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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal...); Bloating, Dropsy, Pop-Eye, Fin Rot... 1

Series FAQs: Infectious 2, Infectious 3, Infectious 4,

Related Articles: Betta Diseases, Betta Systems, Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishImproved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,

Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, Betta Disease 14, Betta Disease 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 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,

Such infectious agents are almost always indirect causes of disease; something faulty with the environment, too aggressive tankmates, nutritional shortcoming being primary. Check and fix the environment first.

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Betta Success

Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta fin rot and his general tank setup   1/15/12
Hi Neale
Sorry, more questions! Thanks for all your help so far.
We have a male Betta called Pedro (don't ask me, that was Mrs. K's doing) in a filtered 19 litre, kept at 27C. Is this temp too high?
<It's fine. If anything, you could even take it up to 28 C.>
There's too much conflicting information out there for us to decide.
Today we noticed his fins were getting a bit ragged, with white bits at the edge of the rags, and suspect fin rot. We added 1tbsp of API aquarium salt to the gallon, as recommended on WWM, and did a 25% water change.
<Hang on a second where is salt recommended for treating fin damage? I would not recommend salt for that! Let's be clear -- salt has little/no beneficial effect. If you think about, marine fish can get Finrot, and they're in seawater. What salt can do is help reduce osmotic stress, or at least, that's what old school fishkeepers often suggest. I think that's hokum, but it probably doesn't do any harm in the short term.
Long term, you don't want to use salt -- these are, after all, soft water fish by nature. Instead, if the fins are merely ragged but not infected, good water quality, good diet, regular water changes, and perhaps the use of a preventative like Stress Coat or Melafix will be all you need. If the fins are infected, i.e., you can see dead white tissue and/or exposed fin rays, then review water quality and medicate with a reliable anti-Finrot medication, such as (in the UK) eSHa 2000.>
He is almost exclusively fed on a diet of various wet frozen foods, a piece about the size of his eye per day.
<I see.>
We suspect that the fin rot is due an ammonium spike, which also caused a bacterial bloom. This occurred as the Canadian pond weed that we put in went into meltdown. Cold water plant, as I eventually found out.
<Yes. Can live in tropical tanks, but needs extremely high lighting to keep up with its elevated metabolic rate.>
Thank you to a certain large chain of pet shops for selling me a cold water plant for a Betta! Anyway, I did frequent water changes and got all the decaying plant matter out. The bloom has since died down and the water is crystal clear again. Water testing 3 days ago showed pH 7, ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 0ppm. Typical water quality on a weekly water change shows the same figures. 
How long should we keep the salt treatment up for?
<Wouldn't be doing this at all.>
Given the test results are indicating to me that the tank is back to normal should we revert back to the old water change schedule (15%, once per week) or keep up the regular ones (every couple of days)? Are more frequent water changes aiming to remove e.g. fungus spores or is it to keep water quality pristine for the sick fish?
<Water changes don't remove bacteria or fungus in any meaningful way. Both, after all, are living in the filter where they do good work. You see, the problems we call Finrot and Fungus are where bacterial and fungi move from consuming decaying organic matter in the filter (which is good) to doing the same thing on the bodies of damaged or stressed fish (which is bad).>
We do have some plants in the tank and there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice regarding salt tolerance. Can you shed any light on this?
<Salt will be tolerated by hard water plants, but soft water plants dislike it. But really, you shouldn't be using salt at all.>
The plants are java moss (introduced this week, bought), Limophila sessiliflora (introduced this week, prunings from another tank), Eleocharis parvula (established) and Vallisneria sp. (introduced this week, bought). We're not too green fingered on the aquarium front so it's largely been trial and error up till now but we'd rather not kill off any more after little Pedro having to suffer the consequences. Lesson learned. Dead plants = sick fish.
<Ah, now, do read my new article on WWM, here:
There are quite a few reliable plants, but much depends on picking those species and understanding their non-negotiable needs.>
On the subject of plants we're trying to get this tank as heavily planted as possible because we've had massive problems with Cyanobacteria. At the time the light schedule was 12.5 hours per day. This has recently been cut back to 10 hours. Again there seems to be quite a bit of conflicting opinion on algae control, with some saying that light is the limiting factor and others nutrients. Given the small nutrient input and plenty of plants I was surprised we had a problem but it had choked the plants out. We pulled them all out except the Eleocharis, which was doing fine, and that was when the fateful pond weed went in. Is there anything else we can do if cutting the lighting back doesn't work or is that about it short of building a scrubber? It would be nice to do but would take up too much space.
<Do also read:
Plus the linked FAQs and articles.>
Thanks for your time and any comments will be appreciated, both on the treatment for the fin rot and on the general setup.
Gordon and Denise
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fin rot and his general tank setup   1/15/12

Hi Neale
Thanks again.
<No problem.>
The advice about the salt was on the Betta diseases FAQs
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BetDisInfeF.htm titled "Betta Fin Rot 8/26/07".

<That's a reply from a crew member of the past. What he says is something that's quite often mentioned in older books and articles about Bettas.
There is a nugget of science behind the idea, because sodium chloride does reduce the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate, so may, possibly, improve the health of Bettas maintained in small, unfiltered aquaria. But what we don't know is how far salt stresses their salt/water balance processes (osmoregulation) and because of that, in the long term, salt may solve one problem but cause another -- such as dropsy. You will find few if any modern fishkeeping writers suggesting the use of salt as anything other than a short-term medication, and none of the trusted health books written by vets promotes the use of salt in the old school way either. In any event, salt doesn't cure any sort of Finrot or Fungus, so it's of precisely zero value when you're dealing with those sorts of sicknesses. I suspect the confusion came about originally because fishkeepers found that when they used salt, fish like Guppies and Mollies didn't develop Finrot or Fungus. We now know that's because those fish need hard water, and salt and be used to compensate for that in soft water. So fish that were disease-prone in soft water became hardier in salted water, and their own immune systems may well have fixed any minor infections. But early on in the hobby, and we're talking about the 1920s and 30s here, that connection wasn't obvious, so instead it was thought the salt "cured" the fish.>
Didn't know that marines got Finrot.
<Yes. Finrot is merely an Aeromonas or Pseudomonas infection that occurs when these usually harmless bacteria are able to feed on fish without an effective immune system. This is the link between stress and disease. Healthy fish fight off these bacteria ALL time, literally 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. But poor diet, the wrong temperature, poor water quality, social behaviour problems like aggression -- all these cause stress and thereby lower the effectiveness of the immune system. No different to humans.>
I'm sticking to FW until I'm very, very experienced before even thinking about marine, but yeah that makes perfect sense. I'd tend agree with you on the osmotic stress. If a species has evolved in response to an environment with a low level of ions in the water it stands to reason that it will be comfortable there. 
<That's what vets believe, too. By all means use salt or Epsom salt as medications in the short-term. They're harmless used this way, and salt is, for example, much safer than commercial Whitespot medication. In a new aquarium, salt might even be useful for softening the edge of nitrite while the tank is cycling. But long term, i.e., more than for a couple months, it's a bad idea.>
That's interesting on the bacteria/fungus working with you when things are good and against when things are bad. It's strange to think that the organisms we rely on day to day are now eating the fish's tail.
<Oh gosh yes. Think about it, the bacteria are mindless. For them, there's no difference between fish faeces sucked into the filter and dead skin cells on a living fish. It's all organic matter. So far as the bacteria are concerned, it's stuff that Mother Nature wants broken down into the smaller chemicals the filter bacteria can further process into ammonia, then nitrite and finally nitrate. Normally, the fish's immune system fends off these bacteria before they get into healthy tissue. But if the fish is seriously wounded or somehow stressed, the immune system can't stop these otherwise good bacteria getting into the healthy tissue. Those bacteria multiply, spread, and as they do so, caused havoc, in particular clogging up blood vessels ands thereby causing nearby tissues to die from oxygen starvation. The bacteria then feed on those dead cells, multiply some more, and the infection spreads. If the infection isn't stopped, the bacteria eventually reach the organs or cause blood poisoning. That's when the fish dies.>
We'll keep up with the stress coat, (we added some today, forgot to mention that), change the salt out of the water, and observe for any worsening of the tail damage, if so medicate accordingly.
<There's a great value medication called eSHa 2000 widely sold in the UK; it's safe and very effective. Costs about 4-5 a bottle, but you use so little, this small bottle will last years. I'd suggest buying some today.
There are other brands, like the Interpet one, but in terms of value, effectiveness and safety to my fish, it's the eSHa one I like best.>
Thanks for the links. We'll have a good look through them.
Gordon and Denise
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fin rot and his general tank setup   1/15/12

Hi Neale
Thanks for all the advice. I've been phoning around LFS with no success with regards to the ESHA 2000, the only ones we could get today would be treatments by Love Fish
<Not used this.>
or Interpet,
<Can work well; don't forget to remove carbon.>
however wanted to check with you before we bought either of these in case we wasted more money or even worse did more harm than good. We could order ESHA 2000 online but obviously we wouldn't get it today, so was just wondering what would be the course of action you'd suggest?
<Either; waiting a day or two won't do harm if the fins aren't too badly eroded. But if they're red and really ragged, act quickly.>
We've done a 50% water change on Pedro and will keep up regular chances and add Stress Coat regularly.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fin rot and his general tank setup  1/16/12

Hi Neale
No further questions, you'll be relieved to hear. Cheers for the advice and a bottle of eSHa 2000 is winging it's way to us.
<Ah, good.>
We'd rather use that as it's recommended by someone whose opinion we trust, the fish isn't yet ravaged and the medication will break down in the water rather than have to be carboned out after treatment.
We only have a small internal filter with a sponge block as a medium, so carbon would have been problematic.
<Perhaps. In reality, few, if any modern medicines need to be removed with carbon -- at least, if you're only keeping community fish rather than invertebrates.>
I have to say it's amazing how complicated and interesting Betta splendens has become considering I bought Pedro on the advice from my LFS that he could be kept in a 8 litre unheated, unfiltered aquarium and be fed a flake every three days. That he would survive in a pint glass and actually liked confined spaces and dirty water.
LFS even tried to sell me one of those little plastic tanks that look like they hold about a half a litre. It was also recommended to actually split that small tank and put another male in the other side. I can imagine how stressed those fish would have been, aside from the really obvious, constantly being able to see an aggressor and constantly displaying to fend him off. Reason from LFS: "They display more like that".
<Well true enough, but as you say, hardly a nice way for them to live.>
We both have, however, learned a lot and discovered a fascinating fish with loads of personality. Its interesting to read other people's accounts of keeping this species as well. They seem so quirky and individualistic. Even if my general interest in the hobby declined I think would still keep a Betta.
For the record I was also told at the same LFS that our 60 litre tank would take 6 phantom tetras, 3-4 clown loaches, a Hong Kong Pleco, 6 black widow tetras, and 4-5 honey gouramis. I did NOT follow that advice.
Needless to say I don't buy from there anymore, which is a shame because I'd rather support an independent retailer.
<Quite so. It's a shame really because they're harming their business. People who buy fish that then die, aren't likely to stay in the hobby for long. It's in the retailer's interest to have knowledgeable staff who can educate their customers up to at least some sort of basic standard.>
The 8 litre tank has been put into service as a daphnia culture tank, since I can't actually see any other use for it. It was inherited and I have no idea what unfortunate creature was kept in there.
<Indeed. You could try a freshwater reef tank here, if you can supply good lighting and filtration. A few plants (Java moss is great for small tanks) and then add a few small snails, some small shrimps (bumblebee shrimps are great, but cherry shrimps could work) and then let the thing become an ecosystem. Add some pond water if you can, or a bag of live daphnia. Over time, you'll find this brings in all sorts of tiny animals that end up living and breeding there.>
So, thanks for everything. It's comforting to know in these early stages that we've got folks that we can to turn to for reassurance and advice who are trustworthy.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Gordon and Denise
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fluff on Crowntail Betta    11/22/11
I have one Crowntail Betta. He is now in a 20 gallon long tank for the moment. Yesterday he had cloudy eyes and the tips of his fins were bent.
<Both eyes? All fins? Something is wrong w/ water quality here>
The tank is cycled, but the ammonia was up to .25ppm,
<If there is measurable NH3, a system is not cycled>
so I did a HUGE water change added a tablespoon of marine salt and turned up the temp to 82F.
<Good moves>
There was another Betta on the other side of a divider and he immediately died after the last water change. He was always active with no symptoms. I haven't fed the still living Betta in 24 hours and have the tank lights off. The ammonia and nitrite levels are now 0, and his eyes look fine today. But the tips of the tail now have little bits of fluff on them.
<Residual. Will cure of its own in time (a few weeks)>
So more water changes, and keeping the temp up. I did check the ph and it read 8.5 which is really high.
<Have seen your correction in a subsequent email. Not to worry>
Could the high ph be doing this ?? If so is there a way to bring it down?
It is the tap water that tests for high ph. Thank you!!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Correction concerning previous email   11/22/11

