequent changes. No more than about 15%-20% per change but as often as every three or four days. Monitor feeding closely and don't be tempted to put more in than you would if he were eating normally. Either he'll eat it or he won't but you don't want to "pollute" his bowl. He certainly won't starve if he doesn't eat for a day, or three. One thing I haven't touched on until now is the temperature of his water. Bettas need warm, stable temperatures. You don't mention having a heater in the bowl but the water should be 27-29 degrees C. (80-84 F.).>> Please help us help Sarge. Worried Aussies <<Keep a close eye on the "white spot" you've mentioned on the dorsal fin. I don't think this is a sign of Ich but, if it is, the aquarium salt is effective against this, as well. Finally, watch for loss of coloration in Sarge. If his behavior/condition doesn't seem to improve with what I've given you and, his coloration appears to start "fading", I'd suggest that he might simply be getting "old". My best and good luck to all of you. Hopeful Yank (Tom)>>

Sick Betta, Bad Environment 8/17/06 Hello. <Hi> My name is Anthony and I thank you for your time. <Sure> I have a Betta fish in about a one gallon tank. I recently (today) noticed my fish has a very skinny body and a, what seems to be fairly large, head. I'm not going to lie, I probably haven't changes his water in a month or two. <There is your problem.>  He has a snail and live plant so his tank stays clean. <Won't really help keeping tank clean.> He does not have a filter. <Would be good to add, along with a heater.> He also didn't eat tonight. I usually feed him two-four pellets a night. He usually eats right away. His fins also seem to be thinning and his color is fading. Should I be concerned? <Yes> What can I do? <Water changes.> Thank you for your help and time! --Anthony M.    <Your problem is environmental.  Start doing weekly water changes and your fish's health should improve.> <Chris>
Sick Betta, Bad Environment Part II 8/21/06
Thank you for responding to my problem so quickly! <Sure> I just have one more question. Is it better to use tap water or mountain spring water? <I would probably just use tap unless your water is really poor.  Then maybe a 50-50 mix.>  I usually use mountain spring but I just wanted to check. <Can lack certain elements important to the fish..  Also, I was told it might not be a bad idea to have a heater, but my fish lives in Phoenix, AZ in front of the window (for light). Do you still recommend I have a heater for temperature control? <Yes, stability is very important.  The temperature swings are very tough on the fish.  In front of a window can cause huge swings, which are very stressful on the fish.> Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast! --Anthony     <Chris>

My Betta is eating his tail!!!   8/17/06 Hello, Crew Members. <<Hi. Tom here.>> I am concerned about my Betta, Jinjy, since he has begun to chase his tail and eat parts of it. I have looked through the forum and have read other people's entries that deal with the same issue, but I still find myself at a loss as to how I might better my pet's situation. Here are some details that might help: Jinjy lived in a fishbowl with no filter for the first three months after I got him (This is terrible. I was completely misinformed about how to care for fish. The pet stores where I live sell them in the tiniest, most inappropriate and cruel bowls). <<Most do, Erika, sadly.>> After discovering this site, I changed him to a 20 litre tank with a very simple underground filter and a heater that is always set at 79 degrees. <<Very well done, although I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we didn't recommend the UGF. I'll explain as we go...>> I keep him in treated (dechlorinator, etc.) tap water and there is a small silk plant and a tiny cave in his home. He eats Azoo brand Betta 9 in 1 pellets, tetra BettaMin flakes, Wardley's 'Spirulina with Betta Glucan' food, and brine shrimp 5 times a month; once a day. I have been doing 100% water changes once a week (I found on the site earlier today that this is not recommended). <<All else sounds good, Erika, but the water change is too much. I do about 10%-15% every three to four days with my Betta. Less a matter of 'how often' than it is a matter of 'how much' at one time. Often is good but take this in little steps.>> I did some tests on the water today and the results are fine.  pH : 7.5   Ammonia: 0  nitrate= 0 nitrite = 0.3  <<Actually, a 0.3 nitrite level is not good. When dealing with either ammonia or nitrite, if it can be detected, you've got a concern.>> I read about the possibility of adding a tankmate to calm him down, but I do not think that he'd cope well with one. <<Bettas do perfectly well by themselves. I agree with you. Not a good idea to add another fish to the mix.>> Is it possible that the sound of my sewing machine might be disturbing him? It is about two meters away from him, on a different table. <<Possible? Sure, but not likely. Not to worry. Now, let's get back to your UGF (undergravel filter). Bettas tend to be 'lazy' swimmers inclined to rest on the bottom when the mood strikes. Exactly where all of the bad stuff is being collected and, more importantly, where the bacteria will be growing. The easiest place for bacteria to "collect" is on the fins of the fish. Do you scratch mosquito bites? Most fish can't "reach" but our Bettas can. (You know where I'm going already, don't you?) While Bettas need really good water conditions, the bottom has to be as great a consideration. That said, I recommend adding aquarium salt with your water changes along with vacuuming the bottom and cleaning the filter. Consider a different type of filtration, as well. (Bob doesn't like hang-on filters for Bettas - rightly so - but mine is in a 20-gallon tank (~ 75 liters), so I've got some latitude. :) )>> I thank you very much for any advice at all. This site has been tremendously helpful to me and to my friends who recommended it. <<Anything else I can help with, Erika, just post it. Tom>>

Missing Scales - Betta Fish   8/3/06 Dear WWM crew <C> I have a Siamese fighting fish that is missing several scales from the top of his back, just in front of the dorsal? fin. <Mmm... a physical trauma likely started... jumping? Running into something?> It appears as a bald patch, and has been there about a week.  The fish seems healthy otherwise.  It is swimming and eating well.  I thought it must of rubbed up against something. <Agreed> Today I noticed there seems to be a small sore at the edge of this. <Good. Emargination indicates healing...>   Prior to this I had not been as attentive as usual with aquarium maintenance.  The fish lives in a 10 gallon aquarium by itself, but there were other fish in the tank that died before I put him in.  I did take out all the water, and rinse off the gravel with boiling water in between.  Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. <Mmm... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. I would not "treat" this fish per se... Bob Fenner>

Betta with crinkled fins?   8/1/06 My Betta Marinara has been exhibiting some slightly concerning behavior, and I'm not entirely certain what to make of it. I was attempting to breed Marinara with my female, Hollandaise (yes, well, it was a theme), and had bought a new heater recently for the 10 gallon tank in which the nest was being built. I was careful not to move the gauge on the new heater when I installed it, and went to sleep trusting that it wouldn't kill my fish (silly me!). I woke to find both Marinara and Hollandaise (who was on the other side of a permeable divider) listless. The underwater thermometer (not the digital kind) read 80, which I have been told is quite acceptable. <Yes, should be fine> The water was clear. After checking back on them a few hours later, and their condition appearing to worsen, I quickly removed both from the tank because they were showing no interest in each other and looked very sick. <Something "off" with the water quality here...> I put them in separate bowls (with a similar temperature to what the tank water had been, and conditioned). Hollandaise soon died, despite or because of the change. Marinara continued to exhibit all the symptoms of a sad, sick little Betta; clamped fins, listless top floating or sinking, and finicky eating. What is more, his fins seemed to be crinkled at the edges, as though they had been burned? <Something very off with the water quality> They looked like dead weights on him. Yet the water in the breeding tank was frequently changed, so I strongly doubt it was ammonia poisoning. <I as well... where would this come from?> What do you think has caused this crinkling? In any case, with at least a half water change every other day I nursed the fellow back to where he is now - swimming happily, building bubblenests, eating all I give him. <Was... the water conditioner used? Something anomalous with your source water treatment> Here is my problem and question. Although he seems otherwise fully recovered, his finnage still appears damaged - the crumples in the fins remain, and although they are not "clamped" he seems unable to flare them fully. Before he was able to flare them fully; he does have some crown Betta in him, so the pointiness is normal, but he cannot spread his tale or dorsal any wider than they are in the attached picture. Attached is my healthy Betta Alfredo, who's fins were of equal size to Marinara's before the incident, for comparison. Do you think, with time and care, Marinara may regain full use of his fins? It has been a week since he was "burned". thanks, Maddie <One can only hope for good Marinara... the Betta and sauce... I would be very circumspect re the preparation (and week storage) of new water to be used with these fish. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta fish, no useful info.   7/31/06 I have a male Betta fish for the last week he has been at the top of the water like he is getting air today I was cleaning his tank <... not altogether I hope/trust> and noticed that one side of him is bigger than the other. In the stomach area going back towards the  tail. please tell me what it might be and how I can help him get well I don't  want to see him suffering. Thank you <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shredded Betta Fins? Fin Rot or Maturity   7/28/06 <<Hello, Eileen. Tom>> Never mind - after more hunting on your website - sometimes it takes a  while - I got the answers to my questions about salt and fins (possibly  genetic).   <<I'm not sure how this will turn out "computer-wise" but you brought up a valid point in your original post regarding salt dosages for shredded fins on a Betta. Your concern was over seemingly conflicting advice on our site, i.e. is the dosage one tablespoon per five gallons or, one teaspoon per gallon? If I may, I'd like to respond to this for our readers. The "general" recommendation for tropical fish is one tablespoon of aquarium salt per five gallons of tank water. This level can be tolerated readily even among fish that are known to be salt-intolerant like Corys, other Catfish species, scaleless Tetras and the like. The ratio of teaspoons to tablespoons is 3:1, respectively. (Information that's very easy to find, of course.) When dealing with a trauma such as you described - a Betta with torn, split fins - the recommended dosage of salt shifts from a "maintenance" level to a "therapeutic" level. That is, simply speaking, we increase the salt concentration from one tablespoon per five gallons to a little less than 1 1/2 tablespoons per five gallons. Any time that we change water conditions (hopefully, for the better) we subject our pets to stress, odd though this sounds. While it may be both short-lived and beneficial, we still need to be aware of this. Presumably, the "conflicting" information you found was the difference between fish acclimated to "maintenance" levels that could immediately handle a higher dosage of salt and fish that weren't acclimated to salt at all. (About the same way that I handle a "flu" shot. :) ) In any event, I appreciate you letting me use your "second" post to clarify this. Tom>>
Re: Shredded Betta Fins? Fin Rot or Maturity
  8/1/06 Thanks for the reply, Tom. <<Happy to help, Eileen.>> Chip clearly showed the fin rot the next day - another tear, so I actually did 3/4 teaspoon of salt per gallon.  He is only in a two gallon tank, so calculating fractions of 1.5 tablespoons will be needed for future doses.  If it doesn't work, I'll try the Betta Fix again, though he seems more lively since the salt treatment. <<With a lot of FW fish, the addition of the aquarium salt seems to have a "behind the scenes" benefit. You know it's doing them good but without much in the way of "feedback". With Bettas, there's generally a notable, positive difference in their behavior with salt in their tanks/bowls. I hope it puts things on the mend for Chip, fin-wise, too.>> Eileen <<My best. Tom>>