I sent an email a few hours ago
about a Crowntail Betta with cottony fluff on the edges of his tail. I have to correct a mistake about tap water readings. The ph is only about 6.8, not 8.5. Thank You !!
<Ahh, good. Again this is fine. Just time going by... BobF>

I think my new Half-moon Betta has Fin Rot!   10/28/11
Hi! I just went to town a few weeks ago and bought 2 Bettas. I bought my normal finned male at Petland, where the fish where very well taken care of and appeared to be healthy.
My Half-moon Male came from PetSmart, where he was in a tiny cup full of blue water stacked on a shelf with many others in the same condition.
<Not uncommon, sadly. While Bettas can be maintained in cups given adequate air temperature and (at least!) daily water changes, this approach is really only viable for Betta breeders with heated fish rooms. It's a shame PetSmart keep them this way because it implies to casual aquarists that Bettas are "one cup" pets suitable for dorm rooms and the like. They're not; at least, not kept in a cup.>
I felt so sorry for him, he was very thin and just looked like a floating Betta head staring at me through the plastic. He's very tiny (Smaller than my Rosy Red Feeder), but has actually grown considerably since I first got him.
<Glad he's recovering. Unfortunately the downside to "rescuing" Bettas like this is all you tell PetSmart is that they need to go order some more!
That's how the capitalist system works. If something sells -- even if purchased out of pity -- that item will be restocked.>
I had to feed him powdered brine shrimp for the first week because he couldn't eat the regular pellets. Tsunami (Half-moon) started out being in a separate tank than Leviathan (Normal Finned), but I bought one of the cool little half-gallon tanks with the divider so I could view them together and have one less tank to clean.
<Half-gallon tanks are about 10 times too small for Bettas. Seriously. They need a 5-gallon tank with a heater and filter.>
They had glass pebbles so they couldn't injure themselves, "Betta Plus: Water Conditioner" (we use tap water), and no plastic plants or anything. Tsunami's tail started rotting off soon after.
<Unfortunately what happens when they're kept in these Betta bowl type things. How are you keeping the water warm? If you don't have a heater, then that's one reason this Betta is sick. Sadly people think room temperature is adequate -- it's not. Some others thing an angle-poise lamp will give enough heat -- it won't. If you don't have an aquarium heater in there, this fish WILL die. It's called a "tropical fish" because it comes from the tropics. We're talking the sweltering hot, humid depths of Southeast Asia. Even a warm room in Europe or the US will be too cold.
Water temperature needs to be kept steady somewhere between 25-30 C/77-86 F.>
I moved him to his own separate tank again (which has the conditioner), immediately suspecting Fin Rot, and put some medicine in with him. He lost the top outer edge of his tail in one day, and the edges that are gnarled are black.
<Not good.>
I might have been able to catch it sooner if his fins hadn't have stayed clamped so long after I got him. When he finally unfolded his tail, I just thought maybe it was supposed to look like that, because it started with two, evenly spaced gaps. Apparently not. I read the other articles on this site, and none of them said anything about the meds I have. It's called "Jungle: Fungus Clear - Tank Buddies". They are 10 gallon fizz tabs, so I had Mom grind up one and divide it into the correct dosage for him. I don't think it has progressed any further since I added the meds and he seems to act okay, but will it cure him?
The active ingredients are Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, and Potassium Dichromate. And, if I manage to cure him, will his tail ever be the same? I seriously only got to see him fan once before this happened. Also, will Leviathan catch it as well, since they shared the same water? Thanks!
<You do need to do the following:
[a] Ensure this Betta is kept in a 5 gallon aquarium, or a slightly larger one if you use a divider to keep both Bettas.
[b] Install a heater set to about 28 C/82 F.
[c] Install a gentle filter, ideally an air-powered sponge filter.
[d] Ensure there's a tight-fitting lid on top to keep the air your Betta breathes warm and humid (cold and/or dry air are lethal).
[e] Ensure ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero; this won't happen until the biological filter is mature, what'll take about 4-6 weeks, so before that happens, do daily 10-20% water changes.
[f] Ensure you're doing weekly water changes (once the filter has matured, as noted above) of about 20%.
[g] Medicate with anti-Finrot medication such as Maracyn 2; don't waste time with salt, Melafix, general purpose medications, etc.
And that's it! All of these things are important. None of them is optional.
It's a real shame but so many stores tell people Bettas can live in jars; as you're discovering, they can't. Again, the joys of capitalism -- if you don't do your research first, you're going to lose money. Cheers, Neale.>

My Betta has white fuzzy stuff all over him  10/16/11
<Hello Dawnelle>
I've had my double tailed Betta Nyan for a week now and he was doing fine till yesterday night, I noticed he was lying on his side, he was very pale and he has fuzzy white stuff growing on his pelvic fins and his tail. <Likely some sort of bacterial infection.> Right away I took him out of his gallon tank <heated, I hope> and put him and a separate fish bowl I have <Why? If the tank is heated, likely to be a better home for him.>. I did a little research on what he might have and I think the fuzzy stuff is Fungus. <More likely bacterial as I mentioned above. Depending on the condition of the fish a broad spectrum antibiotic may well help.>Im not so sure why he lays sideways. <Stress from the disease and perhaps some environmental stress is likely at play here.> He doesn't move unless he struggles to come up for air and he wont eat. I think its swim bladder disease. <More likely the effects of the above.> Im trying my best to keep Nyan alive the best I can. I have given him a salt bath but I used sea salt instead, is that good for him? <adding am pinch salt (aquarium salt only) to the aquarium is a good move. About a teaspoon per 3 or so gallons. You can read more here - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqbizsubwebindex/bettabiz.htm 
> Since then his color has started to come back a little. But he still lays on his side. Is there any medicine I can give him? <As mentioned above. I have also had good luck caring for some Betta issues with Betta Fix. Please do keep in mind that the obvious symptoms aside, a large number of Betta diseases originate due to environmental reasons. Please use the search tool to read about ideal conditions for a Betta. Good luck! - Sugam>

Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working   8/2/11
Dear WWM Crew,
You are my last hope. I bought what appeared to be a healthy male Betta 5 months ago. He is a split tail variety. Water Parameters are as follows (per gallon): treated tap water, using 2 drops Dechlor,
<Not useful for Chloramine/s>
2 ml Betta spa, 1/2 tsp aquarium salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda (pH buffer - a trick a Betta breeder told me to try). His pH is about 7.5 and he lives in a 5 gallon Fluval chi with a filter baffle and a heater kept at 80 degrees F. Full water changes once a week.
Two Months ago, he developed a pinhole in his dorsal fin that was red around the edges. At the time, per the advice of the LFS, I was doing one to two gallon changes of water per week. I attempted a large water change, introduced aquarium salt, and tried Melafix.
<Decidedly not a fan>
That did not work, so I tried a more aggressive salt bath. Still nothing. I then nuked the entire tank and went to the store and was given Furan 2.
The baths they suggested didn't stop it. I tried a double dose, which halted it, but as soon as I stopped, it came back. The LFS then gave me tetracycline. That did not work. For the last two days, I've been doing strong baths of PolyGuard. Still no healing. In fact, the disease has progressed.
<What are you feeding this animal? What water quality tests/results do you have to share? Esp. Nitrate>
I understand that I have been using several different medicines, which may not be the best idea. However, at this point, he is going to die.
The fin rot, during all of this treatment, has progressed severely.
This morning, I noticed that it was starting to attack the scales under his dorsal fin (that is almost all gone) and has attacked one of his smaller fins. His tail edges are still red and a good portion of his anal fin is missing. I have taken him off the meds for several days at a time in order to let him recover, but during those times, he ends up getting worse. He is still eating and I have been soaking his food in garlic guard and giving him brine shrimp to boost his immune system.
<A good idea>
I truly don't know what to do at this point, and I am very fond of him.
Any thoughts?
<Mmm, please respond to my questions above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Re: Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working   8/3/11

Dear Bob,
Thank you for your prompt reply! To answer your questions:
The Dechlor, per the label, also handles chloramines.
I am feeding him 4-5 pellets of Hikari Betta bio gold soaked in garlic guard.
<I would not use this exclusively. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm>
Some days I substitute brine shrimp instead. His appetite is good, though no bubble nests as of late.
Parameters: The pH is higher than I thought at 8.4
<MUCH too high... why are you using sodium bicarbonate here? NOT necessary.
What is the pH, hardness of the source/tap water?>
(I only have the high pH test kit from our salt tank but it's turning out purple for sure.) Should I discontinue the baking soda buffer?
Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates are all reading 0.
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working   8/3/11
Ok, I will try to slowly lower it to closer to 7. The reason for this is because I kept Bettas about 2 years ago and all 3 of them suffered from sudden, overnight fin damage.
The breeder I got them from told me the Chicago tap water drops its kH in the summer, thereby causing pH crashes overnight and eating up their fins.
<Doubtful. B>
He was fine during the spring, so when I saw some deterioration around June, I started buffering since this cleared up the issues with my Bettas a few years ago. I'll avoid the buffer.
Re: Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working  9/1/11

Hi Bob,
I hope you are well.
I did everything you suggested with my Betta. I brought his pH down to about 7.1. His temp is 78. There's nothing in his water but Betta spa, 1 tablespoon of salt to the 5 gallons, and a stress coat with DeChlor/ chloramine neutralizer. I changed out his sand for glass beads instead and I've shut off the filter, which perked him up somewhat and caused him to blow bubble nests again. I've been doing full changes once a week with aged water.
I gave him a PolyGuard dip for about 5 to 10 minutes a day every three days and he seemed to be healing. I stopped the PolyGuard for about 5 days and looking at him today, he has a new rip in his tail and the redness is back on his anal fin. There's practically nothing left to his fins. They are looking absolutely terrible and ragged. I found some photos of him from the first few days I got him and I noticed that his fins had the same redness on them.
<Yes; as alluded to, this "red color trait" is quite hard to "breed out" in Betta splendens>
At the time, we thought it was a bit of red streaking his fins since he is a marble gene Betta.
Now I wonder if he came from the store with this issue.
I gave him another PolyGuard dip today. I will be changing his tank water tomorrow. I'm leaving for vacation for 12 days and he'll be in my mother's care, but I don' t think she'll be able to give him the dips.
Any other thoughts? I feel like I'm about to lose my fish, which makes me very sad because he's a lovely friend.
Any suggestions are welcome. I don' t know what else to do...
<Just patience; time going by>
<Welcome. BobF>

Does Betta Have Fin Rot?   7/23/11
Dear Crew,
I am wondering whether my Betta has fin rot. I have been wondering this because when I bought Darwin , the cup that he came in stated he was a veil tail. I didn't think of any thing except that he was a very active swimmer until I looked at him closer during the acclimation process. I noticed Darwin looked more like a delta tail. Now that I think about it, he looks like he has fin rot. He has a whit edge around his tail fin.
<Mmm, not necessarily anything other than colour here>
This is not Darwin, but he look s almost *exactly *like this:[image: my Cambodian flaring 1.JPG (49002
The only difference between this picture and Darwin is his fins spread a tiny bit less.
Thank you,
Dante G.
<I wouldn't assume your fish is sick on the basis stated. Bob Fenner>

Male Betta showing severe dropsical conditions....   4/28/11
Sparky, my male Betta, has been showing severe dropsical signs for about three days now. Short of the horror I face to let him either fade away, or euthanize him, are there any chances to return him to the former fun and happy Betta he was?
<Yes... have you tried Epsom Salt, antibiotics?>
He is Swollen, Pine-coning, completely inactive, top floating, lost his appetite, however not his will to live. He swims away from the tank edge if he feels threatened (although he is now swimming on his side).
I understand that there are many variables that cause the "dropsy" symptoms. Based on this information does my little guy sound too far gone?
Thank you for your time and expertise
<There is still hope. Read here:
Bob Fenner>