Betta not swimming around like he used to.....   7/28/06 Hi! <<Hi, back, Michele. Tom with you this afternoon.>> I have a 2 year old Betta - his name is Phantom.  I saved him from a store that was basically allowing him to rot in his little cup and he's been healthy and doing great ever since. <<Due to your good care, no doubt.>> About a week ago, I noticed that he's struggling to swim.  Every time he stops, his back end sinks and he tries really hard to move it just to get around either to eat or to get back on his leaf (where he's been sitting for the last week).  Since he can't swim well, he sits on this leaf every day.  Is this just age or is there something I can do to help him?? <<Likely age, Michele. Sadly, farm breeding and, in-breeding, have contributed to reducing the life spans of these fish. Phantom was (best guess) about six months old when you "adopted" him so he's probably getting tired, in a manner of speaking. Since he's done well up until now, it's doubtful that anything has changed to affect him adversely. I can't discount it, but it's highly unlikely.>> Thanks for any information you can provide. Michele <<No problem whatsoever, Michele. Tom>>  

My Betta seems to have fallen ill   7/28/06 Hello crew :) <<Hi, Michelle. Tom>> I've searched your site and I've tried to help myself (using other websites as well) but nothing seems to be working. So, here is the background information on my fish, and maybe you can help me figure out how to help him get better. <<Will try...>> My Betta, Kappa, is a few months old. I adopted him from Wal-Mart (the only store in my area which carries fish) in April, and at first he seemed to be doing great! And until recently he has been doing pretty well. Suddenly fin rot set in, so I changed his water (a 75% change, which is the normal amount I change), added some medication (API's Melafix), added a little more salt, and added the recommended dosage of API's Stress Coat (1 ml rather than .5 ml). But he didn't improve. I took down the salt and Stress Coat, adding the regular amount, and continued with the Melafix. After a week the fin rot finally abated. <<Good.>> I've stopped treating him with Melafix, and now just keep the water the same as I always have, changing it once every 3 days (or if I miss the 3rd day, once every 6 days, which helps the slime coat grow a bit more, and helps the needed organisms stay alive, etc). So, a quick bit on his living conditions - Kappa lives in a 1 gallon tank, which results in about three-fourths a gallon of water. I'm earning money to buy a two and a half gallon tank as well as some tankmates for my fishy, but for now, he's alone in a small tank. <<I might re-think adding additional fish even to the larger tank - which, by the way, is a very good move. Given the conditions that you're well-aware Kappa needs, I'd be reluctant to put the extra bio-load on his aquarium, particularly at this time.>> I put .5 ml of Stress Coat into the water every time I do a water change, which is once every 3 or 6 days, as mentioned before. I also add a small amount of aquarium salt (Doc Wellfish's). The water tends to stay at a decent temperature - steadily in the upper seventies (Fahrenheit (excuse my bad spelling there)). <<You missed the extra "h" in Fahrenheit but that's the least of my concerns. :) If possible, I'd try to get the temperature up into the lower-eighties. High-seventies isn't bad but warmer temperatures will help his immune system even more.>> The tank is filtered with an undergravel filter, and there are bubbles that, at times, come up through the gravel. <<Ummm... A couple of possible/probable issues here, Michelle. UGF's tend to be problematic in that they can lead to build-ups of bacteria in the gravel. Additionally, the bubbles are going to carry bacteria back into the main body of water, as well. Every time Kappa's tail/fins come in contact with the gravel, he becomes exposed to the bacteria living there and the whole problem can start anew.>> Kappa himself is a beautiful red, white, and blue Betta, as I said before he is only a few months old. His tail fin is the most effected by the fin rot, and is very short now. <<Very common for this to be the case especially in small environments (see my comment above).>> He tends to keep his upper fin clamped, even when he flares - which concerns me. <<Hard to believe with your excellent care but this is indicative of a water quality issue.>> He only eats pellets, but not for lack of trying to get him to eat flakes and freeze-dried blood worms - he simply refuses to eat them. <<Bettas are "meat eaters" so I'm a little surprised that he doesn't seem interested in the bloodworms but no matter. You might look into brine shrimp, daphnia, or even some occasional live insects, which is what they feed on "in the wild".>> The bubbles I mentioned before seem to be too strong for him (they haven't always been). When the bubbles come up through the gravel, if he's anywhere near them (in other words, if he isn't hiding under the rock in his tank) he gets pulled into the current they create and flails around. He has no control around the bubbles, which worries me, but I don't want to turn off the filter .... <<I'd recommend replacing the UGF here, Michelle. Too much of what you're sharing with us points to this piece of equipment as the culprit.>> What can I do, if anything, to speed up his fin regrowth? Preventing him from getting sick to this extent again? Give him strength to fight the bubbles? <<Well, to recap, so to speak, the new, bigger tank will make a big difference as well as changing the type of filter you're using. Raising the tank temperature by a few more degrees will also help.>> Any help is much appreciated. <<Hope I've given you some...>> Thanks Crew! --Michelle "Washi" Maxfield <<Any time, Michelle. Tom>>