Potential Betta Fungus?  12/10/10
<Hi Emily.>
Sorry to bother you if this kind of question has already been answered.
<Many, many times.>
I've read many things on the forum, but I haven't found anything quite the same. So, here's the deal. I've had my Betta Reggie for about 2 months. He is the first Betta I've ever had.
<Please do read widely, and act on what you learn. Start here:
He's currently by himself in a 2.5 gallon tank. Yes, I know it should be 5 gallons, but I didn't learn that until recently.
I will work on getting him a bigger tank.
<Will make life dramatically better for your Betta.>
Anywho, for the three weeks he has done nothing but sit on the bottom.
<Usually a reaction to poor environmental conditions: poor water quality or lack of warmth. Remember, Bettas need both filtration and heating. These aren't optional. Water changes don't remove the need for filters, and angle-poise lamps don't replace the need for heaters. Almost all failures with Bettas come down to the lack of filtration and heating.>
In the past week and a half, he's hardly eaten, if at all. (I haven't seen him eat, but that doesn't mean he hasn't.) At first I thought he was just recovering from Ick, but now he's worse than he was when he had Ick. When he had Ick, I medicated him with some Mardel CopperSafe, and now I'm sure he doesn't have Ick anymore.
<Should indeed work. But do remember, you can't have carbon in a filter while medicating. Indeed, I'd not recommend you use carbon at all. Instead, ensure your filter provides just good biological filtration.>
Yesterday I noticed a small white dot near his face, and I didn't think much of it. However, today I noticed it was bigger and looked fuzzy, just like a white fuzzy ball was on him.
<Yes, fungus.>
I heard that Betta fish sometimes get fungus while they're immune system is still down from having a parasite like Ick. Is that true?
<Not quite. When the Ick parasites mature, they burst through the skin, making little holes. These holes easily become infected with fungus, especially if the fish is already weakened through poor environmental conditions. Think of fungus as equivalent to gangrene or tetanus in humans -- something that happens if wounds become infected.>
Does he have a fungus?
How should I treat him?
<Anti-fungus medications should work well. Don't use tea-tree oil medications (like Melafix) as these are unreliable. See here:
Oh, and his tank has a small filter.
<How small? And was it matured before the fish was added? It takes 4-6 weeks to mature a filter before an aquarium will be ready to accept a fish.
If you add a fish to a tank on the same day as a brand new filter, you'll have non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite, and these are lethal.>
I usually do a 100% water change once a week.
<50% will be ample, and once you have a 5 gallon tank, 25% will be better.
Changing too much exposes your Betta to changes in temperature and water chemistry. If you have poor water quality -- i.e., non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels -- then simply do more than one 25% water change per week.
More, small water changes will be better than one big water change.>
Reggie is only the second fish I've ever had, and I care about him dearly!
I'm just so inexperienced that I wonder if I should even be his fishy mommy!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Potential Betta Fungus?  12/10/10
Hello again,
Thank you so much for the advice. I do have one more concern. I did not know that you shouldn't have a copper [sic] filter running with medication.
What did that do? Is there anything I should do to correct it?
Thanks once again,
<Do you mean you left the carbon in the filter whilst medicating for Ick?
If that's the case, you might be alright. Carbon needs to be replaced every two weeks. If you don't replace it every two weeks it becomes saturated with organic chemicals in the water, and doesn't absorb anything else. End result, all it does is sit there in the filter wasting space. So the medication might have worked. For most aquarists keeping freshwater fish, carbon is not necessary and should not be used. In any case, I'd recommend using the salt/heat method for treating Ick as outlined here:
Medicate as for fungus *at the same time*. Salt will not harm the Betta if used as stated there, and in fact will actually help the fungus infection clear up more quickly. Cheers, Neale.>

I Really Hope That You Can Help Me: Betta Health\Disease 7/22/2009
<Hi Brea>
I have recently purchased a Male Chinese Fighting Fish,
all was well until a few months ago I realized that he may have a disease.
I had a look through your website but none of the diseases you describe seem to match the symptoms that my fish is producing.
Its hard to describe but when I look close at my fish his top and bottom fins are stuck together and they almost seem as if they should be longer than what they are.
<So his fins are clamped down.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/bettadiseases.htm >
It almost looks like something has hacked at his fins, or torn at them; but he is in a tank on his own. his colour is not as bright either.
<Hmm.... sounds like Finrot. Here is where details are helpful. How large of a tank is this fish in, is it heated or unheated, have you tested the water?>
<Bettas do best in an aquarium of at least 18 - 20 litres with a temperature between 24 - 27 degrees centigrade.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/bettasysart.htm >
I told a friend of mine, who also has Chinese Fighters and he gave me some medicine called "Wardley Promenthysul" which he said would eliminate all bacteria, fungal and parasitic diseases but my fish's fins are getting worse.
<It isn't working. Much like applying topical disinfectant to your skin does nothing for a sinus infection.>
I change my water regularly and am using this medicine every time I change his water but he is still not getting any better...
<You need to treat the fish with antibiotics. I quick browse on the internet shows that this is available in Australia: "Aquarium Science Aqua-Cure Tablets" from here:
please email me back
from Brea

Fixing an error... Env. dis.... cycling with fishes, FW. Betta  9/1/2009
My dilemma is as follows-
It started when I made a bad error of judgment- cycling with fish. I assumed that I could do semi-frequent water changes to get the cycle going.
Unfortunately, Nixon (my veiltail Betta), developed fin rot.
<Cycling with fish is risky, and does rather assume the tank is [a] large proportional to the fish being kept; [b] receiving 20-25% water changes every day or two; and [c] stocked with hardy fish known to tolerate short-term exposure to ammonia. In very small tanks, the problem is that there's insufficient water to keep the ammonia diluted enough to avoid acute poisoning of your fish. I don't recommend people keep Bettas in tanks less than 5 gallons in size precisely because of this, and putting a heater and a filter in a tank smaller than this doesn't work well at the best of time.>
I had built a baffle on the power filter, keeping the water very still.
However, I suspected the intake might have hurt him.
<Does happen; the best filters for Bettas are either air-powered sponge filters or undergravel filters. Electric filters are best avoided.>
I decided to start fresh - I got a box filter (couldn't find a sponge filter) with a gang valve to minimize air flow.
<Should work fine. Even with medium levels of air flow, the "suck" on these box filters isn't great, and they work nicely even in tanks with fish fry, let alone Bettas.>
It is held down by a slab of slate (again, not ideal, but it was all I could get at this point)
<You do what you have to do. I find a handful of gravel at the bottom of a buoyant box filter works well at weighting it down. Fill the rest of the filter with floss. The gravel supports some biological filtration, so it isn't a waste of space.>
and got some Maracyn 2. I have a second heater for temping his new water in a separate container, complete with second thermometer.
<Not strictly necessary; adding luke warm water from the tap, provided it is dechlorinated, should be fine for any fish tank. Just remember, don't use water from a domestic water softener or untreated water from an RO unit; plain vanilla tap water, even if hard, is fine for Bettas. Leaving water to stand overnight is often a good idea; some water supplies exhibit weird chemistry changes immediately after being drawn. Find out for yourself: do a pH and hardness test on some freshly drawn tap water, and then leave the water sitting for 24 hours and then test it again. If the pH and hardness are the same, you're fine. If not, then leave all your water for 24 hours before use. This isn't an alternative to removing chlorine or copper using water conditioners, by the way.>
Water is from same source always, PH always identical via Wardley 3-in1 7.0.
<The pH is largely irrelevant, and unless you have a specific reason to "fix" the pH at 7, I wouldn't bother. Hardness is much more important when keeping fish generally, but Bettas will adapt just fine to anything in the range 5-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8. In general, water with a pH around 7.5 is the best because this is where biological filtration operates most efficiently. Moderately hard water also tends to regulate its own pH fairly well, and there's really no need to soften water unless you're keeping (or breeding) finicky fish.>
I began Maracyn treatments. He was healing okay until his latest ammonia spike (I was foolish not to expect it so soon). To be safe, I put tetra ammonia detoxifier in his tank, then prepped up a fresh batch of water.
<Ammonia removers remove ammonia from tap water, and have little/no impact on ammonia constantly produced by the fish and organic decay in the filter.
Ammonia is best dealt with via water changes and filtration.>
I also found some tetra Safe Start that wasn't online, it was in a pet shop so I could obtain it.
<Couple tablespoons of gravel from a mature aquarium would work a million times better anyway... even a clump of floating Indian Fern added to the tank would have a dramatically positive impact.>
Today I did one last full 100% water change, thoroughly cleaned everything with leftover changing water (the new stuff), added the SafeStart, and put Nixon back into his new home.
<Why all the cleaning? Look, cycling requires the presence of bacteria.
Limit water changes to 50% at most in emergencies -- where ammonia goes above 0.5 mg/l for example. Otherwise, restrict water changes to 25% every two days for the first 3-4 weeks after setting up a tank. After that point, 20-25% water changes weekly should be ample. Assuming you have at least a 5 gallon tank, a single Betta shouldn't be producing too much mess, and through the cycling process, you'd not be feeding more than one small meal daily, perhaps every other day if you find ammonia keeps creeping above 0.5 mg/l. As for rocks, gravel, etc., leave this as they are. If you must clean the gravel, simply stir and siphon out any detritus. Do nothing more to filter media than rinsing it in buckets of aquarium water or, if necessary, in some freshly drawn, dechlorinated water that's been left to reach water temperature. That's it!>
Through all this time, he has continued swimming normally and eating well (although today is his fasting day). So should I begin a new medication regimen?
<Unless there is actual Finrot, I wouldn't add anything. Fish will regenerate their fins very quickly under good conditions, just as we grow back skin without the need for medications if we cut or graze ourselves.>
Will it affect my seed bacteria?
<Used as described, medications shouldn't harm the filter bacteria.>
Should I do a 50% water change every 2-3 days?
Any tips?
<See above.>
Thanks, Steve
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: fixing an error 9/1/2009

Dude, thank you so much for the quick reply!
<Happy to help>
I'll try tracking down some Indian fern ASAP!
<It's good stuff. Do read what Bob has to say:
I have it in all my tanks.>
I've been reading all sorts of information recently, much of it conflicting advice. Some people advice full weekly water changes, others say never more than 20%.
<Not all tanks work the same way, so there aren't any hard and fast rules.
Moreover, in the past people did very small water changes (typically 25% a month) whereas today aquarists do water changes at least weekly, and in many cases more than 25%, perhaps because their fish are particularly messy. But a 25% water change every week works well, and keeps conditions good enough that if you skip a week because you're on vacation or otherwise busy, it's not big deal.>
I wholly intend to go to the store tomorrow and get a liquid ammonia test kit (after adding the ammonia Detox, the strips said the ammonia went from stress to danger).
<Test strips are fine for this sort of thing, so I wouldn't worry about buying a liquid test unless you really want one. If you can detect ammonia, that's bad, and a water change is probably in order. A trace of ammonia is normal through the cycling process, but after that, it's should be 0 pretty much all the time (and so will nitrite be 0 too).>
I'll follow through with the water changes, try to find someone that will spot me a little gravel from a cycled tank.
I've read elsewhere that on a box filter you should change out half the floss.
<You can do this. Indeed, you can change 50% of the media in any mature filter without harm. Some manufacturers will in fact recommend you do this every few months since media that is too clogged isn't especially useful. With sponges, you can rinse them out, but floss can only be cleaned so many times before it all falls apart.>
But you seem to be thorough and knowledgeable, so I'm going to treat it like a sponge.
<Quite so; I find rinsing floss every couple weeks keeps it sufficiently clean I don't need to replace it as often as you might think. A clump of floss in a Betta tank should last a good 6 months if you keep cleaning it
gently. Just remember, it's "alive" with bacteria, so don't expose it to anything you wouldn't expose your fish.>
I guess I only have 2 more questions- A) What are signs to look for if I need to redo the Maracyn 2 regimen
<Finrot on Bettas usually looks like patches of white (dead) skin, typically on the fins. On most fish, Finrot often reveals itself by erosion of the fins, as the membrane dies back leaving the filament-like bones, so
there's a ragged or cobweb appearance. But on Bettas this can be tricky to see because they have long and often naturally ragged fins anyway, so you need to be open minded. What you're looking for is signs that the fins are falling apart, dying, hence the name, Finrot. Patches of red or white around the face and mouth sometimes appear, too. Fungus is distinctive: cottony threads, usually on the face or body, sometimes the fins. Both diseases are quite easy to treat if caught early on, and some medications, such as Seachem Paraguard and API Triple Sulfa work well on both. Bettafix (or Melafix) sort of, kinda, helps and can be used to prevent both of them if you think your Betta might develop these problems for some reason, but it
isn't a reliable cure once symptoms set in.>
and B) Does Wet Web Media take donations? Once I get a debit card and/or PayPal account, I'd be happy to toss you folks some loot!
<If you'd like to buy us a beer or two, then by all means do so. I believe there's a Donate button on the front page, here:
Many thanks on behalf of both of us-
Steve and Nixon
<You're most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta with Velvet - almost out of ideas, very worried 9/5/09
Hi Neale,
<Milo,><<Howsit? RMF>>
Wow, that was extremely hard. Here are the best two pictures I could get, sorry they aren't better.
<They'll do.>
I may have mentioned this is the closest he's come to normal, so there's not as much brown as there used to be. It's still there, though.
<I agree; does look an sick Betta. However, do believe this is "Slime Disease". This is more a syndrome than a single disease, but in my limited experience of dealing with this, a combination of saltwater dips and anti-Finrot medication can work well. Treated a couple of Red-eye Puffers with this a few years ago, and they're still strong. Of course, even freshwater puffers have a high tolerance for salt, so I'd limit saltwater dips in your cases to 2-5 minutes (on my puffers, they were up to 20 minutes). The saltwater helps shift external parasites and pathogens, and perhaps does something to the mucous too, because it clears up within hours. The antibiotic will deal with the root cause, if bacterial.>
I think the second photo is better for seeing it - on his head and just ahead of his caudal fin. He's supposed to be bright blue with red on his fins, but you can see at least how dark his body is. It's covered with something.
<Yes, mucous.>
The fin decay is much worse than it was a day or two ago. I found a local store with ParaGuard, I'm going to try to get it tonight. One question - the Rid-Ich label says it shouldn't be mixed with other medications, but it doesn't say why.
<Simply good practise. While medications are tested to be safe on their own, who knows how they'll interact with the thousand other medications out there.><<Am in strong agreement>>
If I switch to Paraguard, would two 50% water changes beforehand be enough or do I need to do something more drastic?
<Yes, should be ample. Most medications lose their potency, structure within 24 hours anyway, partly because of interaction with other chemicals, and partly because filter bacteria break them down.>
For now I'm adding salt as instructed, and waiting to hear your opinion re: the photos & whether to use ParaGuard.
<Would certainly use. It's a good all-around medication and better in this regard than, say, Melafix.>
Again, thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.> <<And BobF>>

Betta and Ick 5-29-2009
Hi there. I've got 4 Bettas now and literally about a month ago just got the newest one through a swim bladder infection.
<Sounds like you have a house full! Great! Glad you saved him.>
Well now my eldest fish, Hoonter, is about 3 years old I believe and has a bad case of Ick.
<Tiny white spots all over the body?>
I myself have been having some major health issues and am fearful I began treating him/caught it too late. The white spot on the top of his back is HUGE and all the other people on here saying their fish have Ick say the spots are small so I'm a bit confused.
<Then it is not Ick, most likely bacteria or fungus.>
I really love my fish, he was my first pet, and I'd really love to get him better. The people at PetSmart told me to use an anti-fungal and that did absolutely nothing so I researched some more and became so frustrated that I went back to PetSmart again. Another worker told me it may just be his time which made me very sad, but also told me he needed real medicine and to use Tetra Lifeguard. Today is the 5th day of using it and Hoonter is doing so well!!
He's eating just fine, and swimming around just fine, but the white spot is still very prevalent and he has a little bit of like gauze on one of his gills.
<Not great..>
What should I do? Please help!!! And if you could e-mail me back at this address that would be great. I found it hard to find specific information on your site and fear if you wrote me back on there I might not find it.  Also, I'm about to move and am wondering what is the best way to move them and is my Hoonter going to be able to take the move in his current health state?
<The best way to move Bettas is to place them in a container that has a lid containing water from their tank. I put a small hole in the lid and seal them in. I have moved five times with my Bettas and all of them made it.>
Thank you so much for your time! It is greatly appreciated. I've also attached two pictures. The spot may not look white in the picture but it is in real life.
<That is one huge white spot! I would recommend continuing the Tetra Lifeguard for a few more days (3 or 4). If no improvement has occurred (spot getting smaller and the gauze disappearing) then I would switch to Maroxy by Mardel, whom also makes Maracyn. It treats both fungal and bacterial infections which should help poor Hoonter make a recovery. You are welcome! Merritt A.>

Re: Bettafix not helping fin and tail rot 5/12/08 Thank you for your advice. It's been a few days and he seems to be getting better with just using the Bettafix and an Anti-bacteria food by Jungle the pet store fish specialist recommended. <Bettafix is almost completely useless, but food with antibiotics may help, provided the fish is eating a sufficient quantity.> They advised me to stay away from the Maracyn because it is meant for larger tanks and would be way to strong for him in his little fish bowl. <Think about this for a moment, and judge for yourself. A concentration of 1 mg/l is one milligram per litre whether it's a swimming pool or a thimbleful of water. Logically, provided you dose the correct amount of medication relative to the volume of water, there's no risk of any kind whatsoever. If you overdose -- that may well be a bad thing. But that's a risk in any tank, whether a bowl or a jumbo aquarium.> Now I'm concerned about a lump under his chin or on his throat that I just noticed could be related to his eating problem. <Simply looks like a very underweight, sick Betta to me.> I brought him to PetSmart and the fish specialist said it looks like it could be an ulcer, or some type of internal infection and that's when they recommended the special food. <Hmm...> I've been crushing one anti-bacteria food pellet and sprinkling it in his water about twice a day. Sometimes he eats a tiny piece, but he doesn't seem too happy with it. <I bet.> The food bottle says "Do not use other foods during this period and use exclusively for 5-10 days. After 5 days, should I let him take a break and feed him a treat like bloodworms? (I've never fed him anything but pellets before.) <By all means let him eat something else once you've finished the treatment.> Also, what could this lump be? <No idea.> Do you think he has a more serious infection along with the Finrot? <There's *nothing* more serious than Finrot. Let's be clear about this: Finrot is a secondary infection caused (almost always) by poor water quality. It means that Aeromonas and Pseudomonas bacteria in the water, where they normally do no harm, have overwhelmed the fish's immune system. They start by damaging the fins and skin, which is Finrot, but those same bacteria work their way inwards, ultimately leading to a blood infection (septicaemia) that kills fish. You MUST treat Finrot aggressively. I'd use Maracyn in this instance REGARDLESS of any (imaginary) risk because the fish WILL die otherwise.> And can special food heal him alone? <Unlikely if he's eating so small an amount.> Are the pet store people right in saying that Maracyn is too strong (because if his fins keep healing like they are and his color keeps coming back like it is then will Bettafix be all I need? <Bettafix is Tea Tree oil. If you had a septic wound, would you ask your doctor for antibiotics or some kind of herbal remedy that hadn't been tested by doctors and hadn't been validated scientifically?> Also, one more little thing I've noticed. Whenever I'm with him or talking to him or feeding him, he goes up to the surface, takes big gulps of air and blows bubbles. <Normal behaviour; these are air-breathing fish, and every minute or so will have to gulp air.> I read online that blowing bubbles means Bettas are happy and would like to mate, but if he's sick, it doesn't make any sense. <You're thinking of bubble nest building, which is quite different.> Can you help me solve this mystery illness?-Erika <Well, I hope this helped! Cheers, Neale.>

Betta with very persistent tail rot - your help is greatly appreciated.   5/4/08 To whom it may concern, Hi, I was given great advice in February 08 by Merritt and so I'm back with another Betta question. <Merritt seems busy, perhaps with school. I'll give this a go> I recently got a new Betta fish which I've named Opie. <Am whistling the theme from Mayberry R.F.D. now... imagining losing even more of my hair, and directing blockbuster movies> Opie had some tail damage when I bought him but I thought it was just from being in those horrible little cups the pet stores sell Bettas in. <Does occur> After having him for a while, it became obvious that his tail was getting worse . . . tail rot. First, I treated him for 5 days with Maracyn 2 resulting in no change. I switched to Maracyn and began to see slow results. After ten days of treatment (the maximum the directions allow) I stopped and it seemed like his tail was growing back, then overnight, his neighbor Erroll seemed to catch the bacteria and had significant tail loss very very quickly. Additionally the progress Opie's tail had made disappeared. At that point I figured that I cross contaminated the tanks with the cleaning pad and net I use. (Since then I've been careful to clean the net and pad with copious amounts of salt and MelaFix between use on the different fish that I own.) I started another round of treatment on both fish. This time with Maracyn and Maracyn 2. I also put a divider between the bowls because it seemed that their displaying was causing their fragile fins to tear. <Yes... too stressful to be in constant view> They completed 5 days of meds. By this time Opie's tail was totally grown back but still clear and fragile and Erroll's was slowly starting to return so I halted treatment with both medications. Today (about three or four days later) Opie's tail has totally digressed again! I'm so bummed out, I hoped I had finally got him healthy. Erroll seems to still be healing but I did keep him on the Maracyn two additional days because I had two additional doses open already. Is there a stronger, better gram positive antibiotic out there for Bettas? <Mmm, yes... posted on WWM...> Should I continue to treat for both + and - bacteria as a precaution? <Gram negative almost always is at play... all that needs to be treated for> The Maracyn directions say not to treat for more than two 5 day cycles. Can I treat longer? <Neither a good idea, nor efficacious> Unlike the Maracyn 2 directions the Maracyn directions don't indicate that water changes are required after treatment but I've done complete changes anyway. Could this be contributing to the relapses? <Yes...> I don't think it's related to the water quality. I really think Opie brought it home from the pet store. I'm good about cleaning their bowls regularly. <... this is part of the problem as well... Need tropical, filtered settings... NEED. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm> I've never before had any fin rot with my fish so I'm really motivated to finally solve this problem but it seems to be a very very persistent case. My fish and I would appreciate any advice. Please help if you can. Thank you in advance for your time and your thoughts. I'm very grateful for any help you can offer. Kind Regards, Andy <There really is no "sense" of trying "other medications" w/o providing adequate environment... Fix their world... and they will heal. Bob Fenner>

Fungus -03/28/08 Hello, I have a Betta named Merlin living in a 16 gallon tank with fake driftwood and 2 fake plants. <Sounds lovely!> My water is 0 across the board for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates; I believe it is cycled but check ammonia frequently to be safe. <Good.> It's a 50/50 mix of spring/distilled water. <Probably overkill; Bettas are perfectly happy in dechlorinated tap water. The only thing they won't like is excessively soft water (less than 3 degrees dH) or water that has passed through a domestic water softener (too much sodium). But if what you're doing works for you and is cost effective, by all means stick with it.> PH is between 7.0 and 7.2. Water is heated to about 80 degrees and I alternate 1 pellet per day with either brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, or Spirulina brine shrimp. For a while I was getting scum on the top of the water, but not since I made the filter flow into "waterfall style." <Indeed; splashing water helps to get rid of certain types of protein or oil films that can cover aquaria.> I'd noticed algae looking stuff on the wood and plants for some time, and then it ended up on the edge of Merlin's fins. <If it's green or black, it's algae; if off-white, then Fungus.> The first time was in February, but it seemed to fall off by morning. He has had some episodes with fin rot in the past. What I now assume is Fungus has come back a few times, seeming to be more of a problem each time (growing larger, taking pieces of fin each time), but there has been no shredding (the fin loss is even across). <Regardless, you need to treat with anti-Fungal medication. Not a fan of Melafix though. Standard issue medications should be fine. In addition, consider where this fungus is coming from: if you're seeing it on rocks and wood, then you likely have A LOT of organic material in that aquarium. Unlike algae, which use light and minerals for "food", fungus needs to "eat" organic matter, i.e., decaying stuff. By rights, you should be removing organic material with its water change by siphoning it from the substrate. Wiping off ornaments if they get dirty isn't a bad idea either.> I really don't want to lose my good water (it has taken much time to get it cycled), <Irrelevant, so don't worry about it. Filtration occurs in the FILTER not the water. You can change 100% of the water if you want, and so long as the filter is kept wet between water changes, the bacteria will be perfectly happy. I'd recommend at least 25% water changes per week, and I personally go with 50% water changes.> and Merlin doesn't like meds at all, but the fungus isn't going away this time. It's come back now for about a week (every time a piece sheds off with fin, another piece of fungus is back by morning). Merlin has had a bad reaction to Melafix, so I can't use that. What would you recommend as a fungus med? <Depends where you are. Here in England I recommend eSHa 2000, a very effective anti-bacterial/anti-fungal medication. But I'm told by my American colleagues that things like Maroxy are the drug of choice for fungal infections. Neither Bob F nor myself rate Melafix all that highly, but some do I know.> I have Maroxy but was wondering if that would be bad to use, since I'm not using a chlorine remover (bottled water) and it seems to have some sort of chlorine agent? <Don't worry about it. Also, I'd recommend using plain tap water plus dechlorinator rather than fussing with bottled water. I suspect you'll find this A LOT cheaper in the long run, and because water changes will be cheap and easy, your Betta will be happier too. Most fish don't care about water chemistry _per se_, what they want is stability. So I'd recommend doing some 10-20% water changes every other day for the next couple weeks to convert the Betta to tap water chemistry, and after than doing 25% weekly changes.> I would like to do whatever would be the least affecting; Merlin doesn't seem to be acting strangely, more irritated when his fin shreds, than anything else. <Sounds like he's doing OK, and if you act fast, he'll be fine!> I also was wondering if this means I have to part with my water? <Yes. Don't get attached to the water! Once it's in an aquarium, it "goes bad" as far as the fish are concerned. The more water you change, the happier the fish. Or put another way: the fish are living in their lavatory, and you're pulling the chain!> I have a quarantine tank, but wonder if I have excess fungus in my original water that I have to fix? I know all water has some fungus, but it (or algae) seems to grow on all my decorations very quickly. I've read that the fungus could be a result of excess protein from the frozen food, but I only feed about 1 shrimp on alternate days. I don't want to kill my good bacteria, but do I need to get rid of everything to stop this fungus? <Cleaning the ornaments and changing the water have no impact at all on water quality. The filter is all you need to worry about. So when you do water changes, make sure the filter media (the sponge or whatever) don't dry out. Every month (or sooner, if you prefer) take the filter media and dump in a bucket of aquarium water. Give it a good squeeze and clean to remove silt, and then pop back into the filter. Do this, and you'll have great water quality and a happy filter bacteria population!> Thank you, Patricia <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fungus  3/30/08 Neale, Thank you very much for the quick response :) I was wondering if it would it be better to put Merlin in a quarantine tank for his treatment or to leave him in his original tank? I'm thinking he would need to be in the quarantine tank to avoid the medication killing the good bacteria in the filter of the original tank? But at the same time maybe the meds in the original tank would be good to kill the fungus in there? Lastly, do I likely have fungus in my filter media or should I not be worried about that? Thank you again :), Patricia <Happy to help, Patricia! Treat your fish in its home aquarium. Moving it to a quarantine tank wouldn't serve much purpose either way. The fungi that cause fish infections are in all aquaria, just as all aquaria contain the Aeromonas bacteria that cause Finrot. When everything is healthy in the tank, these fungi and bacteria do good work helping to convert organic material into the stuff the filter bacteria can use up. It's when fish become stressed or damage that they cause harm. It's exactly like E. coli and other bacteria we have on our bodies. In their place, they're harmless and may even serve a useful function; in the wrong place and when our immune systems are run down, they can cause problems. So: whenever you get Fungus or Finrot, you AUTOMATICALLY must ask Why? Yes, you must treat the infection, but you must also prevent another outbreak -- because you WILL get another outbreak unless you remedy the situation. Just as giving someone a cure for a stomach infection until they got better and then feeding them rotten food would make that person sick again. Cheers, Neale.>

Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot   10/21/07 Hello, <Hello!> I got a Betta fish about a month ago- my college had an event and they gave away Bettas for free. The bowl he came in seemed "too small" so I got him a larger (half gallon) bowl, which he's been living in since then. However, reading on your site (I know, I should have done my research *first* but I assumed that since people in my dorm in previous years had Bettas in those little bowls that it was okay for them) I got him a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and filter (it's a charcoal filter type, rather than a sponge...is that okay?) and some largish cloth plants. <Carbon isn't really useful in this aquarium. You're going to need to change 50% of the water weekly (at least) and doing that will remove the dissolved organic wastes through dilution. Since carbon is used to remove those wastes, the carbon is rendered obsolete. Carbon also removes medications: you cannot use fish medicine in an aquarium with carbon. So, replace the carbon with *biological* filter media instead. Sponge would be ideal, but ceramic hoops or filter wool will work too.> My question is, from what I've seen you're supposed to cycle the tank before putting the fish in, but that can take up to 6 weeks. <Yes.> But it seems like even an uncycled heated and larger tank would be better for Kappa (my Betta) than his small cold bowl. <Correct.> Is it safe to put him in now, and just change the water often (I'm thinking every 3 days with a 50% change- in his old bowl I was doing 100% changes every 3 days), or is it better to wait for the new tank to cycle? <Your plan sounds ideal. Move the fish, do water changes regularly, and test the nitrite levels periodically to check things are OK. When fish are exposed to high ammonia and nitrite levels, they are prone to fungus and Finrot, so you want to keep them as low as possible, preferably zero.> Also, I put the plastic plant and the gravel from his old bowl in, with new gravel and a couple larger fabric plants- will that help the tank cycle faster? <Marginally, if at all.> (I don't know if there was anything beneficial on them, in order to get the waste off the gravel I'd been swishing it in tap water when I did his water changes, and rinsing off the plant <Arggghh! Never wash anything under the tap you want bacteria to live on. Always wash biologically active filter media in a bucket or bowl of water taken from the aquarium.> I did notice some sort of stringy whitish stuff on the plant though, is that good or bad growth?) <Likely algae (if green) or bacteria (if grey/white). Either way, harmless though perhaps unsightly.> I don't have any tests for ammonia/nitrates/nitrites yet, but I am getting some as soon as I can find them (the store I went to was out of a lot of stuff). <Get the simple combination dip-sticks. They're cheap (here around £10 for 25 tests) and you can slice them down the middle to make twice as many tests. Each dip-stick has nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, pH and hardness (at least) making them extremely useful for quickly judging the conditions in the tank.> I'm especially concerned about leaving Kappa in the old bowl because he's had a chronic case of fin rot since about a week after I got him. At first he lost about a quarter inch of the 'webbing' on his tail, and I got him some aquarium salt and tetracycline gel-food medicine. <The salt detoxifies nitrite, which is useful when a tank is immature. I'm not convinced Tetracycline food is beneficial, given it is an antibiotic for internal infections, and Finrot is an external infection. I think you need to add a Finrot medication to the water.> The medicine said to give him 5 drops per serving (2x a day) but I could never get him to eat more than 2 drops (the brand was "aquarium products gel-Tek tetracycline", for what it's worth). It seemed to stop the fin rot, and it started growing back but as soon as the medication period (3 days) ended, within a day the tail had rotted back to about where it was the first time. <Curing the symptoms -- Finrot -- while not fixing the cause -- poor water quality -- locks you into a cycle where every time you cure the fish, it gets sick again soon after.> I tried the tetracycline again and this time he'd hardly eat it (I think he just doesn't like it, he loves the Hikari pellets and frozen bloodworms that are his normal food). The rot didn't really get any better, so I stopped for a couple of days then switched to Jungle Fungus buddies (which said they also treat fin rot). That has helped more, but by this time his tail is about half the length it used to be. <Oh.> Anyway, the tail has been stable for a couple of days but after I switched Kappa into the 2.5 tank, and he swam around for an hour or so, the webbing that had been regrowing has fallen out again. Will the better conditions help him (he's still on the Jungle medication), or do I need to do something else to get this cleared up? <I think at the moment you're "running to stand still" because high levels of ammonia and nitrite in the aquarium are putting immense stress on the fish.> (I've been trying to find Maracyn (2) since that seems to be highly recommended on your site, but I can't find it in either of the pet stores here.) Other than that he seems healthy and active- he was very curious about everything in the new tank and comes over to me every time I get near. Also, pretty much every time I changed his bowl water, he would make a bubble nest, so he couldn't have been too unhappy...? <In other words: when water quality improves, he's happy; when water gets bad again, he stops being happy.> Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. Thanks for your time, --Kyra <Do water tests, replace carbon with true biological filter media, ensure ammonia and nitrite settle down to zero levels. Don't overfeed, and do regular water changes. Keep treating the Finrot. Once the water is good, you'll see the Finrot won't come back. Do read the articles here at WWM about Bettas. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot 10/22/07 Dear Neale, Thanks so much for your help and the quick response. I'll be looking for a new filter and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate tests for Kappa's tank. You guys run an amazing site, and I'm sure I'll be referencing it a lot in the future. Thanks again, --Kyra <Kyra, thanks for the kind words, which I'll be sure and pass on to the Crew. Good luck with your Betta! Neale>

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>

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 wont 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 Im 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 wed 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 your handling very well is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, its 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. Id 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 Id have rather you told me that the fins are regenerating nicely but Ill 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 your 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 pets immune system is going to do the work here and, again, what your 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, your 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>>

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 wont 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 Im 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 wed 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 your handling very well is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, its 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. Id 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>>

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>

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

Very Sick Betta  10/30/06 <<Hello. Tom here.>> I just want you to know I did a lot of research before contacting you, but it has come down to this Betta's life.   <<Understood>> Saturday morning I woke up to find my Betta with fungus on his tail fin.  His fins were fine and not torn or rotted the night before, but there was a definite ball of grayish-white cottony fungus on his tail fin, and a piece of the tail fin was missing.  I moved him to my hospital tank, added 1 tbsp of salt per 5 gallons of water, did my research, decided it was a true fungus rather than a body fungus, and went out and bought MarOxy.   <<I would double the salt ratio for treatments of this sort but all sounds appropriate at this point.>> I've been keeping fish for a while, but I've been lucky enough never to get hit by a major fish disease, so I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to fish medications.  From my research, MarOxy was the only medication that I was sure treated fungus and not bacterial infections masquerading as fungus.  So, I added one drop of MarOxy per gallon into my heated, filtered hospital tank (carbon is removed from filter), and I waited.  Sunday, the Betta was clearly worse, but the fungus was still only on the tail fin.  I added more Maroxy, and tested the water to make sure the nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia were all safely low or zero, and I waited again.  This morning, the fungus had spread to his head.  It is white on his head, not gray at all, but still definitely cottony.   <<Starting to sound like Columnaris rather than a fungal infection. Easy to confuse this with fungus and equally easy to mistreat.>> I added the one drop of MarOxy, and waited again.  Tonight, the filter flow seemed to be too much for him, so I turned the filter off.  The fungus (or whatever it is, (I am no longer confident in my diagnosis) has now spread up onto the tail end of his body, and the spot on his head looks like it may have gotten larger.  I added more MarOxy ahead of schedule because frankly he looks too bad to just sit and wait.  But, I don't know what else to do.   <<Malachite Green is effective but Im reluctant to advise its use in your Bettas weakened state. Insert the carbon media to clear out the MarOxy and start a regimen of Melafix for your pet. Its going to be something of a tightrope walk here in trying to make sure the cure isn't worse than the disease.>> I tried to get a picture of him for you, but they keep coming out as a red blur, which doesn't really do you any good.  Basically, his head has a big fluffy white cottony spot on one side, the tail end of his body has turned gray, and his tail fin has disintegrated and fallen off wherever the cottony fungus has been, and the fungus is now kind of in a thick cottony string draped along the fin, rather than in a ball like it was initially.  He does still have at least half of his tail fin though.  Also, all of the fish in the original aquarium aren't showing any signs of sickness or stress.  Normally, he is lively and friendly living with 6 Lyretail mollies in a 35 gallon aquarium. So, any suggestions on how to try to save the Betta? <<The more you describe your Bettas condition/symptoms, the more convinced I am that this is Columnaris, which, of course, is bacterial and goes a long way toward explaining why the MarOxy seems completely ineffective. Make the change to Melafix there are other treatments but this should be readily available and, naturally, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer closely. Best of luck to you and your Betta. Tom>>

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>

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

Sick Betta  9/5/05 Hi there, <Maggie> I have a male Betta, Stanley, who has been very happy and healthy until recently. He had fin rot. I treated him with tricyclen for the 5 days that it said to, and he seemed miserable so I put him back in his home, where he seemed a lot happier. His top fin was just about gone, now it is kind of clear in color, but looks like its growing back, longer than when it had dissolved. However, it looks like the bacteria may have attacked his body as well, underneath the top fin the body turned a silverfish white color. Although the top fin looks like it's getting better, or at least growing back, the body remains the same color, or may be gradually getting worse. I began treating him with the tricyclen again, but I'm new to the fish scene and I just don't know what I should be doing?  I've become very attached to him and I really don' t want to lose him. Thanks for any help you could give me, p.s. I just want to make it clear that the change in body color is only on the top of the body, under the top fin, not the whole body, which is why I think its from the fin rot bacteria, because the top fin is the one that was gone. the top tail fin is also frayed but never completely dissolved like the top one did. Thanks a bunch. Maggie <Is this fish in a heated, filtered setting? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Betta  9/7/05
He is currently in a bowl that is VERY well maintained. I am in the process of getting an aquarium hooked up for him. Going by my previous message, do you think he could still be infected? <Mmm, the direct cause of the Betta's health difficulties is environmental... only secondarily bacterial> The fins are getting longer (still clear color though) but the body (where it used to be blue) is a silverish pinkish now. Thanks for your time Maggie <I do hope your Betta makes a full recovery. Bob Fenner>