Tybalt the Betta   7/27/06 Hi, <<Hello, Amelia. Tom here.>> I convinced my parents to buy me a pet for my fifteenth birthday, which was May 27, so a few days beforehand I came home to a deep blue Betta in a 1-gallon tank that the box said was "specifically designed for Bettas and first-time owners". <<I wish they'd specifically design a tank in the 5- to 10-gallon range for Bettas. Might be less problems. ;)>> At first I was disappointed, having expected a cat, but I soon grew very attached to the little guy, named Tybalt for the character in Romeo and Juliet.   <<A cat. A Betta. Not much difference. :)>> I read up on Betta care and got a thermometer that sticks to the inside of his tank, and I placed the tank under a lamp, still saving money to buy a light to leave on all the time.  He was really hyper and quirky at first, and I would sit for long periods of time watching him "sneak up" on the thermometer, touch it (it shakes slightly at the softest touch), and "run away".  Then I went to the mountains with my grandparents last week and left vivid instructions on when my mom should feed him (three times a day, flake food that came with the tank).  When I came back four days later scum had built up on the sides of his tank and the plastic plant in it, and Tybalt was lying on the gravel on the bottom, just beneath his plant. <<Not good.>> I did a full water change just so I could clean the brownish-green scum off, and at first he seemed a little happier.  But that's been about a week and he still isn't his old self (he doesn't play with his thermometer and he rarely even moves from his spot under the plant).   <<Couple of things come to mind but let's go on...>> Then I noticed that when I'd feed him he wouldn't come to his food (usually he attacked it).  He usually ate the freeze-dried blood worms I gave him as a treat like it was going out of style, but now he won't touch it.   <<Not unusual if he's stressed or "blocked up". How does his belly look? Any signs of bloating? Bettas are designed as "meat eaters" and flake food that's high in vegetable matter may not sit well.>> I have no idea how to check water quality, but I've been using the same water the whole time and he hasn't suffered.   <<A test kit would tell you what you need to know. Fairly simple to use, as well. You could also take a sample to the fish store and ask them to test it for you. Ask for the specific readings if you do this. When you experience problems, having the exact parameters can tell a great deal.>> I also use the conditioner that came with the tank, although I lost it and didn't have it for one change this summer (I change about one-fourth of the water in the tank every week and add half a capful of conditioner to it, like the instructions said).   <<This could be an area for concern, too. Tap water that's treated with Chloramine has Ammonia in it. A conditioner that treats only Chlorine would leave the Ammonia behind. A number of conditioners/dechlorinators now treat for both Chlorine and Chloramine. I'd opt for one that does both.>> I just went and looked in on him.  The temperature is almost 80, so I turned the lamp off for the night, and he was lying under the plant again.  I worry about my dad having the air conditioner on seventy all day so it's less that seventy in his tank, and when I turn the lamp on he turns it off.  My dad doesn't understand the concept that he's not "just a fish".   <<You might "gently" explain to your dad that wide swings in temperature can harm or, kill, your pet. Fish aren't designed the way mammals/people are. Even small but sudden swings in temperature can wreak havoc on a fish's system. Tybalt is beautifully built to breathe air like we do but if the surface air is colder than the tank temperature, he can die from breathing it. (Our body systems heat the air as we breathe it in. A fish can't do this.)>> I just want Tybalt to be healthy and lively again.  I'm particularly worried because we're going to the beach next week, Sunday through Wednesday, so my grandmother will be taking care of him.  Is it possible that he just missed me?   <<I wish I could tell you that he did, Amelia. The $50 word for this is "anthropomorphism", which is simply people trying to place human-like characteristics on animals and other non-human entities. Sadly, Tybalt doesn't have the capacity to "miss" you in the way that you and I know the meaning of it. On the flip side, my guys sure know when I come home from work that it's time to eat! Might be something to it after all. :)>> Would taking him to my grandmother's be bad or good while we're away (she lives within shouting distance)?   <<Wouldn't it be better for her to be able to keep an eye on him at her house?>> Also, his bottom fin, the one below his tailfin, is twisted.  I didn't notice until I held a mirror up to his tank tonight, just to see if he'd move.  His gills puffed up, but the rest of him stayed limp.  I haven't been giving him the mirror lately, because he was so spazzy over the thermometer I thought that was enough exercise.  But his bottom fin was twisted, not injured I don't think, just like when you curl your hair around your finger, that shape. <<Three areas of concern from what you've described here, Amelia. Diet, with perhaps not enough "meat". Include some live insects, if possible. Your water conditioner/dechlorinator and, of course, temperature swings. Frankly, I'd concentrate on the latter two. Get a conditioner like NovAqua+ (Kordon's) that handles both Chlorine and Chloramine and, do whatever is possible to keep Tybalt's tank at 80-84 degrees all the time. Stability is really the key here with no big swings in any of the parameters.>> Please help me get my lovely active Betta back, Amelia PS. Sorry it was so long, I worry easily and I really want someone to be able to tell me what I should fix. <<No apologies necessary, Amelia. By the way, Bettas appreciate some "aquarium salt" in their water. One third of a tablespoon for his tank, at the most. Should help, though. My best to you. Tom>>

Moving day... Betta sys. and dis.   7/26/06 Hi Bob, everyone, I'll soon be heading to college and that means moving my little 2.5 g tank + Betta along with me. College is about 40 min.s away from home. Obviously this isn't as serious an endeavor as some of the moves I've read about on WWM, but I want to do right by my fish. Plan is as follows. I feel a bit silly posting this among people faced with moving large glass marine systems... but... I'd like to know if I'm doing this wrong/could do it better. <Hotay!> Night before    1. Half-fill a quart-sized Ziploc with tank water, add Terrence,       leave open.    2. Siphon and bottle 1 gal of tank water. (I'm expecting the water on       campus to be different from home... different cities.. different       counties, actually) <Likely so>    3. Pull filter cartridge, sponge, carbon and place in another tank       water Ziploc with a few flakes of fish food. <No food necessary or desired> Seal. (Is leaving air       inside this important?) <Yes>    4. Discard gravel. (It's colored and it seems like some of the color       is coming off... I don't want it in my water. I have some       non-dyed, natural stuff that I plan on using instead when I move.) <Do rinse this now... move moist...>    5. Remove all remaining stuff from tank, clean all in bleach       solution. (How much bleach to water...?) <A teaspoon or so should do it... wear gloves, rinse well...