Multiple Betta problems and questions Hi there, I once read in a posting by Ananda that hydrogen peroxide makes a good fungus eliminator, and I was wondering what kind of fungus that would work for? Also how much should be used? <Better to utilize sulfa drugs for such true fungal afflictions of freshwater fishes> On to another subject, I have one male Betta who has fin rot on his tail and it is working fast and nothing seems to be helping, please let me know what I should do for him as he is one of my favorites. I also have one female Betta who has that cottony build-up in one of the oddest places I have ever seen it, in her mouth, and its spreading outward and has since taken over her upper lip. I fear that she may starve to death soon, she once had some beautiful black horizontal stripes that seam to fade away almost completely from her bluish body any time she gets sick or is scared. She also gets a reddish tint to her blue fins that does the same. I was wondering what this may tell me and what you know of that would work the best. I just took a water test in their tank (I have them in a divided 5 gallon tank just for quarantine.) and here is the levels (keep in mind its been a few days since a water change, I have been quite busy lately, please understand, but I plan on changing it soon) Ammonia about 0.25, <! Not good... there should be NO detectable ammonia> Ph  about 7.8, Nitrites are 0, I know the Ph is really high, and I have some Ph down to ad to the water, any other recommendations? Thanks much for your help, Spenser P.S. I am new to your site and I have no idea if you also email your replies back as well as post them on the site, so please email me back your reply or at least let me know where I will be able to find it at. <Spenser, take some time to read over the sections we have posted on Betta Systems and Betta Disease, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm (see the links above? In blue). The conditions/symptoms you list are seriously off... is their system heated? Filtered? Bob Fenner>

Red Streaked Blue Betta Hi! I just had a quick question for you.  About 5 days ago I found my Betta laying on the bottom of the tank, he looked mildly bloated and he had white stripes around him, and his face had gone a reddish colour. (He is usually a dark blue on his head, which slowly lightens until he is aqua but his dorsal fin). I thought he was about to die, but when I found him the next morning he was still alive, but no better. I cleaned his tank, and got him the Splendid Betta Fix Remedy and began treating him, and it has been 5 days now but he shows no sign of improvement.  I believe he has a fungus, and he is very listless and wont eat, just laying near the bottom or in his tree except for random bursts of energy, or when he goes to the top for air.  He was always a very active fish and loved to eat, however now he hasn't eaten in days.  Is there anything else I should try?  Is there any hope for my Betta? Danielle <Need more info to be sure but the red streaks are usually a sign of bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Cause is a dirty tank/water. Discontinue the med and up the water changes to 50% a day for a week. If there is no improvement treat with Oxytetracycline. Do not treat until you try the water changes. Don>  

Sick Fish Photos/Question Hello, I have three female Bettas in a five-gallon tank. Two of them have dark growths or lesions that have developed over time. All three came with dark spots on their fins. Their activity and appetites are utterly normal. I've prepared a webpage with photos for your review, and I'm hoping you or some readers of your website might be able to tell me what is wrong with them so that I can care for them properly. http://icanspin.com/~swussow/gracepics/sickbettas/sickbetta.htm Their symptoms do not seem to match any of the medication packages I've seen, or other info on the Internet. The only thing I can think of is that they have "black Ich" or fish tuberculosis. Perhaps the drawings on the packages are just not similar enough to what I'm seeing, and it's actually a more common malady and easily remedied? ANY help would be appreciated - I'd like to make my girls as comfortable as possible. THANKS! < Looks bacterial to me. Treat with Furanace as per the directions on the package. Bettas like warmth. Keep the water temp up at least to 78-80 degrees. Watch for ammonia spikes during and after treatment for awhile.-Chuck> Stasia in WI

Male's Betta tail fin seem to be dissolving Hi Chuck, I checked his fins and they do not show any noticeable blackened borders. All his fins (top, tail, bottom) do not look that healthy, they seem to hang a lot and look soggy. I have him in a unheated, untreated, and unfiltered container. I would like to keep him in an non-filtered container, and use a desk lamp for heat, but if adding some treatment to the water would help grow back his fins and have then look healthier, what do you suggest? < Get a thermometer and measure the water temp. Should be around 80 degrees F. Check the ammonia and nitrites (Should be zero). If there are any measurable readings then change the water, especially when it looks cloudy or has any smell to it.> He shares the container with a female Betta, I have them separated with a plastic wall and a handkerchief to block the male's view of the female and vice versa. Could it be the handkerchief ? < Probably not. Cotton will decompose so use a synthetic that will not breakdown.> Should he be separated from the other Betta ? < He will probably kill her if she is not ready to breed.> Should I put him in a container by himself or would "Nitrofuranace" help ? < Try clean warm water that has been treated for chloramines and see if that helps. I don't like to treat if it is not needed.-Chuck> Thanks again, Mario D.

Betta worries - no problems Hi all. <Hello, Lauren, Sabrina here> I've been on the site off and on for the past two hours looking up information on goldfish and Bettas and I am ever so grateful!   <Wonderful to hear, thank you for the kind words!> However, I'm staring at my roommate's new Betta and it doesn't look very good.  I admit my ignorance as to their "normal" appearance and have yet to come across anything so I am now writing for help.  She brought the fish home Thursday night - it had remained in a plastic bag (for transporting) all day.  It looked a bit stressed and the gills were blood red and distended out from behind the gill openings.  This distension has subsided some but their is a bit that remains outside, almost pressed against the scales behind the gills and still very red but membrane thin near the top of the gill opening.   <This is absolutely normal, nothing to worry about.  Males use this membrane to spread and 'flare' behind the gill covers to make them look bigger and tougher on many/most males, this membrane is visible behind and below their gill covers while at rest.  For reference, go to any pet store that has Bettas and take a look at the males' gills.> And tonight I checked on the Betta and their is a white spot (looks like fungus) now on part of the distended gills.   <Keep a very close eye on this - does it look like a grain of sugar?  Or is it fluffy/fuzzy?  Raised?  Or perhaps does it look like it's just part of the color in the fish?> The water condition is pretty good (maybe a little alkaline) <What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?> but it is not an established tank and she doesn't have a filter or heater.   <As long as the room temperature is relatively constant and acceptable, no issues with lack of heater, and as long as regular water changes are done (how often depends partly on the size of the container), a filter is unnecessary.> I treated the tank with Aquarisol as it is all I have available tonight.   <Unless you have reason to believe that the white mark is Ich, I would recommend not using this.  Uhh, just to make sure, the water has been dechlorinated, yes?> Is there anything else I can do?   <Observe, as obviously you are, and try to discern if the mark is part of the Betta's coloration or if it's definitely an abnormality.  You might consider adding aquarium salt (the kind marketed for freshwater aquaria) at about one-third of a teaspoon per gallon.> Would it even help?   <The Aquarisol?  No, not unless you're dealing with protozoan parasites, like Ich.  If you are dealing with fungus, perhaps try Aquatronics' "BettaMax".> By the time we noticed fungus on her last Betta it was much too late... by the next morning the fish was completely covered in fungus and died that evening.   < :(  Sorry to hear that.  I hope all goes well with the new Betta pal!  -Sabrina> Thanks,  Lauren

Betta worries - some problems Hi again. <Hello!> Update on the Betta: the white 'spot' is smaller today.  My roommate has treated the water with BettaFix; the active ingredient is Melaleuca but y'all seem generally to find this agent somewhat undependable in terms of treating fungus, is that right?   <This stuff seems to have some minor antibacterial properties, but I would not gamble any of my fishes' lives on this as a stand-alone treatment.> To clarify, the spot is definitely not a part of the skin or gill tissue.  It's fuzzy and a grayish white and while it is now smaller the scales around this area seem to be effected and are sticking out rather like images of fish sick with dropsy. <Definitely sounds like a fungus or Columnaris.  I would treat with an antibiotic, for sure.> Furthermore, the fins seem to be slightly shriveled around the edges (a symptom which was quite marked in her previous Betta that was practically consumed by fungus in about 24 hours). <Possibly fin rot, also should be treated with an antibiotic.  I'd recommend Kanamycin (sold by Aquatronics as "Kanacyn") or Aquatronics' "Spectrogram" which is a Kanamycin/Nitrofurazone combo, and if the Betta's in a tank too small to dose, take a look at "BettaMax", that might do the trick for you, perhaps.> About water levels... I have only strips at the moment, because my own goldfish tank has been thriving I've yet to purchase a liquid reagent test kit.  The strips indicate no ammonia or nitrite, moderate water hardness, and an alkalinity of ~ 8.0 (I know this is low but I think it is due to water source as my tank is low too).   <Low....  you mean high, don't you?> It's all the same water my roommate prepared Thursday night.  Should I do a water change for good measure at this point? <This won't lower the pH unless the pH of your tapwater is lower than 8.0; my guess is it's that high, end of story.  It can be brought down with peat and/or bogwood, which will soften the water and make it more acidic.  The issue with this is that it turns the water a yellowy-brown "tea" color.> Should I buy an antibiotic from the  list I've seen recommended throughout your responses? <Yes.  I don't think the Melaleuca stuff will fix him.> I could go and get a water test kit or add aquarium salt which I have on hand but I don't have any Epsom salt yet?   <Add the aquarium salt - as long as it's the kind for "freshwater" aquariums (saltwater salt mixes will raise the pH).> The biggest problem is the owner is not worried but I am. <That is a sad concern.> Thanks for your help but most of all your support.  Lauren   <Any time!> ---------- Hi, <Hello again!> Sorry, I forgot to include that 'yes, the water was treated with Stress Coat and aged overnight (would have done it longer myself but it's not my fish, alas).'  Lauren <We do what we can....  can't hope for much more.> ---------- Sorry, <Don't be!> Please amend discussion of' low pH' to read "I know it (pH level) is high...."  Aaaarghgrumpf!  I promise not to write anymore emails until I've received one back! :) Lauren <Ahh, see?  I knew it!  Well, I do hope all goes well.  Good luck - maybe you can somehow get your friend's owner to be interested more in what you're doing to care for this fish....  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.>

Sick Betta Hello, <Hi.> I was gone for 4 days and upon return to my office I noticed my Chinese Betta fish is sick.  He developed "pop eye" in one eye and has some white discoloration around his gills.   <Sure signs of poor water quality and stress - do a water change ASAP, be sure the new water is dechlorinated and the same temperature as your Betta's water.> Also, the edges of his fins have become slightly frayed and almost have a white sheen around the edges also.   <Possibly just from the water quality, but might also be bacterial fin rot, brought on from the decline in water quality.> HELP!!  What should I do?   <First and foremost, do a water change, as above.  You may need to do another later or tomorrow, as well, and be sure there is no food rotting in his tank.  Secondly, I would add Epsom salts to the water, to relieve the pressure causing the "Popeye".  Use about one third of a teaspoon per gallon of water.  If in a couple of days the fins are unimproved or worse, you might consider giving him an antibiotic (BettaMax, made by Aquatronics, is available at many fish stores, and should help with fin rot).  Be diligent with your water quality, and with all due luck, hopefully he'll recover well.  Wishing you and your Betta the best,  -Sabrina.> Sincerely,  K. Wagner

Betta with fin rot? Hi Sabrina, <Hello, again!> Just a note to say hi. I am Betta sitting again. He now has 3. <Zowie, hobby bordering on obsession, yes?  No worries - I understand how addictive Bettas can be!  Those pouty faces, the bright colors, ease of maintenance/care....> One of his 2 is losing his tail, it has been going on for some time. It doesn't look like it is rotting, just like it is getting shorter, or is that rot? <Could very well be, yes.  One sure sign is a whitish edge to the receding fin(s).> Is there something I can do to help him? <An antibiotic like Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone may help a great deal - you might try Aquatronics' "BettaMax", can be found at most fish stores.> I now have six of the lil guys myself. Yes I have become a Betta Crazy Monster! <Wow, you have indeed!> Thanks,  Magic <Wishing you (and all your bettahedz) well,  -Sabrina>