>    6. Pack all but Terrence into a box. Moving day    7. Seal Terrence's bag with lots of air inside and hold in lap.    8. Unpack everything in new room.    9. Add new gravel and cleaned appliances. Add tank water.   10. Condition balance of water and add to tank.   11. Replace filtration and turn everything on.   12. When tank has reached 80 degrees (same as home), remove hood and       float Terrence's bag for a few hours.   13. Replace Terrence and hood, leave lights off. An update for "Mr. White Dot" Bob... Terrence developed a nasty case of fin rot (he's had fin rot before, but never such a fast-acting case) and his white dots/patches started looking a bit fuzzy. After a good water change I picked up some Jungle "Fungus Clear" (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate... <A good choice here> the furans treat bacterial conditions if I have my reading straight, but I'm not sure what the potassium dichromate is for... <To "burn" most any/everything on the outside...> and I'm not sure if it was one of the "active ingredients" but the tablets dye the water green/blue.) As per the box directions, after four days I did a 25% water change and re-dosed. His fins stopped receding/began regrowing, which was the purpose of getting the stuff, and the white patches receded during the beginning of the treatment but then mostly came back in exactly the same places, but they looked flatter, more defined than they did before. A week went by, still have white patches but only about 80-90% of previous coverage... am now two days into a second treatment in hopes I can knock out a few patches. Not sure if I have any real questions, but feel free to suggest/comment/admonish as you see fit. I'm feeling shaky about treating with Praziquantel since he doesn't match any of the flukes/worms/lice descriptions. <I would not use this then/here> Thanks for all your help... I'm always reading and learning. Two things I do daily: read the comics and read the FAQs. Rachel <Heee! Wish I had time (and interest) in the comics... the "news" is tragi-comical enough... BobF>
Re: Moving day... Betta sys. and dis.   8/17/06
Hi Bob! <Rachel> Terrence was just introduced to his new home and is displaying a good amount of curiosity as he takes in the new tank setup. Thankfully the water is not too much different... maybe 40 ppm more alkaline. For now all is well! Thanks! Rachel <Thanks for this update. BobF>

This is about my female Betta, Piccalo, whom has either swim bladder disorder or dropsy.. has been on its side flopping around for more then 2 months! Actually about honesty, perseverance and getting about/along in a/the real world.   7/26/06 Hello my name is Amy Maloney <Proper nouns... capitalized> and I have searched your site <Obviously not... or you would have your answer, not send such poor English> for the answer to this question but I have came up with nothing, you people are the only hope I have left so please do your best!! I have a female Betta, Piccalo, who was my first and I love her very much, she has been at the top of the water on her side for quite some time now and its getting worse! it started out as her just flopping over on her side, and yes before this she had a swollen belly which I stopped feeding immediately, to an "S" shaped spine to flipping over completely over on her belly and struggling to reach the bottom, stay in the normal fish position, not upside down or what not. first I raised her for about a month and then I tried the pea trick, she ate lots and the next hour she was fine and then she was back on her side. then I raised again and did the pea thing, same outcome so I put her in a shallow tank, if you call it, with some jungle fungus eliminator, it says it treats swim bladder disease but I know its not really a disease but a disorder. that didn't help except then she started to flip completely over. last night I gave her an Epson salt bath for about 10 minutes and she was fine for that night and then she was on her side again! her color is fading and then being bright and then being almost a complete white... she hasn't been pooping, I have her in a bare bottom "tank", and her belly is swollen. I haven't been feed her except for a soaked pellet in tank water every 3-4 weeks, I will not starve her, and where I live there are no pet stores except Wal-Mart so am limited to my supplies.. what should I do? I am going to St. johns soon so I could get some stuff in pets unlimited but our trip is a week or so away. email me back ASAP at P.S. my temp is room temp, 60-70 F, <Too low...> my PH is between 6.8 and 7.2 (normally 7.0) and I completely change the water once every week and 2-3 times I change about 25%- 75% of the water a week before I change it completely (lets just say I change the water when it gets dirty or every 4 days) HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

One Down Three to Go... Betta dis.   7/24/06 Hello All, <Howdy> I did lose one of my Bettas.  I think it was best, since he was just  so sick.  However, I have two now that are just slowly slipping away.   Kato, <"Not now Kato, not now!"> has an extreme case of fin rot and has now developed mouth rot.  He  was still eating his bloodworms but has stopped.  His breathing is very  labored and appears he is only using one of his gills.  He also has a mild  case of fungus on his body.  To top it off he has developed pop eye in one  of his eyes.   <Worse and worse...> I had been treating him with fungus eliminator, KanaPlex, and  Epsom salt, but he still has gotten worse.  Last night I did a full water  change, cleaned his heater and filter, and put him in with (2 tsp.) Epsom salt  and aquarium salt and Maracyn and Maracyn 2.  Today he is the same, and I  just don't know what to do.   <Mmm, not much more... patience> He has always had a slight case of fin rot, no  matter what I did, although it did seem to grow back at one point.  I have  tetracycline tabs but have not attempted to try them.  I didn't want to  overmedicate. My second little beta I believe has a swim bladder disorder caused by bacteria.  He is not swollen, but I think it was caused by dirty water (I  left and had him cared for by neighbors).  I had him on Kanaplex  and Epsom, but he did not appear to get better.  I also changed his  water last night (100%) <I do hope all these complete water change-outs are being done with aged/stored water> and put him in with (2 tsp.) Epsom and aquarium salt and  Maracyn and Maracyn 2.  I had him on Kanaplex for a week with no  change in condition, so I decided to switch back to his original medicine.   