Betta with white film I did just what you suggested- I took the Black Moor back and got a Betta.  I was out of the office yesterday, and now today one side of him is covered in white film, and he is acting funny. <Hi Steph, I should have given you more info on the Bettas in my last email.  You will have to move fast on the issue with the Betta, that white film isn't Ich, that's a body fungus.  And it grows FAST on Bettas.  I'm not sure why it seems to attack and spread on this fish so quickly but it does.  Bettas are shipped in horrible conditions, they are literally stuffed into 2x2 inch bags with just enough water to cover their bodies.  This really stresses the fish out, which in turn lowers the fishes immune system.  The problem is that your Betta's slime coat (which ever fish has) is not really great since it was shipped so bad.  What you will need to do is go and purchase some medicine to treat this fish.  I suggest you use Mardel's Maracyn tablets for your Betta.  I have always used it on my Bettas and provided that you treat early enough it will cure the fish right up.  After the fish heals you might want to consider adding a water treatment that will help the fish build up his slime coat.>   Is that what is considered 'Ick' on a fish? This tank is new, with just that darn goldfish in it.... I didn't think the water quality was that poor.  Can you help me figure what to do to get rid of this? <Goldfish carry quite a bit of parasites and illness that probably was introduced when you had the black more in there.  It's not Ich, but a fungus.  I would treat with the Maracyn and it should cure the fish (provided that you treat it early enough).  I can't stress enough that this will spread quickly on your Betta so it's best not to wait.  There are some great Betta forums online and I suggest you check out some of them. One I used previously was http://fish.orbust.net/forums/index.php?showforum=5  That is how I learned most of my info about Bettas, Also there are many books dealing with Bettas.  Be sure to check one out Good luck, and if you need anything else let me know -Magnus>

Deformed Betta He's very camera shy.  I'm trying to get a good pic of his whole head and the thing under his chin (looks like a white pimple).  You can just barely see the pimple, as this is the side it's on.  But you can clearly see that his forehead is misshapen.  He won't show me, but I think the other side of his face and eye look a little scary.  Is this a thyroid problem???  Does he have tumours?  Somebody gave me this fish, my 1st ever.  Got me hooked on the whole aquarium thing.  Is this common?  My heart is breaking. <<I am sorry to hear about your poor Betta. I checked the pic, it looks to me like he has an internal infection, resulting in some bloat around the head area. I can't tell from the pic if his eyes are protruding or not. Pop-eye is an absolute indication of infection, and you will need to feed him medicated flakes, if you can find some at your Local fish store. I hope he recovers :( -Gwen>>

Deformed Betta II He's very camera shy.  I'm trying to get a good pic of his whole head and the thing under his chin (looks like a white pimple).  You can just barely see the pimple, as this is the side it's on.  But you can clearly see that his forehead is misshapen.  He won't show me, but I think the other side of his face and eye look a little scary.  Is this a thyroid problem???  Does he have tumours?  Somebody gave me this fish, my 1st ever.  Got me hooked on the whole aquarium thing.  Is this common?  My heart is breaking. <<I am sorry to hear about your poor Betta. I checked the pic, it looks to me like he has an internal infection, resulting in some bloat around the head area. I can't tell from the pic if his eyes are protruding or not. Pop-eye is an absolute indication of infection, and you will need to feed him medicated flakes, if you can find some at your Local fish store. I hope he recovers :( -Gwen>> Deformed Betta 2 Here's a photo of the other side. http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7tdgl/ I'm pleased to say that his eye is looking 95% better today.  I've quarantined him and started treatment with Maracyn-Two.  Do you still suggest medicated flakes?  Any brand names I could look out for?  I only started his treatment last night, and he was already looking a little better before I began.  It seems to me that if he is stressed he looks worse.  He's been alone in a tank so long, it may have stressed him out to have company.  He would glare at the snail frequently. Anyway, let me know about the medicated food.  Thanks! Bethel <<Dear Bethel; sounds good! Keep up the great work :) I do still recommend medicated flakes, simply because any kind of bloat indicates internal infections... However, if he continues to improve with the medication you are using, then don't worry about it. If, however, you notice that he isn't improving 100%, try the medicated flake. You can make your own by dissolving a half of a capsule of antibiotic powder into a few tablespoons of tank water, and putting your own flakes into it to absorb the medication, then feed this to the Betta. Let me know how it goes :) -Gwen>>

Betta w/Popeye Hello Bob, I really hope you can help me with my Betta....He seems to have Popeye in just one eye... <asymmetrical exophthalmia... usually caused by blunt force trauma: a good bump into the glass or rockscape will do it> he is feeling fine and eating. But, my problem is that I have searched all over for a medication for this disease that will be able to be put into a 1 gallon bowl.  <may not even be a disease yet... bacterial if it is. At this point likely just a build up of fluid behind the eye. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt and repeat in three days. Do water changes as usual (daily?)> All of the med's I have come across are for 10 gallon tanks... <use 1/10th of the dose. If one drop per ten gallons, then add the drop into a cup of water to dilute the medication and then only use one tenth of this solution> is there any thing that I can do? Could I crush the tablets up and add just a little to the tank without hurting my fish? I am a Newbie when it comes to Betta's but I have to say that this is the first fish that I have ever loved!  <understood my friend... I can empathize with your sweet empathy. Do try the Epsom salt (from pharmacy for soaking and laxative for people) first... a gentle tonic. Meds by third day if necessary> He's great and I would hate to lose him. Thanks so much, Cheryl <this ailment is easily remedied. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Betta with Fungus Hello, <Greetings> I have had my male Betta splendens for about a year. He has previously been healthy but about a month ago I awoke to find the female Betta (also in his tank) dead with cotton wool disease and the male with just a spot of the same on one side. I immediately began treatment in a hospital tank and he has been symptom free for about 2 weeks. <Very good. Kudos to you for using a hospital tank!> He was looking alert and happy again and thinking we had overcome it, I replaced him in the tank with a new female and he was ok for a few days. Two days ago I noticed his mouth looks like it has been eaten away. There are big chunks missing and it sort of looks whitish but not cotton wooly. <Sounds like mouth fungus.> He also has developed a fin rot I think as his fins have decreased in size and condition practically overnight. <Not uncommon, especially when a fungus is present but you probably should check your water quality to make sure its not a cause of the fin rot.> I love my fishy and I don't know what to do for him. The female looks very healthy and has no sign of disease. Currently I have separated the male and female and am treating the male with marine salts and BettaFix (a Melaleuca Tea tree Oil remedy for fin rot etc.). <BettaFix is a good medication but for this you will probably be better off using a specific fungus medication. Fungus Eliminator by Jungle is a good one and I have used it safely on my Bettas. There is also one made by Mardel that works well.> He seems no better and remains very listless but is still eating well. The tank is 10L heated at 26 degrees pH 7.2. It usually has a banana lily plat growing in it, but I don't have a filter or anything. My questions are: What is the mouth condition? Should I remove the plant? How can I treat the disease? <To medicate you are going to need circulation of some sort so a small filter (without carbon!) is recommended. The plant should be fine in there as long as you get a filter going.> Help me and fishy please!! Thanks Heidi, Tasmania, Australia <You're welcome! Ronni>

Fuzzy wuzzy wazza.... Betta? What would you suggest for this white cottony film that is rising from my Betta?  Melafix or Fungus Eliminator?  Do I need to aerate with either? Thanks. <Well, unfortunately, this isn't a lot of information for us to go off of....  Could be Columnaris, a fungus of some sort, excess body slime from some irritant....  And I will heartily admit that I'm completely unconvinced as to the effectiveness of Melafix (extract of Melaleuca).  Although Melaleuca does seem to have some antifungal/antibacterial properties, I would certainly not rely upon it solely except in perhaps the mildest of cases, in which you still have time to play around/see if you get results before the fish is in real trouble and can resort to more (known) effective meds.  I have, however, used MelaFix in conjunction with other effective meds, such as Kanacyn, for fin rot and septicemia.  For the life of me, I can't seem to find the active ingredients of the Fungus Eliminator anywhere online, but I've heard of folks having great success with it.  I've never used it, myself.  Other options for you could be Kanamycin sulfate (proprietary names include "Kanacyn" [Aquatronics' name]), Nitrofurazone ("Furacyn" - again, Aquatronics), or a combination of the two (again, Aquatronics steps in with "Spectrogram").  Personally, I think I'd recommend the Spectrogram, myself.  If you can't find it, I suppose I'd suggest the Fungus Eliminator - as I said, I've heard good things, just never used it myself.  -Sabrina>

Busted for Bettas (with fin rot) Hi everyone, I had previously written on this topic and was assisted by Anthony and Ananda.  (thanks!!!)   <Well Deb, now you get Sabrina, too!> I do have my fish in a better set-up now. Its only been set up for about 12 days. I got a 5 ½ gallon tank  (10 gallon was just too big for where I wanted to put it), a Jungle Jr. dirt magnet filter, a TetraTec 12 pump, a 3-way gang valve, and  a 25-watt Visi-Therm Deluxe heater, set at 80 degrees. The heater is on one side and the dirt magnet is on the other. The filter pipe is making a nice stream of bubbles, but no waves, so the fish are happy! They each have 3 plants. For the divider, I bought what Wet Pets had (for the frame) and substituted a needlepoint form. The divider was clear; the needlepoint form is white, although the holes are bigger. They do see each other, but they are safely separated. I think the two Bettas have gotten used to each other now. They don't hang out at the divider and flare too much anymore. <Sounds great so far> Now Im running into more problems, I think. The Betta that has had almost constant fin and tail rot still has it. He was ok when I put him in the tank, but I think the stress from seeing the other one (who is fine) has made him susceptible to fin and tail rot again.  I have been checking the ammonia, and I didn't even get any ammonia until day 5.  I changed a gallon of the water, and then added 2 capsules of BettaMax. I knew that I shouldn't really add meds while the tank is so new and cycling, but I just couldn't ignore his fin & tail rot either.  But I haven't been able to check the ammonia with the green color in the water, so I don't know where the cycle is now, and that worries me, even though the fish look and act fine. I've been changing a gallon of water (with BettaMax added) every other day to try to keep the ammonia down, or nitrites if the cycle has started. I haven't swept the gravel for almost 2 weeks (didn't want to disturb the biological filter if its starting but I think it needs swept a little).   Im waiting for an online order to come (remember I have trouble going to pet stores due to allergies); I ordered a small corner filter with carbon to remove the medicine. When it comes, Ill take 2 gallons out (about 50%), sweep, put 2 gallons of clean water in (without BettaMax), run the carbon corner filter, and then start testing ammonia and nitrite. I hope the order comes today because I really need to test those ammonia and nitrite levels.    <Personally, I usually prefer to recommend Kanamycin Sulfate (Kanacyn) for treating fin rot, as it seems to be much more effective than other antibacterials against this particular ailment.  I have seen goldfish with virtually no fins left make complete rebounds within a weeks' use of this med.  Good Stuff.> I also got some Bio-Spira on Monday. I meant to get it the first time, but I forgot. So I have some now, but how should I use it? If the nitrites have appeared, should I even put it in, or just let the cycle continue by itself? <Can't hurt to give it a shot.  Frankly, I've heard mixed reviews on Bio-Spira, but I haven't used it myself.  There are other products out as well that do pretty much the same things.  Honestly, I usually just use filter media from an existing, healthy tank to cycle a new tank, so I really haven't used these products a lot.  Water changes will also be necessary while you're cycling.> If you put it in when the cycle has started, isn't that just asking for trouble? <Not necessarily.> What are your suggestions about adding the Bio-Spira now, since the tank is not new anymore?  I figured out that my size tank will take about 5 ml. <Check your water parameters, see how it's all going, and make your decision based upon whether/how much your tank has cycled. What about the Betta with the fin and tail rot?  If I gave him BettaMax every time he gets some fin & tail rot, he would be in BettaMax over half the time. The other Betta is fine. Now, if one fish gets medicine, the other gets it too. Try the Kanacyn; it should hopefully kick this fin rot for good and all.> Do I just have to accept that this Betta  will be like this forever? <Certainly not.  Sick is not normal.  I'm betting you can get him over it.> My parents went with me to Wet Pets. That is a very nice store. They picked everything out from my list and I went in to pay (and I paid for it but Im getting over it; oh well.)  I did go to Poseidons. I went once; they didn't have any small set-ups, and then they closed a few weeks later.  I was sorry to see that. Are they setting up another store somewhere? <This I'm afraid I can't help with....  I'm in CA, and don't know anything about your area (Chicago, I assume?); sorry 'bout that!> Any suggestions that you have will be greatly appreciated!  Don't send the fish police after me!  LOL!!   Sincerely, Deb Varga <Eh, not for helping your fish, we won't!!>