I keep tabs on their water and heat, but I am at a loss at what to do. <... perhaps a review of your water quality, basic Betta keeping practices...> My third is doing okay, although he is now getting splitting in his tail fin.  Should I start him on something?  He is eating and I just have  him in Epsom salt.  I did a 100% change of his water today. I don't want to over medicate, but I am really confused as to what medication is best at this point. <? You keep stating this, yet pouring it in... > I have read everything on Wet Web Media  and Betta Junkies, but I am just getting too confused over  medications.   <When, where in doubt, do nothing> Any insight would be welcome.  Thank you Bob and Jorie  for your quick responses to my earlier questions, but he just didn't make  it.  This whole thing breaks my heart when they look at me.  I always  do a 75% water change every 3 or 4 days. They are in 2.5 gallon  heated and filtered tanks. Oh, one final question--I am using a Nano filter, but  it has developed a brown slimy coat on the inside where I cannot reach to  clean.  Would this affect their condition?  Many thanks.    Valerie <Possibly... Don't see the prev. corr. here... About all I can do is to encourage you to review what is posted on WWM re Betta Systems, Diseases: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above... Something may well be "wrong" with your initial water quality (necessitating some use of treated water, or blending this with your source), your basic husbandry (e.g. a soap/detergent making its way into their environments)... or the source of the Bettas themselves... Bob Fenner>
Re: Continuing Fin Rot on a Betta   7/22/06
Hi WWM Crew :) <Jane> I had asked a question before regarding my Betta who has fin rot. I had tried 3 weeks of trying to do the salt treatment and clean water but it got worse :(. I have been treating with Maracyn and Maracyn2 together but I also want to keep his water clean by doing changes during treatment. <Good> Do I have to replace the medication that I took out during water changes along with the addition of that day's dosage? <Yes> Please respond. Any information would be awesome. Thank you! -Jane P.S- He's in a 3 gallon with undergravel filtration <And you have read through our Betta offerings: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

Betta health... now!  - 07/18/2006 Hello Mr. Fenner, <<This is Lisa.>> I urgently need your help to save my Male Betta Fish. His name is Asher (Aw-shure) Fish a.k.a AshKosh, and I bought him less than a year ago. He means very much to me. His sentimental value is priceless, for his purchase was dedicated to a very dear friend I lost very recently to Cancer. So I am desperate to sustain his life and be able to enjoy his company for as long as possible, and I would really appreciate your help in response as soon as possible! <<OK.>> AshKosh is suddenly showing these symptoms from what I can diagnose, and my expertise is purely novice. Lethargic: He mostly hangs around the top of the bowl as of late, I noticed it a couple days ago. Specifically one afternoon, following soon after I changed his water and cleaned his bowl. <<Hanging near the water's surface isn't too unusual, so long as he's not gasping, and he responds when he sees you.>> When I change his water, I have a previously prepared tap water filled bottle treated with 2-3 drops of an Ammonia, Chloramine and Chlorine Eliminator, that I let sit to reach room temp (80 degrees during day, only 75 during evenings after 9pm) to avoid too rapid of temp change for AshKosh. <<You should address this swing in temperature.>> I unfortunately do not have a test kit for the water as of yet, nor am sure when I will have the funds available to get one. So the levels of the water I'm not sure of. <<This is the single most important thing you need to do.  Most LFS will test you water for free or a small fee.  Make sure to get actual numbers, not just ¡fine¡¦.  Without these tests of both your Betta's water and your source water, a proper conclusion can not be reached.>> But I did follow the recommended directions.(1 teaspoon to every 10 Gallons.) <<I don't know what you're talking about.>> AshKosh's bowl is no where near even a gallon. <<Bowl? Your Betta needs to be in a filtered, cycled aquarium. Not a bowl. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm.>> So I only use a few drops as I said. <<Few drops of what?  Are you talking about Dechlor?  Look into Prime, by Seachem.  Ammonia removing products affect your tanks ability to cycle.>> Also, AshKosh does swim from time to time mostly just when disturbed, sometimes on his own, but in very short spans of time, and very skittish like, and rapidly when he does. <<Sounds like a ticked-off Betta swim to me Æ'º.  Address the issues with his housing.>> No Appetite: He doesn't seem to want to eat the pellets that I'm feeding him any more. Regular Betta Fish Pellets ( Color Enhancing Formula it says). <<This is likely a water/housing quality issue, which is why we need test results.>> Bubbles pop out from Gills: Sometimes when he breathes or he'll flap his gills in one rapid flap, and an air bubble will come out into the water. Not sure if this is normal, and just comes along with having gills. I worry that it could be an internal (gill? breathing?) problem? Although, He has had this happen ever since I bought him. So I'm leaning towards it's no big deal. That or sometimes he will surface and take in a bubble of air, but tends to be often of lately. I suspect that this could be a prob. with the water balance that he isn't getting enough air through the water. <<no, this is normal.  Bettas have the ability to breathe atmospheric air. Please read about your pet.>> So as of July 17, today...it's almost 3pm and I just tried changing his water, as was recommended in some of the other similar questions posted on your site. (about 20 min later. I recently just checked on him this very moment, and he seems to be sitting at the bottom of the tank, opening and closing his mouth slightly, but his gills are still moving (breathing). <<This is not good at all.  Like I said, I can not tell you what to do with out tests, besides lots of water changes.  The problem is, if your source contains the toxins you are trying to remove, it will be fruitless.