Bizarre eating habits....? Hey I came across your FAQ site when I was doing some research but still couldn't find an answer; hopefully you can help me! <We'll most certainly try.> I was really bad at feeding my Betta for the last month or so, and today when I checked, he ATE up most of his own tail! Can you believe it?   <Well, no ;)  I'm betting there's something else at play, rather than the Betta eating his own tail - did you actually *see* him eating it?  I think it far, far more likely that he's got a bacterial infection that's eroding his tail instead.  Most importantly, can you tell us any readings on your water?  Ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate?  Usually one or more of these being out of whack will result in fish getting sick.  How often do you do water changes?  Do you use a dechlorinator?  How large is his tank?  You mentioned that your were slack on feeding him for the last month or so - do you mean that you hadn't fed him in a month, or that you only fed him every now and then, or what?  If you can give us any of these details, we'll be so much more able to help you.> Now it just looks like a little fin instead of the gorgeous swirls....I am so sad.   <Is the fin edged in white?  Do you see any blood or other markings, etc.?  Definitely do a significant water change, using a good dechlorinator, and be sure to match the temperature of the water you put in to the temperature of the water he's in now.> I fell terrible about it.   <We all make mistakes.  The most important thing is that we learn from them and not make the same mistakes again.> Question is:  is this normal <Absolutely not.> and will it grow back?   <Hopefully.  If it is fin rot (I think it likely), it is curable, though advanced cases may prove fatal, or in some cases, the fin can be damaged to a point that it never grows back completely.  Whatever the deal, if he pulls through, it may take a very long time for it to grow back if it does.  Good luck  -Sabrina>

Betta eating tail? - probably fin rot Thank you - I can't believe how fast I got a reply...as to your comments, please see my detailed response below: I think you're right.  I didn't "see" him eating it.  :)  I think I just freaked out when I saw it and then made the "correlation" based on the fact that my fish has been starving for the past couple of weeks.  You asked about readings on water?  hmm.  how would I know that?  Was I supposed to get some other special equipment?   <A test kit that will allow you to test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH will definitely be a help - but you can also probably have your local fish store do water tests for you if ever something else is amiss.> In addition, I already changed the water so I wouldn't know anyway.   <Good job - please do keep his water clean, change some every week.> I think you made another good point:  the water quality for the past month must have been intolerable for my fish.   <This is actually probably the root of the problem.  Good water quality is very, very important.> Is using a "dechlorinator" essential?  I mean, I haven't used it all along and the fish seemed to be fine (I've had him for about half a year). <Yes, using a dechlorinator in your tapwater is quite essential.  Chlorine and Chloramine in our tapwater will really harm aquarium fish.  It can burn their gills, and is most definitely an irritant.  You can probably find a small container at your local fish store for very inexpensive, and I'm sure your Betta would thank you for it (and the water changes :D ) Yes, I fed him every now and then, like maybe twice a week at the max.  (yes I know, I promise I'll be better at it from now on). I looked at him closely, and his tail does look like the colors are lighter at the edges (it's a red fish).  Yeah, I guess you could say the edges are white.  What does that tell me? <This is very indicative of a bacterial infection; probably fin rot.> Can you explain fin rot?  Aside from changing water PROPERLY (temp, dechlorinator, regularly), do I need to get him medication?   <Very likely. But, depending on how big his tank is, it will be quite difficult to dose anything in there.  Kanamycin sulfate (one company sells this as "Kanacyn", and it's pretty easy to find) is an excellent treatment for fin rot.  How big is the tank that he's in?> and when you say that it'll take a "very" long time to grow back (if it does), how "long" do you mean? <Well, depending on the fish, his immune system, water quality, the extent of the damage, any other health factors - it could be days, weeks, even months - or it may not ever grow back completely, even though he may soon be restored to good health, with all due luck.> Lastly, again, THANK YOU (from me and my fish) for your timely response, Sabrina.  you guys ROCK!!!  :) <And a hearty thank you for the kind words!  Wishing your Betta a swift recovery,  -Sabrina>

Betta with pop-eye I think my Betta has Popeye in one eye. It is protruding and cloudy. <Sure sounds like pop-eye.> He lives in a 1.5 gallon hex tank and normally eats 5 pellets a day, 3 in the a.m. and 2 in the p.m. Last week he started staying on the bottom of the tank and not interested in eating. A few bays later I noticed what looks like Popeye in one eye. I treated the tank for 5 days with Maracyn 2 but his eye doesn't appear to be any better and he is still on the bottom of the tank and not eating. Last night I changed the water because the medication made the water very cloudy. I added some salt, complete Betta water treatment and 2 drops of Aquari-sol. Still no change. He will swim a little, come to the top but then he goes right back to the bottom. I don't know if I should try any more medication or what else to do. At the two local pet stores, one of the clerks said that Popeye is not treatable but at the other store the clerk told me to try penicillin since the Maracyn 2 didn't work. <My recommendation - first off, if you're not already, start testing your Betta's water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - it's likely that one (or more) of these has led to his illness.  Next, keep that water pristine - use a good dechlorinator for your tapwater, and keep testing, and do water changes if any of the abovementioned values get out of whack.  In this case, for the pop-eye, I'd discontinue meds and instead, add Epsom salts to his tank at a rate of one tablespoon to five gallons.  In your 1.5g tank, that would be just a tiny bit less than one teaspoon.  Hopefully, you'll be seeing results soon.> I have had the Betta for 1 1/2 years. I hope you can help. <I hope so, too - good luck to you and your Betta.  -Sabrina> Thank you very much.  -Chris

Fungus Amongus! - 08/19/2004 Hello and thanks for your time today, <Hello, and thanks for writing in.> I have a 5G planted, cycled tank with Eco-Complete substrate.  I had an aquarium shop statue in there and noticed a white furry fungus like thing growing on the back of it near the substrate.  I took it out and cleaned it off.  I haven't put it back in but now I can see the white stuff growing around the suction cup of the thermometer.  There are also patches of it on the gravel.   <My first best guess here is that this is bacterial or fungal growth, most likely from uneaten food that hasn't been removed.> I have one male Betta in the tank and he has fin rot.  I am treating with Maracyn-2 (4th day of treatment) for the bacteria, and Maracide for potential parasites because he was rubbing along the bottom of the tank a lot even though I can't see any Ich or other spots.   <I would not treat with an anti-parasitic med unless you are quite confidant that you have parasites, then determine what type of parasite you're dealing with.  Also try to eliminate other possibilities that may have caused irritation to the fish - do ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels check out okay?  Any big changes in pH?  There are a lot of things that can make a fish scratch/rub aside from parasitic infestation.> He doesn't seem to be getting much better though.   <Keep going with the Minocycline/Maracyn II for the full treatment, now that you've started it.  If it has absolutely no effect at the end of treatment, I would switch to Kanamycin sulfate ("Kanacyn", "Kanaplex", or "Spectrogram" which includes Nitrofurazone, as well), Oxytetracycline ("Oxytetracyn", "Oxymanna"), or tetracycline.  Other options as well, for sure, but these are my favorites.> What is this fungus stuff?   <Again, likely a fungus/bacteria/mold from uneaten food.> Is it dangerous?   <Mm, potentially, but very, very unlikely.> Is it harming my fish?   <I seriously doubt it.> Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are zero, <Ahhh, that's good to hear.> pH is 8.2 which is a bit high I know, but that's my tap water unfortunately. <High, indeed.  Is it constantly/consistently that high?  One breeder I know had horrible fin and disease issues with her fish when her tap was above 8.0 - I really think this fish would benefit from a bit lower pH, if you can establish AND MAINTAIN a lower pH - a pH rollercoaster is the last thing you want, though; constant is better than precise.> I have seen this white fungusy stuff before on a piece of wood that I have in another tank and when I introduced Amano shrimp they cleaned it off which makes me think it can't be toxic.   <Agreed.> I just wondered if I need an anti-fungal in there as well.   <Certainly not.  Just manually remove it, and be sure to remove uneaten food and siphon out feces.> I don't want to over-load the poor guy with too many meds.   <Indeed.> He is eating just fine and is active.   <Certainly good news.> I've only had him since last Thursday, he came to me with tears in his fins, (bought him from a breeder) which is where the fin-rot started I guess. <Eh, this could also explain the irritation, if he came from a lower pH.  And again, I've heard of Bettas having fin issues above a pH of 8.0 - not really sure if this is 100% accurate or reliable, but food for thought, at least.> I really hope someone knows what this white stuff is and how to help my poor Betta-boy!   <Have you considered putting a small piece of driftwood in with him to help drop the pH a bit?  If you do so, you'll want to be very cautious and slow about it.  You would also have to make water for him ahead of time, to bring it to the correct pH (perhaps also with driftwood or peat).> I just want his fins to stop shrinking!   <Me, too.> Thanks again for any help,   <You bet.> Maggie Masters <Wishing you and your bettahead well,  -Sabrina>

Wooly Cotton, I think, and Ongoing Problems I have done an extensive search about Columnaris and have learned a lot.  However, my specific problems have not been discussed.  I will try to be brief, and appreciate any help you may be able to offer. I have a 29 gal community tank, established about a year ago without significant problems.  The fish are:  Betta, 3 barbs, 7 mollies (2 adult, 5 babies) 4 small Danios, a Pleco and catfish.  I had the Betta in the tank the entire time.  He had always done well.  One day I discovered a tiny spot of white fuzz, kept an eye on it, and concluded he needed help because it was getting bigger daily.  I hospitalized him, did major Internet searches and went to my fish dealer - and he suggested BettaFix.  After using BettaFix (Melaleuca) for one day I noticed a HUGE amount of fuzz floating throughout the entire bowl.  I continued medication; but after several days I decided I was doing something wrong (I could hardly see through the water by now, just full of what can best be described as LINT).  I did a water change with most of his water (using the tank water, I didn't want to shock him).  I went to the dealer again, explained the problem and he said to continue using the BettaFix - I had not given it enough time.  Highly skeptical I continued the treatment and did a daily water change of about 25% using FRESH tap water with a couple drops of TLC live bacteria and Stress Coat.  The fuzz in the water was reduced - but obviously controlled, not cured.  My Betta was hanging in there, as long as I continued the treatment exactly as I described.  After 2-3 weeks he just couldn't hang on anymore.  I waited over a month, and did weekly 10% water changes in my tank.  Purchased another Betta.  He developed the white fuzz over the entire main part of his body within 48 hours, and was dead only a few hours later!  My tank maintains a steady temp around 75, the nitrates are in the high-but-safe range, nitrites 0 - hard to tell with the color strips but definitely under .5, my tap is very hard water - around 300, alkalinity is blue - and I don't know what that means because the bottle only shows 'high 300' at green - but I'm certain it's above 300, and the ph level is around 8.4 (normal for this area).  I know that is high, but it is steady; I've been looking into ways to lower it (I saw something about rainwater, what is your opinion?)  My other fish have been absolutely unaffected in any way - even the babies - I have stable & happy fish! So in conclusion two questions:  1.)  Was it Columnaris and how would have been the RIGHT way to treat it (your suggestions in the site were spectrogram or fungus eliminator, right?); 2.) Do I need to treat my tank for it if I'm to put another Betta in it? < Bettas with other fish don't always work. The long flowing fins on the Betta wiggle back and forth and become too tempting for many fish like the barbs to leave alone. Typically I don't like to treat an entire tank if I don't have too. Medications affect the beneficial bacteria that reduce the toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrites and then to nitrates. First you need to determine what kind of infection you had. A true fungus does not attack healthy tissue. Damaged areas of the fish that may have been bitten or scraped sometimes developed fungus if the tank is not clean. So a body fungus as you describe sounds like a bacterial infection and not like a true fungus at all. It could have been Columnaris or some other bacteria. I have heard mixed results with BettaFix and personally don't use the stuff. Some aquarists have had favorable results but I am not aware on how the medication works and have seen any scientific data on in. I assume that it is a bacterial inhibiter but that is only a guess. I stick with antibiotics that I know work. I like Furanace to use on bacterial infections or erythromycin. Medications usually work better in softer water. Bettas come from soft acidic still pools in southeast Asia. If the conditions aren't right your Betta will become weak and have no immunity to diseases. That's why the Betta will get sick while the others seem unaffected. For info on changing water chemistry I would recommend you to Marineland.com and go to Dr. Tim's Library and check out the articles.-Chuck>

Dorm Room Betta What are other signs of fish TB? One site told me that a curved spine (which Jack's straightened out) is a sign of swim bladder issues? Thanks. Ann <Wasting away, getting very thin along with the curved spine. In some cases the fish will bloat. In extreme cases you may see a sore or blister with red edges. It is always fatal to the fish. The only known treatment involves a three drug cocktail with only a 10% survival rate. Swim bladder problems are also very difficult to treat. If he is improving I suspect he was constipated to the point he was becoming bloated. Try to feed a pea or add some Epsom salt to treat. Don>  

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