>> : Twitch : Sometimes when he would swim or sit at the top of the tank, and then his head and upper body would twitch, or jolt to one side for a split second, and then he would swim rapidly around the bowl. almost as to shake off the previous twitch, or to regain his composure) : Slight Discoloration: I'm not sure if it's just my eyes, but he has always had a  strip pale yellow on his body, and a pale yellow head,  among his other colors of red, purple, turquoise and blue. His yellow is what attracted me to him in the first place...But lately it seems to me that even that pale yellow might have faded to a well, faint yellow? : Fins: His fins seem to be a bit droopy and ragged, but I'm pretty sure that's how most male Betta fish's fins are and pretty much how his were when I bought him... long, rippled, a little ragged but rounded at the tips. Although could this of been a sign that he was sick from the start? But just now the symptoms have become more drastic? That's about all I can gather right now...Some of these symptoms could be exempt, but I'm trying to give you the best of what I see. I will include some photos( not the greatest quality, I'm not sure what you will be able to make of them, and some video I captured of him swimming.) <<None attached.>> I will be in waiting for your response and I would really appreciate all helpful advice, diagnostic, or questions you might have for me! I will supply you with the info you need! Hopefully we can save my fish! <<Your fish needs a cycled aquarium, with no ammonia, nitrite and low nitrate.  Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.>> Thank you! Sephani <<Please get back to me with the test results.  Lisa.>>

Betta died   7/18/06 My Betta died yesterday morning.  I am afraid to get another one because I made so many mistakes.  Our water is extremely hard so the ph and all that was at the extreme end and he was fine for almost a year.  Then I switched him to spring water and the pet store said he would be fine, <...> the ph was at the opposite end. -- My first mistake but I did not know.  Due to the low ph I treated him with quick cure for 1 day - <...> which you said was toxic and then stopped and began using water in the system.  About a week went by I got salt and Maracyn 2 at the pet store they said to use both.  I did and he got better for a little while.  Then I was making water changes and not adding the salt back into the water ??? I do not know if this was a mistake or not I can not get a definite answer on this one??? <Not possible to tell from here... could well be this animal was weakened by the water change/s, the Malachite/Formalin...> He then began to decline again so I began using Maracyn 1 and 2 to help him since the Maracyn 2 seemed to help with the salt.  Another guy at the pet store told me I was over treating because the salt is a treatment. Is salt a treatment?? <Mmm, yes> I am very confused, am I supposed use salt for a little while and then back to the regular treated water after a few days. <Most freshwater fishes are best not continuously exposed to much salt...>   I only put 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in the 2 gallon tank. <This should be fine> Then another lady at a different pet store told me he needed oxygen <Mmm, no... are facultative aerial respirators... "Breath" from the surface> and for me to do 100% water change and add a plant and stop using the salt immediately and some one else told me to not use the plant and make water 10% water changes daily top get the Maracyn meds out and then another person told me to always use the salt and by me not using the salt in my water changes was stressing my fish out. <What do, did you think of all this "advice?"... Did you come to understand the underlying logic, science?> So I put the plant in and began using salt again he died shortly after.  He was already declining that is why I began the Maracyn and Maracyn 2 again.  After all this unk torture on my part my fish died with in a month.  I feel horrible and so guilty.  So looking back to avoid the mistake again if I ever get another fish -- too stressful when I really do not know what I am doing and so many people are telling you stuff.  Do I always put salt in the water changes comparable to what I have in the tank already? <I would not... all freshwaters have some "salt" (see definition on the Net, books).... likely your best "shot" at providing adequate mineral, solids content is to use your tapwater or a mix of this and some other source water... and not add salt/s routinely> Should I combine acid spring water with my high ph and alkalinity water to bring it a happy medium. <Bingo!> My water was a 10 on hardness and the fish seemed fine for 11 months in this water - would this alone have killed him after a while?   <Not likely, no> In your opinion if I would of not treated my fish with all the chemicals and only took him from high ph to a very low ph and them tried to gradually add the high ph what he was used to what were his chances of making it? <Likely much better... though this Betta may well have been "just" getting old...>   I know next time I will not listen to the pet store and contact you only. <No my young friend... Apply yourself... listen, but discern what is factual... for yourself>   Thanks for all your help and support.   You are really a blessing and a big help to everyone.    Melissa <I take it you have read our articles, FAQs files on Bettas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

... Sick Betta, prev. corr.?  7/18/06 It's me again. <...? Who? Where is the prev. corr.?> I need an answer quickly. My brothers Betta Clifford has what looks like fluffy white stuff attached to his gills. We are worried. We have already removed him form the tank so Jewels doesn't catch it. What disease is this and how can we treat it. Also should we clean the tank to be on the safe side? Thank You! Sydney <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta sick with unk... "I'm a unka, unka of burnin' love"  7/14/06 Dear Wet Web Media Crew,   Our water went bad so I changed him to spring and distilled <... not good choices> and then I thought my Betta had Ich and treated him with Quick Cure <... toxic...> and he got worse.  Then I put salt for a while and he declined.     I am currently treating my Betta for a bacterial infection with Maracyn II and 1/2 the dose for Maracyn right now.  I tried the Maracyn II about two weeks ago and he seemed to get better but then declined.  His fins looked a little raged, <And ragged?> he lays at the bottom most of the time, I thought he was going to die the other day so today is my 3rd day of treatment and he is doing a little better but not much.  He now has a white growth on one of his eyes, he has puffy whitish stuff on by his gills, <Likely all of this resultant from "treatments"...> and I think I see a few white dots on him again but they are very small not really sure if Ich again, <Not likely> he is not eating and has not eaten in a while, he tried eating today but just went back to the bottom, his temp is at 77.  I do have a little bit of nitrate it is still in the safe zone.  Can I add the good bacteria with ?? Zyme?? <The best... BioSpira... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above> while treating his with Maracyn I and II or can I begin adding the good bacteria later?? <Can be added at the same time>   Help please I try to be a good fish mom but I am not doing the best job.  He is about a year old and I got him when he was a baby I had the opportunity to see him grow.  Thanks a mil for all you help.      Melissa <Mmm, please (re)read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta health  7/14/06 Hi, <Hello there> I read your article about Betta diseases ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm) and found it helpful.  I'm sure you must get lots of questions, and may or may not be able to reply to all of them, however I thought it was worth a try. <We respond to all> We've had a beautiful Betta for about 3 months.  He was in some pretty nasty water and pretty lethargic when we got him but his overall behavior seemed to change dramatically within about 2 weeks.  Recently I noticed 2 spots on his head that, to my untrained eye, look like fungus (looks like the picture of a fungal infection on this website: http://www.bettatalk.com/betta_diseases.htm).  Mr. Fish otherwise seems very healthy and happy - his color is very bright, his fins aren't clumped, he makes huge bubble nests, gets really excited by swimming spastically and puffing up whenever we approach the bowl and aggressively attacks his food. <I would not worry re these spots/blemishes in this case> When he thinks no one is watching he lazily swims around his bowl and very rarely do we see him just sitting on his plant or on the bottom of the bowl. Mr. Fish's home is a 1 gallon fish bowl, we change the water about once a week and add sea salt every change.  What would be the best way to treat him? <Not to do so> I saw on your website that fungus is typically a secondary disease of stressed fish. <Yes... even tertiary, quaternary... not a direct cause/effect problem> Could this be a residual from when we got him or are we doing something that might be stressing him? <Likely "it" is nothing...> Also, you mentioned that adding salt and changing the water was the best way to treat fungus, since we have been using salt all along, should we try something else? <I would not> In terms of raising the water temp, I have read other places that heaters should not be used in 1 gallon bowls, if this is true, how should we raise the water temp? <There are small heaters... You want a low wattage, in case somehow it should "go awry" or be turned way up... The best ways to improve your Betta's health are to improve its environment, then next, nutrition. Please re-read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above... Perhaps a small "Eclipse" system for someone's upcoming birthday....> Thanks for your help, Amy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! Please! Betta Health  7/14/06 I recently wrote about my little Betta that acquired a fungus.   <I think I remember this...> Another is going in the same direction, and I really need to understand all this information on medications.  I have one that has been laying on the bottom  of his tank for over a week now with no eating.  I finally managed to get  him to gulp two small shrimp brine whilst I held it with tweezers.  He just  twitches and lays there.  He cannot swim, and to tell you the truth, I  don't know how he has managed to stay alive this long.  I have four Bettas  that are in 2.5 gallons tanks with heaters and filters.  While I was gone  my neighbors overfed and did not clean the tanks--even after I left specific  instructions. <Yikes! ... "the best laid plans"...> I was gone 3 weeks.  Now the very sick guy has a white  fungus around his gills.  I started treatment on Maracyn and Maracyn 2, but  it didn't seem to be doing anything.  So the person at the pet store told  me to use tablets that are 200 mg of erythromycin. <Mmm, this antibiotic is the same as Maracyn...> He claimed  that it was stronger than the Maracyn products.   <Nope> Of course I only gave them  1/4 of a tablet because of the tank size (1 tab for 10 gal).  I also added  Epsom Salt but to what amount is also questionable.   I have read from 1  tsp. per gallon to 1 tablespoon per gallon is effective.   What should it  be? <This is fine> They didn't have KanaPlex when I went in, but have since gotten it  in.  I have read on your site that this a highly effective medication, but  what do I use it to treat? <My fave here: "BettaFix"> I assume it would take the place of   erythromycin, but should I be using Nitrofurazone along with it, and what  does that treat? <... see WWM re>    I just noticed that his white fungus has  turned gray which leads me to believe that he is getting better, but I  cannot get him to swim or eat. <Patience here> Please help me to understand all these  medications and their uses. I have searched out each of these meds,  but I am still at a complete loss in treating this little  guy.  I also purchased tetracycline tablets, but did not use them  as the directions said to use either/or Maracyn.   I need to  wrap my brain around these medications before the other one gets too  sick. He has a what looks to be slime and small deposits of white in  crevices around his head.  He also has a very bad case of fin rot.   I get so heartbroken just looking at the other very sick little one.   He just twitches around and stays at the bottom.  I don't know how he  breathes, as I have watched him for hours and he never surfaces.   Any  insight would be so appreciated.  Water quality is good nitrate, ph, and  ammonia levels are what they should be.  Before they got sick, their  regiment was a 70% water change once a week, and they were happy as pigs in  mud.  With medication, how often and how much of their water is changed?  They all ate 5 pellets 2x a day and all were purchased around  they same time--maybe going on two years.  Please help!  Many,  many thanks. <Take your time... clean these containers (but not the filters, to preserve nitrification), and try the BettaFix by itself. Ten deep breaths, a brisk walk... More coffee for me! Bob Fenner>  

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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